Thursday, May 11, 2006

Blogging will be light...

I realize that is an oxymoron.

We are off for a weekend visit with a real cute little girl and her mom and dad.

Topless pictures are OK up to the first birthday, I'm told.

I will continuously check in here to see if anybody has made a comment, which also serves to get my daily hit score up above 5. My hopes are high.

Is this a fake entry in 1881 English census?

One of the classic census entries is in the 1881 census for the British Isles. Go here for the census entry box, then:

1) Enter the name "Robert Goodman" with a birth date of "1829," .and hit Search

2) You should get one entry for a Robert Goodman, born in Kent. Click on his name.

3) This gives you a page with his individual census data. Click on the "Household" link in the upper right hand corner.

4) The household listings come up. This "family" raises many questions:

a) Is Robert really an "International Playboy?"

b) Is Cecily really that age?

c) Is the son really the son of these parents?

d) What is a "Ponce?" Um, Google it!

e) Are all the servants really from those places?

What do you think? Is it on the actual census entry? Is this a fake census entry? If so, who put it in the database?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Search LDS IGI Records by Batch Number

I want to pass along a web site that can provide information about what is on individual microfilms in the LDS IGI records. The IGI is available at and you can search by surname or given name and surname.

Dick Eastman's blog pointed me to the Ohio Genealogy web site which lets you search by IGI Batch number. Let them explain it:

There is a great deal of information which can be found on the website listed above to those who know how to search it. Using the county batch record numbers is a quick way to figure out if your ancestors record is located at a county courthouse in Massachusetts. The church members have voluntarily traveled around the country and microfilmed available courthouse and church records and made them searchable online. Below is listed the batch record numbers by county which are to the indexes for these microfilmed records. Basic information is provided for each record. You can use the information to order a copy of your ancestors record from a family history library near you or a specific county courthouse as the volume of the probate record is often listed. Try many different spellings for your ancestors surnames as courthouse clerks often mispelled first and last names.

When you go to the site, you can click on a state on the map or in the list of states. You then will go to a page that lists records by counties. For the county you want, you can click on each item in the list and see if your ancestor target is included. As an example, I went to the Massachusetts page, and then:

1) Scrolled down to the Suffolk County listings, and clicked on the first one, "Births, 1630 - 1699".

2) The LDS FamilySearch IGI query box comes up. I don't know the town for this batch, so I input "John" in the Given Name field and select "North America" in the Region field so I can determine what town the records are for. I hit "Search"

3) I get a list of more than 200 "John" people, but what I want to know is the town - it is Boston.

4) Now, if I want a list of Smith persons in this batch, I can go back to the IGI query box, input "Smith" in the Surname field and select "North America" in the "Region" field, and hit "Search."

5) The results page shows 96 records for births of Smith children.

6) If I am interested in one of these, say #88, Rebecca Smith, I can click on her name and see that she was born 26 Nov 1671 and her parents were Thomas and Rebecca Smith.

If you click on the "Source Call No" link, you can see the citation of the record source, and the film or fiche number of the source.

Not every LDS microfilm or record batch is included yet in this web site. But a great number are. These are all Extracted records that came from some sort of record book - not the records submitted by LDS church members. In general, the extracted data is fairly reliable.

If you are searching for an elusive ancestor and don't know the locality, then you should use the IGI at to try to find him or her. If you find a person of interest, then you can use this site to see what other persons of the same surname are in the records.

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Charles A. Seifert (1945-2006), R.I.P.

They say the good ones die young. In this case, the saying is true.

Charles Alvin Seifert was a friend and cousin-in-law of mine who lived in Salem, New Hampshire. He was married to my cousin Diana, and they had three daughters and one son. Their children are wonderful people to know – Chuck and Diana did a fantastic job with their kids. Chuck was a high school English teacher and drama coach in Salem – his students loved him, and he loved them. In short, he was a fun, loving, happy, educated, responsible, and effective human being.

Chuck retired from teaching last summer after many years in the Salem schools, Almost immediately, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and given a limited time to live. He passed away last Thursday, May 4 in a Salem hospital at the age of 60. The services were on Monday. I’ll leave it to an obituary to cite the family details (I haven’t found one online yet). Linda and I were unable to go to the service, but our hearts and minds were there in spirit.

We visited Chuck and his family several times over the years. My memories of these visits are precious – they are full of laughter, good food, fun times swimming and boating, talking and discussing kids, life, politics, religion, genealogy, playing Trivial Pursuit, and so much more. The picture shows Chuck doing one of the things he loved – driving a boat around Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire.

This good and wonderful man died young, and I am very sad. But I am glad that God let me cross his path, and I was able to converse and commune with him, and to enjoy his wisdom, knowledge and humor. He enriched my life, and the lives of thousands of young people. May he Rest In Peace.

Update: An obituary is here. I'm not sure how long it will be available.

Have you looked at the Genealogy Sleuth?

One of the web sites that I visit regularly is the Genealogy Sleuth page run by ProGenealogists in Utah.

The page has many links to vital records, the USGenWeb state sites, online databases, military, census, immigration, naturalization, newspapers, cemeteries, etc. links. One feature I really like is the green $ notice that the link goes to a paid site, and the red X notice that they will provide this information to you for a fee. This saves me a lot of time, since I get a tad frustrated when every link I seem to click on goes to Ancestry.

There are other collections of links here, some that are general information in nature, such as place names, maps, finding living people, etc.

One set that I use occasionally is the "Finding Living People" links that lead you to telephone number or address searches. These work for free if the number is listed, and some, like zabasearch, will give you an address if the number is unlisted. Some have reverse directories where you can input a phone number or an address and get a name.

Of course, nearly all of the "free" services lead you eventually to a paid search service, with any number of databases that can be searched for a fee. The best use of these paid services is if you are in a hurry to find a number of people - some services allow a 24 hour or one week or one month subscription period. One of my friends used a one month subscription for about $20 to find many people for a school reunion. Or you may want to see what the records say about you...what can a private detective find?

Do you have another web site for these services? Tell me!

Monday, May 8, 2006

Chasing my Richmans in England

Linda and I spent three weeks in England on vacation in 1993, and had a marvelous time sightseeing and chasing family history. We spent three nights in London, three nights in Edinburgh in Scotland (with a side trip to St. Andrews), three nights in York (and I went to the town of Richmond one day), a night with friends near Derby, three nights in Oxford (with a bus trip to Stratford-on-Avon), one night in the country village of Ashton Keynes in northern Wiltshire, six nights in Bath (Linda went one day to Wales, and I spent three days in Trowbridge doing research, with a trip to Salisbury and Stonehenge), and back to London (to see Buckingham Palace) for one night. We traveled by train everywhere, and then used the bus or taxi within the towns. We stayed in Bed and Breakfast guest houses in every place but London; they typically had 4-10 rooms, done quite elegantly, and with a full English breakfast each morning.

The night in Ashton Keynes (in northern Wiltshire), was in the manor house (now a Bed & Breakfast) of the Richmond family from the 17th century. There are some legends associated with this house which was obtained by the Richmonds in about 1650. The owners claim it was the birthplace of the John Richmond who came to America in about 1637 and settled in Taunton MA, moving later to Newport RI. I have this John Richmond of Taunton in my Seaver ancestry. They also claim the house was the site of the incident where a John Richmond (a Royalist) killed his brother Henry Richmond (a Roundhead) before the battle of Newbury of the English Civil War in 1643. They even re-enact the incident every five years, with the master of the B&B playing the part of John. There is no irrefutable proof that John Richmond of Taunton is the John who killed his brother Henry, nor that the incident happened in Ashton Keynes. Better genealogists than I have done lots of research over the last 100 years and have not able to solve the puzzle.

My main goal for the trip was to tie my James Richman (Richmond after he came in 1855 and settled in Connecticut!) to some Richman/Richmond family further back. I searched quite a few parish registers, the wills, land and tithing apportionment and several other resources in the Wiltshire County Record Office (CRO) in Trowbridge. I did gather as much as I could in two and a half days on Richman and the three collateral families (Rich, Marshman and Hill). When I got back, I input all of the collected data into a computer database. It appears that the parish registers have periods when they are incomplete - either the vicar didn't write things down or the folks didn't have their kids baptized. I have not searched all of the parish registers, so there may be records available that I have not found.

The parents of James Richman were John and Ann (Marshman) Richman, which I knew before I left. I found the baptism and marriage records for James Richman and Hannah Rich in the Hilperton parish records - so Hilperton is the "ancestral" church. Interestingly, the families of Hilperton and Trowbridge used Richman almost exclusively - and the first Richman records were in the 1620's. The name may be derived from either Richmond or Rich - it is unclear now and probably won't ever be clear! In any case, very few of them were rich people - they appear to be mainly masons, blacksmiths, farmers, weavers, mill workers, or laborers.

One day I went out to the Hilperton church and roamed around the graveyard - the gravestones are really corroded, and the earliest stone I found was about 1860. There were only two Richman stones, and they were later than the ones I was looking for.

On Sunday, we took a cab to church (15 pounds fare from Bath) in Hilperton and met a Mr. Potts who remembered that other folks from the USA had come twice to find the same Richman ancestors we were looking for. He also remembered that he had gone to the CRO and found vestryman's records that indicated our James Richman had been accused of stealing coal, was acquitted, and then emigrated to America after the incident (so that answers the question "why did they come to America?"). When I returned, I wrote to my cousins Chester and Barbara Richmond who live near Seattle, and learned from them of my cousin Roma Challis who lives in Hilperton, and from her my cousin Doris Beasley in Winchester.

Do you have Richmonds (or Richmans!) from Wiltshire in your ancestry? Have you done research in England? If so, please tell us about it!

Sunday, May 7, 2006

Who is Edith Tintwhistle of Great Cockup?

While browsing through the Humor and Prose portion of Cyndi's List, I ran across this wickedly funny web page, ostensibly the 1901 English census of Great Cockup parish in England. The census description reads:

Comprising Great Cockup and the Hamlet of Lower Cockup commencing at The Duck and Diddle and including the House in the occupation of Mr O’Stoatbreath in Shepherd’s Fold, The Littleless Cockup Bank, The Eastside of Church Street, to include the Police Station, Sedgby Hall, The Railway Station and the Cottages up to the Methodist Chapel on the West of Cow Pat Lane, the House in the occupation of Mrs. Hornblaster known as The Hovel and all the houses on the Eastside of Cow Pat Lane to and including the house of Egbert Threadbare Tailor, and thence taking the Southside of Church Street and finishing at the house of Mr Compost, Greengrocer.

Persons 234 Male 245 Female 479 Total (Give or take a few)

Enumerator Rev. H.Leartittle

Read the whole thing. The names, occupations and birthplaces are hilarious.

There are several pages for the parish, all starring Miss Edith Tintwhistle here. Read them all. Someone had way too much time on their hands.

Needless to say, I love this stuff!

My personal data disaster plan

Are you prepared for a personal data disaster? What will happen to your precious mementoes, heirlooms, documents, certificates, pictures, movies, videos, and genealogy databases if a disaster happens to you?

Will your genealogy research survive a computer hard drive crash, a theft of your whole computer system, a fire, earthquake, landslide, flood, or a nuclear catastrophe? What about your death?

I’ve read quite a bit about this issue, listened to the computer guys on the radio, considered my own situation, and have formulated my own plan. Here it is:

1) Inventory the family documents, mementoes, heirlooms, etc, including their origin, general description and physical location. Keep these items in a safe, dark, dry, cool place in archival holders.

2) Scan the original documents and save the digital images on the computer. Make Xerox copies of the original documents and provide them to family members for safe-keeping. Keep the original documents in a safe, dark, dry, cool place in archival holders.

3) Scan family photographs and save the digital images on the computer. Organize the photographs into family groups, and give them descriptive names with dates, if possible. Label the original photographs. Keep the original photographs in a safe, dark, dry, cool place in archival holders.

4) Backup my computer hard drive data regularly in order to protect against a hard drive or system failure. An external hard drive with many gigabytes is relatively cheap, it is portable to another computer, and it is easy to copy data from the computer hard drive to the external drive. I don’t need to copy all computer files – only the precious data files that I cannot replace easily (e.g., databases, documents, photos, financial records, etc). This can be done daily, weekly, monthly, yearly – how much am I willing to lose? I tend to do it monthly.

5) In order to circumvent a theft, fire, flood, earthquake, etc., copy my precious data files on to CD-ROM's on a regular basis. Then store these CD-ROM’s at places away from my home (e.g., at work, a safety deposit box, with a friend or relative, etc).

6) In order to circumvent the nuclear catastrophe or my own demise, make and send CD-ROM’s with my precious data files to family or friends far from my home town.

7) My death is inevitable. In order to ensure that my precious family data is saved and used, write a genealogical will telling what I would like done with the mementos, heirlooms, papers, documents, photos, etc. Include directions to either publish my research as is or to use your research to complete genealogy books. Define the books in detail, and the repositories where I wish them placed. If I want to contribute a genealogy database to an online repository (e.g. Rootsweb), specify what I want submitted. Appoint an heir to find, inventory, update, improve, keep, publish or donate my material to a repository. Leave a significant bequest to an heir to perform these tasks, or to have it done professionally. This is my life’s work.

I recommend a fireproof safe for things kept at the house, stored in a closet away from the computer room. For real precious documents or heirlooms, a safe deposit box at a bank is recommended.

The lifetime of a CD-ROM is anywhere from 2 years to 20 years, according to the computer people. Plan accordingly. As DVD writers become readily available, more precious data will be able to be stored on DVDs with a longer shelf life.

That's my plan, and I've talked to my family members about it. I am still working on all aspects of the plan. I have so much stuff from four generations in one family that I am behind on the archiving bit of it. I also have many more old family pictures to scan. I do the computer backup on a monthly basis, and at Christmas time I give a CD-ROM to my children and siblings with the year’s photos, newly digitized documents and my updated genealogy databases.

What would you add to or change in my plan? Please tell me!

Padres 30-game report card

A Padres-Musing:

My last report card (after 20 games) found my Padres record at 8 wins, 12 losses. They had just lost two games to the D-backs. They lost game 21 to the Snakes, then two more to the Dodgers (making them 8 and 15), and were behind in Sunday's game to the Dodgers 5-0 in the 9th inning. It had been a woeful week at home - losing 5 straight and now a 6th was looming.

So what happened? Well, the Pads got 5 in the 9th, won it in the 11th, and went on the road to Frisco (winning 2 games there), then to Ellay (winning 2 games there), and came home to play the Cubs over the weekend. My Pads won 3 more! So to recap games 21 to 30, the Padres won 7 and lost 3. Overall, after 30 games, they are 15-15, 9-4 on the road, 6-11 at home. With an 8 game winning streak after Sunday's game.

There is hope! Thank God for May (Padre fans will recall that in 2005 they were 22-6 in May, and did not have a winning record in any other month).

The report card:

* Starting pitching : B+ it has been excellent this last week, with the starters averaging 7 innings and keeping the team in every game. The team ERA has come down to around 4.0.

* Relief pitching: A- better work from Embree and Linebrink, with continued excellent work from Cassidy, Sweeney and Hoffman.

* Defense: A- My Pads lead the league in fielding percentage. The infield is tight, the outfield is great, everything's good.

* Hitting: C We are next to last in BA in the NL, and last in HRs. But things are better than they were after 20 games. Bellhorn picked up the team last week, Roberts, Giles, Greene and Barfield are hitting well, Rob Bowen continues to hit in the clutch off the bench, but Piazza, Castilla and Gonzales haven't done much recently. The bench does OK. It could be better, but with the improved pitching, this may be good enough.

* Coaching: B An 8 game winning streak sure takes the pressure off Bochy.

**** OVERALL: C+ for the year, A+ for the last week!

IF IF IF IF IF ... If they can play 0.600 ball (average 6 out of 10) the rest of the year, we can win the pennant. Linda and I are only 1-3 so far this year at Petco, but we go Monday and Wednesday this week. It's probably too much to ask to have a 12 game streak through Thursday, but hope springs eternal in Padre-villa.