Saturday, January 13, 2007

SDGS Program today - Nancy Carlberg

The San Diego Genealogical Society annual luncheon and seminar program was today at a local hotel. I did not make a reservation because of my house remodel project and the uncertainty over the Chargers' playoff game time. I went down there anyway, hoping to be able to at least hear the Nancy Ellen Carlberg seminar. They let me in for $20 (the member cost with lunch was $35).

Nancy Ellen Carlberg presented four lectures today -

1) Differences Between English, Irish, Scottish and US Research

2) Midwest Research

3) What I Learned Working with Alex Haley

4) Protecting Your Genealogy

I saw the first two lectures from the back row of a large meeting room - there were about 110 in attendance. The overheads were taken from Nancy's research files - mainly examples of records that supported her verbal presentation. I couldn't read a word from where I was seated, and I doubt that more than 25% of the attendees could either. Nancy had a lot of books to sell - she is quite prolific, but much of her material is pre-Internet. I didn't buy any, but got a book list for our society.

Nancy is an excellent speaker - very easy to understand and she uses humor effectively. The two lectures I heard were full of research suggestions - I was amazed how much information she presented in each hour.

She covered the comparison of English, Scottish and Irish records by outlining what civil registry records were available, and where; she did touch on parish, cemetery, census and probate records. The main point I heard was that a researcher in the US should exhaust the Family History Library microfilms and online databases before going across the Atlantic to research in record offices in those countries. Also, that everything you need to find is not on the Internet. However, accessing the birth, marriage and death records using the online databases (which charge a per-unit fee) is more cost effective than obtaining them by mail or by hiring someone there to do it for you.

The second talk on Midwest Research was similar - lots of examples, some migration and settling maps, many good tips, and essentially the same message - use the FHL Research Guides, check the FHL microfilms, plus online resources.

I left at lunch time and visited the Family History Center for a bit - looking for Tennessee resources to help me with my UFO (Thompson family) problem. I didn't find much on the shelf or on the CDs to help me.

Then it was home to watch the two football games, take a nap, and get ready for the Chargers-Patriots game tomorrow. My mind goes back to 1963 when my Chargers romped 51-10 over the Patriots in the AFL Championship game - that was the year I worked at the Chargers summer camp. Will it be that "good" tomorrow? Heck, I'll be happy with a 1 point victory.

Friday, January 12, 2007

"The Internet Guy" Genealogy Blog

Have you visited Rick Crume's genealogy blog called "The Internet Guy" at ?

While he doesn't post very often, the material he posts is usually excellent. As examples (unfortunately, you can't find copyable links on the site):

1) "Funeral Home Records" posted 8 January 2007

2) "U.S. Military Records" posted 16 December 2006.

3) "Locating Living Relatives" posted 29 November 2006

4) "Online Obituaries and Graveyard Inscriptions" posted 8 November 2006

Each of those posts defines the available online resources for the topic. The best way to save them, since they aren't directly linkable, is to copy and paste them into a word processing document and save it to your hard drive, and then print it out and put it in a research notebook.

Rick is an author, having written the book "Plugging Into Your Past." He has a web site at At that site, he has lists of free databases at .

"Ancestor Hunt" Genealogy Portal

I continue to look for genealogy data portals that might solve my problem with finding the elusive Robert Leroy Thompson.

I clicked on recently and found a decent data portal with links to most states, and to many databases. Many of the links end up in an database, but there are links to many and other free databases.

One of the free databases at the site concerns Family Bibles - at There are over 200 family Bibles every-name indexed. You never know when you might find the right Bible on a web site. There was a Thompson Bible here, but it was from Maine.

Another interesting collection is Prison Records at These are mainly historical, but might be useful for those searching for their Black Sheep ancestors.

One of the databases listed on the Ancestor Hunt site is the Marriages database at This might be very helpful to researchers.

What other genealogy data portal sites do you recommend?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Another subscription site -

I guess I'm one of the last genea-bloggers to write about the new subscription web site at - "the place for original documents online." It has promise, but requires a monthly ($10) or yearly subscription ($100) for full access to the available documents.

Richard Eastman has an excellent summary of the currently available documents at

Of course, you can currently see and obtain a copy of all of these documents at a National Archives repository. The obvious benefit to a subscription is that you can browse these records at home in your jammies or snugs to your hearts content rather than drive to a National Archives facility with the attendant travel time, parking woes, and copy costs.

I put my Seaver surname in the search engine and the Civil War pension cards (not the actual file) popped up, plus some FBI files and some city directories.

I'll pass on this opportunity for now (just as I've passed so far on the other recent new subscription sites like and They appeal to some people, and not to others.

UPDATE 12 January 8 PM: Sarah commented that I was unfair to the subscription site. In retrospect, I agree - I was dismissive because I don't have a need to use the site, or the others named, for my own research. But perhaps they would be useful to other researchers. The FindMyPast site is for British Isles records, and Sarah points out that you can "pay as you go" with limited costs to view indexes and pages, rather than pay for a whole year.

Web Sites for Genealogists

Do you have your own genealogy web site - with descendant reports, ahnentafel reports, photos, family Bible transcriptions, ancestral stories, and the like? I don't, but I want to have one. I do have some genealogy reports at a free site at - I did it because I could control the formats and didn't have to submit a database, but I could still put my data out in a searchable format. But it isn't wonderful.

There is a web site for genealogists like me who want to put up a genealogy web site - at The site has advice and links on how to develop a genealogy web site, with tutorials and resources on different web pages. Check out her own research page at I think it is very well done, and I would like to do something similar.

Step-by-step planning and execution tips are on Web page authoring and do's and don'ts are discussed at Many authoring programs don't require knowledge of HTML or other languages.

She also has genealogy research links at which are useful.

All in all, I thought this web page suite was interesting and helpful.

Desperately seeking the Thompson family

I've been trying to find a certain Thompson family in the 1930 census for two weeks now. They are really well hidden...

The family is composed of:

* Robert Leroy Thompson (born 12 Aug 1880 in TN, died 1965, if you believe his head stone);
* Lillian Russell (Daniel) Thompson (born 1900 in TN);
* Gwen Margaret Thompson (born 1922 in TN);
* Lois Elizabeth Thompson (born 1926 in TN). Lois is still living and provided much of the information I have. She was born in Kingsport, Sullivan county TN, and thinks the family resided in either Sullivan County or Knox County in 1930.

I have tried all of the obvious census index gymnastics - using wild cards extensively to search using:

1) surname Thomp*, Tomp* Thoms* in TN
2) given names Rob*, Bob, R, Lee*, Ler*, L, Lil*, Lel*, Gwen, Loi*, Lou* in Sullivan and Knox counties.
3) families in TN with father Rob* (or Lee*, Ler*, R, L); wife Lil* (or Lel*) - not just Thompsons.
4) families in the US with the parents in 3) and Gwen or Loi* as children - not just Thompsons.

For these, I often clicked on the index name to survey the family names listed.

After exhausting those, I then defined other searches that might cause the family to be missed using the 1) to 4) searches above:

5) Line-by-line search of Kingsport, Sullivan County, TN, looking for families with the given names and approximate ages (on the theory that the enumerator got the given names right but messed up the surname badly). I also looked especially for the families where the parents might not be heads of household (and therefore not showing up in the 3) and 4) searches above). There were 244 pages of data - 11,914 names in all - in Kingsport. I haven't done the other 1,000 pages (approximately) of the remainder of Sullivan County.

6) Knox county has over 155,000 names, or about 3,200 pages, so a line-by-line search isn't really feasible.

7) Were the surname and given name exchanged? I didn't find any likely candidates in TN.

I posted a message board note on the Sullivan County TN Genforum board asking if City Directories for Kingsport in 1930 were available. If so, I want to identify neighbors and then go back to the census records. I'll do this for Knox County too if they aren't in Sullivan County.

To show the magnitude of the problem, there were:

* 9,189 people with surname Thomp* in TN
* 164 were Rob* Thomp* in TN
* 6 were Ler* Thomp* in TN
* 71 were Lil* Thomp* in TN
* 14 were Loi* Thomp* in TN
* 0 were Gwen Thomp* in TN
* 17 were Gwen (no surname) in TN
* 19,224 were Lil* (no surname) in TN
* 100 had the given name Thomp* (no surname) in TN

It may be that the family did not live in Tennessee, but all of the family data indicates otherwise.

Of course, I can't find Robert Leroy Thompson in the 1920, 1910, or 1900 census records either! He must have made a concerted effort to hide from the census takers.

Any more suggestions?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

New T-shirts from JMK Genealogy

JMK Genealogy put a new set of genealogy gifts together with the words "Sexy Genealogist for Hire" - see all of the gifts at

Pretty cool, eh? Here's the mousepad (shown mainly because it shows the image well):
Great family tree image. It would be a great Valentine's Day gift, wouldn't it? A real discussion starter at the next Society meeting? I guess it all depends who's wearing it.

Thanks to JMK Genealogy for the image and gift ideas.

Family tree tattoos?

Wouldn't it be neat to have your family tree tattooed on your back? If you knew enough generations, it could run down your legs too! Is that a great visual, or what?

Apparently, one of MY San Diego Charger favorite football players is doing exactly part of my vision - "the family tree on his back" part, as explained in this article from the San Diego CityBeat newspaper:
A rookie, McNeill had his whole extended family in town, from siblings and cousins to aunts, uncles and grandparents. They came to his house and whipped up a dinner just like the ones he used to have back home in Decatur, Ga. He’s so close to his family that his back is tattooed with an enormous spreading tree titled “McNeill” in looping script. It’s a family tree, and this off-season he plans to have the names of his grandparents and siblings inscribed into the branches.

Now Marcus McNeill is a BIG man (6-7, 350 pounds) and has a lot of back acreage for his tattoo tree. Apparently, he already has his own name and his parents names on his back.

I wonder how far back he can trace his family line? I wonder if his name is at the bottom of his tree - at the roots so to speak. I would think so, but who knows. That would mean his grandparents and earlier generations would be higher up in the tree.

I wonder if he wants the help of an experienced researcher to find more McNeill ancestors? I'll do anything for the team :)

"I love food" memories

This month's Carnival of Genealogy is supposed to be about food - family recipes, food memories, and the like. I have four separate experiences:

1) My mother was not a culinary wizard. Her parents were only children and fifth generation German-Americans, so there were no handed down recipes, big family meals with ethnic dishes or the like. Cooking for her was something she had to do every day - not what she wanted to do (she was an artist, a teacher, a reader) but she had a husband and three active boys in the 1950's and on. I remember meat, potatoes and vegetables for dinner. I remember pork chops, chipped beef, ground beef, fried chicken, meatballs, steak (cooked to shoe leather), etc. Mashed potatoes. Fresh vegetables. She went to the Safeway store across the street every day. The only special thing I remember (my dad loved it) was vermicelli - toast with egg whites over it, covered with grated egg yolk. We had fried egg sandwiches for lunch occasionally. On school days it was peanut butter or bologna sandwiches. Breakfast was sometimes scrambled or fried eggs with bacon, and pancakes on the weekend.

2) The big treat each week when I was a kid and a teenager was Saturday morning. My dad bowled on Friday night and would go to the bakery on his way home. Ummm. Doughnuts! cream puffs!! eclairs!!! They rarely lasted until Sunday.

3) My own cooking skills are pretty utilitarian - I can barbecue, fry meat, boil water and nuke almost anything. Oh, I can also open soup cans and Dinty Moore stew. Cooking on my own is pretty much desperation.

4) Now, my Angel Linda is a culinary wizard. Ahhh. I married a fantastic cook - and she loves to do it. It didn't take long for her to fatten me up after we married (and it's a battle to keep the weight to a steady level) because she fed me so well. It's still pretty much meat, vegetables and potatoes. Her special dish is baked stuffed zucchini shells with the zucchini inside stuff mixed with raw eggs and put back in the shells with a layer of cheese over the top of it. I'm so lucky!

I do love to eat - and it's almost dinner time, so bon appetit!

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Interesting genealogy data portal site

I'm always on the lookout for web sites with genealogy databases or data portals. I saw a reference to and checked it out.

First off, this is a site for Italian genealogy research. Everything you always wanted, or needed, to know about researching families with Italian names - see

But there is a lot more. There are a number of web pages dedicated to different topics.

If you want to search for a surname, try - you can put a surname in and see what information you can find. You get a list of databases with the surname, both free and subscription sites. There is also a GenWatcher feature where, if you provide an email address, you can be notified whenever data is added for three of your surnames.

There is a page for Vital Records by state at Click on a state and you can see a summary of the available vital records, and how to order them from the state or a county. There are links to available databases (free or subscription), and a listing of counties with addresses and links to county genealogy web sites.

There are many more web pages at the site - if you have exhausted the other "more popular" sites, you may find what you need at .

Any genealogy lovers out there?

Are there any genealogy couples (you know, two people together) more into romancing rather than researching right now? JMK Genealogy has a gift just for you - at Their latest shirt image is below:

He notes that this is probably the ultimate way to propose to a genealogist.

He has another Valentine's day image also:

That's cute...

There are lots more T-shirts and other gifts - check his blog pictures and his other site at The one I enjoy reads:

Genealogy is like sex...

You think it about it most of the time...
You’re always anticipating the next time you can do it...
Your partner hangs around looking bored until you're finished...
You become irritable if you go too long without doing it...

Me, I'd like a T-shirt that says "Sexy genealogist for hire" over a family tree image. And an "I sleep with a sexy genealogist" shirt for my Angel Linda.

Any other ideas for T-shirts for Valentine's Day? I'm sure JMK would love to hear about them!

Monday, January 8, 2007

Valentine's Day - Genealogy Style

There is an article with that title, by Tina Sassone, Genealogy editor for Bella Online, at She says:
Valentine's Day is coming soon. If you're a genealogist, or have a genealogist sweetheart, here are some great ideas for the special day!

Take a look through your tree and find out which country (other than the one you're in) you're predominantly from. Then start planning out Valentine's Day activities based on those traditions!

The article discusses Valentine's Day traditions in different countries. Some are really interesting!

I'm wondering just how many Casanovas are in the census records?

Della's Journal - January 8 - 14, 1929

This is Installment 2 of the Journal of Della (Smith) Carringer, my great-grandmother. The "players" and "setting" are described here. The last week is here.

Tuesday, January 8: Ma & I worked in yard in fore-noon fixed asparagrus bed & I trimmed rose trees & Hibiscus. After lunch Mary Dyar came to stay a few days. Bert's sister's boy Clyde Meriacl his wife & her mother came to see her relatives so Mary rode down with them.

Wednesday, January 9: I went down town deposited 20-- checked out 8-- bought Mrs. Snyder asthamus med. 2.65, took it out and she paid me. Gro. 2.50 meat .50 Liver(?) .15 ribbons .40 clothespins .30 doughnuts .25 bread .10 W.O.W. Inshurance man was here. Then Mary's folks called.

Thursday, January 10, pleasant: Mary went home at 1 P.M. We had a very nice visit. Emily worked. Betty going to school all right. Men here that own lots. I went down met them at Union Title office. I signed paper to extend mortg for 3 yrs brought home paper for A to sign. Took deed to be recorded that Ma made me in 1922 of lots in E San Diego. .80. Got home 5:40 P.M. went out to Forrest's to take Xmas presents. Katie's mother died about Thanksgiving time. Jack called Mrs. Baxter got fern.

Friday, January 11, pleasant: Ma has called on Mrs. Nata?a & Mrs. Chapman got the Gro. card from Mrs. Trisher. She is going back to Clamath Falls.

Saturday, January 12: Ed over. He cut lawn. A went to town, got book at Library. Gave Ed 2 tokens some money & will send him a check. Emily worked all week.

Sunday, January 13, pleasant: Lyle's went to the country they had a nice time. Ma, A & I took tub baths.

Monday, January 14: Mr. Watson & Miss Thoren Pd rent. Emily worked. We washed.


One of the interesting things about this family is that Della did all of the legal and financial transactions. Mary Dyar was a cousin, married to Bert Dyar, who lived in Long Beach, I think.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

More Odd Names in History

As many of you know, I've become a collector of "odd, strange and funny names" of people who have existed in history. I have written several posts from my own research and that of others. So I wasn't too surprised when my CVGS colleague Susi sent along a link to

I don't know how I missed this page before, but it is absolutely a grand collection of names, some with an explanation. Some of the best IMHO are (from "Remarkable Names of Real People" by John Train (1977):

* Bambina Broccoli, New York City

* Humperdink Fangboner, Lumber Dealer, and Fanny Fangboner, Nurse, Sandusky, Ohio.

* Orange Marmalade Lemon, Wichita, Kansas.

* Anil G. Shitole, Rochester, New York.

* Ginger Screws Casanova, Eureka, California (Eureka Times-Standard).

* If-Jesus-Christ-Had-Not-Died-For-Thee-Thou-Hadst-Been-Damned Barebones, London, England [Set up first the fire insurance office in Britain. Changed his name to Nicholas Barbon].

* Pepsi Cola Atom-Bomb Washington, Upper Marlboro, Md [Youngest of twenty-two children].

* Lovey Nookey Good, Texas State Health Department, Austin, Texas.

* Solomon Gemorah, Brooklyn, New York.

* John Hodge Opera House Centennial Gargling Oil Samuel J. Tilden Ten Brook, Olcott, New York [Born in 1876, the centennial year, and named in honour of John Hodge, who owned the Hodge Opera House, manufactured gargling oil, and supported the Presidential candidacy of Samuel J. Tilden. His friends called him "Buck"].

Read them all - an excellent collection!!

My reaction to these odd names is always the same - "what were their parents thinking?"

Isaac Buck in the Woodpile - Post 2

The earlier post about the paternity of Isaac Buck (1757-1846) is here.

The question is "Was his father the Isaac Buck (1706-1780), husband of Ruth Graves, or another Isaac Buck, perhaps younger, and more the age of Mary Richards (b. 1733)?"

The book "Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County, Massachusetts," edited by Ellery Bickell Crane, The Lewis Publishing company, New York, 1907, Volume 2, pg. 363, says:

"(V) Isaac Buck, son of Ephraim Buck (IV) was born about 1705 in Woburn Mass or vicinity. He was living at Woburn when he married at Reading Mass, Dec 3 1729, Ruth Graves. Isaac Buck moved to Southboro and with his wife Ruth sold their rights in the estate of her father, Joseph Graves, late of Southboro, Mass, October 19 1757. Among their children were: Isaac, born about 1730; Esther, married at Southboro, May 4 1762, Elisha Bruce Jr.; probably others.

"(VI) Isaac Buck, son of Isaac Buck (V), was born about 1730. He removed to Southboro with his father, and married Mary Richards about 1755. His children: Isaac, born in Southboro, Sept 27 1757, see forward; Susanna, married November 14 1793 Elisha Bemis. The family removed to Bolton, Mass."

It goes on to tell about Isaac Buck's (born 1757) family (he settled finally in Sterling, which was created in 1791 from Lancaster), had a big family with Patty Phillips, and provides several more generations in one line.

The question arises: Did the Isaac Buck, born 1730, really exist? There are no vital records for birth, marriage or death, and no land or probate records in Worcester or Middlesex Counties for him. Just because a memoir book says he existed doesn't make it true. The memoir book entry may have been from an earlier family history book or unpublished research efforts.

There are no other Buck records in Southborough town records other than the ones noted above.

The index and abstracts of all Buck probate records in Worcester and Middlesex Counties were reviewed, and do not reveal records for the elder, middle or younger Isaac Buck. Land index records for Worcester County were reviewed, and do not reveal any land bought or sold by any Isaac Buck (except the husband of Ruth) before 1800. There are many listings for other Buck families, including Isaac Buck's (1757-1846) descendants around Sterling MA.

Isaac and Ruth Buck granted land in Southborough to Joseph Graves in 1765. This record was dated 19 October 1757 and registered by the court 29 October 1765. Isaac and Ruth Buck "of Southborough" deeded the property received from their "honoured father Thomas Graves" to Joseph Graves, Ruth (Graves) Buck's brother. Their parents Thomas and Ruth (Collins) Graves had died in February 1756, and this was why the Bucks had come to Southboro. For the purposes of this study, there is a very important statement in the deed:

"...In witness thereof we the said Isaac Buck and Ruth his wife have hereunto put our hands and seals this thirtieth day of December Anno Domini one thousand seven hundred and fifty six and in ye thirtieth year of his majestie's reign, Isaac Buck [seal] and Ruth Buck [seal] signed, sealed and delivered in presence of Isaac Buck Jr [mark] & Ebenr Buck. " [Worcester County Land Records vol. 65, page 61]

This is the first and only direct evidence of the existence of an Isaac Buck Jr. The senior Isaac Buck is the only Isaac Buck found in the Southborough records in that time period (except for the baby Isaac born in 1757). Why was the deed signed in the presence of Isaac Buck Jr and Ebenezer Buck? My hypothesis is that they were sons of age 18 or more and heirs of Isaac and Ruth Buck. Their other known son, Joseph Buck, was baptized in 1748 and was probably not of age in 1756 when the deed was signed.

If I apply the Genealogical Proof Standard, the best piece of evidence I have is this deed, and the information in the deed is primary (Isaac Buck Jr. was a witness to the deed), the source is derivative (but is a microfilm copy of a deed transcription in an official county record book) and the evidence is direct (requires no supporting evidence). There is no other piece of evidence except for the memoir book (which corroborates the deed information), after an exhaustive search for other evidence.

The only conflicting evidence at hand is that there was another Isaac Buck (born 1706) in Southboro at the time, residing, with his wife Ruth, with Joseph Richards, the brother of Mary Richards. Could this older Isaac Buck have been the father of Isaac Buck, born 1757 to Mary Richards? It is possible but, in my opinion, not very probable. If there was a younger Isaac Buck, an unrecorded son of the older Isaac Buck, then he is almost surely the father of the baby by Mary Richards.

My conclusion is that Isaac and Ruth (Graves) Buck had a son named Isaac Buck, born around 1730, not recorded in any town record or church record, who fathered Isaac Buck (born 1757) by Mary Richards.

Now I wonder what happened to the middle Isaac Buck, born about 1730? The memoir book says he removed to Bolton MA (at least one Isaac Buck entered the Rev War from Bolton - I've always thought it was the Isaac born 1757). But there are no other records to my knowledge.

Your comments on the research problem and my hypothesis and conclusion are welcome! What have I missed?