Saturday, August 25, 2007

Seaver Family Homes in Massachusetts

I posted back in May about our quick trip to Massachusetts for my Aunt Geraldine's memorial service, and how Linda and I visited many of my Seaver ancestral homes. I posted pictures and summaries last year about several of these homes.

Here are current pictures of the homes in Leominster and Fitchburg, along with some Seaver family information:

Isaac Seaver (1823-1901) and Lucretia (Smith) Seaver (1827-1884) settled in Leominster before 1870, and resided at 7 Cedar Street (just north of Lancaster Street, east of the center of Leominster). Frank Seaver probably lived in this house when he met Hattie Hildreth.

Edward Hildreth (1831-1899) and Sophia (Newton) Hildreth (1834-1923) lived at what is now 149 Lancaster Street, probably from before 1870 until their deaths. When Frank Seaver (1852-1922) and Hattie Hildreth (1857-1920) married in 1874, they moved in with Hattie's family, raised their family, and lived there the rest of their lives. There are two major parts to this house, the original with the peaked roof, and the long ell to the right which was probably added after 1880.

Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942) was born in the Lancaster Street house, and married Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962) in 1900 in Leominster. They lived for several years in the Hildreth/Seaver house at 149 Lancaster Street as they started their family. In about 1905, they moved to Fitchburg and resided at 116 Lawrence Street until about 1912.

Fred Seaver became the superintendent of the Paton Manufacturing Company (they made hairpins from plastic material) in Leominster and a rent-free house at 290 Central Street in the southern part of Leominster was part of the deal - right next door to the company. This large house accommodated the growing family of 6 children, and is the ancestral home fondly remembered by my father and his siblings. A stream ran behind the house and the factory next door.

In about 1927, Fred and Bess Seaver bought a home at 20 Hall Street in the western part of Leominster, right across the street from the High School. This is the house in which Aunt Gerry spent her early teenage years. The current owner of this house came home while I was taking the picture, and invited us in after I explained that it was an ancestral home.

During the Depression, the Paton plant was bought by Dupont and closed down and Fred Seaver's job changed - he worked at the Dupont Manufacturing Company in Leominster, which made toothbrushes. The house on Hall Street was sold, and Fred, Bess and Gerry moved to a rental house on West Street in Leominster. I don't have a picture of that house yet (if it still stands). By this time, the three older daughters were married, and the two sons were away at school.

That's the story of the Leominster houses - maybe I'll post a photo and stories about the Norman Seaver house in Westminster some time soon - it was built in the late 1700's.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Homer Simpson's Ancestors

The Genealogy Insider blog had a post titled "Family Tree Magazine, Simpsonized" today, featuring a web site that "Simpsonizes" your face, dresses you up, and makes you look like a cartoon character. I know that Diane, Allison, Kathy and Grace of the Family Tree Magazine staff are much prettier than their Simpsonized faces (assuming the faces in the magazine are fairly current). I tried to Simpsonize myself but the site couldn't deal well with a beard, no mustache, and side-fringe hair (too many options).

What really caught my eye was the Simpson Family Tree that appears at Someone has gone to a lot of trouble to research this and make pictures - Simpsonized?

But wait - I can't find these folks in the census records and online databases. I looked for Homer Simpson in the Ancestry databases, but there were no fathers named Abraham - he must have been born in a state not in the databases.

What I do know is that Homer's father WAS Abraham Simpson, so I started there. I assumed that Abe was probably born in the 1920's (he's in his 80's now, I think), and in the 1930 census there were 4 Abraham Simpson's born in the 1920's. None of them had a father named Oliver or a mother named Penelope, so there is their first error. So who could be Abe's parents? I chose to follow the first one - the Abraham L. Simpson born ca 1921 in Iowa, Doniphan County, Kansas, because his father's middle name might be Oliver..

After several hours of census and WorldConnect research, I had a 4 generation family tree for Abraham Simpson as follows:

1. Abraham L. Simpson, born 1921 in Iowa, Doniphan County, Kansas.

2. James O. Simpson, born Apr 1881 in Iowa, Doniphan County, Kansas, married about 1911 in Doniphan County, Kansas.
3. Bertha Guy, born February 1895 in Iowa, Doniphan County, Kansas.

4. Henry J. Simpson, born Apr 1855 in Ohio, married 17 December 1876 in Doniphan County, Kansas
5. Minerva J. Hedrick, born Sep 1860 in Doniphan County, Kansas.
6. David Guy, born Mar 1869 in Holt County, Missouri, married about 1895 probably in Doniphan County, Kansas
7. Sarah E. Trowbridge, born Aug 1879 in Doniphan County, Kansas.

8. James Simpson, born July 1810 in Adams County, Pennsylvania, died after 1900 in Doniphan County, Kansas, married about 1846 probably in Ohio
9. Nancy/Anna Hahn, born October 1817 in Ohio, died after 1900 in Doniphan County, Kansas
10. William Hedrick, born about 1825 in Maryland, married before 1847 probably in Ohio
11. Anna --?--, born about 1822 in Ohio, died before 1870, probably in Doniphan County, Kansas.
12. John Richmond Guy, born 19 November 1839 in Russell County, Virginia, died 31 August 1916 in Doniphan County, Kansas, married before 1873 probably in Doniphan County, Kansas
13. Mary Ann Brownlee, born 21 July 1846 in Lewis County, Kentucky, died 24 February 1930 in Buchanan County, Missouri
14. Safford W. Trowbridge, born 1845 in Franklin County, New York
15. Ella --?--, born about 1850 in Kentucky.

I could have included the children's names, and I have about half of the next generation too. But I stopped when I realized ... this was a fictional family tree!

I did not check other resources for these families - someone may have extended them further, or have better information. Note: All relationships in the above ahnentafel are not verified by primary records - use at your own risk!

Oh well. This is an example of Censuswhacking and Datawhacking - pick someone at random and create a pedigree just to see what happens. By the way, read the very rare names on the right hand side of the above link - a fantastic collection of names.

Wouldn't it be great if a descendant of Abraham L. Simpson of Kansas Googled his name and found this family tree already started for him? Or if Abraham L. Simpson had a son named Homer.

