Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!!!

I wish all of my readers a Happy 2008 - may all of your current genealogy research problems be solved! And may more of your genealogy research problems be found - we are never finished, are we?.

Della's Journal - Christmas Presents

This is Installment 53 of the Journal of Della (Smith) Carringer (1862-1944), my great-grandmother, who resided at 2115 30th Street in San Diego in 1929.

The "players" and "setting" are described here. Pictures of some of the players are here. Last week's Journal entry is here.

Included in Della's 1929 Journal are lists of Christmas gifts given and received in 1928 and 1929. I have transcribed them below:


Gifts Given - 1928:

* We gave Etta rubber apron, table cloth (for her to work the corners), F[orrest]: telephone pad,
* We gave Rose Red & white apron, children doll bed & book.

Gifts Received - 1928:

* Lyle's gave us front room 5 light chandelier
* Ma two p[ai]r stocking & 1.00
* Betty to Ma chair cushion.
* Betty to me box letter paper & hand bag
* Betty to Grandpa handkerchief
* Betty to us towel with her first machine stitch
* Betty to us box of candy, Ed box of candy too
* Frank Morrill to A[ustin] two blue handk[erchiefs]
* Frank Morrill to me nice towel & cards
* Frank Morrill to Ma nice towel & cards
* Me from Mrs. Stearns Chicago handkerchief
* A[ustin] from Mrs. Stearns of Chicago handkerchief
* from Ed to me rubber apron
* from Pinkhams to us lemons to A[ustin] to me clothespin bag, to Ma darning bag.
* from Etta handkerchiefs 2 & box flowers
* from Etta to Ma handkerchiefs 2 & box of 3 hank[erchiefs]
* from Rose Kimball roasted hen & dressing & gravie.
* Mrs. Matajaka fruit cake
* Mrs. Auble nut cake, New Years.

Gifts Given - 1929:

* Betty's picture with poinsettias to 1. Gilbert girls, 2. Mrs. Putnam, 3. Miss Thoren, & her house also two of house 4. Mary Dyar, 5. Aunt L[ibbie Crouch], 6. Will's [this is William Crouch, son of Sam and Libbie Crouch], 7. Charlie Woodward, 8. Florence Elliott, 9. Mrs. Easterbrook, 10. Ella Stanton, 11. Mrs. Trusher, 12. Putnam.
* We gave Sun boy & Union boy [Sun and Union are newspapers] box candy each, Roberts & Jack.
* Made Rose apron, fancy coushion, gave the children each a book & box of candy to each also Earnest & Clinton, Geo. & Rose together.
* Candy to Miss Thoren, & Betty picture also one of her house on Fern St.
* I gave away some canned fruit. Mrs. Schmidt & woman in Ma's house.
* Gave Jessie candy, nuts, fruit, pr. silk stockings to Hazel.

Gifts received 1929:

* They [Pinkham's] gave Ma handkerchiefs
* Me towel from Hazel she worked
* Jessie gave me rubber apron
* Present given me Mr. Smith at Rockwell Field a silk scarf.
* Etta gave me lunch cloth & 4 napkins & laundry bag.


I doubt that these lists are complete, since the 1929 lists don't consider Lyle's family, and none of the lists discuss what Della, Austin and Abbey gave each other. The lists are interesting - lots of handkerchiefs, eh? They apparently sent Betty's picture to a number of friends and relatives.

There are some clues for the extended family here - I don't know where Charlie Woodward lives, but he is still alive. Mrs. Stearns, Mrs. Easterbrook, the Gilbert girls, and Ella Stanton are mysteries to me still.

Next week I'll do the Christmas card lists.

Genea-Musings in 2007

I listed my nominations of posts for "Best of Genea-Musings" for 2007, but there were a lot more highlights (at least for me!) in the 990 notes posted in 2007. Included on my highlight list are:

1. Serials

* The Adventures of Benjamin Franklin Seaver - 10 posts - historical newspaper articles about one mariner in the early 1800's - see here and here.

* Della's Journal - 52 posts - a week-by-week transcription of my great-grandmother's 1929 daily journal. The last week is here.

* The Search for Cornelia Bresee - the index for my online search is here, and a plan for traditional research is here. The last post is here.

* The Best of the Genea-Blogs - a regular Sunday post since August highlighting my favorite articles for each week. Last week's is here.

* Christmas Advent Memories - 24 posts with Christmas memories submitted to the Christmas Advent Calendar Carnival.

Genealogy News Commentary

* Ancestry cuts off the FHC - the announcement, personal subscriptions, and Ancestry in the FHL and 13 FHCs.

* The "Genealogy is Bunk" article and reaction - "Genealogy is NOT Bunk"

* The Internet Biographical Collection on Ancestry - the problem, further discussion, the legal quandary. Craig Manson did an excellent series on the legal issues.

* FamilyTreeMaker 2008 problems - Beta testing here and here, first release, more comments and Webinar.

* Acquisition of The Generations Network - questions and analysis here.

Genealogy Research Notes

* The futile search for Robert Leroy Thompson's family in the census records - the brick wall summary here, and the census summary here.

* Success finding living people - summary here.

* The Cornelia Bresee search noted above.

* Probate records for several Rhode Island ancestors.

* The William Hutchi(n)son search results - here, here and here.

* Monthly CVGS Research and Computer Group notes - too many to link to.

Testing Web Sites and Databases

* -- a summary, and a test.

* -- the concept, acquisitions, the search with results.

* AncestryPress -- first look, second look and webinar.

* - summary here.

* FamilySearch Record Search -- pilot experiences, list of databases.

I think I'll end there ... one of my reasons for making this list is so that I can FIND links to my body of work.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Genealogy Goals for 2008

For 2008, I decided I shouldn't call them "resolutions" because they really aren't "a decision to do something, or to behave in a certain manner." These are really GOALS to work towards, especially in my own genealogy research.

1. Pursue original source material for my brick wall ancestors - especially Thomas J. NEWTON (ME), William KNAPP (Dutchess County NY), Russell SMITH (RI?), Hannah SMITH (Brookline NH), etc.

2. Obtain more probate records, land records and town meeting records for my ancestors of Alma Bessie RICHMOND (and finish Rhode Island if possible!).

3. Add family history information to my genealogy databases as I obtain it from traditional and online resources, with adequate source notes.

4. Complete editing my Seaver surname database in order to make the notes and sourcing consistent.

5. Complete my term as President of Chula Vista Genealogical Society (CVGS) with energy, vision, wisdom and patience.

6. Create at least three new presentations and deliver them to CVGS and other Southern California societies.

7. Take at least one genealogy research trip this year to visit ancestral homes, nearby repositories and distant cousins.

