Saturday, October 13, 2012

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Your Longest Gravestone Line

Hey genea-taphophiles - it's Saturday Night again --
 time for more Genealogy Fun!!

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

1)  Determine what is your longest unbroken line of ancestral gravestones - how many generations can you go back in time?  Do you have photographs of them?

2)  Tell us and/or show us in a blog post of your own, or in a comment to this blog, or in a Facebook status or a Google+ stream post.

Here's mine:  

1.  My father, Frederick Walton Seaver (1911-1983) in Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery (San Diego, Calif.):

2.  My grandfather, Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942) in Evergreen Cemetery (Leominster, Mass.):

3)  My great-grandfather, Frank Walton Seaver (1852-1922) in Evergreen Cemetery (Leominster, Mass.):

4)  My second-great-grandfather, Isaac Seaver (1823-1901) in Evergreen Cemetery (Leominster, Mass.):

5)  My third-great-grandfather, Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825) in Whitmanville Cemetery (Westminster, Mass.):

6)  My fourth-great-grandfather, Benjamin Seaver (1757-1816) in Whitmanville Cemetery (Westminster, Mass.):

7)  My fifth-great-grandfather, Norman Seaver (1734-1787) in Woodside Cemetery (Westminster, Mass.):

8)  I think that my sixth-great-grandfather, Robert Seaver (1702-1752) is buried in Westminster, Mass., but I don't know where.  

So - I have pictures of 7 known gravestones in my Seaver patrilineal line.  

I have more generations of gravestones in the Seaver/Smith line - back to Henry Smith (1680-1743) in Vine Lake Cemetery (Medifeld, Mass.).  The last two generations of the line are on Find-A-Grave in pictures:  

1) to 3) as above.

4)  Lucretia T. (Smith) Seaver (1828-1884) - seen in 4) Isaac Seaver above. 

5)  My third-great-grandfather, Alpheus B. Smith (1802-1840) in Vine Lake Cemetery (Medfield, Mass.):

6)  My fourth-great-grandfather, Aaron Smith (1765-1841) in Vine Lake Cemetery (Medfield, Mass.):

7)  My fifth-great-grandfather, Moses Smith (1732-1806) in Plains Cemetery (Walpole, Mass.) on Find-A-Grave.

8)  My sixth great-grandfather, Henry Smith (1680-1743) in Vine Lake Cemetery (Medfield, Mass.) on Find-A-Grave.

So  I can account for 8 generations of gravestones in photographs in this Seaver/Smith line.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Surname Saturday - BENJAMIN (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 529: Hannah BENJAMIN (1669-1752). [Note: The 7th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts].

My ancestral line back through two American generations of this BENJAMIN family 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)

66. Nathan Gates (1767-1830)
67. Abigail Knowlton (1774-1855)

132.  Simon Gates (1739-1803)
133.  Susannah Reed (1745-1833)

264.  Amos Gates (1706-1783)
265.  Mary Hubbard (1712-1754)

528.  Simon Gates, born 05 June 1667 in Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 22 June 1752 in Stow, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 1056. Stephen Gates and 1057. Sarah Woodward.  He married 04 May 1688 in Stow, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.

529.  Hannah Benjamin, born 07 February 1668/69 in Yarmouth, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States; died after 1752 in probably Stow, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  

Children of Simon Gates and Hannah Benjamin are:  Hannah Gates (1689-????); Joseph Gates (1691-1748); Simon Gates (1693-1736); Mary Gates (1695-????); Elizabeth Gates (1701-????); Israel Gates (1703-1726); Benjamin Gates (1704-1758); Elisha Gates (1705-1762); Amos Gates (1706-1783); Susannah Gates (1709-1748).

1058. Joseph Benjamin, born 16 September 1633 in Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died April 1704 in Preston City, New London, Connecticut, United States.   He married 12 December 1668 in Yarmouth, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States.
1059.  Sarah Clarke, born 01 August 1639 in Yarmouth, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States; died after. 1716 in probably Preston, New London, Connecticut, United States.  She was the daughter of 2118. William Clarke and 2119. Sarah.

Children of Joseph Benjamin and Sarah Clarke are:  Sarah Benjamin (1667-????); Hannah Benjamin (1669-1752); Mary Benjamin (1670-1723); Joseph Benjamin (1674-1738); Mercy Benjamin (1676-1716); Elizabeth Benjamin (1681-1704); John Benjamin (1682-1716).

2116.  John Benjamin, born before 12 March 1584/85 in Chalvington, Sussex, England; died 14 June 1645 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 4232. John Benjamin.  He married about 1619 in probably Cranbrook, Kent, England.
2117.  Abigail Eddy, born before 06 October 1601 in Cranbrook, Kent, England; died 20 May 1687 in Charlestown, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States.  She was the daughter of 4234. William Eddy and 4235. Mary Fosten.

Children of John Benjamin and Abigail Eddy are:  John Benjamin (1620-1706); Abigail Benjamin (1624-1704); Mary Benjamin (1626-1646); Samuel Benjamin (1628-1669); Joseph Benjamin (1633-1704); Joshua Benjamin (1642-1684); Caleb Benjamin (1643-1684); Abel Benjamin (1646-1713).

Several sources provide excellent biographical and vital record data on John Benjamin and his descendants, including:

(1)  Sandra Sutphin Olney, Passengers on the 'Lion' from England to Boston 1632, and Five Generations of their Descendants (Bowie, Md. : Heritage Books, Inc., 1992)  pages 21-33.

(2)  Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins, Volume I (Boston, Mass. : New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995), pages 160-164.

(3) Gloria Wall Bicha and Helen Benjamin Brown,  The Benjamin Family in America (Racine, Wis. : Gloria Bicha, 1977), accessed on FHL microfiche 6,101,593.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Friday, October 12, 2012

Who Knew? Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are Cousins!

My friend, cousin and geneablogger colleague, Tom Kemp, Director of Genealogy Products at  GenealogyBank,  sent along this Infographic about the Presidential candidates, along with the following information:

"Did you know that the 2012 U.S. presidential candidates President Barack Obama & Governor Mitt Romney are related to each other? Get the skinny on who's who in Obama and Romney's family trees. Find out how the 2012 U.S. presidential hopefuls are related and learn other fun genealogy facts about the candidates running in this year’s presidential election in this special Infographic by

"Explore Obama and Romney’s family ties in common and their genealogical relationships to English royalty, former United States presidents, Hollywood celebrities and American Wild West outlaws. See old baby pictures of Obama and Romney with their parents, discover when and where they were born and much more!"

Obama & Romney - Who Knew? We're Related! Genealogy

Courtesy of: Genealogy Search - GenealogyBank

See Tom Kermp's blog post, Obama & Romney Are Related! Genealogy Infographic  for more information.

Isn't that fascinating!!  The Infographic doesn't define the level of cousinhood through Edward I - my count says it's on the order of 20th cousins.

My thanks to Tom for letting me share this Infographic on my blog.

Of course, I am related to both candidates also.  See:

*  I'm Mitt Romney's (Distant) Cousin

*  Yep, Barack Obama is my cousin!

And see My Presidential Cousins for my known connections (plus Barack Obama now!).

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Follow-Up Friday - Helpful and Interesting Reader Comments

It's Friday, so it's time to share helpful and interesting reader comments on my recent Genea-Musings posts.  Here is this week's examples, with my own responses if appropriate:

1)  On Dear Randy - What to Do With My Family Photo Albums? (10 October 2012):

*  John suggested:  "Post messages on Rootsweb or other Surname messages boards searching for interested cousins she might not know about?"

*  Wendy wrote:  "I ended up with my mother-in-law's very old family albums that were also well labeled and captioned. I did a family tree for the family and uploaded all the photos on Over the past three years I've met several cousins who were just delighted to find their lost family history with great-great grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins. I'm hoping I've earned some good genealogy karma that will help me find my long-lost branches. Those old family photos mean so much to family members who have lost touch or lost track and It felt good to be the one to share them."

*  Bill said:  "My website,, has begun a project to compile and organize house histories for residential addresses across the country. I would gladly post and preserve photos taken in or around your friend's family homes as long as she can provide an approximate address and year a photo was taken. Preserving those specific pictures may account for only a small part of her entire collection, but it would be a start. There are a lot of good suggestions in your post and in the comments. Hope your friend finds a future home for all her family photos."

*  On Facebook, Nancy Fermazin offered:  "My girlfriend and I were just talking about this subject today. I have 4 volumes of a digital/hybrid family history album. In it I placed the name and family and location under the pictures on each page plus family group sheets for all of the families. In front of the albums I have a USB flash drive and DVD of Family Tree Maker information with the album. I was thinking of donating the albums to my historical society in Illinois if my kids or grandkids don't want them. To finish digitalizing the album would take many many hours. Not quite sure yet. Besides the photo albums I have a 500 page family history on one line which my cousin and i did. We donated copies to the local family history society in Illinois and to Allen County Library in Fort Wayne . I plan to have my albums designated in my Will. It sure would be a lot of work if they were not saved or shared."

My response:  Thank you all for the thoughts and ideas.

2)  On Web Searching Using Family Tree Maker 2012 (10 October 2012):

*  Elizabeth noted:  "Randy, you note that FTM 2012 searches only three databases. Note at the bottom of that box with the list of websites are two buttons NEW and MANAGE FAVORITES. This is where you can add your favorite searchable databases, such as or"

My response:  You're right, and I missed that!  Thank you for noting it.

*  Russ Worthington said:  "The biggest reason for searching from within FTM2012 are at least 3 fold: 1) the ability to have a View Online Source, from within FTM2012, 2) the Web Clipping tool, when searching other websites, and 3) the ability to look at my database, while still in the Web Search Workspace.

"Like Elizabeth, I have a number of other Websites, where I have other 'favorite' websites at my finger tips."

My response:  Thanks for the reasons.  Russ has written several blog posts about his Web Search experiences and processes on his Family Tree Maker User blog.

After some thought about this, I find that the Web Search window in FTM 2012 and RootsMagic are too confining.  I can't "see" as much of the Ancestry (for example) screen as I want to, and the auto-filling of the search fields is disconcerting.  I have to take extra time to clear them.  Since I don't use Web Search to capture Events, Sources and Images from, I find it much easier to search in my browser, and add content to my database in my software program.  I often put the two windows side-by-side on my monitor.

3)  On Web Searching Using Legacy Family Tree 7.5 (11 October 2012):

*  Nancy asked:  "Could you post your exact Find a grave search string so we can see it?"

My response:  I should have... so here are the three that I've added:

**  For Find-A-Grave (first name, middle name, last name):  

**  For (firstname, lastname, start year, end year, exact name search):  

**  For Rootsweb WorldConnect (lastname, firstname, birth year):

4)  On My Top 10 Genealogy Tools (5 October 2012):

*  Patti Hobbs noted:  "Foxit is a nice pdf reader with a lot less bloat than Adobe Acrobat Reader. Also LibreOffice is the spin-off of OpenOffice that is now receiving the developers' attention."

*  Jill in Maryland said:  "The Windows 7 snipping tool is the greatest. Snips can be saved as file or copy/paste. I copy snipped paragraphs into Word files, type the words into the document,delete snip image. I snip from a website, save to desktop, use as reminder, delete when done. I snip, print, delete all the time when I just need directions or whatever on paper."

*  Anonymous offered:  "I prefer the free PDF-XChange to either Adobe or Foxit. It has a lot of neat markup functions: bookmarks, underlining, highlighting, typewriter, sticky notes, stamps, and a lot more."

*  Mattit commented:  "I found a MUCH better screenshot tool than the Win7 Snippit .. It's called LightShot. There are versions for Windows and Mac. And it's FREE!!

"I tried Foxit Reader for awhile, but eventually switched back to Adobe Reader. There are some other free PDF readers, and I've tried some of them. But I eventually switch back to Adobe in the end.

"I'm also starting to use other research tools such as CubeRead for my historical and biblical research."

*  Peggy Coffey noted:  "I have found my best tool has been my tablet computer. I just bought a Samsung Galaxy 10.1 tablet and it can do everything that my laptops did. I can take pictures, web screenshots and save them and this tablet has a pen so I can actually take notes or edit pdf's. And it fits into my purse. I know I sound like a commercial but I hated dragging my laptop on my research trips. This has been great for me."

*  smaul asked:  "What is the point of having several genealogy management kits? I have two but only use one (FTM)."

My response:  Thank you all for your ideas on other genealogy tools.  

I use several genealogy management software programs in order to take advantage of the best features of each.  While I use RootsMagic for my data entry and editing, I really like FTM 2012's TreeSync feature, and prefer Legacy Family Tree's reports and charts.  It's personal preference.  And having all three provides more blog fodder for me to write about, and for my readers to comment on.

*  Sharon commented:  "Re: Middlesex County before 1804. Probate records were not kept at the county level for any counties until 1804. For estates prior to 1804, you can use the NJ Archives series (on Ancestry) to find will and inventory abstracts. Also you can use the 3-volume index of wills/inventories to help narrow dates and counties up to 1900."

My comment:  Thank you, Sharon - that is very helpful! I should have known that...  

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Denise Spurlock is SDGS Speaker on Saturday, 13 October

The October program meeting of the San Diego Genealogical Society (SDGS) is Saturday, 13 October, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at St. Andrews Methodist Church (8350 Lake Murray Blvd., just south of Jackson Drive).  

The featured speaker is Denise Spurlock, who will present:

1)  "What's So Special About  Special Collections?"  This talk is about public and private libraries holding genealogical treasures in their special collections.  Learn about the types of materials one can find in special collections, how to go about finding them, and how to use them in genealogical research.

2)  "Give Me Land, Lots of Land!" is about how many of our ancestors came to this country because of the availability of land - it was the original American dream!  This session will explore the basics of land research, including terminology, legal descriptions (metes and bounds vs. rectangular survey), and deed research.

Denise Spurlock, a former educator, has over 20 years of experience in family research.  She holds a Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University's Center for Professional Education. She is the author of several genealogy blogs and writes articles for  Denise is a member of the Southern California Genealogical Society, the National Genealogical Society, the Genealogical Speaker's Guild, International Society if Family History Writers and Editors, and the Association of Professional Genealogists, and is the newsletter editor for the Southern California Chapter of the APG.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Web Searching Using Legacy Family Tree 7.5

My current blog series for software is on Web Searching.  I generally don't do this from within the software - I much prefer searching from the search fields on the web site (e.g., Ancestry, FamilySearch, etc.) because I can control the search criteria easier and the screen for the search results is larger.

However, I know that many researchers use the Web Search feature in their genealogy software program, so I was curious to see which websites are available, and how the search is done, in the software programs.

My first example was RootsMagic 5.  My second example was Family Tree Maker 2012.

In this post, I'm going to do Web Searching using Legacy Family Tree 7.5 With Charles Auble (1849-1916) chosen on the "Family" View,  I chose the "Search" menu item and selected the link for "Search Internet for Current Person:"

I could also have chosen the "Internet" menu item and selected the link for "Search Internet for Current Person."

The "Search the Internet" window permits the user to select the search parameters to be used in the search - I really like this!  I left the first name, last name, birth year and death year fields filled.

There are 8 Internet database sites listed.  The default sites are:

*  Rootsweb
* (Historical Records)
* (Exact)
*  AltaVista

1)  I clicked on the link and a browser window opened:

There were 92,638 matches (name only, no birth or death years) on the  Ancestry page.  I could "Edit Search" and narrow the search.

2)  The Rootsweb search turned up no matches - so it doesn't search WorldConnect or message boards or mailing lists.

3)  The search was interesting, since I have not used the site:

There are some interesting matches there that match my Charles Auble.  This is a subscription site so I didn't pursue it further.

4)  There were 1,274 matches in Historical Records (search was inexact on names, and year range of 1849 to 1916):

I could narrow the search using the search fields on the left side of the screen.

5)  I got matches on (search on exact names).

6)  I got matches on (search only on exact names).

7)  I got no matches on  I haven't used that site before.

8)  Legacy Family Tree 7.5 offers a way to replace the websites listed, and tailor the search.  I clicked on the "Customize Searches ..." button in the lower right-hand corner of the "Search the Internet" window, and saw the "Internet Searches" window with the eight websites.  If I click on the "Select" button to the left of the unwanted website name, the "Select an Internet Search" window opens and I can replace the unwanted website with one from the list.  I did that, and replaced with Ancestry Message Boards, and with from the list provided.

I wanted to add Find-A-Grave to the "Internet Searches" list, so I clicked the "Select" button next to the unwanted, and then on the "Add" button on the "Select an Internet Search" window, and added Find-A-Grave to the list, and the URL to the "Create Custom Internet Search" window.  The Find-A-Grave name was added to the "Select an Internet Search" list and also to the "Internet Searches" list:

However, clicking on the Find-A-Grave radio button and clicking "Search" took me to the home page of Find-A-Grave.  In order to perform a search, I have to add the URL with generic search terms to the "Create Custom Internet Search" window.  Here is the "Create Custom Internet Search" screen with my edited generic search terms for the Find-A-Grave URL:

I created the searchable Find-A-Grave URL by searching for Charles Auble on the Find-A-Grave site.  I copied the URL in Find-A-Grave and pasted it into the field for the Internet Search String URL on the screen above.  The text says to replace the First name in the URL with "[GivenName] and the Last name in the URL with "[SurName]."  I did that, saved the edited search URL, closed all windows, and searched again from the "Internet Searches" window and saw:

It worked!!  Cool.  That takes a little technical know-how, but even a complete bumbling idiot like me can do it.  

I got brave, experimented some more, and added the Exact Name search to the search and received only 377 matches.  

In summary:

*  It is really easy to perform Internet searches from within Legacy Family Tree 7.5 - just click on "Search" or "Internet" and select "Search Internet for Current Person."  The search occurs using a browser window rather than a frame inside the Legacy Family Tree 7.5 software.

*  The Search criteria is variable - some sites are exact, some inexact, some sites use the birth and death years, and others don't/  It depends on the search string URL parameters.

*  Only eight websites can be searched with the radio buttons, but the user can select from a list of about 20 sites to replace unwanted sites.  

*  The user can add desired websites (e.g., Find-A-Grave) to the list by specifying the search string URL.  The user can edit the search string URL for any of the websites by minding the directions provided on the "Create Custom Internet Search" window.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Treasure Chest Thursday - 1920 U.S. Census Record for Lyle L. Carringer 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 1920 United States Census record for my Carringer grandparents and their family in San Diego, San Diego County, California: 

The entry for the Lyle L. Carringer family is:

The extracted information for the family, residing at 2054 Harrison Avenue in San Diego, taken on 5 January 1920, is:

*  Lyle L. Carringer - Head, rents, male, white, age 28, married, did not attend school, can read and write, born California, father born Pennsylvania, mother born Kansas, can speak English, occupation is Auditor, works in Dry Goods store, a Worker.
*  Emily K. Carringer - Wife, female, white, age 20, married, did not attend school, can read and write, born Illinois, father born New Jersey, mother born Canada English, can speak English, no occupation.
*  Georgia K. Auble - Mother-in-Law, female, white, age 50, Widow, immigrated to U.S. in 1889, a naturalized citizen, naturalized in 1898, did not attend school, can read and write, born Canada English, father born Canada English, mother born Canada English, can speak English, no occupation.
*  Betty Carringer - Daughter, female, white, age 5/12, Single, born California, father born California, mother born Illinois.

The source citation for this census image is:

1920 United States Federal Census, San Diego County, California, Population Schedule, San Diego city; ED 341, Sheet 3B, Lyle Carringer household; digital image, (; citing National Archives Microfilm Publication T625, Roll 132.

I see only one probable error in this census record:

*  Lyle Carringer's mother was born in Wisconsin, not in Kansas.  However, she lived in Kansas during her teenage years, and probably talked about it.  We don't know who provided the information, but it may have been Lyle's mother-in-law, Georgia Auble, who had known the Carringer family for only two years.

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dear Randy - What to Do With My Family Photo Albums?

One of my elderly society colleagues asked me the other day:  "I have nobody to pass my family photograph albums to.  What will happen to them if I die?"

After some discussion, I found out that these are photographs of her life, family, birth family and grandparent families, and earlier families, and that many of the photographs are captioned in the albums, but not digitized.  However, she has no descendants and no cousins (that she knows of) that would want these photo albums.

What options does my colleague have?  The ones I've thought of include:

1) Scan the photos to digitize them, use descriptive file names, and add metadata for names, dates, places and events.  Then upload them to an online family tree, to a blog, or to a photo site like Flickr, Picasa, 1000Memories, etc., and hope that they are available online forever for future researchers to find and enjoy.

2)  Donate the photo albums as they are to a local genealogical or historical society and hope that they take care of them and make the photos available for future family members.   If a specific album is for a specific locality, donate them to a society in that locality.

3)  In a will or trust, specify a person or organization to take care of the photo albums.  Perhaps, some money should be bequeathed in order to ensure the appropriate care is taken.

4)  Try to sell the photo albums on eBay or another buyer/seller web site.  Have fun with the proceeds.

Seriously - what other alternatives are there for my colleague?

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Web Searching Using Family Tree Maker 2012

My current blog series for software is on Web Searching.  I generally don't do this from within the software - I much prefer searching from the search fields on the web site (e.g., Ancestry, FamilySearch, etc.) because I can control the search criteria easier and the screen for the search results is larger.

However, I know that many researchers use the Web Search feature in their genealogy software program, so I was curious to see which websites are available, and how the search is done, in the software programs.

My first example was RootsMagic 5.

In this post, I'm going to do Web Searching using Family Tree Maker 2012.  With Charles Auble (1849-1916) chosen on the "People" workspace,  I chose the "Web Search" workspace link, and saw:

There are six searchable databases from within this Web Search environment:


I'm going to look at the first three that actually have genealogy databases:

1)  The Web Search screen opens with the selected person in the search box, with the information from the person's FTM 2012 profile - birth date and place, death date and place, father's name, mother's name and spouse's name - already put into the search fields.  When I clicked on the "Search" button (at the bottom of the fields - off the screen), I received two matches:

The only matches for the search above was to Public Member Trees (both mine!).

Someone not tuned in to how all of this works would say to themselves "Shoot, there are no records for my great-grandfather!"

Of course, the parameters automatically inserted into the search fields were too narrow.  The user can modify the search parameters by clicking on the green "Edit Search" button on the left-hand side of the screen above.  I did that, eliminated the birthplace, death and relationship information, and changed the birth information to 1854 plus/minus 5 years:

When I clicked the "Search" button, I received 48 matches:

I chose one of the matches, and looked at the record image:

From that screen, I could use the "Save" button to save the image to an Ancestry Member Tree, or to a file folder on my computer.

In the lower right-hand corner of the screen, I could Merge the record information and the image into my FTM 2012 database.  I clicked the "Merge" link and saw:

On the screen above, I could choose the Facts to enter into my FTM 2012 database.  When I clicked on "Next" I could add the information to other persons in the record (e.g., the mother and father) and eventually added the record with an Ancestry supplied source citation to three persons in my tree.

2)  The second online database searched by Family Tree Maker 2012 is  Here is the search screen:

The search fields are auto-filled with the name, birth year and death year.  I clicked on "Search" and there was one match:

The one match was not useful (it was for someone who died in 1847, not in 1916).

I don't know which databases are searched in the Rootsweb Web Search.  I would have thoguht that the WorldConnect database (there are some matches there) and the Rootsweb/Ancestry message boards (I didn't see any matches there) would be searched, but I guess they were not.

A novice user would assume that there are no matches on Rootsweb other than the one found (which was useless).  A seasoned researcher would know to modify the search parameters to try to obtain useful matches.

3)  The third genealogy database search offered in Family Tree Maker 2012 is  Here is the search screen when is selected:

In the screen above, the name fields, the birth date and place fields, and the death date and place fields are auto-filled in by FTM 2012.  Clicking on the "Search" button provided 22 matches in historical records:

The Historical Records included 10 matches in Family Home Pages, 5 Matches in US Census, 4 matches in Family and Local Histories, 2 matches in World Family Tree, and 1 match on Genealogy Web Sites.

When I clicked on any one of these items, I was asked to register in

I finally found the sign in for people who already have a username and password - it's up at the top.   Apparently, I've forgotten my username and password, and so I clicked to retrieve them and am waiting for it to arrive.  I will finish this post when it does.

In summary:

*  FTM 2012 searches only three genealogy databases, all owned by  I think that they should add several more - especially since it is free and not a commercial competitor to

*  The search fields for all of the databases are auto-filled with parameters that narrows the search too much - typically, the result in Ancestry will be Member Trees.  It is a real pain to clear all of the fields and enter what I want to search, or it is a pain to delete the search field entries one at a time.  

*  A real benefit to using FTM 2012 Web Search is that historical records on Ancestry can be attached to a person, and events with sources can be created.  The drawback is that the source is not in an Evidence! Explained format.

*  The search is very limited.  This search should be expanded to include Rootsweb WorldConnect and the Rootsweb/Ancestry message boards.

*  The search finds useful information, but requires a registration to view it.  It does include the GenForum Message Boards.

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver  

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 226: Swimsuits in 1923

 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 picture was taken in the summer of 1923 in front of the cottage that the Fred and Bess (Richmond) Seaver family owned at Whalom Lake, an amusement park for many years located near Fitchburg, Massachusetts. The Seaver family would take weekends during the summer at the lake, and Bess and her sisters would stay for a week or two each summer with their children.

The people in this photograph are, left to right, Frederick W. Seaver (age 12), Geraldine Seaver (age 6), and Edward R. Seaver (age 10). Fred is, of course, my father.  These three were the youngest children of Frederick W. and Alma Bess (Richmond) Seaver and resided in Leominster, Massachusetts in 1923.

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Web Searching in RootsMagic 5

My next blog series for software is on Web Searching.  I generally don't do this from within the software - I much prefer searching from the search fields on the web site (e.g., Ancestry, FamilySearch, etc.) because I can control the search criteria easier and the screen for the search results is larger.

However, I know that many researchers use the Web Search feature in their genealogy software program, so I was curious to see which websites are available, and how the search is done, in the software programs.

My first example is in RootsMagic 5.  From the Family View (I chose Charles Auble (1849-1916, my great-grandfather), the user can access the Web Search by clicking on the "View" menu item and selecting "Web search:"

I could have selected the WebSearch View also.

The WebSearch View opens, and over on the right is a dropdown menu for the websites that can be searched by RootsMagic 5.

In addition to those sites (and for the subscription sites, you need a subscription), the user can choose to add additional sites to search by clicking on the "Manage Search Providers."  for instance, I might want to add the site to my list, or some other site with searchable records.

1)  I selected "Ancestry" and had to click the "Search Ancestry" button in order to search.  The Search terms were the first name, last name, birth year and death year (from my database).  As you can see in the screen above, I had 272 matches.  However, none of them showed up in the category list for some reason.

I clicked on the "Edit Search" button and added a birth year of 1854 plus/minus 5 years as shown below:

After clicking "Search," I received 62 matches, and now the Categories were listed:

From here, I could click on each category, pick a record, see the record image, and save or print that image or record as I wished.  Note that I cannot "attach" the record or image to a person or event in my database directly - I have to save it to a file on my computer, and then attach it to the person or event.  An Event is not created - I will have to do that myself.  I could copy and paste the source citation if one is provided for the record, but it will not be "automatically" attached to a person or event.

2)  Ancestry Message Boards.  I searched the message boards for Charles Auble, and received 35 matches:

I could click on any one of the matches and see the message.  I could also edit the search criteria as I desired.

3)  FamilySearch.  I selected FamilySearch from the dropdown list on the right and did the search with the default search terms (first name, last name, not exact matches, year range).  I received 1,273 matches in whatever order:

That is immediately not very useful (it might be useful if the default was exact names and a birth year entry).  I edited the search fields to make the names exact, then added a Birth year = 1854 plus/minus 5 years.  When I searched again, I received 4 matches, 3 of which are my guy:

The remaining database or search engines that are on the RootsMagic 5 list include:

*  Bing
*  Google
*  Yahoo!
*  Find-A-Grave
*  Fold3
*  GenealogyBank
*  Rootsweb
*  World Vital Records

I won't bore you with all of the details.

In every case, the researcher should expect to narrow the search by entering search terms for birth or death on the Search form.  It works just like being on the database web site - you can use wild cards, exact or not exact, add birth years, birthplace, family members, etc.  

Using both birth and death years in the search terms may not provide many results - the exception being databases that have indexed both.  For example, the California Death Index would find results, but the California Birth Index would not.  An Ancestry Member Tree would be found, but a  census record would not be found because it usually occurs before the death date.

I will do this same exercise on Family Tree Maker 2012 and Legacy Family Tree 7.5 in the coming days.

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Tuesday's Tip - New Jersey Records on FamilySearch

This week's Tuesday's Tip is:  Check out the FamilySearch historical record collections for New Jersey.

On the FamilySearch historical record collections page (, enter "new jersey" in the Search box in the upper left-hand corner of the screen:

There are nine record collections for New Jersey:

*  New Jersey, Births and Christenings, 1660-1980 (2,126,666 records, index only)

*  New Jersey, Marriages, 1682-1985 (802,437 records, index only)

*  New Jersey County Marriages, 1682-1956 (300,071 records, index and images)

*  New Jersey, Deaths and Burials, 1720-1988 (1,025,623 records, index only)

*  New Jersey, County Naturalization Records, 1749-1986 (browse images only)

*  New Jersey, Probate Records, 1679-1980 (browse images only)

*  New Jersey, Middlesex County Probate Records, 1830-1921 (browse images only)

*  New Jersey, 1885 Census (305, 188 records, index only)

*  New Jersey, 1905 Census (507,107 records, index only)

For my own research, the most valuable record set on the list above are the New Jersey Probate Records, 1679-1980.  I've found the will of my 4th great-grandfather, Stephen Cutter (1745-1823) in Middlesex County in that collection.  Unfortunately, most of the records for Middlesex County are after 1804.

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver