Saturday, July 15, 2006

Blogging the Revolution

Edna Barney has a blog called "Blogging the Revolution." The post topics include memorials, gravesites, statues, battlefields, etc. She includes a picture for every post, and some descriptive material. The site is wonderful.

Check her Archives for earlier posts. All of the posts are conveniently catalogued by year, state, patriot's name, etc. along the right hand of the site.

At the top of the blog, there is a "My Patriots" tab which provides a paragraph on each of Edna's Revolutionary War patriots. Very nicely done.

Take a moment and visit Blogging the Revolution - you'll enjoy it!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Name Searches at Rootsweb

While browsing the Rootsweb site today, I saw two Search engines that I had not seen (or missed!) before:

Rootsweb has a "Meta Search" of all Rootsweb databases hidden on their "Index of all Search Engines and Databases" link here. This can be used to find persons with a specific given name and specific surname in 45 Rootsweb databases. The 45 databases include the vital records, SSDI, the user-submitted databases (including WorldConnect), but not the Homepages or Freepages accounts or the USGenWeb or WorldGenWeb pages.

Rootsweb also has a "beta" Message Board archive search here. If you put in any combination of names or keywords, it will find all messages on the Ancestry/Rootsweb message boards with those names included. In other words, if you put in "isaac seaver" it will find all messages with those names in the message, not necessarily persons named Isaac Seaver. This is extremely useful, since there are now 29 million messages on these boards.

Rootsweb continues to be one of the best sites for finding data submitted by other researchers, and is one of the first places I go to start research on a new subject.

More Articles - Everton's Helper

Earlier posts (in the Archives) described some of the online genealogy article repositories, and their usefulness.

Another repository of genealogy articles is at Everton's web site - for free at . There is about 12 years of articles on this site, many of them on unique topics. Some articles describe brick wall research - successful or not.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

"The Olden Times"

If you are searching for old newspaper records, or even Victorian Americana, you might enjoy The Olden Times web page.

On this page, there are links to selected "old" news, death notices, obituaries, marriage announcements, legal notices, advertisements, cartoons, jokes, vintage recipes, poetry, etc.

Naturally, I clicked on the "cartoons, vintage jokes and humor" link, and found 5 pages of links to some funny material. Perhaps the best was the collection of old cartoons at the Daze of Our Lives web site. Click on the "Archive" link in the top right hand corner and go through an archive of hundreds of Victorian era cartoons with funny captions. Unfortunately, this web site is not being updated.

It was a pleasant way to spend half an hour tonight while waiting for one of the 13th and one of the 14th generation to come visit me (my daughter and granddaughter). I may not do mych genealogy tomorrow!

Mary "Molly" Hoax - Who are Her Parents?

Two of my most elusive ancestors are the parents of Maria (Mary) Magdalena (Molly) Hoax. She was born in about 1767 (age 71 in 1839 RevWar deposition, age 82 in the 1850 census in "MD"), married Martin Carringer in March 1785 in Westmoreland County PA, and died in Mercer County PA on 31 August 1850.

The only clue to her maiden name is a deposition by George Carringer, her son, in the RevWar Pension File that states his mother's maiden name was Mary Hoax. A deposition by Mary states that she married Martin Carringer in 1785. The RevWar Pension File includes a Bible record with the births of their children.

Martin and Mary's first child was Johann Jacob Carringer, baptized in Westmoreland County PA in 1785 with sponsors Nicolaus and Barbara Hack. The second child, Maria Elizabeth Carringer, had sponsors Thomas and Elisabetha Weickert. Some of these records have the surname "Geringer."

There are many potential spellings of a surname like "Hoax." The ones I have researched include Hoke(s), Hoak(s), Houk(s), Houck(s), Hauck(s), Hack(s), Hough(s), Hout(s), Hoat(s), Hawk(s), etc. If you have other suggestions, I certainly welcome them!

I have researched those surnames in Westmoreland County PA in the 1770 to 1800 time frame - in Church, Military, Census, Probate, Land, etc. I have also searched online databases (IGI, AF, WC, WFT, Ancestry, etc), personal web sites on the Internet, message boards and mailing lists, and published books (in libraries, including the FHL in SLC and LOC in DC). Needless to say, I'm stuck.

I have looked for Nicolaus Hack in the same resources without positively identifying one living in Westmoreland County PA in the 1785 time frame.

Any helpful advice or suggestions? I guess I'm lucky I know Mary's surname...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Sharon Elliott's Blog and Web Site

I really enjoy seeing what other researchers and bloggers are doing with their time. One of my favorite blogs is Sharon Elliott's Back-Track blog. The reason I like it is that it solves puzzles and is different from most other genealogy blogs.

Sharon takes somebody in the news with a purported ancestry, and then does a bit of research to prove or dis-prove the alleged ancestry. Invariably, she finds that the published information isn't exactly accurate. She seems to specialize in movie stars, perhaps because they die at such a prodigious rate (BG) and usually have changed their name.

But you haven't scratched the surface of Sharon's online information if all you read is her blog. She has a link on her blog to her genealogy site at

On her site home page, there are links to a "Jump Start" page with Sharon's most useful links for research, and a link to a "Pedigree Puzzles" page. On this page, you can see Sharon's solutions to pedigree problems - one each month up until mid-2005. There are morel inks to other pages, including Sharon's ancestry.

You can also take her 10 question genealogy test here.

This is a very useful and interesting genealogy blog and site. Check it out!

Michael John Neill's Census Contests

One of my nightly genea-blogging stops is Michael John Neill's blog at In addition to his blog, Michael has posted all of his Ancestry articles online at

Two of his web pages are for Census entries for the rich, crazy or famous, at here and here. Check them out for some laughs.

Michael also has contests with tangible prizes for finding specific people in the census records. The Contest page is at His current contests are for Cy Young in 1920, Mae West in 1920, George Burns in 1920, Spencer Tracy in 1920, Bob Hope in 1910, Glenn Miller in 1930, and Hank Williams Sr. I've tried almost all of these, and most of them are really hard!

I just sent my entry for Cy Young in 1920 - I found him today, and will blog about it later. I found Henry Ford in 1920 several weeks ago, but someone else found him first.

Go visit Michael John Neill's web site, read the articles, and try the contests. It really helps if you have an Ancestry subscription, since an Every Name index and being able to use Wild Cards in the names are really useful.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

"The Colonial Gazette"

I've been accused of being a bit light-hearted about genealogy at times, and I gladly plead GUILTY as charged. While spinning around the web tonight I found the "The Colonial Gazette" pages at The Gazette is a series of web pages with interesting and humorous material - for instance, on the "Ancient and Curious Wills" page was this tidbit:

Old English Farmer:

It is recorded of an old English farmer, that, in giving instructions for his will, he directed a legacy of one hundred pounds to be given to his widow. Being informed that some distinction was usually made in case the widow married again, he doubled the sum; and when told that this was quite contrary to custom, he said, with heartfelt sympathy for his possible successor, "Aye, but him as gets her'll deserve it."

This, and more, are from a book: Ancient Curious And Famous Wills, Virgil M. Harris, St. Louis Institute of Law, Boston, Little Brown, And Company, 1911. That looks like one I'll have to look for in the used book stores!

The Home for all of this is, which has links to genealogies and other material on the Mayflower 1620 passengers.

Visit the site and read more - there's lots there for the Mayflower descendant. I enjoyed it.

The Frustrated Genealogist

An interesting quotation from the "Genealogies" section of the book "History of Hartford, Vermont, July 4, 1761 - April 4, 1889" published 1889 (transcribed by Coralynn Brown):

No one who has not made genealogical researches, can form a just idea of the difficulties of gathering facts requisite to completeness in the work. The formation of a historical memorial of a family, even of the least volume, cannot be accomplished without the co-operation of many willing hearts and hands, especially in the absence of full and complete written records, such as should be kept by every family in the land.

It is surprising that there are so many people who take but little, if any, interest in the story of their lineage, or in the perpetuation of their own memory, or, at least, sufficient interest to lead them to prepare and carefully preserve a memorial relating to the special branch of the family to which they belong.

How few there are who know anything of their ancestry back of their grandparents. And, why is it that many people who are able to trace their paternal ancestry back for several generations, are unable to trace their maternal ancestry even to their grandparents?

Ah, the timeless frustrations of the lonely genealogist. Has it changed since 1889? Not likely, eh?

Coralynn Brown has been transcribing a number of New England, NY and NJ records and posting them to Jane Devlin's web site - the new additions to Jane's site are here, and coralynn Brown has provided a great number of them.

Efforts by people like Coralynn, Jane, Ray, Janice and many others relieve the frustrations of many genealogists, and we owe them our gratitude.

Thanks to Ken Newton of CVGS for passing this along. By following this lead, I found a big Newton family in the Hartford VT book - not mine, but they must be someone's - the settler had like 16 kids with one wife.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Frederic Arthur Clark of VA - RIP

Here is a link to the obituary of Frederic Arthur Clark who lived in Midlothian VA. I think he wrote most of his own obituary. The best part is:

Always an interested observer of politics, particularly what the process does to its participants, he was amused by politician's outrage when we lie to them and amazed at what the voters would tolerate. His final wishes were "throw the bums out and don't elect lawyers" (though it seems to make little difference). During his life he excelled at mediocrity. He loved to hear and tell jokes, especially short ones due to his limited attention span. He had a life long love affair with bacon, butter, cigars and bourbon.

You always knew what Fred was thinking much to the dismay of his friend and family. His sons said of Fred, "he was often wrong, but never in doubt". When his family was asked what they remembered about Fred, they fondly recalled how Fred never peed in the shower - on purpose.

He died at MCV Hospital and sadly was deprived of his final wish which was to be run over by a beer truck on the way to the liquor store to buy booze for a double date to include his wife, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter to crash an ACLU cocktail party.

Sounds like a fun - and funny - guy. Fred - RIP, you've earned it.

PS. I don't know this guy, but I wish that I had! Did Fred have Chris Dunham write this?

A Most Elusive Ancestor - Thomas J. Newton

One of my most elusive ancestors is Thomas J. Newton. Based on information from vital records and census records of his children, I believe that he:

* was born in Maine (probably Oxford County) between 1790 and 1810.
* married Sophia (Buck) Brigham, a widow with two small children, between 1830 and 1835, probably in or near Sterling, Worcester County, MA
* resided in Cambridge, Lamoille County VT in the 1833 to 1850 time period.
* had at least two children with Sophia - Thomas J. Newton (born June 1833?) and Sophia Newton (born Sept 1834?) in Cambridge VT
* either divorced Sophia before 1850 or died before 1860 leaving her a widow.
* left no census records in his name in 1830 to 1850.

There is a Thomas J. Newton who fits all of my criteria above, but I am not sure that he is the right man. He was born in Dixfield, Oxford County, ME to Jacob and Fanny (Parks) Newton in 1808, married Eliza Coffin in 1838 in Dedham MA, fathered a baby, Thomas J. Newton, in 1848 who died in infancy, was living in Reading MA in the 1850 census, and died there in 1852 (father listed as Jacob Newton). There is no probate record for this man.

For this man to be the "right" one, one has to believe that he married an older woman (10 years older) with two small children in about 1833, moved her from Sterling MA to Cambridge VT (200 miles?), fathered two children, divorced her, married Eliza Coffin in Dedham MA, and settled in Reading MA. Possible? Certainly. Certain? No way.

There was a Gershom Newton who resided in Cambridge, Lamoille County VT in the 1800 to 1850 time frame, and died in 1853. His probate record does not mention Thomas J. Newton or his offspring. The Cambridge town records don't mention Thomas J. Newton. Gershom Newton was a first cousin of Jacob Newton.

I have researched

* vital records (births, marriages, deaths) in MA, VT and ME,
* probate and land records in Oxford County ME, Lamoille County VT, Middlesex and Worcester County MA,
* census records from 1790 to 1920 for ME, MA, NH, VT

What now? I continue to pick at this problem, but would appreciate counsel, advice, suggestions and wild-assed guesses. Thanks!
* online databases (IGI, Ancestral File, WorldConnect, etc)

Civil War Records

I talked to a researcher at the library this morning who was trying to find Civil War military records for her ancestors.

I recommended Joe Beine's Military Indexes site at The Civil War page is here and neatly summarizes the records available online.

The National Park Service web site here provides basic Union soldier information, but not Confederate information or compiled service records. The search function is limited - hopefully it will be improved. (paid subscription required) has Union and Confederate compiled service records for soldiers in abstract form. They also have a list of the Union Pension applications and some other databases.

The Military Indexes site has a great list of state-by-state resources that can be useful. For instance, in the Massachusetts list I found that Isaac Seaver III had been in the 4th Regiment Heavy Artillery. Unfortunately, the service history for that regiment has not been added to their site yet.

You can go to a National Archives center and see the compiled service records of your Civil War ancestor on microfilm. The Civil War records page at the Archives is here.

The Civil War Pension File for my great-great-grandfather, Isaac Seaver, was full of family information and is the only source I have for information about his third wife and her family. My dear uncle, Edward R. Seaver, wrote for the file about 15 years ago and excitedly sent it to me - he was so happy to find that he was descended from a Civil War soldier and be able to help compile the family history.

UPDATE 9:10 PM PDT, from Joe Beine (in Comments): The Confederate records have been added to the NPS Civil War site. And Joe also wrote about Civil War Pension records yesterday on his blog --

Grave Pursuits - Baseball Players

An article in todays San Diego Union-Tribune is titled "A Grave Pursuit" by Mike Karsnak, and tells the story of Frank Russo, who is baseball's "grave guru." The article is online here, with the title "For the good of the game, he's baseball's grim reaper."

Russo has a web site with the motto "The Dead Ball Era, Where Every Player is Safe at Home" here. He has created an electronic mausoleum, where people can visit ballplayers graves and read a little bit about them, no matter how obscure.

The article says that "Russo gets his information by poring over genealogy records, sifting through newspaper archives and hounding county clerks for death certificates.

Frank Russo has written a book with Gene Racz titled "Bury My Heart at Cooperstown," based on his findings.

Russo has a ritual when he visits the graves wearing a vintage Lou Gehrig jersey - he takes the sweat from his forehead and wipes it on the headstone, saying "It's out of respect."

At least he doesn't dig them up.