I guess I didn't have enough useful things to do (I procrastinated today - I could have transcribed some RI probate records - bad boy!). But I had fun afternoon and evening -- that's what counts, right?

More Family Stories (or Myths?)

There were two interesting family stories told by my mother, who heard them from her parents and her grandmothers. Were they true?

1) Story: "My grandmother Georgia was French-Canadian."

Facts: My great-grandmother was named Georgiana (Kemp) Auble - she is "Mrs. A" in Della's Journal, and lived with Lyle and Emily (Auble) Carringer from 1920 until her death in San Diego in 1952. My mother thought that Auble (pronounced Aw-bull") was a French-sounding name, and put the two things together to form the story. Actually, the Auble's were German immigrants in the mid-1700's.

Georgianna was born in 1868 in Delhi, Norfolk County, Ontario - parents were James Abram Kemp (1831-1902) and Mary Jane Sovereen (1840-1874). Her paternal grandparents were Abraham James Kemp (1795-after 1881) and Sarah (or Sephrona) Fletcher (??) (1802-after 1861). Her maternal grandparents were Alexander Sovereen (1814-1907) and Eliza Putman (1920-1895). These Kemp, Sovereen and Putman families were Loyalists that had migrated after the Revolutionary War to Upper Canada, and eventually settled in Norfolk County, Ontario.

Typewritten data from a Kemp family Bible was found in the Huntington Beach Public Library in Orange County California several years ago. The Bible was given to Daisy Rader by John Evans Kemp (a great-grandchild of Abraham and Sephrona Kemp) and donated to the Southern Orange County Genealogical Society. This typescript provided the birth dates for Abraham James Kemp, Sephrona (Fletcher?) Kemp, and their children, and is the only source for Sephrona's birth date, and their marriage date in 1818. I have a typescript from another Kemp family Bible (but I don't have the Bible) with data for Georgianna's branch of the Kemp family.

The 1851 census for the Abram Kemp family shows his wife as Sephrona Kemp, age 44, Catholic, born in France). This family resided in Ameliasburg township in Prince Edward County, Ontario. I don't have any information about a Fletcher family that Sephrona might have come from.

All of the marriage records for their children show their mother's name as Sarah, except for one son which says Sephrona. Abram Kemp had at least 11 children at 2-4 year intervals between 1820 and 1847, and Gergoianna's father, James Abram Kemp, was the 5th child.

Conclusion: Georgianna Kemp's grandmother was probably Sarah (or Sephrona) Fletcher (?), who was probably born in Quebec in 1802. Georgianna was not French-Canadian, but her grandmother probably was.

2) Story: "Della Carringer's father was an inventor and a snake oil salesman."

Facts: Abbie Ardell (Smith) Carringer's parents were Devier James Smith (1839-1894) and Abigail Vaux (1844-1931), married in Wisconsin in 1861. Abigail (Vaux) Smith is "Ma" in Della's Journal. The DJ Smith family resided in Dodge County, Wisconsin in 1861, Taylor County, Iowa in 1870, Cloud County, Kansas in 1876, Pottawatomie County, Kansas in 1880, Red Willow County, Nebraska in 1885, and they owned a "ranch" in Cheyenne County, Kansas by 1885, where DJ died in 1894. Abigail (Vaux) Smith came to California and lived in Long Beach (with her sister Lizzie Crouch) and San Diego (with her daughter, Della Carringer) until her death in 1931.

I have written posts about DJ Smith and his patent for a harness rack and his patent medicine business.

Conclusion: The story is true based on all of the information I have.

One of my great regrets is that I did not start doing my family history research until 1988, well after my maternal grandparents, Lyle and Emily (Auble) Carringer, died. As a child and young adult, I did not pay attention to the stories told by my grandparents, and had to rely on my mother's recollections of their stories. Unfortunately, my mother was an only child, and my grandparents were only children, so there were no aunts and uncles from these families that might have been able to help with the family history when I did start doing research. The fortunate part for me is that my mother and grandparents had saved many family records that spanned four generations.

The lesson here is that it is imperative that family historians try to contact and interview the living family members as soon as possible, listen well to their stories, and encourage them to share their family papers for posterity. In many cases, family records or papers provide significant vital records and family history data for 20th century families - and are sometimes the only records available.

CVGS Meeting on Monday, 8/27

Rather than cooping up our members in a warm auditorium in August to hear a genealogy presentation, the Chula Vista Genealogical Society takes their monthly meeting outside - we have a Picnic in the shade at the local Elks Lodge picnic area. And we try to have genealogy fun.

The picnic is on Monday, August 27 at 11 AM at the Elks Lodge in Chula Vista (901 Elks Lane, off of Telegraph Canyon Road). This is a "bring your own food and beverage" deal, and there will be a door prize drawing. There will also be a "white elephant" gift exchange - bring one to get one. There is always a lot of laughter and sharing at these events.

The program will be teams of attendees playing the game "Wheel of (Genealogy) Fortune" with a Pat Sajak stand-in (rumored to be Randy Seaver) and a Vanna White stand-in (all of the women want to do this - "Pat" gets to pick!). The teams of contestants will spin the Wheel and try to solve genealogy-oriented word puzzles and win valuable prizes (well, maybe). It should be a good time.

Guests and visitors are always welcome at CVGS meetings. If you need more information, please contact Randy at rjseaver(at)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Take a random picture and figure out ...

... who the people in the picture are (with help from the names on the back). That's what footnoteMaven has done in her post titled "Finding That Two Hundreth Edwardian Woman In A White Dress."

This is a marvelous genealogy work of love - these are not fM's ancestral families - just a picture that she obtained because she liked it.

It gives me the idea to do a similar task with the people that appear in my Della's Journal series from 1929 - to write a sketch for each person mentioned, defining at least their parents and children, their addresses, occupations, ages, etc.

Please go read the footnoteMaven's post and enjoy it.

Do You Have More Women Ancestors?

The Transylvania Dutch and The Genealogue blogs link to a New York Times blog post by John Tierney titled "Is There Anything Good About Men? And Other Tricky Questions." There is a good discussion here, centered on the thesis that:

"The 'single most underappreciated fact about gender,' he said, is the ratio of our male to female ancestors. While it’s true that about half of all the people who ever lived were men, the typical male was much more likely than the typical woman to die without reproducing. Citing recent DNA research, Dr. Baumeister explained that today’s human population is descended from twice as many women as men. Maybe 80 percent of women reproduced, whereas only 40 percent of men did."

The update by Tierney to his post gives a simple example:

"UPDATE, Noon Tuesday: Before anyone else posts a comment insisting that it’s mathematically impossible for any individual to have an unequal number of male and female ancestors, consider the following Edenic scenario. There are two women (Ginger and Mary Ann) and two men (Gilligan and the Professor) on a deserted island. Both women spurn Gilligan and have a child with the Professor. Ginger has a boy named Gino; Mary Ann has a girl named Maria. When they grow up, Gino and Maria have a child. This child will have three female ancestors (Maria, Ginger and Mary Ann) but only two male ancestors (Gino and the Professor). "

There are comments on this posting, many of them are searching and analytical.

The original comment seems to be based on the fact that fewer men than women had children, and therefore the men that did have children had them by more than one woman. There is also the possibility of inter-generational incest. Pedigree collapse seems to dictate that there was much "inter-breeding" between close or distant family members back before the middle ages. The Wikipedia article on "pedigree collapse" notes:

"Demographer Kenneth Wachtel estimated that for a typical English child of the mid-20th century, 95% of ancestors would have been unique individuals and 5% duplicates at the time of Columbus. At the time of the Black Death, an average of 70% would have been duplicates.

"The maximum number of ancestors for most people is likely to occur around 1200 AD. Some geneticists believe that everybody on earth is at least 50th cousin to everybody else."

That's interesting! The Black Death noted was in the 1300's, apparently. Of course, most of the known pedigrees that go back to the 16th century and earlier are for royalty or nobility - and we all know that they really messed around - and probably skewed the perception of the results. For the "typical English child of the 20th century," they cannot fill out a pedigree chart much earlier than 1800 due to the poor records - English and/or American. And sure - everyone probably is a 50th cousin to everybody else - but probably not through the same ancestral line.

So, in the context of "ALL of my ancestors" - those back to when the human species started to expand began - say 800 generations (perhaps 20,000 years ago?) or more (realize that 100 generations - about 2,500 years - is 1 nonillion potential ancestors on the pedigree chart - 1 followed by 30 zeroes, and 800 generations would be 1 followed by 240 zeroes) - the initial hypothesis that I have twice as many different female ancestors as male ancestors is probably correct, since I only have a potential of 1 million ancestors in 20 generations (about 500 years), but I have a potential 1 trillion in 40 generations (about 1,000 years) (all numbers rounded off). That boggles the mind, eh?

However, most of us think about this only in "modern history" terms - the last 200 to 400 years. In that context, my educated guess is that less than 1% of my male ancestors since 1600 (perhaps 32,000 potential ancestors, total) fathered children by different female ancestors. I know of one case in my ancestry - where a male (Adam Mott) had children by two wives in the 1600's that are both in my ancestral line. Obviously, there may be special cases in the last 400 years where more women than men appear in a pedigree - a fellow like Brigham Young who had children by many wives, and surely some of those children inter-married, comes to mind.

Frankly, I feel real sorry for Gilligan who apparently never knew the joys of Mary Ann and Ginger, except from afar (true confession - I always saw myself as a Gilligan when I was young). And what about the Skipper and Mr. Howell? Would it have been inconvenient or too complex for Tierney to include them in his simple fanciful scenario?

An interesting discussion - thanks to John and Chris for the link. I even had to use my engineering calculator!

Family Myths and Stories

Growing up in San Diego with all of my father's family living in Massachusetts created a situation where my father was the fount of all family knowledge at home - at least until his brother and sisters started visiting us in San Diego during the 1960's. My father was a "kidder" - he would make up stories, or embellish actual stories, usually to make himself look good. Two of the stories he told us were:

1) Story: When he was a young man, he played baseball in high school, for prep schools, in college at Dartmouth, and for semi-pro teams in Fitchburg and Leominster. Fact: His academic career was not mentioned! He had a very checkered academic career - leaving high school before graduation, enrolling in several academies or prep schools (Cushman Academy, Kingsley Prep School, Worcester Academy), and finally getting a high school degree several years later. He said he received a baseball or football scholarship to play at Dartmouth, and enrolled there, but attended only one year. He may have injured his knee during this time that limited his baseball career. At the height of the Depression, the family could no longer support college for him. I have found newspaper articles in the Fitchburg newspaper that report his baseball exploits for the local teams - he was a Catcher.

2) Story: He drove to San Diego in December 1940 in three days from Leominster MA - didn't sleep, ate donuts and hot dogs, and drank coffee to stay awake. He said that he was escaping the cold winters and shoveling snow at his sister's house. Fact: I think most of that is true - he drove across country pretty quickly and ended up at his aunt's house in San Diego. I have the short letter he wrote from Columbus, Ohio - I doubt if the letter made it to San Diego before he did. The possibly true story is that he left quickly due to a failed love and potential fatherhood (as I've written about before).

I guess I should ask my brothers what else they remember - those are pretty tame, aren't they?

My Aunt Geraldine made four audio cassette tapes back in 1990, and I have transcribed them. However, I have them only in a paper copy, since the software I used is obsolete and the data disks are lost. One of the things she mentioned is that her mother always said that someone in the family took the inheritances that were rightfully hers or her family's. This was stated about:

1) Myth: When my father's great-grandfather Isaac Seaver died, his third wife took all of the money and gave it to her relatives. Fact: A family friend and perhaps lawyer, Hamilton Mayo, was the executor of the estate and while the wife got some of the estate, Isaac's four surviving children received $481.71 each.

2) Myth: When her father, Thomas Richmond, died in 1917, her brother Edwin Richmond, took all of the money. Fact: Thomas Richmond died intestate, and the estate totalled $509. There is no record of a distribution to the five living heirs, but it couldn't have been much.

3) Myth: When my father's grandparents, Frank and Hattie Seaver died, their son Harry Seaver squandered all of it. Fact: The family friend, and perhaps lawyer, J. Ward Healey, was the administrator of the estate, and Frederick Seaver received $2,700 as his share.

Frankly, I have absolutely no doubt that the executors and administrators did their duty and distributed the inheritances as required by law. What happened after that - loans, investments, shopping - I have no clue as to what happened.

The most fanciful of the family stories was that my grandmother, Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver was descended from Peregrine White, the first English child born in New England in 1620 on board the Mayflower. Everybody snickered and rolled their eyes whenever anyone said this. However, I did enough research to show that it was true - Bess's mother was Julia White, who was the 7th great-granddaughter of Peregrine White of the Mayflower. I really enjoyed presenting the proof of the line (at least to my satisfaction) to my aunts, uncle and cousins at a family get-together in September 1990 in Leominster MA.

MyHeritage acquires Pearl Street Software

Renee Zamora was the first blog post I saw about the acquisition of Pearl Street Software by MyHeritage. Her news-filled post is here, including a Question and Answer letter from Paul Shaw, the President of PSS.

This acquisition makes, IMHO, MyHeritage a major player in the genealogy database world, because it has acquired:

* the GenCircles user-contributed databases (160 million names) - and it will be FREE. While not as large as the Rootsweb/Ancestry WorldConnect/Ancestry World Tree and the LDS databases, it is a major database containing useful and significant family data.

* the FamilyTreeLegends Record Collection databases (over 400 million records) - and it will be FREE. Many of these records are unique to this web site, and some are provided by other genealogy providers.

* the FamilyTreeLegends genealogy software - and it will be FREE. You can download and use this software - perhaps it is just what you need. Note that I haven't tested it yet, but I will soon!

MyHeritage now claims 17 million members from all over the world, and there are many user-contributed databases accessible on the site, which can be searched by surname and other criteria.

Have you searched the MyHeritage site recently for databases that contain your ancestral names (you do have to register - it's free, and that's why they have so many members!)? They have over 1,100 databases now that they search for your search matches. This search is probably the most comprehensive search site I've found - they list the database, whether it is free or subscription, and how many entries match your search criteria. You can click on the link to the web site listed and see the search matches. It takes a while to search on a surname, but searches on a given name-last name is faster, and provides fewer matches.

So now we have Ancestry, WorldVitalRecords, Footnote, FamilySearch, WeRelate and many other genealogy database sites (both free and commercial) with searchable documents and/or searchable user-contributed family tree data.

Announcements like this one are fantastic for genealogy researchers. Competition is a wonderful thing!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Lydia Pinkham's Vegetable Compound

I love to browse the old newspapers that are online at or other web sites.

Tonight, I was trying to research Jessie Pinkham, who is one of my great-grandmother Della Carringer's friends in Della's 1929 Journal. So I entered First Name = "Jessie" and last name = "Pinkham" and got this "article" in the Marion, Ohio Daily Star newspaper dated Saturday, 26 July 1913. It is between interesting news articles titled "Fights a Thug Hand-to-Hand" and "Frightful Fall of G.B. Clinger."


Subtitle: "At Regular Intervals - Says Lydia E. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound completely cured her."

"Adrian, Texas -- 'I take pleasure to adding my testimonial to the great list and hoe that it will be of interest to suffering women. For four years I suffered untold agonies at regular intervals. Such pains and cramps, severe chills and sickness at stomach, then finally hemorrhages until I would be nearly blind. I had five doctors and none of them could do more than relieve me for a time.'

"'I saw your advertisement in a paper and decided to try Lydia E. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound. I took seven boxes of it and two bottles of the Sanative Wash, and I am completely cured of my trouble. When I began taking the Compound I only weighed ninety-six pounds and now I weight one hundred and twenty-six pounds. If anyone wishes to address me in person I will cheerfully answer all letters, as I cannot speak too highly of the Pinkham remedies.' -- Miss Jessie Marsh, Adrian, Texas.

"Hundreds of such letters expressing gratitude for the good Lydia E. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound has accomplished are constantly being received, proving the reliability of this grand old remedy.

"If you want special advice write to Lydia E. Pinkham Medicine Co. (confidential) Lynn, Mass. Your letter will be opened, read and answered by a woman and held in strict confidence."

Being the curious sort, I checked for Lydia Pinkham on Wikipedia, and there is a long article about the woman, her concoction, her business, and even the recipe for the "Vegetable Compound." There are also some songs, including:

"The Ballad of Lydia Pinkham

"Let us sing of Lydia Pinkham
The benefactress of the human race.
She invented a vegetable compound,
And now all papers print her face.

Mrs. Jones she had no children,
And she loved them very dear.
So she took three bottles of Pinkham's
Now she has twins every year.

Peter Whelan, he was sad
Because he only had one nut
Till he took some of Lydia's compound
Now they grow in clusters 'round his butt."

Poor Peter...that will teach him to drink his wife's favorite drink.

When you are doing family history research, many of us (I do!) get so excited by finding a date, a place, an obituary, a probate record, a diary, a Bible, a relationship, etc. that we forget that each person in history lived day-to-day, with aches, pains, sicknesses, distress, injury, etc. Modern medicine is really a 20th century invention, and our ancestral families had to deal with their physical, mental and emotional problems. It's a wonder that so many lived so well for so long. Some of the long livelihood was luck, and some genetic, and some, I'm quite sure, was natural selection - survival of the fittest.

Sometimes is like a box of candy - you don't know what you're going to find. And it is good, and interesting, and often curious and fun. I had no clue what Lydia's concoction was for, or its ingredients, and now I do. Well, back to Jessie!

What is a "permusementor?"

The Frederick County (MD) Mailing list had a query recently noting that (I tried to find this in the MD-FRED-GEN Archives, but it was down tonight):

"The Diary of Jacob Englebrecht published by the Historical Society of
Frederick County, Inc. has the following entry.

“'Well Bill, what did you see,' said old Ben Linton to his son William as he
had just returned from Baltimore. 'Sha' said Bill, 'I saw something they
call 'forty-five per anum' and if I was as good a permusementor on it, as
that man was, I would not take fifty dollars for my larning'. Mr. William
Jenkins Junior is my author. Jacob Engelbrecht Monday April 29, 1822 6 o'clock PM."

And then the poster asked the question - what is a "permusementor?"

'Tis a puzzlement to me also. The way it reads, it might mean someone with financial acumen. I Googled "permusementor" and got no hits. I Googled "permuse" and found no definition of an English word, but it seems to be a word used in Italian, probably meaning "to think". I checked the "Stories and Publications" database on and had no matches.

Then I realized that there were three smaller words in it - "per," "muse" and "mentor." I looked for definitions for those words and found (among several, I chose these):

"per == "to" or "for"
"muse" == "to think reflectively, ponder, or meditate"
"mentor" == "a wise and trusted advisor or guide."

So putting them together you might define "permusementor" == "a wise advisor who ponders or reflects." Perhaps even "a thinking wise man." But that's an oxymoron, I think. It may be a word that was used in a small area based on some wise guy (lawyer?) trying to impress the populace.

Does anybody else have an idea? Obviously, there will now be an entry for "permusementor" when someone else Googles it in the future! I need to try to use it in my presentations to really impress (or confuse) the attendees.

Anyway, the "Diary of Jacob Engelbrecht" looks interesting!

CVGS Research Group - 22 August 2007

We had our Chula Vista Genealogical Society Research Group meeting today, with 16 members in attendance. This was a busy session - everyone wanted to share! At the start of the meeting, I reviewed the Genealogy News highlights for August - read it here on the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe blog. Then we discussed the research problems and success stories of the attendees.

Penny went to Texas for a family reunion, and met many cousins. She received pages from a 3 volume family history and wanted to know how to find the actual books, because there may be more family information in them. We recommended searching the book offerings at HeritageQuestOnline, Ancestry, Library of Congress, Making of America, and the BYU Archive. We also recommended searching the LDS Family History Library Catalog to see if they are available on microfilm, and also the site to see which libraries might have a copy available for Inter-Library Loan.

Joan just received a 1918 Divorce record for her John Robinson Hall and his wife from the Los Angeles Probate Court - in the mail for free. It even included a false letter stating that JRH died in 1922 (he registered for the World War 2 draft in 1942!). She asked where Los Angeles City directories might be found - she had called the LA Public Library but they would not do lookups for her. We recommended she check with the LDS FHLC for directories on microfilm, for holdings of directories, and to try to find a volunteer who might help her in Los Angeles. Alternatively, she could go to the LAPL and search them herself - she asked for an LAPL research trip!

Lori is a new member, and doesn't have genealogy software yet. We recommended she download Personal Ancestral File from to start organizing her research data. She asked about how to find the name of the ship that brought her great-grandmother from Germany. We recommended checking, and the Ancestry Immigration collection to start with. Other sites to consider are and Lori also asked about how to find what happened to her aunt who left home at age 16 and joined the circus in the early 1900's. She thinks the girl married and settled in Fort Dodge, Iowa. We recommended that she search the records on the site for the specific county, Google her name, search for a death record in the Iowa vital records, and to find an obituary in the local newspapers.

Bob had a great-aunt who died aboard ship in 1903 on a voyage from England to Australia on an English-registered ship. He had checked consular and emigration records at already. We recommended he check newspapers from her home town (not online) and the English Civil Registration records to see if her death was recorded there. There might also be similar records in Australia. This was a hard question, since none of us has much experience with these types of records.

Bill is searching for the parents of Christopher Leininger, who was born in Ohio in about 1850, and his parents were from Alsace. We recommended that he search the census records in order to define the family members and try to find a marriage record, a death record, and then a newspaper obituary, for Christopher, his siblings and his parents. He should try to find a naturalization record for Christopher's father. From some of those records, he may find the name of the ancestral village in Alsace and then search there for earlier generations.

Bobbi reported on her research trip/vacation to northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin - she had 3-1/2 days of family get-togethers and 3-1/2 days of research time and made the most of it. Bobbi took narrative reports to give to her cousins there, and the act of writing them helped crystallize her research goals. She visited the homestead of her great-grandfather and got pictures from a cousin. She obtained the birth certificate of unnamed twins (siblings of her father) who died as infants, township maps and plat maps from several years, many family obituaries, several wills, and voter registration records. She took notes at the family cemetery, and made several tombstone rubbings. She passed these items around to the group - Bobbi sure did a lot of work in a short time!

This was a very lively meeting with so many sharing their problems and success stories. There were several lessons relearned in the meeting, including:

* All genealogy data is not on the Internet - you still have to do repository, courthouse, cemetery and other on-site research in order to define family members and relationships.
* Writing down what you know, and analyzing the body of known facts, is very helpful to determining the information you need to find, and can be very useful in extracting information from family members.
* The society has a number of new members, and members with limited research experience, and the society needs to provide classes and seminars to help them gain knowledge and research experience. Not all of them have computer skills, genealogy software, even genealogy forms. We need to do a better job of helping them through mentors, classes, etc.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Testing the Wiki/Genea-Networking site

Denise Olson at the Family Matters blog related her experiences with the web site in her post titled "WeRelate Update. " In her post, she showed several of the screens the user encounters when they use the Search facility.

I went to WeRelate and decided to upload my Seaver surname database on last Saturday. The upload was fairly easy, and all 9,608 people in my database were uploaded. When I went to search for my people, they were not in the Search index for several days. They are there now, 3 days later. My database is at

Denise showed the opening screens, so I won't use bandwidth here to do that. I do want to show the Person page, the Pedigree Chart and Map Feature.

Here is a Person Page for Robert Seaver (1702-1750), my 7th great-grandfather.

You can click on the person's family link (under "Spouse of family") to see the person's children, and click on one of the children to see their Person page. You can click on the "Child of family" link to see the Person's parents and their family.

For any Person, you can click on the "Pedi-Map" link in the white Person menu on the Person page, and you will get a four generation pedigree chart. The Person is listed at the top of the chart and the spouse(s), along with their children, are listed on the left hand margin (see below).

At the bottom of the pedigree chart page there is a map that shows the geographical movement of all people on the pedigree chart. The stick-pins are color coded by person and shape-coded by event (birth, marriage, death).

Aside from the minor errors (e.g., Westminster MA is shown near Greenfield MA, about 50 miles away) , this web site works pretty well right now. I'm sure that they will improve it as more information is added.

The site says that they have over 500,000 persons in the database. Eventually, when there are many millions of persons in the database, this will be a very useful database to search.

What I like about it:

* It uploads GEDCOMs quickly (a GEDCOM upload is a must for me!)

* It shows living people as "Living Surname" even if the name was in the database.

* The notes are shown on the Person page.

* The Sources for Facts are listed (as provided by the submitter).

* You can add images to0 each person.

* A researcher can "talk" to the Submitter and collaborate.

What I don't like at this time (and why):

* Moving from page-to-page is not intuitive - you have to figure it out. I would prefer to see the spouses and children all listed on the Person page rather than have to click again to see the children, and then move to the child's Person page.

* The index of people in a Family Tree are listed alphabetically by first name and last name (as a default), rather than by last name, first name. There may be a switch for this, I just haven't found it.

* When you do a Search, you get a long list of links to persons in all of the databases, plus a line of text with your search term(s). There is not enough information for each person to distinguish between people with the same name. This would work much better if they added a birth place and birth date to the heading, or a spouse's name or parents names.

* If I add people, notes or facts to my at-home database, how can I update my database (other than typing the data into the WeRelate database). I could delete the database I have on WeRelate and upload the new one, but if someone has edited or added to my former database, then those additions might be lost. If I keep my former database and upload another with more information, then someone has to go through and link identical people together.

* There is no "Reports" feature that I can find - I would love to have the program create an Ancestors report or a Descendants report (in NEHGS or NGSQ style).

* The pedigree chart and map feature need to be downloadable. You can print them, but you can't save them (at least as far as I can tell) except as a web page.

Work needs to be done on many of the features discussed above, but this can't be a quick and easy programming project. I'll be patient - I hope they appreciate constructive comments!

Overall, I think this web site has real potential to be a big player in the genealogy networking world. There appear to be methods to link the same person in different databases together and thereby move toward a genuine unitary world family tree.

I think I have just scratched the surface on many of the features at, but what I see, I like at this time. I'm anxious to test the Wiki features and the collaboration features.

My thanks to Denise for testing this last week and blogging about it.

No PDBs at SD FHC Yet

What's a PDB? Why, a Premium DataBase, of course.

My research mission today was to go to the San Diego Family History Center today and read my microfilm of Jamestown (RI) Land Evidences (1680-1744), and capture some probate and land records on my flash drive. That part of the mission was successful - I got 47 images of the grantee/grantor indexes and also three probate files from Volume 1. I need to go back next week and read Volume 2 and collect the deed records in Volume 1.

The bad news was that the San Diego FHC was not one of the 100 or so FHCs that have enabled access to the WorldVitalRecords databases. Dang it - I was looking forward to checking out the WVR databases. Oh well, I'll check again next week! They do have links that work to HeritageQuestOnline and the National Archives in the Premium Databases in the Favorites list. All of the other links go to the web site home pages and requests a login.

Performing Genealogy Research While Wearing a Mask and a Snorkel

Janice Brown at Cow Hampshire made up an article title for many genea-bloggers, so I thought that I would write the article that she hoped to see.

It's a tough subject, but let's see if we can rock through this one - it should be an easy task for Genea-Man! After all, Genea-Man has done research in strange places and done strange things while doing it.

Frankly, doing genealogy research while wearing a mask is really hot, even in air conditioned buildings, but it may be necessary if the library staff has declared you persona-non-grata. This happened to me once when I managed to surreptiously add the Genea-Musings URL to the Favorites list on all of the computers at my local Family History Center. Of course, they didn't find out about it for several weeks, and I got many hits on my blog as a result.

When I went in the next time, they pulled me aside, made me remove the links from the Favorites list, and sentenced me to 4 hours of FamilySearch Indexing. I really enjoyed it. After doing my duty, they then said that I was banned from the FHC for a month, took my photo and posted it at the checkin desk and on the computer screen backgrounds - with a sign saying "Throw This Guy Out of the FHC When You See Him." Banned! I felt like a desperado.

Since I had nine microfilms in the FHC film drawer that had to go back in two weeks, I resorted to a subterfuge rather than have to pay for them again. I bought a realistic Bill Clinton mask (cost only about $20). I sauntered into the FHC wearing it, and several people looked at me strangely (since I'm only 5-10, but I have his build). When I signed in as William Jefferson Clinton on the sheet to use the microfilm scanner, I was besieged for autographs and had to pay for another hour on the machine. I managed to fill up my 4 gb flash drive with data from the microfilms, and walked out with a perpetual smirk on my face.

The folks at the FHC still talk about the visit from a famous president. A side benefit was that I received seven notes with salacious personal messages and phone numbers on them, was rubbed up against three times by shapely patrons, and was groped twice, but that's normal for WJC visits anywhere, I hear (now you know why he's always smirking). I stayed out of the bathroom for fear of being attacked by the male patrons because there was such an uproar of hysterical shrieks and moans. If I do that again, I'll bring my wife along with a Monica mask and see if they let us near the microfilm machines back in the corner.

Now the Snorkel adventure was really strange. When we went to New Orleans after the Katrina hurricane with my church group, we were supposed to help rebuild houses and clean up debris. But we had a free day, and I rented a snorkel outfit from a local shop and went out to St. Charles Parish which was still underwater (but not too deep). I found the area with the local cemetery, and snorkeled around writing tombstone inscriptions on my etch-a-sketch tablet. When I came up for rinsing off, I had my associate transcribe the etch-a-sketch, erase it, and down I went again. I'm going to put all of this data on a CDROM and sell them to recover my snorkel rental costs. Why was it strange? Well, because several of the tombstones were off their tombs, and there was nothing inside the tombs. That night, I had ghostly visitations in my dreams from three former mayors and two famous madams who had been buried in the cemetery. Scary stuff.

So there you have it - the Adventures of Genea-Man - doing genealogy research while wearing a mask and a snorkel.

I encourage all genea-bloggers who were mentioned by Janice in her post to write stories using the title she kindly provided, and then she can link to the actual posts. See Janice, fantasy can come true. ;o (or is it ;/ ?)

New Stuff at

How often do you check out what is new at I don't do it often enough!

Ancestry updates their "What's New" page every so often - it is at The featured collection this week is Records of the Mayflower Descendants - with digitized images and indexes for many published books about Mayflower passengers and their descendants.

Ancestry added 7.3 million historical records this week - including:

* British Army WW 1 1914-1920 Pension Records,
* Irish Passenger Lists 1803-1806,
* Directory of Scottish Settlers in North America, 1625-1825
* German City Directories - 130 Volumes
* Family and Local Histories

Of course, this list will be obsolete soon.

I usually check on the recent additions using this link - This lists the added or updated databases by date. For instance, reading this list shows that the following databases have been recently added (and may be featured next week on the "What's New" page):

* Index to Irish Wills, 1536-1837, 4 volumes.
* 1828 New South Wales (Australia) Census
* Families Directly Descended from all the Royal Families in Europe (495-1932) and Mayflower Families.

Of course, there are even more new databases. What they don't tell you is that some of them are in the non-US portions of Ancestry, so if you don't have a World subscription or a special subscription you can't access them.

Will any of these databases help your ancestral search? I'm going to go browse a bit through the Mayflower material and capture some of the useful pages for my ancestral families. The estates and deeds information looks useful to me.

Lastly, did you know that Cyndi Howells has set up a "Free Databases on Ancestry" web page? It is at I hope she cleared that with Ancestry - remember what happened to the previous "What's Free?" site back in April?

Monday, August 20, 2007

"Making Up History" - the Annie Moore play

Remember the Annie Moore story from a year ago? Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak asked for help, and offered a prize, for genealogists to find what happened to the "real Annie Moore" - the 14 year old girl who was the first person through Ellis Island in 1892. There had been a claim at the 100th anniversary of Ellis Island that the immigrant Annie Moore was a woman who married in the Midwest and lived in Texas - her descendants came to Ellis Island and were feted there. But Megan did some research later, and found that this was not the "real Annie Moore." So the search began, and several genealogy researchers, including bloggers, went on the hunt, and the details of Annie Moore's story came to life through diligent research. Megan presented the story, and introduced descendants of Annie Moore, at a NYGBS presentation in New York City last September.

Well, a script was written and a play was directed by Alia Faith Williams, and it was presented several months ago in Washington DC. Somehow, Megan convinced the writer to let RootsTelevision make a video of the play, and now it is presented, for the world to see, on the Irish Roots channel on RootsTelevision.

There are four video segments to the play "Making Up History: The Search for Annie Moore" - the play runs about 70 minutes. Go to the Irish Roots channel on RootsTelevision and watch the video segments at your leisure (less than 20 minutes each). Note that they are not listed in the proper order - you'll have to put your mouse on the icon and find the part you want. There is also a trailer that shows scenes from the play.

This is a wonderful use of new media in genealogy. The play brings a real genealogy research story to life. I love how the events of the past are woven into the events of the present along with the narrative background. Of course, I want to know if Megan is that dramatic in person as she is portrayed in the play? Any testimonies one way or the other?

OK, will there be a DVD of the best genealogy-related play ever? I hope that there will be. Wouldn't this be a wonderful program for local societies to present at a society meeting?

Thank you, Alia! Thank you, Megan! Thank you, RootsTV!

Della's Journal - Week 34 (August 20-26, 1929)

This is Installment 34 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 34:


Tuesday, August 20 (warm): Emily still working. Mrs. Bowers & Grace called. Grace had her little girl Barbara 2 yrs & 4 mo old, pretty & cute, blue eyes & light curly hair. Grace name is Luten, he is a Dr. Nellie (Wheeler & little girl called Cooper) is 10 yrs 2-1/2 mo old, is her youngest, has three girls, they live in Julian. Ma wrote to Aunt Libbie. Washed table pod (?) & we had the cubbard drawers to clean, the Ants paid us a visit. San Diego girl Mrs. Crossen killed (in the flight from Santa Monica Sim to the East by the women fliers). Monday after noon, did not get her untill today. Austin has a cold. I got 3 cotton blankets for beds, two for 2119 30th St & 1 for 2116 Fern, $1.95 each.

Wednesday, August 21 (warm): Mrs. Auble went to a stork party at Abbie Griffiths. Emily gave a baby dress. The favors were tiny baby dolls on a ribbon. Betty stayed with Ma & I to lunch. I took Ma's shoe to have it half soled & fix heel, cost 85 c. Betty, Lyle & Emily have colds.

Thursday, August 22 (warm): Sold 1st figs 3-1/2 lb. I trimmed acascia tree on N. Took sponge bath. Ma washed out few things in Union (?) today that Mr. Tarvin was burried in Escondido yesterday, died Sun 18, was 82 years old. Lyle home 1/2 day for his cold.

Friday, August 23 (warm): Escondido paper from Florence with Mr. Tarvin's notice in it. I trimmed vine on 2114 [Fern] porch. Ironed. Ma painted. Emily & Betty went to a party. Emily got 1st prize pair of candles, she is working. Miss Thoren paid my Gas & E[lectric] bill for me.

Saturday, August 24 (warm): Ed over, cut lawns, feels the heat. We had several to look at Flats. Jay Johnson the Mediam died yesterday. Washed my bed blanket.

Sunday, August 25 (warm): Lyle's went for a boat ride with Mr Nolan's & Griffiths, got caught on a sand-bar and did not get off for 6 hours. Got home 11:30 P.M. had a nice time, went on the log raft. A[ustin] fixed rod for Ma's curtain.

Monday, August 26 (warm): Ma worked on weeds around roses & paited. I picked figs 10 lb & took Addie W. 5 lb. We have a few, Mrs. Auble & Miss Thoren.


There are so many different names in this week, and I only know about the Nolan's and the Griffiths, and Miss Thoren who rents one of the flats. I'm curious about who Mrs. Crossen, Mrs. Bowers, Grace, Mr. Tarvin and Jay Johnson are. Those names aren't familiar to me.

My mother recalled the boat ride on San Diego Bay where they got stranded on a sand bar - the sand bar is now Shelter Island! She told us about the sting rays under the boat. They had to wait for the tide to lift them off.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

An 8th Grade Education in 1895

Remember when grandparents and great-grandparents stated that they only had an 8th grade education? Well, check this out. Could any of us have passed the 8th grade in 1895?

This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 in Salina, Kansas, USA. It was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, KS, and reprinted by the Salina Journal.

Grammar (Time, one hour)

1. Give nine rules for the use of capital letters.
2. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications.
3. Define verse, stanza and paragraph
4. What are the principal parts of a verb? Give principal parts of "lie", "play", and "run."
5. Define case; illustrate each case.
6. What is punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of punctuation.
7 - 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

Arithmetic (Time, 65 minutes)

1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?
3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts/bushel, deducting 1050 lbs. for tare?
4. District No 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
5. Find the cost of 6720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton.
6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $20 per meter?
8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance of which is 640 rods?
10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt

U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)

1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided
2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus.
3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
4. Show the territorial growth of the United States.
5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.
6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe?
8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, and 1865.

Orthography (Time, one hour)

1. What is meant by the following: alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, and syllabication.
2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
3. What are the following, and give examples of each: trigraph, sub vocal, diphthong, cognate letters, and lingual.
4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u.' (HUH?)
5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e.' Name two exceptions under each rule.
6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi-, dis-, mis-, pre-, semi-, post-, non-, inter-, mono-, and sup-.
8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.
9. Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

Geography (Time, one hour)

1 What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas?
3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
4. Describe the mountains of North America
5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco.
6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.
7. Name all the republics of: Europe and give the capital of each.
8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth.

Notice that the exam took FIVE HOURS to complete.

Gives the saying "he only had an 8th grade education" a whole new meaning, doesn't it? Bet they didn't get to use calculators, either!!

NOTE: From my email collection)

US Statistics for 1907

The year is 1907. One hundred years ago. What a difference a century makes!

Here are some of the U.S. Statistics for the Year 1907 :

* The average life expectancy in the U.S. Was 47 years old.

* Only 14 percent of the homes in the U.S. had a bathtub.

* Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone. A three-minute call from Denver to New York City Cost eleven dollars.

* There were only 8,000 cars in the U.S., and only 144 miles of paved roads. The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

* Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California. With a mere 1.4 million people, California was only the 21st most populous state in the Union

* The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower!

* The average wage in the U.S. Was 22 Cents per hour. The average U.S. Worker made between $200 and $400 per year. A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year, A dentist made $2,500 per year, A veterinarian $1,500 per year, And a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.

* More than 95 percent of all births in the U.S. Took place at HOME .

* Ninety percent of all U.S. Doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION! Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press AND the government as "substandard."

* Sugar cost four cents a pound. Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen. Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.

* Most women only washed their hair once a month , and used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.

* Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into their country for any reason.

* Five leading causes of death in the U.S. Were: 1. Pneumonia and influenza 2. Tuberculosis 3. Diarrhea 4. Heart disease 5. Stroke

* The American flag had 45 stars. Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska hadn't been admitted to the Union yet.

* The population of Las Vegas, Nevada, was only 30!!!!

* Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and ice tea hadn't been invented yet.

* There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day.

* Two out of every 10 U.S. Adults couldn't read or write.

* Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.

* Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at the local corner drugstores. Back then pharmacists said, "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health."

* There were about 230 reported Murders in the ENTIRE U.S.A.!

Just try to imagine..... What it may be like, In another 100 years !!!!!!!

(From my email collection)

Best of the Genea-Blogs - 5-18 August

I was away on vacation last week, so I didn't post my "Best of the Genea-Blogs" feature article - so I'll cover the last two weeks in this issue. These are articles that I really enjoyed and/or got excellent research information from. Enjoy!

* Janice Brown at Cow Hampshire has a funny piece - "Genealogy Seminars I'd Like to See" - very creative. The links are to the blogs, not to specific articles with the titles.

* Jasia at Creative Gene has completed her series of articles on City Directories - the last one is here, and has links to all of them. Excellent work, worthy of a magazine article.

* Renee Zamora at Renee's Genealogy Blog has a post about "Videos for New FamilySearch" - this looks like a great way to learn what is coming soon (I hope!)

* Valorie Zimmerman at the Genealogy blog has summarized "Rootsweb and How to Use It." Valorie makes great lists of web sites!

* Becky Wiseman on her Kinexxions blog appears to be the only genea-blogger summarizing her days at the FGS Conference - see FGS Day 1, FGS Day 2, FGS Day 3 and FGS Day 4. Thanks to Becky, I wish I had gone to the conference even more - although it would have been a red-eye from Maui!

* Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter had an article about the LDS/GSU "Records Access Genesis Project" that is one of the top news articles of 2007. Did you read it? If not, you should, since it will really help you understand the future genealogy research environment.

* Michael John Neill on his blog compares information from the RevWar Pension Abstracts with the full file papers in his Virgil White's Revolutionary Abstracts versus post.

* George G. Morgan's article on his Along These Lines blog about "Clues in Property Tax Bills." Excellent work!

* Craig Manson's article on the GeneaBlogie blog titled "Getting Info from the Government: FOIA 101" is very informative and useful.

* Denise Olson on her Family Matters blog tested the WeRelate database and really enjoyed the experience - see her post "WeRelate Update" for details and screen shots. After reading this post, I went and joined and submitted my own database.

That's what I've been reading - and saving. What do you recommend? I must have missed some really great posts - please share your finds!