Saturday, April 21, 2007

Ken Aitken has Passed Away

One of the very best genealogy educators and writers I have ever known has passed away. Ken Aitken, who was a genealogy librarian, researcher, writer, educator, speaker, blogger, encourager and friend died of complications due to ALS in Penticton BC today.

You can read Ken's obituary at and find Neil Aitken's musings about his father at You can comment about his passing at both sites.

I never met Ken, but I feel like I "know" him well. I enjoyed reading and commenting on his Genealogy Education blog because his posts and opinions challenged me to think. Ken was a true professional in everything he did. His passion for genealogy research and education was inspirational. He walked the walk and talked the talk. I encourage each of you to go to his blog and read his posts - you will understand what I mean.

My heart is heavy, but I am glad that he is out of his physical pain. My prayers are with his family and friends - may they celebrate a life well lived (although way too short), appreciate him as a spouse, parent, grandparent and friend, and remember him for his goodness and love for life.

The Crystal Ball: Part 1 - Will all records be digitized?

The first question I asked in my April 11th post titled "What is in the Genealogy Future?" , hoping for comment, was:

"1) Will we ever get to the point in online Internet genealogy when all genealogical or historical records are available in digital form at any time of day to a researcher sitting at home?"

This is probably the easiest one to answer - I'm quite sure that the answer will be "NO - there is no way that ALL genealogical or historical records are available in digital form."

By my reckoning, we are perhaps 5% to 10% of the way there. There are substantial collections of records available on freely accessible sites (e.g., Rootsweb, USGenWeb, WorldGenWeb, FamilySearch, etc.), on government web sites (National Archives, official state and county web sites, etc), on subscription services (e.g.,,, GenealogyBank, WorldVitalRecords, Footnote, and others) and on genealogy society web sites(e.g., NEHGS, NGS, NYGBS, etc.).

Even after the LDS completes their digitizing and indexing of the 2.5 million microfilms and 1.5 million microfiches with over 5 billion pages, and if the commercial companies and the dedicated volunteers continue their digitizing efforts, there will still be billions of pages that are not available online. Even worse, if identity theft concerns heighten and states shield their vital records from genealogists, even more records will not be available online.

The government records since 1900 are massive - each county and state has massive record archives that have probably not been filmed, and only recent year holdings have been digitized. In addition, there are hundreds of genealogy and historical societies with paper holdings in file cabinets or on shelves that are not available on film, fiche or images. And this considers only the USA - what about the rest of the world?

On the positive side, when the LDS digitizing and indexing is substantially complete (will it ever be finished?), those records will be available and searchable online - that means that most of the pre-1900 records that are on film and fiche - the town, tax, land, probate, census, military, church, manuscripts, books, directories, etc. records. And the volunteer researchers, the commercial companies, and many genealogical societies will continue to digitize records as the years go by.

What about the researcher contributed online databases? Will they grow much larger? Will they improve in accuracy? Will "everybody" be included? I sincerely doubt it!

Perhaps by 2020, the percentage of available online records will be something like 40% to 50%. While that may be wonderful, I still love to go to the library, the FHC, the historical society, the county office and the cemetery to do my research. I love the challenge of the search and the thrill of discovery.

What about you - what do you think about all of this? Please pontificate! If you post on this topic in your own genealogy blog, I will add the link to this post, but please let me know about it.

Alan Jones on USGenWeb and WorldGenWeb

Seven of us from CVGS went to the CGSSD meeting today as a research trip. We carpooled from Chula Vista to UCSD - about 20 miles each way.

During the first hour, we attended the FamilyTreeMaker software users group meeting led by Lance Dohe. He usually demonstrates how to use the different features of FTM and if he doesn't know the answer, he invites guidance from the audience. Today, there were questions about creating a list of individuals who were born or died in a certain locale, correcting locality names using Find and Replace, adding data from one database to another, and several others.

During the refreshment break, Alan Jones set up a slide show on the screen with humorous cartoons taken from the newspapers (Frank and Ernest, Family Circle, and others) that had everybody in stitches. After a short business meeting led by John Kracha introduced the guest speaker.

Alan's presentation on "Using USGenWeb and WorldGenWeb" highlighted the FREE information that can be found on those web sites. He used screen shots, with text box comments to illustrate the heirarchy - state, county, and sometimes town - of web sites, and showed the various resources that might be found on the sites. Alan also went through several of the USGenWeb Projects and described them and showed results. He emphasized contacting the volunteers on these pages who have books or records, or have written queries, or are on a surname list, in order to obtain more information. The information on WorldGenWeb was sparser as he ran out of time, but he encouraged people to use the Translation service on Google - he has used it to write a letter to Italy and to translate one from Italy. Alan's talk was interspersed with anecdotes and stories from his own research.

It was a wonderful presentation and our CVGS members enjoyed themselves tremendously.

All of us were amused that Alan was driven to do genealogy research because when he was a teenager, they had a 16 generation pedigree chart for the family dog with certificates, but he didn't know who all of his great-grandparents were. So they embarked on the genealogy journey together. I sincerely doubt that he has his 16-generation pedigree chart completely filled out yet. Does anybody?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Searching for Cornelia's Family - Part 2 - Traditional Resources

I posted last month about my online search for the parents of my newly identified ancestor Cornelia BRESEE (and variants like Brazee, Brazie, Bressey, Brisee, Brusee, Bries, Brees, Breese, etc) here. And I posted my progress in tracking down information in online resources here. If nothing else, these posts serve as a research log for my work. Perhaps other researchers can use the to-do list, and the web sites searched, and tailor it to their own needs.

During this online search effort, I input as much data as I could find into a FamilyTreeMaker database so that I could organize and sort the information I have.

Unfortunately, a clear set of parents was not identified from the online search effort. However, a set of perhaps 10 potential families were identified, but, at this time, there is no guarantee that any of them are her parents.

The second major step in my search for Cornelia's parents is to search for traditional resources - books, periodicals, manuscripts, other researchers, etc.

This search will take a longer time than the online search because of the difficulty of accessing the records from the San Diego area. I will try to post about my findings as I gather them.

My To-Do list for traditional resources include:

1) Search the LDS Family History Library Catalog online for books and manuscripts for the Bresee (and variants) surname. Order microfilms as needed at the FHC and review them.

2) Search the LDS Family History Library Catalog online for books and manuscripts for Rensselaer and Columbia Counties, New York. Concentrate on church, town, tax, land and probate records. Order microfilms as needed at the FHC and review them.

3) Search the OCLC WorldCat online ( for books and manuscripts for the Bresee (and variants) surname. Order potentially helpful books via InterLibrary Loan if possible.

4) Search the OCLC WorldCat online ( for books and manuscripts for Rensselaer and Columbia Counties, New York. Order potentially helpful books via InterLibrary Loan if possible.

5) Search the PERiodical Source Index (PERSI) online for periodical articles that might contain information on the Bresee surname and records in the Hudson River area of New York. Try to find the periodicals in the San Diego area, or order the articles via snail mail from Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne.

6) Contact via email or snail mail the people who have submitted queries on the surname and locality message boards and mailing lists. Determine if they have information about my Cornelia Bresee. Even though I have had few responses to my posted queries, it is probable that some of these researchers don't read the boards and lists regularly.

7) Contact via email or snail mail the genealogical and historical societies in Rensselaer and Columbia Counties NY to determine if they hold Bresee surname resources or unique county resources available nowhere else.

8) If necessary, take a research trip to Salt Lake City to view manuscripts and books there that are not available on microfilm or microfiche.

9) If necessary, take a research trip to the Hudson River valley to view manuscripts and books there that are not available online, via ILL or by mail.

My best guess is that, if I am going to solve this research problem, it is going to be by finding primary records in original sources - probably church, cemetery, probate and land records in the Hudson River counties.

I am sure that there are many more things I can do in Traditional Resources - please make suggestions and help me out here. I will appreciate it! I will add to this list when I get suggestions or think of additions as time goes on. adds a name search tool

Leland Meitzler at Everton Publishers's Genealogy Blog informs us that there is a name frequency calculator at

This is pretty cool - you can input a surname and see a state map with the frequency of the surname by state, get a list of the top 5 states, and a rank of the surname in the entire country.

For instance, Seaver is #8,065 out of over 6 million surnames with 1,052 entries in their database. Massachusetts leads with 92 entries, and California is second with 77.

You can click on an alpha list to see the number of people with a given name - for instance, there are 4 Randy's, 3 Randall's and 2 Randell's in the database.

In order to see the state lists for a given surname, you have to click the "People Search" tab at the top and enter the surname and the state. Clicking on the state and entering the surname in the "Search the People Information database" box doesn't get a list for some reason. When I do this, it says that there are 133 California entries for Seaver, not 77. My guess is that they include spouse names also, and work phone numbers too.

The top 10 surnames in the USA, according to WhitePages listings, are:

1. Smith
2. Johnson
3. Williams
4. Brown
5. Jones
6. Miller
7. Davis
8. Anderson
9. Wilson
10. Taylor

In California, the 10 most common surnames are:

1. Garcia
2. Hernandez
3. Lopez
4. Smith
5. Martinez
6. Rodriguez
7. Gonzalez
8. Johnson
9. Lee
10. Ramirez

That's interesting! There are also listings for first name frequency by state or for the entire country. Canadian provinces are included in these listings.

Thanks, Leland, for the tip and the link.

CGSSD meeting on Saturday

I am a member of the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego and enjoy their monthly meetings and leaders tremendously. Here is the announcement of Saturday's CGSSD meeting:


The Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego meets Saturday, April, 21, 2007 from 9:00 am to noon.

9:00 - User groups for Family Tree Maker, Legacy and RootsMagic

A break and refreshments will begin at 10:15.

10:30 - Announcements followed by Program.

"Using USGenWeb & WorldGenWeb" presented by Alan Jones

Learn about these free websites that all researchers should have in their tool box of tricks. One is a MUST for research in the USA; it has many nationwide sources, state resources, and county gems. The other site has the entire planet! So if your research is on this planet, you need these websites.

Alan Jones holds degrees in both Business (El Camino College) and Computer Science (Brigham Young University). He currently works as a senior IT consultant for Southern California Edison. He has been involved in family history for over 30 years, serving as an LDS Stake & Ward family history consultant and director of a Family History Center. He completed the Family History Training Program in Provo, Utah, and has taught classes in FHCs, colleges, and genealogy societies, and published several books. He also maintains several genealogy websites. He and his family live in southern Orange County. Alan loves genealogy on the Internet and often gives presentations on related topics. When Alan was a teenager, his dog, Mugs, had a full and complete pedigree chart with all the ancestors verified and certified, but Alan didn’t know all of his own great-grandparents. He and his mother decided they were as important as their dog and began the quest for their ancestors.


You can find directions to the meeting at the web site.

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society research trip this month is to attend this meeting at UCSD. We thought the user groups and Alan Jones presentation would be informative and helpful to our members. We will carpool from Chula Vista, leaving the parking garage at 8:20 AM. We will probably have 8 to 10 attend this meeting from CVGS.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Interesting 1722 town record for Christopher Champlin of Westerly RI

As I continue working through the Rhode Island probate records for my ancestors, I found the following:

On 21 August 1722, Christopher Champlin and his second wife, Elizabeth (--?--), widow of William Danell, made an agreement. It reads (transcribed from "Westerly (Rhode Island) Town Council and Probate Records, 1699-1888," Volume 2, Page 74-5, on FHL Microfilm 0,930,805, very difficult to read):

"To all Christian people to whome these presents shall come Know ye that whereas there is a Legacy Given to Elizabeth Champlin wife to Christopher Champlin Senr who was formerly Relict to Mr. William Danell deceased & he being of the town of Westerly in his Majesties Colony of Rhoad Island and Providence Plantations in New England (Viz.)

"Twenty Pounds mony twenty Loads of wood & the keeping of four Cretures ?? ?????? and yearly and every year during the whole course of her naturall life to be paid by the Son William Danel of sd Town & Colony as may appear by the last Will & Testament of the sd William Danel deceased who did make by sd last Will make and ordain William Danel her son an Executor to sd Last Will and testament and upon probation of sd will before the town Counsel of the town of Westerly the sd Councel did Require Bond of sd Danel with two sureties for his ??? Administration and performance of sd will & In Compliance with the sd Request Samuel Clark and Christopher Champlin Junr Both of the said town and Colony were both bound with the sd William Danel unto the aforesd Counsel as may appear by their Bond of two thousand pounds Currant mony of New England which is upon Record for the due performance of sd will the Bond haves date March the thirteenth day in the year one thousand seven hundred and Eighteen Coming nineteen & for the Better Securing the sd Sureties or bondsmen Clark and Champlin their Estates Heirs & Succesers which is altogether Requisite and needfull by Reason that it ????? Evident that the aforesd William Danel hath ??paid a Great part of his Estate & doth Still go on Wasting & Embezzling of the same Reference being had to the above written precept and Every Article & Clause yrof ???? of one Sd Elizabeth Champlin having Considered the Difficulty that may arise to said Bondsmen by ???? [an unreadable line inserted] of these presents for Ever Exhonorate Requit and Discharge the aforesd Samuel Clark and Christopher Champlin Sr and their heirs Executors and admr for Ever of and from all and Every part and parcel of the Legacy of twenty pounds mony twenty Loads of wood and keeping of four Cretures that is to say I do for Ever Requitt and Discharge the sd Clark and Champlin their heirs and Succesors from all that hath been due unto me by the above mentioned will from the begining of the world to the Date of these presence and from the Date of these presents to the end of the world. I the Sd Christopher Champlin Senr do by these presents allow and confirm all the above writen premises and in token and Confirmation that this is our lone and voluntary act and deed we have hereunto Sett our hands and seales this twenty first day of August Annoq Domini 1722.

