Saturday, October 7, 2006

Genea-blogging is light everywhere

Genea-Musing has been light these last two days for me - life has intervened and made me make choices to:

1) Work on the "Discover Your Family History Day" workshop that Chula Vista Gen Society has planned for October 14th. This is a community outreach to invite families to discover their ancestry. The planning is almost complete - we have our members trained as mentors, the publicity is out, some signups have occurred, and we just need to make it happen on the day of the event. But it has taken hours of my time, and that of others.

2) We sent the workshop press release to the local weekly newspaper, and I was contacted by a reporter. He wanted more details - so I spent two hours answering typical questions via email. It took time, but hopefully it was worth it. If it runs, I will link to it in a separate post.

3) On Friday night, we went to dinner and attended a play at Lamb's Players Theater in Coronado with our good friends, Ed and Carolyn. It was an enjoyable evening, but left no time to blog.

4) I made an appointment for car maintenance on Saturday morning, so had to get it down to the Valley by 10 AM. Linda picked me up, and we had a nice lunch at a local sports bar/pizza restaurant. Of course, we had to watch MY Padres win a playoff game 3 - 1 over the Cardinals (finally!). Hope still springs eternal, but it didn't get me near the computer until 3 PM.

5) Tonight we are off to a 70th birthday party for our friend, Cora. So no genea-blogging tonight either, I think.

6) On Sunday, after early church, the Padres game is on at either 10 AM or 1:30 PM, and the Chargers game is on at 5 PM. Will I be genea-blogging? Probably not...until the games are over!

Finally, it's not as if I'm the only one not genea-blogging, is it? Check out the blogroll and see if you can find many with more than one post since Friday.

If you absolutely HAVE to get your Genea-Musing fix, try reading some of the Archives - there's a whole month of musings there for your enjoyment.

Thanks for reading - I do appreciate your comments.

UPDATE (Sunday, 10/8, 1 PM):

Who knew that the Yankees would lose to the Tigers or the Dodgers to the Mets and end their series? So my Padres are on at 5 PM Pacific tonight, which left me lots of time this morning and afternoon for a couple of blog posts and a nap. Go Pads!!

Thursday, October 5, 2006

How to Make Source Citations Consistently

While browsing through my bloglist, I happened across a reference to the ProGenealogists web site page on Source Citations. You know, the reference you are supposed to make for every fact in your genealogy database or in your reports or manuscripts. The goal is for consistency and adherence to a standard.

You can click on The Citation Guide link and see "fill in the blank" standard citations for a number of typical Internet sources. For instance, for an online magazine or journal article:

Author, "article title," journal name in italics, journal volume, journal issue (journal publication date): publishing web site title, , web page access date.

There is also a Common Citations link that provides "fill in the blank" citations for online census records and databases. For example, for the 1880 to 1930 census records on, the citation would be:

[Year] U.S. Federal Census (Population Schedule), [City], [Twp.], [County], [State], ED xxx, Sheet xxx, Dwelling xxx, Family xxx, [Head] household, jpeg image, (Online:, Inc., 2006), subscription database, [Digital scan of original records in the National Archives, Washington, DC], , accessed [month year].

These standard citation forms can be very handy when writing genealogy reports, or putting notes in your genealogy database. You could copy the standard citations to a word processor document. If you have the citation document open while you are entering your genealogy data to your working document or database and you need a citation format, then pop over to the citation form document, copy the appropriate citation and paste it into your working document, and then fill in the blanks appropriately.

On the other hand, it may be easier to have Elizabeth Shown Mills' Quick Sheet handy, or her "Evidence" book. Your choice!

Hat tip to Katie at for her link to the ProGenealogists Citation Guide page.

"Geneaholic" blog reinvented

Lee Anders has, I think, the best-ever name for a genealogy blog - Geneaholic - because it describes many of us who pursue our ancestry and family history.

Lee has revamped her blog to be a Personal Research Journal called "A Matter of Life and Death." Her purpose is stated to be:

The purpose of this journal is twofold:

(1) To share the details of my research findings with known family members, as yet unknown family members and anyone else who feels he or she may benefit from the ups and downs of my experiences, and

(2) to serve as an organizational tool for my notes. In other words, this journal will not be of interest to everyone who passes by.

In her "About" tab, she wrote a wonderful description of herself as a researcher:

“Unlike those people who live life guided by a “never look back” philosophy, I look to the past everyday. Merriam-Webster defines what I am as “a person who traces or studies the descent of persons or families,” but I see myself as being so much more than that. I am an adventurer in search of who and where I came from. I am an archaeologist digging to uncover the records and heirlooms my ancestors left behind. I am a detective snooping for the truth hidden between the lines of old folktales. I am a preservationist charged with protecting these finds for future generations. I am a family genealogist.”

Absolutely beautiful. Lee has a writing talent, and I look forward to reading more of her writings about her family and about her research.

Missed the Edmund Rice Descendants meeting

I missed the meeting of the Descendants of Edmund Rice in the Sudbury MA area again.

There is a nice article about the meeting at the Wayland (MA) Town Crier site here. The article describes Edmund rice's life in some detail - read the whole thing.

The group of 50 descendants who attended had a great time - they visited:
A Rice home that is still standing as well as the foundations of three more visible in the woods - all, as fate would have it, on Rice Road.

Ponds on Rice Road that were built by the family, which dammed up Snake Brook, the small stream that runs through the area.

The Edmund Rice homestead built by the "Never-Ending Spring" on Old Connecticut Path and the plaque marking this site.

The Unitarian Church in Wayland Center, where the current affiliate minister, Rev. Debra Pope-Lane, is an Edmund Rice descendant. Rice was the first senior deacon of this church.

A marker erected by the ERA in memory of Rice in the North Cemetery. He is believed to have been buried in this graveyard, but the exact location hasn't yet been determined.

The Nathaniel Rice home on River Road.

The former home of Harry Rice on Water Row. Harry had a personal aircraft landing field on his property. He was also the Sudbury dog officer and is credited with helping establish the Buddy Dog Humane Society and its shelter, which is presently located on Route 20 at the Wayland-Sudbury line.

The remains of the Rice Tavern, which is said to pre-date the Wayside Inn and was a muster site during the War of 1812, in what is now Maynard.

The Revolutionary War Cemetery in Sudbury, where several Rices were buried, and which is the location of the first town pound, built at a cost of $20. This is a walled and fence dip in the land with a door that only swings inward so that the animals couldn't force it open.

Whew - it sounds like they had a lot of fun. I wish I had been there. This is not far from the homesteads of my Joseph Seaver and Isaac Read families in Sudbury, which were on Nobscot Hill and in Lanham, respectively.

Anybody reading this that is a descendant of Edmund Rice?

Having Fun with Forensic Genealogy

Our society had Colleen Fitzpatrick and Andrew Yeiser present their "Forensic Genealogy" talk back in April. It was well received, and the concept was intriguing. They have a book on the subject.

Colleen has a great web site at She runs a weekly contest intended to sharpen the investigative skills of the contestants. The contest page is here.

The present quiz #79 (labelled September 23rd, but actually September 30th I think) has this picture of a group of soldiers in uniform:

The contest questions are:

* What war did these soldiers fight in?
* What specific branch of the service did they serve in? (eg infantry, cavalry, artillery, etc.)
* How can you tell?

After Googling a bit, I think I know the answer, and will submit my response through Colleen's web site.

Are you up to a weekly photo identification contest? The most recent contests are also on her web page - check some of them out, and see how much detail Colleen finds out about her subjects - every week. Enter the contests, and visit Colleen's site regularly.

This is a weekly exercise in the "fun" part of genealogy for me.

Who Is Your Favorite Ancestor?

My favorite ancestors seem to be the ones that served their country honorably or suffered life hardships.

One of mine is a fellow named Isaac Buck, who was born in 1757 to Isaac Buck and Mary Richards in Southborough MA. Isaac served in the Revolutionary War from 1775 to 1783 as a matross (which means he loaded, fired and sponged artillery). He married Patty Phillips in 1780 in Lancaster MA (who was the daughter of John Phillips by his first wife, Hannah Brown; John Phillips married secondly to Mary Richards, the mother of Isaac Buck), whom he grew up with in the same household. Isaac and Patty had 8 children, and I am descended from Sophia Buck, who married Thomas J. Newton.

Isaac and Patty Buck resided in Sterling MA. He applied for a Revolutionary War Pension and was granted $8 a month in 1818. Isaac died in 1846. The Sterling town record says:

"Registered Feby 10 1846: Isaac Buck, male, widower, age 93y 11m 20d; Revolutionary Pensioner; died February 7th 1846; died of old age; born in Southborough; Illegitimate."

Isn't that sad? He probably suffered with that label his whole life. Here is a fellow who served his country well in a dangerous job throughout the War, farmed and raised a family, lived and died poor, and the last word is "Illegitimate." I prefer to think of old Isaac Buck as a "survivor" and a "hero."

Who is your favorite ancestor? Tell me about him or her.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

What is included on Ancestry Library Edition?

Our local library just subscribed and installed Ancestry Library Edition, which has excited and energized our society membership. But everyone wants to know what is included in Ancestry Library Edition.

I found the following information at the ProQuest web site

Content—vast and rich Ancestry Library Edition provides easy, unified access to more than 4 billion names in over 4,000 databases — and new material is added constantly. Specialized collections include:

* U.S. Federal Census Collection, with everyname indexes and original images from 1790 through 1930

* U.K. and Ireland Census Collection, 1861-1901

* A steadily growing Canadian Collection

* Birth, Marriage, and Death Records Collection
*** Social Security Death Index
*** England and Wales Civil Registration Index
*** England, Scotland, Ireland Wales Parish and Probate Records
*** Massachusetts Town Vital Records Collection

* Military Records Collection
*** World War I Civilian Draft Registrations
*** Civil War Service Records
*** World War II and Korean Conflict Veterans Interred Overseas

* Immigration Collection
*** New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans passenger lists
*** New York Petitions for Naturalization Index
*** Wuerttemberg Emigration Index
*** The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1630

* Biography and History Collection
*** American Genealogical-Biographical Index (AGBI)
*** Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage Books
*** Federal Writers’ Project Slave Narratives
*** Dawes Commission Index

* Map Center, with 1,000 historical maps

Other collections include court, land, and probate records; family trees and message boards; directories and member lists; charts
and forms; and new materials, added constantly.

The one noticeable change since this was put online is that the UK census records now are 1841 to 1901.

Content of Ancestry Library Edition is different from Ancestry Content

I have been using at the local Family History Center for some time. My local Chula Vista library recently subscribed to Ancestry Library Edition, and I have noticed some differences between the two sets of content.

Coincidentally, a post on the APG mailing list asked a similar question about the differences. Suzanne Russo Adams, AG, of Ancestry's Professional Services Desk answered the query and several follow-on questions. Her summary of the content on the different Ancestry products was:

1. (home subscription):

* US Deluxe ($155.40 annual, $29.95 monthly)

*** US Records Collection
*** US Immigration Collection
*** US Census Images and Indexes
*** Family and Local Histories
*** OneWorldTreeSM
*** Historical Newspapers
*** US Public Records Index

* World Deluxe ($347.40 annual, $39.95 monthly)

*** All US Content
*** UK and Ireland Records Collection
*** Canadian Collection
*** Other countries added in the future

* UKI Localized Site ( £69.95 annually/£9.95 monthly

* Canadian Localized Site ( CDN $99.95 annually/CDN $14.95 monthly

2. Ancestry Library Edition - has US Deluxe content, except it DOES NOT have:

*** Family & Local Histories Collection
*** Historical Newspapers Collection (including the new newspaper release)
*** OneWorldTree
*** Passenger and Immigration Lists Index (PILI)
*** Biography & Genealogy Master Index (BGMI)
*** Freedman's Bank Records

3. Ancestry at LDS FHCs - has all content except for Canadian content (including census data) added since February 2006.

While this list tells what is NOT on Ancestry Library Edition, it doesn't help us much unless we know what ALE does include. I found a web page listing the content, and will list it in the next post.

Suzanne allowed me to post the above from her APG posts, and she also mentioned:
When you use Ancestry at a library or a family history center ... it is less personalized for obvious reasons. ALE and the FHC versions do not have a link to the Ancestry shops because we wouldn’t want people putting in their credit card and then the next person coming in and using that, too because the computer saved the information. Again, probably pretty obvious why there are limited to no personal capabilities on these public versions.

I thank Suzanne for her patience and responsiveness for clarifying these issues. I know they have helped me understand the differences, and, hopefully, our CVGS members will have a better understanding also, not to mention my worldwide audience who have wondered about this.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

9th Carnival of Genealogy is Up - Genealogy Vacations

The 9th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy was posted by Jasia at her Creative Gene blog here. As always, she does a nice job of writing this up.

There are two benefits to these Carnivals of Genealogy:

1) The knowledge and experience that they impart to the reader - I enjoy the content of the posts tremendously, and learn a lot from many of them.

2) The new genealogy blogs that are uncovered in the process.

This latest Carnival introduced at least 3 genealogy blogs new to me - Cindy's "JoMC 711" blog, Cat's "Genealogy - Diggin' Up Dirt" blog, "Bob and Reb's Genealogy Blog" on the Orrell family, and Julie's "Fresh Air" blog (note that she has a "Roots" section which has some family history posts).

Note that Cindy's and Julie's blogs are not 100% genealogy, but family history are part of their blogging life.

The really neat thing is that each genealogy blog is different from the others.

The next Carnival of Genealogy will be about Tombstones. If you have blogged about them in the past, please read Jasia's article for information and then submit them here.

My hopes were so high...

You might ask "your hopes were so high for what?" It's a good and logical question.

I was disappointed but not surprised that so few people showed up for the Chat last night on (although I appreciate the ones that did, and asked good questions). My hopes were muted - and realistic, I think.

I found so much data on my recent research project for my Westford MA friend. My hopes were not high that I would find more without doing the hard work in actual English Civil Registration and parish records.

I'm having trouble finding speakers for next year for CVGS. My hopes are high here, but I'm not even halfway done.

My hopes were high that my beloved San Diego Padres (who go to the World Series about every 14 years - we're due again in 2012, but I hoped it would come earlier) could handily defeat the St Louis Cardinals in the NL division series. The Pads lost the 2005 division series to the Cards 3-0, but the Pads won the regular season series 4-2 in 2006.

Linda and I attended the game today - decked out in our Padres regalia, swinging the shillelagh (the Pads version of the rally stick), and cheering our team on. It worked for 3 innings, until Pujols cracked a homer and we lost 5-1. Chris Carpenter is an excellent pitcher. It was very depressing. I'm over it now. I almost didn't want to blog tonight, but I thought I'd better, otherwise you all would think I went on vacation again.

We still have high hopes of a Pads win of the division series. It can happen. I know Joe Beine is laughing his head off right about now - he's a Cardinal fan. We'll see who laughs last here...

Anyway, that's why Genea-Musings has been silent all day today.

Monday, October 2, 2006

We missed you at the chat

I guess everybody didn't get the message, or it wasn't that important.

There was a hardy crowd of about 15 on the chat room tonight to see me expound on the whys and hows of Genealogy Blogging. I hope I did it justice, and that some of the attendees will make their way over here, read some posts, and then click the links to other genea-bloggers. Some may even become bloggers - the more the merrier, I say.

I am told that the text of my "lecture" will be posted on the GenealogyForum web site. When It is, I will add the link to this post.

I prepared about 5 pages of text in a question and answer format so that I could copy and paste it into the text box on the chat page. When I tested it out this afternoon, I found that only about 4 to 6 lines could be pasted at a time. That actually works out pretty well - I was copy/pasting at about the reading speed of the attendees. My typing finger was smoking! I kept the chat window open and my document window open and copied from one to the other. The only hangup was when the chat window didn't like either Dick Eastman's name or Leland Meitzler's would not post what I wanted. I finally typed it in one phrase at a time - it was frustrating for awhile - and it finally took the names. It is difficult to "lecture" in this mode without visual aids.

The hosts/guides are very friendly and helpful and encouraging. They kept the questions out until I had finished the prepared lecture part of the session. The Q and A was a lot slower and easier to deal with, and at the end the session drifted away from blogging and into trying to match ancestors and the like.

While this format is interactive in near real-time, it is not nearly the same as putting eyeballs on the speaker and his material, or asking him questions and seeing/hearing the answers. I can see, in the future, a Skype-cast (like Dick Eastman is doing regularly) combined with webcams, at least of the speaker. Of course, that means the speaker would have to keep his/her clothes on while online...but we're used to that when we give society talks.

I hope that it was interesting to the attendees, and that they learned something, and hopefully they will come to visit this little corner of the genealogy world.

A Fun Genealogy Day

Today was a FUN day for me. The Padres playoff run starts on Tuesday (and we have tickets for the game, so I won't get much blogging done until evening) so I wanted to get all of my newfound data into FTM today.

When we visited our friends in Westford MA, we talked about their ancestry. Our friend Cora said she knew only about her parents and one set of grandparents, and wanted to know more. It turns out that 3 of the 4 grandparents were immigrants from England in the 1880 to 1900 time frame - the surnames are Picking, Garlick, Basnett and Smith (the American line, wouldn't you know!).

I quickly found the census data for all of them in 1880 to 1930, and the Smith line back to 1850 in Maine. I also found entries in the 1881 UK census on

In the last two weeks, I've been searching the UK census records for the other families, and have been fairly successful. Using the LDS IGI to search for christenings and marriages, I have all three lines back 5 or 6 generations - to the 1780 to 1820 time period. There are very few IGI records for some of the English counties, and some counties or parishes are very complete. These are mostly parish church records, but there are some LDS sealings and the like in the IGI records.

I decided to review the available online databases at WorldConnect (on Rootsweb) and the LDS ( for the surnames. I also searched the Ancestry/Rootsweb and Genforum message boards for the specific surnames, and found a few helpful posts. The only line with significant data on WorldConnect was the Bacon line (Adelaide Bacon married John Smith in Calais ME before 1860). Several researchers take the line back to Cape Cod and Plymouth MA, which will excite my friend considerably. These lines need to be checked out for accuracy.

I haven't proved anything yet - only put data together in a fairly cursory search of Derivative sources with secondary information. But it's a start, and was done in about 8 hours of actual research and data entry. There is still much work to do in English parish records and in post-1837 English Civil Registration records.

All of the available English data is now in the database, and I have a 13 page genealogy report for my Westford friend. I'll wait to hear from her before I go any further.

It was another good and fun genealogy day. I love doing research!

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Participate in Genealogy Forum Chats

Just a reminder that the Genealogy Forum ( chat board is having guest speakers during October - Family History Month.

I am scheduled to talk about Genea-Blogging on Monday night, at 9 PM EDT (6 PM PDT) in the Sitting Room. Come and keep me company. They have assigned three guides to keep me on track and manage the conversation.

If you want to visit, you will need to sign up to be able to chat, or even "watch" the chat. I say "watch" because this is chatting by typing in a box and hitting Send, so there is no audio.

I have prepared some material that I can copy and paste into the chat box as time goes on. There will be questions and answers after I run out of material. It will mostly be about my own experience as a genea-blogger.

Apparently, genealogy blogs are almost unknown to many in the online genealogy world, except for those of us who do it for the love of it, since it certainly isn't for the money! I do hope that it will send some people through my site, and through my links to the sites of other bloggers.

Changes Coming to LDS FamilySearch Site

Dick Eastman on his blog posted a link to an article titled "A Family History Overhaul" in the Deseret (Utah) Morning News printed yesterday, which is here. Some of the changes coming soon include:

And with a complete overhaul of the church's Web site planned for the months ahead, even those who have no experience researching family history will be able to "do something meaningful without having to learn anything prior," according to Steve W. Anderson, online marketing manager for the church's Family History department.

New online tools will allow novices to log on and — with a few mouse clicks — pull up their family tree, with details about ancestors, of any faith or none, that are part of the database. "You'll be able to attach images or photos to it, or something like a timeline of events. It will have all kind of things to make it a much richer resource."

Users will have their own login, allowing them to add information about living people to their family tree if they so choose, though that information will not be available for others to view in order to maintain privacy. Anderson said there is some concern about the accuracy of allowing people to simply add information, but "if someone disagrees with your account of it, there will be an opportunity to put additional information or opinion there."

Read the whole article - it is worth the time.

Dick Eastman wonders if the new online family tree service will mean an end to Personal Ancestral File, the LDS free genealogy software program.

I wonder if the LDS site isn't trying to build a researcher-submitted database similar to WorldConnect/Ancestry World Tree on Rootsweb/Ancestry or the World Family Tree data promoted by Of course, they already have two submitted databases in the Ancestral File and Pedigree Resource File, but I think that most of the information in those databases are dated.

These are interesting research times we live in.

CGS celebrates Family History Month

There was an excellent article in the Oakland (CA) Tribune on the Inside Bay Area web site today about the California Genealogical Society (CGS) efforts to celebrate Family History Month - it is titled "Oakland Society Helps Residents Unearth Roots" by Angela Hill. The article is here.

Some money quotes:
Founded in 1898, the society exists with the principal purpose of helping people trace and compile their family histories. It has become one of the leading genealogical resources in Nor-thern California with a collection of more than 30,000 genealogical references, 2,500 reels of microfilm, a large selection of CDs, dozens of maps and hundreds of reference books. They have passenger lists, periodicals, vital records, lineage charts and city directories dating to the early 1880s.

"I've been all over the country doing research, and I never ran across a collection of this size, and with people who are so competent in specialized areas," said CGS's Nancy Peterson, who has written a book called "Raking the Ashes: Genealogical Strategies for Pre-1906 San Francisco Research."

CGS specializes in tracking ancestors who lived in California, but also has information from many other states, especially in New England. The society subscribes to Web sites that provide access to census and other searchable databases.

I would be interested in hearing from researchers who have visited the CGS library in Oakland, and can compare it to other good genealogy libraries in California, such as Sutro in San Francisco, LA Public Library, the Southern California GS library in Burbank, or Carlsbad Public Library in San Diego County. I may visit the CGS library the next time we go to the Bay Area to see the grandkids.

Read this City Directories article

Shirley Hodges has a nice set of genealogy articles online at the Global Gazette site. Her present article is about Researching in City Directories, here. A description of City Directories from the article reads:
Directories were published annually from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries. The city directory functioned as an earlier, comprehensive version of the telephone book of our time. Beyond providing an alphabetical listing of names, city directories typically noted an individual's occupation, work place, or business, and sometimes religion, race, and gender.

Read the whole thing. You can also click on the link to Shirley's biography and see the list of articles she has written. Shirley is the 2006 President of the Genealogical Speakers Guild.

City directories have been extremely helpful to me in my research of my San Diego ancestry, and in answering queries from other researchers about their San Diego relatives. For families in mid-size to large cities, they can be indispensable, especially for the years between 1880 and 1900, and the years after the available census records.