Saturday, March 31, 2007

If Mary April married Claude Fool, she would be ... Mary April Fool!

I can't resist the temptation to do this ... you all understand, right? You've even come to expect it, right? I'm a Geneaholic - I really can't help it. Let's get it over with --

There is no person named "April Fool" in any US Census - trust me, I looked.

However, there are some people named FOOL or synonyms for FOOL, to wit - in the 1920 census there are:

1) 45 people with the surname FOOL
2) 3,757 people with the surname JESTER
3) 1,651 people with the surname MESS
4) 252 with the surname BOOB
5) 33 with the surname CLOWN
6) 101 people with the surname DUPE
7) 13 people with the surname CHUMP
8) 8 people with the surname BUFFOON
9) 9 people with the surname COMIC
10) 22 people with the surname JOKER
11) 95 people with the surname SUCKER
12) 1,301 people with the surname TRICK
13) 162 people with the surname FUN
14) 203 people with the surname FUNNY
15) 502 people with the surname APRIL
16) 220 people with the given name APRIL

Now for combinations of given and surnames:

Claud and Grace FOOL resided in Pocahontas County IA
Mary APRIL resided in Fairfield County CT
Booth JESTER resided in Johnston County OK
Nanny BOOB resided in Climax GA
Randall BOOB resided in Union County PA
Frank STUPID resided in New York County NY
Mary COMIC resided in Crooks County OR
Ernest DUPE resided in St. Martin Parish LA
DUPE Clodfelter resided in Davidson County NC
CHUMP Dennis resided in Butts County GA
William and Violette CHUMP resided in Shelby County TN
James and Mary BUFFOON resided in Worcester County MA
Arthur and Ednamae JOKER resided in Allen County IN
Wolf and Lottie SUCKER resided in Philadelphia County PA

I always wonder why people with surnames like these don't change their names to something more "acceptable" - either legally or unofficially. Of course, some of these words did not have the connotation that they have today.

Should I submit this to the Carnival of April Fool's Genealogy??? Do I dare expose my addiction? I did!

Publicity for CVGS CDROM of Glen Abbey Cemetery

I posted back in August about the Chula Vista Genealogical Society CD-ROM of the guests resting at Glen Abbey Memorial Park in Bonita (near Chula Vista in southern San Diego County). CVGS has the CD-ROM for sale at the web site (

We wrote up an article for our newsletter about "how we did it," and passed it to Joan Lowrey, the editor of COMPU-GEN, the wonderful quarterly newsletter for the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego (CGSSD). Joan reviewed the CD-ROM contents and wrote up a review for COMPU-GEN, in addition to reprinting our article in the March issue of COMPU-GEN.

Joan also submitted the article and her review to the California State Genealogical Alliance CSGA Newsletter (edited by Peggy Rossi), and it was published in their March-April 2007 issue.

CVGS really appreciates the opportunity to inform the readers of COMPU-GEN and the CSGA Newsletter about our efforts, and we hope it helps other societies step out and perform similar volunteer efforts to document cemetery or other records. We are very thankful to Joan Lowrey and Peggy Rossi for the publicity, also.

If other societies or libraries would like to purchase a CDROM, please contact CVGS through the web site ( We would be happy to consult with any other society wishing advice about "how to do it" also.

Can my well-informed readers tell me where else we can obtain publicity for our CD-ROM? I posted notes to the message boards and mailing lists for San Diego County, but the posts were deleted because they promoted a commercial product (my bad - I didn't know that!).

Liz Myers' talk on Maps today

"How to Read a Flat Map of Our Round Earth" was the program presented by Liz Stookesberry Myers to the Chula Vista Genealogical Society today. Liz sure knows a lot about maps, and she showed about 30 of them to us today! All the way from the standard state, county, township, etc. maps to specialized maps like Sanborn Maps (created to help the Fire Department fight fires) and crop maps. Her handout listed about 15 web sites that have online maps available to help you search for the locations of your ancestor's homes and towns.

Liz is the current President of Questing Heirs Genealogical Society in the Long Beach (CA) area. She and her husband took the opportunity to visit San Diego and have a little fun in addition to her fine presentation to CVGS.

I had lunch with Liz and her husband, and we talked about the challenges and opportunities facing our similar genealogy societies, and telling about our research experiences in our careers. There was much laughter, too - Liz and her husband are fun and happy folks, which I really appreciate.

I will be making a presentation to Questing Heirs at their May 20 program in Long Beach. If there are any Southern California societies that want to arrange a "home and home" trade of genealogy programs, please let me know (rjseaver(at) I'm game if you are!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Have you seen the Genealogy Bloggers Quilt?

The footnoteMaven has put together a Genealogy bloggers Quilt - you can see it at Each image has a link attached to it. Nice job, Maven!

It's quite an interesting collection of genea-bloggers - including some I have not visited for some reason. But I'm going to!

I wonder if JMK Gifts can make a T-shirt out of this? Or better yet, an actual quilt for those cold nights we spend blogging away in our genealogy caves.

Take the survey

The Rootsweb Newsroom blog (at announced that is offering a user survey (click the link at the newsroom post) concerning a "potential benefit to our user base if we were to add an exciting new service to help you research your family tree."

What's the exciting new service? A DNA test as part of the Ancestry subscription. It's a very shrewd marketing move. What is it worth to you? You can even suggest a price point!

Go take the survey - it's free and quick.

Preview the New FamilySearch Life Browser

Dan Lawyer at the Family Search Labs blog invited users to go visit and play with the prototype Life Browser at the FamilySearch Labs web site. The sample life biography of Deodat Brewster is at

This is an interesting implementation. Note that there are links for the subjects wife, his children, his descendants and his ancestors at the top of the web page. There are a number of thumbnail images at the bottom of the screen - you can click on each one and see a larger version of the image in the middle of the screen. For this example, there are family pictures, homestead pictures, his obituary, census records, etc.

When the image is in the middle of the page, you can press the "Full Screen" button and see a larger image. From this screen, you can press the "Magnify" button and hold your left mouse button down over the image and see a magnification. You can drag the image around the page, and will be able to add notes to the image. You get back to the genealogy data by pressing the "Back to Details" button.

Many of the buttons and links don't work at this time because this is early in development. Therefore, it is difficult to comment on the whole implementation of the concept.

All in all, I like the setup, especially the ability to attach source documents to the person. If each person is properly annotated with source citations for each fact and document, then this concept has a real potential to be interesting and useful.

I'm guessing that this concept will be implemented at some point and genealogy researchers will be invited to provide the genealogy data, documents and source information for people in their database. As with other collaborative projects, the real critical feature will be how to combine data for a certain person from two or more researchers.

Go visit the prototype site and play with it a bit. And provide feedback to the development team using the Feedback button.

Keep up the good work at FamilySearch Labs, Dan!

Searching for Minerva

One of my CVGS colleagues shared her brick wall problem right at the end of the Research Group meeting on Wednesday - she is looking for the maiden name and ancestry of Minerva J. (--?--) Crosby (born March 1853 in IN), who married Thomas Crosby (born 1848 in Scotland) in about 1871 and had five children - James (1872), Rule (1877), Olive (1883) and Walter (1886). The fifth one is unknown. My colleague had searched the Ancestry and Rootsweb online databases with no results, had found the family in the 1900, 1910 and 1920 census data, but didn't know where to go after that. She thought that Minerva Crosby died before the 1930 census.

In 1900 and 1910, the family resided in Blackford County, Indiana. From this, we learned that Minerva's father was born in Pennsylvania, and her mother was born in Indiana, and all the known children were born in Indiana.

I searched the 1880 census for the Crosby family, and did not find them in Indiana or anywhere in the USA. I tried using just the surname, just the given names, just the children's names (with a parents name), the birthplaces, the birth years with a 2 year range, etc. It appears that they were not enumerated, or not indexed due to census damage or some other reason. They are just not there. That complicates things, but I thought I would try to find the right Minerva in the earlier census records, since it is an unusual name.

I chose the 1860 census, since there would be fewer Minerva's in Indiana, and it was more likely that she would reside with her parents at age 7 than at age 17 (in the 1870 census). So I searched the 1860 census using Miner* as a given name, born 1853 plus/minus 1, and born in Indiana. There were 116 hits.

I went through each one of the hits searching for a Minerva with a father born in PA and a mother born in IN. There were 12 families with a father born in PA, but only one family with the father born in PA and mother born in IN. I am not sure if Solomon and Juliet Dye are Minerva's parents, but they certainly should be on the possible list.

So what other resources should I look for to find Minerva's maiden name and ancestry? I wrote down the following:

1) A death certificate
2) An obituary
3) Marriage records of her children
4) Death records of her children
5) Social Security applications of her children.
6) Obituaries of her children.
7) A family Bible or family papers (perhaps held by families of her children)
8) A county history book

All of those were more than I could do in my quick survey, except the first one. In the 1920 census, Thomas and Minerva Crosbey resided in riverside County, California. It was logical that she may have died in California. So I went to the California death index records at (using the username "vitalguest" and password "enjoy" - they rarely change) and quickly found that Minerva J. Crosbie had died 19 May 1927 in County 33 (Riverside) at age 74, with a husband initials of TL. From my own experience with CA death certificates in this time frame, I am fairly sure that this record will have her parents names on it.

I emailed my colleague with all of this information and heard back from her that she would follow up on this immediately! She was happy to get some help with this brickwall problem, which is fairly typical for many researchers. Not every state has their death records online, or are as easily available as California's are, so other researchers might have to follow the other clues listed above.

What other resources did I miss in the list above? What else would you recommend in a similar situation?

UPDATE: Read Sharon's comments - she found them in the 1880 census and a probable marriage record also - but the girl's name appears to have been Amanda Coan not Minerva in the marriage record. Sharon also found the 1870 census record with Minerva Coan and the right parents birthplaces. Interestingly, in 1860 she is listed as Maria in this family. Thanks, Sharon, for the help!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Family Roots Radio

Have you been listening to Family Roots Radio on the Internet? Either live, from their archives, or via a podcast? Every session has been excellent. The live broadcast is at 4 PM ET/1 PM PT on Thursday.

Kory Meyerink hosts each hour-long program, and does a fine job. The program features Kory's live interview of a guest for 30 to 40 minutes. Today's guest was Dick Eastman ( who talked a lot about Web 2.0 technology applied to genealogy, genealogy software and other topics.

Last week, Leland Meitzler, editor of Everton's Genealogical Helper magazine and a premier genea-blogger at, was the guest. He discussed keeping up with genealogy news and blogging. He credited his readers and bloggers for providing many of the tips he publishes on his blog and in his magazine. In the blogging discussion with Kory, Leland kindly mentioned my name and Genea-Musings and inferred that I must blog 24 hours a day (not quite, but usually 2 or 3!). Kory also mentioned that I had a nice long list of other genealogy bloggers.

I noticed a flurry of activity coming from Leland's blog last week, and now I know why! My thanks to Leland and Kory for the plug.

Are you listening to Family Roots Radio? It is very well done, and I look forward to it every week. I don't always hear it live, but the archives work fine and you can download them to your computer or iPod for listening at your leisure.

Thinkiing about FamilySearch Indexing

Many genea-bloggers have discussed FamilySearch Indexing as a wonderful thing, and it is and will be. The indexing, when completed with available digital images, will be a boon to genealogy research, especially for records that are not currently online in any form - such as deeds, probate records, town records, etc.
However, I'm wondering just how much horsepower we are going to need to access the images, and how accurate the index will be. The reason for my wonderment is because of my experience today at the Family History Center.

I went to the FHC in order to get copies of several probate records from Westerly, Rhode Island for Christopher Champlin (died 1732) and John Kenyon (died 1732). I had ordered the film a month ago. When I loaded the film on the microfilm viewer, it was very difficult to read many of the handwritten pages. There was a lot of bleed-through from the other side of the pages, the handwriting was cramped on some pages, and some of the pages were very dark and had blotches on them.

Frankly, I don't see how anybody could reliably index those pages (there were about 1,000 pages on this film). I figured that if I had the patience, I could probably read a typical page on this film and obtain names for an index in an hour. From my experience, many films of records from the colonial era are like this.

The second problem I see is the file size of the digital images that will be provided by FamilySearch. I don't know if they are using the method I use to capture digital images from microfilm, but I imagine that they are using something similar.

At my FHC (and many others), I can view the microfilm image on a microfilm reader/scanner, then press a button on the adjacent computer to scan it. The image shows up on the computer screen, and I can adjust brightness and contrast (I usually go to 100% on both), and save it on the computer system. Then it's on to the next image I want to capture, and I perform the same process. When I've captured all the images I want to acquire, I save all of the images to the computer hard drive in a directory. Then I insert my 512 mb flash drive and copy the images in separate files from the computer to my flash drive. When I get home, I copy the image files from my flash drive to my computer, rename them appropriately and print them out for abstraction or transcription. This sounds like a long process, but it is actually pretty easy once you find the rhythm to it.

After I had surveyed the film to find the images I wanted to capture, it took me about 45 minutes to find the images on the microfilm, capture and adjust the images, and save them. Today, I copied 24 images to my flash drive. All of that cost me $1.00 at the FHC (plus the $6.20 to rent the film).

However, the second problem I see with the Indexing project is the size of the image. For an 8.5" x 11" TIFF image, each image I captured today was 12 to 14 mb in file size. Perhaps they will save them as JPEG or another file format that result in smaller file sizes. Files of that size will likely take some time to load on any computer, especially one with a slow modem rate. Even on a cable modem, loading may take many seconds. Along with the file size problem comes the storage space required to save all of the images. There were about 1,000 pages on the one microfilm I reviewed today - so that means 12 to 14 gigabytes for just this one microfilm. And there are 2.5 million microfilms...we're talking about more than petabytes here.

Maybe I'm over-analyzing this problem, and I'm sure that FamilySearch has thought about this. I guess I'm expressing my concern so that users like you and me don't get their expectations too high too soon concerning access to these primary records from original sources. It may be that they will save these types of images for the end of the project...I wish they would do them first!

CVGS Program on Saturday - Maps in Genealogy

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society meeting on Saturday (31 March) will feature Liz Stookesberry Myers presenting her talk about finding and using maps in genealogy research - she has titled it "How to Read a Flat Map of our Round World." The talk will focus on different types of maps, how to read them, how to use them, and how to find them in repositories or online.

Liz is currently President of the Questing Heirs Genealogical Society in the LA/Orange County area. She is also Chairman of the Legislative Committee of the California Alliance and California State Liaison to the FGS/NGS Records Preservation and Access Committee.

CVGS started Fifth Saturday programs two years ago in an effort to offer programs to working people, or members of other societies, who cannot attend our monthly Monday morning meetings. This has been fairly successful - we often have several local non-member genealogists and several community working people attend these Saturday meetings.

If you are in the San Diego area and want to learn about using maps in genealogy research, please come visit us at the Chula Vista Civic Center Library (365 F Street, Chula Vista) at 10 AM on Saturday, 31 March.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A look at the Genea-Cave

I posted some family pictures of the grandkids and the home remodel over at my other blog at - go there if you want to see the other part of my life.

I've kidded about the Genea-Cave, so I took some pictures today to show it off.

As you enter the room, the Genea-desk with the laptop is on the left, and the bookcases with the notebooks and periodicals straight ahead. The boxes on the floor hold the CVGS archives and working files, plus some family stuff.

Looking from the closet door toward the doorway, the desk is on the right and the tall bookcase has my working files, and the small bookcase to the right has the photo archives.

See, I really am organized. I know where almost everything is. The problem is that sometimes piles need to be moved before I can get to something I need. I guess I need a bigger Genea-Cave, or at least more bookcases!

The Genea-Cave would look different if the desktop machine was on the desk, but only the peripherals are there now - the desktop computer is in Victorville having an attitude adjustment.

Did anyone notice the fluted glass on the right of the small bookcase? It holds the "magic M&Ms" that spur this Geneaholic to pursue blogging.

Finding Bresee data in the Rootsweb Mailing List Archives

I have been lax in completing my "To-Do" list of online searches for the parents of Cornelia Bresee. The index of previous posts is here. recently made searching the online mailing list archives extremely easy (use the Archiver Search engine - all lists) - and before it was very hard (go to a specific list, pick a year, search by keyword, do it again until you're done)

The Rootsweb Mailing List Archiver Search engine is at In the "Advanced Search" tab, You can input:

1) words in the Body of the text (e.g., "bresee columbia"
2) words in the Subject line (e.g., if you only wanted subjects containing "Bresee")
3) The email address of the poster
4) a specific mailing list (e.g., NYCOLUMB-L, or BRESEE-L)
5) a specific date (e.g. Jun 2005, or 2005)

You can combine any of them with the others. It is really simple, and it works really well.

The results come in groups of 25 hits with the search box at the top of the results page, so you have to scroll down to see the results. The results list shows you the message title, part of the message, the link to the message, the date of the message and the email address of the message sender. You can click on any one of the hits to see the full message on the mailing list.

For my Bresee (and variants), I used only the Text key words in combinations like "bresee rensselaer" "bresee columbia" "brazee columbia" "bries rensselaer" etc. I did find my own messages that I posted on the Rootsweb message boards (Bresee, Bries, NY-Rensselaer and NY-Columbia) , and plenty of messages that have been posted over the years - I recognize many of the names from the message board posts I read earlier.

Unfortunately, none of the messages really help me in my search for the parents of Cornelia Bresee.

CVGS Research Group today

We had 12 at our monthly CVGS Research Group today. Each month, I summarize the genealogy news - especially new databases or web sites - for the past month and read it at the meeting, and then I send it to the member email list so that all members benefit from it, and the links are correct.

We discussed several brickwall problems today. First, Dorothy can't find parents for her Patrick Leary, born in Ireland in 1843, came into NY in the early 1850's, and settled in Buffalo NY. The group suggested getting a death certificate, looking for an obituary and checking the NY State census records to find out more info about him and his life.

We talked about, and I demonstrated, some of the tricks in finding people in the census - using wild cards, given names, spouses names, parents names, age and birthplace, etc. For instance, Dorothy's man was indexed as Patk Leary in 1870 and Patrick Lary in 1900.

Bonnie asked about finding Railroad records - we suggested checking for articles and Googling to find records.

Penny is going to a family reunion in April, to meet the family members found via email, and was wondering what to take with her. We suggested info about her side of the family, pedigree charts, family stories and pictures, etc.

Jeanne has a great-grandfather who died in Chula Vista in 1924 - he was born in Belgium in 1855, and has a very unique surname - Van Orshoven. She has only one census record and his CA death certificate. We suggested that she look at the mailing lists and message boards, WorldConnect and Ancestry family trees, Google his name, and try to find an obituary. While we talked, I did most of those tasks and the only hits we got was a Benelux mailing list - in Flemish. so we tried to translate on Google, but they have French and German, but not Flemish or Dutch services. She will try to get translation help on a Benelux message board.

Phyllis wanted to know how to find out what happened to her step-mother, Rosa (Darling) Goodwin, who disappeared in 1950 in central Nebraska, leaving her husband and two small children. She and her sister have checked local newspapers and mailing lists/message boards. We suggested trying to contact Rosa's brother's family and police records.

Marie is trying to find the maiden name of Minerva, born about 1843 in Indiana, who married Thomas Crosby, and resided in Indiana. We suggested finding an obituary for her, marriage and death records for her children, and perhaps a mention in a county history book.

All in all, it was an interesting two hours. I used the laptop and had a decent wireless signal, and was able to find things on the Internet occasionally to help out. We used Shirley's projector and had no hookup problems - we're learning!

The really great thing today was that everybody in attendance contributed to the conversation today, and hopefully learned something. The members who attend often bring documents resulting from the brickwall discussions and suggested solutions.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Book Review - "The Rising Tide" by Jeff Shaara

Even though I am a geneaholic, I still find time to read historical fiction, mystery/political fiction and current events non-fiction books. This usually occurs while watching TV shows (especially baseball games or game shows) or while away from home.

I have enjoyed at least 5 of Jeff Shaara's earlier works on the Revolutionary War (Rise to Rebellion, The Glorious Cause), the Mexican-American War (Gone for Soldiers) and the Civil War (Gods and Generals, The Last Full Measure). I have tried to review each of these on the blog. He also has written one about world War I (To the Last Man) that I have not read yet.

His latest work is The Rising Tide, which covers the first part of the American involvement in World War II. The action starts after Pearl Harbor, and focuses on the campaign in North Africa and the invasion of Sicily and Italy. The characters of Erwin Rommel, Albert Kesselring, Bernard Montgomery, Dwight Eisenhower, George Patton, Wayne Clark and others are portrayed - most of it based on their memoirs and contemporary reports. The most telling segments are those of Jack Logan (a tank gunner captured in North Africa by the Germans) and Jesse Adams (a paratrooper who lands in Sicily) - you get the feel for what they experienced as part of small cogs in a big war machine.

This book is the first of a trilogy about World War II from the American view - I think the next volume will be about D-Day and defeating Germany, and the third will be about the war in the Pacific to defeat Japan.

These books are very interesting to me - Shaara puts you in the middle of the action while keeping to the historical record. You can understand the pressures put on each character - personal, command, political - and their response. The books have excellent maps of each battle to help you understand the terrain and the vital movements of both sides. I now have a better understanding of the leaders and the situations that are recounted in the book.

How about you? What historical or genealogical books have you read recently? Recommend some to me!

Family Search Indexing article

Tim Agazio pointed out, and commented on, an article in today's issue of The Deseret News, from Salt Lake City, Utah. The article, by Susan Whitney, is titled "Another Revolution in Genealogy."

The article explains a bit more about the Family Search indexing project currently being performed by 25,000 volunteers to index the 5 billion documents on 2.5 million microfilms and 1.5 million microfiches in the Granite Mountain Vault (except for certain works with copyright protection).

Read the whole article. If you feel the "need to help" then go sign up to volunteer your services indexing records. They hope to have 100,000 volunteers by the end of 2007.

Tim rightly identifies this project as a vital part of the current revolution in genealogy research - the paradigm shift from static, paper based records (including on microfilm and microfiche) available only at repositories to digitized records available anywhere at anytime. The revolution started almost 20 years ago, and will continue - we can't stop it, and most of us don't want to! The next step in the revolution is collaboration within databases, as we discussed last week.

Tim wondered how the LDS digitizing and indexing project will affect the commercial genealogy services offered by Ancestry, GenealogyBank, WorldVitalRecords, Footnote, and others. My humble opinion is that the commercial services will survive - because many of them have unique records not available at the LDS Family History Library (e.g., obituaries, newspapers, documents, books, non-US records, etc). There are some duplications with the FHL (e.g., census records), but there are many other records that the FHL does not have. Some of the commercial sites have duplication resources also. However, the FHL has some absolutely unique records (for example, the probate, land, tax, church, town and other records on film and fiche) that would be difficult for the commercial services to match without a major collection effort.

Competition between the FHL and the commercial services, and between the commercial services, is beneficial to the end user - you and me and other genealogy researchers. Competition will spur each of them to continue to grow and offer more online genealogy resources.

There will always be many free records (LDS, Rootsweb, etc.) and many commercial records for genealogy researchers to find and use. The challenge will be how each of us, and our societies, can best use it to our own benefit.

We all would love to have everything freely accessible online, but that is not possible in every case - you can't digitize everything for free. I'm thankful that the LDS project is currently free, and hopefully it will remain free.

We also need to understand that not every record will be available online in the foreseeable future. There are literally shelf-miles of records at local courthouses, local societies and other repositories that have not been filmed, digitized or indexed. That's good - it's an opportunity for someone to do the job! And for each of us to find those golden nuggets that prove relationships before someone else finds it.

Frankly, I think that genealogy will be real boring if it is already done for me. I live for and love the hunt, the chase, the catch and the documenting (yep, probably the bragging too) ... I guess I'm kind of a latter-day ancestral hunter, eh? [OK, Randy, back to the Genea-Cave - don't come out until you calm down a bit.]

30th Street Memories - Part 1

I tried to go to the San Diego Family History Center today, but it was closed for plumbing repairs. Instead of driving straight home, I went over to "Nostalgia Lane" and drove down my street - 30th Street - all the way from Adams Avenue in the north to A Street in the south - about 4 miles. The street has changed, the neighborhoods have changed, but my memories are stronger than ever.

I grew up on 30th Street in San Diego's Brooklyn Heights neighborhood. As I've noted in my Della's Journal series, and the Carringer family stories, my great-grandparents, Henry Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer, built "my house" in about 1895, and the family resided in it until about 1980. I lived at 2119 30th Street (the upper apartment) from 1947 until late 1968.

The block is bounded by 30th Street on the west, Ivy Street on the north, Fern Street on the east, and Hawthorn Street on the south. The Carringers owned the south 3/4 of the block in 1900, and Della's mother, Abigail (Vaux) Smith owned the north 1/4 of the block then. I don't think that she built a house on it, and she sold the lot at some time.

I have described the original house built by Austin and Della here and here. In 1920, my grandparents, Lyle and Emily (Auble) Carringer, built a house at 2130 Fern Street on the Carringer land. By 1927, the original house was moved to the middle of the block on 30th, and another two-story house was built on Fern Street, and was used for rental income. Two small cottages were built in the 1930's on 30th Street just north of the original house.

A greenhouse was built on the Fern Street property and was filled with plants, ferns, bushes, trees, and a fish pond. The south end of the block had trees and bushes along the edges, and berry vines, vegetable plots and fruit trees in the middle, with a flower garden and a bird bath outside the south-facing entrance of the Carringer's home. Part of the south end was cleared off by about 1950, and we dug holes, rode our trikes and played baseball on the vacant lot. In 1953, the entire south parcel was sold off and two-story apartments were put up, with a concrete block wall separating the properties.

When the wall was put up, that created a small patio between the Fern Street apartments and the wall, with a great jacaranda tree. My dad bricked over the patio, and it served as our basketball court, ping-pong arena, and wiffle-ball baseball court for years. We had to dodge the planter box, the garden and the patio furniture, but we had a great time playing games on the patio.

When I was a child, the trolley (between downtown San Diego and North Park) came right up the middle of 30th Street, right outside our front door. There were overhead trolley lines. By 1950, the trolley tracks had been paved over and the overheads pulled down. As I grew up, 30th Street became a wide playground for me and my friends - we played baseball and football, dodging the cars and buses as they came by.

There were no houses on the block just to the north of my block - there was a fire station, several warehouses, a gas station, two bars, and, later, a house of ill repute. There are still no houses on this block. Snippy's bar is still there!

One block to the north was the corner of Juniper Street and 30th/Fern (30th Street jogs at Juniper, and Fern Street ends). On the northeast corner was an ice cream parlor. Next to this was a Piggly Wiggly market where my mother and grandmother shopped almost every day. On the northwest corner were a number of small shops - sewing, barber, hairdresser, etc. On the southeast corner was a hardware store, and on the southwest corner there was a gas station and a bar.

I attended Brooklyn School at 30th and Ash Streets (7 blocks south), and either walked to school or rode my bicycle. I don't remember all of my teachers names, but I do remember Mrs. Williams (4th grade, my first black teacher), Mr. de la Torre (5th grade) and Mr. Wragg (6th grade, killed by a school sniper many years ago), or the names of many schoolmates. I was on the Safety Patrol, played on the boys softball team, and learned my lessons well.

Three blocks down from the house was the Presbyterian Church, which had a youth playground on part of their property. We would often stop and play games at the playground on the way home from school. When I was about 10, my brother and I started going to Sunday School, and went on youth group trips to the beach, local lakes, and deep sea fishing in the Pacific.

Balboa Park is 4 blocks to the west of my block. There is a small park, called Grape Street Park, at the west end of Grape Street at 28th, which had a cleared grassy area between two wooded areas, and a fence overlooking the public golf course driving range. We played a lot of baseball and football on the flat grassy area. When we were bored with games, we would explore the tree and brush-covered ridges and canyons leading down to the golf course fairways and greens. Of course, we found a lot of golf balls and would occasionally play tricks on the golfers - either steal their ball, or replace it with one of ours in an impossible lie. We also built forts on the hillside, hacked out trails, and formed our own little world. During the summer, we took sleeping bags and camped out in our forts. We rarely saw any wildlife even though there must have been snakes, rabbits, rats, spiders, lizards, and probably a coyote or two (we could hear them sometimes at night).

I do remember the day in the early 1950's when my grandmother, gardening in the planter box on the west side of the house, found a 6 foot long gopher snake in the flower bed, and screamed for my grandfather. He got a shovel and chopped off the head of the snake, and pulled the snake out of the bed. We marvelled at the texture of the skin and the length of the snake. How in the world did it get there - 4 blocks away from the park? I remember wishing that he hadn't killed it, so we could watch it slither and hide again in the bushes.

There will be at least two more parts to this story. While I'm not following Miriam's outline, I am taking her advice to write down my memories. Maybe my kids will find this blog sometime and wonder at all the funny and strange things their father did as a kid.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Louis and Ruth revisited - my error

In a recent post, I tried to find Louis and Ruth who had visited the Carringer family in San Diego - found in Della's Journal. I thought I had found them in Long Beach in the 1930 census - Louis and Ruth Crouch - living near Della's aunt, Libbie Crouch. Libbie's husband, Samuel, was born in England in 1841, but the record said that Louis was born 1893 in MO, and his father in TN. The MO birthplace fit well to the Sam/Libbie Crouch family, but the TN birthplace did not. Other information I had about the Samuel Crouch family indicated that they had 5 children - William S., Myrtle B., Amy, Ralph (died young) and Louis (born 1883).

When I wrote about this, my first thought was "the proximity of a Louis and Ruth Crouch to Sam and Libbie Crouch is too much of a coincidence - it must be the right Louis and Ruth." When I was away at my daughters, I had some time to think about it, and there were actually two discrepancies: Louis had a brother Arthur (born 1880 in MO) living with him, and their father was born in Tennessee.

I realized that that was two too many discrepancies, so I went back in time to find all of these families in the 1880 to 1920 census records. What I found surprised me some...

1) The 1880 census shows the Samuel Crouch family residing in Platte, Andrew County, Missouri, with Samuel (age 37, born Eng), wife Elizabeth (age 29, born NY), daughter Mirtie B. (age 7, born MO), son William S. (age 5, born MO) and son Ralph (age 3 months, born MO). An Arthur Crouch, also born in England, was on the same census page with his family.

2) The 1900 census showed the Samuel Crouch family residing in Beaver, Boone County, Nebraska - with only Samuel (age 59, born Eng), Elizabeth (age 49, born Eng) and Mirtta Crouch (age 26, born MO) in the household (enumerated and indexed as "Scrouch"). The census indicated that Elizabeth had borne 3 children, but only two were living (ostensibly William S. and Myrtle). Son Samuel W. Crouch (age 25, born MO) residing in DuQuoin, Perry County, Illinois with his young family.

3) The 1910 census showed Samuel (69, born Eng) and Elizabeth Crouch (age 59, born NY) in Long Beach, Los Angeles County, California, and again Elizabeth has borne 3 children, 2 living. Son William S. Crouch and his family reside in Albion, Boone County, Nebraska, and daughter Myrtle Millbank and her husband Benjamin Millbank resided in Grand Island, Hall County, Nebraska.

4) The 1920 census shows Samuel (age 79, born Eng) and Elizabeth (age 69, born NY) Crouch residing in Long Beach CA with Benjamin and Myrtle Milbank; the William S. Crouch family also resided in Long Beach.

5) Using all of my census search tricks, I could not find a Crouch family in the 1880 to 1920 census records containing brothers Louis (or Lewis) and Arthur Crouch. Lewis had a daughter Marion born in MO in 1915, and I could not find her either.

My conclusions therefore are that:

1) The "Louis and Ruth" in Della's Journal are NOT Louis and Ruth Crouch of Long Beach. They are probably not related to the Samuel Crouch family.

2) That Samuel and Elizabeth Crouch had only three children - Myrtle B. Crouch (who married Benjamin Milbank), William S. Crouch (who married Elizabeth Riley), and Ralph Crouch (who died before 1900). I need to delete Amy and Louis from my database, and then try to find where I got that information.

So who are the real "Louis and Ruth?" I searched the 1930 census for California, using First name = Louis and Spouse's name = Ruth. There were 117 hits, many of them in Southern California, and only 3 in San Diego County.

One "Louis and Ruth" couple stood out like a sore thumb - Louis (age 48, born CA) and Ruth (age 49, born CT) Morrill who resided in Los Angeles. One of Della's sisters - Matie Smith - had married a Frank Morrill as her third husband in about 1920, and so Louis may be a brother or other male relative of this Frank Morrill. I'm going to go back in time from 1930 and see if I can put them together.

The lessons learned here (again!!! darnit) are that coincidences happen, and that I shouldn't jump to conclusions without doing enough research to support the assumptions I made.

For the record, none of my readers commented about this when I made the erroneous assumption. I understand that this is kind of "inside family" stuff - nobody else really cares about it. I have found, in engineering as well as in genealogy, that having several sets of eyes to review your assumptions and methods, and to proof your work product, is really helpful.

Della's Journal - Week 13 (March 26-April 1, 1929)

This is Installment 13 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.

Here is Week 13:

Tuesday, March 26: Emily went out to E[ast] San D[iego] to get shoes & to call on Mrs. Griffith. I called on Mr. & Mrs. Garlock her sister & husband Mr. & Mrs. Niles over there on their way back to Iowa. Left the daughter with Laura untill her school is out then they will drive back. I got doubble blanket $3.95, we looked at mirrors.

Wednesday, March 27: We washed. Washed blue quilt.

Thursday, March 28 (lovely day): Ma & I went with Emily, Betty & Mrs. A[uble] to Zoo, took our lunch, did not get home untill 4:30, had a fine time. Little girl got lost, we helped to find her Papa. He had hunted two hours for her. A[ustin] has cold in head & throat.

Friday, March 29: I kept Pass, went to town. Looked for mirror & got my Asthma med $2.00 Creomulsion $1.19, Asfidity pills $0.45, Sp Notes 20c, Easter cards 15c.

Saturday, March 30 (cloudy, cool): We did not do much. Ma did not feel well & A[ustin] went to bed for afternoon. Betty had us over for concert for the kitties, it was very nice. Emily made Easter candy. Letter from Aunt L[ibbie] she sent one from F. Munger.

Sunday, March 31 (Easter, lovely day): Lyle's went out in the country. Mrs. Sorrenson brought Easter card & basket. Emily made Easter eggs yesterday, gave us a plate of them with a bunnie made of candy. We all took tub baths and Ma stayed in bed, her bladder hurt her. Lyle's went up to Ramona by the way of Poway then home [by] Mussey grade, got ferns to set out, got into some poison oak but washed in soda water as soon as they got home. Ma, A[ustin] & I took tub baths (I had said this).

Monday, April 1: Ma laid on bed in kitchen dressed all day but felt pretty bad.

Some days she was voluble, others it must have been too much trouble to write.

There was some excitement - they helped reunite a little girl with her dad at the zoo, and they got some poison oak on Easter Sunday. The thing I wish I could have witnessed was my mother's (9 year-old Betty) concert for the was probably priceless.

I have no clue what the Friday medications are - I could probably find out on the internet. Creomulsion? Asfidity pills? Interesting.

Stay tuned - will Ma recover? Is Austin always sick? How often do they bathe? Will Della pay the bills? Will Lyle and family go to the country on Sunday? Inquiring minds want to know, but will have to wait!

We are now into Spring, and the San Diego weather in 1929 is pretty typical - cool, a little rain, some lovely days.

Photo Dating and Interpretation program

Our CVGS program today was by Claire Santos-Daigle, a local entrepreneur who has a Photos Made Perfect photograph restoration business. Their motto is "Restoring Family History ... One Photo at a Time."

Claire presented her photo restoration program to CVGS last year, and today gave her "Photograph Dating and Interpretation" talk, using a PowerPoint presentation.

She was dressed in a 1940's movie star dress, with a large red hat, high heels and stockings, and a real fox fur over her shoulder. She made a big impression in the Library and at lunch later on!

Claire's talk covered the different types of photographic methods used since 1840 - including daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, albumen paper, union cases, carte de visites, cabinet cards, postcards and silver gelatin. She used a great chart to show the time periods for each photo type. She also showed examples of each type from her large collection of vintage photos.

The second part of her talk was about dating photographs based on the photo type, the photo mounting, backgrounds, background objects, men's and women's fashions, etc. Claire also discussed customs and trends, period movies, and other ways to date your photographs. She finished by showing some examples of photo dating - the last one looked like the late 1800's, but it was Claire dressed in a period costume in 1996 - the decisive clue was her hair style.
She spiced up her talk with stories from her family photos, especially about her father. The audience howled at some of her remarks. It was a fun day for our members and guests.

A summary of the photograph types and photo dating methods that Claire described in her talk is on their web page here.

Claire has spoken at a number of genealogy societies, libraries and conferences or fairs. If your society wants an interesting program, consider Claire Santos-Daigle.

Several CVGS members engaged Claire's services last year for photo restoration, and they were very pleased with the results. If you want quality photo restoration for a reasonable price, consider Photos Made Perfect.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Adapting to the Web 2.0 Revolution

There have been many articles in the genealogy magazines and on genealogy blogs about "Web 2.0" applications. A number of genealogy software systems have been created - like TNG, PHPGedView, PedigreeSoft, etc.

Dick Eastman attended the recent conference at BYU, and has an excellent summary of what this is all about on his blog. Read the comments too, because they include some of my concerns about the concept.

Basically, the concept is that there will be one (and probably more) big database online that can be shared by many researchers in a collaborative manner. If I put a database online at one of these super sites (they are talking petabytes...) then someone else could comment on it, add to it, change it, improve it, mess it up, etc. Through this process - with thousands of researchers contributing - the data available for specific persons, families or lineages would become better - Dick uses the term "groomed." It would be available for other researchers to use and improve.

I want to ponder what this means for individual researchers, and for genealogy societies.

What will be the challenges for individual researchers?

1) Will these collaborative databases be FREE?

2) Some researchers that are open to change, and are computer comfortable, will adopt and promote this new way of sharing genealogy data.

3) Other researchers, who may be open to change but are not computer comfortable, will be frustrated by more new technology. In many cases, they haven't mastered going to the current online databases yet.

4) Some researchers, who are not open to change, will not want to share their data or will fear being criticized for their data records, sources, etc.

5) Many researchers will hang back and see how all of this works before jumping into the new technology.

How can the genealogy societies adapt to this new technology and better serve all of their members?

1) Initially, by having someone who is computer comfortable demonstrate how the new technology works and how it can help an individual researcher. This would best be a knowledgeable member rather than an outside speaker - someone who could mentor one or more members.

2) Create study groups or education classes to work with and bring members' computer skills to the point they can take advantage of the new technology.

3) Create education classes or use online tutorial systems to improve the basic computer skills, and online genealogy research skills, of the members.

At present, local genealogy societies are composed of several different kinds of members - those who don't use the computer at all, those who use the computer for email, genealogy software and perhaps some online research, and those who use the computer efficiently in their research. The challenge has always been to bring society members to a basic level of computer competency so that they can use the available online resources effectively. The addition of this new technology may further frustrate and challenge a significant number of researchers who are not now computer comfortable.

Needless to say, this is a very interesting and challenging time to be a genealogy researcher. I have no doubt that I will be one of those that leaps into this new concept, if for no other reason than to blog about it.

I'm reminded of the adage "the faster I go, the behinder I get."

CVGS meeting on Monday - Photo Dating

My local society, the Chula Vista Genealogical Society, has a meeting on Monday, 26 March at 10 AM at the Chula Vista Civic Center Library (365 F Street in CV). This is our regular monthly meeting, which includes a sign-in time, a short business meeting, a 60 minute presentation, and a social hour.

The speaker will be Claire Santos-Daigle, a local entrepreneur who has a business called "Photos Made Perfect." Her talk will be about "Photograph Dating and Interpretation." We have had Claire speak to us before and she is informative and entertaining.

If San Diego area readers want to attend, you are most welcome at all of our meetings and activities.

[Musings note -- looking at the title of this post, we might get some interesting folks at the meeting if they don't realize it's genealogy and not hooking up. But then it is a Monday morning.]