Saturday, March 3, 2018

My Day 4 at RootsTech 2018

The end is nigh.  All that's left is the DearMYRTLE after-party and the flight home.  And maybe some snow overnight.

I managed to get less than 6 hours sleep last night after the MyHeritage party, and was awake for good at 5:15 a.m.  I got up at 6:15 and left at 6:45 a.m. to attend the MyHeritage Friends breakfast.  I sat with Roberta and I forget who else besides a MyHeritage guy.  Daniel Horowitz told us more about MyHeritage Friends, we filled out a Friends survey, and had a non-protein breakfast.  I had pastries and fruit with orange juice.  After Daniel's talk, we discussed MyHeritage announcements and what it all means to us.

After hustling back to the hotel, I added to the blog compendium and then watched most of the Keynote address.  The SAncestryDNA psrt was uninspiring - Ken Chahine heaped glory on himself for satisfying his 2014 predictions instead of highlighting coming features.  The next segment was singer Natalie Lafourcade who sang three songs and described her family life, and then FamilySearch provided more information about her heritage.  Her father's line was French instead of Spanish - makes sense now!  Then it was Henry Louis Gates, Jr. who described his genealogy journey and how he developed his PBS genealogy series.  I missed the end of his talk and CeCe Moore's segment about DNA so sill catch them later at home.

I got to the Expo Hall before 10 a.m., and set up in the Media Hub.  I was greeted by Jessica Dalley Taylor, the CEO of Legacy Tree Genealogists, who was crafting balloon figures for the thousands of kids visiting the Expo Hall today.

I managed to catch Thomas MacEntee wearing his tiara along with Hilary Gadsby at the blogger table looking at Hillary's photos:

While walking around the Expo Hall, I was asked to place color stickers on the American Ancestor world map to show where my ancestors came from.  I only did my 2nd great-grandparents and later.

4)  Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. came to the Media Hub for interviews and was there for quite awhile.  Here is Gates being interviewed by the FamilySearch video team:

6)  Here are all of the other folks waiting to speak to Dr. Gates:

At 11:45 a.m. I went and picked up Linda at the hotel and we went to lunch with Dallan Quass, the founder of the RootsFinder online family tree program.  We talked about the state of the industry and things I learned this week, plus his experiences in the industry.  I forgot to get a photo of him.  Sorry, Dallan.

I finally made contact with my AncestryDNA Match badge locale, and met her at the AncestryDNA booth in the main hallway.  We each got a prize.  I chose a USB night light for my computer.

At 2 p.m. I showed up over in the Marriott Hotel for a discussion of the state of the industry with the MyHeritage CEO, Gilad Japhet.  I didn't get a photo of that either.

Back to the Media Hub at 3 p.m., and I wrote a blog post, and then recalled that I had not talked to author Nathan Dylan Goodwin who writes the Morton Farrier genealogy mystery books.  So I found his exhibit and was happy to hear that he sold out of four of the books he brought with him.  . Here is a selfie with Nathan:

And here is Nathan in his exhibit with the available books on the table:

I was back to the hotel by 4:15 p.m. to write this post and update the RootsTech blog compendium post.  Maybe I can catch a nap.

Then it's off to DearMYRTLE's after-party at 6:30 p.m.   I will post photos from that sometime soon (not tonight!).


Copyright (c) 2018, Randall J. Seaver

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MyHeritage Releases New Collections with 325 Million Historical Records

I received this information from MyHeritage recently:


MyHeritage Releases New Collections with 325 Million Historical Records

Latest additions are the 1939 Register of England & Wales; a unique and innovatively structured U.S. yearbooks collection; and a collection of Canadian obituaries

March 02, 2018 04:10 PM Eastern Standard Time

TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah--(BUSINESS WIRE)--MyHeritage, the leading global destination for family history and DNA testing, announced today the addition of three important historical records collections that provide value for family history enthusiasts worldwide.

1939 Register of England & Wales

Prepared on the eve of World War II, with 33 million searchable records, the 1939 Register is the most complete census-like collection for the population of England and Wales between 1911 and 1951. This is because the 1921 census of England and Wales is time-protected by privacy laws and will be available online only in 2022, the entire 1931 Census was destroyed by a fire, and no census was conducted in 1941. For each household member, the 1939 Register records name, gender, address, birth date, marital status, place of residence, and occupation. This collection is an extremely important resource for family historians and people with ancestors in England and Wales. The 1939 Register collection is not exclusive, but other than MyHeritage, it is currently available on only one other website. The initial collection on MyHeritage includes an index, without images.

Of the 42 million records of individuals in this collection, 8.2 million records remain closed due to privacy protection requirements, and about 700,000 additional records appear without full names. Records are closed for those individuals who were born less than 100 years ago unless matched to a registered death record. These closed records will be made public and added to this online collection on a yearly basis going forward.

U.S. Yearbooks Name Index, 1890-1979

In December 2017, MyHeritage published an extensive collection of U.S. yearbooks with 36,207,173 pages in 253,429 yearbooks. This collection was a free-text collection allowing users to search by name or keyword. Not stopping there, MyHeritage engineers have been working for the past year to develop an unprecedented automated name index from this collection. The fruit of this work is now released as a separate collection named the U.S. Yearbooks Name Index, 1890–1979. The new collection is one of the largest collections of digitized U.S. yearbooks in existence, containing 289 million structured records. In the new collection, the names of the students and faculty members have been automatically extracted using name extraction technology. The personal photos in the yearbooks have been automatically detected and extracted using picture detection technology, and in many cases the names and the photos have been associated with each other using a third proprietary technology developed by MyHeritage. Finally, technology has been developed to automatically differentiate between students and faculty members, to determine the graduation class of each student and to calculate birth years.

All occurrences of the same name in each yearbook were consolidated into one record with references to the pages where the person is mentioned. The end result is a one-of-a-kind structured U.S. yearbook collection in which names can be searched accurately (with synonyms and translations, which is often not possible in free-text collections), as well as matched automatically to the family trees on MyHeritage using the company’s Record Matching technology. This makes U.S. yearbooks one of the most valuable genealogical resources for family historians today, and this treasure trove of information is available in this unique and highly accessible form only on MyHeritage. The records list the person’s name, school’s name and location, and likely residence based on the location of the school. Where possible, a personal photo is provided. For each person, full access to all applicable yearbook pages is provided. Additional work is being carried out to complete the association of names with photos, and this will be released as an update to this collection in the future.

Canadian Obituaries

A collection of 2 million records documenting obituaries and memorials from the 10 Canadian provinces, spanning mostly 1997-2017. It includes the name of the deceased, the date of death, the publication source including locality information, and the text of the obituary or memorial — in English or French depending on the source. When available, a photograph of the deceased is also included.


“The depth and diversity of these hundreds of millions of historical records is a blessing for people searching for information about their families,” said Russ Wilding, Chief Content Officer of MyHeritage. “Aside from the release of the collections themselves, we have invested much effort and demonstrated technological innovation to make it as simple as possible to glean useful genealogical information from these historical records.”

The three new collections are accessible through SuperSearch™, MyHeritage’s search engine for historical records, which now contains 8.8 billion historical records. Searching the collections is free. A subscription is required to view the records.


Disclosure:  I have a complimentary MyHeritage Data and Tree subscription, and have received material considerations from MyHeritage over the past eight years.  

Copyright (c) 2018, Randall J. Seaver

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Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -- Rootin' Tootin' Genealogy Quiz

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

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

Mary Harrell-Sesniak posted a "Rootin' Tootin' True Confessions of Genealogists Quiz" on the GenealogyBank Blog two years ago, and invited readers to answer the 50 questions.  She also provided a score sheet.

2)  For this week's SNGF, let's answer her questions and see how we score.  Copy and paste my answers below and edit the list for yourself (be sure to delete or edit my comments).

3)  Please share your responses and your score in a blog post of your own, in a comment to Mary's post, or on Facebook or Google Plus.

Here's mine:

  1. _x_Gone to sleep reciting details about ancestors?    The "genea-somniac's cure!"
  2. _x_Photographed more than 20 tombstones?    Hundreds of them.
  3. _x_Had an ancestral chart, family photo, coat of arms, ship of immigration (or similar) professionally printed or framed?    A friend did it in calligraphy.
  4. _x_Figured out your kinship to someone famous?   All the time!
  5. _x_Solved a stranger’s dead-end mystery for free?    Occasionally.
  6. __Considered consulting a psychic about genealogy?   Not yet...
  7. _x_Taken a selfie in a graveyard or hugged a tombstone?   Yep.
  8. __Probed the ground or used a divining rod to locate a missing tombstone?   Nope.
  9. _x_Written your own obituary?  I did an SNGF for this.  Unlimited space.
  10. __Created a birth, marriage or death notice (obit) for an ancestor who didn’t have one?  Why do this?  I do it in my ancestor biographies.
  11. _x_Eschewed the sunshine for valuable library/research time (or met the dawn while tracing your family tree)?  Almost every Saturday from 1988 to 2004.
  12. _x_Celebrated a birthday, marriage or commemorative event of a deceased forebear?  Honored parents and grandparents anniversaries and birthdays.
  13. _x_Rescued (i.e., purchased) photos, medals or similar objects of someone not related to you?   Used to visit used book stores and thrift shops for books and photos.
  14. __Reunited lost artifacts with living relatives?  Tried to send a photo album, but she didn't want it.
  15. _x_Centered a vacation around genealogy?  Almost every year since 1990!
  16. _x_Traveled to meet a newly discovered cousin whom you met through genealogy research?   Did a "Prodigy friend" tour in 1994.  Now go to conferences.
  17. _x_Tested your DNA?  AncestryDNA, FamilyTreeDNA, 23andMe autosomal tests, and FTDNA Y-DNA and mtDNA tests.
  18. _x_Paid for others to get their DNA tested?  My wife and brother-in-law.
  19. _x_Worn clothing (t-shirts, jackets, hats) emblazoned with genealogy surnames, slogans, society names, etc.?  Lots of t-shirts, worn at conferences, seminars and to bed.
  20. _x_Upon their leaving the nest, converted your child’s bedroom (or personal space) into a genealogy room?   The Genea-cave is a former bedroom.
  21. _x_Spent more on genealogy in a month than groceries?  Easy to do at RootsTech - travel, hotel, food, stuff.
  22. _x_Collected odd records in the name of genealogy (for example, taxes)?  Have grandparents rent books and parents tax returns.
  23. __Added margin notations in books (error corrections, enhanced details)?  I refuse to write in books or on periodicals.
  24. _x_Mapped a forebear’s traipsings?  Genealogy software makes this easy to do.
  25. _x_Traveled more than 100 miles for research (library, court house)?  Furthest was to England to research in Trowbridge CRO.
  26. __Purchased something that belonged to an ancestor or that has his/her name on it (photo albums, homesteads, lineage society pins)?  Nope.
  27. __Participated in a reenactment related to your ancestry?  Nope.
  28. __Made something to commemorate genealogy (historical costumes, paraphernalia, needlepoint or model of an immigrant ship, painting, genealogy quilt)?  Nope.
  29. _x_Joined more than five lineage or genealogy societies?  Currently member of NGS, NEHGS, SCGS, SDGS, CVGS
  30. __Overlaid an ancestor’s photo on that of a living person to identify a doppelganger (look-alike)?  Not yet.
  31. _x_Downloaded, emailed or shared genealogy jokes?  Have a file folder and do a presentation for these.
  32. __Purchased a book with only a small reference to your ancestry (100 words)?  Don't think so.
  33. _x_Mentioned genealogy in your will?  Have written a codicil to be included in next revision.
  34. _x_Studied old handwriting or consulted with a handwriting expert so that you can read old documents?  Paula Sassi is local expert who has done this for me.
  35. __Made a gen-tote of gadgets for on-the-go projects (portable scanning, grave cleaning, flash drives, notepads, acid free gloves)?  Nope.
  36. __Taken a handful of dirt or a stone from a place significant to your ancestry?  Never thought to do it.
  37. _x_Diverted a mealtime conversation to genealogy?  Happens all the time!
  38. _x_Initiated conversations about ancestry with complete strangers (outside of a genealogy setting)?  Tell me your name and I'll discuss it!
  39. _x_Researched the genealogy of complete strangers?  Yep.
  40. _x_Transcribed an old document, or more than 500 genealogy records?  At least two every week.
  41. _x_Joined a dozen or more social media genealogy groups?  Facebook has many!
  42. _x_Created a genealogy blog or a public tree (online)?  Ahem.  Every place I can.
  43. _x_Published a family history book or distributed genealogy folders amongst the relatives?  Did this back in the 1990s, gave them to siblings, children, cousins, aunts, uncles.  
  44. _x_Programmed gen-destinations (court houses, cemeteries) into your GPS?  The easy way to find places!
  45. __Taken genealogy courses with the intention of receiving a certificate or other form of recognition?   Not yet, might in the future.
  46. _x_Paid to attend genealogy conferences?  Several each year.
  47. _x_Searched surnames on eBay?  Even found stuff, but never bought any.
  48. _x_Scoured thrift or resale shops for genealogical finds?  Yep, see #13.
  49. __Trespassed in the name of genealogy?  Almost did it at a private graveyard in Connecticut.
  50. _x_Dined anywhere but your dining table to avoid disturbing a genealogy project?  I used to do a lot of typing on the dining room table.  
My score:  37.  I get the "Up and Coming Genealogist Award."  I thought that I would get the "Hopelessly Hooked Family Historian" award.  


Copyright (c) 2018, Randall J. Seaver

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Some Dark Photos From the MyHeritage After Party at RootsTech 2018

The MyHeritage Roaring 20s After-Party was last night at the Marriott hotel.  I think everyone had a great time.  They did not have karaoke this year - they had a jazz band and a fairly large dance floor, and the entertainers taught Roaring 20s dances.  There music was load, lights were flashing, and there was a video/photo area where attendees could act crazy.

There was hors d'oevre food and drinks, and they had fedora hats and elastic head bands and feathers for those that didn't intentionally dress up for the party.  Like me.  I put on an orange fedora and Linda had a purple head band.  We sat with Hilary Gadsby, Dave Robison, Russ Worthington, Carol Petranek, and several others sat for a spell and visited.

I wandered around a bit and took some photos, but not many because of the dark lighting.  There should be a photo album on Facebook in the coming weeks from the official photographers.

Some of my photos are below:

1)  Lisa, Roger and Karen came in costume:

2)  Angela McGhie and Rebecca Koford:

3)  On the dance floor - I see Maureen Taylor and Amy Crow out there learning 20s dances:

4)  Several geneabloggers acted crazy at the video/photo booth - I see Sharn White, Elizabeth O'Neal, Sheri Fenley, Cheri Passery and Laura Hedgecock here (taken before they acted crazy):

5)  Roberta Estes and MyHeritage host Gilad Japhet:

6)  The Family History Fanatics - Andy, Devon and Caleb Lee:

We headed back to the hotel at about 10:50 p.m. and got to bed late.

Thank you, MyHeritage, for a fun time!

One more day at RootsTech!


Copyright (c) 2018, Randall J. Seaver

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Surname Saturday - SPRAY (England)

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

I am working in the 9th great-grandmothers by Ahnentafel number, and I am up to Ancestor #2087 who is Anne SPRAY (1593-????). 
[Note: the earlier great-grandmothers and 9th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts.]

My ancestral line back through one generation in this SPRAY family line is:

1. Randall J. Seaver

2. Frederick Walton Seaver (1911-1983)
3. Betty Virginia Carringer (1919-2002)

4. Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942)
5. Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962)

8. Frank Walton Seaver (1852-1922)
9. Hattie Louise Hildreth (1857-1920)

16. Isaac Seaver (1823-1901)
17. Lucretia Townsend Smith (1827-1884)

32. Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825)
33. Abigail Gates (1797-1869)

64. Benjamin Seaver (1757-1816)
65. Martha Whitney (1764-1832)

130.  Samuel Whitney (1719-1782)
131.  Abigail Fletcher (1720-1783)

260.  William Whitney (1683-1720)
261.  Martha Pierce (1681-1759)

520.  Nathaniel Whitney (1647-1733)
521.  Sarah Hagar (1651-1722)

1042.  William Hagar (1620-1684)
1043.  Mary Bemis (1624-1695).

2086.  John Bemis, born about 1589 in Dedham, Essex, England; died before 26 June 1624 in Dedham, Essex, England.  He married 1614 in Dedham, Essex, England.
2087.  Anne Spray, born about 1593 in Dedham, Essex, England.

Children of John Bemis and Anne Spray are:

*  Isaac Bemis, born 1615 in Dedham, Essex, England
*  Luke Bemis, born 1617 in Dedham, Essex, England  
*  Joseph Bemis, born 1619 in Dedham, Essex, England; died 07 August 1684 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; married Sarah Capron about 1640 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; born about 1621 in England; died 18 November 1712 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
*  Abraham Bemis, born 1621 in Dedham, Essex, England  
Mary Bemis, born before 10 September 1624 in Dedham, Essex, England; died December 1695 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; married William Hagar 20 March 1645 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
*  James Bemis, born 1626 in Dedham, Essex, England; died 1665 in New London, New London, Connecticut, United States.

I have no further information about Anne Spray's parentage.

Information about the Bemis family was obtained from:

*  Colonel Thomas Waln-Morgan Draper, The Bemis History and Genealogy (San Francisco, Calif. : The Stanley-Taylor Co., 1900).

 There are many online family trees and websites which may or may not be correct.  I have done no research on this surname.


The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2018, Randall J. Seaver

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Friday, March 2, 2018

Day 3 (Friday) at RootsTech 2018

This was the first day ever at RootsTech that I did not attend the Keynote talk.  My reason was simple:  I wanted Linda to see the Keynote presentation and enjoy the Scott Hamilton story.  So we stayed in the hotel room and watched it on the Internet.  Sporadically.  The wifi would pause every five minutes or so, and then pick up when it left off.  There are actually benefits to this - I didn't have to show up early (I blogged instead) and I didn't have to fight the crowds leaving to go to the Expo Hall.  Ben Bennett and Tamsin Todd opened the Keynote session with a description of their new Catholic Record collection and their Big Tree plans (partnering with FamilySearch).

I drive Linda in the wheelchair over to the Expo Hall and she went visiting the vendors all morning.  Then we had lunch and raced back for the Blogger photo at 12:15 p.m.  Scott Hamilton drew a big crowd when he visited the Media Hub.

I visited some vendors, talked to friends, and wrote blogs while Linda wandered.  A lot of people know her from my blog and Facebook, but she doesn't remember names and faces well now.

After lunch I had a nice visit with David Lambert (American Ancestors) and Scott Fisher (Extreme Genes) and took some photos.  I spoke to several Ancestry folks about their Big Tree (which has many errors in it) and about indexing and searching the Ancestry Member Trees.  Daniel Horowitz came by with a videographer and we did a short three question interview for their Facebook page.  I have an interview later in the afternoon with Tamsin Todd of Findmypast.

Here are some of the photos I took today:

1)  Marian Pierre-Louis took a break from the Legacy exhibit and joined Cheri Passey and Elizabeth O'Neal in the Media Hub:

2)  I made it to the Geneabloggers Tribe photo opportunity just in time, and hid in the back row on the left.  I took a picture of the photographers but don't have a photo of the group.  I hope someone will share with me.

3)  The Geneabloggers Tribe photo provided opportunities for bloggers from the east to meet bloggers from the west - here are Dave Robison of Massachusetts and Diane Gould Hall of California:

4)  I took a photo with Lisa Gorrell from the Bay Area with Robison in the background:

5)  The RootsFinder tree guy was out and about and we took this photo (Lisa Gorrell, Sheri Fenley, Katherine Challis, Melinda Culpon and myself):

6)  Here is David Allen Lambert and me at the American Ancestors exhibit:

7)  Here are Scott Fisher and David Allen Lambert - they are dressing up tonight for the MyHeritage party:

AncestryDNA had a promotion called "Find Your Match."  I picked a badge with the locale "West Midlands and North West England" and if I find another person with the same locale we both win Ancestry prizes.  15,000 people here, it seems hopeless.  But one of the exhibitors, Xistance started a registry and if they found the match then the two could phone or message each other.  I have a match and we'll meet up on Saturday.

I visited a bit with Jack Minsky of Family Tree Maker this afternoon, and his 11-year old daughter Nikki who seems to be one of the brains of the company.  She knows everything about their products.  Anyway, they have a new mobile app called AlbumWalk (see for more details.  This looks like it will be very useful when it will sync with Family Tree Maker in the coming months.

I probably will not post again tonight because we all have the MyHeritage After-party to attend tonight at 8 p.m.  I expect to get to bed after 11 p.m.

There is one more busy day at RootsTech - it goes by so fast!  I'm having fun - I hope all of the attendees did too, and learned a lot.


Copyright (c) 2018, Randall J. Seaver

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MyHeritage Releases One-to-Many DNA Chromosome Browser

I received this information from MyHeritage today:


MyHeritage Releases Chromosome Browser Upgrade to Facilitate Better Exploration and Interpretation of DNA Matches

TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah--()--MyHeritage, the leading global destination for family history and DNA testing, announced today a major upgrade of its chromosome browser, making it easier for users to make the most of their DNA matches.
MyHeritage releases chromosome browser upgrade to facilitate better exploration and interpretation of DNA matches
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A chromosome browser is a graphical tool that represents a person’s chromosomes. It visualizes DNA segments shared by two people who have matching DNA, that may originate from one or more shared ancestors. By studying those segments and testing the DNA of additional relatives, it is possible to determine who the segments originated from and understand the relationship path between the two people.
In January 2018, MyHeritage launched an initial version of the chromosome browser which showed shared DNA segments between a user and any one of his or her DNA Matches — people who are likely to be relatives because there are significant similarities between their DNA. The upgrade released today enhances the chromosome browser from supporting comparisons of one-to-one, to one-to-many. It is capable of showing shared segments between a user and up to seven DNA Matches concurrently. For each shared DNA segment, the user can review the genomic position of the segment and its size.
The upgraded chromosome browser is available for free, and it is unique in the DNA testing industry in supporting automatic triangulation: showing segments shared between multiple people that all match each other, increasing the likelihood that the group of people are descended from the same ancestor. It also provides download capabilities of shared DNA segment information. In addition, the company announced today a new, convenient ability to download a list of all of a person’s DNA matches.
“DNA testing, family trees and historical records integrate seamlessly on MyHeritage to facilitate exploration of one’s family history, via genetic genealogy,” said Gilad Japhet, MyHeritage Founder and CEO. “We have made it one of our goals to create the best platform in the industry for genetic genealogy. Today’s release is an important step in this direction. By iterating the product frequently and listening closely to our user community, we’re making it easier than ever for our users to find new relatives, which is one of the main benefits of genetic genealogy.”
The new chromosome browser is a free feature, available to all users who have taken the MyHeritage DNA test or have uploaded DNA data from another service to MyHeritage, which is free. Additional tools for genetic genealogy will be released by the company soon.

Disclosure:  I have a complimentary MyHeritage Data and Tree subscription, and have received material considerations from MyHeritage over the past eight years.  

Copyright (c) 2018, Randall J. Seaver

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Findmypast brings New York Catholic records online for the first time

I received this information from Findmypast today:


Findmypast brings New York Catholic records online for the first time
        Findmypast adds indexes containing over eight million New York records to its exclusive Catholic Heritage Archive
        Released online for the first time, family historians can now search for Catholic ancestors in the second-largest diocese in the United States
        New records date back to 1785, span more than 130 years of New York history and cover more than 230 parishes across the Archdiocese. Images will be added to the collection later in the year.
Leading family history website, Findmypast, has today announced the online publication of indexes containing over eight million New York sacramental records in partnership with the Archdiocese of New York.
This landmark release is the latest in a series of substantial updates to Findmypast’sexclusive Catholic Heritage Archive, a groundbreaking initiative that aims to digitize the historical records of the Catholic Church in North America, Britain and Ireland for the very first time.
Findmypast is today releasing indexes of baptism and marriage records covering the boroughs of Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island in New York City, as well as the Counties of Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester. The records date back to 1785, span more than 130 years of the region’s history and come from over 230 parishes across the Archdiocese.
The records shed new light on the history of Catholics in New York and will provide researchers all over the world with the opportunity to discover early American immigrants. Since the early 19th century, New York City has been the largest port of entry for immigration into the United States. The millions of Irish, Italians, Germans, Polish and many others who settled in or passed through the state are captured in these documents.
The Catholic Church holds some of the oldest and best-preserved genealogical records in existence. However, as many of these documents memorialize important religious sacraments, their privacy has long been protected and access to original copies has, until now, been hard to come by.
In collaboration with the Archdiocese of New York, Findmypast is helping to digitize these records and make them widely accessible for the first time. Images of original documents will be added to the collection later in the year and will be free to view in many cases.
Today’s release marks the first phase of a collection that will continue to grow throughout 2018. Additional New York Sacramental Registers, 1886-1981 issues of New York’s Diocesan newspaper (The Catholic News) and additional updates from a variety of British, Irish, US and Canadian Dioceses will be added to the Roman Catholic Heritage Archive throughout the year.The millions of new North American records will complement Findmypast’s massive collection of British and Irish data, providing many more connections and a more comprehensive experience to family historians in North America and all over the world.
Ben Bennett, Executive Vice President of Findmypast said: “We are delighted to be partnering with the Archdiocese of New York to bring these important Sacramental registers online for the first time. The addition of these crucial documents to the Catholic Heritage Archive available on Findmypast will greatly enhance the ability for family historians all over the world to discover the stories of a wide variety of nationalities as they made a new home in North America.”
Kate Feighery, Director of Archives at the Archdiocese of New York, said: As one of the largest immigration hubs in the country, the Catholic roots of many Americans are tied to the Archdiocese of New York.  The invaluable historical documents that will be available through the Catholic Heritage Archive will advance not only individual family exploration, but historical research on a much wider scale. We are so pleased to partner with Find My Past to open these records to research for the first time in a centralized location.

Disclosure:  I have a complimentary subscription to Findmypast, and have accepted meals and services from Findmypast, as a Findmypast Ambassador.  This has not affected my objectivity relative to Findmypast and its products.

Copyright (c) 2018, Randall J. Seaver

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52 Ancestors - Week 216: #295 Hannah (--?--) Fletcher (1689-1759) of Chelmsford and Westford, Massachusetts

Hannah (--?--)  Fletcher (1689-1759) is #295 on my Ahnentafel List, my 6th great-grandmother, who married #294 Samuel Fletcher (1684-1749) in about 1712 in Chelmsford, Massachusetts.

I am descended through:

*  their daughter #147 Elizabeth Fletcher (1720-1761) who married #146 Jonathan Keyes (1722-1781) in 1746.
*  their daughter #73 Elizabeth Keyes (1759-1793) who married  #72 Zachariah Hildreth (1754-1829) in 1777.
*  their son, #36 Zachariah Hildreth (1783-1857) who married #37 Hannah Sawtell (1789-1857) in 1810.
*  their son, #18 Edward Hildreth (1831-1899) who married #19 Sophia Newton (1834-1923) in 1852.
*  their daughter #9 Hattie Louisa Hildreth (1857-1920)  who married #8 Frank Walton Seaver (1852-1922) in 1874.
*  their son #4 Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942) who married #5 Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962) in 1900.
*  their son #2 Frederick Walton Seaver (1911-1983) who married #3 Betty Virginia Carringer (1919-2002) in 1942.
*  their son #1 Randall Jeffrey Seaver (1943-living)


1)  PERSON (with source citations as indicated in brackets):

*   Name:                    Hannah    
*  Alternate Name:     Hannah Flatcher[2]    
*  Alternate Name:     Hannah Foster Fletcher[1]  

*  Sex:                        Female  
2)  INDIVIDUAL EVENTS (with source citations as indicated in brackets):

*  Birth:                      about 1689, Chelmsford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States[1]    

*  Death:                    8 July 1759 (about age 70), Westford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States[1–2]    

*  Burial:                  after 8 July 1759 (after about age 70), Fairview Cemetery, Westford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States[1]    

3)  SHARED EVENTS (with source citations as indicated in brackets):

*  Spouse 1:                Samuel Fletcher (1684-1749)    
*  Marriage 1:             about 1712 (about age 23), probably Chelmsford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States    
*  Child 1:                  Samuel Fletcher (1713-1716)    
*  Child 2:                  Jacob Fletcher (1715-1716)    
*  Child 3:                  David Fletcher (1717-1804)    
*  Child 4:                  Hannah Fletcher (1718-1788)    
*  Child 5:                  Elizabeth Fletcher (1719-1761)    
*  Child 6:                  Samuel Fletcher (1722-1730)    
*  Child 7:                  Susanna Fletcher (1723-1730)    
*  Child 8:                  Jacob Fletcher (1725-    )    
*  Child 9:                  Joanna Fletcher (1729-1730)  

4)  NOTES (with source citations as indicated in brackets):    

The maiden surname and parents of Hannah (--?--) Fletcher are unknown.  Since Hannah married Samuel Fletcher in about 1712, she was probably born between 1685 and 1692.  The gravestone for Hannah Fletcher says that she was aged 70 years when she died in 1759, which implies a birth year of about 1689.

The Find A Grave memorial for Hannah Foster Fletcher says that her parents were Ely and Judith (Keies) Foster of Chelmsford. There is a birth of a Hannah Foster in Chelmsford, daughter of Ely and Judeth Foster,  on 11 May 1698 in the Chelmsford town records.  This female is probably too young to marry Samuel Fletcher in about 1712 and have her first child in March 1713.  Ely Foster died in 1719 intestate, and his probate records are in Middlesex County, Massachusetts probate packet 8,194.  Perusal of this packet provides only a given name Hannah as one of the heirs - it does not provide her married name.

Hannah --?-- was born in about 1689, probably in Chelmsford, Massachusetts to unknown parents[1].  

She married in about 1712 to Samuel Fletcher, probably in Chelmsford or one of the surrounding towns.  They had eight children born and recorded in Chelmsford between 1713 and 1725, and one more in Westford in 1729.  The town of Westford was set off from the town of Chelmsford in 1729.

When Samuel died in 1749, he left no probate record.  Hannah probably stayed in the family home with some of her children, or moved in with one of her children in another home.

Hannah (--?--) "Flatcher" died on 8 July 1759 in Westford, Massachusetts[1-2].  She is buried in Fairview Cemetery in Westford, next to her husband[1].  The gravestone inscription says:

Memento Mori

Here lies the body of 
Mrs. Hannah Flatcher ye wife
of Mr. Samuel Flatcher
who departed this Life
July the 8^th 1759
Aged 70 Years

1. Jim Tipton, indexed database, Find A Grave (, Fairview Cemetery (Westford, Mass.), Hannah Foster Fletcher memorial # 35570311.

2. Vital Records of Westford, Massachusetts to the Year 1849 (Salem, Mass. : The Essex Institute, 1915), Deaths, page 277, Hannah Flatcher entry (wife of Samuel, age 70).


NOTE:  Amy Johnson Crow suggested a weekly blog theme of "52 Ancestors" in her blog post 
 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks on the No Story Too Small blog.  I have extended this theme in 2018 to 260 Ancestors in 260 Weeks.

Copyright (c) 2018, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post.  Share it on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or Pinterest using the icons below.  Or contact me by email at