Saturday, June 1, 2013

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Create an Ancestral Name Acrostic

Hey genea-folks, 
it's Saturday Night again, 

 time for more Genealogy Fun!

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

1)  Visit Beverly's Reeves, Reaves and More Rives blog post titled John A. and Nancy Reves Remembered.  Note the acrostic poem made from the letters of their names.  Isn't that cool?

2)  Select one of your ancestors, and make a Name Acrostic for them. If you can write poems like these, please do it.  If you're non-creative like me, then just list the letters of their name and write one word for each letter in the name that describes your selected person.

3)  Show us your Name Acrostic on your own blog post, on a comment to this post, in a Facebook Status or a Google+ Stream post. 

Thank you to Beverly for the great example, and to Denise Spurlock who gave me this idea for SNGF.

Some help:  I found a good list of positive words at

Here's mine, for my grandmother, Emily Kemp Auble:  

* Encouraged friends and family

* Mellow and merciful
* Inviting as a hostess
* Loved learning and helping
* Yearned to please and help
* Kind to a fault
* Economical as a homemaker
* Mistress of good manners
* Patient and positive
* Accomplished at flower arranging
* Understanding and uplifting
* Beloved by all who knew her
* Loving as a wife, mother, grandmother
* Energized by Squirt!

The URL for this post is:

copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

SCGS Genealogy Jamboree - My Sunday Sessions

The Southern California Genealogical Society's 44th Annual Genealogy Jamboree is next week (June 7-9) in Burbank, California.  They announced their FREE Live Video Streaming sessions on their blog post here.  That is an excellent opportunity for distant genealogists to see world-class speakers for free at home.

I downloaded the Jamboree App for my iPhone and Samsung tablet last week, and have now selected my sessions to attend.  The schedule of classes for Sunday are on the Sunday sessions page.  Here is my list for Sunday, 9 June:

8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.:  

 SU008:  Thomas MacEntee - "Successful Cluster and Collateral Searches"

10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.:

*  SU012:  Paula Stuart-Warren - "What Next? Developing Research Plans"

1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

*  SU023:  Pamela Weisberger - "Chutes and Ladders: Approaches to Genealogy"

2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

We usually have to leave around 3 p.m. in order to catch the Amtrak train back to San Diego, so I will not attend a session at this time.  Too bad, there are some good ones!

That should keep me busy on Sunday.  Of course, I will do my share of wandering around the exhibit hall, which opens at 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. 

I'm glad that some of the other sessions will be on video so that I, as an SCGS member, can watch them later. 

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Surname Saturday -- FOSTER (England > Colonial Massachusetts)

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

I am in the 7th great-grandmothers, up to number 591, but I don't know her name. So it's on to number 595: Elizabeth FOSTER (1673-????)[Note: the earlier great-grandmothers and 7th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts].

My ancestral line back through two American generations of this FOSTER family line is:

1.  Randall J. Seaver (1943-living)

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)

18.  Edward Hildreth (1831-1899)
19.  Sophia Newton (1834-1923)

36.  Zachariah Hildreth (1783-1857)
37.  Hannah Sawtell (1789-1857)

74.  Josiah Sawtell (1768-1847)
75.  Hannah Smith (1768-1827)

148.  Ephraim Sawtell (1735-about 1800)
149.  Abigail Stone (1736-before 1800)

296.  Hezekiah Sawtell (1703-1779)
297.  Joanna Wilson (1701-1786)

594.  John Wilson, born 03 January 1672/73 in Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died after 1717 in Billerica, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 1088. John Wilson and 1089. Johanna Carter.  He married 27 October 1694 in Billerica, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
595.  Elizabeth Foster, born 07 October 1673 in Billerica, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  

Children of John Wilson and Elizabeth Foster are:

*  John Wilson (1695-1764), married (1) 1722 Jemima Shed (????-1740); married (2) 1742 Mary Shed (????-1747).
*  Elizabeth Wilson (1697-????), married William Frost.
*  Joseph Wilson (1699-????), married about 1732 Sarah --?--
*  Joanna Wilson (1701-1786), married 1723 Hezekiah Sawtell (1703-1779)
*  Allice Wilson (1703-????), married Isaac Stearns
*  Jacob Wilson (1705-????), married before 1737 Hannah
*  Sarah Wilson (1706-1744), married 1730 John Dean (1705-????)
*  Mary Wilson (1708-????)
*  Esther Wilson (1710-1729)
*  Dorcas Wilson (1711-????), married Ebenezer Wyman.
*  Seth Wilson (1713-1783), married before 1744 Mary --?--
*  Benjamin Wilson (1715-????)
*  Rebecca Wilson (1717-1729).

1190.  Joseph Foster, born 28 March 1650 in Weymouth, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States; died 04 December 1721 in Billerica, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He married 11 December 1672 in Billerica, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
1191.  Alice Gorton, born before 08 March 1651/52 in Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States; died 17 May 1712 in Billerica, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  She was the daughter of 2382. John Gorton and 2383. Mary.

Children of Joseph Foster and Alice Gorton are:

*  Elizabeth Foster (1673-????), married 1694 John Wilson (1673-after 1717)
*  Joseph Foster (1678-1678)
*  Thomas Foster (1681-????), married 1706 Hephzabeth Sawtell (1689-????).
*  Sarah Foster (1683-1683)
*  John Foster (1685-1685)

2380.  Thomas Foster, born about 1600 in Ipswich, Suffolk, England; died 20 April 1682 in Billerica, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 4760. Thomas Foster and 4761. Abigail Wimes.  He married 1638 in Braintree, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States.
2381.  Elizabeth Whitmore, born in England; died 29 January 1694/95 in Billerica, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.

Children of Thomas Foster and Elizabeth Whitmore are:

*  Thomas Foster (1640-1679), married 1662 Sarah Parker (1640-1718)
*  John Foster (1642-1732, married (1) 1663 Mary Chillingsworth (1642-1702), married (2) 1702 Sarah Thomas (????-1731).
*  Increase Foster (1644-????)
*  Experience Foster (1644-????), married 1663 Joseph French (1640-????)
*  Elizabeth Foster (1646-1726), married 1667 James Foster (1640-1711)
*  Hopestill Foster (1648-1679), married 1670 Elizabeth Pierce (1646-????)
*  Joseph Foster (1650-1721), married (1) 1672 Alice Gorton; married (2) 1712 Margaret Brown ; married 1716 Rebecca Parker.

Information about the Foster families was obtained from:

Frederick Clifton Pierce, Foster Genealogy (Chicago, Ill. W.B. Conkey Company, 1899).

Rev. Lucius R. Paige, "Family of Thomas Foster," New England Historic and Genealogical Register, volume 26, number 4, page 394, October 1872.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Friday, May 31, 2013

First Look at's Story View

I heard about the new "Story View" on about a week ago on Facebook, learned that about 10% of users were able to use it, and was disappointed that I was not one the first persons asked to use it.  I checked again last night, and noticed that I was now invited to use it.  So I wanted to test it, and describe it to my readers.

The invitation occurred as a popup message when I accessed one of my Ancestry Member Trees.  I accepted the invitation, and found that it applied to all of my AMTs.  Here is how you access it (after you've accepted the invitation) and use it:

1)  On a Person page in my Ancestry Member Tree, I navigated to the Person Profile of my grandfather, Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942).

The green "Story View" button is next to the "Edit This Person" button below the person's name and birth/death information.

2)  I couldn't resist clicking on the green "Story View" button and, after 10 to 30 seconds, saw:

The screen above has a preferred picture, and a vital records and other events summary, probably gleaned from the birth, marriage and death events in the AMT, plus some of the other events.  Following the summary, images with a short description (if provided) are presented in chronological order.  For instance, I used the World War I Draft Registration for Fred Seaver as a birth source, and attached it to the Birth record, as indicated above.

The next screen shows the next two images, for the 1876 birth registry entry and the 1880 U.S. Census.

The Birth Registry entry has no comment - if I click on the date box, I can edit it.  If I run my mouse over the line below the date, I can add a caption or description to the image.

I only had one image in my Media Gallery in the Ancestry Member Tree (with a date of 1900 in the Date field), and it was also shown:

There were 10 items in the list of images (one photo, 9 attached images from databases), ending with a City Directory entry for 1940.

3)  I realized that I had not uploaded the death certificate to the AMT, and so I did that from within the AMT.  I then went to the "Story View" to see if it was added.  I had to click on the "Update" button at the top of the "Story view" page just below the life summary of the person.  When I did, there was the Death Certificate I uploaded into the AMT:

4)  Then I realized that I didn't have the photograph of the gravestone for Fred Seaver, so I uploaded that to Family Tree Maker 2012, and then synced the FTM 2012 database to the Ancestry Member Tree.

5)  I then went back into the Ancestry Member Tree, updated the "Story view" and saw the gravestone photo below the Death Certificate:

I now have 12 items (2 uploaded images, and 10 attached records) I need to edit the date and add a description to the gravestone photo that is more accurate - he died in 1942!

Users can move the images up and down the "Story View" by clicking the image and the image can be then be moved up, moved down, resized or deleted:

I edited the World War I draft registration to reflect the 1918 date, and moved it down between the 1910 and 1920 census records.

6)  What about the Family Tree Maker 2012 database?  Here is the Person page for Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942):

The screen above shows two media items uploaded from my files, and the nine attached items in the Sources and Media tabs on the right side of the screen.  The gravestone photo, which I uploaded and attached to the Burial Fact in FTM 2012, is in that Fact's media list.

Those 12 items are what is currently in the Ancestry Member Tree "Story View."

7)  This "Story View" feature works pretty well, but it is dependent on the images that are uploaded by the user to the Ancestry Member Tree, or are attached to persons in the Ancestry Member Tree using Ancestry's "Save to someone in your tree" or using the "Review Hints" system on the website or on your mobile device using the Ancestry App.  For some of the images, the date may not be exactly correct, and it may be necessary to edit the image title and the image description.

My edited "Story" for Frederick Walton Seaver can be viewed (if you are an Ancestry subscriber) at

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

SCGS Genealogy Jamboree - My Saturday Sessions

The Southern California Genealogical Society's 44th Annual Genealogy Jamboree is next week (June 7-9) in Burbank, California.  They announced their FREE Live Video Streaming sessions on their blog post here.  That is an excellent opportunity for distant genealogists to see world-class speakers for free at home.

I downloaded the Jamboree App for my iPhone and Samsung tablet last week, and have now selected my sessions to attend.  The schedule of classes for Saturday are on the Saturday sessions page.  Here is my list for Saturday, 8 June:

8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.:  

*  SA010:  D. Joshua Taylor - "Preserving Digital files - A Step-by-Step Guide"

10 a.m. to 11 a.m.:

*  SA018:  Kory Meyerink - "Genealogical Periodicals: Where the Answers Are"

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

*  SA026:  Thomas MacEntee panel - "Blogger Summit"

2:00 p.m to 3 p.m.:

*  SA037:  Lisa Louise Cooke - "The Google Earth Military March Game Show"

3:30 p.m to 4:30 p.m.

*  SA045:  Judy G. Russell - "No Vitals? No Problem! Building a Family From Circumstantial Evidence"

5 p.m to 6 p.m.

*  SA048:  Thomas MacEntee - "Staying Safe Online"

That should keep me busy on Saturday.  Of course, I will do my share of wandering around the exhibit hall, which opens at 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Most evenings, I'll be in the "Bloggers lounge" between the hotel lobby and the west wing of the hotel. 

I'm glad that some of the other sessions will be on video so that I, as an SCGS member, can watch them later. 

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 for my almost weekly post of helpful and interesting reader comments, and my own responses to them.  

1)  On "Early New England Families Study Project" at NEHGS - WOW!! (29 May 2013):

*  Howard Swain offered:  "You asked for a web page with the new sketches. As was mentioned in today's The Weekly Genealogist (free weekly newsletter from NEHGS) the sketches are here:

"In the Search Fields area, there is a drop-down menu that lists all the families so far."

My comment:  Thanks, Howard.  Good find.  

*  Elizabeth H. said:  "I love that the Denisons are covered - my parents are related through this surname. (And Capen is in my tree - I need to look more closely at that sketch.) And yes, if you have New England ancestors, how can you NOT be a member of NEHGS? (I've been a member for over twenty years.)"

My comment:  So have I, it's a no brainer for people like me with hundreds of New England ancestral families.  That said, I find very few articles in NEHGR about my ancestral families, at least over the past 40 years.  But, the NEHGS website has millions of records pertaining to my ancestral families, so it is very worthwhile for me.

*  Ric Skinner asked:  "I've been researching SKINNER and have documented the line from me all the way back to 16th century England. One of my New England ancestors was John Skinner who was part of Thomas Hooker's party that went from eastern MA to CT in the 1600s. His descendants included Jonathan Skinner, prominent in the formation of Hinsdale (formerly Partridgefield) MA around 1795, his son Stephan, born in Hinsdale, and moved with parents and other family members to NY (Pompey, Van Buren, Barre Center). Stephen was a prominent blacksmith and businessman and built the main part of the Skinner-Tinkham house in Barre Center. He then moved to Rockford, IL in 1830 and his son Marvin was reportedly the 6th white child born there. One of Stephen's sons, Henry Mead Skinner, participated in the Colorado gold rush in 1859-60. Many other details have been uncovered about this SKINNER line. Would this be suitable for including in the NEHGS Project?"

My comment:  The basis for this particular project is families that resided in New England during the 1641-1700 time period whose marriages are included in the Torrey book Early New England Marriages to 1700, but are not included in the "Great Migration study project" (immigrants to New England 1620-1640).  It's likely that your John Skinner, and perhaps his children, will be included in the "Early New England Families Study Project."

*  SearchShack noted:  "Great description on how to mine these records! I'm doing the same thing for Shackfords and have seen the Seaver records. Finding names of spouses (at least the first name) in the deeds and when I got to Middlesex finding so much information in these deeds! Really appreciated your example of naming images you are saving as I'm working out my own standard pattern and it helps to see the wonderful examples that you post. Thanks for sharing these details as it helps those of us reading to get going on some of this great research."

My comment:  The real gems are when you find a man deeding land to his son-in-law and his daughter for "love and affection" because then you have direct evidence in an original source of the wife's maiden name and a father's name.  

The naming convention always seems to be evolving - my problem now is that the entire file folder address sometimes runs over the 255 character limit for some images.  I have too many subfolders, but can't change my system because the images in the present folders arel inked to persons/events/sources in my RootysMagic database.

*  Susan Bankhead said:  "I save the images to my Dropbox files, so I have access to them from any device."

and:  "Can you walk us through how you are saving the image? When I hit the save button provided by FamilySearch, it goes straight to Picassa and I want to put it in my Dropbox files. When I right click and do a "save as" it comes out as a bunch of code. I can clip it and send it to Evernote. Do I have to use a webclipper?"

My comment:  When you right click the FamilySearch page and pick "Save as," you will get a web page file, which is why you get the bunch of code when you open it with a photo editor/viewer.  You could use the webclipper function on Evernote, but that would probably pick up the entire web page rather than just the image.

I have my Windows 7 system with Chrome browser set up so that all Downloads go to the "Downloads" file folder.  The downloaded records from FamilySearch get a "record image.jpg," "record image(1).jpg," "record image(2).jpg," etc. file names when they download.  I have to write down which image is from which volume/page and image number.  Then I go to my Downlaods file folder, change the file names to fit in my naming convention, and then Cut/Paste them into the right Ancestor File/Surname/Family Documents folder.  

You can probably change where your computer system puts downloaded files - in Chrome it's in the "Customize and control Google Chrome" icon, then "Settings," choose "Show Advanced Settings" and scroll down to "Downloads" and edit the file folder.  On my system, the file folder is "C:\Users\Randy\Downloads"  In Chrome, you can also choose to have your computer ask where to save the file before downloading it.

3)  On Wish List for Legacy Family Tree 8 (23 May 2013):

*  Diane O. said:  " I'd like Legacy to incorporate a way to use diacritical marks so I can finally spell my Polish ancestors names correctly."

*  Richard Hallford offered several suggestions:  "The picture/photo function in Legacy looks ancient. I would like to be able to use a picture across several functions. E.g., at the moment, if I want to use a photo for a person, I have to "add" this via the person's edit. If I want this 'picture' to be included in an event, I have to again mount it in an event. Same goes for census. I have to 'add' it to the SourceWriter, but then I have to 'add' it again for an event.

"Additionally, the book writing section is very wanting and un-intuitive. I would like to see an entire update of the book making section.

"I would also like to see easier finding of relationships. A "Mind Map" style of presentation of relationships would be helpful, with the ability to edit the presentation.

"I would also like to see a real update on the Timeline, or Chronology function. Incorporation of audio/visual material. The current timeline events provided for non US users is really woeful. Yes, I know you can add your own, but this takes time.

"I would also like an Android version that synched with my main Legacy program. Its just too bulky to hump a laptop back and forward to the Library/Archive etc, when an Android device can easily handle simple data entry.

"The entire GUI of Legacy, to me, is entirely un-intuitive. I know my way around a lot of it, but functions are buried all over the place and the help file is often incomplete, incoherent, or nonexistent. Perhaps an 'Office Assistant' like there used to be in MS Word, would be helpful that you could switch on and off.

"The Research Guidance needs to be more integrated with the 'To-Do' module (which itself appears old and clunky). There appears to be no link to the individual research notes and the Research Guidance. In other words, you have to go to different places, all related to Research plans, results and 'to-do's' that really should be integrated into one flexible module."

*  Melanie noted:  "The Families app for Legacy has an Android version. I have it on my Nook."

My comments:  Thank you all for offering more excellent ideas for improvements to Legacy Family Tree software.  I will have a report on these new features next week from Jamboree, and I hope that Legacy Family Tree will have a press release at Jamboree about the updated Version 8.

* said:  "I also often find name and date inconsistencies when I research my family. Just yesterday, I noticed that a great great aunt's last name is spelled with an "ie" on her gravestone and an "ei" in the newspaper obituary. I think the spelling in the obituary is the correct one--but I can't figure out how it could possibly be wrong on the gravestone. . . .Something for further research someday, but in the meantime just a note."

My comment:  A dyslexic gravestone carver?  There's is no correction fluid for granite or marble!

*  Sandy Scott commented:  "If I find a name spelled or transcribed wrong on a census that I've found on, I will add a correction note to the record there on Ancestry.

"My surname was spelled incorrectly in the 1940 census and I couldn't find myself. I searched by my father's first name (very unusual) and found the record. I entered the correct spelling and now the record appears when I do a search on the surname (spelled correctly)."

My comment:  Excellent suggestion - I've done that so that I can find my way back to the census record.

*  Sonja Hunter offered:  "Your reader should also keep in mind that we don't know who provided the information to the census taker (it could have been a neighbor). Also, we may be more hung up on spelling than people in the past. For example, I remember reading part of a journal from the Lewis & Clark expedition and saw the same word spelled two different ways in the same sentence."

*  Jim's girl said:  "Thank you for posting this, Randy. After clicking on so many Ancestry records, I have numerous alternate facts cluttering my reports. I like your approach. It will be a godsend to anyone referencing your tree! As usual, Randy, you have reminded me that I have a lot of cleaning up to do in my tree.

I've been tied up with my new hobby 'having cancer' and hadn't read your blog in too long. Oh, what I've missed!"

My comment:  Welcome back, Kate (Jim's Girl).  I hope that you soon change your hobby to "got over cancer" and get back to having genealogy fun.  Life intervenes - we have to do what we have to do when it has to be done.  One of my jobs seems to be reminding others about problems with their research and their trees.  In every case, I've "been there, done that" and, in  many cases, I'm still there trying to work my way through my problems.

5)  On Treasure Chest Thursday - 1870 U.S. Census Record for Jonathan Oatley (30 May 2013):

*  On Twitter, Liz Loveland commented:  "Tried to leave comment on post but (as usual) Blogger ate it. Very short version: Check"

My comment:  YES!  Thank you, Liz.  The explanation for Column 20 (page 12) says:

"It is a matter of more delicacy to obtain the information required by column 20.  Many persons never try to vote, and therefore do not know if their right to vote is or is not abridged.  It is not only those whose votes have actually been challenged, and refused at the polls for some disability or want of qualification, who must be reported in this column; but all who come within the scope of any State law denying or abridging suffrage to any class or individual on any other ground than participation in rebellion, or legal conviction of crime.  Assistant Marshals, therefore, will be required carefully to study the laws of their own States in these respects, and to satisfy themselves, in the case of each male citizen of the United States above the age of twenty-one years, whether he does or does not come within one of these classes."

Well, I think you have to be an attorney just to understand all of that!  It seems to me that participation in rebellion, legal convictions of a crime, and violation of a State law constitutes grounds for abridging a person's right to vote in the 1870 time period.

*  ponyswimgal asked:  "Really interesting. Did he fight for the Rebels in the Civil War?"

My comment:  No, I don't think so.  Joseph Oatley was age 42 residing in Rhode Island when the Civil War started.  He may have been a Union soldier and deserted - I don't know for sure.

*  Celia Lewis wondered:  "Perhaps he had mental illness, or a medical/physical condition limiting his ability to vote (stroke, blindness, epilepsy, etc.)... Maybe there's a clue somewhere in the year or three before this census, in a newspaper? Puzzling, isn't it."

My comment:  Excellent suggestion.  I'll look in the newspaper collections.  Puzzles are fun!

6)  That's it for this week's edition of reader comments, and my reaction to some of them.  Keep fighting through the Captcha hangup and comment on my blog posts so I can highlight your helpful and interesting comments next week!

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Dear Randy - How Do You Handle False or Wrong Information?

A Genea-Musings reader recently asked in an email:

"I'm recently getting 'serious' about my genealogical research and have just started reading your blog.  I find it very entertaining and helpful.  Because of you, I have ordered 'Evidence Explained!' and will endeavor to be as accurate as possible when citing my sources!

"I was wondering, though, how you handle information you know to be false.  For example, my great grandmother's name was incorrectly recorded on the 1910 U.S. Census as "Domeca," when her name was, in reality, "Domenica."  In another census, her family's last name was very badly misspelled, but I know it's the correct family because it's the same address as 10 years prior and all the first names and ages are correct for the family members (other sources also confirm they never moved).  Do you enter this information into your database as alternate facts in the interest of being thorough, or do you disregard it?"

My response:

For your specific problem, I would enter the names in my database with what I think is correct - in your case, Domenica.  That is your Conclusion based on the evidence at hand.  Hopefully, you have several sources that spell her name that way.  Same with the last name that was badly mangled in the census.  You could discuss in the Note for the Name, in your Person Note, or in your Research Notes, that different records provided different spellings, and you concluded that the correct name was whatever you decided.  If you obtain more evidence, your conclusion may change, or be corroborated.

 I do add Alternate Names for different names used in records, but pick the name (draw a Conclusion) that I think is correct for the "Name" field.  Then I write a Name Note for the Name fact describing the variations and why I chose the Name I did for the person in my database.

I also add Alternate Events for different dates and places for a given Event, but I don't do every Alternate date - from census records, for instance, because they are usually inexact.  If there is a range of birth dates, I will write a Birth Event Note that lists the evidence, the analysis of the evidence at hand, and my reasons for the Conclusion.  I put my Conclusions in the Birth Event fields.

In the Person notes, or the record event Notes (e.g., a census Event Note), I transcribe the names exactly as they were written on the record.  If the name was indexed incorrectly by the data provider, I would note that also.  In the Note, I explain why you think the record pertains to your family.

For information in any record that I know (from personal knowledge, or from an evaluation of all evidence) to be false or wrong, I would discuss it in the Event Notes, or the Person Note, or the Research Note, so that others who use/see/find my database understand what I've found, how I analyzed it, and the evidence that drew me to a conclusion.

I also suggest that you become familiar with the Genealogical Proof Standard (Evidence! Explained is a good start, but there are other resources, including websites, blog posts, webinars, videos and books) and practice it in your research and documentation efforts.

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

SCGS Genealogy Jamboree - My Friday Sessions

The Southern California Genealogical Society's 44th Annual Genealogy Jamboree is next week (June 7-9) in Burbank, California.  They just announced their FREE Live Video Streaming sessions on their blog post here.  That is an excellent opportunity for distant genealogists to see world-class speakers for free at home.

I downloaded the Jamboree App for my iPhone and Samsung tablet last week, and have now selected my sessions to attend.  The schedule of classes for Friday are on the Jambo Free page and the Friday sessions page.  Here is my list for Friday, 7 June:

9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.:

*  FR000F1:  John Colletta, on "NARA - Our National Archives:  The Astounding Institution and How to Use It"

10:45 a.m. to 12 noon:

*  FR000B:  "Genealogy World Roundtable Discussions"

1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

*  FR005:  Geoff Rasmussen on "What's New in Legacy Family Tree 8"

3 p.m. to 4 p.m.:

*  FR016:  Judy G. Russell on "The Ethical Genealogist"

4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.:

*  FR026:  Daniel Poffenberger on "The Parish Chest: Beyond the Baptism, Marriage and Burial Registers"

That should keep me busy on Friday.  Of course, I will do my share of wandering around the exhibit hall, which opens at 12 noon, but I'm looking forward to attending classes, seeing my friends and colleagues, and enjoying the Jamboree atmosphere.  Most evenings, I'll be in the "Bloggers lounge" between the hotel lobby and the west wing of the hotel.

I'm glad that some of the other sessions will be on video so that I, as an SCGS member, can watch them later.

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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Treasure Chest Thursday - 1870 U.S. Census Record for Jonathan Oatley

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 1870 United States Census record for Jonathan Oatley (one of my 3rd great-grandfathers) in Killingly (West Killingly Post Office), Windham County, Connecticut:

The Joseph Oatly household:

The extracted information for the household, enumerated on 12 August 1870:

*  Joseph Oatly - age 53, male, white, a Stone Cutter, $4000 in real property, $850 in personal property, born Rhode Island, a male citizen of U.S. age 21 years or older, a male citizen of the U.S. age 21 years or older whose right to vote has been denied or abridged on other grounds than rebellion or other crime.
*  Cynthia Oatly - age 55, female, white, keeping house, born Rhode Island
*  Joseph F. Oatly - age 17, male, white, no occupation, born Conn.
*  Alice Oatley - age 14, female, white, at school, born Conn., attended school in last year
*  Jonathan Oatly - age 79, male, white, at home, born Rhode Island, a male citizen of U.S. age 21 years or older

The source citation for this census entry is:

1870 United States Federal Census, Windham County, Connecticut, Population Schedule, West Killingly: Page 445, dwelling #725, Family #1045, Joseph Oatly household; digital image, (; citing National Archives Microfilm Publication M593, Roll 116.

The only obvious errors in this enumeration of the Joseph Oatly family with his father, Jonathan, residing with them, is the surname, which most records spell as "Oatley."  Jonathan Oatly was age 79 on the official census day of 1 June 1870  (having been born in July 1790) and was age 80 when the enumerator visited in August.

The most intriguing item on this census record is the last column for Joseph Oatly.  There was a mark there for him - indicating that he was a male citizen of the U.S. age 21 years or older whose right to vote has been denied or abridged on other grounds than rebellion or other crime.  I had never noticed that column before!  What does that mean?  Why would a person be denied the right to vote if he had committed no crime?  I would understand a column that enumerated those whose right to vote was denied or abridged for being a rebel, especially right after the Civil War.  Perhaps Joseph Oatly had not paid his taxes, or was judged a bad citizen.  

The mark in column 20 seems intentional.  There's another mark further down the page for a 19 year old man, but there is no summation at the bottom of the page.  

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copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

How Educated Were People in Worcester County, Mass. in the 1940 Census?

Anne Gillespie Mitchell had a fascinating blog post on her Ancestry Reference Desk blog today titled "How Educated Were Your Ancestors?"  She used the education column in the 1940 U.S. Census to see the spread of education among men born between 1864 and 1884 in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts.

My grandfather, Frederick Walton Seaver, was born in 1876 in Leominster, Worcester, Massachusetts and spent his whole life there.  According to the 1940 U.S. Census, he attended two years of high school (the notation H-2 in column 14 of the enumeration):

That got me thinking about the folks out in the central part of Massachusetts, where my Seaver family resided.  Does the education level attained for persons like my grandparents (born between, say, 1866 and 1886) vary from that found for men in Boston by Anne?

I selected my search terms:

*  Resided in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA in 1940 Census (exact match)
*  Birth year between 1866 and 1886 (exact match)

Here are the results (searched for male, female and everyone):

1)  All persons in Worcester County born between 1866 and 1886:  84,215 total; males 39,967; females: 44,203

2)  Persons with 1st grade of elementary school:  684  (0.8%); males 380 (0.9%); females 304 (0.7%)
3)  Persons with 2nd grade of elementary school: 1,508 (1.8%); males 802 (2.0%); females 704 (1.6%)
4)  Persons with 3rd grade of elementary school:  2,186 (2.6%); males 1,191 (3.0%); females 994 (2.2%)
5)  Persons with 4th grade of elementary school:  4,166 (4.9%); males 2,166 (5.4%); females 1,999 (4.5%)
6)  Persons with 5th grade of elementary school:  3,634 (4.3%); males 2,175 (5.4%); females 1,858 (4.2%)
7)  Persons with 6th grade of elementary school:  6,296 (7.5%); males 3,140 (7.9%); females 3,155 (7.1%)
8)  Persons with 7th grade of elementary school:  4,512 (5.4%); males 2,119 (5.3%); females 2,391 (5.4%)
9)  Persons with 8th grade of elementary school:  23,322 (27.7%); males 11,306 (28.3%); females 12,019 (27.2%)

Total with some elementary school education:  46,308 (55.0%); males 23,279 (58.2%); females 23,424 (53.0%)

10)  Persons with 1 year of high school:  7,226 (8.6%); males 3,086 (7.7%); females 4,141 (9.4%)
11)  Persons with 2 years of high school:  3,490 (4.1%); males 1,515 (3.8%); females 1,975 (4.5%)
12)  Persons with 3 years of high school:  1,496 ( 1.8%); males  653 (1.6%); females 843 (1.9%)
13)  Persons with 4 years of high school:  8,811 (10.5%); males 3,417 (8.5%); females 5,394 (12.2%)

Total with some high school education:  21,023 (25.0%); males 8,671 (21.7%); females 12,353 (27.9%)

14)  Persons with 1 year of college:  937 (1.1%); males 378 (0.9%); females 559 (1.3%)
15)  Persons with 2 years of college:  1,191 (1.4%); males 491 (1.2%); females 700 (1.6%)
16)  Persons with 3 years of college:  562 (0.7%); males 198 (0.5%); females 364 (0.8%)
17)  Persons with 4 years of college:  2,045 (2.4%); males 1,045 (2.6%); females 1,000 (2.3%)
18)  Persons with 5 years or more of college:  544 (0.6%); males 371 (0.9%); females 173 (0.4%)

Total with some college education : 5,279 (6.3%); males 2,483 (6.2%); females 2,796 (6.3%)

Total with some education:  72,610 (86.2%); males 34,433 (86.2%); females 38,573 (87.3%)

Some conclusions:

*  There are 11,605 persons born between 1866 and 1886 residing in Worcester County, Massachusetts who listed no education at all.
*  A higher percentage of females listed some education than males.
*  A higher percentage of males than females had only an elementary school education
*  A higher percentage of females than males had some high school education
*  A higher percentage of females had some college education.
*  About 31% of all persons at least graduated from high school.

Comparing the results to Anne's results for men in Boston, it appears that men in Worcester County had a slightly lower level of education (86% vs. 90%).

I expected education levels for females would be significantly less than males, and I expected that there the percentage of at least high school graduates would be lower.  Data trumps expectations!

That was an interesting study.  Thank you, Anne, for this afternoon's bit of genealogy fun!

Now i'm wondering if a similar study in, say, a farming state, would show significant differences.  Or in a state with many immigrants in this age group.  I wonder how the statistics would change for persons in, say, the 1910 to 1920 birth year range.

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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

"Early New England Families Study Project" at NEHGS - WOW!!

I received the latest issue of the American Ancestors Magazine (published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston), and read about the NEW Study Project, headed by Alicia Crane Williams, titled the "Early New England Families Study Project."  The description of the Study Project is here (published 27 May 2013).

The description includes:

"The Early New England Families Study Project has been created to fill the need for accurate and concise published summaries on seventeenth-century New England families. Using Clarence Almon Torrey’s bibliographic index of early New England marriages and its recent successors as a guide, our goal is to compile authoritative and documented sketches to be published in searchable format on and, potentially, in a series of books. Following the work of Robert Charles Anderson in the Great Migration Study Project, the Early New England Families Study Project will, in the next decades, deal with more than 35,000 marriages."

Further down:

"The first sketches released for this database include the families of John Capen (m. 1637), Daniel Denison (m. 1632), George Denison (m. 1640), Edmund Hobart (m. 1632), Joshua Hobart (m. 1637), Peter Hobart (m. 1628), Thomas Hobart (m. 1629), Francis Hudson (m. 1640), and William Hudson (m. 1641)."

Here is a screen capture of a page from one of the sketches:

These sketches are available to all NEHGS members on the American Ancestors website (use the Search engine, and select the "Early Families of New England" database from the Database list).

I hope that NEHGS will add a web page that provides links to the completed sketches, and will update the sketches as they are added to the collection.

My initial reaction to this announcement last night was WOW - NEHGS is going to create family sketches for families whose parents marriage is included in Clarence Almon Torrey's major work on Early New England Marriages to 1700, but are not covered in the sketches in the other two major study projects, the Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, and Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635 projects.

There were about 35,000 marriages in Torrey's work, and the subsequent revisions to it, so this will be an ongoing project for many years to come.  The article states that these sketches will be online for NEHGS members to review, and therefore can be updated if additional information becomes available.

The beauty of these sketches is that they provide source citations to original source material (e.g., town records, probate records, court records, church records, etc.) and also to authoritative derivative source material (e.g., the Great Migration sketches, NEHGR articles).  Researchers should use those source citations as finding aids and obtain copies or images of the records themselves.

The article noted above mentions that the Great Migration series of books will extend through Immigrants up to the year 1640, so there are several more Great Migration book series in work.

When completed (will it ever be completed?), the genealogical community will have sketches for many of the families in New England up to the year 1700.  This will be a fantastic resource for genealogists.  There really will be no excuse for not using them, since they will be compiled and written by experts at NEHGS who will cite their sources.

Now I'm wondering which of my New England ancestors will be the first to be written up in a sketch in this Study Project, and if that sketch will show that my own research and record collection is accurate.

My next wonderment is "gee, the outline of the sketches are a really good template for any family - how can I adapt my own research and notes to emulate this good example?"

My final wonderment is "how can anyone with significant New England ancestry not be a member of NEHGS?"

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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 258: Little Ed Seaver on the Rocks

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

Here is a photograph from the Seaver/Richmond family photograph collection passed to me by my cousin Laura in 2008:

I cropped the picture that Laura sent me - the album had "Edward Seaver" written below the picture.  Edward Richmond Seaver was born  in 1913, and the boy in the photograph looks to be 3 or 4 years old, so this was probably taken in 1916 or 1917.  The setting is unknown, but it may have been in or near Leominster, Massachusetts, where the Seaver family resided at that time. 

Edward Richmond Seaver (1913-2004) was the son of Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942) and Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver (1882-1962), my paternal grandparents.  Laura received this photograph from her great-grandmother, Grace L. (Richmond) (Shaw) Moody (1876-1963), who was the older sister of Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver. 

My thanks to cousin Laura for sending this picture, and many others, to me, and for permitting me to display them.

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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mining the Massachusetts Land Records, 1620-1986, for Isaac Seaver (1823-1901) Deeds

I've spent several hours during this past week methodically going through the Worcester County [Massachusetts] Deed Indexes on FamilySearch (see Massachusetts Land Records, 1620-1986 Available on FamilySearch - Digital Microfilmfor entries for my second great-grandfather, Isaac Seaver (1823-1901) (known as Isaac Seaver 3d in Westminster, Mass.) and his wife Lucretia T. (Smith) Seaver.  Then I used the volume number and page number gleaned from the Grantee and Grantor Indexes to find and save the Deed transcriptions.  Here is my process - perhaps other researchers can utilize my experience:

1)  My first task was to capture all of the Deed Index entries for the Seaver or Sever surname.  There were separate Grantee and Grantor Index books in two sets of Indexes - one set for 1731-1839 and the other set for 1840-1889.  In each Index book, I found the pages that listed the Seaver/Sever deeds, and saved them to my computer files.  I created a file folder named MassLandRecords in my Seaver surname folder in my Ancestor Files folder, and added the saved page images to the file folder, using a typical file name of:

Seaver-LandRecords-Worcester-Grantee-1731-1839 P-Z-image 247of734.jpg

Fortunately, Isaac came of age in 1844, so I had to look at the second set of the Deed Indexes.  Here's the Grantee Index page with Isaac Seaver's entries:

I did the same for the Grantor Index.  The Grantee and Grantor Indexes have the year the deed was recorded, the person's name, the name of the other party, the volume and page number in the Deed books, and sometimes a town name or other information.

2)  My second task was to find the land records for Isaac Seaver (1823-1901), and his wife Lucretia (1828-1884).  I wrote down the list of deeds for Isaac Seaver 3d and his wife Lucretia.  I am mindful that Isaac Seaver of Westminster died in 1870, and Isaac Seaver 2d of Westminster died in 1892.  For deeds outside of Westminster, I think that Isaac Seaver 3d was not known by the suffix 3d.

Then it was a fairly easy task to find all of the individual Deeds on my list.  Some of the deeds are on more than one page, and it's a good idea to check the next page to make sure that it isn't continued there, and you may find another document of use when you look.

The deeds that I found for Isaac Seaver 3d include:

Grantee Index, 1840-1889:

*  1847; (grantee) Isaac Seaver 3d; (grantor) Samuel A. Monroe; Volume 429, Page 137; Deed; Gardner
*  1858; (grantee) Isaac Seaver 3d; (grantor) Luke Bigelow; Volume 596, Page 381; Deed; not named
*  1864; (grantee) Isaac Seaver 3d;  (grantor) James R. Bruce; Volume 691, page 468; Deed; not named
*  1868; (grantee) Isaac Seaver 3d; (grantor) Benjamin F. Battles; Volume 780, Page 163; Deed; Westminster
*  1869; (grantee) Isaac Seaver 3d; (grantor) Marshall White &c; Volume 784, page 319; Mtg; Westminster
*  1869; (grantee) Isaac Seaver; (grantor) Franklin P. Shumway; Volume 793, Page 309; Deed; Leominster
*  1874; (grantee) Isaac Seaver; (grantor) Joseph Collins; Volume 919, page 312; Deed; not named
*  1881; (grantee) Lucretia T. Seaver; (grantor) Joseph Collins; Volume 1089, Page 73; Mtg; Leominster

Grantor Index, 1840-1889:

*  1859; (grantor) Isaac Seaver 3d; Deposition; Volume 606, Page 442; Deposition; Westminster
*  1861; (grantor) Isaac Seaver 3d; (grantee) James R. Bruce; Page 637, Page 439; Deed; Westminster + not named
*  1869; (grantor) Isaac Seaver 3d; (grantee) Marshall White &c; Volume 784, Page 318; Deed; Westminster
*  1874; (grantor) Isaac Seaver; (grantee) Joseph Collins; Volume 919, Page 313; Deed; Leominster
*  1875; (grantor) Isaac Seaver; (grantee) Charles E. Gould; Volume 945, Page 521; Deed; Leominster
*  1882; (grantor) Lucretia T. Seaver; (grantee) Joseph Collins; Volume 1110, Page 324; Dis Mtg; 1089-73

The current Worcester Deed Books go through Volume 716, so I cannot capture all of the Deeds from this collection at this time.

I did find and save all of the Deed book entries in the Deed books up through Volume 716.

I saved all of the Deed book entries to my file folder for Isaac Seaver + Lucretia Smith with a typical file name of:


Here is the image of one of the deeds:

I included the image number in the file name because I want to be able to find it quickly again - so that I don't have to guess, guess again, and eventually find it.  That assumes, of course, that FamilySearch doesn't change the image sequence!

3)  My next task is to transcribe, and then abstract, the individual deeds and add the information to my database as Events, Source citations, event notes, and images.

I have many more ancestors to find in these Worcester County records, and then will move on to
other Massachusetts counties to find ancestor deeds and Seaver/Sever deeds.

4)  The deed index page captures took almost an hour, and listing the Isaac Seaver entries in the indexes, and capturing the Deed entries, took more than an hour.  So, in two hours, I've created some standards for myself to follow, and have a record of what I've done to date.

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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver