Saturday, January 27, 2007

Allen County Public Library reopens

Becky Wiseman has a "Genealogist in the Library" report on the re-opening of the Allen County Public Library today - her report is at

Read it, enjoy the pictures, and read the rest of Becky's great genealogy blog.

Scotland's one-stop online data repository

I read the news item in Dick Eastman's blog and also in Leland Meitzler's blog, -- the web site for Scottish ancestral data sounded wonderful. While both blog posts indicated that the data was, for the most part, on a fee basis, they didn't say what the fees were.

I signed up (for free) easily - you fill in the form, including a username, and they send you an email with a password. You can then login, and change the password if you wish - it took about 2 minutes to do it all. Registering allowed me to check out the data offered, see sample images, and read the help pages. What does Scotland's People offer?

The surname search on the Homepage is free and covers all records, allowing you to check how many records of a particular surname appear in the various datasets, before you commit to payment.

Access to the index of wills and testaments is free of charge. Viewing full-colour, actual size digital images of an original will, testament or inventory costs 5GBP per document, regardless of length.

Access to statutory, OPR and census indexes costs 6GBP. For this fee, you will receive 30 "page credits" which are valid for 90 consecutive days. Viewing a page of index results costs 1 credit and each page will contain up to 25 search results. Viewing an image costs 5 credits (equivalent to 1GBP).

Your session begins when payment has been authorised and additional credits may be purchased in 6GBP increments. The session will restart with each new credit purchase.

The specific databases include:

1) Old Parish Registers, 1553 to 1854 (depends on the parish of course) - Births and Baptisms, Marriages and Banns. These are the church records before Statutory Registration started. The images for these records were recently added, and this resulted in the Eastman and Meitzler blog posts.

2) Statutory Registers - Births (1855-1906), Marriages (1855-1931) and Deaths (1855-1956). These are the government registration efforts which started in 1855.

3) Census Records - 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901. These are the same years as the rest of the UK.

4) Wills and Testaments (1513-1901). The search of the index is FREE at this time. The actual documents are fee-based - they cost 25 credits (5 GBP, about US $10), page count doesn't matter.

The fee structure for 1), 2) and 3) is complex: each credit costs 20 pence (about USD $0.40).

* To view an index of your search is 1 credit per page (there are about 25 items per page).

* To view an image from the index costs 5 credits (1 GBP, about US $2). The exception is an 1881 census transcription, which is only 1 credit.

If you have Scottish ancestry, this is obviously the easiest, and probably the cheapest, way to search for your people in the records. Having this site, and being so user-friendly and easy-to-use, will likely put all of the genealogists who used to do lookups by mail out of business.

There is really nothing like "being there" at least once to trod the green hills, see the blue lakes and walk the graveyards. We visited Edinburgh and St. Andrews in 1993, but I didn't have Scottish ancestry, or a known friend with it, at the time. I do now - my cousins in Salem NH have Scottish ancestry on their grandfather's side - Wood is the surname, and there are lots of them in the Indexes! Now I can tell them that they can do the research from home in their pajamas...maybe they'll ask me to do it for them. I love a challenge.

CVGS Program on Monday

Calling all San Diego area genealogy buffs - are you coming to the Chula Vista Genealogical Society (CVGS) meeting on Monday, 29 January at 10 AM in the Chula Vista Civic Center Library (365 F Street, Chula Vista) Auditorium? We hope to see you there. Guests and visitors are welcome.

Our speaker will be Gena Philibert Ortega on "Cemeteries and Their Secrets." Gena's presentation will provide an overview of American cemetery history, how and where to find cemetery records and tombstone symbolism. Her web site is at

I will post a report on the meeting and the presentation on Monday evening.

The CVGS web page at has more information about the society activities. We are a small society of about 80 members, but we routinely have 40% to 50% of our members at our monthly meetings.

Friday, January 26, 2007

How in the world did this happen to me?

I've given a lot of thought to the people who have helped me get to where I am in my genealogy research and the genealogy community. I finally realized it was many people, and that without each contribution I wouldn't know as much as I do, or even be doing the research today. The ones that stand out (in no particular order):

1) My uncle Edward R. Seaver (my father's only brother) took the time to sit with me for two hours on a rainy day in Leominster, Mass. in July 1982 and patiently answer my questions about the family, including his childhood and life story. Who, what, when, where. We went through the photo albums and family papers that he had. I was smart enough to make a cassette tape of the conversation! Over the next few years, he encouraged me to look deeper into the family history, and occasionally sent "goodies" to me - the prize being the Civil War pension file of my great-great-grandfather, Isaac Seaver (my only Civil War soldier).

2) My aunt Marion (Seaver) (Braithwaite) Hemphill (the oldest of my father's siblings) put together a Seaver genealogy when she was a schoolteacher in the 1950's, using published sources and her own family knowledge. I made several tapes with her over the years. She loved reading my yearly family newsletters and gave me some unique family pictures.

3) My aunt Geraldine (Seaver) Remley (the youngest of my father's siblings) has been a fount of knowledge about the family. She made three hour-long tapes in 1990 telling everything she knew about the extended family and her own life. She lived with her mother until she died, and knew all the family secrets. I still visit Aunt Gerry (she lives in Maine) and we talk about the family, look at pictures, and share great memories.

4) My mother, Betty (Carringer) Seaver, saved all of the "treasures" handed down from her parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, including pictures, family papers, family Bibles. She was an only child of only children, and the stuff just accumulated (thank goodness!). In the years before she died, we would sit and go over a handful of photos trying to identify people and times, or just talk about the kind of people her parents and grandparents were. I found things in the closets when we sold the house that are priceless - the account books, the land deeds, the wills and other papers.

5) The patient staff people at the San Diego Family History Center, especially Ray Dawley. They taught me the ropes for several years, and I was a willing student. I went almost every Saturday from 1988 to 2003 - ordering microfilms, reading and copying records, etc. I think that access to primary information in original records on microfilm (e.g., probate records, land records, town records) has been the most help in my genealogy research in proving relationships.

6) My wife, Angel Linda, who has encouraged and supported me all these years - knowing that this is a wholesome hobby/obsession that will promote family interest and unity. We usually take a genealogy vacation every year and she is really good at finding folks hiding in graveyards, and she loves meeting and talking with cousins and other researchers. She doesn't really like repositories, so she usually goes shopping or sits by a pool and talks to people when I go to a library on our trips.

7) A number of researchers who were on the Prodigy computer service in 1992-1993. The names I recall include Linda Turcotte, Carrie Cote, Dot Griebel, hmmm, a blank mind - I know I've left important people out here, sorry about that. The Massachusetts genealogy board was real active and many in this group lived in Massachusetts and helped many of us find records, took pictures of gravestones, etc. It was a wonderful group of people - when we all left Prodigy, we stayed together via a round-robin package of papers for over two years. Many went on to other computer services. It was great to be in a community of active researchers with similar interests.

8) My colleagues at the Chula Vista Genealogical Society. I started attending meetings in 1993, and have given about 15 presentations to the society since then. We have a wonderful group of people who have become friends and colleagues, and the group is growing. We started a research group in 2003 (my first year on the Board) and that has helped many of our members solve some of their research problems and also become better researchers. Leading the research group led me to hunting for genealogy news, thereby reading blogs, and voila, here I am, with one of my own.

One of my favorite sayings is "There are things that happen in a second that take a lifetime to explain." This certainly applies to family relationships and genealogy research.

How about you? Think about who has really helped you in your genealogy journey, and blog about it. Then submit your post to the Carnival of Genealogy at by January 31.

Copyright and Fair Use

A post by "Canterbury5" at has summarized the current copyright provisions, and how they've developed, based on the US government information at It is extremely complicated, and has changed often over the years. I thought I would explain how I'm trying to apply the provisions below.

As long-time readers of this blog know, I occasionally excerpt lines or paragraphs from newspaper articles or web sites. I try to capture the essence of the work, and link to the source. I use my judgment as to how much is "fair use" and have had no complaints yet.

In my own genealogy research, I have transcribed whole pages from pre-1900 published works into my ancestral database notes, and as far as I can tell, I'm allowed to do so. But I've struggled to apply "fair use" to more modern works, especially those multi-ancestor works that address more than one ancestor of mine.

For example, the multi-volume work "The Great Migration Begins," and the subsequent multi-volume work "The Great Migration, 1634-1635," all edited by Robert Charles Anderson and published by NEHGS, have numerous "sketches" of ancestors of mine. Each sketch uses original sources with primary information, some of which are difficult to find. They summarize the English origins, immigration, spouses, children and life events of each person. They are marvelous works. So how do I deal with that?

At present, I try to do the following in my notes:

1) Clearly credit the Anderson books with providing leads to original sources and primary information.

2) Attempt to find the original source material (almost always on microfilm from the FHL) and copy it.

3) Use my own words to summarize the original source material, or quote it directly, and cite the source completely.

I think that this is acceptable, but I haven't tried to explain it before or ask the author or publisher if that would be acceptable. I have not successfully completed my three steps above for many of my own ancestors - the notes in the database parrot Anderson's sketches until I have the chance to find the original source material and modify my notes appropriately.

I have self-published some of my work, and have provided copies of it on paper and CDROM, but only to my family. I hope to finish my work at some time and place books in local and genealogy libraries. At present, my sources are embedded in my database notes rather than in a source citation format, and I'm slowly trying to correct that, but it is difficult with thousands of ancestors in my database (I'm not complaining, of course, that I'm blessed with New England ancestry).

I often think "if only I knew then what I know now" I would have cited sources, found more primary source information, etc. over the first 10 years of my ancestral search and database entry!

What do you think? Are my three steps above satisfactory? How have you addressed this issue?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Free Databases on

What a great idea for a web site! lists all of the databases that are FREE on I assume that they will keep it up-to-date.

Looking through the list, the most notable databases (most with images of the records) are:

1) England, Wales, Channel Islands and Isle of Man census for 1881 and 1901.

2) England and Wales Civil Registration (Birth, Marriage, Death) indexes, 1837-1983, and 1984 to 2004.

3) 1880 US Federal Census Records

4) World War I Draft Registration Records

There are many more, in categories of US, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Other countries, Surnames, and Research Guides and Tools. Go browse through them all at

You might add it to your Favorites or Bookmarks and try to visit every week or so to see what freebies have been added.

Hat tip to Leland Meitzler at

Tagging Right Along

As of tonight, we have had 34 genea-bloggers reveal their "5 Things That Nobody Knows About Me" semi-secrets. some have been funny, some serious, some very short and some very long. Many have told stories behind the secrets. A list of links to the genea-blogger secrets is at

I imagine we've missed several genea-bloggers with this, and I invite them to post even though they weren't tagged. If you do post your "5 Things," please let me know via comment or email (rjseaver(at)

Any candidates for the:

1) Best secret posted?

2) Funniest secret posted?

3) Longest secret posted?

4) Most revealing secret posted?

5) Most intriguing secret posted?

If so, please blog about them, or comment on this post, or send me an email at rjseaver(at) If you want to add a category, please do so - hey, we're bloggers and we can do what we want, right? Freedom is wonderful!

I have my own candidates, and I'll share them later in an update.

Check out GenealogyToday databases

There are commercial sites, such as, which have many of the major databases that can be used to find information about our ancestors. Typically, these sites include census, military, immigration, newspaper, vital and other records.

The web site specializes in some of the more obscure databases - and they may contain the fact that you need to unlock your brick wall problem. A summary of what's available on the site is at

The main databases include:

* The Family Connection (subscribe to see data)
* Military Roots Project
* Acadian - Cajun Research (subscribe to see data)
* Missing Persons Registry
* First Name Basis
* New England Early Genealogy (subscribe to see data)
* GenWeekly newsletter archive (subscribe to see content)
* several others

The Special Collection databases include:

* Funeral Cards (20,900 names)
* Railroad Employees (subscribe to see data)
* World War 2 Ration Books (2,500 names)
* Criminal Records (subscribe to see data)
* Business Cards (950 names)

You can search the index for all databases for free. However, you must register to see results from the free databases, and subscribe to see the not-free databases. It appears that each subscription database is priced separately.

There is also an Online Guide to Genealogy that contains a wealth of good information in the categories of Getting Started, Family History, Research Tools and Advanced Topics. There are four regular monthly columnists. There are also two genealogy blogs - and

Illya D'Addezio has built a very nice site with unique resources. I advise that you take a look at it - enter your "problem children" into the search engine and see if it's a site that can help you.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Oprah's Roots

I just finished watching the PBS show about Oprah Winfrey's roots. I thought it was exceptionally well done as a story - telling about her life, her parents, and then getting into the real genealogy search for the earlier generations. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. narrated the show and was the teller of "genealogy news" to Oprah.

Her Winfrey line included men who owned land after the Civil War in Mississippi, founded schools for Negroes in the early 1900's, and took part in civil rights activities in the 1960's. Oprah felt a pride in these accomplishments, and rightly so.

Some of the research was done by professional researchers like genealogists Tony Burroughs and Jane Ailes, and historian John Thornton. They showed census records, land mortgages, town records, marriage records and the like to determine relationships. This was the most interesting part of the show for me.

As a genealogist, I wish that they had shown more research than the two family lines back into the 1800's, rather than tell her own life story. The Winfrey line was very well documented and shows what can be done to research back to 1870, and, with some luck, to find a probable slave master in the 1850 and 1860 census. They also found a Lee slave master in the same time period, but they didn't show the details of the ancestry.

The last 15 minutes of the show was about DNA research. They postulated that her matrilineal ancestor came from western Africa (Senegal down to Liberia) or from Angola, based on the known slave trade into South Carolina. Using Oprah's mitochondrial DNA (from the matrilineal line), they found a match with people in Liberia, and Oprah immediately felt a connection to that area.

I'm wondering why they didn't tell us about her father's ancestry. Her father is still alive, and could have provided a DNA sample to allow a similar trace on her patrilineal line. Perhaps there were no close matches, or the matches were inconclusive. Maybe it was simply that they didn't have enough time - one story was told, Oprah is Liberian, that's enough, don't confuse everybody else.

While Oprah thinks that she is Liberian based on the DNA test, the truth is that Liberia represents only one known ancestor out of 64 (6th generation, born perhaps around 1800) or 128 (7th generation, born perhaps around 1770) possible immigrant ancestors (depending on when her slave ancestors came to America). Many more may be Liberian, but some may come from other areas of Africa. Of course, those lines can't be traced unless you can find patrilineal or matrilineal lines through known cousins or other relatives.

Did you see the show? What were your thoughts?

UPDATE: Read Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak's review of the companion book at There are more details in the book, of course. I had not read Megan's review before I watched the show.

Research Group meeting today

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society has a monthly research group where we discuss genealogy and family history research methods, successes and problems. The usual format is to review genealogy news of the past month, have the attendees describe their research problems or ask questions, then tell success stories and show treasures recently found or obtained.

Today, we changed the format a bit. After the news, we tried to watch one segment from on a laptop/projector setup. The system worked well, but the library's wireless signal was weak in the conference room. During the problem discussions, we showed a number of web sites that might help our members find online resources. We will do more of this each month, I think, and hope that the signal problems can be ironed out.

I usually gather the "news" from my own, Eastman's and Meitzler's blogs. I concentrate on new web sites, new databases and library news. I then email it to our members after the meeting so that everyone in the society can benefit from it. One of the web sites was, and we found that one of our members had signed up and put his data on the site already.

The problems or questions raised today included:

1) How do I find a family in the 1880 census that is not correctly enumerated or indexed? We discussed using a given name search, with birthplace, birth year, and location (if known), or using wild cards for the given name and surname, on

2) What do I do when birth dates in family records conflict with other records? We recommended evaluating all available evidence, and giving more weight to primary information (such as a birth record), or secondary information produced close to the event (such as the first census with the person on it).

3) How do I find Denmark family data and parish records? We suggested visiting Denmark message boards online and checking the LDS FHL Catalog for record availability on microfilm.

4) Where do I look for vital records that are not online? The example was Wisconsin, which has pre-1907 and post-1973 data online, but not 1907 to 1973. We suggested looking at the LDS Research Guide for Wisconsin to determine the availability of records, and visit the Wisconsin USGenWeb page for access information, contact information and cost.

5) How do I find newspaper records in a distant location? We suggested using message boards asking for help, contacting local genealogy societies or libraries, and asking for help at

One member shared that my alert in December about subscriptions at reduced prices led him to subscribe and he found many records as a result.

I shared finding the 1929 daily journal of my great-grandmother, and then I passed it around. One member was born in 1929, and asked what happened on his birthday - not much, they washed! Another member had found a composition book full of family recipes that she passed around.

All in all, it was a good session for our 12 attendees. Using this group, we have increased the research knowledge and critical thinking skills of many of our members.

Does your local society do something like this Research Group? Do you use a wireless hookup to show web sites and databases to help your members solve their problems?

Family Storylines offers free research

I received an email yesterday about a free 10 hours of genealogy research to be awarded to one lucky applicant by Family Storylines -- at Their web site says:

Family Storylines is the premier expert genealogy research company, offering comprehensive genealogy research in more than 30 countries worldwide. Whatever genealogy research assistance you need, we can help! No research requests are too small or too big.

We offer 3 research packages as well as the opportunity to request a free custom research quote if the packages don't meet your specific research needs. This is a great time to take advantage of our research services because we are offering ALL Family Tree Magazine newsletter subscribers 10% OFF any order placed by February 28, 2007! Simply enter code FTM10 during checkout.

We're giving away 10 hours of FREE expert research to one lucky winner who tells us what expert research help they could use! Simply fill out the form below to submit your entry and we'll pick one winner on February 28th. The winner will be notified by email. Thank you for your entry!

This is a professional genealogy research company trying to get publicity. I have no connection to it other than an attempt at winning the 10 hours of research.

I have so many brick wall ancestors, it's hard to choose. I'll probably pick my Thomas J. Newton, since a solution to his ancestry would unlock a whole one sixteenth of my father's ancestry.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Obtaining Civil War Records

I ran across the web site recently and wondered how their fees charged to search for Civil War records (presumably at the National Archives in DC) matched the online ordering system at the Archives at

At the CivilWarRecords site, they charge:

* $30 for a Compiled Military Service Record (CSMR) plus $5 shipping and handling.
* $45 for a Civil War Pension File plus $5 shipping and handling.
* no charge for a unit history if either a CMSR or Pension File are ordered.
* $0.15 per copied page (some pension files may be 50 to 100 pages).
* no charge if the requested files are not found.

The files will be sent within 10 days of the order, according to the web site.

At the National Archives online ordering site - - you can click down to a web page where you can order these same records for:

* $17 for a Compiled Military Service File (no additional shipping cost, ships in 60 to 90 days)
* $37 for a Federal Military Pension Applications (no additional shipping cost, ships in 42 to 120 days)
* $14.75 for a Pension Documents Packet (selected 8 pages) from a Federal Military Pension Application.

There are probably other services that will do this research at the Archives and expedite the shipping of the records - I haven't researched any others, frnakly.

The tradeoff between using a paid researcher or using the Archives online ordering system is time versus money (isn't it always!). A service record and a 50 page pension file will cost $92.50 using the researcher, but you get it within 10 days. Using the Archives, you pay $54 but you have to wait 6 to 16 weeks. Your choice, depending on need and patience-tolerance!

If you don't have this information, I highly recommend that you obtain it - the pension file may be chock full of interesting data about your soldier's life. The service record, combined with the unit history, will tell you when and where your soldier served.

For more information on finding online Civil War records, see Joe's web site. Joe also has a web site for how to order Civil War pension records at and

While looking for search engines and online data that would help me find more information on my very elusive Robert Leroy Thompson (1880 TN - 1965 NC) target, I found the genealogy portal site

This portal site is extremely well organized, and the links are to many free and subscription databases. There are links by Region (US, Canada, UK and Ireland, Continental Europe, Australia, New Zealand), and then additional resources, which include Marriage Records, Global Databases, Surname sites, and Free Genealogy Search Engines.

I clicked on most of them, but the real good link is the Free Genealogy Search Engines link, which leads you to At that site, there are links to 15 collections of links based either on record type or locality. I especially liked the Cemetery Search which has links to the free cemetery web sites like, the subscription web sites like, and the free and archives.

If you are stymied with your research using other portals, try these sites - you may be surprised!

Carringer family pictures

In my "Della's Journal" series, the setting is the house at 2115/2119 30th Street in San Diego. The original house picture from about 1900 is here.

I wanted to post the picture of the remodelled house which was moved to the middle of the block on the east side of 30th Street. The picture below is from about 1929, the time of the diary. The two-story house in the front of the picture is the 2115/2119 flats. As you can see, the original house has had a full second story added on. The entry for 2115, which is where Della and Austin lived, is on the south side of the building (the side facing to the right). I grew up in the upstairs flat at 2119.

In the background on the right is the two-story building standing at 2114/2116 Fern Street that were rentals and provided income to the family. The Lyle Carringer family house was also on Fern Street just to the left of the two-story flats, but not in the picture.

I can't find a good family group picture from the 1929 time. The picture below is of the family group in about 1920, when my mother, Betty, was a baby. From the left, the photo shows Georgianna (Kemp) Auble (a widow, born 1868), an unknown cousin (Mary Morgan?), Della (Smith) Carringer (seated, born 1862, holding the cat), Edgar Carringer (born 1857, unmarried), Emily (Auble) Carringer (born 1899), Austin Carringer (seated, born 1853, holding Betty), Lyle Carringer (born 1891) and Abigail (Vaux) Smith (seated, a widow, born 1844). They are posed in front of the original one-story house at 2105 30th Street.

In 1929, Georgianna Auble (Mrs. Auble") is age 60, Della Carringer is age 65, Austin Carringer ("A") is age 76 and Abigail Smith ("Ma") is 85.

A Genea-blog treasure hunt

At the web site a blogger can occupy one square (50 pixels by 50 pixels) of a 25 by 25 matrix. It's free (at least for now) to sign up and fill out the information needed to show a graphic depicting your blog. Each square has an address (for example, (5,10) denotes 5 squares from the left, 10 squares down from the top). Put your mouse over a square and you can read what was submitted by the occupier of the square.

I have a square there, using my blog picture. Can you find my beaming face on the matrix? If so, tell me the square "address."

There are at least two other genealogy blogs posted there - can you find them?

There are still open spaces - why don't you sign up? And tell us about it so we can find you on the matrix. If enough genea-bloggers signed up, we could demand our own matrix and be able to see all of the genea-bloggers on one web page.

My guess is that the purpose of this web site is to create hits for the creator and to provide exposure for the blogs that put their picture on the site. You can click on each square and go to the blog to read it.

Monday, January 22, 2007

They've been Tagged...

Well, the tagging game has done pretty well. I thought I would keep a scorecard here and see who has played:

Susan Kitchens started the Genea-tagging at

Jasia at

Chris Dunham at

Steve Danko at

Lee Anders at

Randy Seaver at

James Curley posted his list as a comment at Steve Danko's post

Juliana Smith at

Dear Myrtle at

Michael John Neill at

George G. Morgan at

Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak at

Kimberly Powell at

Maureen Taylor at

Drew Smith at

Miriam Midkiff at

Apple at

Leland Meitzler at

Janice Brown at
David at

JDR at

Sharon Elliott at

Denise Olsen (Moultrie Creek) at

Rick Crume (The Internet Guy) at

Og at
Craig Manson at

Joe Beine at (but he lists only one item - it's a good one)

Lorine Schulze at and

David Lambert at

Canterbury5 (he doesn't want us to know his real name) at

Katie at

Lisa Alzo at

Dana Huff at

Becky Wiseman at

David Bowles at

Brian Massey at

Sally Jacobs at

Illya D'Addezio at

Cameron at’s-tag/

Bobbie at

Marty Weil at

41 have played and been found so far. If you know of others who have responded, please let me know and I'll add them to my list. My email is rjseaver(at)

Are there some on that list that you haven't visited? One of the purposes of this tagging exercise is to get to know each other a bit more and perhaps find common interests other than genealogy. Please click on the links above and get to know all the wonderful genea-bloggers who provide content for the online genealogy world, and were brave enough to share their hidden talents, experiences or knowledge with the rest of us.

If everyone plays, we should run out of genea-bloggers to tag in several more days. I figured that 5 rounds would be 781 blogs, but that assumed everyone would play (and that all genea-bloggers are active).

Should this be a carnival of genealogy topic? It's probably too late!

UPDATES: Will likely be morning and evening for the next few days. Check back often! Last update: Tuesday, 30 January, 11:00 AM PST

Della's Journal - Week 4 (January 22-28, 1929)

This is Installment 4 of the Journal of Della (Smith) Carringer, my great-grandmother, who resided at 2115 30th Street in San Diego in 1929. The "players" and "setting" are described here. Last week's Journal entry is here.


Tuesday, January 22, pleasant but cool: Mr. Nolan Pd. rent. I worked in yd pulling weeds. Ma washed. I called on Mrs. Sorrenson & Mrs. Jones in PM. Miss Setchel wrote she had to pay $45 per week. Thompsons fire place caught fire. Letter from Aunt L[ibbie] card from Gene Williams he got work on relatives place Mr. Miller.

Wednesday, January 23, cool: I went to town Pd water bills, Gas. A's razor blades 18 sharpened for 55 c[ents]. Sent my lodge dues 4.77 for Jan Feb & Mar.

Thursday, January 24: Letter from Mary. I embroidered a towel for Emily [that] Betty & I expected to get done before she was sick.

Friday, January 25, cool & sunny: We washed curtains in the kitchen. I ironed them put up two pair will wash wall before putting one up by stove. Betty promoted to 5A. She made her a pocket book to put in the larger one she had made to carry her school work in. We washed rugs in bathroom. Ruth and Louie her one hour were on way home.

Saturday, January 26, cool and sunny: Ed over. A[ustin] home all day had 1/2 day finishes extra he worked on ? marks refueler. He cut up last of trees. Went to town & got chair bottom. Ed washed & sandpapered four chairs ready for painting. Rose & Louise came to spend part of day. She brought pears, beets, radishes and a grape pie. Geo. came after her at 4 P.M. Barret's (wife) got hurt in a st[reet] car accident so that she had to have her foot taken off. She had her baby in its buggy with her but it did not get hurt.

Sunday, January 27, cloudy & cool: Lyle's went to country. We stayed in all day. Mrs. Jones went to Paradise Val[ley] to see her sister. I embroidered an apron.

Monday, January 28, warmer, cloudy: Ma washed a few things. I worked out trimmed asparagriu fern. Changed mail box. Ma helped me in afternoon. Mrs. A.[uble] took wood into garage to be sawed up. Letter from Ella Stanton they expect to go back to Boulder in Feb 7. Eva will go with them take a vacation of three weeks come back on Santa Fe R.R. did not say a word about Earl. Mr. Stanton had to be back in Colorado he is Inspector of fruits. Betty has two new dresses one green & one with white. Josephine Hughes got hurt in auto accid[ent].

There was some excitement in the neighborhood - the street car, that ran right up the middle of 30th Street, nipped Mrs. Barrett who lost a foot but saved her baby. Amazing -- I wonder if it made the newspaper? I wonder if my mother would have remembered it?

I have a letter from an Ella from 1889 about the loss of Austin and Della's first son, Devier. I wonder if this is the same Ella? I wonder who Ella Stanton is? I think Eva is Della's niece - the daughter of her brother, David Devier Smith (who died in 1920). Betty is my mother, daughter of Lyle and Emily, aged 10 in 1929, and in 5th grade (she got promoted at mid-year!). Lyle's family lived at 2130 Fern Street on the same block as Austin and Della.

There are so many cryptic thoughts in this journal! I'm going to collect some of the renters names and check them against the city directories.

I'll try to find a picture of these people and post it sometime soon. I posted a picture in April of the original house taken about 1900. I'll have to post a picture of the remodelled two-story house sometime soon.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

What about

When the site was announced last week, I admit to being underwhelmed and negative initially. Dick Eastman blogged about it, but only really shared the press release. There were some comments about how the site would not accept GEDCOMs, would have only hearsay evidence, was too slow, etc. Tim Agazio blogged about his experiences inputting data and thought he liked the concept and that it might work out OK, but perhaps it was not for real genealogy buffs.

Other comments have noted that it is intended to be a "social networking" site not unlike MySpace and other sites, and not a genealogy site.

After visiting the site and reading some of the information, and watching the short "How it works" presentation, appears to be a "family networking" site that is comparable to the, where family members have a private web site to share stories, photos, family trees, birthdays, etc.

But isn't exactly MyFamily - the heart of it is really the family member personal data input by the people in the family. Geni says that they will keep all personal data private, and that is probably the key question in everybody's minds, or it should be.

Some of you are probably wondering what Geni looks like and how it works. Here's what their Help web page says:
Geni is a website that allows families to collaboratively build their family tree. Family members can then use the tree to learn more about each other, share knowledge about common ancestors and relatives, and stay in touch with each other.

Their About Us page says:

Geni is a unique approach to solving the problem of genealogy, which is the question of how everyone is related. Geni lets you create a family tree through our fun simple interface.

When you add a relative's email address, he or she will be invited to join your tree. That relative can then add other relatives, and so on. Your tree will continue to grow as relatives invite other relatives.

Each family member has a profile which can be viewed by clicking their name in the tree. This helps family members learn more about each other and stay in touch.

Family members can also share information and work together to build profiles for common ancestors.

Geni is a private network. Only the people in your tree can see your tree and your profile. Geni will not share your personal information with third parties.

If you put email addresses of your family into the database, then those people get an invitation to join and enter their family data, and over time many people in an extended family group might share information - like photos, biographies, letters, family Bible transcriptions, etc. The kicker here is that only the family members in a group can see the information - nobody else can see it unless they are invited by a group member. And it is free.

Thinking about it, I realized this is not a bad thing - if Geni can get family members to learn about their extended family, and perhaps become interested in family history, then it's probably a good thing.

Obviously, the promoters of Geni think it will be successful - they will sell advertising and much of it will probably be genealogy-related - software, subscriptions, societies, etc. My guess is that the target market is the 18 to 25 age group - the ones really into technology, blogging, IMing, web cams, personal pages and the like. They may bring their parents and grandparents into it as a family effort, and that will probably be all to the good - intergenerational communication.

There may be a payoff for genealogy societies here - some of these people who sign up, enter data, are intrigued by the family connections, photos or documents, and enjoy their family group may become interested in genealogy research and join local societies.

I haven't decided to sign up yet - I thought I'd wait to be invited by someone. All of my extended family knows that I pursue genealogy and family history, so I'm waiting to see if anybody else starts something. How about you - have you signed up yet? If so, why? If not, why not?