Saturday, December 30, 2006

1930 census anomaly in Ancestry index

I've been rummaging around in the census records on for most of the day - having fun trying to find the families of my brother-in-law's significant other.

I'm looking for the family of Robert Leroy Thompson (born 1880, probably in TN) and Lillian Russell (Daniels) Thompson (born 1900, in TN), who have children Gertrude, Lois and Dorothy. Lois was born in 1926 in Kingsport, Sullivan County, TN.

You would think that a name like Robert Thompson would not be easily messed up, but I've used all my tricks to try to find him in northeastern TN (and also in TN, VA and NC) without success.

One thing I noticed, that I don't recall noting previously, is that the birthplace of children in a family is not indexed by Ancestry. If I input Lois Thompson into Ancestry in the 1930 census, and put a birthplace of Tennessee and a birth year of 1926 +/- 2 years, I get no hits. If I take out the birthplace, I get 161 hits. Strange - because the birthplace is listed for every child, but it was not indexed, at least in the states I checked. The birthplace of parents and other adults are indexed, it seems.

Sometimes you can put in too much information and when you get no hits you think "well, they just aren't there."

New APG web site

The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) has a newly designed web site at

Using the items on the left side of the screen, you can find a researcher by name, by research specialty, by geographic specialty or by location (state).

The research specialties - 26 of them - are also listed on the left side of the screen.

There are tabs at the top of the screen for membership information, chapter information and publications.

If you are looking for a researcher, a lecturer or speaker, or any number of other genealogy specialties, your first stop should be the APG web page.

Friday, December 29, 2006

"The Year Was ..." series

Juliana Smith on the 24/7 Family History Circle blog has a summary post for the 2006 entries of her "The Year Was ...." series at

This series is a recurring feature on her blog and is very informative about what happened in the year in question. There are about 40 years covered between 1776 and 1969.

The short articles provide an overview of the current events of the year - political, economic, natural disasters, etc. and can be helpful in understanding the political and social environment that our ancestors experienced.

Genealogy database lookups

I've been on the mailing list for the Free Genealogy Lookups site (also known as for quite a while now, and have not really used it much. But it has some good features.

They offer a selection of free databases each day. However, you don't get to browse the database - you have to submit a query to a specific database, give them an email address, and they tell you what they find. The response time is usually a day or two.

For a list of the databases available, see . These appear to be databases on specific commercial CD-ROMs. There are birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, military records, ship passenger lists, state records and land records on the list.

If you have just one or two surnames in a given state, this may be the most economical way to determine if there is any data on the surname in a given database - it's free! If you find a gold mine of data, then you could either buy the CD or try to find it at a local library (e.g., the San Diego FHC has a fine collection of commercial CDs).

Reduced Price for Ancestry - but hurry!

Have you put off subscribing to for some reason, or just until the price goes down?

If so, you might consider the offer at . They are offering the US Deluxe subscription for $99 and the World deluxe subscription for $150, after a 14 day free trial. You do have to put a credit card number in - this is not a real free trial - you have to subscribe to get the two weeks free. But it is the best deal I've seen yet if you really want to subscribe to

This deal expires on Saturday, 30 December, so you need to decide pretty soon (BG!).

On a similar note, I just completed a survey (email from Ancestry) asking me if I would definitely renew my US Deluxe membership for $155, or how about $79? Or $155 for the World Deluxe membership? Or $79 for the US and $29 each for additional countries (say, UK, Canada or Germany)? It could be that is considering reducing the subscription cost in order to capture more of the market.

Competition is good for the genealogy industry. I hope the price goes down for everything! FYI, I did subscribe to at the $99 rate for the US package back in November. I thought it was a good deal at the time, and still do.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Genealogy Resolutions for 2007

It's time for my New Year's resolutions for 2007. I thought about them all the way down the California coast today - we left Guerneville at about 10 AM and got to Buellton at about 6 PM, but stopped in Petaluma to see the grandsons one more time.

Here are my 2007 resolutions:

1) Go to the Family History Center more often, and obtain primary land and probate records for my ancestors. I have more time now, since I retired from my part-time job. The problem I have is that I can find and collect more primary records than I can input to the software over a given time period.

2) Complete the probate records collection for my ancestors of Alma Bessie Richmond. I have collected quite a few, but have many more to find and obtain.

3) Determine if any of my San Diego county ancestors left probate and land records, and obtain copies of them. I have never been to the probate court in SD and need to go there.

4) Continue adding complete source citations to my ancestral and Seaver surname databases.

5) Continue to post quality research tips, ancestral stories, and genealogy humor on this Genea-Musings blog. No more rants...unless they are deserved!

6) Serve the Chula Vista Genealogical Society as President with energy, wisdom and patience. The new Board is experienced with many continuing in their positions, so there won't be much of a learning curve. It's been a fairly well-oiled machine the last 4 years, and I don't want to mess it up. However, we need to add "new blood" to the Board in order to improve the society services and programs.

7) Add video learning to the CVGS computer group and research group monthly meetings by using laptops and LCD projectors to demonstrate research techniques and help solve research problems. We will access, other databases, and video sites like

8) Prepare and deliver three new presentations at local San Diego societies in 2007. I have two new topics picked out, and two speaking commitments already arranged.

9) Continue reading genealogy research books, journal articles, online web pages and newsletters, etc. as part of my continuing genealogy education.

10) Find something fun and useful to do with my wife, who often feels like a genealogy widow.

There's my 10 resolutions. How about you? Have you written your resolutions down yet? The time is running out to submit them to the next Carnival of Genealogy.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Life goes on

I finally was able to find time to write a blog post. The weekend and Christmas with my daughter's family was wonderful - many presents and fun times. The little boys were precious, but had coughs and sniffles. I unloaded my O-gauge Lionel train set on them and my son-in-law tried valiantly to make the transformer work. This is 1950's vintage stuff, so it was no surprise. Amazingly, there are still Lionel train sets being sold. The highlight was Christmas morning of course - the 3 year old loved his gifts - including a 16-inch two-wheel bike - and my son-in-law had things put together soon after they were opened. We went out in the afternoon and taught the boy to steer and stop his bike and he pedaled it around the block (hills down, then hills up).

On Tuesday, we headed for Monte Rio to visit Linda's brother on the Russian River above San Francisco. We stopped in Petaluma to see my daughter's in-laws and share pictures and stories about the grandkids. Because Linda's brother had house guests from Florida, we stayed in a motel in Guerneville. We had a nice dinner of Christmas leftovers with her brother and enjoyed sharing stories and pictures. It rained all day in the North Bay and we got drenched several times. The hotel has wireless internet, so I was able to access my email last night and today, but I didn't post last night because the in-room spa caused a flood.

We head for home on Thursday and will probably spend the night somewhere between Paso Robles (270 miles) and Carpinteria (430 miles). We'll be home by Friday afternoon and I should be back to regular daily blogging on Saturday.

Thank you for your patience, and I hope my regular readers understand why there hasn't been much action on my blog this past week.