Thursday, June 22, 2006

Blogging will be light...

It's a grandfather's delight - all three of the little ones will be here over the weekend. I picked the two boys and their mom up today, the girl and her mom come tomorrow, we go to the Padres game on Friday night, the zoo on Saturday, church and ice cream social on Sunday, the beach on Monday, and they leave on Tuesday. I'm tired just thinking about it. But it's going to be fun.

Here is a picture of my grandson Lucas blogging with me three months ago. He's a big Wiggles, Sesame Street and Thomas the Tank Train fan...

While I'm gone, check out some of the other blogs on my blogroll on the right margin. I'm sure they'll welcome your visit.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

FREE Access to 1930 Census on

Ancestry has announced the completion of the 1910 Census Every Name index, which completes the entire 1790-1930 digitzed and indexed. It's an amazing feat. There are 540 million names in these records.

To celebrate, they have apparently opened access to the 1930 Census for free for three days. You have to go in through and then select the link in "See Stories from the Census." Then on the next page click on the "Continue" link.

Finally, at the bottom of the page click on the "Search Now" box to the right of the "Find your own story in the 1930 census" line. That takes you to a search box where you can enter a name with a locality, age, etc. of an ancestor. It worked for me!


The Ultimate in Genealogy

There is a fascinating article, by John Derbyshire on the National Review Online web site, about human development and evolution entitled "The Ultimate in Genealogy" here. It describes in detail the new book Before the Dawn by Nicholas Wade, the New York Times science editor since 1982.

Some snippets:

Wade’s new book Before the Dawn brings together a selection of these early results to tell the story of modern man, homo sapiens sapiens. We have known a good deal about this topic for decades, from investigations in archeology, anthropology, and comparative linguistics. However, our new, detailed knowledge of the human genome has clarified our understanding dramatically.

Then a tremendous event occurred. A small band of modern humans — it may have been as few as 150 people — crossed from Africa into Arabia via the Bab al-Mandab (“Gate of Grief”) at the southern end of the Red Sea. Their descendants proceeded to populate all of Eurasia, Australasia, Oceania, and the Americas. Moses and Mao Tse-tung, Socrates and Sitting Bull, Gandhi and Geronimo, Queen Anne of England and Queen Kamehameha of Hawaii, are all descended from that same tiny band. Those modern humans who were left behind in Africa of course had 50,000 years of history ahead of them, too, and Wade covers it fully; but it is no slight on anyone to say that for sheer drama and wonder, the epic of that little group of emigrants and their descendants, told in this book, takes some beating.

And finally:
Before the Dawn is beautifully done, a grand genealogy of modern humanity, rooted in fact but spiced with an appropriate measure of speculation and hypothesis.

Read the whole article. Fascinating.

This may be a book that I buy rather than wait for it on the library shelf.

I wonder who will be the first to finish this book and write a review for Juliana Smith? Maybe she can just reference Derbyshire's article.

Family Tree Magazine's 101 Top Genealogy Sites

Family Tree Magazine has consistently provided a wealth of information on specific research techniques and useful web sites, in addition to summarizing the genealogy records for two states in each issue.

In 2004, the magazine published their 101 Top Web Sites for Genealogy.

In 2005, they published their Top 101 Undiscovered Web Sites for Genealogy.

When you click the above links, you'll have to choose from several categories, each of which have a number of links to genealogy sites.

Both lists are impressive, and cover just about every type of genealogy research methods and locations. If you are just starting, go to the 2004 list first. If you are looking for new sites, check the 2005 list. The August 2006 magazine will probably have another Top 101 list.

Have you visited all of these sites yet?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Genealogy Newsgroups on Google Groups

One of the first genealogy data sources I found online was the Genealogy Newsgroups back in the early 1990's. I had to FTP into them, download a bunch of stuff, read it offline, write a post offline, then upload it the next time I accessed it on my dialup modem. Later, the Newsgroups could be accessed through my email programs, Eudora and now Outlook Express. But it was a hassle, since you couldn't read the threads, only the current messages.

That's all changed. Many (if not all) Genealogy Newsgroups are now accessible on the Web through Google Groups.

By jumping through a few hoops, you can subscribe to any number of Newsgroups and receive them via email, or you can choose to read them on the Web at your leisure. I chose the latter, and signed up for the alt.genealogy (over 95,000 posts), (over 20,000 posts) and soc.genealogy.methods (over 8000 posts) Newsgroups.

The major benefit of reading these Newsgroups on the Web is that there is a Search box for the Newsgroup (obvious isn't it, it's hosted by Google!). There may be a distant cousin of mine (or you) who posted something to one of these Newsgroups a long time ago and I (or you) need to find them.

Good luck.

Padres Report Card - 70 Games

This has nothing to do with's just my desire to keep track of MY team's progress as they wiggle their way to the National League playoffs - from last in the NL West to first to last to first to ... Hey, I'm a lifelong Padres fan!

After 70 games, my Padres are tied for first in the NL West with a record of 37 wins and 33 losses. They are 18 and 19 at home, 19 and 14 on the road, and 3 and 4 against the AL West. The team batting average is 16th in the NL, and HRs are 15th. But the pitching ERA is 2nd and the defense is first.

In the last 10 games, we lost 2 of 3 to the Marlins, won 2 of 3 from the Dodgers, won 2 of 3 from the Angels and beat the Rangers 6-5 tonight. The starting pitching and relief pitching continue to perform well, and the offense is showing a bit more power.

The good news is that Cameron and Castilla have started to hit with power and Gonzalez is on a tear, but Piazza and Greene are slumping badly. Dave Roberts was lost for 15 to 20 games with a knee injury on Saturday, resulting in Ben Johnson rejoining the club today (and getting two hits tonight).

The key for this club is to stay healthy (especially Peavy and Hoffman), hit better and continue to pitch well. We should get Woody Williams and Ryan Klesko back in July and they may help, even if they are tade bait.

If they can play at a .600 clip the rest of the year, they would win 92 games, which is good enough for the playoffs. A winning streak would be nice...a losing streak would be deadly.

My Grade for this 10 game stretch: B

My Grade for the season to date: B -

Watch for my 80 game report along about July 4.

101 Ways to Research Genealogy for Free

Kimberly Powell writes a frequent column at They are always informative and helpful. There are also links in the left column to other articles and research guides.

One of her latest is "101 Ways to Research Your Family Tree for Free."

You have to page through them 5 sites at a time, but many of the sites listed are useful and some were new for me.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Will of a Conspiracy Theorist

I ran across the Last Will and Testament of Patrick Dunkler (written by Christopher Hynes) here. Some excerpts:

On the disposition of his remains:

The first matter of business: my body. Assuming I didn't "accidentally" fall into a vat of acid that destroyed even my bones, I would like the United States Government to bury me next to President John F. Kennedy. What's that? You can't? Oh, isn't that interesting. How about next to Elvis? No? Jesus? I hope you understand that this is a legally binding document, and by failing to comply, you admit that these men are not really dead!

His most precious heirlooms:
You have no doubt heard of my legendary collection of evidence against the secret societies that control our lives. Indeed, it is an awe-inspiring compilation of photographs and legal documents that will, quite frankly, blow your mind...Now, I know that They will have someone eavesdropping when this is read aloud, so I need to tell you the location in code:

The ilesfay are in the oeboxshay in my edroombay osetclay.

Keep them safe!

In the event that I die of truly natural causes, please disregard my previous instructions and bury me below a tombstone that reads: "I fought The Illuminati and all I got was this lousy tombstone."

There is, of course, much more to the will. Read it all. There are other funny articles at this site. Laugh at the wit (or twisted mind?) of some people. Enjoy.

Massachusetts Threatens to Close Recent VRs

The Massachusetts Genealogical Council alerts us to the threat by the State legislature to close Massachusetts Vital Records and Indexes (birth since 1915, Marriages and Deaths since 1955) in an announcement here.

This is a major threat to genealogy researchers in Massachusetts. Hopefully, an education campaign can be executed in order to find a compromise solution between privacy rights and open records access.

The suggested constituent letter includes this argument against the bill:

The study of family history has strong educational and patriotic components. In addition, the US Surgeon General has launched a nationwide campaign to promote family medical history, which must include collateral bloodlines in order to provide doctors with the information needed in preventative, diagnostic, and treatment medicine. Historical records must be used to augment the advancements in DNA. Those records must begin with the present generation and move back through each preceding generation.

One "middle ground" between privacy rights and open access is to restrict some data (such as Social Security Numbers) and to limit "official" certificates to the person and/or close relatives (e.g., parents, siblings, children, heirs). Unofficial certificates, with an appropriate statement concerning "not to be used for official purposes," could still be provided to those not entitled to "official" certificates. This is what California, and several other states, have done in recent years.

The Doggie in the Window?

The following query was posted on the Rootsweb message board for Chihuahua state (link here):

Subject: New Puppy Question
Author: Lucian Manning Jr
Date: 17 Jun 2006 7:38 PM GMT

I finally brought my baby (Female Chihuahua) home Thursday and she turned 8 weeks old yesterday (06/16/06). I read in a few books and article that Chihuahua puppies were one of the top ten hardest to house train. Mine hasn't used the potty inside once in the last 3 days, she goes outside sniffs a few seconds squats and pees/poops and all she seems to do is sleep. And I mean sleep.. Which is my question.. I wrap her up in her blanket and she probably sleeps 22 hours of the day. I have to wake her up to eat and of a night at 3pm to go outside. Might she be sick? Her gums are pink, her noise is cold, and she has normal poop. I took her to the vet the day I brought her home and he done a brief once over just so my warranty would be good but he's not going to give her a full exam until the 26th because that is when her second puppy shots are due. I just am scared this is too easy with her... compared to the other breeds I have took home at 8 weeks. What do y'all think?

This raises many questions, such as:

1) Does this little one have a birth certificate yet?
2) Was she legally adopted? Does Mom know the birth parents?
3) Does Mom want a pedigree chart done for her little one?
4) How will this look in the Notes section on the Rootsweb WorldConnect database?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Faith of Our Colonial ForeFathers

On Father's Day, I think back to the many generations before this one - to the courageous and adventurous Puritans and Pilgrims that settled in New England in the 1620 to 1650 time frame. What faith it must have taken to pursue the dream of religious freedom and settle in a place where they could have a tract of land of their own to raise their families.

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. I offer these of my ancestral fathers as examples:

1) 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, …”

2) 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…”

3) 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…”

4) 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…”

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. Too bad.

Happy Father's Day!

I Learned from my Dad...

1) To respect, honor and love my wife -- "Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them" (Col. 3:19). It's a lifetime contract with constant interaction. Sharing, listening, hugging, touching, feeling, flowers, chocolate - a lot of honey keeps the bear happy (Pooh's Theory). I wish I was better at this.

2) To discipline the kids with love not anger -- "Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged" (Col. 3:21). This was hard - I finally figured out, with a lot of help, that patience, penalties, rewards, logic and reason were the best course.

3) To create special family moments that are remembered - vacations, family events, sports activities, day trips. You will talk about them the rest of your lives. Hopefully, you have pictures, movies or videos.

4) To be part of your extended family -- know your siblings, your in-laws, their families, your aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc. through visits and hosting. Enjoy your elders and encourage them to talk about their lives. Attend family reunions and special moments - more memories to talk about forever.

5) To keep learning throughout your life -- accept and master educational challenges, understand relationships, physics and engineering, history and geography. Then there are sports, religion and politics.

6) To work hard at your job to support your family -- continue your technical education, rise to your level of competence, be a loyal employee, team member and leader, help others improve and grow.

7) To have a lot of fun in your life -- Laugh often, enjoy pleasure, take many day trips and vacations to interesting places far and near. Play hard with your wife, kids, family and friends.

8) To be competitive, fair and encouraging, but not obsessive, critical or cheating -- in family games, in sports, and in public. Give credit for good things that happen.

9) To be honest and fair dealing with people -- Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

10) To take time to do things that you like doing -- hobbies, puttering, reading, etc. The key is to do this without impacting on time with the family.

These are my Top 10 Lessons learned from my Dad. I saw how he approached life on these issues - and I decided, on some of them, to be different than he was. However, I am still a work in progress.

Happy Father's Day to all of you dads.