8. Enjoy at least one genealogy cruise this year with my wife (she likes the idea!).

9. Attend at least one major genealogy conference this year.

10. Post quality research articles and notes on Genea-Musings that help other researchers, including my society members, pursue their genealogy and family history.

11. Help family, friends and colleagues pursue their genealogy research as requested.

12. Stay abreast of developments in the genealogy world and pass information to my colleagues and readers.

That's probably enough! I hesitate to get more specific on some of them because I just don't know what the future holds with my family.

I will make one "resolution" - I resolve to spend more time pursuing these goals than doing frivolous reading or research.

Best of the Genea-blogs - December 23-29, 2007

Here are my picks for great reads from the genealogy blogs for this past week. My criteria are pretty simple - I pick posts that advance knowledge about genealogy, or are funny and/or poignant. I don't list posts destined for the Carnival of Genealogy, or my own posts (hopefully, others will do that!).

* "Trying Again Pays Off Again: Updating The 'French Negroes of Illinois'" and "Important Genealogical Tip: Try, Try Again" by Craig Manson on the Geneablogie blog. Craig hits a double jackpot finding information about two family lines by revisiting web sites and searching using name variations. Wise man!

* "An Olmsted Rediscovered: Adventures in Online Genealogy Blogging" by Tim Abbott on the Walking the Berkshires blog. Tim was contacted by a student doing cemetery research and reaps the reward of posting information on his blog.

* "The Discontinuation of 'Along These Lines...'" by George G. Morgan on the George G. Morgan "Along These Lines..." Blog. George says goodbye to his blogging adventure as he moves on to other endeavors. I will miss George's weekly columns because he always had interesting and helpful things to say.

* "Resources for Irish Genealogical Research from a Beginner's Perspective" by Miriam Midkiff on the Ancestories: Stories of My Ancestors blog. Miriam is almost ready to research her Irish relatives, and provides an excellent list to start with. I don't have any Irish ancestry, but am occasionally asked about it, so this will provide a good reference point.

* "Four Major Don'ts of Family Research" by Summer Owens on the Genealogy, Family History and Temple Work blog. Summer has good advice here about pursuing research - they are all true and should be remembered.

* "Famous DNA Review, Part III - Niall of the Nine Hostages" by Blaine Bettinger on The Genetic Genealogist blog. Blaine posts an excellent summary of the situation with this Famous DNA. Check out his other two Famous DNA articles also.

* "The treat ..." by G. on the how to survive suburban life blog. This is the second Chestnut story she's written - I always feel like I'm there by her side when she writes posts like these.

* "A More Powerful Way to Search" by Kendall Hulet on the Blog. Kendall responds to Ancestry user complaints about the Basic Search options, and demonstrates using the Advanced Search box, which allows you to specify exact or inexact names, dates and places. This is a powerful tool.

* "Researcher's Virtual Toolbox Updated" by Denise Olson on the Family Matters blog. Denise added a few tools to her researcher's toolbox and shares them with us - a good list.

* "Smart Matching 2.0 Released!" by Gilad Japhet on the MyHeritage Blog. Gilad describes and demonstrates this excellent research tool that is free on the MyHeritage site.

That's my list of the best from this past week - what did I miss? Tell me and I'll add it to my list if I like it too.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Best of Genea-Musings for 2007

Her are my nominations for the Best posts on Genea-Musings for 2007, in my judgment. I haven't ranked them yet, and would appreciate your input as to which was the best.
* Yep, Barack Obama is My Cousin! from 2 February.

* 5 Best Genealogy Research Sites in San Diego from 11 February.

* The House I Grew Up In from 22 February.

* Shadows of a Live Man from 3 April.

* My Digital Wish List from 11 April.

* The Crystal Ball: Part I -- Will All Records be Digitized? from 21 April

* The Genealogy "Time Tunnel" from 11 May.

* Why Join a Genealogy Society? from 15 May.

* 12 "Suggestions for Researchers" from 22 May.

* Dear Genea-Man: How Do I Find My Grandfather? from 30 May.

* Dear Genea-Man: Why Can't I Find My Ancestor in the Census? from 6 June.

* My Census Whacking Index from 7 June.

* Crystal Ball: Part 2 - Digitizing Records from 21 June.

* Then (1988) and Now (2007) from 22 June.

* Genealogy Research is NOT Bunk! from 27 June.

* A Challenging Moral Dilemma from 24 July.

* 25 Genealogy Web Sites I Can't Do Without from 25 July.

* TANSTAAFL from 26 August.

* Who Will Decide What Is Correct? from 31 August.

* Was Daniel Boone an Ancestor of Pat Boone? from 31 August.

* The Mother of All Genealogy Databases from 21 September.

* Dear Genea-Man: How do I Find Someone to do Research For Me? from 21 October.

* Genea-Musings Greatest Hits from 24 October.

* The Future of Genealogy - My Turn from 1 November.

* "Ge-ne-al-o-gy" by Randy from 7 November.

* Elusive Ancestors in New England from 20 November.

* Dear Genea-Man: How Do I access This Book? from 8 December.

* Dear Genea-Man: What is "Proof?" from 13 December.

By the time I added all the ones that I want to consider, it came to 28 - out of 990 to date in 2007. All of them are prolix and befuddling, not a terse one among them. They read like I am being paid by the word or the line, or the bullet point.

Oh well - I guess I should be able to find the Best One from that selection!

What say you? Which was the Best of this bunch?

SmartMatching on

I received an email newsletter before Christmas from that announced SmartMatching 2.0 - see a description on their blog here.

In the email to me, they noted that

Good news! MyHeritage has found Smart Matches for you!

Smart Matches are people thought to be the same, in your family tree and family trees of other users on (our 19 million users have submitted well over one million family trees to MyHeritage with 200 million names). Correct Smart Matches may lead your way to discover new relatives and ancestors!

We've found a total of 3177 Smart Match(es) for people in your family tree(s), in 100 other family tree(s).

I had almost forgotten that I had submitted my Seaver database to MyHeritage last year so that I could test their system.

If you are frustrated by other commercial database or family tree web sites, you might consider to display your family tree.

I wrote posts here and here about the MyHeritage search engine and results. I also downloaded and tested their genealogy software, Family Tree Builder, in 2007 and reported on it here.

This is one of my Top 25 genealogy web sites, and is also one of the most popular genealogy web sites worldwide. And it's FREE. news update

I have registered for, one of the United Kingdom database subscription web sites, but I haven't subscribed. They send out a regular newsletter to registered people and subscribers.

This month, they are offering a 20% off deal for 2008 subscriptions - choose either 20% off subscriptions or an extra 20% free pay-per-view units - whichever suits you better. But hurry - this offer is only valid until midnight (UK time) on December 31st 2007. Subscription options are at

In the last newsletter, they summarized their work for 2007:

It's been quite a year on findmypast, the site's changed a great deal in the last twelve months, whilst maintaining the same high standards of accuracy and quality. We've added millions of records - just to refresh your memory 2007 saw us launch:

* New decades for the Passenger Lists - now covers 1890-1939 with the final two decades to come in the new year
* Parish records from the
National Burial Index and City of London Burials
* The 1871 census is now 75% complete, and the 1881 census transcriptions are available to search, for free
* The
Civil Service Evidence of age, Royal Naval Division Casualties and Divorce and Matrimonial Causes records

As well as all of these new records 2007 also saw the launch of the innovative, free and entirely online Family Tree Explorer, as well as a new viewer which means looking at the original historical records on findmypast is now simpler than ever.

FindMyPast also asked their subscribers for stories about using the web site and databases, and selected these persons (now they're on the Internet too!):

* Tom Wingate - a great-uncle who had three funerals, many years apart
* Roger Manley OBE - an amazing coincidence with a Lord
* Adrienne Coward - uncovered a family tie to George Eliot
* Evelyn Dick - a tale of a goldsmith and an heirloom
* John Brown - an eminent ancestor
* Steve Kirby - a matter of living relatives
* Ron Whitmore - name changes and emigration
* Jan Lawrence - a poignant family name
* Marian Gill - a family reunion
* Janet Peters - identified an ancestor on board the Moreton Bay

Read all ten of these fascinating stories in full here .

While I have significant English ancestry, almost all of them came to America before Civil Registration and the Census Records. Therefore, I don't subscribe to, but I like to stay informed about UK and Ireland resources so that I can help other people in their research.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Resolutions -- How did I do in 2007?

My genealogy resolutions for 2007 were posted here, and included:

1) Go to the Family History Center more often, and obtain primary land and probate records for my ancestors.

Grade: D. I mostly failed! I think I went perhaps as many as 10 times to the FHC. I did order films of church records for my Bresee ancestry research, but didn't obtain land and probate records for ancestors other than in #2 below.

2) Complete the probate records collection for my ancestors of Alma Bessie Richmond.

Grade: C. Partial success! I ordered microfilms, copied about 20 probate records, and transcribed most of them into my database. But I didn't complete the task by any means. There are still some Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts probates to find and obtain.

3) Determine if any of my San Diego County ancestors left probate and land records, and obtain copies of them.

Grade: F. Failure. all I did was figure out where the Probate Court archives might be.

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

Grade: C. Small success: I added some source citations, and edited many more, but there are many, many more to complete.

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

Grade: B. Mostly a success. I posted many research tips (hopefully of high quality), many ancestral stories, and some humor to Genea-Musings. However, I had a few rants, one of which almost got me sued.

6) Serve the Chula Vista Genealogical Society as President with energy, wisdom and patience.

Grade: A. A success, except for adding "new blood" to the Board. We had a very successful year with 50 meetings in the library with good attendance. Our members seem aware and enthusiastic and look forward to our events.

We added the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe blog to augment the web site - We need more members to use it.

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.

Grade: B. A partial success. We used the projector in the computer lab, but the wireless signal in the Conference Room and auditorium is not strong enough. We are working with the library to improve the situation.

8) Prepare and deliver three new presentations at local San Diego societies in 2007.

Grade: A. A success. I prepared five new presentations in 2007 - on Genealogy blogging, Online genealogy, resources, LDS resources and Rootsweb/USGenWeb resources. I gave the blogging talk to CGSSD in April and CVGS in September, and the other four at the CVGS seminar in October. I also spoke to the Questing Heirs Genealogical Society in Long Beach in May on Census research.

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

Grade: B. A partial success. I obtained and read several genealogy research books, many online resources, periodicals and journals. However, I didn't attend a national seminar or go on a cruise - next year!

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

Grade: F. Ummm, a failure, I think. I hide in the Genea-Cave even more now than a year ago. She is excited about a genealogy cruise though.

So that's it - the Report Card shows 2 A's, 3 B's, 2 C's, 1 D and 2 F's. It averages out to a C+. My summary: I made some progress in my own research, but only some of it was "quality" in terms of primary records. My CVGS work, speaking engagements and education were beneficial to my own professional development.

However, I feel like I waste too much time - blogging, searching databases, etc. I decided to start a daily genealogy journal just to see how much time I spent doing different tasks - you can see the last two months at the Geneaholic blog. Just being aware that I am documenting my time this way has led me to avoid some time-wasting activities - like finding funny census names.

Now what can I propose for Genealogy Resolutions for 2008? Tune in over the weekend for my list.

Finding the nuggets that solve the puzzle

I posted last week about my Genea-Santa surprise gift - a report from Old World Wisconsin that identified the parents of my Ranslow Smith (1805 - >1870). I've read the package several times now and am struck by several things:

1) The use of newspaper articles - news, advertising, obituaries, stories, etc. - was absolutely vital to piecing together the story of The Four-Mile House, an inn built by Ranslow Smith in 1853 and sold in the late 1860's. The daily news items - meetings held, visitors to town - provide some context to the daily life. Stories told by "old-timers" often talk about people - A funny incident about Justice of the Peace Ranslow Smith is described in one of them. The obituaries of Ranslow's brothers, George Smith (1812-1876) and Lyman Smith (1807-1889) apparently name brother Ranslow Smith and their parents names, Russell and Esther Smith.

2) Town meeting minutes can define town leaders, officers, and leading business men. Lyman was Burnett town treasurer for over 30 years, Ranslow was a town supervisor, meeting moderator, justice of the peace and highway overseer over the years.

3) Agricultural Census records can be used to determine how people lived - in 1860, Ranslow Smith's wheat, corn and potato harvests were nearly double the averages from other farms in the area, and likely provided food for the visitors in the hotel. An above-average oat and hay harvest indicates they probably supplied the livery barn, where visitors horses were sheltered. A large number of swine may indicate pork was standard table fare at the inn.

Many researchers understand that resources like these should be consulted in order to "flesh out" the lives of their ancestors, but how many of us do it for every ancestral family? I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't done that for many of my ancestral families.

Of course, in most cases, they are not available in online searchable databases - and many are not available on microform from the LDS Family History Library. You often have to visit the local genealogy society, historical society or libraries in order to obtain this information, and you often have to spend days reading page after page to find it.

I need to obtain the obituaries, town reports and other documents referenced in the Old World Wisconsin report. I will report on my progress as time goes by.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Arlene H. Eakle is featured speaker at SDGS Seminar/Luncheon on 12 January

The San Diego Genealogical Society has an all-day seminar and luncheon planned for Saturday, January 12th. The featured speaker is internationally known genealogist and author, Arlene H. Eakle, Ph.D. If you haven't already mailed in your reservation, be sure to do so now as they need to be received no later than January 8th to ensure your place at this exciting event.

A prolific writer with more than 90 titles, Arlene edited the award winning The Source: Guidebook for American Genealogy, a seminal book for genealogical research. A professional genealogists since 1962, she is president and founder of The Genealogical Institute and a founder of the Association of Professional Genealogists. She is a popular and well-known presenter at national conferences. Visit her web site to find out more:

Her topics for this memorable event will be of interest to researchers at all levels:

* Appalachian Triangle
* How to Find Birth, Marriage, Death Records Before 1900
* Evaluating Genealogical Evidence
* Dusting Off the Family Skeletons

She will also be selling many book titles and other publications at discount prices to seminar attendees.

Many door prizes will be offered including a Salt Lake City hotel package.

The meeting will be at the Handlery Hotel and Resort, 950 Hotel Circle North, Mission Valley, San Diego, CA. Registration will begin at 8:30.

The fee, including the gourmet sit down lunch, is $35.00 per person. The lunch includes salad, entree, dessert, roll & beverage. The Entree choice is
Roast Pork Loin, Chicken Piccata or Special Diet (please specify) Reservations must be received by January 8th. No refunds after January 9th.

Mail your name, address, check (payable to SDGS), and menu choice to Gloria Osborn, 1997 Alameda Terrace, San Diego, CA 92103. For more information, e-mail Gloria at

Hey San Diego genealogists - I have reserved my place at this seminar - have you? This is a great opportunity to hear presentations by one of the best genealogy researchers of our time.

Della's Journal - Week 52 (December 24-31, 1929)

This is Installment 52 of the Journal of Della (Smith) Carringer (1862-1944), my great-grandmother, who resided at 2115 30th Street in San Diego in 1929.The "players" and "setting" are described here.

Pictures of some of the players are here. Last week's Journal entry is here.

Here is Week 52 -


Tuesday, December 24 (warm): Roberts called, has changed to 5th Ave[nue], gave him candy, & a box with fruit & cookies. Fixed poinsettias & gave to the neighbors & finished sending cards, gave boxes of candy to Sun & Union boys.

Xmas, Wednesday, December 25: We were all at Lyle's, had a lovely time. Went to see the tree picked in morning. Ed over. In afternoon, Lyle took Austin Ed & I to see Will Rodgers in (Had to See Paris), fine.

Thursday, December 26: Rested some, went out to Garlocks, they are not very well.

Friday, December 27: We worked, I went to town and paid Gas bills, Water & A[ustin]'s lodge.

Saturday, December 28: A[ustin] home in afternoon. Mr. Allen came, gave us another demonstration. Wrote Alta (?) Sat[urday] or Sun[day] to bring me some cords for me to sell, Mrs. Chapman bought one.

Sunday, December 29: I went riding with Lyle's, we drove over to Old Town to a flowerist to look for water lily. Came back by Mission Hills. Found lily at a Jap's place.

Monday, December 30: We washed. I potted ferns. Mr. Putman's brought me 5 cords & some wires, I bought two and will sell the others for him.

Tuesday, December 31: I went to town, went to Elta's & Forrest's took the children a book a piece for the boys & beads for Sherrie. I gave a Neverknot wire to Frank & Elta, and have a fern for her, she gave me a linnen lunch cloth & 4 napkins, also a doll clothes bag. I got a few New Years cards. Lyle & Emily went out to the church, Betty & Mrs. Auble will go in morning with Mr. Nolans. We have had warm dry weather not a sprinkle of rain this mo[nth]. Miss Thorn came home Sun[day] night 29th or Mon[day].


It appears that Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were not big celebrations. Gifts were exchanged, but there does not seem to be a big family dinner. This may be because of the agnostic views held by Austin and Della (harbored for over 40 years by now) that resulted from the death of their first child. Lyle took them to a film in the afternoon - it was a day off for working people, I guess.

I still don't know who Roberts is...I don't recall seeing Elta (or Etta?) or Forrest as given names before, and don't know their surnames.

I don't have a clue what a Neverknot wire was - I should Google it I guess. I think Della received some cords of wood on consignment and was trying to sell them.

This is the end of the Journal of Della (Smith) Carringer for 1929. There are several more pages in the Journal - there are several accounts of expenses, home repairs, medication, gifts given and received in 1928 and 1929, and Christmas cards given and received in 1928, 1929 and 1930. The Christmas Card list may be very helpful in identifying extended family ties by using the census records.

I will post these lists in the next few weeks - not because they are of general interest, but they are part of this Journal. Reviewing some of the names tonight, I see several extended family members that I don't know much about, and some clues to last names of family friends.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

What a day! Genea-Musings will return on Thursday!

This was a very busy and tiring day for all of us here at the Genea-Manor. The little boys (ages 4 and almost 2) got up at 6:30 and were all excited to see so many gifts under the tree and in their stockings hanging from the fireplace mantel. Their mom got up soon after, and Lolo (age almost 3) and her parents arrived at about 7:30 (they had to sleep at a friend's house - the GM was full!). We got the stockings down and the frenzy began. Each child must have had 20 or 30 gifts to open and either admire or put in their box. The adults supervised, kept the trash picked up, and marveled at the energy levels. Then it was time for the real gifts, and we gathered them for each person and started opening - the kids pretty much non-stop. Whew - we really outdid ourselves and the kids already have tested almost everything (except for the blow-up space shuttle and the "Cars" movie race car set). Then it was time for the "piece-de-resistance" - Santa brought the boys a 9 x 12 blow-up jump house set. Lori and I set it up last night in the back yard (she is really good at figuring out directions, much more mechanical minded than I am) and all we had to do was turn the air blower on. The kids squealed with excitement, and jumped for probably an hour or more. I even got in and wiggled around on my belly, and the kids were jumping on me and bouncing off the walls into me - they loved it, and I did too - I'm really a big (literally) kid at heart.

I squeezed in a nice 40 minute nap with Walter (my grand-hound - a basset) on the bed in the late morning, and missed out on the Carls Jr. lunch fest around noontime. The kids struggled to go down for naps and their moms could hardly wait to take one too. Lolo and her parents left at about 3 PM to beat the traffic home up I-15. Lori and Linda started the turkey at about 2 PM and had things well in hand for a 6 PM dinner - just the five of us, which was low key and OK. The dinner was great - turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, topped off by pumpkin pie and vanilla ice cream (the boys gobbled that up). The boys were in bed by 8 PM. I put the little one down, then washed the dishes and tried to pick up a bit, including starting to dismantle the jump house.

Needless to say, I did no genealogy work today - but I helped make a lot of family history. The grandkids are almost old enough to remember these special events in their lives. I certainly will.

The genealogy scene is pretty slow, isn't it? That's good, I think - we can catch our breath for 2008. I have some summary posts planned, but they will have to wait until I return from Santa Cruz on Thursday.

Lori, the boys and I are driving the 500 miles to Santa Cruz on Wednesday, and I'll fly home from San Jose on Thursday. Therefore, posts on Genea-Musings will be "light" (heck, non-existent most likely, since I won't have the laptop with me this time and Lori's computer is on the fritz).

I wonder what major genealogy event will happen while I'm out of commission? Will Ancestry be FREE for the next week? Will other subscription web sites be free until New Years? Will there be a merger of genealogy companies or partnerships announced?

If you absolutely have to read Genea-Musings, please go through the Archives. Do me a favor and tell me which post was the most helpful or most interesting to you?

By the way, this is my 1,500th post since 18 April 2006 (an average of about 2.4 posts a day!).

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas to All!

There is a reason for the season - thank you, God, for blessing us so richly.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Best of the Genea-Blogs - December 16-22, 2007

I'm only one day late with this - sorry - I've been sick, the house is really busy, and everybody is shopping...

Here are my picks for great reads from the genealogy blogs for this past week. My criteria are pretty simple - I like posts that advance knowledge about genealogy, or are funny and/or poignant. I don't list posts destined for the Carnival of Genealogy, or my own posts (hopefully, others will do that!).

* I hope that everyone has been reading the Christmas Advent memories at Thomas MacEntee's blog, Destination:Austin Family. This link is to his summary post - click an ornament and see the posts for that day. Thomas has done a great job of organizing and presenting the posts of an umber of bloggers - Thanks, Thomas!

* "First Whack at Family Tree" by Dan Lawyer at the FamilySearch Labs Blog. This post shows screens from the new Family Tree application for New FamilySearch. This blog has also had several interesting posts this week about Record Search and Standard Finder.

* "News for 19 December 2007" on The Ancestry Insider blog. This post is chock full of information about Ancestry and FamilySearch.

* "Ancestry Hints - New and Improved" by Kenny Freestone on the Blog. This is a good summary of how Ancestry is working to provide clues to researchers who have their trees online.

* "What is Genealogy and Why Should I Do It?" by Summer Owens on the Genealogy, Family History and Temple Work blog. Summer provides some nice answers to the age-old question. This is an interesting blog.

* "How Does the Genealogy Community View Design" and "More Design in the Genealogy Community" by Mark Tucker on the Think Genealogy blog. Mark has some intriguing thoughts about how to make genealogy databases work better.

* "My Favorite Articles at Hill Country for 2007" by Terry Thornton on the Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi blog. Terry lists his favorites from his year of writing on his blog - it's hard to decide which is best, since they are all excellent!

* "GeneaBlogging Elves Run Amok" by Janice Brown on the Cow Hampshire blog. Want a good laugh? View these videos from JibJab that Janice made with genealogy blogger faces. I love it! Made my day when I saw myself dancing with Miriam, Apple, Jasia and Craig. I wish I could dance half that well.

That's it - a short post for me. The second family has arrived and Christmas Eve is nigh.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Day 1 - Christmas Eve

On the first day of Christmas,
Anticipation was high
For Santa Claus was nigh!

1) How did you and your family spend Christmas Eve?

As a child, we always (that I recall) spent Christmas Eve at my grandparents house in Point Loma because they had a chimney. At a young age, I was always trying to figure out how Santa Claus could visit us in our apartment flat - and my parents tried to prevent questions by doing this. I'm sure my grandparents loved this, since my brother and I were their only grandchildren. It was also a handy place to store toys and gifts for us before the holidays. We used to look everywhere in our house for them.

Then one frosty Christmas Eve, (um, well, wrong adjective, but what the hey) my brother and I were exploring my grandparents' garage - and found two bicycles. Aha - if we get these tomorrow from Santa, then we will know for sure that Santa is really our parents. Sure enough, there they were on Christmas morning - marked from Santa! But, being smart little boys, we just smiled at each other, and kept the secret for another year or so. After all, we now had a new little brother to watch over and have fun with.

Christmas Eve day also included shopping - at least for me (covered on Day 6). Speaking of which, I need to go on Monday the 24th to get the stocking stuff for Linda and maybe another gift or two. I wonder if she wants a USB flash drive for my laptop? Or a wireless weather station? Or a laser pointer? Oops, that's what I want, but maybe I'll pick them up just to make sure she has enough gifts.

Back to Christmas Eve - in my married life, when we were scheduled to fly to San Francisco on Christmas Day, we often had our Seaver family Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve with my parents, grandparents, cousin Dorothy and my brothers. This was always Christmas dinner, gift exchange, and family talk.

We also went to church on Christmas Eve when we were in town - when the kids were young, we usually went to the early service at 6 or 7 PM, and saw the Christmas Story, sang hymns, and had our candle light march (as I explained on Day 8).

In years when we travel to see our girls and their families, we usually leave several days before Christmas, spend two nights in Victorville, then arrive Christmas Eve day in Santa Cruz.

This year, both families will be here. We even have to sleep over at a friend's house in order to have enough beds here in the Genea-Manor. Christmas Eve will be very hectic with three small children (ages 4, almost 3 and almost 2) all excited about being here, plus the Chargers play Denver at 5 PM. Then there is the wrapping of gifts and setting them out on Christmas Eve, putting cookies and milk out for Santa, his elves and the reindeer.

This post will be part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" carnival - organized by Thomas MacEntee at the Destination: Austin Family blog. Please go to Thomas' blog and read the submissions for each day.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

FamilySearch Labs have been busy

While many genea-bloggers have been writing about their memories, the talented web site creators at FamilySearch Labs - - have been adding new capabilities to their web site.

I posted two weeks ago about the current databases offered at the FamilySearch Record Search site - my post is here.

The features being added on the Labs site include:

1) Family Tree -- The FamilySearch Family Tree is our effort to take the great things we learned from the Pedigree Viewer and the Life Browser and combine them into a more full-featured application. Our second whack at the Family Tree updates the person page and adds an event map. Use the interactive pedigree viewer to see and navigate a tree and drill down on individuals.

Currently this prototype can only be accessed by those who already have a login for new FamilySearch. We hope to have a demo account available soon.
Read more about the Family Tree on the
Labs blog.

2) Standard Finder -- With Standard Finder you can search for a standardized name, date or place based on your input. The Standard Finder will present the standards that will be used in future releases of new FamilySearch. Come and try out your historical and current entries and understand how the system will interpret your input. Use filtered results to see what we think the best match would be or uncheck filtered results to see all the possible standards. Then send us feedback on how the system can do better. Find out more on the Labs blog.

3) Research Wiki -- The FamilySearch Research Wiki forms a community of research experts and interested genealogists that share up to date information on how to research sources for information about your ancestors. The larger the community the more useful the data is, so come and be a part. Read more about the Family Tree on the Labs blog.

4) FamilySearch Labs recently updated the look and feel, and the search capability, of the Record Search databases. See this Labs Blog post for more details.

All of those look like they will be really useful once all of the pieces are put together.

* The Family Tree may be an ambitious attempt to put all family tree type data into one big tree structure.

* The Standard Finder will provide standards for place names, dates and names in the Family Tree.

* The Research Wiki will provide information about genealogy and family history research by location and topic - essentially an online tutorial that incorporates the information in the LDS Research Outlines.

* The Record Search will provide access to the records being indexed and digitized in the FamilySearch Indexing Project.

I am really impressed by the collaborative process being used in all of the FamilySearch projects. They are rolling out demonstrations, then trial versions, and then improved versions of each of their projects. A commercial company probably would not do this in such a public way.

As researchers - "customers" and "consumers" of FamilySearch if you will, we need to stay abreast of what the New FamilySearch operation is doing, especially as new databases come online.

Day 2 - Christmas Sweetheart Memories

On the 2nd day of Christmas
My true love spoils me
With so many Christmas gifts.

1) Do you have a special memory of a first Christmas present from a sweetheart?

I have no clue what the first Christmas present from Linda was in 1969. I do know that we made a commitment to each other about that time, and that was the greatest gift I could have received. We married in March 1970.

2) How did you spend your first Christmas together?

We didn't. Linda flew up to San Francisco to be with her parents, brother and other relatives for Christmas. I probably took her to the airport on the 23rd or 24th, and I'm sure that I welcomed her back several days after Christmas.

In the literal sense, our first Christmas together (1970) was probably spent in San Francisco at her parents house on 47th Avenue in the Sunset District. I had been there several times before. It was one of those row houses ("little boxes on the hillside") that was essentially 24 by 24 with two stories - living above, garage below. They had added a room (again probably 24 by 24) on both stories - the upper room was her parents' bedroom, the lower room was the party room. When we visited, we got to sleep in the second bedroom with a foldout bed. I guess her brother slept in the living room on a couch.

Christmas there was different - with several elderly family members coming to dinner and close neighbors dropping by. The atmosphere was celebretory, everyone seemed happy to see everyone else, liquor flowed freely, and the gifts were forgettable. But the family feeling was always there. The most special person was Linda's grandmother - called "Oo Hoo" (yep - you guessed it, when Linda was a child, when they arrived at the door, her aunt would call out "Yoo hoo" and "Oo Hoo" would come to greet everybody. The name stuck - everybody used it). In 1970, she was age 86 and had attended our wedding and just beamed when her granddaughter married this nice young engineer man from San Diego with some hair. Paul and I would go fetch the elderly aunts, another elderly distant cousin and her husband would come also, and a widow from down the street who was her parents good friend.

As the years went on, we alternated celebrating Christmas in San Francisco and San Diego. When the girls came along, we kept this tradition well into the 1980's.

This post will be part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" carnival - organized by Thomas MacEntee at the Destination: Austin Family blog. Please go to Thomas' blog and read the submissions for each day.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Ancestry and FHL/FHC - what does it mean?

Every time I go on a trip and am unable to post anything, or even read my email, something important happens in the world of genealogy. I left on Wednesday morning, and didn't log back on until Friday morning (my story is here) - and discovered that:

1) will be available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake city and at 13 large Family History Centers, including San Diego. The story is at

This announcement raises a number of questions in my mind - perhaps we will learn some answers before I leave on my next trip (hint - next Wednesday for two days):

* Will the databases available at the FHL/FHCs be the same as the databases that were available before 1 April? As I recall, that was a special set of databases and didn't have some of the databases that were available with a private Ancestry subscription. Will it be Ancestry Library Edition (which has even fewer databases available)? Or will it be the Ancestry US or World editions?

* Will the access at FHCs be expanded past the first 13 listed in the announcement? I certainly hope so...

* What financial arrangements were made to make this happen? Did the LDS pay for these licenses, or did Ancestry provide them free, or for access to other databases available now or in the future from the FHL?

The net effect here is a win-win for everyone involved, I think:

* The individual genealogy researcher in SLC or the 13 cities can access Ancestry databases at the FHL/FHCs.

* The FHL and FHCs will certainly have more patrons that can access Ancestry while taking advantage of the other research opportunities at the FHL/FHCs.

* TGN/Ancestry will get a shot of good will and appreciation from current and potential customers.

2) Ancestry also announced that they will discontinue the "Online Family Tree" (OFT) database as of March 2008 and transfer all of that information to an "Ancestry Member Tree" (AMT) format. There are comparisons of OFT and AMT features in the announcement. Answers to Frequently Asked Questions are here.

This, of course, raises a question:

* What in the world is "Online Family Tree?" As an Ancestry subscriber, when I search Family Trees I get matches from "Public Member Trees," "Private Member Trees," "One World Tree" and "Ancestry World Tree." I'm pretty sure that "Ancestry Member Trees" are the "Public Member" and "Private Member" trees. Is "One World Tree" the to-be-discontinued "Online Family Tree" database? Or is "Ancestry World Tree" also part of the "Online Family Tree" database? I'm confused, and I thought I had been paying attention.

Did Ancestry just squander all of the Christmas good will from 1) above by announcing this and thereby angering people who have submitted "Online Family Tree" information There will always be some people that are dead set against any changes, and some of them wrote comments on the Ancestry blog. Ouch.

3) Ancestry announced that they have improved the Member Family Trees presentation. Frankly, I don't see any improvements other than perhaps some color on the Family Group Sheet. It is very difficult to move around in the Member Trees - I would like to be able to see descendants reports and ahnentafel reports similar to Ancestry World Tree databases.

4) Ancestry announced that the Learning Center has been modified. When you click on "Learning Center" now you get Megan Smolenyak in a video that takes a while to load. There are many more choices to click on and get lost in on the first screen. You have to click on the "Keep Learning" button to find the library of online articles and newsletters. If you click on the "Keep Learning" button, you can see more choices, and the "Search" box is now on the left of the screen in real small print - that's the only way to find articles about the topic you want to learn about.

All of the bells and whistles are wonderful - but the most useful (for me and my colleagues) feature is the article archive and the search capability. The search results seem to be much more focused than they were previously, and that's good. Waiting for 150 to 200 items (not the links to the articles) to download is a pain in the butt, though - and I can't figure out what is downloading - the artwork and article summaries are already showing when the download starts.

5) My thanks to the Ancestry Insider for doing all of the hard work on these announcements.

Day 3 - The Christmas Letter

On the 3rd day of Christmas,
our true friends sent to us
a Christmas letter to enjoy.

This is a "grab bag" post - a topic that helps me remember Christmases past.

When I was a boy, the highlight for Christmas (well, other than the visit to Santa, the dinner at Dorothy's, and the gifts under the tree) was the box of gifts from the people in Massachusetts that I didn't know - my grandmother Seaver, my aunt Janet and uncle Ed, and my cousins Peter and Joanie. My dad always told stories about he and Ed's exploits when they were teenagers, and so I thought I knew all about them. Not really - that was 30 years before, and now they were upright citizens of Leominster.

The box came, and out tumbled the gifts - usually two each, and they weren't much in retrospect - small toys, games, and books, but it always impressed me that someone so far away would send us gifts. Of course, my parents sent a box back East also, but I didn't know that.

In many years, along with the gifts came the typewritten "letter" telling us about their year. I have several of these and have copied them for my cousins who were thrilled to receive them.

Linda and I have been sending a Christmas letter since the girls were small - probably since 1983 or so, when I had my first IBM computer. I typed it up on the computer and printed it on the dot-matrix printer - painfully slow and nearly illegible, if you recall! As the technology improved, the letter did too, and by 1990 we were printing them on pre-printed decorative letter stock, and now there are pictures. I suppose that, in an email version, I could embed videos too, if I had some.

We print and send about 120 copies of the current letter to family and friends. I try to described the highlights of the year -- the vacations, the places visited, the special activities at work, church or community, the status of the girls and something about the grandkids. Of course, genealogy plays a large part in my paragraph, and I list my web site and blogs(but I doubt that anyone visits them!). If anybody wants an email copy of this years letter, please let me know at rjseaver(at)

This post will be part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" carnival - organized by Thomas MacEntee at the Destination: Austin Family blog. Please go to Thomas' blog and read the submissions for each day.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Genea-musings on the road

Blogging may be light for the next week or so.

I'm off on Wednesday - flying to San Jose to visit my daughter and grandsons in Santa Cruz. Their computer is on the blink, so I may not be able to post from there.

On Thursday the 20th, we're driving the 520 miles to San Diego. We hope to arrive in the late evening. Therefore, I may not post anything until Friday the 21st.

The weekend will be busy with two active little boys buzzing around, plus shopping and going places with them and their mom.

My other daughter and her family will come on Monday for two nights, so this will be a real busy time for all of us! Linda and I are going to stay at our friends house for two nights so the kids can have our bed. We should get some decent sleep that way!

Then on the day after Christmas, my daughter and I are driving back to Santa Cruz, loaded down with Christmas gifts. I'll fly home on Thursday the 27th. Whew.

I should be back to regular blogging about the time to do my New Year's resolutions!

Census Records - who appears most often redux

Well, when I posted my last one in this meme, I only considered the males in my line. On my way home today it struck me - Abigail (Vaux) Smith appeared in all of the Federal Census years from 1850 to 1930 (except for 1860, and we don't have the 1890 entry). Here is her list:

1850 -- In the 1850 census, the Samuel Vaux family resided in Aurora township, Erie County, New York (National Archives Microfilm Series M432, Roll 498, Page 103, Line 12, dwelling #1589, family #1605). The family included:
* Samuel Vaux, age 34, male, a farmer, $1166 in real property, born England
* Mary Ann Vaux, age 35, female, born NY
* Mary Vaux, age 11, female, born NY, attends school
* Cele Ann Vaux, age 9, female, born NY, attends school
* Abagail Vaux, age 5, female, born NY, attends school
* Jane Vaux, age 3, female, born NY

1860 -- I have not been able to find Abigail Vaux, or her family, in the 1860 census, although I believe that the family resided in Dodge County, Wisconsin. Abigail Vaux married Devier J. Smith in Rolling Prairie, Dodge County, Wisconsin, on 4 April 1861.

1870 -- In the 1870 US Census, this family resided in Benton township, Taylor County, Iowa (National Archives Microfilm Series M593, Roll 421, Page 13, dwelling #207, family #207). The family included:
* Devier Smith -- age 30, male, white, a farmer, $10,000 in real property, $800 in personal property, born New York
* Abbie Smith -- age 26, female, white, keeping house, born NY
* Della Smith -- age 8, female, white, at home, born WI, attended school
* David Smith -- age 6, male, white, at home, born WI, attended school
* Mary Smith -- age 4, female, white, at home, born WI

1875 -- In the 1875 Kansas State Census, this family resided in Lincoln township, Cloud County, Kansas (1875 Kansas State Census. Microfilm reel K-4, page 12, line 38. Kansas State Historical Society). The household included:
* D.J. Smith - age 35, male, white, livery and sale stable, $750 in real property, $1155 in personal property, born NY, moved from MO
* Abbie A. Smith - age 30, female, white, milliner, $340 in personal property, born NY, moved from MO
* D A Smith - age 13, female, white, born WI, moved from MO
* D.D. Smith - age 11, male, white, born WI, moved from MO
* M A Smith - age 8, female, white, born MO, moved from WI

1880 - In the 1880 US census, there are two entries for this family. The D.J. Smith family was listed in Shannon township, Pottawatomie County, Kansas (National Archives Microfilm Series T9, Roll 393, Page 243D, dwelling #125, family #125). The household included:
* D.J. Smith -- white, male, age 41, married, no occupation, born NY, father and mother born NY
* Abba A. Smith -- white, female, age 37, wife, married, keeping house, born NY, father born England, mother born NY
* David D. Smith -- white, male, age 16, son, single, born WI, father and mother born NY
* Mami Smith -- white, female, age 14, daughter, single, born WI, father and mother born NY
* E. Kearnes -- white, male, age 21, single, born IA
* Jos. P. Vaux -- white, male, age 35, brother-in-law, single, born NY, father born England, mother born NY

1880 - Abagail A. Smith headed a family listed in Blue Rapids township, Marshall County, Kansas (National Archives Microfilm Series T9, Roll 388, Page 205C, dwelling #57, family #65). The household included:
* Abagail A. Smith -- white, female, age 36, married, keeps house, born NY, father born England, mother born NY
* Della Smith -- white, female, age 18, daughter, single, at home, born WI, father and mother born NY
* Mary A. Smith -- white, female, age 14, daughter, single, born WI, father and mother born NY
* Samuel Vaux -- white, male, age 65, father-in-law, married, without occupation, born England, father and mother born England
* Mary A. Vaux -- white, female, age 65, mother, married, without occupation, born NY father born VT, mother born NH
* Orpha Woodward -- white, female, age 17, niece, single, at home, born WI, father born VT, mother born NY.
1885 - In the 1885 Kansas State Census, this family resided in Clyde township, Clay County, Kansas (1885 Kansas State Census. Microfilm reel K-23, page 35, line 10. Kansas State Historical Society). The household included:
* D.J. Smith - age 46, male, white, married, a speculator, born Ohio, moved from WI
* Abby A. Smith - age 41, female, white, married, born NY, moved from WI
* Della Smith - age 23, female, white, a music teacher, born WI, moved from WI
* D.D. Smith - age 21, male, white, a livery keeper, born WI, moved from WI
* Matie Smith - age 18, female, white, a music teacher, born WI, moved from WI

1900 - In the 1900 U.S. census, this family resided on Watkins Avenue in San Diego city, San Diego county, California [National Archives Microfilm Series T623, Roll 99, Page 172, ED 194, Sheet 19A, Line 43]. The household included:
* Henry A. Carringer -- head of household, white, male, born Nov 1853, age 46, married 12 years, born PA, parents born PA, a carpenter, owns house with a mortgage
* Della A. Carringer -- wife, white, female, born Apr 1862, age 38, married 12 years, 2 children born, 1 living, born WI, parents born NY
* Lyle L. Carringer -- son, white, male, born Nov 1891, age 8, single, born CA, father born PA, mother born WI
* Abby A. Smith -- mother-in-law, white, female, born Oct 1844, age 55, widow, 2 children born, 2 living, born NY, father born England, mother born New England

1910 -- In the 1910 US Census, this family resided on Hawthorne Street in the 4th Ward of San Diego, San Diego County, California [National Archives Microfilm Series T624, Roll 94, page 182, ED 150, Sheet ??, Line 1]. The family included:
* Henry A. Carringer -- head of household, male, white, age 58, first marriage, married 22 years, born PA, parents born PA, a carpenter, does general work, owns house free of mortgage
* Della A. Carringer -- wife, female, white, age 50, first marriage, married 22 years, 2 children born, 1 living, born WI, parents born NY
* Lyle L. Carringer -- son, male, white, age 18, single, born CA, father born PA, mother born WI
* Harvey Carringer -- brother, male, white, age 59, single, born PA, parents born PA, own income
* Abby A. Smith -- mother-in-law, female, white, age ??, widowed, 5 children born, 3 living, born NY, father born England, mother born NY, own income

1920 -- In the 1920 US census, this family resided at 2105 30th Street in San Diego city, San Diego County, California [National Archives Microfilm Series T625, Roll 131, Page 225, ED 285 sheet 5B, line 65, taken 8 Jan 1920]. The family included:
* Henry A. Carringer -- head, male, white, age 66, married, born in PA, parents born in PA, a cabinet-maker, works in a furniture store, owns home with a mortgage
* Della A. Carringer -- wife, female, white, age 57, married, born in WI, parents born in NY
* Abbie A. Smith -- mother-in-law, female, white, age 75, widow, born in NY, father born in England, mother born in NY
* Mary S. Griffin -- a boarder, female, white, age 45, single, born MI, father born DE, mother born NY, a piano music teacher.

1930 -- In the 1930 U.S. Census, this family resided at 2115 30th Street in San Diego city, San Diego County, California (National Archives Microfilm Series T626, Roll 192, ED 116, Sheet 1A, line 8). The household included:
* Henry A. Carringer -- head, owns home, worth $5,000, owns radio set, male, white, age 76, married, first at age 34, able to read/write, born PA, parents born PA/PA, able to speak English, an aviation mechanician, works at Army Air Services, employed
* Della A. Carringer -- wife, female, white, age 67, married, first at age 25, able to read/write, born WI, parents born NY/NY, able to speak English, no occupation
* Abbie A. Smith -- mother-in-law, female, white, age 85, widowed, able to read/write, born NY, parents born England/NY, able to speak English, no occupation.

Abigail A. (Vaux) Smith died in San Diego on 11 September 1931.

Day 4 - Christmas Music

On the 4th Day of Christmas
My true love sang to me,
"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"
(in J-sharp, but with spirit!)

1) What songs did your family listen to during Christmas?

When I was a boy, we sang the traditional carols at school - Joy to the World, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Silent Night, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Away in a Manger, Deck the Halls, The First Noel, Oh Come All Ye Faithful come to mind. So, as a child, I knew the tunes and the first stanza of each.

These came in handy on Christmas Eve when we stayed at my grandparents house - she would come into the bedroom (no doubt my parents and grandfather were putting stuff together in the garage or living room) and we would sing together for quite a while before going to bed hoping that sugar plums would dance in our heads (a sugar plum? I'm sure I hoped for dreams of toys and fun things).

I don't remember my parents singing Christmas carols, or popular Christmas songs, in the home.

After I was married and the girls came along, our house was filled with Christmas carols because they were always practicing for the King's Kids performances in church. We would often sing some carols and popular songs just before bed with them.

2) Did you ever go caroling?

As a boy, I never went caroling. Sing in public, who, me? Mr. J-sharp? Nope.

As a parent, we went several times with our kids as part of the church couples group. We usually got a list of shut-in families from the church office and would go around singing to them. Now, there is a yearly Christmas Carol event on a Sunday before Christmas (it was two Sundays ago - I didn't go, but Linda did).

3) Did you have a favorite song?

I think my favorite traditional Christmas carols are "Silent Night" and "Joy to the World." Of the newer carols, I love "Angels We Have Heard on High."

Of the popular Christmas songs, my tastes range from Bing Crosby's "White Christmas," "Winter Wonderland" and "Silver Bells" to Brenda Lee's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" and Elmo's "Grandma Got Run over By a Reindeer." I like the "12 Days of Christmas" parodies too - see and hear them here (I've been waiting to slip that in somewhere).

This post will be part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" carnival - organized by Thomas MacEntee at the Destination: Austin Family blog. Please go to Thomas' blog and read the submissions for each day.