Christopher CC Champlin (seal)
......... ..........her
. .Elizabeth EC Champlin (seal)
.... ...........mark

Signed Sealed and Delivered
n the presents of us
Edward Greenman
Robert Austin
Joanna Champlin
G Davisson"

"Mr. Christopher Champlin and Mrs. Elizabeth Champlin the Subscribing both presents appeared in Westerly this 29 Day of August 1722 and acknowledged the above writen instrument to be their voluntary act and deed before me, Joseph Stanton, Justice."


Can you believe how long that sentence is? Amazing - I found no end to it - almost the whole page!

The really interesting thing here is that Christopher Champlin's second wife, Elizabeth (widow of William Danell), made an agreement on 13 March 1718/19 with the executor of her deceased husband, her son William Danell. In 1722, this record shows that she relieved the other two sureties, Samuel Clark and Christopher Champlin (her now husband) from their responsibility because the Executor has not settled the estate.

Some records list Elizabeth's first husband as William Davol or Davell, but the handwriting in this record is consistently Danell or Danel. The March date is right after the will of William Danell was proved.

My purpose in presenting this in its entirety is to show that not all probate records are administrations, wills or inventories. Occasionally you find agreements or indentures of this nature that shed light on the lives of your ancestors.

After I transcribed this today, I Googled ["christopher champlin" elizabeth westerly] and was rewarded with several web pages with early Westerly deed book abstracts, which included deeds for this Christopher Champlin. When I go to the RI USGenWeb site, I can't find the early Westerly deed abstracts!

UPDATE 3:45 PM: I finally found the Westerly deed abstracts (Vols 4-9) at You would think that they would be linked to Westerly somehow!

The Genealogist's Spouse

I found this list while searching for links, and thought it was funny:

You know you're a Genealogist's Spouse when:

* You're the only person in the bridge/poker club who knows what a Soundex is.

* Some of your best friends live over 200 miles away.

* You have more pictures of tombstones than of the kids.

* "I need a little help at the courthouse" means to forget the cleaning, washing, dinner, chores; the day is shot.

* The mailman can't believe you get this much mail from someone you don't know.

* You explain to Mom why you can't go 25 miles for Sunday dinner, but can go 100 miles to check out another cemetery."

* "As soon as I check this census record, I'll fix the leaky faucet" means "call the plumber."

* You get home from a trip to an out-of-state courthouse with the kids needing scrubbing, car needing fixing, and clothes needing washing to find the housework, bills and lawnmower to greet you.

* Your neighbors think you're crazy, your friends wonder, and you know you are.

* Despite it all, even you are a little anxious for the next family reunion.

Author unknown.

I did find some humorous articles about being a genealogy spouse - you can find links to them at Enjoy!

April 19 is Patriots Day

Frankly, April 19 should be a national holiday to celebrate the "Shot Heard Round the World."

I sometimes think "what would I have done on that morning" after the rider came down the road shouting that the British were marching to Concord. Would I have put down my farm tools, grabbed my musket, hugged my kids, kissed my wife goodbye and run off to join my fellow militiamen as they streamed to Lexington and Concord?

One of my favorite sayings is "There are things that happen in a second that take a lifetime to explain." This is one of those "seconds" that affected the life of many people in New England. Many acted to support the cause of liberty and most of them returned to their families. Some husbands and sons did not return, dying after the skirmishes along the road to Lexington and Concord.

In Westminster MA, about 20 miles west of Concord, Norman Seaver (my ancestor), his brothers Ethan, Daniel, and Moses, and his son Benjamin (also my ancestor) gathered their arms and marched off toward Concord. They all soon returned and several of them served later in the War.

My ancestor Isaac Buck was a young man of 18 who served the entire war - he was part of Henry Knox's regiment that went to Fort Ticonderoga and hauled the cannons to Dorchester Heights in the middle of the winter of 1775-6. I posted his biography here and his Revolutionary War service records here.

However, the man that I wish I was descended from is my very distant cousin - Samuel Whittemore. Here is an article about him from an obituary notice of the Columbian Centinel (a newspaper in Boston) of 6 February 1793:

"Died at Menotomy, the 2d instant, Capt. Samuel Whittemore, AEt. 96 years and 6 months. The manly and moral virtues, in all the varied relations of a brother, husband, father, and friend, were invariably exhibited in this gentleman. He was not more remarkable for his longevity and his numerous descendants (his progeny being 185, one of which is the fifth generation) than for his patriotism.

"When the British troops marched to Lexington, he was 79 years of age, and one of the first on the parade; he was armed with a gun and horse-pistol. After an animated exhortation to the collected militia to the exercise of bravery and courage, he exclaimed, 'If I can only be the instrument of killing one of my country's foes, I shall die in peace.' The prayer of this venerable old man was heard; for on the return of the troops he lay behind a stone wall, and discharging his gun a soldier immediately fell; he then discharged his pistol, and killed another; at which instant a bullet struck his face, shot away part of his cheekbone; on which a number of the soldiers ran up to the wall, and gorged their malice on his wounded head. They were heard to exclaim, 'We have killed the old rebel.'

"About four hours after, he was found in a mangled situation; his head was covered with blood from the wounds of the bayonets, which were six or eight; but providentially none penetrated so far as to destroy him. His hat and clothes were shot through in many places; yet he survived to see the complete overthrow of his enemies, and his country enjoy all the blessings of peace and independence.

"His funeral will be held to-morrow at 4 o'clock P. M. from his house at Menotomy, which his relatives and friends are requested to attend."

We have all benefited from the heroism of Norman Seaver, Isaac Buck, Samuel Whittemore and many more patriots. May God bless them all! And may we remember them for what they did on a spring morning in New England.

Genealogy Jokes I Missed the First Time

The blog (you do visit the four blogs at Roots TV, don't you?) has two jokes that are somewhat genealogy related, and gave me a chuckle:


A census taker in a rural area went up to a farmhouse and knocked. When a woman came to the door, he asked her how many children she had and their ages.

Adjusting her teeth a little she said, "Les' see now, there's the twins, Sally and Billy, they're thirty-two. And the twins, Seth & Beth, they're twenty-six. And the other twins, Penny and Jenny, they're twenty-four .. "

"Hold on!" said the census taker, "Did you get twins EVERY time?"

The woman answered, " Heck no, there were hundreds of times we didn't get nothin."


A guy goes to the supermarket and notices a beautiful blond woman wave at him and say hello. He's rather taken aback, because he can't place where he knows her from. So he says, "Do you know me?"

To which she replies, "I think you're the father of one of my kids."

Now his mind travels back to the only time he has ever been unfaithful to his wife and says, "Oh no! Are you the stripper from my bachelor party?"

She looks into his eyes and calmly says, "No, I'm your son's math teacher."


I'll probably use the first one in my Census talk next month.

Thanks to Tracey and Trina at the Climbing Family Trees Vlog for the jokes.

Anybody have other "fresh" genealogy related jokes?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe is Open!

I posted about two weeks ago asking for opinions about the viability of using a blog to communicate to the members of a genealogy society. We received two comments about the issue - one said that they were going to think about for their society, and the other said that, as a younger genealogist, they tend to read the Internet rather than a paper newsletter. I thank my two anonymous commenters!

After a little thought and discussion over lunch, the Chula Vista Genealogical Society launched The Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe (at, where members can come in and read about their society activities, contribute content, ask questions, or comment on the posts of others.

It is important to note that the Genealogy Cafe blog does not replace the static web site (with an online newsletter) and the paper newsletter. We will continue to communicate with our members via email also, since some of them don't use the Internet except for email.

Our whole purpose in creating the Genealogy Cafe is to be able to improve the research knowledge and skills of our members. We will leave it open to non-members so that we can attract new members to the society and help, in some small way, all genealogy researchers. There is some hand-holding required to introduce the blog to our members - just getting them to click on an email link is a challenge sometimes!

What do you think? What else can we offer our members in terms of communication and services? How much communication and online service is too much? We are open to suggestions and welcome your constructive comments.

How to Contact NARA About Fee increases

The 27 April deadline is almost upon us for expressing your opinion to NARA About the large fee increases for National Archive records.

I received the following in an email from Liz Stookesberry Myers, who is one of the NGS committee persons for this issue. The email reads:

Instructions for Writing to NARA
By Sue Axton

The 7 March 2007 issue of the [Rootsweb] Review discusses the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) proposal to increase its fees for photocopying records; notably, it mentions their proposal to increase fees for copies of Civil War pension files from $37 to $125. I went to the NARA site to find a place to make a comment on the fee increase, but the site is almost impossible to figure out. Maybe you could give step-by-step instructions in a future newsletter.

Also,maybe you could encourage people to write their representatives. I am not against a reasonable fee to cover the cost of paper and ink, but $125 for Civil War pension records is way out of line. That puts the cost out of reach for most researchers. I would pay an extra fee if the records I request would be put online for everyone to access. As long as they are going to the trouble of copying them once, how hard would it be to put them on the website?

[Editor's Note: Comments on the NARA proposal for a photocopying fee increase must be made by 27 April, so if you have comments submit them soon.

The following are step-by-step instructions for submitting your comments:

1. Go to
2. Under "Search for," select "Documents Open for Public Comment."
3. Under "Agency," select "National Archives and Records Administration*."
4. Under "Document Type," select "All Document Types."
5. In the "Keyword or ID" field, type "NARA-07-0001-0001".
6. Select "Exact Phrase."
7. Click the "Submit" button.

You can read the proposed rule by clicking the PDF icon in the "Views"column. You can add your comments by clicking the yellow balloon icon in the "Comments" column.Also, you can e-mail comments to your government representative at: .]

To view the 7 March 2007 Rootsweb Review announcement about the proposed NARA fee increase, visit:

PLEASE, PLEASE WRITE TO THEM TODAY!!!!!! Liz Stookesberry Myers


It appears that Sue Axton wrote a letter to Rootsweb Review that was published, with the editor's comments about the process to make comments.

If you have comments about this, I encourage you to make comments at the Regulations site and also to your Representative and Senators.

FamilyLink Launched

The WorldVitalRecords blog announced today that FamilyLink has been launched. At this time, the site is free to join and use. The article says:


FamilyLink, the newest social genealogy networking Web site created to rapidly link people across the world launched today!

“The recent surge in social networking sites demonstrates the need for people to connect around diverse types of interests” said Michael Tanne, Founder and CEO of Wink, a People Search Engine, FamilyLink provides a perfect venue for families, genealogists and family historians to share their common interests and heritage as they connect with one another and upload their photos, family tree, and family history.”

FamilyLink has been created to facilitate genealogists in working together in ways that have never been attempted before in the genealogy world with a tool that is easy to use and understand.

“During the early years of Ancestry and MyFamily, I could hardly sleep. I was so excited about what we were building. I feel the same way about FamilyLink,” said Paul Allen, CEO,

Using FamilyLink, geographic and language barriers are minimized as individuals connect with their loved ones, research their family history, and preserve memories.

“For the first time ever, if I’m looking for an ancestor in a particular part of the world, I’ll be a click away from the expert researchers who live there, and from others who have done research there,” Allen said.

FamilyLink users can view the profiles of other individuals, communicate with individuals who have researched or are currently researching in their area of interest through the City Link feature, meet new individuals who also participate in the service, share photos, genealogical information, and post comments.

“One thing that is really interesting right now is that there really is nothing out there on the Web to help someone who lived in a certain city gather information from another city, unless they fly there. The need for this type of social networking definitely exists. FamilyLink allows people who are in different cities to connect with each other in an amazing way,” said Jason McGowan, Product Manager,

Additional features include a news feed system, Ancestor Pages, announcements pages, email features, shared connections between and, and will soon include a family tree.

“Putting and together is a great way to preserve, share, and grow your family tree,” said Barbara Renick, professional genealogist, nationally known lecturer, and author.

In the past genealogists were able to make connections with other genealogists.

