Saturday, May 19, 2007

Bill Dollarhide's 45 Laws of Genealogy

I ran across the article titled "Bill Dollarhide's Laws of Genealogy" the other day, and wanted to post a link to it for everybody to enjoy. The latest version is at

I think my favorites are these:

"14. Always interview brothers and sisters together in the same room. Since they can't agree on anything about the family tree, it makes for great fun to see who throws the first punch."

"27. Research in one county that leads you to information in another county will only be revealed on the last day of your vacation. "

"39. Genealogy is the examination of the maximum amount of data in the maximum amount of time for a minimum result. "

Read them all - they all have a purpose and are words of wisdom from an expert genealogist.

80 Billion Records to go online

80 Billion is a very large number - that's the number of records that the LDS Church hopes to add to in the coming years.

An excellent article in The Deseret Morning News (Salt Lake City, Utah) by Carrie A. Moore, titled "80 Billion Family Files to go online," describes the process that will enable these records to go online. The lead paragraphs say:

" In what officials say will be a quantum leap forward in providing family history information online, the LDS Church has announced a plan designed to eventually help provide access to as many as 80 billion family records on the Web, in addition to the tens of billions of records it is currently indexing out of its own Granite Vault microfilm archives.

"The new Records Access program is being announced this week at the annual meeting of the National Genealogical Society (NGS) in Richmond, Va. The announcement details specifics of how the church is creating partnerships with various archives and other records depositories in a move to become the world's premier international "clearinghouse" for family history."

Some additional meaningful quotes from the article:

"Once the church has signed an agreement to work with a specific organization, personnel there "typically want to recruit their own patrons to help them index. But with imaging the documents — taking digital photos of them — we do that for them in almost all cases. ... They want preservation-quality digital images, and we do that better than anybody. We've been doing it for decades," to produce the 2.4 million rolls of microfilm that now reside in the church's Granite Mountain near the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon, Anderson said."

"As a result of the "affiliate arrangement," Anderson said will "have all the indexes for everything. You can think of it more or less like a Google — you go there to find the source of information you're looking for. Sometimes we're the source, and sometimes a third party is the source."

Read the whole article to get the full gist of this LDS Records Access program.

I think that it is extremely well thought out and will continue for a very long time. I especially like that they will work with small and large companies and organizations to digitize and index holdings. I can see genealogy and historical societies having the following digitized:

1) Pedigree charts or family group sheets

2) "Vertical files" submitted for safe-keeping by members or estates - these can hold absolutely unique records like family Bible pages, journals, letters, etc.

3) Newsletters or periodicals. Many societies publish local records in paper format, which end up in personal libraries or library shelves (or locked local history rooms).

There may be copyright issues with some of these records. That will have to be worked out between the record holders and the society.

And the absolute best part of all of this activity by the LDS church is that access to the indexes and the digital images will be FREE.

Friday, May 18, 2007

24th Carnival of Genealogy is Posted

Jasia has posted the 24th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy (this completes one year I think!) at The topic for this edition was Mothers - Moms, and the 18 submissions are chock full of interesting and sentimental musings and stories about mothers.

Check out the Carnival, and read all of the posts. You may find some interesting and different genealogy blogs in the process.

The next Carnival deadline is June 1. The topic for the next edition of the COG will be: "Who inherited the Creative Gene in your family?" We're all aware of someone on the family tree who was/is "the creative one" or "the talented one"... the painter, musician, poet, wood carver, interior designer, writer, knitter, singer, calligrapher, or such. Tell us about their creative pursuits. Let's hear it for the creatives! Please submit your blog article to the next edition of Carnival of Genealogy using our carnival submission form.

CVGS Program on Monday, 5/21

San Diego area genealogists may be interested in the next Chula Vista Genealogical Society program on Monday, May 21, at 10 AM in the Chula Vista Civic Center Library Auditorium. Note that this is the 3rd Monday, not the last Monday - Memorial Day is the last Monday of May and the library is closed.

After our normal society business meeting, the program will be about "Naming Customs," presented by Bernice Heiter, a member of CVGS. The summary of the program is:

"The presentation will discuss naming patterns followed by most families during the 17th and 18th Centuries, customs which many of us in genealogy find baffling and frustrating today. Tips will be given on ways to overcome this dilemma. Naming customs in various cultures will be discussed, including some family names, or surnames, such as the French-Canadian 'dit' names, some name endings used in certain nationalities, and finding the correct family name in Spanish and Portuguese family names."

Please join us for this meeting. Visitors and guests are always welcome to all of our meetings.

Speaking at Questing Heirs on Sunday

This intrepid genea-muser is going on a genealogy road trip this weekend to speak to the Questing Heirs Genealogical Society in Long Beach CA on Sunday. We had QHGS President Liz Stookesberry Myers speak to CVGS in March, and I agreed to make a presentation at her society meeting.

The society meets in the parish hall of the Resurrection Lutheran Church at 1900 East Carson Street in Long Beach CA (approximately 1 mile north of Interstate 405, one block west of Cherry Avenue).

At 1:15 PM, there will be a "Let's Get Acquainted" session where John McCoy will interview me, asking hard questions like "what is a blog" and "what advice do you have..." After a break, I will present "Finding Your Elusive Ancestors in the Census Haystack" starting around 2:30 PM.

The summary of this talk is:

"Have you found ALL of the census entries for your ancestors? If not, why not? Probably because they were not enumerated or indexed correctly - and they are lost in the haystack of millions of census entries. The chances of finding your elusive ancestors in the census have improved since the days of printed name indexes, Soundex card searches, and microfilm cranking at the Archives or the FHC.

"This presentation will briefly survey the available census records, discuss the census taking process, examine the change from microfilm to online access to the census records, and describe methods to effectively search for your elusive ancestors using online census indexes and images."

Linda and I will be away from Friday morning until Sunday night, so blogging may be light. The hotel is supposed to have free high-speed Internet access, but "free" access is not always wonderful.

If you attend the QHGS meeting and are a reader of Genea-Musings, please let me know when I am there. I enjoy talking to my faithful readers.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

24 Hours of Genealogy

I posted "My 24 Hours of Genealogy" on the Geneaholic blog today - go see what one of my geneaholic days is like!

Do you think Roots Television would be interested in any of this?

TAG Table of Contents - Jan 2002 to April 2005

The Tables of Contents for The American Genealogist quarterly periodical for January 2002 to April 2005 are online at

I have "captured" these tables of content into a word processing file for my personal use.

TAG Table of Contents - July 2006 issue

The latest published issue of The American Genealogist journal is dated July 2006 (Whole Number 323, Volume 81, No. 3) - published in January 2007.

The Table of Contents includes:

  • William1 Varney of Ipswich and Gloucester, Massachusetts - Kathleen Canney Barber and Janet Ireland Delorey - page 161
  • Of Gravestones and Ashpits - page 171
  • The London Origins of Richard1 Waters of Salem, Massachusetts: Revisited - William Wyman Fiske - page 172
  • The Devil and Betty Jackson - page 182
  • The Daniel3 and Mary (Cloyse) Waters Family of Topsfield, Massachusetts and Killingly, Connecticut - John Bradley Arthaud - page 183
  • A Tale of Two Regicides: Daniel Axtell and Cornelius Holland (and Their Son and Daughter, Who Helped Save the Carolinas) (continued) - Paul C. Reed - page 192
  • Slante! (Or the Medical virtues of Hog's Dung) - page 198
  • Hannah Parsons and Her Four Husbands: Early Mormon History and Apostasy - Alvy Ray Smith and Marsha Hoffman Rising - page 199
  • Hester (Ijams) Nicholson of Anne Arundel County, Maryland - Donna Valley Russell - page 220
  • The Maternal Ancestry of Phebe1 Bisby, Wife of New England Colonists Thomas1 Bracy of Ipswich and New Haven and Samuel1 Martin of New Haven - Leslie Mahler - page 224
  • The Agony of (Denominational) Divorce (Congregational vs. Unitarian) - page 237
  • John2 Cole and Family of Plymouth and Swansea, Massachusetts, and Portsmouth, Rhode Island: With Additional Corrections to Cole Literature (concluded) - Eugene Cole Zabriskie - page 238
  • Astrological Deniability - page 245
  • The English Burial and Estate Administration of Gilbert1 Winslow of Plymouth Colony - Neil D. Thompson - page 246
  • Editorial Notes and Observations - page 247
The articles above without authors listed are fillers - and are almost always humorous or quirky.

TAG is the periodical that I find adds the most "new material" to my own ancestral lines, since the articles are mainly about southern New England fmailies, especially Rhode Island and Plymouth Colony families. It is a are issue that goes by without something of value to my research.

NEHGR Contents - April 2007 - in PDF Form!

I am going to try to post the tables of contents of the periodicals and journals that I subscribe to and read. It is very difficult to find articles on my bookcase without browsing each issue. This way I can put them under the "periodical indexes" label and I can (and you can too!) browse them by clicking on one link. I know PERSI eventually indexes them, but it is updated only occasionally.

The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 161, No. 2, April 2007, Whole Number 642, contents include:

  • Editorial -- pg 83
  • Ancestry of Bennet Eliot of Nazeing, Essex, Father of Seven Great Migration Immigrants to Massachusetts William Wyman Fiske - pg. 85
  • Abraham Toppan Was Not a Yorkshire Man Brandon Fradd - pg. 92
  • The English Origins of Jeffrey Staple of Weymouth, Massachusetts Gail Staples - pg. 95
  • The English Ancestry of Thomas Burton of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, Signer of the Remonstrance 1646 Peter Ray - pg. 101
  • Abiah Coye (ca. 1720-ca. 1783) of Preston, Connecticut, and Hallowell, Maine Judith Waite Freeman - pg. 113
  • A Small Window of Opportunity: The Norris Family Returns to Tamlaghtmore, Co. Tyrone, Ireland Sharon DeBartolo Carmack - pg. 119
  • Abigail (Lothrop) Huntington's Second Husand, Samuel Baker Don Blauvelt - pg. 123
  • Genealogy of Samuel Peirce, First Settler of Zoar, Massachusetts Jon Wardlow - pg. 127
  • The Nathaniel and Anna (Balch) (Rich) Wallis Family of Beverly, Massachusetts Michael Boyer O’Leary and John Bradley Arthaud - pg. 138
  • Genealogist John Farmer Discovers His Ancestry: The Warwickshire Family of Edward1 Farmer, Isabel1 (Farmer) (Wyman) (Blood) Green, and Thomas1 Pollard Nathaniel Lane Taylor (continued from 161:72) - pg. 146
  • Reviews of Books and CD-ROMs - pg. 156

On another note, the issues for January 2007 and April 2007 are available to members in PDF form on the Publications tab. The page notes:

"In response to member requests, NEHGS is pleased to present a print-formatted, downloadable version of the Register. Members may now access and print selected pages or entire issues of the Register directly from our website!"

The issues can be downloaded and printed using Adobe Reader. When I find an article that I want to put into my files, I can now print it out at home rather than take the periodical to the copy machine at the library or copy shop and pay 15 cents a copy. The print quality is much better too!

This is probably one way that genealogy societies - from the small local to the big national - can reduce their costs and serve their members better. CVGS has done this - about 50% of our members download and print the monthly newsletter from the web site (we password protect it and distribute the password to the members via email).

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Google Books has a link to WorldCat

Were you aware that Google Books had a link to the WorldCat database of library holdings?

When you search for a book on Google Books using key words (just like you would search on the web or in images), you get a list of books that contain your search words in the title or in the book text. If you select one of the items in the book list, then you see the digital image of a page from the book that you clicked on.

On the right hand side of this web page, there is a link for "Find this book in a library" Click on that link and you will receive a list of libraries, in order of distance from your location, that has the book available. This information is from the WorldCat database.

If you are going to be researching in a different locale, then you can change the "Location Information" at the top of the page.

For some library entries, you can click on the "Book" link and see the library catalog entry. There is also a link for "Library Information" to find the address, phone number and open hours for that library.

I somehow missed the announcement of this capability - it is really a neat way to find books in digital format and also in print!

More FamilySearch partnerships

Dear Myrtle has a post this morning about additional FamilySearch partnerships. We already know about Footnote and World Vital Records. The additional partnerships are with:

1) Kindred Konnections (

2) HeritageQuestOnline (

3) Godfrey Library (

Myrt's source was a post on the FHC email network, provided below:

"The information came from FHCSupport through the center’s LDSMail accounts this afternoon about new databases to be available to Family History Centers soon. The information was sent to FHC Directors, and the procedures for accessing these databases will be sent to the Directors when they become available. The databases to become available are:
· World Vital Records (
· Kindred Konnections (
· Godfrey Memorial Library (
· Heritage Quest Online "

Tim Steinberger, Director Brookings Oregon Family History Center


This is more good news for genealogy researchers.

And everybody thought that the FHCs would become obsolete and wither away with the loss of the access. Remember?

I can hardly wait for more shoes to drop at the NGS Conference!

World Vital Records partnerships

There were several announcements today at the National Genealogical Society conference in Richmond, Virginia. The announcements concerning World Vital Records include partnerships with:

1) FamilySearch (see full report here): will provide a vast collection of genealogical materials including vital, land, immigration, and military records; newspapers, international databases, and a collection of reference material. also partnered with Everton Publishers last year to provide the Everton Genealogical Library containing numerous databases, as well as 60 years of the Everton Genealogical Helper and 150,000 Everton Pedigree Files and Family Group Sheets.

"At Everton's we are excited about the fact that for the first time, genealogists have easy access to tens of thousands of queries, family group sheets, pedigree charts, and more from the past 60 years of the Genealogical Helper," said Leland Meitzler, Managing Editor, Everton Publishers.

In addition to making all content free, each family history centers will have access to, a new social genealogical Web site that enables individuals to connect with genealogists from more than 1,600 cities.

2) Quintin Publications (see full article here):

Quintin Publications' extensive collection of records includes state vital records, town and county histories, family histories, historical maps and gazetteers, modern publications by genealogists (after 1923), and international works.

"These unique collections will significantly increase the amount of databases and geographical information we have to offer at, and (a new genealogy social networking site sponsored by, and will add greater value to every subscription," said Yvette Arts, Director, Content Acquisition.

3) Historic Ellis Island Passenger Records (see full article here):

Today, we're pleased to announce the expanded availability of passenger arrival records which the Foundation has continued to provide at Ellis Island and as a free service online since first introducing the database in April 2001." The records document the arrival of 25 million immigrants, U.S. citizens, and crew members arriving through the Port of New York from 1892 to 1924.


With the announcement that World Vital Records will be available for FREE at the Family History Library, that means that patrons at the FHL/FHC can access many databases previously behind a subscription firewall.

This is all good for researchers, and a very shrewd move by both FamilySearch (get more people into the FHCs) and WVR (get more visitors to their web site, which will translate into more subscriptions).

Thanks to Dick Eastman for his posting of the press releases from these companies. I linked to Dick's posts rather than the press releases themselves.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Acadians in New England

You learn something new every day (well, I do, I hope you do too!). I always thought that ALL of the Acadians were removed to Louisiana (or escaped to Quebec, or died) when the English took control of what is now Nova Scotia in the mid- 1700's.

I was doing a little research for a family friend who is descended from Acadians who migrated from Nova Scotia to New England in the late 1800's. She wanted to know about a French Huguenot Church in Haverhill MA and had not been able to find anything about it. She had heard that her great-grandfather was one of the church founders in the late 1800's. I was surprised to hear about Acadians in New England - even if they were Protestant!

I posted a note to the Essex County MA mailing list ( asking for information, and I got a response from a Congregational/UCC minister in Massachusetts. He consulted his Congregational/UCC resources and found some information about current churches in Haverhill, and some information on the French churches there that were absorbed by the Congregational Church in the early 1900's.

One of the links provided by my correspondent was to, which provides a narrative of the Acadians who emigrated to New England. It was an interesting read.

My friend gave me her great-grandfather's name, and her grandmother's name, so I am going to look for vital, census and other records to help her find out a little more family history.

Why join a genealogy society?

I posted yesterday about finding my comments in the July 2007 issue of Family Tree Magazine in an article about declining membership in genealogy societies. I received an email query from Diane Haddad in February, who wanted to know more information in response to my blog post last August. Her query to me concerned this comment in my blog post:

"... You can spend months collecting new data for your family, without knowing a whole lot about doing real genealogy research in original sources. This type of 'pajamas research' appeals to the generation of boomers (still working) who want everything 'now.' Unfortunately, many don't want, or don't realize the need, to take the next step and go to a library, join a society or attend a conference."

Diane's two questions were:


1. If one of those "pajamas researchers" asked you "I research on and other online databases, I network with other genealogists through mailing lists, and I make it to the library every once in a while. Why do I need to join a society to do 'real research'?" What would you tell him?

My response was:

What you are describing is "searching," not "researching." While, other online databases, message board and mailing list posts, and books at the library are wonderful resources that help us find probable ancestors and other researchers, they are not enough to "prove" relationships. In most cases, those online resources and library books are based on data submitted by other researchers, and do not [always] contain primary information from original sources. You cannot prove relationships using this information - but you can use the information to find the information that will prove relationships.

"Real research" will take you into the land, probate, court, tax, vital, military and other original sources that document relationships and events in each person's life. These records are, in general, not digitized or indexed online. They can only be found at county courthouses, historical societies, the National Archives, in manuscripts at local repositories, or on microfilm that can be borrowed from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Note that the goal of the Family History Library is to digitize and index these records.

So why join a genealogy society? The simple answer is "So that you can take advantage of the collected and shared knowledge of a group of experienced genealogists, and can broaden your own knowledge through educational classes, seminars and guest speakers." The local societies are the entry to the world of genealogy education.

Each researcher knows something about one or more subjects, or one or more localities, and inevitably your interests will overlap their interests. Most genealogists are very willing to share their knowledge, and to help other researchers. Many of these people have many years of experience (many from before there was an Internet), and their knowledge is invaluable. Genealogy education is a lifelong experience that is tremendously rewarding for each researcher. Hopefully, if you gain specialized information and significant experience, you can share your knowledge with others in a genealogy society, as a program or seminar speaker, or as a writer.


Question 2. Perhaps it¹s not so much that people need it now - maybe they're casually interested in genealogy, don't have time to more fully pursue the hobby, or first encountered genealogy through the Internet and haven't yet learned societies exist. They're not in your 20 percent. Can societies change to appeal to these people (and should they)? If so, how?

My answer was:

The reality of local genealogy societies (and to some extent, regional and national societies) is that they are mainly composed of retired people who have the time and interest to do genealogy research and enjoy the social aspect of societies. Many local societies have seen their membership drop significantly due to aging and the perception by some that the "Internet has everything I need." Consequently, it is necessary for all societies to try to attract those that are casually interested or are unaware that local societies exist.

How to appeal to those people is difficult - it can only be done by offering services that will draw them to classes, meetings, seminars or societies. FREE services are better than a perceived high cost. Publicity about society events in newspapers, on library bulletin boards, or on web sites may attract these people. Weekend or evening programs may attract people who are working during the week. A society working with a local library to reach out to the community with "Family History Day" or "Consult a Genealogist" programs may attract those who have an interest but little time.

Those who use the Internet will eventually come across local genealogy societies if the societies have advertised their meetings and services on the Internet - society web pages, links on county USGenWeb pages, or links on personal web sites or blogs. Communication is the key - the society needs to communicate their presence and attract the potential member to participate in the society activities.


Diane used some of my sentences above and skillfully wove them into her article. I usually provide "too much" information in responses like this knowing that a skillful writer will be able to extract the nuggets and leave the fool's gold behind.

I wanted to post this for those of you who don't receive, or read, Family Tree Magazine. And it is a very valid question - why join a genealogy society?

What do you think? Am I on the mark, or did I miss it? What would you add or take away?

Della's Journal - Week 20 (May 14-20, 1929)

This is Installment 20 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 20:


Tuesday, May 14 (warm, but cooler than other days): I went to town. Deposited Mrs. Watson $60 check in SD Savings Bank. Miss Thoren $30 rent & $20 I put back in I had taken out. Letter from Myrtle that they might be down this week or next. Mrs. Nolan told me they expect to move the last of the month to Ocean Beach for 4 mo[nths]. I Pd telephone $2.00.

Wednesday, May 15 (cooler, pretty cloudy): Washed. Louie & wife called in Evening. Want me to get ring for him out of the bank. A[ustin]'s feet bother him at night (A got pdy). Mrs. Montgomery died.

Thursday, May 16 (pleasant some cloudy): Ma washed blankets on her bed. We trimmed trees & changed bed around in her room. Got ring out of Bank box for Louie Pinkham.

Friday, May 17 (pleasant): A[ustin] begins his vacation today, goes back to work June 6 = 20 days. I went down town, deposited $80 of A[ustin]'s. He went to have his feet tended, Pd $9.

Saturday, May 18: A[ustin] had foot treatment at 1 PM. Took check for $28.50 to make half payment of $25. Ed over, cut lawn & cleaned weed off parking. Emily worked all week.

Sunday, May 19 (pleasant): Lyle's did not go to the country. He got a little Pergola for back yard. I fixed flowers & went to Mrs. Montgomery's funeral, there was a big attendance. Mr. J. Johnstone preached. Elta (?) had a sore eye so she could not go. Ma not feeling very well.

Monday, May 20 (pleasant): A[ustin] went & took treatment at 10 A.M. Ma & I went and looked at Mrs. Scofield's kitchen. It was very nice. Ma & I worked in the house.


The names of Mrs. Montgomery and Mrs. Scofield are new to me - perhaps they were neighbors? I wonder who Elta (?) is - a neighbor? Louie Pinkham may be the Louie from "Louie and Ruth" several weeks ago. I will have to check out the Pinkham's. I think Louie was Jessie Kanagy's brother or father.

Austin's feet hurt and the treatment sounds expensive. He has 20 days vacation, which includes Sunday apparently.

FamilySearch and Footnote team up

Another press release from FamilySearch and provides information about their teaming up to digitize and index records. The press release says:

--------------------------------------- Teams with Family Search to Release Revolutionary War Pension Files

LINDON, Utah-(Business Wire)-May 15, 2007 - Today, announced an agreement with FamilySearch, historically known as the Genealogical Society of Utah, a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch is the world's largest repository of genealogical information.

This new partnership brings together two organizations that will utilize their combined resources to digitize and make available many large historical collections. The first project will be the three million U.S. Revolutionary War Pension files which will be published for the first time online in their entirety. "The Revolutionary War Pensions will provide an intimate look into the historical events and individuals that shaped our country's history," said Russell Wilding, CEO of "We are excited about this relationship which enables us to put many more historical collections online."

The Revolutionary War Pension Files feature original records that include muster rolls, payrolls, strength returns and other miscellaneous personnel pay and supply records of American Army Units from 1775-1783. They provide a wealth of new information for historians and genealogists which they can share with other colleagues and family members.

"We are excited to partner with to provide historians and genealogists alike a tremendous source of data that will assist greatly in putting puzzle pieces together to create a rich family history," said Paul Nauta, manager of Public Affairs for FamilySearch. "This affiliation allows us to better meet one of our goals to provide as much data online as fast as possible for those working on their genealogy."

Also, as a part of this agreement, will be accessible for free in all FamilySearch operated centers worldwide. FamilySearch has more than 4,500 Family History Centers in 70 countries.

Since partnering with the National Archives in January 2007, has digitized over eight million historical records. Each month an additional two million documents are digitized and added to the site. estimates that by the end of 2007 it will have made over 25 million digitized documents available on its web site.

To see free examples of the Revolutionary War Pension Files, go to has now begun offering free seven-day trial memberships. To start a free trial, visit

About Footnote, Inc.

Founded in 1997 as iArchives, Inc., Footnote is a subscription-based website that features searchable original documents that provide users with an unaltered view of the events , places and people that shaped the American nation and the world. At all are invited to come to share, discuss, and collaborate on their discoveries with friends, family, and colleagues. For more information, visit

About Family Search

FamilySearch (historically known Genealogical Society of Utah) is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources accessed through, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries.


The FamilySearch strategy for expansion of their resources becomes a bit more evident. Dick Eastman has another post concerning this that is very interesting. Dick also has an earlier post about Godfrey Library ( being a partner to FamilySearch also.

The important issues for me as a researcher in these announcements are:

1) FamilySearch will have the indexes to the digitized images online.

2) The FHL/FHCs will have free access to the actual images on

3) is now offering 7 day free trials.

4) The Revolutionary War Pension Files will be the complete records, not selected records found online at HeritageQuestOnline.

5) The companies working with FamilySearch will have the images online for home or library users, but will probably require with a subscription or per-image fee.

The FamilySearch strategy for their future is being slowly unveiled - it looks like they will partner with commercial companies to help digitize and index new records and then provide free access to the images at the FHL/FHCs. There will be good reasons to go to the FHL and FHCs in the future!

What other companies or institutions will partner with FamilySearch?

What will become of the other commercial genealogy companies - Ancestry, WorldVitalRecords, GenealogyBank, FindMyPast, etc.? Will one or more of them partner with FamilySearch? What about major educational or research repositories like NGS, NEHGS, NYGBS, Allen County PL, Sutro, etc.? What about software companies?

Have you noticed that the pace of startup commercial genealogy companies has increased, and how the established companies/institutions are reacting to the changing marketplace?

We are seeing competition in action - and that can only be good for the genealogy researcher. Competition will drive these companies to digitize and provide more records as time goes on, and that is very good for researchers. We want more competition!!!

Monday, May 14, 2007

One year anniversary at "Boston 1775" blog

J.L. Bell hosts the Boston 1775 blog - which provides historical information about the Boston (MA) area in the time before and during the American Revolution. It is a great site - with many articles (at least one a day) about people, places and events.

Boston 1775 is one year old today - Happy Birthday to them! Congratulations to Mr. Bell for an excellent historical web site. I read it every day and enjoy it tremendously.

If you are interested in the American Revolution times in New England, then add Boston 1775 to your Favorites or your RSS Feed.

I am quoted in Family Tree Magazine

I'm still new enough at writing for publication that I get excited whenever my name appears somewhere - especially in the print media. As long as they spell it right and don't call me names.

The July 2007 issue of Family Tree Magazine (not online yet) has a column by Diane Haddad called "Branching Out" which contains a Special Report titled "Disappearing Act?" that discusses the membership issues of local genealogy societies.

Jasia of and myself are quoted several times discussing the recent perceived genealogy society membership decline and society efforts to attract new members and retain existing members. Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam is also quoted concerning historical trends of membership in groups.

Diane Haddad contacted me several months ago after reading my blog posts concerning this issue at:

1) If Genealogy interest is so high, why are the numbers down?

2) What Can Local Societies Do to Attract More Members?

3) Communicating with genealogists

She asked me two questions about my views in the first blog post and I responded by email. My answers were too prolix I fear - but like a good editor and writer Diane narrowed them down to several sentences.

The questions were excellent - and I will post them and my responses in future posts.

My wife was really impressed by seeing my name in print, although she didn't understand what I was talking about - "pajamas research?" and "traditional paradigm" in the article, but that's OK.

FamilySearch Unveils New Program

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Church sent out a news release today that said:


FamilySearch Unveils Program to Increase Access to World's Genealogical Records

Tidal Wave of Online Databases Will Result

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH-FamilySearch announced today its Records Access program to increase public access to massive genealogy collections worldwide. For the first time ever, FamilySearch will provide free services to archives and other records custodians who wish to digitize, index, publish, and preserve their collections. The program expands FamiliySearch's previously announced decision to digitize and provide online access to over 2 million rolls of copyrighted microfilm preserved in the Granite Mountain Records Vault. A key component of the program allows FamilySearch and archives to team with genealogy websites to provide unprecedented access to microfilm in the vault. The combined results ensure a flood of new record indexes and images online at and affiliated websites.

The plan combines the assets and experience of the Genealogical Society of Utah with the state-of-the-art technology resources of FamilySearch-all under the single brand name of FamilySearch. The Records Access program allows records custodians to publish their data online by themselves or with the assistance of FamilySearch or affiliate genealogical websites and historical societies.

"Records custodians worldwide are experiencing growing pressure to provide access to their records online while maintaining control and ownership. At the same time, websites that provide digitizing and publishing services are struggling with the staggering costs," said Wayne Metcalfe, director of Records Services for FamilySearch. "The new Record Access program takes advantage of FamilySearch's resources and creates an economical and effective forum where record custodians and genealogical websites can work together to accomplish their respective objectives," added Metcalfe.

Working with the records custodians, FamilySearch can leverage its extensive microfilm and growing digital image collection to create digital images for affiliate genealogical websites at a fraction of the cost. The affiliate genealogy organization will create indices of the digital images and then publish the images and the indices on its own website, the archive's website, or a jointly published site. A copy of the index will also be made available for free on the popular FamilySearch website, which will help drive traffic to record images on the custodians' or affiliates' sites. Full, free access to both the indices and images will be provided to family history centers, FamilySearch managed facilities, and the archives. If the record custodian seeks revenue to sustain operations, a small fee may be required to access images outside FamilySearch managed facilities or the archive.

For archives and heritage societies, the new program benefits include:

  • Digitally capture, preserve, and publish records online
  • Increase access to records while maintaining control and ownership
  • Increase patronage and business viability
  • Over 100 years of archival and publishing experience
For genealogy websites, the new program helps them:
  • Benefit from the knowledge and relationships of FamilySearch with the archival community worldwide
  • Significantly lower costs associated with acquiring, preserving, or providing access to data
  • Increase business viability and website traffic
  • Leverage an open platform that develops value-added services around FamilySearch, the world's largest repository of genealogical data.
Under the program, FamilySearch will also provide tools and assistance to records custodians who want to publish parts of their collection using state-of-the-art digital cameras, software, and web-based applications.

The archive can work with an affiliate, historical society, or FamilySearch to index the images or host a website for the records custodian. The index of the record collection will be available for free on FamilySearch, and the records custodian's site will provide access to the images for free or a fee depending on the needs of the archive and those assisting in the digitization.

One example of the tools FamilySearch can provide is FamilySearch Indexing, a web-based application that engages tens of thousands of volunteers worldwide to create searchable indexes linked to the digital images created by FamilySearch. "Through mere word-of-mouth promotions, literally tens of thousands of volunteers are already joining this effort to index the world's records by registering at and donating a few minutes a week online to the effort. Over 100,000 volunteers are expected to enlist in the initiative by year end with the numbers increasing as more projects-particularly international projects-are added," said Paul Nauta, manager of Public Affairs for FamilySearch.

FamilySearch will announce the first collaborative projects of its new Records Access program during the National Genealogical Society (NGS) Convention in Richmond, Virginia, the week of May 14, 2007. Many more project announcements are expected in the following months.

Record custodians and archives that would like additional information regarding the FamilySearch Records Services can contact Wayne Metcalfe ( and genealogy web service providers should contact Dave Harding (

FamilySearch (historically known as the Genealogical Society of Utah) is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources accessed through, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries.


This will take a little time to analyze and determine how this announcement will benefit genealogy researchers. It seems like it will be a boon to researchers since more records will be made available in digital format.

Hat tip to Dick Eastman and Miriam Midkiff for being first with this in the genea-blogosphere. There may have been others, but these are the first two I saw.

Amazingly, the LDS Newsroom site doesn't have this announcement posted yet for some reason (9:15 AM 5/14).

Sunday, May 13, 2007

My Tribute to Mom - Betty Virginia (Carringer) Seaver

Today is Mother's Day, and I gave a lot of thought to what I wanted to post on this special day. I saw Craig Manson's post about all of his mothers and thought that was a wonderful idea.

But I think I will reprint what I posted back in July on what would have been my mother's 87th birthday.

This is my eulogy for my mother at her memorial service on 13 January 2002, after she passed on 4 January 2002, and thought I would share it with you:


A Wonderful Life -- by Randy Seaver

I celebrate the life of my mother, Betty Virginia Carringer Seaver, today with a sense of thanksgiving for her life, and gratitude for the love and encouragement she gave me.The gravestone up at Fort Rosecrans will read 1919 – dash – 2002, but her life was much more than a beginning and an end. Mikel briefly summarized her life in his opening remarks, and the other speakers have remembered her impact on them.

To summarize the "dash" – she was a child of the Roaring 20’s, a Depression-era teen, a War bride, a 50’s and 60’s mom, a 70’s grandmother, and an 80’s and 90’s survivor. Obviously, it is impossible to cover a life of 82 years in just a few minutes.

The roles that my mother played in her life are many and varied – and typical of many women of her generation and throughout our history: Daughter, grand-daughter, niece, student, friend, sorority sister, artist, teacher, wife, lover, worker, mother, encourager, coach, citizen, patriot, aunt, neighbor, mentor, reader, mother-in-law, grandmother, great-grandmother.

As a mother, she provided the family roots needed for her children to grow into responsible adults. She also knew when to give us wings and let us “fly away” from the nest. She emphasized education, and doing well in school. She helped us with our homework, encouraged us to try and succeed in our lives. It was quite a task to manage a home with three active boys and a demanding husband, but she did it extremely well - with grace, good humor, and love.

I am a bit of a family historian. In the last ten years, I especially enjoyed taking her grocery shopping, and afterwards sitting on the patio, listening to her life experiences, looking at family pictures and papers. I was thrilled when she found new treasures in her bookcase or in the cedar chest. I cherish this special time that I spent with her.

The “dash” between the dates on the gravestone covers quite a bit, doesn’t it? My memories will always be of a woman and mother so patient, kind, encouraging, giving, helping, fun-loving, courteous, gracious, wise, honest, independent, organized, intelligent, articulate, confident, private, spirited, positive, good. She enjoyed being with her family, and was very proud of them.

One of her legacies is her genes. Looking at the big picture - she contributed her goodness and love to humanity and was a necessary part in the march of the generations.

Another legacy is the memories we have of her, as her family and friends, and the example of a life well lived – one of love, dignity and goodness. This is expressed beautifully in this excerpt from “How Green Was My Valley” by Richard Llewellyn, which I’ve slightly modified:

“I saw behind me those who had gone before,
and before me those who are to come,
I looked back and saw my father and mother,
and their fathers and mothers,
and all our fathers and mothers.
And in front to see my sons, and their daughters,
and the sons and daughters beyond.
"And their eyes were my eyes,
As I felt, so they had felt, and would feel,
as then, so now, as tomorrow and forever.
“Then I was not afraid,
for I was in a long line that had no beginning and no end,
and the hand of his father grasped my father’s hand,
and my father’s hand was in mine,
and my children took my hand
and all up and down the line that stretched
from time that was to time that is, and is not yet,
all raised their hands to show the link,
and we found that we were one, born of Woman, Son of Man,
made in the image, fashioned in the Womb
by the Will of God, the Eternal Father.”

Her best qualities live on in her sons and their children – and they are ours to treasure and share through the years to come.

Thank you all for coming today and blessing us with your witness and your caring.

And Thank you, Lord God, for blessing us with this wonderful woman, my mother. May she rest in peace. Amen!


My brothers also spoke at her service. My youngest brother, Scott, remembered growing up and how Mom was always there for him throughout his life. He was 12 years younger than me, and was an "only child" in his teenage years. He mentioned the love and support as he went through school, played baseball, and started a family. He remembered the mundane things - going to the store, studying, just talking, playing ping-pong on the patio, etc.

My brother Stan, 3 years younger than me, invited the attendees to visualize his effort to describe Mom in words - he looked up words like loving, patience, kindness, goodness, and mother and said that when he saw the words in the dictionary he saw a picture of Mom looking back at him, with a smile and that he was at peace with her life and death.

It was interesting to see how the three of us complemented each other in our words - we covered quite a bit and, I hope, conveyed our love and respect for a wonderful woman who did her best, and succeeded in life.

Mom is up on the green hill with the granite headstones, overlooking the Pacific Ocean on Point Loma, at Fort Rosecrans Veterans Cemetery with my dad, under a big tree alongside the road. We don't visit them often enough, I think.

Steve Danko reports on Eastman seminar

At least one Genea-blogger was at the CGSSD/SDGS seminar in San Diego on Saturday featuring Dick Eastman.

Steve Danko flew in for one day and reported on it at A wonderful report - informative and timely. It sounds like it was a successful and well-attended event.

I'm sad that I missed it, but now I'm wondering if I couldn't do a similar thing going to the Bay area - I could time a visit with a seminar like this while seeing my daughter's family. Where there's a will, there's a way!

I'm wondering if there is a genealogy web site that tracks Bay Area genealogy events the way CGSSD does for San Diego at If so, please let me know!

By the way, if you want to see original records of a researcher's family history, go visit Steve's blog at . He posts a record every day, and it is a blend of American and Eastern European records for his family. It's extremely well done and has earned Steve a fine reputation. I read his blog every day (using Bloglines).