Saturday, November 9, 2013

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - This Week's Genealogy Highlight

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

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

1) What genealogy fun have you had this week?  What is your genealogy highlight of the week?  It could be finding a new ancestor, reading a new genealogy book, hearing a speaker at a seminar or society program, watching a webinar or Hangout On Air, or anything else that you have enjoyed.

2)  Tell us about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a comment to this post, or in a Google Plus or Facebook post.

Here's mine:

This week's highlight for me has to be the Crowdsurcing work done by Genea-Musings readers to help me find the death date of my friend John's grandfather (Louis B. Powell) , and then to find out more about his grandmother (Ethel).

I have had a series of posts, including:

This once again demonstrates the power of genealogy blogging to help a researcher find resources that s/he either doesn't know about or cannot access due to distance or time.

In this case, it has enabled me to build a family tree in genealogy software for my friend John in a week's time.

copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Surname Saturday - BROWN (England > colonial Rhode Island)

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

I am in the 7th great-grandmothers and I'm up to Ancestor  #733, who is Sarah BROWN (1662-1733) 
[Note: the earlier great-grandmothers and 7th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts].

My ancestral line back through three generations in this BROWN 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)

10.  Thomas Richmond (1848-1917)
11.  Julia White (1848-1913)

22.  Henry Arnold White (1824-1885)
23.  Amy Frances Oatley (1826-1864)

44.  Jonathan White (1806-1850)
45.  Miranda Wade (1804-1850)

90.  Simon Wade (1767-1857)
91.  Phebe Horton (1772-????)

182.  Nathaniel Horton (1730-1819)
183.  Sarah Pray (1734-1819)

366.  Richard Pray (1683-1755)
367.  Rachel LNU (1685-????)

732.  John Pray, born about 1653 in Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, United States; died 09 October 1733 in Smithfield, Providence, Rhode Island, United States.  He was the son of 1464. Richard Pray and 1465. Mary.  He married 14 November 1678 in Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, United States.
733.  Sarah Brown, born 18 March 1662 in Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, United States; died before October 1733 in Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, United States.  

Children of John Pray and Sarah Brown are:
*  John Pray (1679-1751), married 1713 Sarah Downing.
*  Sarah Pray (1679-1728), married 1703 Joseph Brown (1678-1764)
*  Richard Pray (1683-1755), married 1725 Rachel (1685-????)
*  Mary Pray (1685-1725), married 1705 Richard Brown (1676-1774).
*  Hugh Pray (1687-1761), married 1716 Abigail Blake (1698-1775)
*  Penelope Pray (1688-1752), married 1710 John Aldrich (1688-1750).
*  Katherine Pray (1689-1728), married 1706 Hazadiah Comstock (1682-1764)
*  Martha Pray (1693-1784), married Joseph Wilkinson (1683-1740).

1466.  John Brown, born about 1628 in England; died about 1706 in Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, United States.  He married about 1658 in Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, United States.
1467.  Mary Holmes, born about 1632 in Lancashire, England; died after 1690 in Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, United States.  She was the daughter of 2934. Obadiah Holmes and 2935. Katharine Hyde.

Children of John Brown and Mary Holmes are:
*  Mary Brown (1659-1678), married Arthur Aylesworth (1653-1726).
*  Sarah Brown (1662-1733), married 1678 John Pray (1653-1733).
*  Martha Brown (1664-1727), married 1682 Joseph Jenckes (1656-1740).
*  Obadiah Brown (1668-1746).
*  Deborah Brown (1670-????).

2932.  Chad Brown, born before 1605 in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England; died 02 September 1650 in probably Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, United States.  He married 11 September 1626 in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England.
2933.  Elizabeth Sharparowe, born about 1604 in Melchbourne, Bedfordshire, England; died before 31 December 1672 in probably Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, United States.

Children of Chad Brown and Elizabeth Sharparowe are:
*  John Brown (1628-1706), married 1658 Mary Holmes (1632-1690).
*  James Brown (1630-1683), married 1650 Elizabeth Carr (1630-1697).
*  Judah Brown (1632-1663).
*  Jeremiah Brown (1634-1690), married 1671 Mary Slocum (1634-1680).
*  Daniel Brown (1637-1710), married 1669 Alice Hearndon (1652-1718).

The best resource for the Chad Brown family is:

Bruce C. MacGunnigle, C.G., "The Children of Chad Browne of Providence, RI, Proved, Disproved and Unproved," The American Genealogist, Volume 62, No. 4, (October 1987)

Other information was obtained from:

The History of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations: Biographical (New York, American Historical Society, Inc., 1920), pages 188-191.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Friday, November 8, 2013

Finding Ethel - Post 2: Ethel Found. Who Were Her Parents?

After I posted Finding Ethel - Post 1: Candidate Search yesterday, I spent the rest of the evening eating dinner, watching TV news, finishing up the CVGS Newsletter for November, and did some work in FamilySearch Family Tree and tried to watch a webinar.  My plan was to work on the Ethel problem this morning.

My Genea-Musings readers had different ideas - they went to work and found several things about Ethel for me.  I posted their comments in Follow-Up Friday - Helpful and Interesting Reader Comments From the Past Week this morning.

So let's take these items one at a time:

1)  Ethel's marriage to Louis B. Powell:

As Gary noted, there are marriage licenses for Oklahoma at the On Demand Court Records website.  Once again, an informed Genea-Musings reader reaches out and helps me because I had no clue that this website exists.  On the site, I filled in the search form with the name "Hall, Ethel," picked the "Marriage Licenses" record category, and added a date range of 1920 to 1942:

There were several matches for Ethel Hall, including this one for her marriage to Louis B. Powell on 15 March 1922 in Sapulpa, Creek County, Oklahoma:

I looked for Louis Powell also, and was rewarded with another one for Ethel M. Powell and Louis Burr Powell on 11 May 1924, also in Sapulpa, Creek, Oklahoma:

Having had such good luck, I looked also for a marriage of Ethel Hall to Loy Lathem or Latham, without a result.

So the conclusion:  I have a marriage license with the names Ethel Hall and Louis B. Powell on it in Creek County, Oklahoma in March 1922.  This fits very nicely with the birth date of their daughter, Agnes Jean Powell in November 1922.  It also gives me the lead to Ethel's parents as John Hall (age 54, born in Indiana, parents born Ohio, a pumper on an oil lease) and Emma Hall (age 54, born in Ohio, both parents born Ohio) in the 1920 U.S. Census record.

So why is there another license for Ethel Powell and Louis Powell in 1924?  Did they divorce, and then get remarried in 1924?  That is a definite possibility.

2)  Ethel's Death:

As I noted in  CrowdSourcing Opportunity: When and Where did John Louis Powell Die? (posted 29 October 2013), Ethel apparently married Loy Latham after Louis B. Powell died in 1935, and they moved to Fairfield, Wayne County, Illinois and were enumerated there in the 1940 U.S. census with Ethel's two sons, Alfred and David.  

Loy U. Latham died in December 1943 in Illinois, and his Find A Grave memorial notes his burial in Del City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma.  

My friend John had told me that Ethel's last name was Kays.  My readers searched last night for me and found Find A Grave memorials for both Ethel M. Kays and her husband, John F. Kays in Maple View Cemetery in Fairfield, Wayne County, Illinois.  Here is Ethel's memorial page on Find A Grave:

There is also a Social Security Death Index entry for Ethel Kays, born 3 October 1907, died February 1981, with the last benefit address in Fairfield, Wayne County, Illinois.

My friend John can obtain a death certificate from the State of Illinois if he wants proof of Ethel's death date, location, birth date and birth place.  Perhaps there is a marriage record for Ethel (Hall) (Powell) Latham to John F. Kays also.

3)  Who Were Her Parents?

This is the next challenge.  The 1920 U.S. Census shows Ethel Hall (age 12, born Indiana) residing with John Hall (age 54, born Indiana) and Emma Hall (age 54, born Ohio).  There is an entry in Lincoln, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma in the 1930 U.S. Census record for a John Hall (age 63, married first at age 22, born Indiana) and Emma Hall (age 63, married first at age 22, born Ohio).  I think, but am not 100% sure, that this is the John and Emma Hall that had a daughter Ethel in the 1920 Census in Sapulpa, Oklahoma.

So this should be a piece of cake, right?  Just find John and Emma with Ethel (and maybe other children) in the 1910 census, and John and Emma in the 1900 census and before.  And maybe some birth and marriage records too.

I looked in the 1910 U.S. census records for an Ethel Hall born in 1907 (plus minus 2 years) in Indiana.  There were four matches, two of them born in about 1907 or 1908.  I worked awhile trying to find both families in the 1900 U.S. census and the 1920 U.S. Census.  The John Hall (born 1873 in Indiana) family enumerated in Owen County, Indiana in 1910 is probably the one enumerated in Spencer County, Indiana in 1920, but it doesn't have an Ethel as a child.

The John Hall (age 44, married 22 years, born Indiana) family in Blackford County, Indiana has a wife Rosa M. Hall (age 38, born Indiana), and five children with Ethel the youngest.  There is a marriage index entry for a John Hall and a Rosa Seabold in the Indiana Marriage Index, 1800-1941 on for an 1887 marriage in Wells County.

The 1900 U.S. Census record for the John K. Hall (age 34, born Aug 1865 in Indiana) family in Chester, Wells County, Indiana shows wife Rosa M.L. Hall (age 29, born Sep 1870 in Indiana), and the same four older children seen in the 1910 census record for this family.

There is a Find A Grave memorial page for a John Hall in the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Montpelier, Blackford County, Indiana:

There are two names on this gravestone, including John Hall, born 23 August 1965 with no death date.  The Find A Grave memorial page for the other name is:

The memorial says Ross M.L. Hall, born 29 Sep 1870 and died 11 Jan 1909.  I downloaded the gravestone image and magnified it a bit:

I think that the gravestone clearly says Rosa M.L. Hall, not Ross M.L. Hall.  The birth date for Rosa matches the birth date in the 1900 Census record.

Note that John does not have a death date.  One conjecture is that when Rosa died in 1909, they invested in a gravestone and left his death date off of it.  Perhaps he was buried someplace else.

However, I'm not 100% sure that this is the right set of parents for Ethel Hall (born 3 October 1907 in Indiana).

I went looking in the Indiana Marriages, 1811-1959 record collection on FamilySearch, and found this marriage license record:

The record says that John Hall and Emma Abrams received a marriage license on 21 November 1911 and married the same day.  The information for John Hall says he was born 23 August 1865, son of Reuben Hall and Elizabeth Mcintire, and that his previous wife had died in 1909.

The record says that Emma Abrams was born 29 November 1875 in Indiana, daughter of Joseph Nelson and Mary Forman, and her previous marriage ended in divorce in 1906.

Based on all of the above, it appears that John Hall, born 23 August 1865 in Indiana to Reuben and Elizabeth (Mcintire) Hall, married (1) Rosa M.L. Seabold, born 29 September 1870 in Indiana and died 11 January 1909 in Blackford County, Indiana, and they had at least 6 children, including Ethel Hall born in 1907-1908.  John Hall married (2) Emma (Nelson) Abrams on 21 November 1911 in Blackford County, Indiana.

4)  The issue is this:  Is this the right family?  I think it is with about 95% confidence.  I think that it is John Hall and Emma (Nelson) (Abrams) Hall in Sapulpa, Oklahoma in the 1920 census with a 12 year old daughter, Ethel.

I'm not done researching yet - I don't know when or where John and Emma died, and would love to have a death record for Ethel that names her parents.  I'm getting closer, though!

I did all of the above without looking in online family trees on Ancestry, FamilySearch or other websites.  It is more fun that way to discover records and relationships, and download all of the images I find and save them in a separate file folder to attach to a tree.  The frustration is, of course, that we don't have ALL of the records available to us either online or in repositories.  I still need to look in other online sites for military records, newspaper records (although the Hall name will be difficult!) and other records.

Thank you to my readers for their help in advancing the Ethel marriage and death records to the goal line.  I welcome any further ideas my readers might have about the parents of Ethel (Hall) (Powell) (Latham) Kays (1907-1981).  Please note that I've found quite a bit on John Hall's father's line already.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

National Genealogy Society Hall of Fame Call for Nominations

I received this call for nominations to the National Genealogical Society (NGS) Hall of Fame from the chair of the nomination committee.  The current members of the NGS Hall of Fame can be seen at



Would your society like to honor a genealogist whose exemplary work lives on today? Perhaps there was a notable genealogist in your state or county whose name should be memorialized in the NGS Hall of Fame.

If so, the National Genealogical Society would like to hear from you. NGS is seeking nominations from the entire genealogical community for persons whose achievements or contributions have made an impact on the field. This educational program increases appreciation of the high standards advocated and achieved by committed genealogists whose work paved the way for researchers today.

Since 1986 when Donald Lines Jacobus became the first genealogist elected to the National Genealogy Hall of Fame, twenty‐five outstanding genealogists have been recognized for their contributions. The 2012 honoree will join this select group of distinguished members. This year’s selection, and the society that honored the nominee, will be feted at the 2014 NGS Family History Conference to be held 7-10 May 2014 in Richmond, Virginia. Nominations for election to the Hall of Fame are made by genealogical societies and historical societies throughout the United States.
Guidelines for nominations:

• A nominee must have been actively engaged in genealogy in the United States for a at least ten years, must have been deceased for at least five years at the time of nomination, and must have made contributions to the field of genealogy judged to be of lasting significance in ways that were unique, pioneering, or exemplary.

• The National Genealogy Hall of Fame is an educational project in which the entire genealogical community is invited to participate. Affiliation with the National Genealogical Society is not required.

• The National Genealogy Hall of Fame Committee elects one person to the Hall of Fame annually. Those elected are permanently commemorated in the Hall of Fame at Society headquarters, Arlington, Virginia.

• Nominations for election to the Hall of Fame are due by 31 January each year. Official nomination forms are available from our website,, Awards &Competitions, or by contacting the National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, VA 22204‐4304; phone 1‐800‐473‐0060.

Follow-Up Friday - Helpful and Interesting Reader Comments From the Past Week

It seems like these Fridays are coming awfully fast ... at least once a week, and then there's the weekend, Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, football and ... and ... the genealogy treadmill just keeps running and I try not to fall off.  Whew, made it through the first sentence!

Here are some interesting and helpful (very helpful!) reader comments on Genea-Musings posts this week:

1)  On Finding Ethel - Post 1: Candidate Search (posted 7 November 2013), my readers got ahead of me again (I stopped searching at 6 p.m. last night...):

a)  pkw offered:  "My first thought when reading your post was that I didn't see consideration of Kays being Ethel's name after her other marriages, and only focusing on before. For example, this could be her: . Especially since she's buried in the same town where she lived with Loy Lathem before he died. Perhaps searching for this Ethel's obituary and/or a marriage record could lead to more information?"

My comment:  I mentioned it, but only in passing.  It was one of today's tasks!  Great find - thanks!

b)  Gary Treat helped tremendously:  "One of the excellent online Oklahoma resources that should prove helpful in this case is the index to court records (including many marriages) found at It's a really good place to start. A search for Louis Powell reveals a marriage license was filed in Creek County, OK on 15 Mar 1922 between Louis Powell and Ethel Hall. Oddly, another marriage license was filed in the same county 2 years later on 11 May 1924 between Louis Burr Powell and Ethel M Powell. Obviously, this is only an index and additional research should be done in the original records, but it looks like you may be on the right track with the Hall family."

My comment:  Excellent find, thanks for the link, and the help.  Glad to know my instinct was right!  Perhaps they divorced soon after the first marriage and got remarried.  

c)  Geolover added:  "Try findagrave for Ethel M. and John F. Kays

"John was single son living with his parents for 1930 and 1940 in Big Mound Twp., Wayne Co., IL.

"A check of the SSDI showed some likely Ethel Kays' but the most likely appears to have been married to a Marshall Kays in Nelson Co., KY in 1940 Census -- they are buried there according to a findagrave entry."


"PS, forgot to mention the Ethel Kays in SSDI, b. 3 Oct 1907, d. Feb 1981, last residence Fairfield, Wayne Co., IL. Which is where the findagrave entry is for, in Maple Grove Hill Cemetery. Makes sense that Ethel did not move away from Wayne County after her last (not necessarily only) remarriage."

My comment:  More information to chase down and sort out, Thanks!

d)  Elizabeth noted:  "If Ethel was a Catholic she may be registered as Mary Ethel. My experience has been that churchmen did not like plain old ordinary Ethel for some reason - perhaps there was no saint with that name. I found a very elusive aunt as Mary Ethel."

My comment:  Interesting idea - these days we sometimes forget that religion played a bigger role in many peoples lives than it does today.

Well -- these comments sure make my genealogy Friday easier...crowdsourcing is a tremendous tool for some of us.  Now I feel like I should have done the search for Ethel Kays last night instead of working on the CVGS newsletter, but then I would have deprived my great readers the chance to help out on this project.  Thank you all.

a)  Geolover commented:  "The matter of duplicates in the FS-Family Tree is much more serious than you suggest. For example, for one of my 3rd-generation Ipswich ancestors there are more than 200 versions that have been uncombined from new.FamilySearch and put into FS-FT. There is indeed an admin. team working on 'famous persons' and uncombining at least some of the Individuals of Unusual Size (IOUS) that made the n.FS program even more unworkable than its original design seemed to be.

"Such duplications are being dumped into Family Tree, but the process of deciding which sets are to be separated has not been disclosed.

"These components of the IOUS tend to have major or minor mistakes including in vital dates, spouse identities, parents and children (many of whom also are IOUS with the same sorts of mistakes).

"In my experience some of the duplicate sets are attached wholesale, seemingly randomly, to completely impossible persons (different surnames from the attached parents, and/or born different centuries from supposed spouses/children).

"My suspicion is that this mass of duplicates (originating in so many copies of user-submitted data that were put into new.FamilySearch) are going to be left in Family Tree for *somebody else* to fix.

"If one had not already conducted sound research on my aforesaid ancestor, it could take days or longer for an admin. person to do so. And there must be at least tens of thousands of these."

My comment:  I understand the problem, but not the magnitude of the problem.  I hope FamilySearch gets the Family Tree sorted out eventually, and I think they will.  They may have to freeze many of the IOUS, enter sourced data from authoritative sources, and then delete the wrong material.  We'll see, but perhaps not in my lifetime.

3)  On Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Trick or Treat Edition (posted 2 November 2013):

a)  Ed Hamilton offered:  "Trick: If you find an ancestor in a set of records, and you know his/her parents' names, then look for siblings by searching the same set of records using just your ancestor's surname and the parents' names. There have been plenty of times I found a Irish county of origin for a person by looking at his sibling's or a relative's records.

Treat: It's been a few months, but it was a treat to find the Valuation Revision Books for Northern Ireland online at

And this week I found out that NI wills and abstracts of wills were at:"

My comment:  Excellent choices, Ed.  Thanks!

4)  My thanks to my readers who successfully defeated the Captcha trap imposed by Blogger to foil spammers (you wouldn't believe what's in my Blogger spam folder!).  I appreciate your comments and research efforts.

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Finding Ethel - Post 1: Candidate Search

During my crowdsourcing effort last week trying to find my friend John's grandfather's death (summarized in CrowdSourcing Opportunity: When and Where did John Louis Powell Die?Crowdsourcing Results: Louis B. Powell Attacked in Drumright, Oklahoma, and  Crowdsourcing Results: Louis B. Powell Death Notice and Obituary), we found that the wife of Louis B. Powell (1901-1935) was Ethel M. (age 22 in 1930 in Indiana).  Their first child was born in November 1922 in Sapulpa, Creek County, Oklahoma.  The 1930 U.S. census says that Ethel M. was 14 when she married, and Louis was age 20, which points to 1921-1922.  It also indicates that both of her parents were born in Indiana.

I have now shared all of the information about Louis Powell's demise with my friend John, and he asked me if I could do some family tree building for him.  How can I resist?  I love doing stuff like this!  I've spent the whole afternoon so far adding content to the FTM 2014 family tree for Louis Powell's ancestry based on records and family tree hints found online.  I still have a lot more to do on that, but I have a good start on it.

John told me what his father's name was, and I'm fairly confident that I can get back several more generations on that line.

The puzzler that is gnawing at my brain (scary thought, eh?) is Ethel.  What was her maiden name, and what happened to her after her first two husbands died (Louis Powell in 1935 in Oklahoma, Loy Lathem in Illinois in 1943).  John  told me that his grandmother's last name was Kays.  But was it her maiden name or the name he knew her by - a married name?  He didn't say it was Powell or Lathem.

The first step I took was to look for an Ethel Kays (I used the wildcard "k*y*s" for the surname), born about 1907 (plus/minus 2 years) residing in Oklahoma in the 1920 U.S. census.  There were no matches for that name in all of Oklahoma.  No "ka*s," or "ka*s*" or "kay" either.  Of course, Ethel may have been residing in another state in the 1920 U.S. Census.  The only Ethel "k*y*s" in the 1920 census born in Indiana was Ethel Keys, the wife of an Earl Keys in Dayton, Ohio.  I doubt that Kays (or a variant) was the maiden name.  Which means it is probably be a married name.

The next step was to assume that Ethel was residing in Creek County, Oklahoma in the 1920 U.S. Census, and look for different persons named Ethel with no surname.  That result is shown below:

There are 12 matches on the list that match that criteria.  None of them are anywhere near Kays.  Of the 12 matches, 9 were already married.  The three who were daughters in families were:

*  Ethel Hall, born about 1908 in Indiana, daughter of John and Emma Hall, residing in Sapulpa.
*  Ethel Faye Minnear, born about 1908 in Indiana, daughter of William V. and Della M. Minnear, residing in Sapulpa.
*  Ethel Weedman, born about 1909 in Indiana, daughter of A.G. and Eva Weedman, residing in Euchee.

Clicking on Ethel Weedman, I found that she was married to Doil Ozbirn in the 1930 census, and Ethel W. Ozbirn has a burial record in 2005 in San Diego, California on the Billion Graves website.  I don't think that this is the right Ethel.

Ethel Hall's father, John Hall was born in Indiana in the 1920 U.S. Census, and his wife Emma Hall was born in Ohio.  In the 1930 U.S. census, this couple resided in Lincoln, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma without a daughter Ethel.  This Ethel is a definite possibility, but her parents birthplaces don't match Ethel Powell's parents birthplaces.  This family was enumerated in ED 46, on sheet 2B in Sapulpa (image 254).

Ethel Faye Minnear's parents were both born in Indiana in the 1920 U.S. census.  In the 1930 U.S. census, the father resided in Dallas, Texas with a wife Mary and without any children.  I note that Ethel M. might be Ethel Minnear.  This Ethel is a definite possibility also, and her parents birthplaces match Ethel M's parents birthplaces.  The William V. Minnear family resided in ED 42 in Sapulpa, and were enumerated on sheet 3A in the 1920 U.S. Census.  

Where did the Icis Powell family, including Louis Powell, age 17, reside in the 1920 Census?  In ED 46, and was enumerated on sheet 7B (image 264), 10 sheets after the Hall family.

Because she was only 13 or 14, and he was 19 or 20, when they met and had a child in November 1922, my hypothesis is that they lived in fairly close proximity to each other.  Because of that, I'm going to focus first on the Ethel Hall, the daughter of John and Emma Hall, because I think that she is the most likely Ethel that married Louis B. Powell.  

I won't forget Ethel Minnear, and will consider her if my research reveals evidence that Ethel Hall was not the wife of Louis B. Powell.

A caveat:  There could have been Ethels who were residing in or near Sapulpa that were not enumerated in the 1920 U.S. Census.  Or Ethel may have lived outside of Creek County, Oklahoma in the 1920 U.S. Census.  It may be that I never determine who Ethel is, but I'm going to try to find out by methodically following leads as they develop.

What should I do next in this Ancestor Hunt?  What other options do I have?  What should I check next?  What have I missed?

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver   

Over 5,000 Databases Added to Mocavo in Past 5 Days, and Dataset Title Search Tool

I received an email from Mocavo today noting that they have added over 5,000 datasets in the past five days, including over 300 indexes from several states.  They currently have over 130,000 datasets available; most of them are relatively small datasets, but there are some large ones also (e.g., Social Security Death Index, Find A Grave, etc.).  The list of all datasets is at

I posted a series about Mocavo in October, detailing that a registered user can search Mocavo for free, but it's a bit time consuming to do so because you have to search one dataset at a time.  A subscriber to Mocavo can search all datasets at one time.  See Searching on Using a Mocavo Gold Account for links to the series of posts.

The list of datasets added in the past five days is here.  The top of the list looked like this:

There were 5,457 datasets added in the last five days.  There is a list of Categories on the left-hand side of the screen.  I clicked on the "BMD" category and the list of 493 datasets added in the past five days were listed:

There is an interesting set of radio buttons on the search box at the top of the screen, and at the top of the All Datasets screen.  There are three radio buttons:

*  Search within these datasets (meaning the last five days in this case)
*  Search within all datasets (meaning all available datasets)
*  Search for dataset titles

The third one is very useful.  I clicked on the "Search for dataset titles" button and entered "chester" in the "Dataset Title" search field:

There were 362 datasets with "chester" in the dataset title.  There are 169 for "chester pennsylvania" in the dataset title.  There are 30 with "san diego" in the title.  There are 70 with "probate" in the title.

That is a very handy search tool to help a researcher.  My experience with Mocavo to date in searching for a person (first and last name), even with a keyword (location or year or spouse), is that I can get MANY matches in a lot of esoteric datasets for a typical name.  With this "dataset title" tool, I can look in a specific place or in a specific place and record type.

I hope that Mocavo adds this tool to the Home and Search pages to help researchers quickly see what is available in the 130,000 plus datasets.  Once they pick a specific dataset from the list available for a place, they can then search for names within that dataset and explore page by page if they desire.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Disclosure:  Mocavo provided me with a complimentary Mocavo Plus membership (now called Mocavo Gold) two years ago and I appreciate their generosity.  This has not affected my objectivity in reporting on Mocavo's capabilities and resources.

Treasure Chest Thursday - Post 188: Alma Bessie Richmond 1882 Birth Registration

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 Birth Registration for my grandmother, Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver (1882-1962) in Killingly, Connecticut.

The transcription of this document is (typed portions underlined, handwritten portions in italics:

COUNTY OF WINDHAM     } ss.      Registrar's Office, Town of Killingly

I here by certify that     Alma Bessie Richmond     
was bor in said town of Killingly on the     16th     day of
    February 1882     , as appears by the records
of said Town of Killingly relating to the registration of births in said Town.
Father     Thomas Richmond       Mother      Julia M. White      

IN WITNESS THEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the
seal of my office, at said Killingly, this     13th     
day of       December      19  46  .
                                          Attest:  Louisa B. Viens   Ass't Registrar

The source citation for this document is (using the Birth Certificate (Local Level) source template model in RootsMagic):

Alma Bessie Richmond, birth certificate (16 February 1882), Town Registrar's Office, Killingly, Windham County, Connecticut (certificate dated 13 December 1946).

My guess is that my grandmother obtained this birth registration certificate because she was requested to prove her age and birth date.  In December 1946, she may have been applying for an old age pension of some sort to start at age 65 (she would have been 65 two months later).  It could have been Social Security, but I don't know if she had a Social Security number.

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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Whew - is Working Well For Me Again!

I posted Who Messed Up my Original Image "Interactive View" on yesterday when was somehow messed up on my desktop computer.  My readers and concerned colleagues (concerned about my mental health...) will be happy to hear that the problem, whatever it was, has been fixed.  

Of course, I have no clue as to what caused the problem or how it was corrected.  Maybe I'll learn sometime down the road.  Or not.  No matter - now works well (like it did before Monday night) for me.  Whew!

What did I do, you ask?  My initial fear was that somehow my computer had a problem that messed up the Ancestry web pages.

1)  I thought that perhaps my cookies or browser history was the problem, or my registry.  Since I am using Windows 7 and the Chrome browser, I went into the Chrome Settings and clicked on "Reset Browser Settings."  The message associated with that included:

"This will reset your homepage, new tab page and search engine, disable your extensions and unpin all tabs. It will also clear other temporary and cached data, such as cookies, content and site data."

I also rebooted my computer and then tried to access Ancestry again.  It was still messed up - in fact, now the home page was messed up, and some of the links on the messed up home page didn't work.  Shoot.

2)  I wondered if it was my account.  I tried my Basic (free) registered account, and had the same problem.  I closed the window and typed into the eddress line, and it couldn't find the website.  When I used the bookmarked link, it found the site but the page was messed up.

3)  I got the laptop computer out, which had not been on Ancestry for over one week, and started it up and accessed Ancestry, and the home page, and other pages, was messed up.  Shoot again!  However, I noticed that the home page image looked somewhat different from before.  I closed down the browser on the laptop.

4)  I came back to the desktop computer, closed the browser and opened it again, and used the Bookmark to access  No problem!  It worked!  And the home page has a somewhat different look to some of the segments.

5)  Back to the laptop computer, open the browser and access, and the home page, and all other pages work fine.  It worked!  Five minutes expired from Step 3 to Step 5.  

So what happened?  Did change the coding on their pages in the five minutes between Steps 3 and 5 above?  Was I the only customer that had this problem?  Nobody emailed me or commented on my blog post or on Facebook saying that they also had the problem.  I've had some comments that was acting strangely yesterday, but nothing that said they were having my problem.

I am extremely happy, and my mental health is much improved, now that is working fine for me again.  

So what does this "new look" look like?  Here's the top of my Home page screen:

I see some slight differences here compared to the home page from a few days ago, including:

*  The "Advanced search" button in the "Search" section has a box around it - I think it was just a link before.

*  The "See all new records" is at the top of the "What's Happening at" section is a button at the top of the section - it was a link at the bottom of the section before.

*  The "New records" are on the left side of the "What's Happening..." section, and the advertisement is on the right side of the section.

There are probably several other changes to the Home page.

I searched for my grandfather in the 1940 U.s. Census, and saw the Record Summary:

There may be changes on this page, but nothing was obvious to me.  The 1940 census (and the 1930 census) have a link for the "Use default viewer" and a link to "View Image" in the "Interactive Viewer."  When I clicked on the "View Image" link, I saw the image of the census page:

I could zoom in and out, and the person searched and found was highlighted in yellow (and the rest of the household in green),.  That is not new, it's typical of the "Interactive Viewer."

I also clicked on the "Use default viewer" on the Record Summary page and saw:

That works too - it worked yesterday also without the messed up page.

The text with the light blue background above the census image says:

"We’ve designed a new image viewer that is faster, works across more devices and browsers, and includes interactive tools for key collections. This viewer will be discontinued soon."

I noticed that the "Use default viewer" link only appeared on the 1930 and 1940 census record summaries, and not on record summary pages for census records before 1930.  There is a way to choose the older viewer by choosing "Tools" and then "Switch to old viewer" on all of the "Interactive viewer" pages.  

So, I'm happy as a clam in warm water filled with algae right now - is back to "normal" for me.  I still wonder what happened around 10:30 PST this morning to make it magically get corrected...but I'm not complaining.  My wife will be extremely pleased that I'm communicative at dinner time tonight.  

Isn't digital technology wonderful?

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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Janet Hovorka Announces New Activity Book Series for Youth

I received this press release this morning from my friend and colleague, Janet Hovorka:


CONTACT: Janet Hovorka, 801-472-1091,

New Activity Book Series Brings Youthful Fun To Family History
Cedar Hills, UT – November 6th, 2013 –
Studies have shown that greater knowledge about family history especially strengthens and empowers youth by creating self-esteem, resilience and a greater sense of control over their lives.  Learning about the family’s past also strengthens the relationships between living family members by creating a shared experience and core identity that no one else in the world can duplicate. 

To help families achieve these great benefits authors Janet Hovorka and Amy Slade have developed a new series of “Zap The Grandma Gap--My Ancestor” activity books.  The first four books, My British Ancestor, My Civil War Ancestor, My Swedish Ancestor and My German Ancestor are 52 page activity books designed for 6-14 year olds with puzzles, activities, games and recipes combined with questions and learning opportunities about specific ancestors and the culture that surrounded them.  Timelines, paper dolls, coloring pages, maps, fairy tales, music, dot to dots and crossword puzzles combine to give youth the full picture of what their ancestors’ lives were like.  When pre-ordered now, the books will arrive in time to prompt questions around the Thanksgiving table.  Or they can become the perfect Christmas gift for children and grandchildren that will create stronger bonds in modern families by encouraging the whole family to learn about their ancestors together.  Sample pages from the books can be viewed on the website and blog at where they join other online and print resources to help families connect to each other by connecting to their past.   

With the My British Ancestor Activity Book youth can:
  • ·         Discover online and offline resources for finding more information about your British roots
  •         Compare British Schools to today’s schools
  • ·         Solve puzzles about different British homes
  • ·         Complete a crossword puzzle about British words your ancestors used
  • ·         Learn about and participate in a British holiday
  • ·         Plan a proper British family history tea party
  • ·         Play British games your ancestors may have played
  • ·         And explore many other activities

With the My German Ancestor Activity Book youth can:
  • ·         Record how you are related to your German ancestor
  • ·         Try some German recipes
  • ·         Read a German Fairy Tale your ancestors might have known.
  • ·         Color and cut out German paper dolls to tell the stories of your ancestors
  • ·         Collect documents about your German ancestor’s life
  • ·         Make a Schultute School Bag like your ancestors may have received for school.
  • ·         Explore some of the qualities you share with your German Ancestor
  • ·         And explore many other activities

With the My Civil War Ancestor Activity Book youth can:
  • ·         Discover online and offline resources for finding more information about your Civil War ancestors
  • ·         Follow a dot to dot about an important Civil War landmark
  • ·         Try some of the food eaten by the Civil War soldiers
  • ·         Learn some Civil War songs and bugle calls
  • ·         Create a military band with homemade instruments
  • ·         Record the battles in which your ancestors were involved
  • ·         Write a eulogy for your Civil War ancestor
  • ·         And explore many other activities

With the My Swedish Ancestor Activity Book youth can:
  • ·         Place your Swedish ancestor in the context of broader Swedish history
  • ·         Complete a crossword puzzle about Swedish words your ancestors used
  • ·         Learn about and create items for a Swedish holiday
  • ·         Color and cut out Swedish paper dolls to tell the stories of your ancestors
  • ·         Write a letter to your Swedish ancestor
  • ·         Design and color a drawing of a Dala horse such as your ancestor might have played with
  • ·         Involve your whole family in the fun of learning about your Swedish ancestors
  • ·         And explore many other activities

The “My Ancestor” activity books are designed to give kids ownership of their own family history.  “These books help young kids take the lead in learning about their family history for themselves,” says Hovorka.  “As they accomplish the activities together with the help of their parents and grandparents, they strengthen modern family bonds while they are strengthening their identity with the past.”  Parents and grandparents who teach children who they are and where they came from give youth a secure identity from which to draw courage as they encounter the challenges in their lives. 

The authors, sisters Janet Hovorka and Amy Slade grew up in a family history oriented home, but didn’t realize how much they were learning about their family history until later in life.   Throughout Janet’s 12 years as a popular genealogy speaker, co-owner of a family history company, genealogy instructor at SLCC, and as past president of the Utah Genealogical Association, she has witnessed over and over again how family history can heal the relationships in a family.  Her books Zap The Grandma Gap: Connect To Your Family By Connecting Them To Their Family History, and Zap The Grandma Gap Power Up Workbook have helped families connect with their roots through the real life examples drawn from Janet’s own experiences with her teenage children.   Over the last 8 years, Amy has traveled studying folklore, dance and food and culture around the world and recently received her Masters Degree in Folklore from George Mason University.  Together, they are living proof that exploring your family history helps strengthen relationships with living family members.

My German Ancestor (ISBN 978-09888-548-5-7), My Swedish Ancestor (ISBN 978-09888-548-4-0) My Civil War Ancestor (ISBN 978-09888548-3-3) and My British Ancestor (ISBN 978-09888-548-2-6), (Family ChartMasters Press, $9.95, 52 pages, 8.5x11, paperback) are available for pre-order at

CONTACT: Janet Hovorka, 801-472-1091,

Janet Hovorka
Have you seen my new book?  Zap The Grandma Gap: Connect with your family by connecting them to their family history.  Available at
Development Director--Family Chart Masters (
2011-2013 President--Utah Genealogical Association (
Genealogy Instructor--Salt Lake Community College (

Thank you to Janet and Amy for providing useful resources for families to help interest their children and grandchildren in family history.

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