However to do so required a lot of time, and effort, two scarce resources for genealogists. FamilyLink is a tool that connects people in such a way that it makes everyone and everything more efficient, and will become even better as people join the site.

“As with other social networks, the more people that use FamilyLink, the more useful it will become to everyone else. So we invite you to join and encourage others to join as well, so that we will soon have members in all of the cities of the world–all helping each other to find and preserve their heritage,” Allen said.


Naturally, I couldn't resist signing up and entering my personal data, including my picture. You can invite five more people to join up by entering their email address. You can join one or more Cities also - one of the existing ones or one not previously listed.

The most interesting aspect of this site is that you can create a unique web page for each ancestor. You can add family data, records, pictures, etc. to the web page for each ancestor. I tried to add an ancestor - I picked my great-grandfather, Henry Austin Carringer born in 1853. However, the earliest birth year allowed was 1927. Same for marriage date and death date. After adding the vital records for the ancestor, you can input family members and then biographical data. I'm sure they will get this sorted out - hopefully soon!

Perhaps they expect me to work backwards in time, but they didn't tell me that - they just said "input data for an ancestor." Since both of my parents were born before 1927, I can only add myself, and I know who I am, and who my kids are, already, and don't really want all of that information to be available on any web site.

In my opinion, since most genealogists already have names, dates and places in their genealogy database, sites like this should allow some sort of upload from a GEDCOM so that the member doesn't have to input all of the data again. For people like me, with thousands of identified ancestors, I really don't want to input the information by hand again! I had enough trouble getting them right the first time around.

If a person doesn't have a genealogy database, then this site, and others like it, can be a good repository for their information.

The idea behind this site seems to be to share your information in hopes that other researchers will find you and you can share their information also.

This site may be more successful than or some of the other social/genealogy networking sites because the "Godfather" is - already a part of the genealogy community run by known and respected genealogy people.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

30th Street Memories - Part 2

The first part of this series is here. I covered my childhood in the first part, and want to cover my age 10-14 years in this Part.

It was great to be a kid in San Diego in the mid-1950's.

From the time I was 10, my bicycle became my vehicle of choice. Close behind was my Flexy (a Flexible Flyer, essentially a sled with wheels and handlebars). For long trips to school, to the Park, or to visit friends far away, the bike was used. The Flexy was used for close trips, and my paper route.

One of my hobbies during these years was to map the streets of San Diego. I had street maps, of course, but I was searching for mistakes on the maps - and I found several over the years. I think I rode down every street in San Diego between Pacific Highway (west) and La Mesa (east), Market Street (south) to Mission Valley (north). I also collected some of the more esoteric things related to the streets - the names of the sidewalk contractors, for instance. And I was mesmerized by the early names of some streets when East San Diego was not part of San Diego city. I also collected baseball cards, bottle caps and stamps.

Over about 10 years, I only had one accident - a fellow opened his driver's side car door and knocked me down at 73rd and El Cajon Blvd (about 8 miles from home). Luckily, I wasn't hurt and the bike was not damaged. He didn't appreciate my potty mouth, though.

I had a much more serious accident on the Flexy - but only one! We would go down the 30th Street hill to the dime store at Beech Street - riding on the sidewalks, going off the curb at the end of the block, swinging out into the street and using the first driveway on the next block to get on the sidewalk again. At Date Street, I went off the curb, swung out into the street, looked back, and saw a bus bumper about 5 feet behind me. Oh #$%#^&%... I crashed on the curb, flipped off, hit my head and had a concussion. Somebody took me and my brother home, and the doctor came, and I ended up OK (at least I think so!) after a few days.

My brother had a Flexy accident also. Ivy Street west from 29th is downhill and a dead end with a circle and a concrete blockade with a slot in it at the bottom of the hill. We would race each other down the hill and back up. My brother went down too fast once, hit the curb at the blockade and was vaulted through the two foot high slot in the blockade, landing on the hillside below. It could have been worse than it was, of course! I won that race as I recall.

My brother and I had a paper route for about 8 years. We were not allowed to use bicycles to deliver our twice-a-week neighborhood newspaper. We used the Flexies with boxes filled with rubber-banded papers that we threw onto the porches, except for our special customers - the ones that paid 50 cents a month for the paper. Those we delivered to the front porch and put in the door handle. Mr. Stotler was our favorite customer. He was an elderly gentleman who lived alone in an apartment, and he hosted card games one night during the week. We always timed our "collection" night for a card game night, so we could "show off" to his buddies. Mr. Stotler would give us money if we could recite some lessons - the state capitals, the alphabet backwards, the National Parks, the books of the Bible, etc. It was great fun - we appreciated Mr. Stotler for both the extra money and, in retrospect, for the memory lessons - I can still say the alphabet backwards real fast.

My brother and I received BB guns (and coonskin caps) for Christmas in 1955 or so (during the Davy Crockett craze). We carried them over to friends houses, down to the Park, up to the shopping area, etc. We were always looking for birds to shoot, and if not birds, then something that would make a noise, like a trash can lid. I don't think I ever hit a bird or an animal no matter how hard I tried. One day, my friend Butch was down by the garage, and I was up on the back stairs landing. There was a metallic thing fixed to the garage wall, so I shot at that, and hit it. The problem was that the ricochet hit Butch just below his eye. His parents, and mine, were really mad at me. Butch cried, then laughed.

Butch's parents were in the jukebox business - they sold, rented and repaired big Wurlitzer jukeboxes to restaurants, bars and hotels. We were always over at Butch's house to listen to music and watch his dad repair the jukeboxes. Occasionally, they took me along on deliveries. Butch's parents flew small airplanes competitively - his mom won the Powder Puff Derby several times. In 1956, they were going on vacation, flying to Sacramento CA, Medford OR and Bellingham WA to visit friends and family. I was invited to fill the 4th seat and be Butch's companion. We had a wonderful time - it was so neat to see the land below and all of the geography that I had seen on maps but not in person. My mother was beside herself until we returned - she had second thoughts about letting me go after we left.

During the summer, we would go to the Municipal Pool in Balboa Park to swim. This was great fun - we had diving and swimming underwater contests and the like. We also rode our bikes around the park - over to the Zoo, out to the Bocce Field on 6th avenue, to the museums along El Prado (I loved the Natural History Museum - all of those dinosaur and other bones). We also took up roller skating at Skateland at Utah and University, and bowling at Aztec Bowl at 30th and Meade.

I was in a bowling league from the time I was 10 or 12. As a kid of 14, my bowling average was around 135. My brother and I were in a Saturday kids league for many years. My dad bowled in several top men's leagues in the city, and as a teenager I would go with him on Friday nights to keep score or just watch. One of the absolute highlights of these years was Saturday mornings - my dad would buy day-old doughnuts, cream puffs, eclairs and other goodies on the way home and we would devour them on Saturday mornings. Funny what you remember, eh?

After elementary school, I attended Roosevelt Junior High School at Park Blvd and Upas Street. I rode the school bus in the morning, and took the #7 bus downtown and the #2 bus on the way home. When I was in the 7th grade, several bigger guys pounded me on the school bus going home one day, and I tried to avoid the school bus home after that. The benefit to that was that I could go to the San Diego public library downtown after school, do my homework, read there or check out books, etc. I learned a lot by browsing the stacks. It was great practice for genealogy.

Girlfriends? I was painfully shy, very small, with glasses. When I was 16, I was only 5 feet tall and weighed 100 pounds. I do remember going to dances at church and at school, but I was basically a wallflower. I knew and liked (loved?) several girls, but I doubt that they knew who I was. All hope and no action for me for a long time.

Junior High classwork was exhilarating - I loved Math and quickly went through algebra and geometry. English, History and Social Studies were great. I started Latin in 9th grade and excelled in it. PE was OK except for the showers...I failed miserably at wood shop, art and music, much to the dismay of my parents - why didn't I get those genes too?

Little League came to North Park in 1957 - and I was a year too old for it. My brother played and my dad coached, and I kept score for their team. My dad tried to get me into a nearby Pony League (for 13-14 year olds) but my lack of size, lefthandedness and bad eyes meant I couldn't hit a lick and could only play the outfield. I was scared of the ball - my baseball playing career ended abruptly. My brother did well, and I was never really jealous of his success, but my dad started to live his dreams through my brother's baseball skills. I kept score, pitched batting practice and learned techniques, strategy and rules.

I often retreated into my studies and found other things to keep my interest. We often listened to the Padres minor league team games on the radio. At the age of 10, I invented a baseball game using dice and played fantastic make-believe games keeping score and statistics of the players. I also announced the games just like the guy on the radio - funny how the Padres always seemed to win.

For me, every day was a challenge at school - I tried to be better than everybody else in my school work because I was not physically competitive in those years. I did what I had to do to survive and to feel good about my academic accomplishments. That made my folks happy - I was little trouble to them over the years, but it set a high standard for my brother.

I guess I'll talk about my high school years in Part 3. There may be a Part 4 too - college and my first job. I doubt if I'll deal here with my first real love (a girl, I mean, not baseball, bowling, football, geography, history or mathematics). Perhaps that will be in the real memoirs - I don't want my kids thinking I had no love life at all.

If you have read this far, I imagine you are saying to yourself "what a boring life." For me, it was a great time to be a kid in San Diego.

World Vital Records subscription offer

I received the following email offer from World Vital Records yesterday, and thought it was worthy of posting here.

"March 2007 was's biggest month in our 6 month history! In March we signed up 905 new members and had a 29% increase over February! February was previously the best month in our history. Since our first member joined in October of 2006, membership has grown to almost 7,000 members! And we are off to a 'Good' start so far in April.

"However, 'Good' isn't good enough for our CEO, Paul Allen. He wants another 'Great' month and at least a 30% increase over March. For this reason, we are pulling out all of the stops and are offering the BEST DEAL we have ever offered on our site: $48.00 for a 2 year membership, plus a FREE downloadable copy of Everton's Handybook for Genealogists. The Handybook is a popular book that we sell on our site for $50.

"This special membership offer is good through April 30th, 2007. Click here to join and get the downloadable Handybook for Genealogists."

In addition, WVR notes that every new database on their site has FREE access for the first 10 days it is posted.

Frankly, I haven't signed up for World Vital Records because the databases offered to date are either offered elsewhere or are not of any use to me in my research. I may change my mind over the next few months as they add content.

Go to and check out their databases - perhaps it is just the web site that can help you solve a brick wall research problem.

22nd Carnival of Genealogy is big! And good!

Jasia at Creative Gene has posted the 22nd edition of the Carnival of Genealogy. There are 26 entries by 23 bloggers (heck, if I had known I coulda submitted more than one...well).

This issue of the Carnival was a "Carousel," meaning a post on any topic. There's a lot of good writing there - go read them all at

By the way, I selected "Their Odyssey - To San Diego" as my carnival entry.

The topic for the next edition of the COG is: School Days. Share a school memory of your own or a story about an ancestor. Maybe you know the history of a one-room school house your ancestor attended, or maybe you have some teachers on the family tree you'd care to write about. Grade school, high school, or college... this is a subject everyone can write about, even if it's only about the school of hard knocks!

The deadline for the next Carnival of Genealogy is May 1st. Please submit your blog article to the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

More CVGS Survey Results

I want to finish up the Chula Vista Genealogical Society member survey results so I can move on to other issues.

As mentioned previously, we had 24 responses to the survey (about 30% of our membership), and these were, IMHO, our more active members - those who attend the society meetings and participate in other activities.

Q: Have you done research at the San Diego Family History Center? If so, often often do you go there?
A: YES - 80%, NO - 20%
Once a year - 52%; 2-4 times a year - 24%; 5-10 times a year - 10%; More than 10 times a year - 14%.

Q: Have you done research at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City? If so, how often have you been there?
A: YES - 16%; NO - 84%
Once - 2; Twice - 1; 11 times - 1

Q: At what San Diego County libraries have you done genealogy research?
A: (24 responses)
* Chula Vista Public Library - 87%
* Carlsbad Public Library - 83%
* San Diego Public Library - 46%
* San Diego Genealogical Society Library - 17%
* None - 8%

Q: What other genealogy societies do you belong to? (24 responses, some with more than one)
* None - 67%
* National Genealogical Society (NGS) - 8%
* Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego (CGSSD) - 8%
* San Diego Genealogical Society (SDGS) - 4%
* New England Historical Genealogical Society (NEHGS) - 4%
* New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYGBS) - 4%
* California State Genealogical Alliance (CSGA) - 4%
* New York Jewish Genealogical Society - 4%
* Essex Society of Genealogy (ESOG) - 4%
* Central New York Gen. Society - 4%
* Indiana Genealogical Society - 4%
* Pennsylvania Genealogical Society - 4%

Q: What genealogy magazines or periodicals do you subscribe to? (24 responses)
* None - 71%
* Family Tree Magazine - 17%
* Everton's Genealogical Helper - 4%
* The American Genealogist - 4%

Q: Have you attended the CVGS Research Group? If so, how often? (24 responses)
A: YES - 86; NO - 14%
* Monthly - 25%
* Regularly - 21%
* Several times - 32%
* Twice - 8%
* Once - 4%

Q: Have you attended the CVGS Computer Group? If so, how often? (23 responses)
A: YES - 74%; NO - 26%
* Monthly - 22%
* Regularly - 17%
* Several times - 26%
* Once - 9%

Q: What suggestions do you have for ways CVGS can better serve you, or help you pursue genealogy research? (6 responses)
* Offer a mentor to new members to answer questions
* Offer a trip to Salt Lake City
* Offer software training
* Offer step-by-step tutorial training for beginners
* Help with ahnentafel report
* More detailed computer training and help.

What conclusions can you draw from these responses? Some of mine are:

1) CVGS membership is fairly isolated - a super-majority of the respondents are not members of any other society or read magazines or periodicals.

2) CVGS membership has done research at the FHC, CVPL and Carlsbad library - but not very often. We take research trips to Carlsbad, SDPL and SDGS every year, and most of the respondents who listed those sites went on the trips.

3) A super-majority of the respondents have attended the CVGS Research and Computer groups.

4) Among the respondents, there is a need for basic computer training, for genealogy software training, tutorial training and mentoring.

What about the other 70% of the membership? What do they need? First, they need to answer the questionnaire so that CVGS leaders can try to address their needs!

I hope these membership survey questions, and the responses, have been of interest to you. They have been revealing to CVGS leaders. I would be very interested in survey results from other societies. If you want a copy of the CVGS survey, I will be happy to send the survey to you via email attachment (please contact me at rjseaver(at)

My opinion is that every society needs to survey their membership regularly - CVGS tries to do it every two years. How else do you know what the membership experience, knowledge, skills and needs are?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Putting the desktop back together

This is mostly a genealogy-free post...I posted back in February about the failure of my desktop computer. In late March, I was able to recover all of my files, except for my email files, at my daughter's house courtesy of my IT son-in-law, who has a USB enclosure to recover data files.

I got my desktop computer back on last Friday from my son-in-law who installed a new hard drive in it, installed Windows XP, and blew out the dust. I waited until today to try to sort things out, since my daughter and granddaughter were here over the weekend, and I knew my computer time would be limited.

I got home from the CVGS "Computer Basics" class, and a nice lunch with my colleagues, at 1 PM. By 2 PM I started reconstructing the desktop computer setup. The steps I took included:

1) Connect the monitor, mouse, router/modem, speakers, external hard drive and printer to the computer box. Plug it in, turn it on, it works!

2) It sensed "new hardware" in the form of the printer, so I had to get out the printer CD to install the all-in-one printer.

3) Found my Works for Windows, MSWord and other Microsoft software that came with the unit two years ago, and installed that.

4) Tried the Internet connection and made it work. Went to the McAfee web site, entered my user ID and password, and downloaded the Virus protection software that I have paid for. No problem!

5) Tried the Outlook Express connection and made it work - I had printed off a number of informative articles from my ISP earlier. Set up the accounts and identities for my wife and myself.

6) Went onto the laptop and moved hundreds of emails to the Inbox so they would download to the desktop.

7) On the desktop computer, Outlook Express downloaded over 400 emails to my accounts and 200 to Linda's account. I then went into each account and reconstructed the address books and email groups for both us, using the eddresses and names in the From or To headers.

8) Back on the laptop, I saved my Favorites to the flash drive, then put the flash drive into the desktop computer, and imported the Favorites I had set up on the laptop. The Internet setup for both computers are nearly identical.

9) Back on the Internet and downloaded the program suite, ran the installation procedure and tested it.

10) Found my FamilyTreeMaker 2005 CD and installed the software. Tested it out on my databases. No problems.

11) Copied the My Documents folder from the external hard drive (previously copied from the laptop to the external drive) onto the desktop computer. The desktop directories now look like the laptop directories. This took about a hour for 12 Gb of data.

12) In Outlook Express, I set up my folders and sub-folders and started transferring messages into the folders. I did about 100 before I stopped.

13) On the Internet, I accessed many of my subscription sites and accessed them, saving the user IDs and passwords.

I did take time to watch the Padres game, eat dinner, and watch "24" tonight.

So, 8 hours after I started, I'm pretty well set up to do all of my genealogy work on the desktop computer again, with a real keyboard and mouse, and a large screen with true colors (not subject to the angle of the screen).

Genealogy blogging will resume on Tuesday! Stay tuned!

UPDATE 4/17, 4:30 PM: I wasn't done, of course! I had to download Adobe Reader, CutePDF and Picasa2 and install them. I still have to download the trial versions of RootsMagic and Legacy genealogy software so that I can try them out. There are probably other software items that I'm missing - I'm sure I'll figure it all out sometime! I have my email pile down to about 120 to delete or save. I need to save the real "keepers" as files on my hard drive so they get backed up to the external hard drive.

Della's Journal - Week 16 (April 16-22, 1929)

This is Installment 16 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 16:


Tuesday, April 16 (warm): Had doctor for Ma. Her nerves bother her [when it]gets chilly. He thinks she will be all right now. I went to town, deposited Mrs. Watson's check $60, Austin's $90 in Bank of Italy, $20 in San Diego Savings and looked at their display of tulips, they were lovely. It is the banks 40 yr anniversary. Monarck Drug Co. having 1 c[ent] sale, got A[ustin] 4 bottles Magnesia (?).

Wednesday, April 17 (cloudy, a little cooler): Got some more drugs, see expenses. Wrote to Mary Dyar. We got notes from Union Title that they had not gotten the 2nd yet. Lyle, E[mily] & Betty went to Spreckles Theatre to see Huckleberry Finn. Dr. came today, gave Ma some more medicine & I paid him $6 for the two visits.

Thursday, April 18: Ma fainted this A.M. in toilet but got along during the day. I telephoned the Dr. he had me give rest of Med. & to keep him posted. Mrs. Chapman came over.

Friday, April 19 (showered): Ma some better, pain less & belching also. She had quiet day.

Saturday, April 20 (pleasant): Ben & Myrtle came down, called here at 3 P.M. then later Rose came, stayed all night to Sunday. Ma was dressed & out on lounge all day. Mrs Nolan Pd check.

Sunday, April 21 (pleasant): Ben Myrtle Rose & I went with the folks to see Mrs. Evans' gardens, they were lovely. On way home saw the airplane accident. 5 killed in big plane and one in little plane. We did not tell Ma about it untill next day. Geo. came to supper & take rose home.

Monday, April 22 (warmer): Ma dressed and waited on herself. Has letter from Ed he was sick with a chill Fri[day] so did not come over Sat[urday]. I wrote him & sent check $6.


Most of this week is about Abigail (Vaux) Smith's sickness and weakness - even the doctor is involved now. Austin's brother, Ed, is sick again and can't work, but it is obvious to me that Della and Austin support him each week. They had visitors again - I don't know who Rose and George are. Ben and Myrtle (Crouch) Milbank are from Long Beach - Myrtle is Della's first cousin.

April in San Diego has variable weather - then and now! I wonder what caused the plane crash? I should look into that, I guess.

More CVGS Member Survey Results

I wrote two earlier posts (here and here) about the results from our survey of Chula Vista Genealogical Society members. We had 24 responses, about 30% of our membership. However, these were members who attended our meetings, so they are "active" in society activities.

Q: How many years have you been pursuing genealogy research (23 responses)?
A: less than 1 year - 17%; 1-5 years - 22%; 6-10 years - 9%; 10-20 years - 22%; over 20 years - 30%.

Q: How many years have you been a member of CVGS (21 responses)?
A: less than 1 year - 19%; 1-5 years - 48%; 6-10 years - 19%; 10-20 years - 10%; over 20 years - 5%.

Q: What caused you to start doing genealogy research?
* Interest in ancestors - 13%
* Wanted family info - 13%
* Curiosity - 13%
* Family papers - 13%
* Record for children - 4%
* Family member - 29%
* Doing memoirs - 4%
* History buff - 4%
* Discover grandparents name - 4%

Q: How often do you do some genealogy activity (21 responses)
A: Daily - 24%; 2-6 days a week - 10%; Weekly - 29%; 2-4 times a month - 10%; Monthly - 19%; Occasionally - 5%; Rarely - 5%

Q: In what areas of the USA do you have ancestry (24 responses, some with several areas)?
* New England - 25%
* NY, NJ, PA - 54%
* MD, DE, VA, NC, SC - 17%
* GA, FL, AL, MS - 13%
* KY, TN - 17%
* OH, MI, WI, IN, IL - 54%
* KS, MO, NE, IA, MN, SD, ND - 29%
* TX, OK, LA, AR - 17%
* Mountain states - 8%
* CA, OR, WA, AZ, NV - 21%

Q: Have you been to at least one of those areas to perform research (20 responses)
A: YES - 50%; NO - 50%

Q: In what foreign countries do you have ancestry (24 responses, some with multiple answers)?
* England/Wales - 58%
* Scotland - 17%
* Ireland - 46%
* Germany - 71%
* France - 25%
* Benelux - 21%
* Scandinavia - 17%
* Central Europe - 8%
* Baltic States - 4%
* Spain - 4%
* Mexico - 4%
* Armenia - 4%
* Canada - 17%

Q: Have you been to any of these countries to perform research (21 responses)
A: YES - 19%, NO - 81%

I am not sure that these responses represent all of our membership - but they sound about right to me (the exception might be the experience questions - our nonresponders may be more experienced). The conclusions I draw from them include:

1) 50% of our respondents have been researching for less than 10 years.

2) About 20% of our respondents do something genealogy related every day. Over 50% do something at least weekly.

3) Our members have research interests in many US regions, and mainly in western Europe.

4) About 50% of our respondents have traveled to do research

Are these typical of your local society? Has your society done a survey like this? How do you interpret our results?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

One Year of Genea-blogging

One year ago today, I decided to start a blog called "Randy's Musings." I thought that the world would care to know my deep thoughts and shallow feelings (those words are still on Cyndi's List of blogs, by the way) about genealogy, politics, science, religion, sports, music, family, etc. Of course, the world didn't really notice this small blip on the Internet. I quickly dumped politics, science and religion from the mix - I never posted on those subjects. I posted several times about my favorite music from the '50s and '60s, posted pictures of the family, and faithfully posted reports on every 10 game block of my beloved Padres 2006 season through June.

On May 5, after an extended shower, I changed the name of this effort to "Genea-Musings." By the end of June, I had decided to concentrate solely on genealogy posts, and started a Randy's Busy Life blog to cover the sports and family things, adding in jokes from my email correspondents.

There were 801 posts over the first year of this blog. Some were funny (I hope!), some were poignant, some were useful to other researchers, and some were a terrible waste of electrons. I'd like to think that my posts have helped other researchers find web sites and data to further their own family history. Needless to say, I've really enjoyed writing the posts, and hearing from my readers along the way.

It is often a challenge to find meaningful content every day (that's been my goal - not always achieved!). Sometimes I plan ahead on a topic, but usually I read something on a mailing list, in an email, in a magazine or newsletter, or on a web site that strikes me as "blog fodder" and I go ahead and post it. I've been trying to "test drive" web sites with my own research problems to see how easy they are to use, and to determine how much information might be gleaned from them. I'm really just a genealogy researcher pretending to be a blogger.

Every reader is precious to me, since there are so few. During May 2006, I had about 600 unique visits, or an average of about 20 per day. During March 2007, I had about 4,700 unique visits, or an average of almost 157 per day. Since I started the blog, there have been about 45,000 page views. In the grand scheme of genealogy news and views, those statistics pale by comparison to some other genea-bloggers like Dick Eastman, Leland Meitzler, Chris Dunham and Juliana Smith. I really do appreciate my readers and hope that they continue to visit my little corner of the genealogy world.

Other noted genea-bloggers, like Joe Beine and Megan Smolenyak, also started their blogs in April 2006. I salute them for their hard work and success. I also salute all of the people who have stepped out and told their stories, posted their ancestry, demonstrated how to do research and exhibited examples of their research on their genealogy blogs. It's funny - each genealogy blogger has special interests - things they like to blog about - and the whole genea-blogosphere seems like it is more than the sum of its parts. And it's all GOOD.

What's in the future for Genea-Musings? Probably more of the same - I need to finish Della's Journal (only 37 more weeks!), write more "30th Street memories," discuss the present and future of genealogy research, find more useful web sites, continue my search for elusive ancestors, or the parents of them, like Cornelia Bresee, etc. There are still some strange or peculiar names to find in the census records, and there certainly are many San Diego area genealogy society programs to attend and summarize.

Stay tuned. Thanks for reading. Suggestions are welcome. Please comment more!