Saturday, February 9, 2013

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Valentine's Day!

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

Valentine's Day is next Thursday, 14 February...

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible music here) is to:

1) Recall a memory of a Valentine's Day in your life. Is it the first love of your life? A special day with your lover, spouse or significant other? Do you have a picture of a Valentine's Day event, or a special Valentine that you received, to share?

2) Describe your Valentine's Day memory, activity and/or image in a blog post of your own, a comment to this blog post, a comment/post on Facebook, or a comment/post on Google+.

3) Have fun remembering a special day.

Here's mine:

I posted mine three years ago in Valentine's Day is Special for Me.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Surname Saturday - SHEPARD (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 561: Thanks SHEPARD (1651-????). [Note: the 7th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts].

My ancestral line back through two American generations of this SHEPARD 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)

70.  Thomas Dill (1755-1830)
71.  Hannah Horton (1761-1797)

140.  Thomas Dill (1708-1761)
141.  Mehitable Brown (1714-1758)

280.  Thomas Dill (1682-1718)
281.  Mary Peirce (1682-1713)

560.  Peter Dill, born 1645; died 13 August 1692 in Chelmsford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He married 13 October 1669 in Littleton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
561.  Thanks Shepard, born 10 February 1650/51 in Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
Children of Peter Dill and Thanks Shepard are:  Peter Dill (1670-1695); Anna Dill (1673-????); Thanks Dill (1676-1722); Samuel Dill (1678-????); David Dill (1680-????); Mary Dill (1682-1720); Thomas Dill (1682-1718).

1122.  Ralph Shepard, born about 1606 in probably Dronfield, Derbyshire, England; died before 11 September 1693 in Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He married  21 May 1632 in St. Bride Fleet Street, London, England.
1123.  Thankslord Perkins, born about 1612 in England; died after 28 March 1675 in Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
Children of Ralph Shepard and Thankslord Perkins are:  Sarah Shepard (1633-1719); Thomas Shepard (1635-1719); Isaac Shepard (1639-1677); Trial Shepard (1641-1704); Abraham Shepard (1647-1716); Thanks Shepard (1651-????); Jacob Shepard (1653-1676).

Resources used for the Ralph Shepard family include:

* John Brooks Threlfall, Twenty-six Great Migration Colonists to New England and Their Origins, ( Madison, Wis. : the author, 1993), pages 275-282.

*  Robert Charles Anderson (editor), The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volume VI, R-S (Boston, Mass. : New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2009), pages 262-269. 

Do any readers have this Shepard family, or the Dill line that is shown above?

THE URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Friday, February 8, 2013

Congratulations, Dona Ritchie! You're the Winner

I've been late in announcing the winner of the Win a FREE Registration to RootsTech (21-23 March 2013) contest I ran starting on 24 January 2013.  Suffice it to say that I have reasons...

The winner is Dona Ritchie!  

I had 14 entries from 24 January to 3 February (since entrants had already made plans to attend RootsTech) and used the random number generator at to pick the winner.  It came up #7.  Dona was number 7.  

I contacted Dona and gave her the RootsTech registration promotional code, and I think that she has used it (or will).

Dona's entry said:

1)  "The lecture I really need to attend (the title is so intriguing): Anne Metcalf's 'Have Something to Share? Create Your Own Online Research Class'" 

2) "The Vendor I need to see: Gold Bug Software, so I can bug (pun intended) them yet again about coding a version for the Mac. It's been YEARS and they still haven't done it!"

Okay, Dona, we'll see you at RootsTech 2013!  Please stop by the Media Center and say hello to me and we'll get a picture together.

My thanks to RootsTech for sponsoring this contest and making Dona a happy conference-goer!!

'Tis a Mystery - What do these numbers mean?

I've been seeing numbers in place names on Ancestry Member Trees recently, and have been trying to figure out what they mean.  One of my readers, Sondra, emailed today to ask what they mean.

Here is an example:

The information on this particular entry for George Prater says:

Birth 1510 in 1679722, Wiltshire, England
Death 15 Jun 1564 in 1679745, Wiltshire, England

The mystery is:  What do the 7-digit numbers represent?

My guess is that they represent a parish in England from some master list of English parishes.  I thought perhaps they were FHL microfilm numbers for a specific parish, but those two numbers are for records from the Philippines.

Who can explain these numbers for me and my readers?  Thank you in advance!  Thank you, Sondra, for the email and the image!

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Follow-Up Friday - Helpful and Interesting Reader Comments

It's Friday, so time to follow-up on posts from the last week that have received helpful or interesting reader comments and questions.

1)  On Finding Plat Maps for the James Vaux Land Holdings (5 February 2013):

*  Taversoe commented:  "One way to download an image when Ancestry's interface doesn't provide for that is to click on Print instead. Ancestry will give you another simplified webpage, with just the image and a title on it. Instead of printing, use your browser to save that webpage to your computer (use the "complete" option). In the folder it saves the page in, there should be a jpg of the image."

My comment:  I hadn't thought of that.  I tried it, and it saved the "Complete Web Page" as an .htm file on my Windows 7, Chrome browser computer.  I can snip the image then, but the resolution is only 72 dpi.  It's better than nothing...

*  Anonymous offered:  "Real estate sites such as zillow and redfin often have info about real estate including when a building was built, which in some cases might help you find an ancestors house (if it still exists). Of course, the date those sites give could be wrong, I suppose.

"As an example, check out: for instance see:"

My comment:  I keep forgetting about Zillow!  Thanks for the lead.  And the photo of a snow-covered house!

*  Anonymous also offered:  "Or this one (from 1845?) -"

My comment:  That may be one of the other homes on the same "block" - there were several owners on the 1866 plat map.  Thanks for the leads!

* said:  "Wilhem Willink was the owner of the original Holland Land Purchase in Erie County so Mr. Vaux was one of the original settlers in Erie County."

and:  " you already know about the Holland Land Purchase History, there is an interesting museum called the Holland Land Office Museum in Batavia, NY . Aurora is still there but part of East Aurora now and quite a picturesque thriving village. If Vaux died in England, then I assume you do not need graveyard pictures?"

My comment:  Thanks for the information about the museum, that sounds like a place to visit when/if I get to East Aurora.  From what I read on Wikipedia about the Holland Land Company, Mr. Willink was one of the Dutch principals that got very rich by buying the land in western New York and then selling lots.  Apparently, they never came to America.  James Vaux first bought land in 1832 after immigrating, so he wasn't one of the "original settlers" of Erie county, but was the first to settle on that particular parcel.   

James Vaux died in England on a visit to his family after one of his siblings died there, and he is buried in Somerset according to my Vaux cousin.  His wife, Mary, died in Aurora in about 1844, but I doubt that there is a stone.  There are 3 Vaux memorials and 4 Underhill memorials in East Aurora Cemetery on Find A Grave.  I don't know if there are more there.

*  Chris Staats said:  "I have mixed feelings about this, and a much simpler request - that they just digitize and put the deed indexes online. If they do create an "index to the index" - I still want to be able to see images of the compiled index. While a searchable index would obviously be wonderful, I wonder if it doesn't introduce yet another level of potential error in searching for records. "Error" is not really the right word, but I don't know what else to call it. So you create an database, based on a compiled index, which itself was created from individual volume indexes. If the compiled indexes themselves aren't viewable, and the indexes to individual books (where they exist) aren't also digitized, how can a researcher really be sure that a particular record "doesn't exist", or a transaction they are looking for "must not have been recorded"? I like the convenience of records being searchable, but I also think that researchers need to recognize that just because something isn't in the index database doesn't necessarily mean that it doesn't exist."

My comment:  I agree with you about wanting to see the images of the index, but I know from experience, and watching/listening to many society colleagues, that they cannot figure out how to search the Browse Only collections.  It is just too hard for 80% of the genealogists out there.  Without at least a searchable index, they won't even try to search the database.  Concerning the errors, we can't control what the scribes wrote or typed, nor what the indexers see.  So we need to be able to see the images of the index to find all of the possible entries.

*  Debbie Blanton McCoy noted:  "I would also love to see the deed and probate records online. I don't care if they are indexed or not; however, they are going to have to list them by county and date, or some title that makes sense. Today I tried to browse the Texas County Marriage Records and they are listed by digital file numbers like 004820654. These numbers don't even match the FHL film numbers. There is no way to find a specific county or time period without opening each digital folder to see what is in it and there are approximately 155 folders. In other records, the files were in alpha and/or chronological order, but I could not determine any order to these records."

My comment:  This is exactly why we need the searchable index, isn't it?  If you look at the probate and land records they've already put in the collections, they are organized by County and then by the different types of books (e.g., deed index, deed book volume, etc.).  It sounds like a Texas society needs to index those Texas marriages.

*  GeneJ commented:   " I work mostly on historical personalities/families that predate modern census and vital records. It is just not possible for me to approach a "reasonably exhaustive search" working with the low lying fruit (census and vital records) of that era. Access to the probate and real property records from this era are going to change the family historians perspective about genealogical research. For these materials, in particular, the "indexing" work itself would be a lower priority for me. I've been using the FamilySearch historical record collection "browse images" feature for some time. More and more, I actually prefer to work the collections this way."

My comment:  Some of us are able to work with these browse only records effectively, but many cannot and will not even try.  There's an educational challenge for the genealogical societies and bloggers to expose these records to the masses, and teach them how to use them.

*  Jason said:  "I wasn't aware they had these records online. Last night I found a land record for a GGG grandfather that led me to the will of his wife's father, breaking a brick wall that I've had for a while.  Also, just learning how to use the indexing systems in these records takes some research as well!"

My comment:  Way to go, Jason!  FamilySearch is adding probate and land records occasionally - usually stater-by-state.  So you have to keep checking the collection page.  The indexing systems can be a challenge - usually the front pages of a specific index book will describe the system (we.g., the Russell indexing system).  This is also why I like to explore these databases myself and blog about them - it may lead a reader to find new information and help solve their research problem.

*  Sven-Ove Westberg commented:  "Land records are interesting. But an index of the index is overkill. Just add some pointers to where the different parts of the index are and the same for the records. 

"But you also have the half indexed records on Ellis Island. The only name that is searchable is the immigrant. You also have the relatives in the homeland and the most important information the name and address of the person that they are going to."

My comment:  The land records are quite extensive - over 8 million images for New York State alone, including indexes and deeds.  They can be negotiated, but records are not easily found, especially for persons who may have resided in several counties, or states.  Indexes of the indexes would really help.

It sounds like the Ellis Island records need to have the indexing enhanced to include all of the important fields.

*  Mariann Regan offered:  "This is a super idea, indexing the indexes. There were so many volunteers to index the 1940 census, surely some local genealogy societies could step up! I'm getting 'sworn into' the DAR this weekend. I'll ask them what they think about this project. If only the deed and probate records could go online, that would help tremendously."

My comment:  The more encouragement we give, the sooner it will get done.  It's an especially good project for local societies who could do their county and break the task up into manageable pieces.  Erie County, New York has a BIG collection to index.

*  Wonderland Girl said:  "Thanks for the reminder. With so many newspapers charging and arm & a leg to print obituaries in their paper, most funeral homes do that at no extra charge."

*  bgwiehle noted:  "In my obituary searches, I also use Google News Archives and Find-a-Grave. I might check the Obituary Daily Times ( for date and newspaper name. I often check and compare the funeral home obit, especially if the newspaper version is only a death notice.  Google will also find obituaries archived at GenWeb and other personal websites.  I tend to ignore Unless they've changed recently, their entries are SSDI names, dates and locations presented in sentence form."

My comment:  We all need reminders like this one, don't we?  Thank you, bgwiehle, for reminding me about the other sites too.  

5)  That's it for the week - land records and obituaries were my hot topics.  My thanks to all of my readers who commented and managed to defeat the obnoxious, but effectively span-controlling, Captcha feature.

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Entering Deed Information into RootsMagic 6

After abstracting the land records for my 4th-great-grandfather James Vaux (1787-1839), and my 3rd great-grandfather, Samuel Vaux (1816-1880), I wanted to enter the Events into my RootsMagic database, source them, create a Sentence for the Fact and add Media for the deeds.

I listed the abstracts for James Vaux's deeds in Putting the Land Records Together for James Vaux (1787-1839), including finding a useful plat map.  So I will work with the Erie county deeds that I have for Samuel Vaux; here are the abstracts:

*  On 29 March 1845, Samuel Vaux of Aurora, Erie County, New York bought land in Erie county from Seth Sprague for $795.  The land was in the southwest corner of Lot 22 and comprised 53 acres, known as the Sprague farm.  The plot was bounded  North by lands heretofore owned by Lawrence Woodruff, West by the highway, South by the highway, and East by lands owned by Hezekiah Mosher.  The deed was recorded in Erie county on 10 April 1845 (Erie County Deeds, Liber 78, Page 396).

*  On 25 July 1853, Samuel Vaux and Mary Ann, his wife, of the town of Aurora sold land in Aurora township, Erie County, New York to Robert Bartlett of the town of Sullivan, New York for $1,500.  The land comprised 53 acres, and was in the southwest corner of Lot 22, called the Sprague farm.  The land was bounded on the North by land owned by Gordon Pierson, West by the highway, South by the highway, and East by lands owned by Hezekiah Mosher.  The deed was recorded in Erie County on 1 September 1855 (Erie County Deeds, Liber 142, Page 21).

The location of the land in the southwest corner of Lot 22 is shown in a snippet of the 1866 Aurora plat map below:

I had previously created a Deed Fact in RootsMagic, but had not created a sentence to describe the information for the Deed Fact.  After some experimentation, I created a sentence for my Deed Fact of the form:

<[Date]>, <[person]> <[Desc],> < [PlaceDetails],> <[Place]>.

For the first abstract above, I added this information for the Deed Fact:

Date:  29 Mar 1845
Place:  Aurora, Erie, New York, United States
Place details: [blank]
Description:  of Aurora, N.Y. bought 53 acres in the southwest portion of Lot 22 from Seth Sprague

The resulting Fact sentence looks like this:

On 29 March 1845, Samuel Vaux of Aurora, N.Y. bought 53 acres in the southwest portion of Lot 22 from Seth Sprague, in Aurora, Erie, New York, United States.

I could have added as a Place detail of the northeast corner of Center Street and Hubbard Road and it would read:

On 29 March 1845, Samuel Vaux of Aurora, N.Y. bought 53 acres in the southwest portion of Lot 22 from Seth Sprague, at the northeast corner of Center Street and Hubbard Road, in Aurora, Erie, New York, United States.

I think that there is merit to knowing where the land was located on current maps.

I copy/pasted the Deed abstract above into a Fact Note for the Deed Fact.

Now a Source, using the "digital archives" source template (based on Evidence! Explained models) in RootsMagic 6:

"New York, Land Records, 1630-1975," Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, FamilySearch ( : accessed 2 February 2013), court clerk transcription, "Erie County, New York Deeds, 1844-1850, Volumes 78-79," Volume 78, Page 396, Samuel Vaux deed in Aurora, N.Y. from Seth Sprague (Lot 22).

And then the Media.  I uploaded the Deed image and the map snippet image (above) and Tagged them to Samuel Vaux and the Deed Fact, as shown below:

Here is the Edit Person screen in RootsMagic 6 for Samuel Vaux with the Deed Fact highlighted:

  You can see the fields for the Deed Fact entry on the right side of the page, and the Sentence describing the Fact in the lower right-hand corner of the screen..

Now I will do the same tasks for James Vaux and Amos Underhill, whose deeds I've also found, captured, abstracted and sourced from Erie County, New York.

The tasks above take significant time to perform satisfactorily, and I recommend doing them soon after the records are found and captured.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Treasure Chest Thursday - 1885 Nebraska State Census Record for D J Smith 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 1885 Nebraska State Census record for my Smith great-great-grandparents and their family in McCook, Red Willow County, Nebraska:

The D.J. Smith family entry:

The extracted information for the family, enumerated on 15 June 1885, is:

*  D.J. Smith - white, male, age 45, wife, married, liverman, born New York, father born N Y, mother born N Y
*  Abbie Smith - white, female, age 41, daughter, married, at home, born New York, father born Eng[land]
*  Della Smith - white, female, age 23, single, born Wisconsin, father born N Y
*  Matie Smith - white, female, age 19, single, born Wisconsin, father born N Y

The source citation for this record is:

"Nebraska State Census Collection, 1860-1885," Census Year 1885, Red Willow County, McCook Township; ED 654, Page 3B, Dwelling #35, Family #35, D.J. Smith household; digital images, (, citing original data from "Schedules of the Nebraska State Census of 1885," National Archives Microfilm Publication M352, 56 rolls.

There is no indication as to the Roll number for this county in the Ancestry source citation.

The indexing for this family shows:

I have no idea why the Ancestry indexing shows "Albret" first when D.J. is clearly listed first on the actual record.

The errors in this entry include:

*  D.J. Smith is the head of household, not the wife; he is clearly listed as male
*  D.J. Smith occupation is transcribed as "Liverman" but that's my guess; it probably means "Liveryman" which is consistent with what I know about him
*  Abbie Smith is the wife, not the daughter, and her name was indexed as "Albret" (I can see how someone interpreted it as such)
*  There are no listings for the mother's birthplace for Abbie, Della and Matie

This is the last census entry I have for Devier J. Smith, who died in 1894 in McCook.  Della and Matie married soon after 1885, and Abbie moved to San Diego, where Della (Smith) Carringer had moved in 1887, before Devier's death.

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

GenealogyBank Shows Off New Features

I've been using GenealogyBank quite a bit over the past year, and just recently noted some changes in how the site presents their results.  There are three significant changes that I've noticed (there may be more that I haven't noticed!).

1)  The first change is that the home page fills the entire screen now and is much more eye-catching:

The search fields for last name and first name are prominent.  There is an "Advanced search" link next to the orange "Search Now" button.  There is a counter for the number of genealogy records available on GenealogyBank - over 1.38 billion records now.  Further down the page are links to search by State (and then by city/town) if the user wants to narrow the search.  I do that a lot when I'm searching for specific persons in San Diego.

In the screen above, I put Abraham Seaver in the search fields just randomly...thinking maybe there were obituaries or articles for persons with that name.

2)  The second change is that the Search results page also looks different:

Until recently, only five matches were returned on each results page.  Now it's ten matches, which is an improvement.  Most matches show a thumbnail of the potential match.

The big change is the listing of the matches.  There is a listing of the different categories in the left sidebar - Recent Obituaries; Newspaper Archives (with sub-headings Historical Obituaries, Birth Records, Marriage Records, Passenger Lists, Newspaper Articles, Land, Probate & Court, Photos & Illustrations, Newspaper Letters, Historical Maps, Tables & Charts, Poems & Songs, Ads & Classifieds, Commodities & Stocks, Political & Elections, and Uncategorized); Other Genealogical Records (with sub-headings Social Security Death Index, Historical Books, Historical Documents, African-American Newspapers and Irish-American Newspapers).

The categories with matches are highlighted in blue links, while the categories without matches are grayed out.

For the major category, the matches are shown in sub-heading order.  On the screen above, the 8 Historical Obituaries are listed first, then the 43 Newspaper Articles, then the 8 Legal, Probate & Court articles, then the 73 Ads & Classifieds, etc.  I really like that!  If all I want to read are the Obituaries, I can find those easily.  Likewise, if all I wanted was the Newspaper Articles, I could click on that link and see them 1-43.

At the bottom of each search results page is the search form, and the user can modify his/her search as desired.  On the search form, there are fields for Last name, First name, Keywords included, Keywords excluded, and Date range or Date.

3)  The third change is in the actual newspaper images.  Previously, you saw the entire page of the newspaper with the search terms highlighted in yellow, and you had to often search for the article by zooming in and panning around.

Here is the newspaper article (obituary) for the first match on the list above:

The specific article containing the search terms is isolated on the screen above.  The newspaper name, date, issue number and page number are available above the image.  The user can zoom in or out, can print the article, or save it as a PDF.

If you want to see the entire page, there is a link for the entire page in the left-hand sidebar - I clicked on the link for "Page [3]" and the whole page appeared:

The user can also zoom, pan, print and save the full page.

For the specific article I found, I had to go to the whole page image because the article started at the bottom of one column, and finished at the top of the next column.

GenealogyBank feels like the gift that never stops giving, mainly because I find so many articles and records there for my ancestors and relatives.  I didn't have that article about Abraham Wood Seaver, but after I found it last night, I took 20 minutes to transcribe the article into my RootsMagic database - he sounds like quite an upstanding and honorable Seaver!  It is likely that my great-grandfather, Frank Walton Seaver and my 2nd great-grandfather, Edward Hildreth, knew this Abraham Seaver since he worked with Milo Hildreth, Edward's brother, in Northborough, and was manager of a Fitchburg bank in the 1880s.

I really like the changes that GenealogyBank has made to their page layout and search results.

Disclosure:  I have a complimentary subscription to GenealogyBank, but that does not affect my objective evaluation of the website.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

SDGS Program is 9 February: Gena Philibert Ortega

The 9 February 2013 Saturday meeting of the San Diego Genealogical Society will be held at St. Andrews Lutheran Church (8350 Lake Murray Blvd, just south of Jackson Drive) starting at 10 a.m. until about 12:30 p.m.

The program speaker is Gena Philibert-Ortega.  Gena's two presentations are:

1)  American Church Records:  Have you looked for your American ancestors' church records?  We often concentrate on government sources and neglect other resources that can be equally as valuable.  In this lecture we will uncover what can be found in church records, the types of sources, and where they are archived.  No matter what church or religion your ancestors participated in, church records can fill in an important piece of the puzzle.

2)  I LOVE Libraries:  Libraries are essential to genealogical research, but where to start?  Learn more about the types of libraries that exist, where to find them, and how to effectively search a library's card catalog.  Think you know everything there is to know about libraries?  We'll uncover a secret or two that will enhance your research.

The first program will start just after 10 a.m., followed by a 20 minute break for snacks and drinks, then a short announcement and opportunity drawing session, and then the second program.

The URL for this post is:

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 242: My First Airplane Flight

I'm posting family photographs from my collection on Wednesdays, but they aren't Wordless Wednesday posts like others do - I simply am incapable of having a wordless post.

Here is a photograph from the Seaver/Carringer family photograph collection passed to me by my mother in the 1988 to 2002 time period:

This is a photograph of the airplane in which I took my first airplane ride and vacation in 1956 as a 12-year old.  One of my best friends was my neighbor, Butch Craver.  They lived across the street in a corner house with a big back yard, his father had a jukebox business (Wurlitzer's I believe, which was fun), and both of his parents were pilots (his mother was a Powder Puff Derby winner in 1972), and they owned this airplane.  The airplane seated four as I recall.

Butch's family took flying vacations, and they had an extra seat in 1956, so they invited me to go with them to Vancouver, B.C. to visit family members.  I ran home all excited to ask my mother if I could go, and she immediately said "yes" for some reason (she told me when I was older that she and my father had real reservations about it!).  

Off we went on our two-week jaunt to the Pacific Northwest in late August 1956.  It was great watching the earth go by from 10,000 feet.  Butch's father explained and demonstrated the basics of flight (weight, lift, thrust, drag, stability, control) during the flight.  This aircraft only went about 120 miles/hour, so we had a lot of air time.  We stopped in Sacramento, California, Medford, Oregon and Bellingham, Washington on the way north.  In Bellingham, they rented a car and drove into Vancouver, B.C.  On the trip back, we stopped in Medford again, then San Francisco (we actually saw President Eisenhower arriving for the 1956 Republican Convention) and home to San Diego.  I also saw the absolute power of weather on this trip - in the Pacific Northwest, you cannot avoid flying into and through clouds, and we were caught in a thunderstorm one night in Medford (this plane was already tied down) that destroyed several other light planes on the ground.  

This trip sparked an interest in aircraft in this 12-year old boy, and led to a degree in Aerospace Engineering and a 40-year career in engineering in the aircraft industry.  

I have forgotten what the airplane model is, but I think it's a Piper PA-22 since it is four seats, tricycle fixed landing gear, dual strut, single engine and high-wing airplane.

Hey Butch - are you reading this?  Let's talk!

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Making a Photo Tree in RootsMagic 6

I was looking at all of the chart and report options in RootsMagic 6 today, and did some experimentation.

One chart that I had not made with any program is a Photo tree - because I had not added photos to my database until this past year.

In RootsMagic 6, I made this Photo Tree using this keystroke process:

*  Reports link
*  Charts item on Reports dropdown list
*  Photo Tree item on Charts dropdown list
*  Select Start Person from index
*  Create a Title
*  Check Layout and Fonts - modify as desired
*  Click on Generate Report

Here is the finished Photo Tree:

I kind of like this - I would like to have more lines for at least birth-death years, and would like to have four generations or even five.

I'll go see what a photo tree looks like in Legacy Family Tree 7.5 and family Tree Maker 2012 in the near future.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

2013 Freeman Student Genealogy Grant Announced

Denise Levenick sent this announcement via email:


February 5, 2013 – Do you know a young genealogist who could use $500 toward their family history education and free registration to the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree in June 2013?

The Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Grant Committee is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for the 2013 Student Genealogy Grant. In addition, SCGS Jamboree will once again provide the recipient with free three-day registration.

Any genealogist who is between the ages of 18 and 25 and has attended school in the last 12 months is eligible to apply. The recipient must attend the 2013 SCGS Jamboree in Burbank, California to receive the award.

The $500 cash award was established in 2010 in memory of Suzanne Winsor Freeman, family historian and life-long volunteer, and an enthusiastic annual attendee at the SCGS Jamboree.

“The Freeman Student Genealogy Grant pays tribute to these interests by awarding the annual cash grant to a young genealogist attending the SCGS Jamboree, Southern California’s premiere regional genealogy conference,” notes Denise Levenick, committee chair and Freeman’s daughter.

“We are especially grateful to Jamboree for providing a three-day conference registration to the grant recipient,” she adds. “SCGS is truly a leader in conference organizations by encouraging youth involvement in genealogy through the popular Kids Camp program and now through the student grant project.”

Past recipients of the award include Elyse Doerflinger (Lomita, California), A.C. Ivory (Salt Lake City, Utah), and Anthony Ray (Palmdale, California).

Funding for the cash award is provided by the family grant program; Jamboree registration is provided by the conference.

Complete details and application materials are available at The Family Curator, Suzanne Freeman Student Genealogy Grant <>. Follow Grant News at Application deadline is 18 March 2013 midnight PST.

For More Information Contact: Denise Levenick,

Suzanne Winsor Freeman Obituary:

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Finding Plat Maps for the James Vaux Land Holdings

I posted Putting the Land Records Together for James Vaux (1787-1839) yesterday, and in the afternoon I abstracted the four deeds that I have for him in the 1832-1837 time period.  

Here are the four abstracts:

*  On 16 June 1832, James Vaux of Erie County, New York bought land from Wilhem Willink and others (owners of the Holland Land company) for $421.50.  The land was in Erie County, Township 9 (Aurora), Range 6, parts of Lots 27 and 28.  The part of Lot 27 was bounded on the East by a line parallel to the East bound of Lot 27, 15 chains, 4 links; South by land of Lyman Letson (14 chains, 92 links); West by land parallel to the first line and partially by land of Oerin Treat, 37 chains, 33 links; North by Lot 28, 14 chains, 92 links; containing 55 acres and a half.  The part of Lot 28 was bounded on the West by a line parallel to the west line of Lot 28 at the distance of 30 chains, East therefrom 38 chains, 35 links; North by a line parallel to South bounds of Lot 28, 10 chains, 43 links; East by a line parallel to the first mentioned boundary, 38 chains, 35 links; South by Lot 27, 10 chains, 43 links; containing 40 acres. The deed was recorded 3 August 1832 Genesee County and 3 October 1832 in Erie County (Erie County Deeds, Liber 13, page 318).

*  On 15 November 1832, James Vaux of Erie County, New York bought land from Oren Treat and others for $336.50.  The land was in Erie County, Township 9 (Aurora), Range 6, Lot 27, Northeast part, containing 55 and a half acres, more or less.  The land was bounded on the East by the line laid out to Oren Treat, 43 chains, 79 links; South by the line laid out to Oren Treat, 5 chains, 70 links; West by a line parallel to the first line, 43 chains, 89 links); North by lot 28, 5 chains, 70 links; containing 25 acres   The deed was recorded 31 March 1842 in Erie County (Erie County Deeds, Liber 67, pages 19-20).

*  On 15 November 1833, James Vaux of Erie County, New York bought land from Wilhem Willink and others for $291.39.  The land was in Erie County, Township 9 (Aurora), Range 6, Lot 27, Northeast part, containing 55 and a half acres, more or less.  The land was bounded on the North by Lot 28 (15 chains, 4 links); East by Lot 19 (36 chains, 77 links); South by land of Lyman Letson (15 chains, 4 links); West by land deeded previously to James Vaux (37 chains, 5 links).  The deed was recorded 17 February 1834 in Genesee County and 20 February 1837 in Erie County (Erie county Deeds, Liber 35, Page 427).

*  On 7 January 1837, James Vaux and James Vaux, Jr., both of Erie County, New York, bought land from Eliphalet Jones and his wife Polly for $850.  The land was in Aurora town, Erie County, a part of Lot 31 in Township 9, Range 6, containing 4 acres and 47 rods.  The land was bounded commencing from a stake in the southeast corner of land owned by Holmes Hollister and Curtiss; on the north by J.S. Bartlett's land; thence running South 89-1/4 degrees East 23 rods and 15 links to the center of the highway; thence North 2-1/2 degrees East  along the center of the highway 79 rods and 3 links; thence West parallel to the first mentioned line 23 rods and 15 links; thence South 2-1/2 degrees West 29 rods and 3 links to the place of beginning.  The deed was recorded 7 January 1837 in Erie County (Erie County Deeds, Liber 40, Page 520.).

There are three deeds for land bought in Lots 27 and 28, and one for the land bought in Lot 31.  Fortunately, two of the deeds can be easily seen on the deed I showed yesterday.  The land in lot 28 is adjacent to one of the lots in Lot 27.

Now I want to find these lots on a map of Aurora township, Erie County, New York.  There is an 1866 map for this township and county in Ancestry's collection of "Historic Land Ownership and Reference Atlases, 1507-2000."  Unfortunately, I couldn't save that image to my computer files.

Recently, Ancestry added the U.S., County and Regional Histories and Atlases, 1804-1984" collection.  I found the "New Topographical Atlas of Erie County, New York" in this collection, and then found the 1866 map of Aurora township in Erie County:

There is an index for Towns and Villages:

Aurora Township was on Page 15, which turned out to be Image 11 of 52:

The map of Aurora Township showed the Lot numbers, and the location and names of the owners in 1866.  Since my Vaux family had moved to Wisconsin in about 1853, I didn't expect to see that surname listed.

I zoomed in on Lots 27 and 28 and saw:

From the small map on the 1833 deed (posted yesterday), I can tell that the land in three of the deeds was in the northeast quarter of Lot 27, and another was across the road in Lot 28.

There are some familiar names from the Vaux deeds in Section 27 - namely Orin Treat (in the west part of Lot 27) and Luther Letson (in the south part of Lot 27):

There are no houses or owners names in the northeast corner of Lot 27 for some reason.  So I think that I've found where they lived.  Now to find it on a 2013 map.

Here is a Google Map view of the area south of East Aurora:

I put a red box around the location of the James Vaux land holdings in Lot 27.  You can see the town boundary of East Aurora on the upper part of the image above.  Comparing this map with the plat map, I think that Center Street (yellow road in the right-center of the map above) is the road between Lots 27 and 19, and that Blakeley Road (County road 55) in the lower part of the image above is the road between Lots 27 and 28.  The main east-west and north-south roads appear to be about one mile apart. Therefore, the intersection of Blakeley Road and Center Street is about 3 miles south of the East Aurora town limit, and about 3 miles east of the Village of Griffins Mills.

Switching to the Satellite view, and zooming in on the northeast corner of Lot 27 (intersection of Blakeley Road and Center Street) shows me:

There are at least five modern homes on the land once owned by James Vaux.  I wonder if any of the homes were built around and included some of the home built by James Vaux, and his son, on this land.

My next research task is to find the location of the land of my third great-grandparents, Samuel and Mary Ann (Underhill) Vaux, and Mary Ann's parents, Amos and Mary (Metcalf) Underhill.

My purpose in publishing this information - the deed abstracts, the plat maps, and the modern maps, is to demonstrate how much information is available online to genealogical researchers, at least in certain states at this time.  Knowing what resources are available on, on, and other websites is important.  It is difficult to "keep up with all the new material" for many people, and I hope that by providing examples to my readers, and web searchers, it will help them find resources to solve their own research problems.

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Copyright (c) 2013, randall J. Seaver

Tuesday's Tip - Look for Recent Obituaries in Google, Tributes and Legacy

This week's Tuesday Tip seems obvious:  Look for recent obituaries in a Google search, on and

The back story:  One of my tasks as Research/Queries Chair fro the Chula Vista Genealogical society is to respond to queries sent to CVGS asking for obituary lookups, cemetery grave photos, vital record certificates, local history book lookups, CVGS member name lists, etc.

We received one last week from a queryist wanting information about two persons who died in 2005 and 2009 in San Diego County.  I have access to the San Diego Union-Tribune digital archives that go back to 1983, to GenealogyBank's "Recent Obituaries" collection, and the NewspaperARCHIVE's collection on

I quickly found one of the obituaries in the GenealogyBank collection, but did not find an obituary for the second person.  I emailed the queryist providing the one obituary and apologizing for not being able to find a second one, noting that one may have been published in a newspaper that I could not access, or that one was not published for whatever reason.

I quickly received an email back saying "I found the second one by doing a simple Google search!"

Huh?  Why didn't I think of that?  Talk about feeling I did the Google search too and saw:

The first two results are for listings for the person on and

I tried the same search for the second person, and while there were apparent links, they did not show the obituary.

The lesson learned here is to search on Google for results, which may lead to websites like and Tributes com for recent obituaries.  Then search the subscription sites, and then  search local newspapers on microfilm at a repository.

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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Monday, February 4, 2013

Putting the Land Records Together for James Vaux (1787-1839)

I have discussed finding Erie County, New York land records on FamilySearch for my Underhill and Vaux ancestors in:

*   Using New York Land Records, 1630-1975, on FamilySearch
*  Adding Amos Underhill's Land Deeds to RootsMagic 6 
*  Dear Randy: What Record Collection Would You Like To Have Indexed?

It took me three visits to the Grantor and Grantee indexes on FamilySearch to find all of the deeds for my third great-grandparents, Amos Underhill and James Vaux, and my 4th great-grandfather, James Vaux.  I have only checked the 1808 to 1859 deed indexes so far, so there may still be additional deeds to find and analyze.  But I think I have them all for James Vaux, who died in 1839 back in Somerset, England after settling in Erie County by 1832, and going back to his birthplace in England on family business.

The next task in my research is to list the deeds, abstract them, and see if they tell me more about the lives of these families in New York.

The deeds for James Vaux (and his heirs) include:

*  Wilhem Willink & others to James Vaux, dated 16 June 1832, in Liber 13, page 318
*  Oren Treat to James Vaux, dated 15 November 1832, in Liber 67, page 19
*  Wilhem Willink & others to James Vaux, dated 15 November 1833, in Liber 35, page 427
*  Eliphalet Jones to James Vaux and James Vaux Jr., dated 7 January 1837, in Liber 40, page 520

I have found, saved, and named the images of the index pages and the deeds themselves to my computer digital filing system.

Here is an abstract that I've crafted for one of the deeds:

On 15 November 1833, James Vaux of Erie County, New York bought land from Wilhem Willink and others for $291.39.  The land was in Erie County, Township 9 (Aurora), Range 6, Lot 27, Northeast part, containing 55 and a half acres, more or less.  The land was bounded on the North by Lot 28 (15 chains, 4 links); East by Lot 19 (36 chains, 77 links); South by land of Lyman Letson (15 chains, 4 links); West by land deeded previously to James Vaux (37 chains, 5 links).  The deed was recorded 17 February 1834 in Genesee County and 20 February 1837 in Erie County.

This deed image looks like this:

There is a map of the land described in the deed:

Wilhem Willink and the others who were the party of the first part in this deed represented the Holland Land Company that had purchased, surveyed and were selling land in western New York.  More on the Holland Land Company can be found in

My next task is to try to find this exact land location on a plat map of the township (Township 9 was named Aurora at some point in time).

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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

CVGS Seminar on Saturday, 30 March: CeCe Moore on "Do Your Genes Fit? Discover Your DNA"

The annual Spring Seminar of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society will be on Saturday, 30 March 2013 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Chula Vista Golf Course clubhouse in Bonita (4475 Bonita Road, turn north onto Billy Casper Way from Bonita Road, the gold course is on the right).  The event includes a catered lunch.

The featured speaker for this event is CeCe Moore on the theme of "Do Your Genes Fit? Discover Your DNA."

Do you want to know all about DNA genetic testing and how it can help you learn about your ancestors?  Mark your calendars for March 30th, 2013. CVGS will present renowned genetic genealogist CeCe Moore for a lively and informative day-long seminar. We'll learn about the various DNA tests available, how to read and understand the results and how they'll apply to researching our family trees.

You are encouraged to take advantage of 23andMe's spectacular $99 deal for the genetic test and to bring your test results to the seminar so CeCe can help you interpret them. But do it soon - the results will take at least 3 weeks to return to you.

The fee for CVGS members is $35, $40 to non-members, and $40 for late registrants after March 22.  The Registration form is available on the our CVGS website at and on our Facebook page ( Or contact Gary Brock at or (619) 475-4054, or Karen Yarger at or (619) 426-0834.

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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Amanuensis Monday - Probate Records of Jonathan Oatley (1689-1755)

Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the excellent TransylvanianDutch blog) started his own Monday blog theme several years 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 records for Jonathan Oatley (1689-1755) of South Kingstown, Rhode Island.  Jonathan had four children by his first wife, Deliverance --?-- (????-1734):  Samuel Oatley (1726-1794); Rebecca Oatley (1728-????); Rhoda Oatley (1730-1757); Benedict Oatley (1732-1821).  By his second wife, Mary --?-- (1702-1786), he had two children:  Jonathan Oatley (1737-????); Joseph Oatley (1739-????).  All children were born in South Kingstown.

Jonathan Oatley died testate, having written a will on 20 July 1755, less than two months before his death.  The will reads (transcribed by Randy Seaver from South Kingstown (Rhode Island) Probate and Town Council Records, Volume 5, Pages 25-27, accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,931,834):

"In the Name of God amen, I, Jonathan Oatly of South Kingstown in the County of Kings County in the Colony of Rhode Island &c. yeoman being sick & weak of  Body but of a sound mind & in perfect memory Do make & ordain this my last Will & Testament That is to say principally & first of all I commend my soul into the Hand of God who gave & my Body to the Earth to buried in decent Christian manner according to the Discretion of my Executor herein after named my just Debts & funeral charges being first paid by my said Executor, I give devise and bequeath of my Worldly Estate in the following manner & Form.

"Imprimis - I give & bequeath unto my well beloved wife Mary Oatly, my large black chest and all that part of my Household Stuff which she brought with her to me together with all my stock without Doors & any part of my House she shall incline to Improve for & During the Time of her widowhood.  I likewise give her the sum of Fifty Pounds in Bills of publick Credit to be paid her by my sd Executor in Two years after my decease.

"Item - I give & devise unto my beloved son Samuel Oatley the sum of Five Pounds in Bills of Credit to be paid by my said Executor within two years after my decease.

"Item - I give & Devise unto my beloved son Benedict Oatly all my Housing & Homestead Bounded Northerly on an Highway Easterly & Southerly on land of Joseph Torry & Westerly on land of James Willson. To him his heirs and assigns forever, He paying to his mother in law & his Brother Samuel the legacies before mentioned and given, and all my Just Debts also I bequeath to him my great Bible.

"Item - I give & bequeath unto my beloved Daughter Rebecca Champlin the one half of all my Household goods not herein disposed of to her mother, to her, Her Heirs and assigns for ever I likewise give her the use & improvement of the other half Solong as Ephraim Drake (my daughter Rhoda's Husband) shall live at whose decease the one Half as aforesaid I give & bequeath unto my beloved daughter Rhoda Drake her Heirs & assigns.  But it is to be understood & my will is that my daughter Rebecca (before any division is to be made) shall have one Feather Bed & Beding.

"Item - I give and bequeath unto my two sons Samuel and Benedict all my wearing apparel and what Cloath is in the House not made into any garment to be Equally divided Between Them -- and my Will is that all my Books not herein before disposed of be equally divided between my said Wife and my said son Benedict.

"Lastly, I do hereby constitute, ordain & appoint my Beloved son Benedict Oatly Sole Executor of this my Last Will and Testament Revoking & disanulling all former Wills and Testaments by me heretofore made Ratifying and Confirming this and this only to be my Last.  In witness Whereof I have hereunto set my Hand & Seal the Twentyeth Day of July Anno the Domini one Thousand Seven Hundred and Fifty five.

"Signed, sealed, published, pronounced,
& declared by the said Jonathan Oatly
to be his Last Will & Testament
in presence of us the subscribers.
................................................................................... Jonathan Oatly  (seal)
Latham Clarke
Martha Clarke
William Steward."

On 8 September 1755, Latham Clarke and Martha Clarke personally appeared before the Town Council and declared under oath that they witnessed Jonathan Oatley of South Kingstown deceased sign, seal and declare the above to be his last will and testament and signed as witnesses to the act.

An inventory of the personal estate of Jonathan Oatly, late of South Kingstown, deceased, was taken by Latham Clarke and Benjamin Rodman, as showed by his executor Benedict Oatly and his widow Mary Oatly. The inventory of the personal estate, in two columns over two pages of the records, totaled 559 pounds, 12 shillings, 1 pence.  The inventory was approved by the Town Council on 12 January 1756, and recorded by the clerk on 15 January 1756 (from South Kingstown (Rhode Island) Probate and Town Council Records, Volume 5, Pages 34-36, accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,931,834).

Only four children of Jonathan Oatley are mentioned in his will - all by his first wife.  There is no mention of the two sons accorded to the second wife, Mary - Jonathan and Joseph.  The married surnames of the two daughters, Rebecca Champlin and Rhoda Drake, are used, and Rhoda's husband, Ephraim Drake, is identified.  I found interesting that Rebecca received sole use and improvement of the household goods until Rhoda's husband died, and then Rhoda was to receive her half. 

My ancestry is through the son Benedict Oatley.  It is interesting that the will names Jonathan's current wife as Benedict's "mother-in-law," implying that she is his stepmother.

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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver