Saturday, May 6, 2006

Welcome to Genea-Musings

Welcome to Genea-Musings, the revamped blog of Randy Seaver, an obscure and fun-loving genealogist with thousands of dead ancestors and some free time to learn about their lives.

Actually, it's the same blog, with a different name. "Randy's Musings" sounded so generic and had evolved into, well Randy's Genealogy Musings. Over three weeks, I lopped off politics, religion, current events, science, and engineering from my list of blogging topics, mainly due to lack of time to write about them.

My major free-time interest is genealogy and family history, so Genea-Musings will focus on those topics, which will include my own family pictures and stories. I can't resist adding some genealogy humor from time to time, because, for me, Genealogy is FUN!

The name Genea-Musings is based on Genealogy combined with Musings (meaning deep thoughts, yeah, right!), with a touch of humor (it could have been Gene-Amusings, eh?). It came to me in the shower this morning - by the time my wife yelled at me that I had used all the hot water while I was working it out, I had it! I still don't remember if I washed my hair (I know...what hair!).

I can only rename the whole blog, so the URL will still be I could start a new blog, of course, but then I would lose or have to move what I already have on this blog.

Tell me what you think - please! Comments on any genealogy or family topic is welcomed.

Friday, May 5, 2006

Their Odyssey - to San Diego

A cross-country airplane ride back in 1995 gave me an opportunity to appreciate the hardships of travel in the 19th century. My mother's ancestors were in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania during the Revolutionary War, and started a westward migration after the war.

The first to migrate were the SOVEREIGN and KEMP families, who were Loyalists, and ended up in Norfolk County, Ontario on the north shore of Lake Erie in the early 1800's.

The KNAPP family was in Dutchess County, NY in 1775, then Sussex County, NJ. The AUBLE family was in Sussex County NJ, then Vigo County, Indiana, then in Chicago, Illinois where Charles AUBLE married Georgia KEMP in 1898. Their family moved to San Diego about 1911 with their daughter Emily Kemp Auble.

The SMITH and VAUX families were in Jefferson County NY until about 1850, when they migrated to Dodge County, Wisconsin, then to Taylor County, Iowa before 1870, to Concordia, Cloud County, Kansasby 1875, and finally to McCook in Red Willow County, Nebraska by 1885.

The CARRINGER and FEATHER families were in Mercer County PA (just south of Erie PA), while the KING and SPANGLER families were in York County PA in 1800. My Carringer line migrated to Louisa County, Iowa, then Boulder, Colorado, and finally to San Diego in 1887, where Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer had a son Lyle Carringer in 1891. Lyle Carringer married Emily Auble in 1918 - my maternal grandparents.

As I left Hartford, Connecticut on the flight to San Diego, I tried to look for familiar landmarks. On the north side of the plane over New York were:

* The east bank of the Hudson River opposite West Point - my KNAPP family lived there doing I know not what!
* The eastern end of Lake Ontario - where Ranslow Smith grew up farming in and left from Jefferson County, New York.
* Schenectady and Ballston Spa, New York where the Kemp family was before going to Canada as Loyalists.
* A little further on, in Aurora township just east of Buffalo NY is where my VAUX family lived in 1850, recent immigrants from England.
* Then west of Buffalo on the north shore of Lake Erie is Long Point, Ontario where the Sovereign and Kemp families settled and lived for many years.

On the south side of the plane, off in the distance were:

* Newton in Sussex County, New Jersey where the Auble family lived for 100 years.
* German Valley in Hunterdon County, New Jersey where the Sovereign and other families were before the Revolutionary War.
* York, Pennsylvania where the King and Spangler families were doing quite well in their businesses around 1800.
* Mercer County, Pennsylvania where the Carringer family settled in 1795, and left in 1858.

As we approach Chicago, to the south is Terre Haute, Indiana where David Auble plied his cobbler's trade for 30 years and lies buried. To the north is Dodge County, Wisconsin where the Smith and Vaux families were in 1860, but not for long!

Further on is Louisa County, Iowa where Henry Carringer lies, and where DJ Carringer's farm went bankrupt in 1873. There is Taylor County, Iowa where Ranslow Smith in 1870 is farming with his son, Davier.

Over Kansas, to the north I see the Republican River with McCook, Nebraska nestled on it's bank, where Davier Smith had a livery stable and sold snake oil on the side, and where the Vaux family had a beautiful home in 1880. I can't find the ghost town of Wano tucked in the northwestern corner of Kansas, where Austin Carringer met Della Smith in the playhouse in 1885, and married her in 1887; they left for San Diego on the train on their honeymoon. Further on, I can see Boulder, Colorado over near the Rocky Mountains, where DJ and Rebecca (Spangler) Carringer lived out their days after moving from Iowa, losing their daughter in 1876, and finally coming to San Diego about 1900.

Approaching San Diego, to the south of our flight path is the cemetery where DJ and Rebecca Carringer are buried, and directly under the plane are the resting places of my great-grandparents and grandparents. I can see to the right the block where the Carringers built the house I was raised in, the schools I attended, and now we're over Balboa Park - the playground of my childhood. I look ahead and see the twinkling lights of Point Loma where my grandparents and then my parents lived overlooking San Diego Bay and the airport. Up on the ridge of the Point is Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery where my parents lie overlooking “my” Pacific Ocean. The plane touches down - I am home.

It took me about five hours flying time to traverse 2,500 miles - while it took my maternal ancestors 100 years or more to make the same trip. I complain about the discomfort of my plane ride. I cannot imagine the endless miles of riding on a horse, in a wagon, or on foot, along with all the belongings, trekking to an unseen and sometimes unknown place with dangers, hardship and adventure constantly lurking.

In December of 1940, my father left Leominster, Massachusetts. He drove for three days straight and ended up in San Diego, arriving just before Christmas at the home of his aunt and uncle. His ancestry goes back to colonial New England – his Seaver line moved about 40 miles in 300 years. He never returned, having met and married my mother in San Diego.

It is quite a contrast! 100 years for one family to move west, three days for another to drive west, and five hours for me to fly coast-to-coast.

Why did they come west? For the promise of a more healthful or more prosperous life? For the adventure or opportunity to succeed, or to find meaningful work? To be with family, brothers or grown children? Did they flee the cold of winter, the heat of summer, unproductive farms or failed relationships? These are the questions to be asked and answered by a family historian. To find out the answers to these questions, and to honor their effort, is why I "do" genealogy.

I am so thankful for these simple, humble, wise, industrious and educated people who planted my roots in San Diego.

Isaac Seaver - A Civil War Soldier

One of my favorite ancestors is my great-great-great-grandfather, Isaac Seaver. His was a life of hardship, sorrow, service, hard work and success. Here is his biography (from my research, without the probate records):

ISAAC8 SEAVER (BENJAMIN7, BENJAMIN6, NORMAN5, ROBERT4, JOSEPH3, SHUBAEL2, ROBERT1) was born 16 October 1823 in Westminster, Worcester, MA, (VR, 83), the son of Benjamin and Abigail (Gates) Seaver, and died 12 March 1901 in Leominster, Worcester, MA, (Mass. VR).

He married (1) JULIET GLAZIER 17 September 1846 in Rutland, Worcester, MA, (VR, 190), daughter of REUBEN GLAZIER and CATHERINE PIERCE. She was born July 1826 in Rutland, Worcester, MA, and died 21 September 1847 in Westminster, Worcester, MA (VR, 248).

He married (2) LUCRETIA TOWNSEND SMITH 9 September 1851 in Walpole, Norfolk, MA, (MA VR 55.214), daughter of ALPHEUS SMITH and ELIZABETH DILL. She was born 6 September 1828 in Medfield, Norfolk, MA, (VR, 92), and died 24 March 1884 in Leominster, Worcester, MA (MA VR 357.414).

He married (3) ALVINA MATILDA BRADLEY 15 September 1888 in St. Regis Falls, NY (MA VR 390.326, in Clinton MA list), daughter of HARVEY BRADLEY and SARAH F.. She was born April 1848 in Dickinson Centre, Franklin, NY, and died 20 April 1923 in Clinton, Worcester, MA, (probate).

Isaac Seaver was called Isaac Seaver 3rd throughout his lifetime because there were two other Isaac Seavers in Westminster while he was a youth, including his uncle and step-father, Isaac Seaver 2nd, the second husband of his mother, Abigail (Gates) (Seaver) Seaver.

When he became able to choose his own guardian, he chose his uncle Jeremiah Knowlton Gates (Worcester County Probate Records, Probate Packet A-52855, Worcester County Probate Records, 205.462, LDS Microfilm 0,860,638):

"To the Hon. Ira Barton Judge of Probate for the County of Worcester. This certifies that Isaac Seaver 3d a minor above the age of 14 years and son of Benjamin Seaver late of Westminster in said county deceased this day came before me the Subscriber one of the Justices of the Peace for said County and made choice of Jeremiah K. Gates of said Westminster to be his Guardian. Dated at Westminster the 19th day of February A.D. 1838." Simeon Henderson Justice of the Peace.

Isaac Seaver's first marriage to Juliet Glazier ended in tragedy when Juliette died soon after the birth of their child, Juliette, due to "brain fever", apparently a stroke or hemorrhage.

In the 1850 U.S. census, Isaac Seaver (age 26, a hay fork maker, born MA) is found residing in the house of Mr. Richards in Medfield, Norfolk County, MA (1850 U.S. Census for Norfolk County, MA, LDS Microfilm 0,443,549, page 356, family #699). His daughter, Juliette Seaver, was listed as Juliette Glazier in the 1850 census, age 3, living with her grandparents, Reuben and Catherine Glazier, in Rutland MA.

What took him to Medfield is unknown, but he soon met and married his second wife, Lucretia Townsend Smith of Medfield, in Walpole.

In the 1860 census, Isaac Seaver 3rd (age 36, born MA, blacksmith) and his wife Lucretia Seaver (age 32, born MA) were residing in Westminster, Worcester County, MA. The children were listed as Juliette G. Seaver (age 13, born MA), Frank W. Seaver (age 8, born MA), Benjamin Seaver (age 6, born MA) and Elizabeth L. Seaver (age 1, born MA). Isaac owned real property worth $1,800 and personal property worth $600 (1850 U.S. Census for Worcester County, MA, LDS Microfilm 0,803,531, p. 44, family #386).

During the Civil War, Isaac Seaver enlisted on 10 August 1864 as a private in Company H of the 4th Regiment of Heavy Artillery of the Massachusetts Volunteers. He was honorably discharged on 17 June 1865 at Fort Richardson, VA. His personal description was "age 40 years, a blacksmith, eyes blue, complexion light, hair sandy, 5 feet 10-1/2 inches" (National Archives and Records Administration file 850,736).

In the 1870 census, Isaac Seaver (age 46, born MA, working in a fork shop) and wife Lucretia D. Seaver (age 42, born MA, keeping house) resided in Leominster, Worcester County, MA. Children listed were Frank W. Seaver (age 18, attends school, born MA), Benjamin Seaver (age 16, attends school, born MA), Elizabeth Seaver (age 11, attends school, born MA), and Ellen M. Seaver (age 8, attends school, born MA). Isaac had real property worth $2,000 and personal property worth 1,500 (1870 U.S. Census for Worcester County, MA, LDS Microfilm 0,552,153, p. 58 of Leominster, family #526).

In the 1880 census, Isaac Seaver (age 56, born MA, blacksmith) and Lucretia (age 52, born MA, keeping house) resided in Leominster MA. Only daughter Nellie Seaver (age 18, born MA) was at home with them
(1880 U.S. Census for Worcester County, MA, LDS Microfilm 1,254,565, page 533).

Isaac Seaver married, thirdly, to Alvina Matilda (Bradley) Lewis by Rev. J.P. Dunham at St. Regis Falls, NY, widow of Joseph P. Lewis, who died 5 January 1882 at Worcester MA, a carpenter; he was the son of Nathaniel and Betsey Lewis of Sterling MA. and was age 49 years 7 months at time of death (National Archives and Records Administration file 850,736).

Isaac Seaver filed a Declaration for an Invalid Pension on 11 June 1892 (National Archives and Records Administration file 850,736), appearing before a Notary Public, who declared:

"State of Massachusetts County of Worcester, SS on this 11th day of June A.D. one thousand eight hundred and ninety two personally appeared before me, a Notary Public, within and for the County and State aforesaid, Isaac Seaver 3d aged 68 years, a resident of the town of Clinton, County of Worcester State of Massachusetts, who, being duly sworn according to law, declares that he is the identical Isaac Seaver 3d who was enrolled on the 10th day of August, 1864, in Company H (private) 4th Reg't H'y Arty, Mass. Vols in the war of the rebellion, and served at least ninety days, and was honorably discharged at Fort Richardson, Va on the 17th day of June, 1865. That he is unable to earn a support by manual labor by reason of 'Varicose veins of both legs, Rheumatism, resulting heart trouble, trouble of the urinary organs having symptoms of enlarged prostrate gland and results of carbuncle on back of neck.' That said disabilities are not due to his vicious habits, and are to the best of his knowledge and belief permanent. That he has never applied for pension. That he has not been in the military or naval service of the U.S. since the 17th day of June 1865."

He apparently received approval, since the U.S. Pension Agency in Boston, Massachusetts stopped paying $8 a month due to his reported death.

Isaac Seaver is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Leominster, MA with his second wife, Lucretia (Smith) Seaver. Isaac's third wife, Alvina Bradley, in her will, bequeathed money to the cemetery for perpetual care of Isaac's plot.

Isaac Seaver died testate, and his probate papers are in Worcester County Probate Records, Probate Packet B-27905. The inventory of his estate totalled $3,737, of which $3,000 was real property.

Isaac Seaver is my only ancestor who I've found to be a Civil War veteran. I really admire and respect him for his accomplishments in his life - he overcame being orphaned, lost two wives, served his country, worked in a difficult profession, had a family, and lived to an old age. Unfortunately, we don't have any pictures of him!

Censuswhacking - Famous Names

You can often find the names of famous people (or fictional characters) in the census - but they are not the real "famous" people. Here is part of my collection of "famous names of famous people":

o Queen Victoria – 1870, Scott County VA

o Adolph Hitler – 1910, Newark NJ

o Peter Great – 1900, Hamilton FL

o Snow White – 1920, Oklahoma City, OK

o Carmen San Diego – 1910, Santurce, PR

o Clark Kent – 1900, Montgomery County MS

o Paul Bunyan – 1910, El Reno OK

o Tony Soprano – 1920, Chicago IL

Who knew?

Have you found a name in the census with a name that became famous later? Tell me about it.

Book Review - "The Glorious Cause" by Jeff Shaara

One of the very best books I've read, of any genre, was "The Glorious Cause" by Jeff Shaara. It is historical fiction, centered on the Revolutionary War events from the Declaration of Independence to Cornwallis' surrender in 1781. The book is a sequel to Shaara's "Rise to Rebellion".

The book uses the "eyewitness to history" technique of putting the reader in the mind and body of several protagonists. In this case, mainly George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Charles Cornwallis, with some chapters for Nathan Hale, Nathaniel Greene, Marquis de Lafayette, Daniel Morgan, Baron von Steuben, and William Howe. The result is fascinating to read - you ride with the generals and slog with the privates through the battles from New York to Trenton to Valley Forge to Monmouth, then into the South and finally to Yorktown. The military decisions and social conditions of both sides are described.

I came away from the book with a soaring respect for General Washington - truly the father of our country. And for Benjamin Franklin, who worked so hard for so long to bring the French to our side, which was the pivotal moment in the war for independence. I now understand the circumstances of Nathan Hale's execution, Benedict Arnold's betrayal, the use of the Hessians by the British, the role of von Steuben, the personal circumstances of all of the players, etc.

If you have the opportunity, pick up any of Shaara's books from the library or the bookstore. If you like historical fiction and American history, you won't be disappointed. I am looking forward to reading Jeff Shaara's two Civil War books - "Gods and Generals" and "The Last Full Measure."

Thursday, May 4, 2006

Your great-grandfather cannot be found

Steve Morse's website has a funny message ... Enjoy! Does it remind you of when your web page can't be found?

There are so many places to look on the Internet, and in traditional library or repository resources. There are several good databases to search for your elusive ancestor on the Internet:

The LDS FamilySearch si te - look in the IGI, Ancestral File, 1880 US census, etc. databases. These are very useful as "finder data" but could lead you to more reliable data.

The Rootsweb WorldConnect database - user submitted, but a tremendous resource for finding others searching for your ancestor.

The USGenWeb or WorldGenWeb sites - there is a site for every US state and county, and many countries also. If you know where your elusive ancestor lived, go to the county or country site and see if they have data for him/her.

Use the Family Finder page at While some of the data is on the subscription site, many user-submitted genealogy reports are available in the "Family Home Pages" link. It also links you to "Genforum Message Boards."

The Rootsweb/Ancestry Message Boards and Genforum Message Boards are great places to find other researchers who might have information on your ancestor.

There are also archives for all of the surname and locality mailing lists housed at Rootsweb.

These are just some of the places I start the search on the Internet when I can't find my elusive ancestors. Then I use the clues from the data on these sites, plus any family data, census data, or other available data to find books, periodical articles, or microfilmed records to find details about the life of my elusive ancestors.

There are many instances where your elusives really hide from you.
My advice to you is DON'T GIVE UP! Surely, there is a record somewhere for your great-grandfather or whoever you are looking for. Your challenge is to find that record...wherever it may be.

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Pennsylvania Land Warrant Indexes Online

The GenealogyBlog pointed me to this article by James M. Beidler printed in the Lebanon PA newspaper.

The important points are:

The warrant registers serve as the basic index to the original land warrants, surveys and patents for about 70 percent of the land in Pennsylvania, covering the dates 1733 to 1957.

A warrant is the first step in the state land process, resulting from the purchaser’s application for a quantity of land (usually expressed in rough terms at this stage — 100 acres or 250 acres, etc.).

After being granted a warrant, the purchaser then proceeded to have the land surveyed — meaning that a drawing was made showing the boundary lines, corners and adjoining landowners of the property as well as the lengths and angles of each boundary line. Many of the written descriptions of the surveys use such interesting landmarks such as stones, black oak trees or posts.

After the land was surveyed, the buyer paid the appropriate fees and the purchase price of the land, and had a patent for the property recorded with the state. It was with this patent (essentially, an “original deed”) that clear title passed from the state to private ownership.

The newly Internet-accessible warrant registers are arranged alphabetically by the surname of the person who got the warrant (known as the warrantee).

More specifically, entries are grouped by the first letter of a person’s surname, and then arranged in rough chronological order by warrant date.

The geographical area covered by any particular warrant register includes the boundaries of the county as it existed at the time of the warrant. For example, a 1765 warrant for land now in Lebanon County would be entered in the Lancaster County warrant register.

To access images of the warrant registers online, use the State Archives Web site at the URL, Click on the “Record Groups” hyperlink; then Record Group 17, “Land Office”; and finally look for the “Images” link under No. 17.88, “Warrant Registers With Green Covers, 1733-1957.”

This link will take you right to the Land Records page. You will have to click on the County of interest, then search by surname (which are grouped by first letter, but are not alphabetical.

Remember that these are the original grants of land by the State, and not "land records" that show passing of land from one person to another via deeds.

Sharon Elliott's Research Blog and Site

I ran across Sharon Elliott's Back-Track blog through the Genealogue humor blog. Sharon's blog provides interesting solutions to selected research problems, mainly involving famous people - actors, ploticians, etc.

Sharon's web sites are also high value - see her Genealogy Jump Start page, and her Pedigree Puzzles page.

Are there other Genealogy blogs that I should visit?

New LDS Family Search - Research Help

Renee Zamora has an interesting post on her Renee's Genealogy blog:

"The Help Center Research Advice Forums"

By now most of the genealogical community has heard about the new FamilySearch™ system the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is developing, but fewer have heard of the Help Center. The Help Center is a web–based program designed to provide a self-service support environment for the new FamilySearch.

Among the exciting additions of the Help Center are the Research Advice Forums. These online communities will provide users a chance to ask their research questions and allow other users with research experience to share their knowledge. The forums will be available in eight languages, and will eventually cover every country of the world.

Research Advice Forums

FamilySearch Support (part of the Family and Church History Department) has been given the task to provide family history research support worldwide. Since volunteers in family history centers and genealogical societies collectively possess so much research knowledge, FamilySearch Support has created an online environment where these people can share their knowledge with those looking for help with their family history.

The Research Advice Forums are different than any other genealogical forum online. How many times have you asked a question in an online forum and never received an answer? Research Advice Forums will be different. FamilySearch Support will actively manage its forums and notify the forum moderator of any questions that have gone unanswered for a given amount of time. The forum moderator will then ask a research specialist to answer the user’s question.

The forums also have a dynamic search feature. Every time a question is asked and answered it is automatically added to the Help Center’s knowledge base of answers. The knowledge base contains forum posts, websites, authored articles, and Family History Library publications. As questions are asked and answered, websites added, and new articles written, the Help Center’s knowledge base will continue to grow.

This sounds really useful for many genealogy research problems. They are not going to solve your research problem, but they will answer your questions and perhaps guide you to online or repository resources.

Note that this is still in the Test phase now, but it may be available soon.

Southeastern Massachusetts Cemeteries

Dale Cook posted the following on the GenMassachusetts mailing list today:

One of the standard reference works on Massachusetts cemeteries is available online - Charles M. Thatcher, "Old Cemeteries of Southeastern Massachusetts" (Middleborough, MA: Middleborough Public Library, 1995) Thanks to the Library this book is downloadable or viewable as a large (> 24 meg) PDF file. It contains over 16,000 transcriptions of gravestones up to the mid-1800s, from 214 cemeteries located in 15 Plymouth and Bristol County towns.

Southeastern Massachusetts Old Cemeteries

This is a 24 mb PDF file (use Adobe Acrobat Reader) and downloads very slowly, but if you have folks buried in Bristol or Plymouth Counties, it may be quite useful. You can save it to your hard drive for faster or future reference.

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

My favorite snake oil salesman

Sometimes you find a really interesting person with a peculiar occupation in your ancestry. I have a snake oil salesman in mine, named Devier J. Smith. He looks like Mr. Confidence in 1884, doesn't he?

So how do I know he is a snake oil salesman? Because he advertised it, and I found the ad in the treasures in my mother's closet. I don't know the time frame, but I'm guessing 1885 to 1890.

What else do I know about DJ Smith? Again, the family records, the census and a family Bible and letters provide much of the information:

DEVIER J.2 SMITH (RANSLOW1) was born 7 May 1839 in Henderson, Jefferson, NY (Bible), and died 1 May 1894 in McCook, Red Willow, NE (Bible). He married ABIGAIL VAUX 4 April 1861 in Rolling Prairie, Dodge, WI (Bible), daughter of SAMUEL VAUX and MARY UNDERHILL. She was born 28 October 1844 in prob. Aurora, Erie, NY (Bible), and died 11 September 1931 in San Diego, San Diego, CA (CA DI).

Devier James Smith was born in New York, and moved with his family about 1843 to Dodge County, Wisconsin where he married Abigail Vaux. The available private records indicate they lived in Dodge County, Wisconsin until about 1868, when they moved to Bedford County, Iowa. In about 1875 the family moved to Andrew County, Missouri, and then to Concordia, Cloud County, Kansas by 1876. A biography of D.J. Smith in a newspaper (the Plain Dealer in Wano, Kansas, no date available) says he was a farmer and hotel-keeper in Wisconsin, a farmer and in the livery business in Iowa and Missouri, and handled cattle in Missouri.

In the 1880 US census, there are two entries for this family. The D.J. Smith family was listed in Shannon township, Pottawatomie County, Kansas. The household included D.J. (age 41, born NY, no occupation, father and mother born NY), wife Abba A. (age 37, born NY, keeping house, father born England, mother born NY), son David D. (age 16, born WI, father and mother born NY), daughter Mami (age 14, born WI, father and mother born NY), E. Kearnes (age 21, born IA) and brother-in-law Jos. P. Vaux (age 35, born NY, father born England, mother born NY). The full record can be found on FHL Microfilm 1,254,393, page 243D. Abagail A. Smith headed a family listed in Blue Rapids township, Marshall County, Kansas. The household included Abagail A. (age 36, born NY, keeps house, father born England, mother born NY), daughter Della (age 18, born WI, at home, father and mother born NY), daughter Mary A. (age 14, born WI, father and mother born NY), father Samuel Vaux (age 65, born England, without occupation, father and mother born England), mother Mary A. Vaux (age 65, born NY, without occupation, father born VT, mother born NH) and niece Orpha Woodward (age 17, born WI, at home, father born VT, mother born NY). The full census record can be found in FHL Microfilm 1,254,388, page 205C.

On April 1, 1885, they bought a farm from John Dunbar in McCook, Red Willow County, Nebraska. They built a barn and started the Blue Front livery stable which was run by son David Devier Smith.

On April 27, 1885, Devier J. Smith went up the Republican River valley with Mr. Dunbar and located the land he owned near Wano, Cheyenne, Kansas. He started building on the land on May 8, 1885, and resided permanently there on November 5 on a place called Spring Ranch. He and the two children had about 70 acres of breaking sod done, and about $4,000 of improvements were made. They grew apples and all sorts of small fruits. At one point in his career, D.J. Smith sold hair tonic for $2 a bottle (see the advertisement below). As part of his livery business, D.J. Smith patented a harness rack on 1 December 1885 while in Wano. The newspaper article notes that DJ was noted for his thrift and common sense.

A family Bible entry reads:

"Spring Ranch, Cheyenne Co, Kans. I wrote the Marriages, Births and Deaths of our Little Daughter & son this 10th day of Nov 1889. This is the Sabath, I have written a letter to my Dear Wife in National City California a Daughter and son-in-law there with a Granson and Son and Daughter and Daughter-in-law in McCook Nebraska. Myself on the Ranch alone. have read a number of Chapters in this good book today it does my Heart good to read the Holy Bible. May we all praise the Lord forever is my prayer, Devier J. Smith".

Several personal letters tell of their life in 1890, including selling Spring Ranch. Devier died in 1894 in McCook, Red Willow, Nebraska.

Abigail (Vaux) Smith came to California after her daughter's first child was born, and may have not returned to her husband. She lived with her daughter Della in 1903 in San Diego. She lived in Los Angeles, California in 1920 when her son David died, and came to San Diego and lived with her daughter Della before her death in 1931.

Thank goodness that Devier wrote the names and marriages of his children in the Bible - they are the only record I have of the names and dates.

Monday, May 1, 2006

Yes, Tom Seaver is my (10th) Cousin

One of the never-ending questions I get when I say I research family history is “Are you related to Tom Seaver?” since he is the most famous living Seaver person. I finally had a breakthrough – Tom’s father, Charles Henry Seaver, died in 2004, and a very nice obituary was written up in a golf magazine. My Most Recent Common (Seaver) Ancestor with Tom Seaver is the immigrant, Robert Seaver (1608-1683) of Roxbury MA. I can really claim “cousin Tom!” Here is Tom’s Seaver ancestry:

1) Robert Seaver (1608-1683) married Elizabeth Ballard (ca 1610 – 1657), resided Roxbury MA.
2) Joshua Seaver (1641-1730) married Mary May (1657 - -?-), resided Roxbury MA
3) Joshua Sever (1679-1739) married Mercy Cooke (1678-1759), resided Dorchester MA
4) William Sever (1721-1782) married Patience Trescott (1723-1799), resided Dorchester MA
5) William Sever (1743-1815) married Rebecca Hunt (1742-1767), resided Taunton MA
6) William Sever (1763-1828) married Mary Everett (1765-1815), resided Brutus NY
7) William Seaver (1789-1871) married Naomi McCleary (1788-1846), resided Batavia NY
8) James Everett Seaver (1821-1855) married Nancy K. Follett (1824- -?-), resided Batavia NY
9) James Everett Seaver (1851- -?-) married Bella R. Carr (1855- -?-), resided Kansas City MO
10) Everett Herbert Seaver (1886-1963) married Gertrude Sharp (1888-1964), resided Los Angeles CA
11) Charles Henry Seaver (1911-2004) married Betty Lee Cline (1913-1988), resided Los Angeles and Fresno CA
12) George Thomas Seaver (1944 - ), the Hall of Fame baseball pitcher, married Nancy Lynn McIntyre.

My own Seaver ancestry is:

1) Robert Seaver (1608-1683) married 1634 Elizabeth Ballard (ca 1610 – 1657), resided Roxbury MA.
2) Shubael Seaver (1640-1730) married 1668 Hannah Wilson (1647-1722), resided Roxbury MA
3) Joseph Seaver (1672-1754) married 1701 Mary Read (1679-after 1754), resided Framingham/Sudbury MA
4) Robert Seaver (1702-1752) married 1726 Eunice Rayment (1707-after 1772), resided Sudbury and Westminster MA
5) Norman Seaver (1734-1787) married 1755 Sarah Read (1738-1809), resided Framingham, Shrewsbury, Westminster, and Sudbury MA
6) Benjamin Seaver (1757-1816) married 1783 Martha Whitney (1764-1832), resided Westminster MA
7) Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825) married 1817 Abigail Gates (1797-1867), resided Westminster MA.
8) Isaac Seaver (1823-1901) married 1851 (2) Lucretia Townsend Smith (1827-1884), resided Westminster and Leominster MA
9) Frank Walton Seaver (1852-1922) married 1874 Harriet Louise Hildreth (1857-1920), resided Leominster MA
10) Fred Walton Seaver (1876-1942) married 1900 Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962), resided Leominster MA
11) Frerick Walton Seaver (1911-1983) married 1942 Betty Carringer (1919-2002), resided Leominster MA and San Diego CA
12) Randy Seaver (1943- ), resides Chula Vista CA.

You can view 9 generations of the identified descendants of Robert Seaver at my genealogy web site - click on "Descendants of Joshua Seaver" for Tom's line, and "Descendants of Shubael Seaver" for my line.

The Faith of our Ancestors

When I transcribe or read the wills of our colonial ancestors, I am struck by the statements of faith and their absolute confidence they have in their life after death. As examples:

John Bigelow of Watertown, who died in 1703:

"I John Biglo of Watertown in the county of Midd'x within her Majesties Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, yeoman, being weake of body but in sound & disposing Memory praise be given to god for the same, Do make this my last will & testament in manner & forme following: that is to say first & principally I resign my soul into the mercyfull hands of almighty god my Creator, assuredly hoping through the merits of my blessed Saviour to obtaine pardon & remission of all my sins; and my body I commit to the earth whence it was taken, to be decently buried by the descretion of my executors hereinafter named, …”

Robert Fletcher of Concord, who died in 1677:

"the 4th of February 1672. These may certyfie Whom it may Concern that I Robert Flecher of Concord in the County of Midelsex in the Government of the Masachusets Jurisdiction in New England being about fourscor years of age: yet through the high favor of almighty God I have my understanding in a Competent measure although I find much Weakness in my body: doe therefore declare this to bee my last Will and Testament - I doe hereby acknowledge that God to be my God who made the World by the Word of his power Who out of his unspeakabell Goodness hath Given to me my life and breath with the support of it hetherto - I also believe in and Rull myselfe upon Jesus Christ his only sonn that was Given to bee a propitiation for my sinn and perfectly to fulfill the Righteous law of God for mee that soe I might obtain boldness att the throne of Grace When hee shalbee admired of all his saints - Who out of his infinite love according to his promise hath sent the spirit to sealle unto mee my adoption and fellowship both with the father and Himself in the full assurance Thereof I doe hereby Resign my soull into the hands of that God that Gave it to mee - as likewise my body to the earth from Whence it was taken; to bee decently buryed by my three sonns and the expense thereof to be deducted out of my estate…”

Isaac Read of Sudbury, who died in 1780:

"In the Name of God, Amen. I, Isaac Read of Sudbury in the County of Middlesex in the State of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, yeoman, being of sound disposing mind, though infirm in body, sensible of my own frailty and mortality, do make and ordain this my last will and testament. Firstly committing my soul into the hands of God, hoping for salvation through Jesus Christ the only Saviour of Men, and my body to be decently buried, at the discretion of my executor, hereafter named, in hopes of a Reformation to a blessed immortality…”

Peregrine White of Marshfield, who died in 1704:

"The fourteenth day of July Anno Domini one thousand seven hundred and four. I Peregrine White of Marshfield in ye County of Plimouth in New England Being aged and under many Weaknesses and Bodily Infirmities But of Sound disposing mind and memory praises be Rendered to Almighty God therefore yet in dayly Expectation of my Great Change Do therefore hereby make and Declare this my last Will and Testament hereby Revoking and making null any former Will or Wills by me heretofore made and declare this to be my last Will and Testament and no other---

"Imprimis I Humbly Commit my Soul to Almighty God that Gave it and my Body to decent Buriall when it Shall Please him to take me hence…”

Of course, not all wills expressed the writer’s faith and confidence in such glowing terms. Some wrote only one line with limited sentiments, and some did not mention God at all.

After about 1800, most religious sentiments disappeared from wills.

Genealogy Research Guide web site

One of the problems with genealogy research on the Internet is that new web sites or databases are constantly added, especially for Vital Records. Some societies have volunteers transcribing records, some states have birth, marriage or death indexes, etc. How do we keep all of this straight, and find out what is available?

One of the best sites I have found is Genealogy Research Guides organized by Joe Beine. The site has sections for:

* birth, marriage and death records,
* cemeteries and obituaries,
* census records,
* historical newspapers,
* naturalization records,
* passenger list records,
* military records,
* finding people and places
* online genealogy guides

The site is comprehensive, really useful and is up to date. Joe Beine also has a Genealogy Roots blog which provides links to new additions to the web site.

Do you know of other excellent web sites? Tell me!

Sunday, April 30, 2006

The 14th Generation...

I am the 12th generation from my immigrant ancestor, Robert Seaver (1608 to 1683), who settled in Roxbury in Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1634. Therefore, my children are the 13th generation, and my grandchildren are the 14th.

Here are some pictures of the 14th generation with the 12th - from Christmas time (grandson Lucas and I):

and from March (granddaughter Lauren and Angel Linda):

I hope this impresses them when they are old enough to understand. Right now, we just enjoy every minute of their company.

Lucas' baby brother is Logan, and I don't have any recent pictures of him, but hope to have some soon. I will post when I get a good one.

Census Whacking #1

The Genealogue introduced us to Census Whacking in 2005. From what I was able to gather, the present formulation of it is to find unique or interesting Surnames, Given Names, Birthplaces or Occupations in the Census Records. This has become specialized to find census listings of famous people, fake or wrong census listings, or duplicate census records for individuals and families.

I tend to favor the unique combination of given names and surnames, to wit:

o Osman Nervous – 1920, St. Louis MO

o Chip Buffalo – 1900, Raymond NE

o Julia Happiness – 1920, Story County, IA

o J.H. Wonderful - 1910, Chicago IL

o Tiger Tadpole – 1900, Cherokee Indian Territory

o Harry Bald – 1920, Spokane WA

o Peter Fuzzy – 1910, El Paso TX

o Frog Super – 1920, Greenville SC

o Evil Blessing – 1900, Middleton OH

o Lullaby Lee – 1920, Choctaw, OK

o Charles Cuckoo – 1900, Florida, NY

o Jean B. Stupid – 1870, Vermillion, LA

o Usano Miserable – 1900, New York City, NY

And those are the clean ones! You wouldn't believe what you can find using George Carlin's seven magic words.

Have you found "unique" names in the census? Tell me what, when and where.