Saturday, December 22, 2012

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Being Santa Claus

It's Saturday Night
time for more Genealogy Fun!  

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

1)  Tell us your favorite memory of "being Santa Claus."  Have you ever put on the red suit?  Were you Santa Claus to your children or grandchildren?  Did you bring gifts to people out of the love in your heart?

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

Here's mine:

Ho Ho Ho!!!  I've been acting like Santa Claus for 43 years - ever since Linda and I were married.  

The best years were when our daughters were young, from age 2 to about age 10, and they still believed in the wonder and mystery of Santa Claus.  I have fond (?) memories of putting hot wheels, tricycles, bicycles, toy stoves, and the like together on Christmas Eve after they had gone to bed with sugar plums dancing in their heads (well, they were excited).  Some of these sessions lasted until 1 or 2 a.m. out in the cold garage.  And then being awakened early on Christmas morning by scampering feet, excited whispers and then shouts and kids jumping on my bed all excited about what Santa Claus had brought them.  It was always worth it!

I'm enjoying seeing the same thing with my four grandchildren.  My grandkids' parents are doing a great job of being Santa Claus.

My latest attempt at "being Santa Claus" happened last year before Christmas.  The phone rang, and my daughter said (without any warning!), "Hi Santa.  Lauren has been very naughty, and I want you to talk to her about what she wants for Christmas."  

I practiced a "Ho Ho Ho" and said: "OK, let me speak with Lauren."  

My daughter said "Lauren, Santa Claus wants to speak to you."

Lauren came on the phone with a very tentative "Hi Santa."

Santa said:  "Lauren, I want you to have a wonderful Christmas.  Your mommy told me that you have been naughty.  You know that naughty girls don't get nice gifts like a new bicycle for Christmas from Santa, they get lumps of coal in their stockings and that's all.  If you promise mommy and Santa that you'll be a good girl, Santa will be happy to bring you some nice gifts.  Will you promise mommy and Santa to be a good girl?"

A very timid Lauren: "Yes, yes, I will promise."

Santa:  "Well, I need to go feed my reindeer and check on the elves and make sure they have your gifts on the list, Please leave the cookies and milk out for me by your tree.  Bye Lauren - Ho Ho Ho."

I didn't even have to disguise my voice (which I couldn't if I tried).  My daughter said that she was so wide-eyed and concerned that she was a different girl for, oh, the next hour or two.  

I love being Santa Claus.  I've been working on my beard and my belly!

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Surname Saturday - CLARK (England to colonial 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 549: Melatiah CLARK (1674-1747). [Note: the 7th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts].

My ancestral line back through three American generations of this CLARK 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)

34.  Alpheus B. Smith (1802-1840)
35.  Elizabeth Horton Dill (1791-1869)

68.  Aaron Smith (1765-1841)
69.  Mercy Plimpton (1772-1850)

136.  Moses Smith (1732-1806)
137.  Patience Hamant (1735-1780)

274.  Timothy Hamant (1699-1774)
275.   Hepzibah Clark (1699-1791)

448.  Timothy Hamant, born 01 November 1667 in Medfield, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States; died 1718 in Arrowsic, Sagadahoc, Maine, United States.  He was the son of 996. Francis Hamant and 997. Sarah.  He married 19 January 1695/96 in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States.

449.  Melatiah Clark, born 04 August 1674 in Medfield, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States; died 23 November 1747 in Medfield, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States.  

Children of Timothy Hamant and Melatiah Clark are:  Timothy Hamant (1699-1774); Samuel Hamant (1701-1755); Melatiah Hamant (1704-1751); Mehitable Hamant (1706-1727); Abiel Hamant (1708-1783).

998.  Ephraim Clark, born 04 February 1645/46 in Dedham, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States; died Abt. 1699 in Medfield, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States.  He married 06 March 1668/69 in Medfield, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States.
999.  Mary Bullen, born 20 July 1642 in Dedham, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States; died 31 December 1726 in Medfield, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States.  She was the daughter of 1998. Samuel Bullen and 1999. Mary Morse.

Children of Ephraim Clark and Mary Bullen are:  Elizabeth Clark (1670-????); Mary Clark (1671-1704); Ephraim Clark (1673-????); Melatiah Clark (1674-1747); Mehitable Clark (1676-1743); Samuel Clark (1679-1769); Noah Clark (1680-1704); Ezra Clark (1683-1739); Jeremiah Clark (1687-1748).

1996.  Joseph Clark, born before 11 April 1613 in Banham, Norfolk, England; died 06 January 1683/84 in Medfield, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 3992. Thomas Clarke and 3993. Mary Canne.  He married 15 April 1640 in Banham, Norfolk, England.
1997.  Alice Fenn, born about 1619 in England; died 17 March 1709/10 in Medfield, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States.

Children of Joseph Clarke and Alice Fenn are:  Joseph Clark (1642-1702); Benjamin Clark (1644-1724); Ephraim Clark (1646-1699); Daniel Clark (1647-1676); Mary Clark (1649-1732); Sarah Clark (1651-1704); John Clark (1652-1720); Nathaniel Clark (1658-1753); Rebecca Clark (1660-1740).

The English ancestry of this Clark family line was discussed in:

Christopher Gleason Clark,"The English Ancestry of Joseph Clark (1613-1683) of Dedham and Medfield, Massachusetts" New England Historic Genealogical Register, Volume 152, Number 1, Whole Number 605, January 1998, pages 3-23.

Birth, marriage and death records for many of the children of these Clark families are in the Dedham and Medfield vital records book.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Friday, December 21, 2012

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - Days 15 to 21

I posted my Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories posts every year since since 2007 (I think).  I also made up a bit of doggerel for each day.  Rather than post them again every day, I'm posting one week's worth of links (plus the doggerel), and my readers can pick and choose what they want to read.

Here is the third week of Christmas Memories (December 15 to 21) - the post titles are links:

*  Advent Calendar - December 15: Holiday Happenings

On the 10th Day before Christmas,
my true love inquired to say
Did any ancestors marry on Christmas day?"

*  Advent Calendar - December 16: Christmas at School

On the 9th day before Christmas,
I got dressed up as a tree
for the school play pageantry.

*  Advent Calendar - December 17: The Family Journal

On the 8th day before Christmas,
I sent to all my relatives
this year's Family Journal.

On the 7th Day before Christmas, 
my true love said to me
"You'd better fill that up, honey!"

On the 6th Day of Christmas,
My true love "ordered" me
To go out and buy some jewelry.

On the 5th Day before Christmas,
my true love reminded me
Of the reason for the season.

On the 4th Day before Christmas
My true love sang to me,
"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"

3 more days to come!

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Follow-Up Friday - Interesting and Helpful Reader Comments

It's Friday, time to follow up on reader comments about Genea-Musings posts.  Here is this week's selection:

1)  On Watch Out for Early Dates in Ancestry's "Massachusetts Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988" Collection (13 December 2012):

*  Geolover commented:  "... those who wish for re-indexing by should be very careful what they wish for. 

"Since June they have been reworking the Drouin Collection indexes, in the process mangling place/parish names, putting places in the wrong groups (the rare and valuable 1750s Fort DuQuesne records now placed in "Acadia" where it decidedly was not), and not co-ordinating this reworking at all with the drop-down menu of place-names in the search form. Records are now much, much harder to find.

"A much more minor recent reworking has deleted a lot of information from the extracts from the wrongly titled (in the original) _Calendar of Sussex County, Delaware Wills_. This volume abstracts loose papers from estate files as separated and refiled by the Delaware Archives. They include Administrators' Bonds, Inventories, Accounts and other items in addition to wills. But the reworking now calls each document a will, which is very confusing in addition to just plain wrong in the majority of entries."

*  Barbara J. Mathews, CG, noted:  "My pet peeve is that most towns have several volumes of records, but that Ancestry's presentation doesn't permit the user to figure out which volume the image is in.

"This [Ancestry collection] was based on a microfiche collection. I've used the fiche which clearly are marked and organized by volume. When I access them on Ancestry, I get 'image 2431 of 5861' or similar. I can still find the early images with the overview of the volumes in each town. I just can't figure out where volumes start and end on Ancestry.

"Where this gets irritating is in towns that have transcriptions of earlier volumes. I found a town in which the modern transcripts were indexed but I couldn't find the corresponding "hit" in the original volume.

"Accessing them on Ancestry is easier than driving to Boston Public Library's Microtext Department. I just find my hands tied in that part of my job which is to know what I'm using."

My comments:  So we've graduated, in many cases, from well-defined volumes of unindexed records in books and microfilm/fiche to indexed records in poorly defined volumes.  In other cases, the records are in digital image form without indexes (i.e., basically digital microfilm) that we can access at home, in many cases for free.  Is this a case of the "perfect" being the enemy of the "good?"  

My practice, still being honed as we type, is to use the collection title, the volume title (found above the image), the handwritten or stamped page number in the volume, and the image number of the image in the collection, in my source citation.    

*  Anonymous said:  "My comments are specific to Worcester County records. When you go to the Courthouse, there is a parking garage a couple of blocks behind the courthouse on Major Taylor Drive.

"For older records, go down to the basement, there is an office down there that has books where you can look up the docket number of the case that you are interested in.  Make a note of the docket number. You will then need to go upstairs to the Probate Court Clerk's office and fill out a request form for the file and give it to one of the clerks. 

"Once the Clerk's office receives the file from offsite, they will contact you. When you go in to view your file, DO NOT BRING A CAMERA OR CELL PHONE (security will not allow it). I have been able to use a hand-held scanner there. Obviously, the clerks will ask you if you want them to make copies. I don't remember the cost."

*  Diane B commented:  "Randy, people should be aware that older packets are not stored in the Middlesex County Courthouse in East Cambridge, and it takes a couple weeks to retrieve them after you request them. All in all, ordering the microfilms through the Family History Center would probably be easier, if that's close by.  Also, because it's a courthouse, no cameras are allowed although I did get away with bringing my iphone in. The photocopier was available for public use, I forget the cost."

My comments:  Thank you both for adding to the information in my blog post.  I haven't been to either of these places in the last 15 years, and the rules change.  For Middlesex, the FHL microfilms are certainly the better choice because they filmed all of the papers in the probate packet.  For Worcester, and most of the other Massachusetts counties, the FHL microfilms are the probate court clerk's copies and not the original papers filed in the probate packets.  So, it makes sense to go to the courthouse and work through the procedures required to access the records.

When I was last at Worcester courthouse, the docket books were easily available and I filled out a paper and gave it to a clerk who brought the probate packets to me within 15 minutes.  I had to request photocopies of the papers and there was often a long wait.   I recall that they wouldn't copy documents before 1800, so I extracted the information in many of the ones I wanted.  I sat in the waiting area there to do that with all of the hubbub going on around me.  I then later used the FHL microfilms of the clerk's copies to do transcriptions of wills and other probate papers.  It's good practice to visit the website, or telephone them, the repository to determine what's available, how to obtain them, and the access rules.

Of course, many researchers are unaware that these records even exist, or don't want to go through the challenge of actually visiting the repository and working through the rules to find the records.  

*  LineageKeeper said:  "No. No one else has ever done something like that Randy. You were lucky this time. Like you, I've allowed my attention to slip from time to time, once resulting in disaster (for all of the reasons you mentions sans the 'save' in the trash can). 

"Nightly backups to the cloud and to other external media is the answer. We only have to pound on the same thumb once or twice to get the message and start doing what we knew we should have been doing from the start."

*  David Adams noted:  "I don't recall doing exactly what you did, but I once got a corrupted PAF database. So I went through my backups, all 7 of them. Fortunately the oldest was not corrupted (but the more recent 6 were)!"

*  Les said: "Must have been a strange force field because about that time here on the east coast while listening to roots magic tape on RM6 I deleted my main gedcom. Had it backed up though."

*  JL Beeken commented:  "Every day, Randy. Every single day.

"You did bring my attention to the fact that I really should stop being so d*** efficient about emptying my Recycle Bin."

My comments:  Thanks for the commiseration.  Is that why my thumb hurts?  I'm also thankful that I've forgotten to empty the Recycle Bin regularly!  This post calls to mind the axiom that "there's no such thing  as a useless blog post - it can always be used as a bad example."  The comments are typical of what happens to busy, computer-savvy researchers - things happen in a second that take awhile to correct.

4)  On Ancestry Member Tree Hints and Images (7 December 2012):

*  bgwiehle commented:  "I just made some corrections that I think will be of interest to someone I've communicated with in the past and who has a public tree.  Corrections show up as MemberConnect messages within a day or two for those who have already attached or downloaded the record. However, it can take a while for corrections to show on the record itself and to be searchable.  How quickly does a corrected record appear as a 'shaky leaf'?"

My comment:  At least corrections show up in the MemberConnect message...if folks read and understand them.  I don't know how long it takes for a corrected record to appear as a "shaky leaf."  It takes several weeks for an index addition to appear in the record index.  If you've accepted or ignored the Hint, you may not get a new shaky leaf for that record.

*  Smadar Belkind Gerson commented:  "Thanks for the extensive review of the service. I've been on the fence about paying for the extra search option on MyHeritage. I've been a member for a long time and have a large tree (not any where as large as yours). Their search services used to be free but never worked on my Mac. I was very excited when they decided to expand their search options but was disappointed that there was going to be an additional charge. Since I've been doing my research for so long in other sites, I was glad to be able to see the matches MyHeritage provides. I have to say, in my experience they were mostly unhelpful. Most of the Find-A-Grave matches were ones I've created myself or have already located. The Social Security death records are available on Ancestry. The other vital statistics are fairly limited and it didn't find anything new for me. With the exception of the Newspaper articles, which looks like it does a better job matching than ancestry, everything the system identified, I already had. I therefore decided not to spend the additional money. It's true that it's a lot cheaper than Ancestry, but it's a much smaller database. I find that I'm constantly finding new things on Ancestry. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE MYHERITAGE. I just feel that they should have comped their members especially Premium ones like me, with the search option for a while if they wanted me to get hooked."

My comments:  Thanks for the excellent summary of your experiences, which pretty much mirror mine.  Since I had a WorldVitalRecords subscription, and a comped MyHeritage subscription, already, I was able to take advantage of the Record Match service, and I appreciate what it does.   I hope that MyHeritage adds more records to their collection - they still need many of the basic U.S. records like vital records, census, immigration, and military records.  They have some, but not to the level that Ancestry or FamilySearch have.

6)  Thank you to all of my readers for their interesting, helpful and sometimes humorous comments (I love those!). 

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Thursday, December 20, 2012

FamilySearch "Books" - More than Old Books!

I realized that I had not looked recently at the "Books" link on the FamilySearch home page.  So I had a free moment, and clicked on it.  It has changed considerably from the recent past, and it's probably much better.  There are certainly more resources there than there were a year ago.

Here's the home page screen:

The "Books" link is below the larger word "Family" on the screen above.

The "Family History Books" page has a search field (and a link for "Advanced Search" plus a description of the collection:

The description says:

Family History Books is a collection of more than 40,000 digitized genealogy and family history publications from the archives of some of the most important family history libraries in the world. The collection includes family histories, county and local histories, genealogy magazines and how-to books, gazetteers, and medieval histories and pedigrees. The valuable resources included in Family History Books come from the following partner institutions:

I entered the term "seaver" in the search field on the screen above, and clicked on "Search"

There were 713 matches for my search term.  In the left sidebar, under the term "Refine My Results," there are links for Books (484), Other (184), and Periodicals/Serials (45).

I clicked on the title of the first title, and saw the first page of the book selected (I scrolled down to see the title):

There is a menu line that has icons for save the file, printing the file, zooming, advancing pages, etc.  On the right, there is a list of Bookmarks for each page.

I was curious about the Other and Periodicals/Serials collections noted, and think that they include both unpublished manuscripts and printed town reports, but have not categorized or checked all of them.

This particular book is about one line of Seaver families in Massachusetts.  I had not read it before, but it has content that is of interest to me as a "collector of Seaver people."

The lesson learned here is that the "Books" collection on FamilySearch has over 40,000 tomes, and that they are well worth looking through.  My sense is that there are many works ion this collection that are not available on other online Book archives.  For instance, the Seaver book above was published in 1996.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Update:  Just before I was going to publish this, I had a BSOD event (that's Blue Screen of Death") that is the first one I've had on this desktop computer.  I was paging through the Seaver book above and have no clue what happened!   That's why you may have read one or two paragraphs of this post.

Finished Using MyHeritage Record Matching for SSDI Matches

I wrote several posts in September about the Record Matching technology on MyHeritage, for instance:

*  MyHeritage Releases Record Matching Technology (19 September 2012)

*  First Look at Record Matches on MyHeritage (19 September 2012)

*  Using MyHeritage Record Matches to Find Find-A-Grave Entries (20 September 2012)

*  NewspaperARCHIVES Records in MyHeritage Record Matches (26 September 2012)

Since then, I have been methodically going through the matches found my the MyHeritage search engine, one block at a time for several of the record collections available, and adding content and source citations to my genealogy database in RootsMagic.

The way the Record Match system works in MyHeritage, I can either Confirm, Reject or not decide if the Match offered pertains to the matching person in my database (out of almost 40,000 persons).  Each match is rated with a number of stars depending on how many items (names, dates, places, relationships) match the record item with the matching person.

Here is the current status for the largest number of pending matches by collection:

WikiTree is number 1 on the Pending record match list.  Because I have many entries on WikiTree, I figure that many of the matches in WikiTree are for my own entries.  also, since I didn't put all 40,000 persons in my database on WikiTree, I figure that most of the other matches on the Record Match list are for persons already in my MyHeritage tree.

Over the past three months, I have concentrated on three databases available for matching:

*  Social Security Death Index (I have 774 matches identified).  I have confirmed or rejected all 774 potential matches - with only 17 rejections (all rated less than a one star match).

*  Find A Grave (I have 1345 matches identified).  I have confirmed 445 entries, and rejected 2 entries, leaving 898 entries pending.

*  NewspaperARCHIVE (I have 982 matches identified)  I have confirmed 125 entries, rejected 253 entries, leaving 602 entries pending.

While the SSDI and Find A Grave are derivative sources with secondary information, they are very useful as "finding aids" for information about persons, especially 20th century persons, many of whom are in my database without a death date or death place.  Most of the persons in my database who lived in the 20th century are in my one-name (surname) studies for Seaver, Carringer, Auble, Dill, Buck, Vaux, etc.  Having this information in my database should help persons searching for their ancestry in my online family trees or on my web pages.  Consequently, using SSDI and Find A Grave makes a lot of sense.  I don't have the time, interest or money to send for birth, marriage and death certificates for all of these persons, but these two databases have decent accuracy for birth and death dates and places.

I have done a batch of 20 or 40 SSDI entries almost every night since September, and have now exhausted the list.  In the process, I think that I added death dates for about 50% of the persons on the list.  I already had the death date for the other 50% on the Record Match list.

I have also tried to do about 10 Find A Grave matches almost every night, and have added quite a few death dates, and more burial events, to my database.  Usually, the Record Match for one person leads to other persons on Find A Grave, so the effective rate of matches may be 30 to 40 per night.

Why am I using the MyHeritage Record Matching technology?  The simple answer is that it provides one-stop "matching" - a list of the persons in my database and the information in the database that might apply to the persons in my database.  Here is a screen shot of the top of my Pending Find A Grave match list:

As you can see, there are 20th century persons, and many colonial persons, on this record matching list.  I can click on the blue "Review match" button and see a better comparison of my database person with the potential record match:

I can click on the Source link for Find A Grave, and the actual Find A Grave record opens in another browser tab (which I really appreciate):

When I'm done in the Find A Grave window, I close that tab and I'm back to the MyHeritage record match list and I can mark the record match Confirm or Reject.

All of the historical record collection services have a record search feature that permit you to search for all records for a person or group of persons, or to search in a specific collection for a person or group of persons.  In other words, the user "pulls" the records from the record collections.

This MyHeritage Record Match is, to my knowledge, the only record matching system that "pushes" the data in a record collection to the user without having to identify the person of interest.

The Ancestry Hints - the green shaky leaves - are another "push" system for persons showing on your Ancestry Member Tree (and on the Ancestry App).  That works great, but requires the user to identify a person on their tree.  However, I haven't found an easy way to get a list of all of the persons with a green shaky leaf for a specific database on

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Disclosure:  I have a complimentary subscription to both and courtesy of MyHeritage, for which I am grateful.  However, this does not influence my objective opinions in reviews of these websites and their products.

Treasure Chest Thursday - 1900 U.S. Census Record for Charles Auble 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 1900 United States Census record for my Auble great-grandparents and their family in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois:

The entry for the Charles Auble family is:

The extracted information for the family, residing at 515 West Adams Street in the 11th Ward of Chicago, taken on 8 June 1900, is:

*  Charles Auble -- head of household, white, male, born Oct 1864, age 35, married 2 years, born New Jersey, parents born New Jersey, 0 months not employed, a decorator (house), can read, write and speak English, resides in a house [no indication if renting or owns]
*  Georgia Auble -- wife, white, female, born Aug 1868, age 31, married 2 years, 1 child born, 1 living, born English Canada, parents born English Canada, immigrated in 1889, resident of US for 11 years, can read, write and speak English
*  Emily K. Auble -- daughter, white, female, born Aug 1899, age 10 months, single, born IL, father born New Jersey, mother born English Canada
*  Franklin Kemp -- Brother-in-law, white, male, born Feb 1880, age 20, single, born English Canada, parents born English Canada, can read, write and speak English

The source citation for this record is:

1900 United States Census, Cook County, Illinois, population schedule, Chicago 11th Ward, ED 376, Sheet 8B, dwelling #75, family #112, Charles Auble household; digital image, ( : accessed 29 October 2011), citing National Archives Microfilm Publication T623, Roll 257

The errors or discrepancies I see in this entry include:

*  Charles Auble age is listed as 35 with a birth month of October 1864.  He was actually born in October 1849, and lied about his age throughout his married life, even unto death.

*  Georgia (actually Georgianna, but she went by Georgia) (Kemp) Auble's immigration date is given as 1889, which is similar to several other dates on other documents.  

*  This is the first record I've found for my grandmother, Emily Kemp Auble, and it lists her correct birth month of August 1899.  I have been unable to find a birth record or certificate for her in Chicago.

*  If I hadn't already known that Georgianna's maiden name was Kemp, the presence of brother-in-law Franklin Kemp in this household would be a solid clue.  His birth name, according to Ontario records, is Alfred Francis Edward Kemp, however.  I wonder why there is no notation in his immigration field on the census form?

If the street address of 515 West Adams Street in Chicago is correct, then Union Station now occupies the space where this residence (an apartment house?) was located.  I know that there was a house numbering system change after 1900, so it may be that the residence still exists.  See the Comments to Tuesday's Tip - Find Ancestral Homes using Google Maps.

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Evidentia - Evidence Evaluation Software

Evidentia - a new genealogical evidence evaluation software program - was released on Monday, 17 December 2012.  The website is at  The site describes the software as:

"Evidentia is the genealogy software that supports your research by guiding you through the Genealogical Proof Standard, the standard by which acceptable genealogical conclusions are judged."

You can read more about the breadth and capabilities of the software by clicking through the links on the home page.  The links include: FAQ, News (lots of blog-like posts here), Screen Shots, Help, Sample Evidence Reports, About, What is Evidentia? and Evidentia and the GPS.

In order to see how it works, there are six YouTube videos available now:

*  Evidentia introduction:

*  Evidentia - Getting Started Part 1 (Source Documentation)

*  Evidentia - Getting Started Part 2 (Catalogue Claims screen)

*  Evidentia - Getting Started Part 3 (Catalogue Claims screen)

*   Evidentia - Getting Started Part 4 (Evidence Analysis)

*  Evidentia Template Creation

The program has been in beta testing for several months now, and some reviews from beta testers are appearing, for example:

*  Software Review: Evidentia by Jenny Lanctot on the Are My Roots Showing? blog.

*  I know there was one more blog post about it, but I can't find it.  Any help?  John knew:
*  New Software Release by Shannon Bennett on the Trials and Tribulations of a Self-Taught Family Historian blog.

I have not obtained the software or tried it out due to my holiday and travel plans.  Based on what I saw on the videos (I watched all of them - they took less than 60 minutes total), I think that this software is very well thought out, seems practical, and seems to be fairly easy to use.  I think that it serves the cause of "source-centered" genealogy very well.  It covers all of the Genealogical Proof Standard bases.  I especially like the source citation templates, which are based on Evidence! Explained.  

I did see one disturbing thing in the videos.  The software currently has a quality screen for primary and secondary sources, rather than primary and secondary information, and no screen for original and derivative source evaluation (although different source quality choices are offered).  Hopefully, this will be corrected in a future release of the software.

The software is stand-alone, meaning that it is not integrated into any other genealogical software program or website.  However, the user could copy and paste the source citations, the evidence analysis, or the proof argument into a document or into genealogical software fields.  As a stand-alone program, I think that I would use it for those thorny research problems that need to be analyzed in some detail - due to a wealth of evidence, or due to conflicting evidence - rather than be used for every claim in a genealogy database.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Tools on the RootsMagic App

I posted First Look at RootsMagic App for iOS Devices on Monday, and went through the highlights of the "Views" menu on the app on my iPhone.  On Tuesday, I posted Lists on the RootsMagic App and showed the different lists that the App can provide.

Today is "Tools" day - the Tools offered on the RootsMagic App.  Tapping on the "Tools" item on the menu at the bottom of the screen opens the list of Tools:

The "Date Calendar" is very useful - you input information into two of the three fields and tap the keyboard icon to get the information in the third field:

In the screen above, I entered two dates and found out how old I am.  If I had entered, say, a death date and an age at death, the tool would calculate a birth date.  

The "Relationship Calculator" is also very useful.  You select two persons from the list of names in the database and tap the "Calculate" button and see the relationship:

On the screen above, I picked a person at random and myself, and saw:

It took awhile (at least a minute) for the App to tell me that we weren't related.  Still, it is useful.

The "Soundex Calculator" is also useful if you need the information.  You put a surname in the field, and tap "Calculate" and the Soundex code is calculated (true Soundex, plus an alternate Soundex code):

The last Tool is the "Calendar."  The user select the month and year and see the calendar for that month:

This is also useful; for instance, if you have a newspaper article dated 5 May 1890 and the article says the person died, say, "last Friday," you can determine the date they died. 

For a video explanation of how to add the App to your iOS device, add your RootsMagic database (any RootsMagic 4, 5 or 6 database will work) to your device, and go through the Views, Lists and Tools menu items, watch the RootsMagic App webinar at (when it becomes available).

After working with the App for three days now, and writing three blog posts to try to explain it to my readers, my opinion is that this is an excellent "family tree viewing" app that can be used anywhere in the world (since it doesn't rely on n Internet connection) to inform me about my research to date, and can be used to show my family tree information to family, friends and colleagues.  

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 236: Marion and Betty at Cabrillo Monument

 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 Marion (Seaver) (Braithwaite) Hemphill family collection passed to me by Aunt Marion's daughter in 2000 after her passing.

This picture was taken in the summer of 1982 at Cabrillo National Monument on the southern tip of Point Loma, overlooking San Diego Bay.  

The subjects here are Marion (Seaver) (Braithwaite) Hemphill (my father's oldest sister) and Betty (Carringer) Seaver (my mother).  I'm pretty sure that my father took this photograph.

Cabrillo National Monument is one of the favorite photo spots in all of San Diego - you can see the San Bernardino Mountains to the north, the Cuyamaca and Laguna mountains to the east, and Table Mountain in Mexico to the south, plus the Los Coronados Islands off the coast of Mexico to the southwest.  

The view above is to the north or northeast, I reckon.  The dock behind Marion and Betty is at Ballast Point, it's now a submarine base.  The large, flat body of land protruding into the bay just above Betty's head and to the right is North Island, a U.S. Naval Air Station.  Downtown San Diego is in the haze at the top of the picture in the center-right.

This photo spot is on my list of "don't miss this place" whenever we have guests visiting San Diego, not only for the views but also for the historical context - Juan Rodrigues Cabrillo sailed into San Diego Bay and claimed it for Spain in 1542.

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Whew, Multi-tasking Sometimes Creates Problems

I had a close call today ... I was doing too many tasks at once and didn't pay attention to my clickstrokes.  Fortunately, the Recycle Bin was still present...but hard to find!

The tasks I was doing were (pretty typical for me every day):

*  Checking my email
*  Checking Google Reader occasionally
*  Checking Google + and Facebook occasionally
*  Adding media and sources to RootsMagic database
*  Trying to listen to the RootsMagic webinar but they were having audio problems

Because the webinar was having problems, I decided to do more adding media and sources to RootsMagic.

The media files I was working with were in the Ancestor Files > Family History - Leland-McKnew > McKnew > 01-Elijah McKnew + Jane Whittle > Documents file folder.

Somehow I managed to move this whole set of the Family History - Leland-McKnew file folders (260 mb of them!) into the Family History - Lincoln - Lowell file folder.  I have no memory of doing it but I know how it happened - I probably dragged the folder and released the mouse button.

Okay, I used the Windows 7 "Search" utility to find it and decided to put it back in the Ancestor Files file folder.  So I clicked on the file folder, did an Organize > Cut and then did an Organize > Delete!!!

Oops... it disappeared!  I realized what happened immediately after I did it.  But I was distracted momentarily by the webinar problems.  It wasn't the webinar's fault - I wasn't paying attention to what my fingers were doing at 3:15 p.m. in the afternoon.

First thought:  Was that backed up on the external hard drive?  When did I last back it up?  Did I put it on the flash drive to transfer to the laptop?  Did I put that folder in Dropbox recently?

Quick Conclusion:  No, I created most of the entries in the file folder in the last week or two, since the last backup, transfer, and cloud storage.

Second thought:  You don't want to know!!!

Third thought:  Check the Recycle Bin!  After changing the Detail list to list by date entered, I easily found it and recovered it back to where it belongs!

Whew.  I had a panicky 10 minutes there.  Dodged that bullet...

Note to self:  Time to backup these Ancestor Files to Dropbox and to the external hard drive!!  Tonight.

I'm sure that none of my readers have done something similar in the recent past, right?  Have you recently backed up your important files?

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Lists on the RootsMagic App

I posted First Look at RootsMagic App for iOS Devices yesterday and went through the highlights of the "Views" menu on the app on my iPhone.

There are two other useful menu items - the "List" item and the "Tools" item.  I will go through the "Lists" menu item today, and do the "Tools" menu item tomorrow.

From any screen, the user can tap on the "Lists" menu item (on the bottom of the screen) and see the list of Lists available to the user:

All of these Lists are available in the RootsMagic software on the "Lists" menu.

The Source List provides the Master Sources in alphabetical order:

If you tap on one of them, you see the master source portion of the "Footnote," plus any Source comments for that master source.  You can navigate to a section of the Source list by tapping on the small letters on the right of the screen, then swipe to scroll up and down. You do not see any source citations - those are in the source citations for the persons and events in the "Views" menu.

The "ToDo" item in the "Lists" provides some selections for what to show, the priority level, and the status filters, plus the list of To-Do list items:

You swipe to scroll down the ToDo list.  Tapping on one of the items on the list opens the item for review.  You cannot add to the list or edit an item on the list - this is "view" only.

The "Research" List opens the list of Research Logs:

To view a specific Research Log, tap on the specific research log on the list.  The log opens and you can see the objective and research log items.  You can navigate to a section of the Research list by tapping on the small letters on the right of the screen, then swipe to scroll up and down. Again - this is "view" only - you cannot edit the items or add to the list.

The "Media" List item provides a list of the media items in the RootsMagic database:

Tapping on one of the items opens the thumbnail image of the media (which the user cannot enlarge), the media caption, the File folder name, and the Description text.  You can navigate to a section of the Media list by tapping on the small letters on the right of the screen, then swipe to scroll up and down.

I did not take pictures of the Address, Repository or Correspondence items on the "List" menu list.

The "Place" list is an alphabetical list of places in the database:

Tapping on one of the places on the list brings up the Standardized place name, the Abbreviated place name, the Geocode (latitude and longitude), Notes and Place details.  You can navigate to a section of the Place list by tapping on the small letters on the right of the screen, then swipe to scroll up and down.

As noted, these are "view" only lists - you cannot add items or edit items on the list.

The value of these lists is great if you are at a repository, or at a friend's place, and want to see your source citations, research log, to-do list, place list, etc.  Now I have this information, along with my database information (names, dates, places, relationships, events, source citations, media), hiding in my pocket to use when I need it.  Great job, RootsMagic!

I will show the Tools menu items tomorrow.  Don't forget the RootsMagic webinar on the RootsMagic app today  6 PM (EST), 5 PM (CST) 4 PM (MST), 3 PM PDT, 11 PM GMT.  Register at

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver