Saturday, February 23, 2013

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Ancestor Roulette!

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

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

1) What year was one of your great-grandfathers born?  Divide this number by 100 and round the number off to a whole number. This is your "roulette number."

2) Use your pedigree charts or your family tree genealogy software program to find the person with that number in your ancestral name list (some people call it an "ah
nentafel" - 
your software will create this - use the "Ahnentafel List" option, or similar). Who is that person, and what are his/her vital information?

3) Tell us three facts about that person in your ancestral name list with the "roulette number."

4) Write about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a Facebook status or a Google Stream post, or as a comment on this blog post.

5) NOTE:  If you do not have a person's name for your "roulette number" then "spin" the wheel again - pick a great-grandmother, a grandfather, a parent, a favorite aunt or cousin, yourself, or even your children!

Here's mine:

1)  My great-grandfather, Frank Walton Seaver (1852-1922), was born in 1852.  So my "Roulette number" is 18.52, rounded up to 19.

2)  Number 19 on my ancestor name list (ahnentafel list) is Sophia Newton, Frank's mother-in-law!  Her vital information includes:

** Born on 14 September 1834 (or 1835?), probably in Springfield, Windsor County, Vermont (or possibly Cambridge, Lamoille County, Vermont) to Thomas J. Newton (????-????) and Sophia (Buck) (Brigham) Newton (1797-1882). 
**  Married on 25 December 1852 in Northborough, Worcester County, Massachusetts to Edward Hildreth (1831-1899).
**  Died 29 August 1923 in Leominster, Worcester County, Massachusetts, of "old age" at age 88.

3)  Three facts about Sophia Newton:

**  My father knew Sophia (Newton) Hildreth ... she owned the Hildreth home at 149 Lancaster Street in Leominster from her husband's death in 1899 until her passing in 1923, and her daughter's family (Hattie Hildreth married Frank W. Seaver) lived with her in that house from about 1880 to 1905, and then lived less than one mile away after 1912.  
**  Sophia (Newton) Hildreth had two known children - Hattie Louisa Hildreth (1857-1920) who married Frank W. Seaver (1852-1922), and Clarence Edward Seaver (1874-1878).  I've always wondered if there were other children, or perhaps miscarriages or stillborns.  Only Hattie appears in the 1860, 1870 and 1880 census records.  I need to check that out!
**  Since Sophia died after her only child that lived to adulthood, and that child's husband, the probate court filings for Frank and Hattie (Hildreth) Seaver were delayed until Sophia (Newton) Hildreth died in 1923.  The three estates were then probated in 1923, with the two living sons of Frank and Hattie (Hildreth) Seaver inheriting the estate.  The house at 149 Lancaster Street was sold in this process.  

4)  Done!

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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Surname Saturday - KNOWLES (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 565: Mehitable KNOWLES (1653-1721). [Note: the 7th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts].

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

282.  Samuel Brown (1686-1739)
283.  Ruth Young (1688-1768)

564.  George Brown, born 16 January 1652 in Eastham, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States; died 03 August 1721 in Eastham, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 1128. William Brown and 1129. Mary Moorecocke.  He married 1674 in Eastham, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States.

565.  Mehitable Knowles, born 20 May 1653 in Eastham, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States; died 1721 in Eastham, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States.  

Children of George Brown and Mehitable Knowles are:  James Brown (1675-1721); William Brown (1677-1721); George Brown (1679-1735); Mary Brown (1683-1716); Mehtiable Brown (1684-????); Samuel Brown (1686-1739); Mercy Brown (1690-1754); Joshua Brown (1692-????).

1130.  Richard Knowles, born 1614 in Lancashire, England; died 03 June 1675 in Eastham, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States.  He married 25 March 1639 in Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States.
1131.  Ruth Bowers, born 1616 in Lincolnshire, England; died 1686 in Eastham, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States.  She was the daughter of 2262. George Bowers and 2263. Barbara Smythe.

Children of Richard Knowles and Ruth Bowers are:  Mercy Knowles (1640-1692); John Knowles (1644-1675); James Knowles (1648-1675); James Knowles (1648-1678); Samuel Knowles (1651-1737); Mehitable Knowles (1653-1721); Barbara Knowles (1656-1714); Ruth Knowles (1658-1714).

I have used two derivative, but well known, sources for this family line:

1)  Charles Thornton Libby, "The Knowles Family of Eastham" New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 79, Number 3 (September 1925), pages 286-297.

2)  Virginia Knowles Hufbauer, Descendants of Richard Knowles 1637-1973 (San Diego, Calif. : Ventura International, 1974). 

A review of the Plymouth and Eastham town record books should provide original source information.  Another to-do list item!

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Friday, February 22, 2013

Review: Legacy QuickGuide on World War I and World War II Military Records

Legacy Family Tree has commissioned a series of four-page booklets on various aspects of genealogical research.  Each laminated guide contains four pages of valuable information covering a variety of genealogy research topics. Legacy QuickGuides are written by genealogists and family historians who are experts in the subject areas.  These QuickGuides are oriented towards the online researcher - there are several pages of website links on selected subjects for the specific topic covered by the QuickGuide.

You can see the list of available Legacy QuickGuides at  They are available as laminated four-page folders ($7.95 each) or as downloadable PDF files ($2.95 each).

The World War I and World War II Military Records was written by Jennifer Holik. 

The introduction to this QuickGuide says:

"Military research is important because it adds depth to the stories of your ancestors. Within military files you may discover additional family members, understand a story you heard about a family member, and gather more information to write their story. Military research can be difficult due to a fire at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri in 1973 when many Army and Air Force records were lost to fire. The World War I and World War II Military Records Legacy QuickGuide contains useful information designed as an introduction to the wealth of information to be found in military records from these two wars and how to overcome the challenges associated with research. This handy 4-page PDF guide can be used on your computer or mobile device for anytime access."

The subjects included in the World War I and World War II Military Records QuickGuide are:

*  Timeline - World War I
*  Timeline - World War II

*  Getting Started
*  Military Service Records
*  Died in Service Records

*  General Resources
*  Specific Branch Resources
*  Lesser Used Resources

*  World War I General Resources
*  World War II General Resources
*  Further Reading

For the General Resources subjects, the items listed are website titles with links to the websites.  In some cases, there are shortened URLs for websites with long eddresses.

This Legacy QuickGuide is very useful for beginners and seasoned researchers alike.  The information about military service records and the died in service records are very helpful, and the links to online resources will be useful.
I am sure that I will use this QuickGuide to help me find military records of my ancestors and relatives who served in these Wars.

The laminated version of this QuickGuide is very handy for researchers going to repositories or society meetings - it is light and easy to carry in a briefcase or computer case.  I much prefer the PDF version because I can save it to my computer (and laptop, tablet, and smart phone using Dropbox or another cloud service) and have it available in digital format for instantaneous usage by clicking the links provided rather than typing the links into my web browser. 

Order your copy of the 
World War I and World War II Military Records QuickGuide (PDF only) at the Legacy Family Tree Store.

Disclosure:  I was provided a complimentary copy of the PDF version of this Legacy QuickGuide on the condition that I provide a timely review of each QuickGuide provided.  Look for more in the near future!

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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver is LiveStreaming this Weekend from WDYTYA Live!

The blog has listed the presentations being Livestreamed from the Who Do You Think You Are? Live conference in London this weekend.

Go tune in at

Watch live streaming video from ancestry at

The schedule shows presentations from 10:30 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4:20 p.m. on Sunday.  10 a.m. in London is  5 a.m. in Eastern time and 2 a.m. in Pacific time. 5 p.m. is 12 noon in Eastern time and 9 a.m. in Pacific time.  

It's 10 a.m. here in San Diego (6 p.m. in London), and it sounds like Duff Wilson is talking about Family Tree Maker right now (the last presentation of the day).

Some presentations are duplicated during the day, or on successive days.

Unfortunately, the video quality is not wonderful but perhaps it will get better on saturday and Sunday.  

Friday Funny - Ancestor Pressure

One of my favorite daily comic strips in the newspaper is Pickles written by Brian Crane -- it often rings really true for me!  I wish I had a grandson like Nelson who lived next door and visited us all the time.  If there was, I probably wouldn't work so much on genealogy and family history.

A society colleague sent me this comic strip episode recently (I don't know when it was published) and I thought that it was funny:

Earl got his trusty calculator out (I just did too) and calculated 20 generations back and came up with 1,048,576 ancestors in that 20th generation back.

Earl says:  "That's a lot of folks counting on you to make something of yourself, boy.  so ... don't let us down!

Nelson walks away and says to the dog:  "Geez!  Peer pressure is nothing compared to ancestor pressure!"

I think I'll try this out on the grandkids...

Putting this into my own genealogical perspective, I have about 99.99% of those in that 20th generation to find!  This work never ends, does it?

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Finding Pennsylvania Donation District Land Maps

In my searches for probate records and land records in Mercer County, Pennsylvania for Martin Carringer and Cornelius Feather, I wanted to know where the Donation District lands were located.

From earlier research, I knew that Martin Carringer was awarded Lot 941 in Perry Township in 1787, and Cornelius Feather had bought land that was part of Lot 963 in Salem township.

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PAHM), part of the Bureau of Archives and History of the Pennsylvania State Archives, has Warrantee Township Maps available online at

The site says:

"The Pennsylvania State Archives holds the following warrantee township maps, which show all original land purchases from the Proprietors or the Commonwealth made inside the boundaries of present-day townships. In essence, these maps serve as a summary and geographical index for the warrants, surveys and patents held by the State Archives. Information usually shown for each tract of land includes: name of warrantee, name of patentee, number of acres, name of tract, and dates of warrant, survey and patent. Survey and patent numbers also may be given."

There are links to three sets of counties:

*  Allegheny to Fayette Counties
*  Fulton to Perry Counties
*  Pike to York Counties

Since I wanted to find land in Mercer County, I clicked on the Fulton to Perry Counties link and saw:

I clicked on the Perry link in the Mercer County list, and a PDF of the map (4.518 mb) of Perry Township's Donation Lots came up:

After manipulating the zoom feature a bit to 125%, I moved the map around until I found Lot 941 awarded to Martin Carringer in 1787:

As you can see, there is a lot information included on the map besides the name of the person awarded the land.  There are compass information (e.g., Martin's is North 87.5, East 261; South 2.5, East 130; South 87.5 West 261; North 2.5 West 130, with tree named at the corners);  Lot number; Name; Rank; Acres; Survey date; Patent date.

Isn't that a great map?  By overlaying the map on a current map of Perry township, I can probably find the exact location.

I did a similar task looking for Cornelius Feather's Lot 963 in the Salem Township map.  Then I looked again at the map above, and noticed that his Lot 963 is on Otter Creek Township map bordering Perry township on the map above, three lots to the left and one up.  I also downloaded the PDF for Otter Creek township.

The PAHM website has MANY more records for these Donation Land patents, including warrant, survey and patent data.  I've been exploring them this afternoon!  This is a fantastic resource!

If you go to the PAHM website and look for maps, note the hints that they provide for manipulating the images, and note also that you can obtain larger maps of each of the townships for a fee.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Speakers/Topics at Huntington Beach BASH on 2 March 2013

I posted information three weeks ago about the Orange County, California Genealogical Society (OCCGS) BASH - an all-day seminar at Huntington Beach (CA) Library - on Saturday, 2 March 2013 in Huntington Beach Genealogy BASH is 2 March 2013.

Registration is required - see the registration page at  The registration fee is $40 for OCCGS members and $50 for non-members.  There is an additional charge for a box lunch if requested.

If this seminar interests you, I encourage you to register and attend.  This is going to be a premier genealogy education event!

Hal Horrocks of OCCGS has forwarded the list of speakers and their topics, and their room assignments, so I'm passing that on to interested readers:

As you can see, I have two presentations in the morning in the Maddy Room:

*  9:15 a.m. - Searching Effectively
*  10:30 a.m. - Discovering Jane's Roots in California, Australia and England

Barbara Renick has four presentations, and the other speakers have one or two presentations each. Chris Hansen and Lloyd Budwig have three free Beginning Genealogy sessions during the day.

I hope to see many Genea-Musings readers at this event - please come by and introduce yourself at my talks or at the breaks.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) Randall J. Seaver

Is This my Cousin in the FindMyPast Criminal and Prisoner Collection?

FindMyPast recently added a collection of historical criminal records from England and Wales for 1770 to 1934 - you can read their news release on the FindMyPast blog at

One of my family stories is that my second great-grandfather, James Richman (1821-1912), left Wiltshire in 1855 for America because he had been accused of stealing coal on the Avon and Kennett Canal near Hilperton in Wiltshire.  The story also is that he was charged, tried, but acquitted.

So I decided to see if there is a record for my 2nd great-grandfather in the FindMyPast collection.  Unfortunately, he is not.

I searched the collection for any Richman in Wilshire and found one:

This is one page from the collection, and reflects the Calendar of Prisoners Tried at the General Quarter Sessions of the Peace at Devizes, Wiltshire during January 1898.  The information in this document includes:

*  No. 20
*  Name:  Henry Richman (Bailed on committal)
*  Age:  48
*  Occupation:  Farmer
*  Degree of Instruction:  Imp.
*  Name and Address of Committing Magistrate:  The Hon. and Rev. Henry Canon Sidney Meade, Frankleigh House, Bradford-on-Avon, And Another.
*  Date of Warrant:  Dec. 29th
*  When Received Into Custody:  1897, Dec 23 
*  Offence as charged in the indictment:  Felonious stealing of ten tons of mixed hay, value £10, the property of George Leonard Cullimore, at Haugh, on the 21st December 1897
*  When tried:  [no entry]
*  Before whom tried: [no entry]
*  Verdict of the jury: Bill ignored
*  Particulars of previous convictions charged in the indictment and proved in Court: [no entry]
*  Sentence or Order of the Court:  [no entry]

I don't know if I'm related or not to this Henry Richman, a 48-year old resident of Bradford-on-Avon, perhaps born in 1849.  My Richman's were near Bradford-on-Avon in Hilperton in 1849, and several Richman cousins resided in Bradford-on-Avon after 1850 (in fact, James Richman's brother, John Richman (1815-1884) died there).

A search of the 1841 to 1901 England census records on FindMyPast reveals only one Henry Richman in Wiltshire in the 1840 to 1850 time period.

*  There is a birth entry in 1840 for a Henry Richman of Warminster, Wiltshire.
*  The 1841 England census for Hilperton shows a 2-month old Henry Richman, born in Hilperton, the son of William and Jane (Bishop) Richman.
*  The 1851 England census for Hilperton shows a 10 year old Henry Richman, born in Hilperton, son of William and Jane Richman.
*  The 1861 England census for Hilperton shows a 20 year old Henry Richman, born in Hilperton, son of William and Jane Richman.
*  The 1871 England census for Hilperton shows a 30 year old Henry Richman, born in Hilperton, with a wife Rosina (aged 27), and two houses above William and Jane Richman on the enumeration.
*  The 1891 England census for Beechingstoke (??) shows a 45 year old Henry Richman, born in Hilperton, a farmer, with a wife Rose (age 40).
*  The 1911 England census for Bishop Cannings parish of Devizes Registraton District shows a 71 year old Henry Richman, born in Hilperton, with a wife Ruth, age 57.

Since this is the only Henry Richman that is close to matching the criminal record, my hypothesis is that Henry Richman, son of William and Jane (Bishop) Richman, is the person in the criminal record.  There are, as can be seen, some evidence conflicts between the census records and the criminal record that need to be resolved.  I realize that I haven't considered Henry Richman's born in other Counties or perhaps residing in other Counties in the census records.

Unfortunately, I don't know the parents of this Henry Richman's father, William Richman (1809-1884) born in Hilperton.  I have several William Richman persons in my database born in the 1790 to 1820 time period, but cannot connect them to parents due to the lack of parish record baptism entries in this time period.

I may still find a criminal record for my James Richman - FindMyPast has only about 20% of the complete Criminal records collection online at this time.

That was a fun hour!!  I love doing unscheduled posts like this - I usually learn something about available records, search techniques, and sometimes even find a distant cousin!

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Treasure Chest Thursday - 1880 U.S. 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 1880 U.S. Census record for my Smith great-great-grandparents and their family in Shannon, Pottawatomie County, Kansas:

The D.J. Smith household entry is:

The extracted information for the household, enumerated on 10-11 June 1880, is:

*  D.J. Smith - white, male, age 41, married, born N.Y., father born N.Y., mother born N.Y.
*  Abba A. Smith - white, female, age 37, Wife, married, Keeping house, born N.Y., father born England, mother born N.Y.
*  David D. Smith - white, male, age 16, Son, single, born Wis., father born N.Y., mother born N.Y.
*  Mamia Smith - white, female, Daughter, single, born Wis., father born N.Y., mother born N.Y.
*  E. Kearns - white, male, age 21, single, born Iowa
*  Jos. P. Vaux - white, male, age 35, Brother-in-law, married, born N.Y., father born England, mother born N.Y.

The source citation for this record is:

1880 United States Federal Census, Pottawatomie County, Kansas, Population Schedule, Shannon township: Page 243D, dwelling #125, family #125, D.J. Smith household; digital image, (; citing National Archives Microfilm Publication T9, Roll 393.

The errors and omissions in this entry include:

*  Devier J. Smith was probably born in May 1839, so his age is correct (this is important because other records - Bible, obituary, gravestone, newspaper) say he was born in 1842.  I don't know why he doesn't have an occupation in this record.  Devier Smith has an entry in the 1880 Agricultural Census in Shannon also.
*  Abba A. Smith's name was Abigail, and she went by Abbie.  She was born in October 1844, so she is 35 years old, not 37.
*  Mamia Smith's name is Mary Ann and she went by Matie.
*  I have no idea who E. Kearns is - perhaps a farm hand?
*  Jos. P. Vaux is Abbie (Vaux) Smith's brother, James P. Vaux, born in 1847, so really age 33.  James Vaux is also enumerated, with his family, in Jewell County, Kansas.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Vote NOW in the About Genealogy Readers Choice Awards 2013

The nominations have been made, and voting has begun on the About Genealogy Readers Choice Awards for 2013.  You can access the categories and the nominees at

The rules are pretty simple:

  • You may vote once per award category per day (each 24-hour period) between February 19 and March 19, 2013.
  • Be sure to return to the main poll page and vote in each of the 2013 About Genealogy Readers' Choice categories.
  • Winners will be announced on March 27, 2013.
  • Users must provide an email address or log in via their Facebook or accounts to vote. This helps to ensure fairness during the voting process.

  • You have to use the About Genealogy page above to access each category.  The page for the last category looks like this:

    On each category page, there is a description of the awards, the reminders on how to vote, the nominees for the category to be voted upon, a place to share that you voted on Facebook, your name, a Captcha so that robots don't take over the voting, and a description of each nominated site.
    The nominees for each category are in alphabetical order.

    Here are the 11 categories and the nominees:

    I showed the Captcha in the last screen above.

    After you have voted for each category, the current results screen appears.  Here are the current results for the last category:

    This was a difficult task because it required clicking on each category on the About Genealogy page, entering your selection and then conquering the Captcha test in order to cast your vote.  It would have been a lot easier to have one page with the 11 categories to select from, and one Captcha to defeat.

    I hope that many readers and genealogists go vote on the nominations - and I'm sure the results will be interesting come March 27th.

    Thanks to Kimberly Powell, who writes the About Genealogy blog and manages the genealogy site, for creating this awards feature and choosing the categories and nominees.

    The URL for this post is:

    Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

    Mining Cornelius Feather's Probate Records for Genealogy Nuggets

    I found the probate records for Cornelius Feather (1777-1853) in the Mercer County, Pennsylvania, probate records in the Pennsylvania, Probate Records, 1683-1994 record collection on FamilySearch recently.

    There are four documents in the Proceedings Index for Cornelius Feather, and I have transcribed all of them:

    *  Administration Citation (Mercer County, Orphans Court Dockets, 1850-1858, Vol. D-E, page 110)
    *  Petition for Writ of Partition (Mercer County, Orphans Court Dockets, 1850-1858, Vol. D-E, pages 148-150)
    *  Proof of Contract of the Sale of Real Estate (Mercer County, Orphans Court Dockets, 1850-1858, Vol. D-E, page 171-172)
    *  Account of the Estate (Mercer County, Orphans Court Dockets, 1850-1858, Vol. D-E, page 221)

    The Administration and Account records are standard form and there is no genealogical information in them that is not in the Petition and Proof of Contract documents.

    Here are the items of interest that I found in the Petition for Writ of Partition.  I have highlighted items that were new to me in RED:

    *  John Feather was a son and heir of Cornelius Feather
    *  Cornelius Feather died intestate, before petition dated 20 August 1855
    *  Cornelius Feather's wife survived him, but was deceased by 20 August 1855.
    *  George Feather was a son and heir of Cornelius Feather
    *  Mary Feather (married name Mary Milner) was a daughter of Cornelius Feather, and was deceased by 20 August 1855
    *  Mary (Feather) Milner had two children, Cornelius A. Milner and Esther Ann Milner
    *  Cornelius A. Milner was at least age 21 and an heir-at-law of Cornelius Feather by 20 August 1855
    *  Esther Ann Milner was a minor (not yet age 18) and an heir-at-law of Cornelius Feather by 20 August 1855.
    *  Sarah Feather (married name Sarah Carringer, wife of Henry Carringer) was a daughter of Cornelius Feather, and was deceased by 20 August 1855
    *  Eliza, David J., George W. Cornelius A. and Mary Carringer are of age as of 20 August 1855, and are heirs-at-law of Cornelius Feather.
    *  Sarah, Henry, Loisa M, Matilda S. and Harvy M. Carringer are not of age as of 20 August 1855 and are heirs-at-law of Cornelius Feather.
    *  Cornelius Feather died seized of land in Salem Township in Mercer County, being 6 acres, bounded North by John Hurry's heirs, East by General Irvin, South by Irvin and land sold to Charles Milner, and West by J. Russell.
    *  Charles Milner was guardian of Esther Ann Milner on 11 October 1855
    *  Henry Carringer was guardian of his minor children on 11 October 1855.
    *  D.W. Findley was guardian ad litem of the Carringer minor children on 21 November 1855.
    *  The land in Salem Township was sold at auction to Peter Henry for $1,060 on 18 August 1856.
    *  The heirs-at-law (John Feather, George Feather, children of Mary (Feather) Milner, and children of Sarah (Feather) Carringer) each received $89.95 in the distribution on 19 April 1858.

    Here are the items of interest that I found in the Proof of Contract of the Sale of Real Estate.  I have highlighted items that were new to me in RED:

    *  Cornelius Feather of Salem Township died intestate on 1 April 1853.
    *  John Feather resided in Perry Township as of 20 August 1855.
    *  Cornelius Feather was seized of 5 plus acres of land in Salem Township, Lot 963 of the Fifth  Donation District, on 18 April 1850.
    *  Charles Milner bought this land for $100 on 18 April 1850, paying $55 in the Spring of 1850, and owed $45 plus interest when Cornelius Feather died.
    *  Charles Milner paid the balance to the administrator of Cornelius Feather's estate, and the Court ordered the administrator to convey the deed to Charles Milner on 20 August 1855.

    From other records, I knew that John, George, Mary and Sarah were children of Cornelius Feather and his first wife (name unknown).  I knew that Sarah had married Henry Carringer, and had those 10 children.  I knew, from cemetery records, that Sarah (Feather) Carringer died in 1848.

    I did not have Cornelius Feather's death date, nor the death date of his second wife (first name Mary from 1850 census, who was dead by August 1855).

    My family tree had two husbands for Mary Feather - Dennis Harbaugh (married 1837) and Charles Milner (married ????).  However, Mary (Feather) Harbaugh was still living in 1860 according to census records, so she cannot be the deceased wife of Charles Milner in 1855.  I did not know the names of her Milner children, and still don't know their birth dates (other than Cornelius Milner was at least age 21 in August 1855, and Esther Ann was not yet age 18 in August 1855.

    My hypothesis is that the probate of the estate of Cornelius Feather was delayed until his second wife died.

    These documents, taken together, support my conclusions that Sarah (Feather) Carringer was a daughter of Cornelius Feather, and that my David J. Carringer (1828-1902) was a son of Henry and Sarah (Feather) Carringer.

    With the definition of the land sold to Charles Milner in 1850, I can probably find the approximate location of the Cornelius Feather lot that was sold at auction in the estate proceedings.

    I need to look for guardianship records in Mercer County for the Milner child and the Carringer children.

    I need to search for and find land records in Mercer County (and perhaps other nearby counties) to document any land transactions between Cornelius Feather and his children (or their spouses).  I will wait for the Pennsylvania Land Records to become available in digital format on FamilySearch (hopefully soon!).

    The URL for this post is:

    Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

    (Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 244: Richmond Sisters and Their Daughters

    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 photograph is of two Richmond sisters, and one daughter of each of them.  The persons are (from the left):

    *  Emily White (Richmond) Taylor (1879-1966), sister of Alma Bessie, and mother of Dorothy.
    *  Evelyn (Seaver) Wood (1903-1978), daughter of Alma Bessie.
    *  Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver (1882-1962), sister of Emily and mother of Evelyn.
    *  Dorothy Richmond (Taylor) Chamberlain (1904-1992), daughter of Emily.

    This picture was taken in the summer of 1957 when Evelyn and Walter Wood, with Bessie Seaver and Evelyn's granddaughter, Diana, drove across the USA from Massachusetts to San Diego, and back again.  The picture was taken in the back yard of Dorothy's home at 4601 Terrace Drive in San Diego, probably by my mother or father.

    Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver is my paternal grandmother, and Emily is my great-aunt.  Their parents were Thomas Richmond (1848-1917) and Julia White (1848-1913).  Evelyn is my aunt, and Dorothy is a first cousin once removed.

    This was the only time, and the last time before her death in 1962, that my father saw his mother after his wedding in 1942, and the only time he saw Evelyn after he left Massachusetts in December 1940 to come to San Diego.  I think that it is the only time that Bess saw Emily since my parent's wedding also.   It was also the only time that I met my paternal grandmother.  

    The URL for this post is:

    Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

    Tuesday, February 19, 2013

    Amanuensis Tuesday - Proof of Contract of Sale of Real Estate in Cornelius Feather Probate File

    I posted Amanuensis Monday - Petition for Writ of Partition of Cornelius Feather's Estate yesterday, and need to post this document as well before I analyze what I have learned about the heirs of Cornelius Feather.

    The "Proof of Contract of the Sale of Real Estate" in the probate records for Cornelius Feather (1777-1853) of Salem, Mercer County, Pennsylvania is (Mercer County [Pennsylvania] Orphans Court Dockets, 1850-1858, Vol. D-E, page 171-172, accessed on in the Pennsylvania, Probate Records, 1683-1994 collection, transcribed by Randall J. Seaver):

    The transcription of this document is:

    "August Term 1855
    Proof of Contract of the Sale
    of Real Estate of Cornelius
    Feather deceased
       22   To
    Charles Milner
    Clerk Findley                   3.50
    Rec. March 24 1860 of John Feather
    my Certs & gave Receipted he??
    D W Findley

    "At an Orphans Court held at Mercer in, and for, the County of Mercer on the 20th day of August A.D. 1855, the petition of John Feather of Perry Township Mercer County Pa. was presented, setting forth, that Cornelius Feather, late of Salem Township in said County died on the first day of April 1853 intestate, and Letters of administration have been issued in due cause of law to your petitioner, John Feather Administrator of all and singular the goods chattels and estate of said Cornelius Feather.  The said Cornelius Feather in his lifetime, to wit, in the month of April A.D. one thousand eight hundred and fifty was seized in fee of and in five acres, one rood and eighteen perches of land, commencing at a post, thence, West fifty six perches to a post, thence North eleven perches and four links to a post, thence North 79 deg East forty eight perches to a post, thence East 22 deg South twenty two perches to the place of beginning, containing as above stated fve acres one rood and eighteen perches, and being part of Donation Lot No. 963 in the fifth Donation District, and fully described in a draft or plot hereto attached as surveyed on the 12th day of March 1855 by Benjamin Robinson and being so seized the said Cornelius Feather did by a parcl contract or bargain, bind himself to Sell and convey said above described piece or parcel of land to Charles Milner in fee simple, in consideration of one hundred dollars to be paid to said Cornelius by said Charles.  That said Charles Milner paid said Cornelius in his lifetime towit, in the Spring of 1850, the sum of fifty five dollars on said purchase money as part thereof and that the balance thereof, towit, the sum of forty five Dollars with interest thereon since said April 1850 remains still due and unpaid on said land.  That said land Cornelius Feather intended to make, execute and deliver to said Charles Milner a deed for said land, but he was prevented from doing so by death;  that said Charles is ready and willing to pay the balance of the consideration money on said land, but that no sufficient provision for the performance of said bargain or contract appears to have been made by said Cornelius Feather in his lifetime, though he was well satisfied and intended that the same should be consumated.  Your petitioner therefore prays that the Honorable Court will be pleased to designate some day certain at which notice may be given to said Charles Milner, purchaser of said Real Estate to appear in your said Honorable Court and answer this petition, and furthermore that this Honorable Court will be pleased to decree the specific performance of said Contract, inorder to the completing of title of said land to said purchaser, according to the Act of Assembly in such case made and provided and he will as in duty bound ever pray &c.

    "Charles Milner the respondent to the foregoing petition (as per paper filed and dated August 17, 1855) appears in Court, and admits the facts set forth in the above petition, and joins in the prayer of the petitioner.

    "And now towit August 20th A.D. 1855 prayer of the petitioner granted and the Court decree a specific performance of the Contract, and order the administrator John Feather to convey the premises aforesaid to the purchaser, Charles Milner, by deed in fee on his Compliance with the terms of the contract.
                                                                        Per Curiam

    The source citation that I've crafted (using a free-form version of the Digital Archives model in RootsMagic 6) for this specific document is:

    "Pennsylvania, Probate Records, 1683-1994," FamilySearch (( : accessed 15 February 2013), digital images, Mercer County, "Mercer County Orphans Court Docket, 1850-1858, Volumes D-E," "Proof of contract for sale of real estate" entry for Cornelius Feather, 20 August 1855, Volume E, Pages 171-172 (image 421 of 684); citing original records on FHL microfilm US/CAN 878,977.

    So here we have a land description included in a probate record...along with the only definition of the death date of Cornelius Feather.  

    I will try to analyze the information provided in these documents in a future post.  

    Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

    Technology Tuesday - 5 to 50 Gb Free at

    This week's Tuesday's tip - and Technology tip - is to sign up for 5 to 50 gigabytes of free Cloud storage at

    I did this two weeks ago when I read about it online somewhere (???) so I explored the site a bit and signed up.  After all, 50 gb would hold almost all of my genealogy stuff!  And the material is available on mobile devices also - there are apps for both iOS and Android devices.

    Note:  The current Personal account signup is now for only 5 gb - still nothing to ignore.

    I already have a free Dropbox account (2.75 gb) and a free Goggle Drive account (5 gb), so why would I want another Cloud account?  Well, I am not able to put all of my important genealogy files and photograph files onto the Dropbox and Google Drive accounts.  I figured that 50 gb on Box would cover those items that I don't have on the other cloud services.

    I signed up, downloaded and installed the Box software, and the Box Sync software.  Once you log in, the "All Files and Folders" screen appears.  I created Folders using the "New" dropdown menu (shown below):

    Then, within the newly created folder, I used the "Upload to this Folder" in the "Folder Options" dropdown menu (shown below) the files I wanted to put in the folder:

    The uploads from my computer files (I did entire file folders) to the file folders on took a really long time to complete.  It was uploading a megabyte every 4 seconds, and for 11 gigabytes of files that took about 12 hours - I just let it run in the background overnight.  I don't know if this is a restriction caused by my computer system or the system.

    When it had completed, the file structure in one of the folders looked like this:

    It looks just like the files on my desktop computer!  That was the goal, of course.

    The Box Sync program keeps the two systems in synchronization - I see a small popup window from time to time on my desktop computer that tells me they are in sync, especially after I've added to, or edited files in, the file folders in question.

    I can go to any of the folders and files on and "Download" them to the computer I'm using - my desktop, my laptop, a friend's computer, etc. has another program to download that permits creation or editing of office files (word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, etc.) stored on says that groups and companies can share files using  This may be a good solution for genealogical societies who want to share resources, or want to backup their material to the cloud.  I haven't tried this yet.

    I'm still in the process of adding files to, and I need to install on my new laptop computer so that I can access my files on anywhere that I have an internet connection.

    Dick Eastman's acronym is LOCKSS - Lots of copies Keeps Stuff Safe...I agree with this and am trying to practice it.

    The URL for this post is:

    Copyeright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

    Monday, February 18, 2013

    What are the Must-Have Resources for Genealogists?

    I received an email notification yesterday that Genea-Musings was on the list of the 88 Must Have Resources for the Online Genealogist created on the website.    

    I am honored to have Genea-Musings on the genealogy blog list (although I wish they had mentioned my name!).  The list has categories of:

    1)  Free Resources

    **  Database Searches
    **  Genealogy blogs
    **  Handy Tools
    **  Helpful Guides
    **  Unique Resources

    2)  Paid Services

    **  Genealogy software
    **  Subscription services
    **  One-time fee services
    **  Consultant services
    **  Unique services

    Check out the list - there may be resources that you have not considered previously.

    I was surprised by some of the genealogy blogs, free websites and paid services included, and surprised that some of the very best sites, in my opinion, were not included.

    What other free resources or paid services would you consider to be "Must-Have?"  What would you have left off the list?

    By the way, I tried the Search field, and it didn't work.  I wonder why?

    The URL for this post is:

    Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

    Dear Randy - Do You Have a Check List to Track A Person's Information?

    A genealogy society colleague asked me this question last week:

    "Do you have a checklist of items to use as a guide to make sure, and keep track of, life events and documents to a person’s life, i.e. birth certificate, marriage certificate, death certificate, census records, etc.?"

    I replied, "Of course...I'll send a form in word processor format to you."  

    Here are images of a filled-in form for Joshua Smith to show what I use to track what records I have searched for, and found, for a specific person or couple:

    As you can see, I've added an Internet research summary, a timeline, and a to-do list to the first page summary form of an overall research summary.

    The value of these forms is that, in one document, I can see what I have searched for and found, what I have not searched for, and what I need to search for.

    I don't do this for every person - I usually do it only for my brick wall or especially challenging ancestors.

    I can update it any time I want to - I just need to remember to update the revision date as well.  I can have the research form open and search the different websites one-by-one and add material to the form instantaneously.  My goal is to review and update each one of these at least once a year in an effort to capture any new information that becomes available, or identify resources that I haven't considered before.

    The form has evolved over the years, as more resources have come online, that page has expanded.  Since it is in a Microsoft Word table format, I can expand the lists to additional pages as needed, whether it's adding categories or adding more detail to a category.

    I've put these files for my elusive ancestors in Evernote so that I have them available to me on my smart phone, tablet and laptop (as long as I have an Internet or cell connection).

    I also provided my colleague an updated list of Internet resources - I think I last updated it in Online Research strategy for Russell Smith back in 2008.  Time for another update soon!

    A list of my favorite genealogy links, by research topic, is posted at  It is still, and will always be, a work in progress!  Other online genealogy researchers have a similar list - for example, Thomas MacEntee's

    I don't want to send this form out to requestors because it is very much a work in progress, and can probably be done better by someone else (or by your genealogy management program).  But feel free to use the ideas and categories to create your own list or form.

    The URL for this post is:

    Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver