Saturday, February 17, 2007 at bargain prices

It looks like is offering reduced prices for their US Deluxe and World Deluxe subscriptions again. I took advantage of this back in November and have been very pleased with it.

Go to this special Ancestry page to investigate or subscribe.

Back to the birthday party...

Friday, February 16, 2007

Light posting this weekend

We are going to granddaughter Lauren's second birthday party today and Saturday, so I probably won't post more until Sunday.

In the mean time, go back in my Archives and read some of my other posts, or use my Blogroll on the right border of the page and read some of my fellow genea-bloggers.

Or go sign up for for free - see my post here. I had good luck there yesterday, and I'll post about it soon.

Thank you, faithful readers, for stopping by.

Book Review - "Deep Ancestry"

I finally finished the book "Deep Ancestry - Inside the Genographic Project" by Spencer Wells (published by the National Geographic Society, 2006). The dust jacket includes:

"In this book, Spencer Wells (Project Director and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence) presents a detailed account of what we can learn from genetics, using specific case studies to show how DNA profiles help to answer such questions as: 'How did we end up where we are? When did we get there? Why do we display such a wide range of colors and features - and how did this distinctive diversity evolve so swiftly?'

"Wells translates complicated concepts into accessible language highlighted by a wide range of real-life examples, helpful analogies, and detailed diagrams and illustrations."

Wells does a good job of getting his arms around a complex scientific subject. There is some basic DNA science, but not too much. The description of the Genographic Project is helpful, and they are embarking on a broader range of testing in order to enhance the knowledge base.

The book goes through a number of specific cases that illustrate how the different haplogroups migrated. The maps show concentrations of many of the Haplogroups discussed. The Appendix of the book lists each Y-chromosome and mtDNA haplogroup and describes the migration patterns and the areas of high density of the group. In the early 21st century, there are small percentages of nearly every group on all continents.

I have not been tested yet, but I want to start a DNA study on my Seaver name. My guess is that I am in the Y Haplogroup R1 or R1B, since my patrilineal line is English. My guess is that my matrilineal line is the H mtDNA Haplogroup. But I may be wrong -- only if I get tested will I know if my visions of being present at the raising of Stonehenge and of Vikings ravaging maidens in Anglia are realistic (oops, too personal?).

The Adventures of Benjamin Franklin Seaver - Part 9

This is the ninth post of a series concerning the adventures of Benjamin Franklin Seaver (1780-1814), who was a mariner, captured by the Moors in Morocco in 1806.

Part 1 is here.
Part 2, which introduced a series of seven letters published in the "Connecticut Herald" newspaper (published in New Haven CT, dated 20 January 1807 (Volume IV, Issue 169, Page 1), and posted the first letter, is here.
Part 3, which includes the second letter, is here.
Part 4, which includes the third letter, is here.
Part 5, which includes the fourth letter, is here.
Part 6, which includes the fifth letter, is here.
Part 7, which includes the sixth letter, is here.
Part 8, which includes the seventh and final letter, is here.

I accessed the images of these newspaper pages on the "America's Historical Newspapers, 1690-1876" (provided by through the New England Historic Genealogical Society website, They are also available through (a commercial website).

The New-York Spectator, published in New York City, for 1 August 1807 (Volume X, Issue 1007, Page 3) provided some information on the outcome of Benjamin F. Seaver's adventures in Morocco.

HEADLINE: Plymouth, Salem, Mogadore


In the brig Plymouth, arrived at Salem from Mogadore, came passenger Mr. Joseph Lee, of Marblehead. Mr. Lee was mate of the brig Indefatigable, Captain Seaver, of Boston, which was wrecked upon the Arabian coast about 18 months since, and the crew carried into captivity and sold by the Arabs. Captain S. and Mr. Lee were redeemed by their friends, and brought to Mogadore, whence the former had gone to London.

James Fenwick, native of Charleston, S.C. cook; Wm. Riggs, of Wilmington, N.C. half seaman; and Louis Gimbal, of Bordeaux, apprentice, had run away, and got safe to Mogadore. John Botle, of Norfolk, Wm. Black, of Portsmouth, John Scholts, of Boston, Robert Wise, of New York, Antonio Paccilege, of Ragusa, Edward Steedham, of Dartmouth, Eng. (seamen) and J.B. Berret, of New-Orleans, passenger, still remain in captivity; and Henry Long, of Charleston, S.C. was dead.

Capt. Seaver is son of the unfortunate Mr. Seaver, supercargo of the ship Commerce, which was cast away upon the Arabian coast in the year 1792, where he and many of his companions perished of hunger, as related in the Journal published by Daniel Saunders, of Salem.

This indicates that Mr. Lee and Captain Seaver were able to be ransomed, but Mr. Berret and some of the crew were still in captivity. I wonder if they were ever ransomed or rescued?

This is not the end of the adventures of Benjamin Franklin Seaver, mariner. He is mentioned one more time in history, and I'll deal with that in a future post.

As you might suspect, I transcribed these newspaper articles over time so that I could disseminate the information about a historical event with a distant cousin as an actor. I will put some of it in my family newsletter next Christmas, and will probably put it all on a web page sometime in the future.

Did you enjoy this series? I know it was long, but it shed light on one of the challenges faced by our young nation.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Happy Birthday to Logan!

My grandson, Logan, is one year old today. He was a big baby - over 9 pounds when he was born, but caught pneumonia when he was 2 weeks old and was hospitalized for two weeks. He has thrived since and is now over 30 pounds - the same weight as his three year old brother, Lucas.

When we saw the boys at Christmas, they had colds (and I caught it just before New Year's naturally!), so in the picture below Logan has a runny nose. He is the happiest little guy - crawling a lot, standing and almost walking, making all sorts of sounds, and a lot of fun.

To Logan - a 14th generation native-born North American - I say Happy Birthday and hope he has many more! (Canada) Free for 3 Days

A note on one of the mailingl ists indicated that the Canadian part of Ancestry ( is free for three days. You have to enter through .

You do have to enter your name and email address if you don't have an Ancestry subscription account.

I was wondering what I was going to do for the next three days! I need to go look for my Hutchinson, Pickle, Sovereen and Kemp data, and maybe even the elusive Sephrona Fletcher.

AncestorSpy Data Portal

One of the most promising genealogy data portal web sites I've found is The web page describes it as:

" is a directory to family history and genealogy records such as census and vital records. Organized by locality it is simple and easy to locate records that may reveal information about your ancestors. We search the internet daily and provide links to genealogy records. Records are organized down to the county and town level so that you can go to the list of towns on the state page and click on the town and view the available titles. Come back often. This site is free for your use."

There are links for each US state and for some record types (census, marriages, maps, and immigration). On each state page there is a list of counties and links for state resources. For each county there is a list of the different types of resources available for that county, and sometimes al ist of cities with links to information.

The links are to databases, USGenWeb databases, published books, CD-ROMs, etc.

Unfortunately, the web site is incomplete. While some states and counties are well populated, others are not. I was surprised to see so much information for San Diego County (CA). I was disappointed that there was not a page for each Tennessee county. The Texas birth and early marriage index links are not included on the main page, but are included on some of the county pages (but the later marriage index and the death index are not included at all).

Still, it is a great finding aid for sorting out what might be available, especially on It has tremendous potential if it could be populated well and kept up to date. However, don't use it as a sole data portal since it is incomplete.

Some Free Courses at Heritage Genealogical College

During the discussion about Genealogy Education on the APG mailing list, Jeannette Daniels posted a note listing the courses offered at Heritage Genealogical College - listed at

The College offers a multitude of courses, and Associate and Bachelor degree programs. It appears that the courses in the first five semesters can be taken online, in an intensive one-week course, or in-person in Salt Lake City.

There are seven free courses available at the bottom of the course list, under the heading "Public Service." These can be taken online, but you have to register for them. The courses available for free include:

* LDS Sunday School Course GEN 90 - no credit (Section 1 - Internet)

* Boy Scouts of America Genealogy Merit Badge GEN 91 - no credit (Section 1 - internet)

* Writing Life Stories from Research GEN 92

* Pre-1850 Research GEN 93

* Beginning Genealogical Research Course GEN 94

* Using Census Research GEN 95

* Reading Old Handwriting GEN 96

Click on the blue circle (with an "i" in it) on the right side of the line on the web page for a summary of each class. There may be certain times for each class. For example, the summary for GEN 94 says:

This course has no credit. It is provided free of charge to Public School teachers, Genealogical Societies or other groups. The course has six lessons that quickly cover how to verify information the students have. It covers looking for mistakes or fraud, the sources needed to be successful in verifying genealogical information as well as how to plan for future research. Although this course is free, the teacher or group instructor will need to register the class so that a separate section will be created for that class. Without a separate section, all students in all of the groups will be blended together. Please email HGC with the dates that your class will begin and end, etc. Prerequisite: None.

If you are a beginner interested in learning about genealogy research, the Beginning course above might be useful. If you want to pursue a degree in Genealogical Research, this college may be an opportunity to pursue it.

A Research Success Finding Living People

As CVGS Research Chairman, I was asked by a local cemetery correspondent to help a couple who were looking for information about the wife's father, who had died in San Diego and was buried in the cemetery. The couple were looking for ways to contact the children from her father's first marriage, and hoped to find information about the father's ancestry. I contacted the couple, asked some questions about the family, and agreed to help them.

For privacy reasons, I'm going to use "Seaver" as the surname in question here, and false names for each person. The actual surname is probably a bit more common than "Seaver."

This was a typical 20th century research problem - the father was born in 1920 in Texas (according to the California Death Index and SSDI) and died in 1987 in San Diego County. His mother's maiden surname was given as "Landers." There were no obituaries printed in the local newspapers. There were several entries in the San Diego city directories and telephone books in the 1980 to 1986 time frame that reflected "Mr. Seaver's" second family, and provided his home address.

There were four key factors in solving this problem and finding contacts for my correspondent.

1) The Texas Birth Index provided an entry for the birth of Mr. "Seaver" on the same date, but in 1919 in a certain county. It also listed three given names for Mr. "Seaver" (e.g., "James Turner John Seaver"). However, no parents names were listed in the birth index. The full name was critical (and lucky) to solving the problem.

2) The 1920 US census showed a "Seaver" family living in Texas in the same county with parents named "Thad" and "Sandy" and a 4 month old male child named "Baby". The 4 months corresponded to the difference between the known birth date of "James" and the date the family was enumerated in the 1920 census. Was this the right family? Maybe. This provided possible given names for the parents, ages and birthplaces. There was no listing of any of these people in the 1930 census.

3) In the Texas Birth Index, four children were born to "James Seaver" and his wife "Sharon Hunter" between 1940 and 1960 in a neighboring county - and one of the records in the index listed the father as "James Turner John Seaver." This data provided the names of the children (three boys and one girl), and the youngest son was named for his grandfather - "Thad Seaver." The given name "Thad" was so unusual, that it was apparent that this was probably the right "James Seaver." The other given names were more common, so I thought that I would try to find "Thad Seaver" in current "living people" online resources.

4) I tried a number of the "People-Search" services - most of them will give you a tease - "we have listings for 'Thad Seaver' in our databases - please pay money." The most useful resource was database for "U.S. Phone and Address Directories, 1993-2002." This listed "Thad Seaver" at several addresses by year, with phone numbers. The latest address and phone number were also in the "U.S. Public Records Index" database on Ancestry, and named his family members and their birth years.

I passed all of this information (plus info on the births, marriages, deaths and children of "Thad" and his siblings) to the couple. They contacted "Thad Seaver" and confirmed that this was the correct family - that he knew about the second family of his father, and provided more information, including details of the family and an older brother's phone number.

This turned out pretty well - my correspondent was satisfied with the effort and has made contact with the family. If they want more research on the ancestry of "James Seaver" I will pursue that also.

I used only public records available online for this research. A private detective (which I would have recommended if my search was unsuccessful) could have probably found the family members quicker. There is also the issue of "invasion of privacy" here - the phone call to the family was a risk.

There was also the issue of luck - California and Texas birth, marriage and death indexes are in online databases (some available for free, some in subscription databases). If it had been other states that don't have online VR databases, my search would have probably been unsuccessful.

My purpose in writing about this is to show that this type of search can be successful, although there is the luck factor involved. After sampling the free side of the "People-Search" web sites, I will definitely use the databases first in the future.

What is your experience with this type of research? I am leery of the privacy issues, and would appreciate you opinions about that issue too.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Romance on Valentine's Day

NOTE: This is a "genealogy-free" post!

What a wonderful tradition that Valentine's Day is. What a challenge for a fellow to get just the right gift for the love of his life. For me, it is even more challenging, since I proposed to Angel Linda on Valentine's Day, and we have to celebrate that event. My reason wasn't solely romantic - I figured I would be able to remember it! And would need only one gift to cover both events!

Over the years, the gifts have rarely changed - candy, flowers, and jewelry from me to her, and books, candy and computer ink for me. But we look forward to the evening out for dinner, and the special times afterwards (this means I won't have a blog post tonight, I think).

Was it always so? I went looking for old newspaper articles about Valentine's Day and, among the sparse offerings on "America's Historical Newspapers, 1690-1876" (found on Newsbank through my NEHGS subscription) concerning Valentine's Day was the following (selected paragraphs):

In the Salem Gazette (Salem MA), published 10 October 1828, Volume VI, Issue 81, Page 1.

Headline: THE TWO VALENTINES Miss Mitford

Text (selected):

Valentine's Day is one of great stir and emotion in our little village. In large towns - especially in London - the wicked habit of quizzing has entirely destroyed the romance and illusion of that tender anniversary. But we in the country are, for the most part, uninfected by the over-wiseness, or "over-niceness" ... and are content to keep the gracious festival of love-making and billets doux, as simply and confidingly as our ancestors of old.

I do not mean to say, that every one of our youths and maidens pair on that day, like the "goldfinch, bullfinch, greenfinch and all the finches of the grove" - Heaven forbid! Nor that the spirit of fun hath so utterly evaporated from us that we have no display of innocent trick or harmless raillery on that licensed morn: all that I contend for is, that in our parts, some truth may be found lurking amidst the fictions of those annual rhymes - that many a village beau hath so broken the ice of his courtship - and that many a village belle hath felt her heart throb, as she glanced at the emblematic scroll, and tried to guess the sender, in spite of the assumed carelessness, the saucy head-tossings, and the pretty pouting with which she pretended to veil her real interest.

In short, there is something like sincerity amongst us, even in a Valentine: as witness the number of wooings begun on the Fourteenth of February, and finished in that usual end f courtships and comedies - a wedding - before Witsuntide. Our little lame clerk, who keeps a sort of catalogue raisones of marriages, as a companion to the parish register, computes those that issue from the bursting Valentine bag of our postman, at not less than three and a half per annum - that is to say, seven between two years.

But - besides the matches which spring, directly or indirectly, from the billets commonly called Valentines - there is another superstition concerned with the day, which has no small influence on the destinies of our country maidens. They hold, that the first man whom they espy in the morning - provided that each man be neither of kin to them, nor married, nor an inmate of the same house - is to pass for their Valentine during the day; and, perhaps, (for this is the secret clause which makes the observation important) to prove their beloved for life. It is strange how much faith they put in this kind of sortes vigiliani - this turning of the living leaf of destiny; and how much pains they will take to cheat the fates and see the man they like best first in spite of the stars!

One damsel, for instance, will go a quarter of a mile about, in the course of her ordinary avocations, in order to avoid a youth she did not fancy; another shall sit within doors, with her eyes shut, half the morning, until she hears the expected voice of the favorite swain; whilst, on their part, our country lads who care to place themselves each in the way of his chosen she; and a pretty lass would think herself overlooked if she had not three or four standing round her door, or sauntering beneath her window, before sunrise.

The story goes on (and on and on) about a girl with two beaus and she has to choose between them, based on their Valentine billet.

Did you ever hear of these traditions in school? What a surprise to me! It explains some of the strange things that happened to innocent Randy and shaped his views about love and marriage for a lifetime.

FYI, my favorite song is "I Love How You Love Me" by the Paris Sisters, from 1962. I will play it tonight for, and sing along with it to, my Angel Linda.

The Adventures of Benjamin Franklin Seaver - Part 8

This is the eighth post of a series concerning the adventures of Benjamin Franklin Seaver (1780-1814), who was a mariner, captured by the Moors in Morocco in 1806.

Part 1 is here.
Part 2, which introduced a series of seven letters published in the "Connecticut Herald" newspaper (published in New Haven CT, dated 20 January 1807 (Volume IV, Issue 169, Page 1), and posted the first letter, is here.
Part 3, which includes the second letter, is here.
Part 4, which includes the third letter, is here.
Part 5, which includes the fourth letter, is here.
Part 6, which includes the fifth letter, is here.
Part 7, which includes the sixth letter, is here.

I accessed the images of these newspaper pages on the "America's Historical Newspapers, 1690-1876" (provided by through the New England Historic Genealogical Society website, They are also available through (a commercial website).

Here is the seventh and final letter in the series:


Headline: No. VII. E. Smith and E. Daggett to Capt. Seaver.

................Mogadore, 18 Sept. 1806.
Capt. Benjamin F. Seaver, Wedmore

Since our arrival at this place, we have been informed by Messrs. Courts of your misfortune in being cast away, and of your present distressful and unhappy situation. To alleviate which, and to assist in procuring your liberty, we have left in the hands of Messrs. Courts, two hundred and fifty dollars, which with the sum they have generously offered to advance, is judged by them to be sufficient for the desired purpose.

You can make such arrangements as will be most agreeable for you, to repay the money to us in New-Haven, of which place we are both citizens, and hope to be there in about two months.

Should you be fortunate enough to obtain your liberty, we hope you will make such arrangements as you think most proper to procure the liberty of your crew.

We should be happy to give you a detail of American news, but our time will not allow of it; therefore we bid you farewel for the present, hoping at some future time to have the pleasure of a more intimate acquaintance. In the mean time, we sympathize with you in your unhappy situation -- from which we hope you will soon be relieved, and beg you to consider us, with every sentiment of respect and esteem,
............................Your friends and fellow-citizens,
Of the Brig Bellona }.......ELIHU SMITH
...of New Haven.....}.......ELIHU DAGGETT.


This letter completes the series in the Connecticut Herald. Unfortunately, there is no further record of what actually happened to the crew and passengers of the brig Indefatigable in this newspaper.

Stay tuned for one more newspaper article that explains what happened later. And then we'll discuss the ultimate fate of Benjamin Franklin Seaver.

Online Genealogy Software Programs

Online genealogy software programs have come into being in the last few years. With these programs, you can upload a GEDCOM database of a previously defined database or input the data directly into the online program. The benefits are several - the data is not stored on your computer (thereby making it safe from a disaster at your home), you can access it anywhere online, the data entry can be shared with other researchers (if you choose to do this - like a family site), and the online format is dynamic - you can choose the type of data you want to see (e.g., vitals, facts, notes, documents, photos, etc.).

I won't discuss the details of each program, but I want to briefly summarize the ones I've seen or heard about, and provide links to them for you to access if you wish. If this sort of thing excites you, then I hope you will visit the web sites and evaluate the product before you choose one or the other. I have no favorites here.

1) PhpGedView -- Dick Eastman has an article on his blog today about the PhpGedView online genealogy software program here. If you are interested in using PhpGedView, you should read the full article. Information about PhpGedView, and the free download of the program, can be found at While the program itself is free to download, you need a host site to put the data on, and these are, in the main, not free.

2) The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding (TNG) -- Darrin Lythgoes developed TNG, which is well described and supported by terstimonials at Visit some of the user sites at and see how others have used the software. TNG costs $29 to download, and also requires a web site to host it.

3) PedigreeSoft -- This online genealogy program provides the means to input your data and a web site to maintain it online. View the online demonstration. Depending on the size of your database and the number of individuals who can input data, it costs up to a $69.95 per year subscription.

4) GENi- Everyone's Related -- This relatively new entry permits users to input data online (but not from a GEDCOM), and permits users to add email addresses of other family members, who then become part of the network and are permitted to add information. The database can be kept private to only the family network. More information is at This appears to be a free web site.

5) Family Tree -- You can enter family data into an Ancestry Family Tree for free online at You cannot upload a GEDCOM here, unless you are already an Ancestry subscriber. You will have to register for a free account in order to save the data. You can choose to make your database public or private, and invite others to view it. You can search the Ancestry databases for information about your ancestors (but you need a subscription to see the data, I think). You can add notes, documents and photos for each person in the database.

If you have positive or negative experiences with these sites, please tell us!
There may be other online genealogy software applications either now available or available soon. If you know of any, please let me know.

The above reviews are solely my opinion based on my own experience reading and testing the sites and demonstrations. I will edit the above if necessary for improved accuracy.

My purpose in doing this was to familiarize myself with the different programs so that I can make my own decision as to the best way to display my genealogy research.


15 Feb 2007:
Jasia posted a review of her PhpGedView experience at

Taneya posted a review of her TNG (The Next Generation of Genealogy Software) experience, plus her reviews of the other programs, at

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Boulder County (CO) Death Index Data

I have several relatives buried in Colorado, so I decided to check Joe's Death Index links for Colorado at his site

I was specifically looking for Effie E. Carringer, who died in 1874, a daughter of D.J. and Rebecca (Spangler) Carringer, my great-great-grandparents (parents of Henry Austin Carringer who married Della Smith, whose 1929 Journal I have been transcribing). I knew that Effie died in or near Boulder CO, so I clicked on one of the Boulder CO links - the Columbia Cemetery Burials (1870-2001). The burial records for this cemetery have been organized by the Boulder Genealogical Society, who have done a fantastic job of it.

The surname alphabet list is in small print at the bottom of the page. I clicked on the letter C and got a list of surnames, with given names, birth information, death dates, section and lot number. And a link for "More Info" for each name.

There was Effie E. Carringer's name - with her age at death (15y-6m-12d), her death date (7 June 1874), and her Section/Lot (B5-5 SW). I clicked on the "More Info" button and was rewarded with the following information (36 categories, many of them unfilled for Effie):

* Father's name: D.J. Carringer
* Mother's name: Rebecca Carringer
* Father's birthplace: PA
* Mother's birthplace: PA
* References: *003:005; marker; CN 12 Jun 1874:3; DWT 17 Jun 1874:4

There was also biographical information - provided by Mary McRoberts and the Boulder Genealogical Society (I have separated the items to be more readable here):

* Deed 7 Aug 1876 Columbia Lodge #14 to D.J. Carringer B5 Whole. (BB1; REC 38:169)
* The Carringers were not on the 1870 Boulder County, CO census.
* They were living in Boulder in 1880.
* 'The Petition for the town of Caribou, CO was filed 6 Oct 1874 and it was granted the same day. The petition set forth the boundary of the town and stated that a plat had been filed with the county clerk 26 Dec 1870.' Signers of the petition included D.J. Carringer. (BGS Qt vol. 16 p. 175)
* Henry E. Carringer was in a list of unclaimed letters at the Boulder Post Office May 1875.
* 1880 Boulder, Boulder Co, CO: D.J. Carringer 54 PA PA PA carpenter & joiner, wife Rebecca 48 PA PA PA, son Harvey E. 27 PA PA PA farming, Henry A. 26 PA PA PA millwright & carpenter
* 1885 Boulder census: D.J. Carriner 56 PA PA OH fruit grower, wife Rebecca 53 PA PA OH, son Harvey E. 28 PA PA PA clerk
* 1896 Boulder Directory: Carringer, D.J., fruit grower, res. 2nd Ave, and 3rd St. North Boulder
* The Carringers were not on the 1900 Boulder census
* Mrs. D.J. Carringer died SanDiego, CA a few days ago from cancer of the stomach. Mr. Carringer is in poor health. (BDC 20 Jan 1902:4)
* D.J. Carringer d 20 Jan 1902 California of kidney trouble. 'His wife died only a month ago.' He was buried National City on Wed 21 Jan. The Carringers lived in Boulder many years. (BDC 24 Jan 1902:8) (Aug 2002 update)

WOW is all I can say! Here is a decent biographical sketch using all of the resources available to the BGS. And they've done this for all of the people buried in the cemetery.

To top it off, down at the bottom of the page are thumbnail pictures of the gravestones in the cemetery lot. I found the picture of Effie's stone - front and back, and in the same lot are stones for Mary Carringer and Eliza Carringer Robinson.

I saved the web pages, and the gravestone pictures, for all three of these people on my hard drive. In the process I learned the identity of the "Ella" of Clay Center, KS who wrote a letter to my Carringer family in 1889 - she was the Ella (Robinson) Stanton, a daughter of Eliza (Carringer) Robinson.

What a wonderful resource for researchers with ancestors buried in this cemetery. Has anyone found one better than this? It is certainly an excellent example of what a local genealogy society can do with the resources available to them, enough volunteers, and a willingness to perform the research.

The Adventures of Benjamin Franklin Seaver - Part 7

This is the seventh post of a series concerning the adventures of Benjamin Franklin Seaver (1780-1814), who was a mariner, captured by the Moors in Morocco in 1806.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2, which introduced a series of seven letters published in the "Connecticut Herald" newspaper (published in New Haven CT, dated 20 January 1807 (Volume IV, Issue 169, Page 1), and posted the first letter, is here.

Part 3, which includes the second letter, is here.

Part 4, which includes the third letter, is here.

Part 5, which includes the fourth letter, is here.

Part 6, which includes the fifth letter, is here.

I accessed the images of these newspaper pages on the "America's Historical Newspapers, 1690-1876" (provided by NewsBank) through the New England Historic Genealogical Society website, They are also available through (a commercial website).

Here is the sixth letter in the series:


Headline: No. VI. Messrs. Courts to Captain Seaver.

................Mogadore, Sept. 14, 1806.
Capt. Benjamin F. Seaver, Wedmore.

We have received your two favours of the 31st July and 3d September. By the first of which we observe it was your intention as well as your mate, Mr. Lee, and Mr. Berrit's, to forward us bills or letters of credit on your friends in America, to enable us to proceed in procuring your and their liberty, of which we shall be expecting in course.

The present is to inform you, that having communicated your very unfortunate situation to Capt. Elihu Smith, of the American brig Bellona, from New-Haven, in Connecticut, and to Mr. Elihu Daggett, merchant of the same place, both of whom are now here; they have most humanely determined (on perusing your letters to us, and seeing how very uncertain, relief was likely to come from the Consul) to deposit in our hands the sum of two hundred and fifty dollars, in order to enable us to procure your immediate release, and we have promised to advance another hundred, making in the whole the sum of three hundred and fifty dollars, which sum we have no doubt will be sufficient to procure your liberty. You are therefore enabled to offer this sum for your ransom, which shall be immediately paid to the person who brings you to our house, and which we hope will be in the course of fifteen or twenty days.

We have no doubt but on your arrival here, you will (if not already done) take the necessary measures to reimburse the before named gentlemen and us, in manner pointed out in your different letters, to say by drafts on your friends in Boston.

The present goes by a Moor of the name Abduhamhu, but for fear of accidents, we shall send you a copy by some Moors to-morrow, and also a letter wrote by our Jew broker, to Ben Nahin, desiring him to exert himself, in order to get you here as soon as is practicable.

Mr. Guyn no doubt has informed you of the Preliminaries of a general peace having been signed at Paris the 30th July.

Inclosed a Boston Gazette to amuse you. We hope soon to see you here, and in the interim remain,
........................................Sir, your most obedient servant.

P.S. We believe you will do best to leave the whole affair to Ben Nahin, probably you will sooner get your liberty than if you interfered in it.


This is the first letter we have from Messrs. Court to Captain Seaver. They have acquired the ransom money, and are asking Ben Nahin to negotiate for the release of the captives.

What amazes me is that all of these letters were delivered within weeks and responses were received, especially in Wednow.

The last installment is coming soon - stay tuned!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Do You Know Your Religious Family Tree?

One of my faithful readers passed a link to Amy Cunningham's blog, Chattering Mind - where a post titled "Do You Know Your Religious Family Tree?" is here.

It is an interesting post, and every genealogist should pursue the religious aspect of their ancestors, because it provides insight into the life of each ancestor. Read the post, and think about your religious family tree.

My own Religious Family Tree, as far as I know, is:

1) Me - I was baptized in the Episcopal church, but am a member of the Presbyterian Church USA. My folks sent me to Sunday School down the street and I married a Presbyterian, so here I am.

2) My Father - grew up in the Episcopal church, but intentionally converted to Catholicism to win a young lady's hand, then rejected all religion when he failed to get her father's permission.

3) My Mother - did not join advocate any denomination, but believed in a supreme being.

4) My Grandfather Seaver - his daughter says that he was a "Home Episcopalian" - he drove his wife to church, but didn't go himself.

5) My Grandmother Seaver - she was an Episcopalian her whole life, and played organ at St. Marks in Leominster MA for many years.

6) My Grandfather Carringer - his parents raised him agnostic, due to the loss of their first infant son, which turned their hearts against God. On my grandfather's death bed, he asked to and recited the Lord's Prayer with me - one of the most moving moments of my life.

7) My Grandmother Carringer - was raised as a Christian, and was the most perfect example I have known. She didn't go to church, but I know she believed in God and prayed for all of us.

Further back, I know that:

* Most of my Seaver ancestors were probably Congregationalists in New England, and early on they were Puritans.

* Most of my great-grandmother White's ancestors in CT, RI and southeastern MA were probably Baptists or other non-Congo denominations. One of these ancestors was Jonathan Oatley (1790-1872), a Baptist preacher in South Kingstown RI and Killingly CT. The early Plymouth Pilgrims were Separatists, but spread into the other denominations.

* Most of my great-grandfather Richman's ancestors in Wiltshire in England were Anglican, except for one family which was Methodist in the 1830's.

* My Carringer ancestors in Mercer County PA were probably Lutheran, although I'm not sure. I am quite sure that my Spangler ancestors in York PA were Lutheran.

* My great-grandmother Kemp's ancestors in Norfolk County Ontario may have been Methodists or Wesleyan.

* My Vaux ancestors were probably Episcopal in the USA and Anglican in Somersetshire.

* My Cutter, Fitz-Randolph and other Woodbridge NJ area ancestors were Presbyterian with a few Quakers, and early on were either Puritan or Separatist.

That's probably enough - there is something there for everybody.

How about you - what is your Religious Family Tree?

Della's Journal - Week 7 (February 12-18, 1929)

This is Installment 7 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. Pictures of some of the players are here. Last week's Journal entry is here.


Tuesday, February 12th, warmer: Lincoln's birthday. Ed came over, cut weeds & lawn. Mr & Mrs. Scott came & visited with Ed for a while. Mrs. Watson Paid rent.

Wednesday, February 13th: Ma & I worked outside.

Thursday, February 14th: Valentine day. Emily gave us homemade candy & Betty a valentine & big stick of candy. Miss Thoren Pd rent. Mr. VB washed cealings of kitchens of 2119 30th & ours. Lilly Barton Franklin son George & Lillie's youngest girl from San F[rancisco] called on us. I took cold in my throat, was hoarse.

Friday, February 15th: I went with Lyle's [family] to hear the Desert Song at the Spreckles Theatre. Tickets $1.50. Betty enjoyed it very much & we all did. A[ustin] got pay.

Saturday, February 16th, pleasant: Ed over, he cut rest of weeds & tree & Oleander. Gave him check $6.00. After A[ustin] came home I went to Library got me a card & three books.

Sunday, February 17th, pleasant: Lyle's [family] went to country. I went out & visited Mrs. Garlock in afternoon & Mr. Garlock's sister Ida from Iowa. She will stay a few weeks then go north to Palo Alto to see Agness Garlock. Elwood has 3 boys, Abby 3 boys & 2 girls, Carrol the little girl we knew is married.

Monday, February 18th, rained: Ma & I worked inside. Left clothes in clear water.


There are more mystery people in this week's installment. My guess is that Lilly Barton Franklin and the Garlock's are either cousins or former neighbors. I'll try to figure it out.

The Adventures of Benjamin Franklin Seaver - Part 6

This is the sixth post of a series concerning the adventures of Benjamin Franklin Seaver (1780-1814), who was a mariner, captured by the Moors in Morocco in 1806.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2, which introduced a series of seven letters published in the "Connecticut Herald" newspaper (published in New Haven CT, dated 20 January 1807 (Volume IV, Issue 169, Page 1), and posted the first letter, is here.

Part 3, which includes the second letter, is here.

Part 4, which includes the third letter, is here.

Part 5, which includes the fourth letter, is here.

I accessed the images of these newspaper pages on the "America's Historical Newspapers, 1690-1876" (provided by NewsBank) through the New England Historic Genealogical Society website, They are also available through (a commercial website).

Here is the fifth letter in the series:

Headline: No. V. Captain Seaver to Messrs. Courts.

................Wednow, (Africa), Sept. 3d, 1806.
Messrs. Wm. Court & Co.

Your esteemed letters of the 21st June and 22d July, I received the 22d August. I have wrote to the Consul General, (31st July last) mentioning I should always be willing to reimburse to the United States, any sum he might give for my redemption, provided I was able to gain my liberty prior to his having instructions from my government to negociate for the same, by which I conceive any gentleman, who would have the humanity to advance a sufficient sum for my liberation, would not interfere in his affairs in the least. No doubt if captain Baker is with you, he will give every assistance necessary to expedite my redemption.

I have not had five minutes notice of the English going from this, by whom this comes.
............In misery, I am, gentlemen,
......................Your most obedient servant,
.................................BENJAMIN F. SEAVER.

P.S. I have to write with a piece of wood.


Our Benjamin has survived another months in bondage, and sounds hopeful that something may happen soon.

Stay tuned for the next installment in our saga - the end is near!

Goodbye Lee - we will miss you!

Lee Anders, the owner of the very best genealogy website name (, has decided to stop posting on her "A Matter of Life and Death" blog. Her goodbye message was titled "Goodbye, Cruel World."

Lee's stated reasons for leaving are:

"... I will learn as I research my own family, and then someday, I’ll turn pro. I really believed I could do this. But then I subscribed to the APG mailing list. Big mistake that was, or maybe it just saved me from making one. I can’t seriously believe that someone needs a license to practice genealogy. I can’t get behind the idea that someone should have an advanced degree before they can be considered capable of crawling through snake infested grass to find an overturned and long forgotten stone. I can’t stand beside a group of people who would rather fight for the right to be included rather than fight for the right of ALL to see the papers of their ancestors. Well, quite frankly, I am too disappointed and upset to make much sense right now, but the bottom line is, I just can’t see myself being one of them."

I am very sorry to see Lee depart the world of genea-blogging. She has been a wonderful correspondent and commenter with me. I understand the time sacrifice required to be a blogger. I hope that she will continue her genealogy research - at her own pace and own principles and standards - and has lots of fun and satisfaction in doing it, and tells us about it somehow, sometime, in her own way.

I have watched the APG list discussion about education, licensing and professionalism, but have not participated in it. Many views have been expressed there, including the ones Lee describes. There are reasons for advocating such measures, and there has been disagreement with many of them. It is an ongoing open debate without rancor (as far as I can tell) - an excellent example of rational people discussing a difficult topic. It is a debate that needs to be held, and in the open where professional and non-pro genealogists alike can be heard.

Abraham Lincoln's 198th Birthday - or is it?

Is February 12, 1809 really Abraham Lincoln's birthday? Were Thomas and Nancy (Hanks) Lincoln his birth parents?

GenealogyToday had an exclusive article in late 2005 here about Abraham Lincoln's purported biological father. The summary on the web site reads:

The cover is off the genesis cover-up of Abraham Lincoln. No longer is it a mystery who was the natural father of our 16th President. For years others were rumored to be his father, yet Thomas Lincoln was never mentioned. That is, until the federal government, at the behest of his son Robert Todd Lincoln, then Secretary of War, ordered that one of a possible sixteen sites in Kentucky and his birth date of 1809 be officially established to preserve his reputation.

History researcher R. Vincent Enlow, a New Jersey resident, uncovered not only an overwhelming evidence favoring one Abraham Enloe, a North Carolinian, as Lincoln's sire, but a wealth of assumptions and loopholes in the Kentucky "Sunday-school" versions of Lincoln's early life published after his assassination in 1865.

Click on the link where it says "Download" or you can read the article online or download it to your hard drive (use the "Save File" icon on Adobe Reader, not your Windows [File] [Save As] buttons.

The article is fairly persuasive, but it tells only one side of the story, while debunking the "official" version. This article relies on affidavits and testimony by relatives and acquaintances of Abraham Enloe and Nancy Hanks taken back around 1900. We all love mysteries and controversies, eh?

Unfortunately, no Y-DNA test can be done to solve this case, since Abraham Lincoln has no living male descendants to match against a living descendant of Abraham Enloe. I think I heard last year that someone was looking for hair samples from Abraham or his son Robert Todd Lincoln to find enough DNA to perform a test. Do I recall correctly?

Can anyone provide further information on this article or the paternity of Abraham Lincoln?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

5 Best Genealogy Resource Sites in San Diego

I've been pondering what places, or what type of genealogy resource, to write about for the next Carnival of Genealogy. The theme is the 5 Best tips for specific genealogy research. Specific places. Specific times. Specific topics.

The plain fact is that I am knowledgable about many types of resources and many locations, but I am not an expert in any of them.

I have not done a lot of genealogy research in many places other than the San Diego area. I do have a lot of ancestors in New England, especially Massachusetts and Rhode Island, but most of my research was done in San Diego using the Family History Library microfilms. I have researched in Salt Lake City at the Family History Library, in Boston at the NEHGS, at the Rhode Island Historical Society in Providence, in several New England town libraries, the Library of Congress in Washington DC, Sutro Library in San Francisco, the National Archives branch in Laguna Niguel CA, and libraries in York PA, Newton NJ, Watertown NY, Mercer PA, and Killingly CT, but I am not an "expert" in those places. Then there are the places my ancestors lived in that I have not visited - Delhi, Ontario, Terre Haute IN, Columbus City IA, Burnett WI, Boulder CO and McCook NE. I researched for several days in Wiltshire in England on vacation, but can't claim expertise there, since I did most of it in San Diego. Likewise for my research on Linda's Norwegian ancestry - I did all of it here and visited once.

So - my conclusion is that the place I know best is San Diego.

The five best research sites for genealogy in San Diego, IMHO, are:

1) San Diego Family History Center -- I've spent 19 years there turning microfilm, reading microfiches, microfilms, books and journals, sifting through online databases and talking to my friends there. It costs money to play there - film rentals and page copies cost, but, in most cases, it is cheaper to rent the films than go to Salt Lake City and turn microfilm there. The focus at the FHC changed several years ago - from traditional research using books, microfiche and microfilms of original records to using online databases (including and The online databases have essentially replaced the IGI on microfiche, and the census, military and immigration records on microfilm. The real "gems" in the FHL microfilms haven't been replaced yet - the land records, probate records, tax lists, etc. for almost every county in the USA. They will be indexed and digitized eventually, but there will still be a need for the FHC.

2) Carlsbad Public Library -- the genealogy book collection is excellent - many surname books, many locality books, and a wonderful journal collection, plus the UMI microfiche collection of surname books, locality books and public source books. The best part is that they keep adding to the collection of books. I've spent many days at Carlsbad searching all of those resources., and are available in the library. Over the last 5 years, my Carlsbad library card provided home access to the HQO resources - census, Revolutioary War pensions, PERSI, and historical books.

3) San Diego Genealogical Society library -- the society has its own members library in El Cajon, rented in a small office complex. In addition to the surname and locality book collection, they have an excellent periodical collection - probably the best in town. One of the "gems" here is the vertical file collection by surname or locality - these are papers donated by the members or the estates of members. Another "gem" is the Leaves and Saplings publication that SDGS has published over the years - including cemetery lists, voter lists, early deaths, early probate files, etc.

4) San Diego Public Library (Downtown San Diego) -- the basis of this genealogy book collection is a DAR book collection donated many years ago. It is in a small room that hasn't changed for decades, it seems. However, they are the only library with a complete run of the NEHG Register and the AGBI - both of which were vital in my research. They also have the archives of the San Diego newspapers on microfilm (with an index 1930-1980) and a nice collection of San Diego City directories. is available in all branch libraries in the system.

5) Chula Vista Public Library (Civic Center Branch) -- This library hosts the modest Chula Vista Genealogical Society book and periodical collection. A local history room houses an incomplete San Diego city directory collection plus other historical resources. Microfilms of the Chula Vista Star-News (from 1916 on) and the San Diego Union (from 1975 on) are available for perusing without indexes. is available in all branch libraries. CVGS holds their regular meetings, research group and computer group meetings in the facility. The 100 seat Auditorium is the best venue for genealogy speakers and programs in the city (if only they would install wireless internet in it!).

I want to mention the National City Public Library, because when they built a new library several years ago, they dedicated significant space to a Local History Room which houses the archival material, including the National City newspapers, an excellent collection of the San Diego city directories, and a curator. Unfortunately, it is open only two afternoons a week.

The San Diego Historical Society is excellent, but I haven't used it much. This is in a large room in Balboa Park, with many racks of archival material about San Diego history. I found Sanborn maps, landowner lists, pre-1920 probate records and other genealogical gems at SDHS. While they charge non-members for use, the repository has curators with expertise in handling archival meterials and knowledge about San Diego history.

I know that El Cajon, Escondido and probably other San Diego County cities have local history rooms, but I haven't visited them.

So there you have it - all about San Diego genealogy research sites. If any of my San Diego readers have a different opinion, I'd love to hear them.

The Adventures of Benjamin Franklin Seaver - Part 5

This is the fifth post of a series concerning the adventures of Benjamin Franklin Seaver (1780-1814), who was a mariner, captured by the Moors in Morocco in 1806.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2, which introduced a series of seven letters published in the "Connecticut Herald" newspaper (published in New Haven CT, dated 20 January 1807 (Volume IV, Issue 169, Page 1), and posted the first letter, is here.

Part 3, which includes the second letter, is here.

Part 4, which includes the third letter, is here.

I accessed the images of these newspaper pages on the "America's Historical Newspapers, 1690-1876" (provided by NewsBank) on the New England Historic Genealogical Society website,

Here is the fourth letter:


Headline: No. IV. Captain Seaver to Messrs. Courts.

Wednow, (Africa), July 31, 1806.
Messrs. Court & Co.

Your esteemed favor of the 24th May ult. I have received, enclosed with the Consul-General's letter, by which I have seen the determination of the latter in my unfortunate affairs -- I now conceive it will not interfere in his official capacity, should any gentleman aid me in procuring my liberty alone, as he has wrote to me, he does not of himself consider that the Indefatigable was an American vessel, nor dare he pronounce her as such.

Since I wrote you last, I have endeavored to make my escape from these Moorish wretches, and really believe I should have effected it to my expectations, had not the one I agreed with, to go with me, failed in meeting at the appointed rendezvous. However I cleared myself of my fetters, and was gone fifty hours from them, when I was obliged to give myself up, as I could not find any water. Unfortunately, the man I met was a friend of the wretch who calls me his; accordingly a dispatch was sent to this place to say I was taken; although I offered 200 dollars if he would carry me to Mogadore, it did not avail any thing, I was soon conducted back to my former misery.

By this attempt you may naturally judge my treatment has not been bettered; I have repeatedly offered my owner 300 dollars if he would carry me to Mogadore, but he prefers retaining me until we are all ransomed together, although my master, with others, has hinted that I could be released for 400 dollars, and which I believe he would readily consent to, providing the sum was secured at Mogadore.

Now gentlemen, could you negociate for my liberty by any means, with the Jew Minahin, I should feel sincerely grateful for it, for my misery increase hourly. You may depend, whatever may be the cost, that it will be immediately paid on delivering my obligation to my agent in Boston, Mr. Samuel Gore, who I should by this conveyance write to, under cover for you to forward, but I have not any paper, nor can I get any, as these people have war with a neighboring village, consequently prevents the Jews from coming this way, who have hitherto supplied me with those articles. I have desired Mr. Guyn to enclose me some when he writes to me; I then shall immediately write to Mr. Gore, to remit a draft to your care either on London or Lisboa, from 500 to 1000 dollars, by which means you will be more quickly secured for any money you think prudent to advance for me in the negotiations of my liberty.

Mr. Lee, my mate, will also write to his brother, established in business in Boston, who is worth some handsome property, for the same purpose.

Mr. Berrit would write to Philadelphia likewise, but having friends in Bordeaux, he would be able to get assistance sooner by applying there; and we shall all accordingly write whenever we can get paper. I am much obliged to you for the particular news in one of your letters. When you again write to me, be pleased to mention how the war comes on, or any thing else that may serve to make me forget my misery for a moment, fancying I am not wholly excluded from civilized beings.

I sincerely regret capt. Baker's being brought up again, for I don't know how it may end with him -- it may be considered a coasting trade for the enemy.

Interim, gentlemen, I am in misery, with every sentiment of esteem,
........................Your obedient and very
......................................Humble servant,
..............................BENJAMIN F. SEAVER.

P.S. Please to inform me how the crew of the American ship Oswego were ransomed.


In mid-summer, Benjamin tries to escape through the Moroccan desert, but gives up after 50 hours of freedom and returned to his master. And he is out of paper to write on. But he still holds out hope, and provides specific instructions on who to contact for the money for his ransom.

Stay tuned for Part 6 of this series.