Saturday, September 8, 2007

Scanfest Today

I spent several hours on Friday looking through the photographs that Linda's brother has at his house. He has the photos from his parent's collection and from a cousin's collection. Unfortunately, most of the cousin's collection is not labelled and there are many interesting photos that we don't know who the people are. In years past, Paul has made copies of the important family photos and given them to Linda.

After reviewing the photos, I scanned about 40 of them into Paul's computer, organized them a bit and labelled them in the file name, and copied them to my flash drive. Then I copied from the flash drive onto my laptop.

The most interesting photograph is of their grandmother's family cooking on the streets of San Francisco in front of their house after the 1906 earthquake. Their grandmother is Edna McKnew, on the far left in this picture. The people in the picture are, from the left, Edna McKnew, Leland McKnew, Elijah McKnew, Belle McKnew, Jane McKnew and May McKnew.

This house was at 4135 19th Street in San Francisco. They were enumerated in the 1900 census in this house. We think that the house address system may have changed over the years - we can't find this particular house.

Paul rescued a large framed copy of the lower part of this picture when their grandmother died in 1974 - he found it in the trash can. He then had a copy made, put it in a nice large frame, and the photograph hangs in our family room - their grandmother watches everything we do, and I'm sure that she enjoys seeing our grandchildren play, learn and love there. She was one of the sweetest people I've ever known.

It was another good genealogy day - we had fun looking at the photos, talking about the people, and I enjoyed the scanfest today.

Friday, September 7, 2007

FamilyTreeMaker 2008 Upgrades

Kathi at the Ancestors Search blog has been out in front on FamilyTreeMaker 2008 over the past few months, and I really appreciate her efforts to keep us informed.

Her post tonight - at - provides the information that FTM 2008 users received today. It essentially says that there will be regular Service Packs over the months to add capabilities to FTM 2008.

For me, the most important feature that FTM 2008 needs to add before I purchase it is the Report and Book Creation capability. I'm glad to see that. I was concerned that they would rely only on the Ancestry Press feature that I reviewed in late July and found wanting.

Thanks to Kathi for the good news.

Sharing Family Information

We arrived in Monte Rio to visit Paul (Linda's brother) and Deb (Paul's SO) for two days. Deb is one of the granddaughters of Robert Leroy Thompson, the ultimate census dodger that I posted about earlier this week.

We discussed what I have found to date, including the possibility that Robert Leroy Thompson may have changed his name at some time - either intentionally or through adoption. I showed Deb the FTM database I have on her ancestry on the laptop, and she really wanted to have a copy. I'm going to copy PAF onto her computer and a GEDCOM so that she can play with the database. I also have all of the downloaded record images - census pages, WorldConnect reports, etc. for her to put on her computer.

After dinner, Deb brought out the picture of RLT she has of him in his Army uniform in 1918 with his dog that served in France with him. She also showed me copies of his Enlistment Record and Discharge paper from the Army with some interesting dates on it. On these papers, he is called Leroy Thompson. He enlisted on 1 July 1916 in Memphis, Tennessee. It doesn't give a birthdate, but says he was 31 and was born in Huntland TN. He served in Belgium and France in late 1918, was gassed, and was discharged on 12 April 1919 in Oglethorpe GA.

The only information at odds with this information is his age - the SSDI and his death certificate says he was born 12 August 1880, which would make him 35 when he enlisted. Perhaps they had an age restriction for enlisting in 1916.

Deb also mentioned that he tried to enlist for World War II at age 62 or so - I have not checked the World War II draft registration cards, but I will soon!

Then I showed them this blog and the information on it, and we discussed some of the events from last week with Ancestry's databases - Deb is an attorney. They were amazed at the depth and breadth of what our little group of genealogy bloggers post on a regular basis and easily saw the benefits of sharing this information freely on the Internet.

Finally, we looked at all the pictures form the last 4 months of the Massachusetts trip, the Maui trip, and the daughters and grandkids. That put Paul to sleep and Deb was yawning. They went to bed, so I can blog freely using their wireless connection right here on the dining room table!

Sharing Family information is one of the very best ways to get more family information. She had those papers and because I had done some work on her family, she was able to share them with me. We also discussed how to preserve the hundreds of pictures that Paul has of his family, going back several generations. I recommended that he scan them, label them and put them on a DVD and distribute them to the interested family members, including my daughters.

It was a very fun - and productive - evening.

NGS NewsMagazine - July-September 2007

The July-September 2007 issue of the NGS NewsMagazine was received late last week. The cover design and the page formats have been changed - they look good!

The Table of Contents includes:


10 -- "NGS award winners for 2007"
13 -- "National Genealogy Hall of Fame"
15 -- "NGS donations for calendar year 2006"
16 -- "Where to start when you inherit genealogy" by Janet Hovorka
20 -- "Rollin' down the river" by Patricia Walls Stamm, CG, CGL
24 -- "Navigating the world of U.S. river-map research" by Greg Boyd
29 -- "Utopian or communal societies in America" by Beverly Rice, CG
33 -- "Rich couple, poor couple? What will an estate inventory reveal" by Charles S. "Chuck" Mason Jr., CG
38 -- "They came by train: orphan train riders" by Becky Higgins
52 -- "Case Study: So who was Edith W. Saxon?" by Dawn Slater-Putt, CG


43 -- "National archives" by Claire Prechtel-Kluskens - "Canadian border Immigration records, 1895-1950s, Part 1: The records"
50 -- "Beginning genealogy" by Gary M. and Diana Crisman Smith - "Data reliability"
56 -- "Software review" by Barbara Schenck - "Review of Ancestral Manor teleconference seminars"
62 -- "Writing family history" by Harold E. Hinds, Jr., PhD - "Divided loyalties: Civil War ancestry"

I enjoy and appreciate this magazine because it continues to introduce new resources - both traditional and online - and discusses issues and topics of interest to all genealogy researchers.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Lighter blogging until Tuesday

We are off to northern California today to visit Angel Linda's brother Paul and his Deb in Monte Rio for two days and then down to Santa Cruz to visit our daughter and her two little boys, including celebrating Lucas' 4th birthday.

In the process, we will discuss family history with Paul and Deb (I have researched Deb's ancestry over the past 6 months - it includes the elusive Robert Leroy Thompson family). We will also make some family history with fun times, pictures and birthday cake with the boys. Here's a picture from the last visit of the boys here in August:

I do hope to use their computers for a limited time every day to read and perhaps blog, but who knows. I am taking the laptop just so I can show all of our pictures to the family, and I have all of the documents for Deb's ancestry on the laptop.

So - blogging may be light until Tuesday. Given the choice between playing with the little ones and blogging, what would you choose?

101 Best Genealogy Research Tips

I received a booklet titled "101 Best Genealogy Research Tips" in the mail from Moorshead Publications after I subscribed to the Internet Genealogy online magazine. There are 45 pages chock full of the tips, each with one or more paragraphs of information.

Tip #1 is "When You're Stuck, Write it Up."
Tip #2 is "Cherchez la Femme."
Tip #3 is "Widen the Search Area."

There are actually 102 tips - they wanted to give more than they promised.

The tips are not in the order of most important to least important - they seem to be fairly random in order. Some are very useful, others are not so. all in all, it's a handy, small publication to carry around, or have in your bathroom reading rack.

So how can you get this neat little book for yourself? There appears to be only one way - subscribe to one of the Moorshead Publications magazines!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Genealogy and History Library Links

I ran across an interesting web site with many useful genealogy and history articles - it is the Genealogy and History Library Links (GHLL) site -

The archives for the "Branching Out" newsletter are here. There are monthly articles from 2001 until the present.

The site has other interesting pages - a Web Site of the Week, a Bad Apples club, a Message Board, and more.

Check it out!

Genealogy Limericks

Hey, here we go - a little fun on a late summer day.

Jimmy M. Kavanagh at JMK Genealogy Gifts has wearing apparel and other stuff with a limerick on it, titled "The Wise Genealogist":


"A wise genealogist from Toledo
quoted the following as her very own credo:
'provide a source and citation,
for every relation,
and never transcribe records at speed-o.'"

This limerick is copyright © James M. Kavanagh

I hope Jimmy doesn't mind me quoting it in toto - it is hard to excerpt!

Are there any more genealogy limericks that we should know about? I just Googled ["genealogy limericks"] and got only one match - to The Genealogy Funnies. But there aren't any real limericks there. Doing a search without the quotes generates a lot of hits for Limerick in Ireland.

Let's see...

"There once was a genealogist named Tuck,
Who searched for his family named Puck.
He traced them to fair Ireland so green,
And went there with enthusiasm so keen,
But soon found that the records there suck."

Copyright (c) Randall J. Seaver

"Where oh where has my Smith family gone?
Della, Devier, Ranslow and maybe John;
Where oh where can the parents be?
I traced them back to upstate New York,
but they disappeared - woe is me."

Copyright (c) - Randall J. Seaver

See - that wasn't so hard! I bet you thought I was going to use a four-letter word, eh?

OK, the second one is really a poem of uneven metric... Do limericks have a set number of syllables like haiku? Yep - see here! A-A-B-B-A. I know mine waasn't anapestic though, or even dactyl.

Thanks for the concept, Jimmy. Maybe Jimmy can make a T-shirt out of the best limerick created or found.

Come on, genea-bloggers and readers - post links to other genealogy limericks or make up one yourself. We need some new blog-fodder!

SDGS Meeting on Saturday 9/8

The San Diego Genealogical Society meeting is Saturday, 8 September at 12 noon at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church in San Diego (8350 Lake Murray Blvd - at Jackson Drive).

The speaker is Jean Wilcox Hibben who will make two presentations:

* Deduction vs. Induction

* Breaking the Ties That Bind.

The program description and speaker's biography:


"Does your family history meet the 'proof' and validity standards of sound genealogical research? Our first topic looks at the types of proof used to assess the validity of findings in the field of family research. The differences between original (primary) research and hearsay (secondary) accounts will be clarified, as will the benefits of using the Genealogical Proof Standard. Come and find out if your research 'makes the grade.'

"The second presentation will explore one woman's story of leaving family to settle in new frontiers. The paper trail she left behind will be examined following the narrative presentation.

"Jean Wilcox Hibben trains Family History Consultants and volunteers at the FHC in Corona. A retired college professor, she is pursuing a doctorate degree in folklore and now spends 'more time with her dead relatives.' She also translates old German records. An accomplished guitarist, she often uses music in her lectures and workshops to bring together her two loves: folklore and genealogy. Visit her web site for more info -"


Jean spoke in April 2006 at SDGS and it was, in my opinion, one of the best programs I've attended.

The SDGS program format features the first program at 12 noon, a break at about 12:45 pm, then SDGS announcements at 1 pm followed by the second program, ending at about 2:30 pm.

I encourage San Diego area readers to attend this meeting - the topics are excellent and I know that you will enjoy and appreciate Jean Wilcox Hibben.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

My Carringer Family Bible

There is information on the pages from a Carringer family Bible that are not available anywhere else. I decided that I should post it here just in case someone else is looking for information on this family or something bad happens to me and the contents of the Genea-Cave.

I only have the family pages taken from the Bible, I don't have the rest of the Bible. I don't know the date of publication of this Bible, or when the family purchased it. I'm guessing it was purchased in the 1870's. I do recognize most of the handwriting on the pages.



D J Carringer
Born Nov 4th 1828 A.D.
Mercer Co. Pa.

Rebekah Spangler
Born April 2th 1832 A.D.
Mercer Co. Pa.

Harvy E. Carringer
Born May 6th 1852 A.D.
Mercer Co. Pa.

Henry A. Carringer
Born Nov 26th 1853 A.D.
Mercer Co. Pa.

Effie E. Carringer
Born Nov 24th 1858 A.D.
Louisa Co. Iowa

[the above are in Rebecca (Spangler) Carringer's hand]

Devier D. Carringer
Born Aug. 19th 1889 AD
9:30 A.M. Nat. City Calif.

Lyle L. Carringer
Born Nov 2nd 1891 AD
6.54 P.M. San Diego Calif.

[the two above are in Henry Austin Carringer's hand]

Betty Virginia Carringer (daughter of Lyle)
Born July 30th 1919

Randall Jeffrey Seaver (son of Betty C. Seaver)
Born October 23rd 1943

Stanley Richmond Seaver (son of Betty C. Seaver)
Born September 4th 1946.

[the three above were in the hand of Lyle L. Carringer]


Oct. 16 by Rev. McAdams
D.J. Carringer Miss Rebeccah Spangler
Mercer Co. Pa. 1851 AD
[in Rebecca (Spangler) Carringer's hand]

At Wano Kan Sept 11th 1887
By Rev Emanuel Richard
Henry A. Carringer
to Della A. Smith
at Twelve Oclock
[in Henry Austin Carringer's hand]

San Diego- California June 19th 1918
By Rev. H.E. Crabtree - Central Christian Church
Lyle Lawrence Carringer
Emily Kemp Auble
At 6 P.M.
[in Lyle L. Carringer's hand]

San Diego Calif. July 12th 1942
By Rev. Father Stephens - All Saints Episcopal Church
Frederick Walton Seaver
Betty Virginia Carringer
[in hand of Lyle L. Carringer]


Caribou [CO] June 8 1874
Effie E. Carringer Daughter
of DJ & R Carringer
age 15 years 6 months and 12 days
[in the hand of Rebecca (Spangler) Carringer]

National City Calif
May 10th 1890
Devier D. son of H A &
Della A. Carringer aged
8 months & 20 days
[in hand of Henry Austin Carringer]

San Diego Calif
Rebecca Carringer
Aged 69 yrs 8 Months & 11 days
died Dec 13 1901 - She was Daughter
of Daniel & Elisabeth Spangler
[in hand of Henry Austin Carringer?]

San Diego Jan 20 1902
David Jackson Carringer
aged 73 yr - 2 - 17 da
[in hand of Della (Smith) Carringer]

San Diego Calif. Nov. 30, 1946
Henry Austin Carringer, 93 yrs, 4 days, 9:30 AM
[in hand of Lyle L. Carringer]

[Several obituaries are pasted on an untitled page opposite the Deaths page:]

"At Caribou, June 8, 1874, Effie E. Carringer, daughter of D.J. and Rebecca Carringer, aged fifteen years, six months and twelve days.
"The deeply afflicted family have the sincerest sympathy of all the community. The form of their loved one fades from earth.
"But a fair maiden in the Father's mansion,
Clothed with celestial grace,
And beautiful with all the soul's expansion
Shall they behold her face."

"CARRINGER -- In Sheakleyville, Mercer county, April 7th, 1871, of consumption, Eva E., daughter of John Carringer, aged 19 years, 7 months and 22 days.
"Yes, Eva dear, when loved ones stood around thy chair,
In anguish each to weep,
Then calmly bade them all adieu,
And gently fall asleep."

"KELSO -- In Greenville, Pa., Wednesday, Dec. 20th, 1871, Mrs. M.J. Kelso, sister of Mrs. A.L. Power, of this place, aged 31 years and 9 months."

"POWER -- In Summerhill township, Dec. 20th, 1871, of apoplexy of the lungs, Theodore M. Power, in the 60th year of his age."


I doubt that anyone but my brothers and I (and our offspring) are descended from David Jackson and Rebecca (Spangler) Carringer, since:

* Henry Austin Carringer's siblings were Harvey Edgar Carringer, who never married, and Effie E. Carringer, who died unmarried at age 15.

* Henry Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer had two sons - Devier D. who died as an infant, and Lyle L. Carringer.

* Lyle L. Carringer married Emily Kemp Auble and they had one child, Betty Virginia Carringer.

* Betty Carringer married Frederick W. Seaver and had three sons -- Randall, Stanley and Scott.

Obviously, these are all original source records, and most of them are primary information and direct evidence of vital events in the life of this family. Note - only the birth of DJ Carringer and Rebecca Spangler are secondary information.

After my visit to the cemeteries today, and pondering the vagaries of life, I am sensitive to the fact that family records like these should not be held in secret. They should be published wherever or whenever they can be, hence putting it on this blog. I doubt that the deathless prose on this blog will last forever in genealogy cyberspace, and therefore I have included this information in my databases and have passed it on to my brothers and my children in the form of genealogy reports given freely at Christmas. I hope to publish books that include this information and provide them to local libraries and regional genealogy libraries for documentation.

What about you? Any real good family information that you have hidden in your files? Have you passed it to your siblings and children? When will you publish it?

A Day at the Mausoleum

I went off for two hours today to visit two mausoleums in San Diego to find and photograph the crypts or tombs of relatives of two correspondents. They had requested this via the query system on the Chula Vista Genealogical Society web page - here.

My first stop was the Cypress View Chapel and Mausoleum at 3953 Imperial Avenue in San Diego CA (92113). A nice fellow named Armond helped me out - he took me to the desk near the card file, and after we got the information, he escorted me across the street to the Mausoleum to find Emma Neff's (died 1928) tomb. We found it easily - about 12 feet up in the Garden Court Corridor A. It is about 8 feet long and 30 inches tall. He got a ladder and snapped a picture from about 10 feet up - good enough!

I also took this opportunity to find and take a picture of the niches of my grandparents (Lyle and Emily Carringer) and three great-grandparents (Henry Austin and Della Carringer, plus Georgia Auble) whose remains are also at Cypress View Mausoleum. Unfortunately, the picture isn't the best!.

I asked Armond about their filing system and he said it was only on 3x5 file cards with the name of the deceased, name and address of the owner of the niche or crypt, cost of the space, and location. They gave me a poor copy of Henry A. Carringer's card. The Carringers were in the Bronze Corridor, Section J, Niche 61. Georgia Auble was inurned with Lyle and Emily in Niche 62. The niche for Austin and Della Carringer was bought by Lyle Carringer for $419.95.

Armond said that there were about 20,000 "residents" of Cypress View in tombs, crypts and niches - they have no outside grave sites. The mausoleum that I went into is kept locked to prevent vandalism and urban outdoorsmen, and I got the impression that they don't go into it very often. Very quiet, I guess.

Then it was off to the largest cemetery in San Diego - Greenwood Memorial Park at 4300 Imperial Avenue in San Diego CA (92113). I was looking for Fred Hawman, his wife and daughters. Raul helped by getting the location of the crypt, drove us over to the mausoleum, and found the location for me. All four Hawman's were there and I got pictures for my correspondent. They were in the fifth tier - only ten feet up! No ladder this time.

Greenwood has over 100,000 residents in crypts, niches, graves with monuments or in-ground with a plaque. Again, they used a card file to get the location of the crypt and let me have the copy.

There are only limited transcriptions of the "residents" of these two cemeteries available on the Internet. It would be a big job to walk the grounds, and a big job to transcribe the card files.

As I've mentioned before, CVGS has produced a CDROM for Glen Abbey Memorial Park in Bonita near Chula Vista. It took over 10 years off and on before we finished the 35,000 residents. We are currently transcribing La Vista Cemetery in National City (just north of Chula Vista) and will have another CDROM in the next few years. Then we may need a new project!

For the "residents" of both of the mausoleums I visited, there are very few signs of visitors - there were no flowers on crypts or niches, and it sounded like they had few queries about these areas. Perhaps it is because of the age of the residents - most were interred there between 1920 and 1980.

Then it was off to Costco for lunch and browsing, K-Mart for shopping, and home for blodging, er, blogging. When I got home, I whipped the tomb photos off to my correspondents via email.

I sure wish that the residents of these crypts and niches could talk - could tell me all about the events, dreams, and successes of their lives.

NGS UpFront Newsletter

I like to provide links to interesting and useful articles about genealogy research and family history that are available on the Internet.

The National Genealogical Society has a monthly newsletter called UpFront with NGS that can be subscribed to receive it by email for free - see Back issues of UpFront with NGS are available at in text format.

The September 2007 issue of UpFront with NGS has several interesting articles:

-- Genealogists in Slippers or Sneakers? by Chuck Mason, CG

-- Research Tips: Wringing Out the Data by Arlene V. Jennings, CG

-- Google Apps for Genealogists by Gayathri Kher, NGS IT Specialist & Learning Center Director

-- Lessons Learned in the Trenches by Pam Cerutti, UpFront Editor

-- And Now for the Rest of the Story by Jan Alpert

The newsletter also features NGS News, Other Genealogy News, and an Upcoming Events Calendar.

This is a very useful newsletter, and it's FREE to subscribe to.

Monday, September 3, 2007

31st Carnival of Genealogy is Rocking

The 31st Carnival of Genealogy has been posted on Craig Manson's Geneablogie blog - the link is The topic this time was Confirm or Debunk: Family Myths, Legends, and Lore.

There are 22 posts in this edition of the carnival, from 18 bloggers.

The topic for next Carnival of Genealogy ties in with a noteworthy documentary coming September 23 to PBS -- "The War," by Ken Burns. "The War" tells the story of World War II through the lives of ordinary men and women from four American cities. For the mid-September Carnival, tell any story about a wartime event or soldier in your family (no need to limit it to World War II or America). The deadline is September 15. The Carnival will be hosted by Susan Kitchens at Family Oral History Using Digital Tools.

You can submit your blog post to the Carnival at


"New tools let families dig deeper for roots"

My local daily newspaper, the San Diego Union-Tribune finally printed today the New York Times News Service article by Ellen Rosen that appeared back on 18 August in many other newspapers. In the Union-Tribune, the article was titled "New tools let families dig deeper for roots."

The lead paragraph in the article is about Katherine Holden of Connecticut who had a family tradition that a great-grandmother was a Native American, and she had a DNA test for $250 that told her that she was 12% Native American.

All in all, it is a pretty complete and fair article, striking the right balance between traditional and online resources and mentioning DNA research but not going overboard with it. After reviewing some of the online sites, with several paragraphs devoted to OneGreatFamily and Geni, the article moves on to traditional resources. Thomas W. Jones and Kathleen W. Hinckley have several quotes, and the FHL, FGS, BCG and APG are mentioned.

The article quotes Tim Sullivan, the CEO of, saying that they have 800,000 subscribers and 14 million registered users.

Family History Month is in October, and CVGS is planning an all-day seminar titled "Genealogy Online." Our quandary is how to get the local newspapers to give us a little publicity - the Union-Tribune has not been receptive in the past but the Chula Vista Star-News has been somewhat receptive, having interviewed me about my research last year.

What methods have other societies used to get some publicity other than sending out a press release and hoping for attention?

Della's Journal - Week 36 (September 3-9, 1929)

This is Installment 36 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 36:


Tuesday, September 3 (hot, but cooler last night): Emily worked today, will be the last for awhile. L[yle] & E[mily] made a hole & put a box in to grow fish food in on this side of Garage. Betty went to school is First day. We washed.

Wednesday, September 4 (coller, foggy in n[ight]: Hazel & I went to see German War vessle & other boats at the warf [wharf]. Fred & Jessie here when we got home, they brought us some eggs & I gave them some figs & candy, Hazel .25 c and treated her to ice cream soda, fruit & cookies & grapes Ma put in. I pd on Bldg & L[oan] $65. We were tired after all had gone.

Thursday, September 5 (Foggy & misty): A[ustin] wore light over coat. Uncle Sam 89 years old this week. Louie & Ruth here to supper, he took all his papers out of safety box, left Hazel's breast pins. Zack came, ate supper, then went to see friends.

Friday, September 6 (misty & cooler): Picked 24 lbs Figs, sold 15 lbs, gave the rest to the ones here. Zack said he had a nice trip to New York & Misch [Michigan?]. He got back here Labor Day. Picked 24 lbs figs.

Saturday, September 7: Ed over, he cut lawn on E[ast] others did not need it. E[mily] & L[yle] set out Rasberry guava tree. Emily changed roses to N of their house, got two new ones. They had a few in to play bridge. Vivian came to stay all night, was down just for a ride. Lyle letter from Collins, they expect to build at Ocean B[each]. Letter from LA Banker asking about Walter Pinkham.

Sunday, September 8 (cool): Lyle's took boat ride got home between 7 & 8. I listened to last concert given at the organ. Lyle's gave us tickets to give to some one to use them. Miss Thoren 1, Miss Setchel's friends used the rest. Ans[wered] letter about Walter Pinkham, he wrote to get work in a bank in L.A. He got in Ist Nat[ional] Security & Trust on 3 mo[nth] trial Sep 12.

Monday, September 9 (cool & pleasant): Admission day. Escondido Grape Day we had one to look at Flat. In eve Lyle's rode out after eggs, I went with them then we called on Mr. & Mrs. Watson. Saw their new home, the others had seen it but I had not, it is very nice. We took out shrubs & plants. We washed.


This was a really interesting and busy week for Della and the family, no mention of her mother the whole week. "Uncle Sam" is Samuel Crouch whose wife Elizabeth is Della's mother's sister. Vivian is their daughter. Louie and Ruth Morrill also live in Long Beach, and I think Hazel is their daughter. Fred and Jessie Kanagy are family friends that live nearby. Walter and Jessie Pinkham live in Chula Vista and are family friends. I have no clue who Zack is! Maybe he will be mentioned later in the Journal.

I'm not sure if Lyle and Emily planted both raspberry bushes and guava trees or if it was a raspberry guava tree. I do recall the guava and loquat trees on the south side of the driveway at 2130 Fern Street where Lyle's family lived. We used to sneak over, pick them and eat them (and we would sometimes pick them and throw them at passing cars - bad boys!).

Della sometimes wrote notes later on specific days - like on Sunday with the news about Walter Pinkham's job action.

The weather reports are typical San Diego - warm and humid for a week or two in late August and September, then a cool spell, and often a Santa Ana with hot temperatures, low humidity and high winds later in September. We have had two weeks of 85 to 95 F temperatures here with humidity, and hope for a cool spell soon! Gee, maybe I should start Randy's Journal? Bad idea - I sit on the computer blogging too much already!

Another Lesson Learned

It's happened to me twice now - you would think I would learn the first time. It wasn't that momentous - I didn't check all items on a microfilm to see what else was on it.

Here's the latest story: I ordered the Land Evidence records for Jamestown RI (Volumes 1 and 2, 1680-1744) on microfilm down at the Family History Center back in July. The microfilm came in about 3 weeks ago and I went down on 21 August and copied 47 pages of records - including three wills and probate records - from Volume 1 of the handwritten book. The pages were pretty readable, except the edges of some of them were missing, worn or very dark.

On Saturday I went back to the FHC because I knew the Jamestown microfilm had Volume 2 on it and I knew that there was one more probate record in Volume 2 that I wanted. I also wanted to obtain the early deeds for the ancestors (Giles Slocum, Ebenezer Slocum, Edward Carr and Caleb Carr) that I knew were in Volume 1. I captured about 30 pages from Volume 1 and scrolled down to go to Volume 2.

Whoa. What's this? At the end of Volume 1 there was a typewritten transcription of the first 280 pages of Volume 1 (there were over 500 pages)! It included a transcription of the first 20 pages that are either missing, torn or so unreadable on the microfilm of the handwritten copy. So I copied some of those pages too. Then I went to Volume 2 and found the probate record of Mary Slocum, widow of Ebenezer Slocum and copied it also. There was no transcription for Volume 2 - I checked!

When I say "copied" I mean that I captured the image from the microfilm, saved it on the Microfilm Scanner computer system at the FHC, then copied it on to my USB flash drive, brought it home and copied the pages to my computer files, and re-named the pages so I know what is on them. I described this process in my post titled "Microfilm Scanning at the FHC."

I managed to squeeze 60 scanned images onto my 500 mb USB flash drive (each was about 8 mb) on Saturday in 80 minutes. I still have more to capture - I'm going to go back and get the transcribed probate records on the theory that the person who transcribed it had a better chance to get it right than I do from the handwritten page on the microfilm. The transcription should be much easier to read and I can check the handwritten copy if necessary.

Needless to say, I really appreciate the LDS microfilm scanning computer system and the ease of using it - there is no paper to print out and no need to transcribe the pages by hand. The cost is nominal - $1 an hour at the FHC. I can bring the pages home and abstract them or transcribe them at my leisure. Frankly, my problem is finding the time to do it (note to self - you absolutely have to get with it, stop blogging so much!).

The only thing better would be to be able to capture the images of these old public records at home in my genealogy cave sitting in my shorts with the fan blowing and Laura, Michael or Hugh on the radio. Oh, that's right, that's what FamilySearch Indexing will do for us sometime in the future (BUT I WANT IT NOW! Um, sorry, I shouted, bad form, ... be patient - that's the recovering geneaholic shouting, I think - back in the cage, OK? Nurse!).

So the lesson learned here was this: Check all of the items on the microfilm before you start to capture or copy pages. You may be surprised!

The Ultimate "Dodging the Census" Puzzle

DearMYRTLE has three posts about "Dodging the Census" here, here and here. Ol' MYRT's first post provides some suggestions for solving these problems.

My post titled "Dear Genea-Man: Why Can't I Find My Ancestors in the Census" described my own tips and tricks for dealing with this problem. Read the comments on that post for additional tips from readers.

Many of us have experienced similar puzzles and problems concerning our own ancestry or that of colleagues. I want to resurrect my "ultimate" dodging the census problem:

I have posted several times about my love-in-law's Thompson family in Tennessee - see "The Robert Leroy Thompson Brick Wall."

Here is my research summary from that post:

Robert Leroy Thompson (born 12 Aug 1880 in Huntland, Franklin County, TN, died 26 Sept 1965 in Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, NC). I have the data from his death certificate. He married Lillian Russell Daniel (born about 1900) of Anderson County TN in about 1917. In some records, he is known as Leroy Thompson - no Robert. I do not have Robert Leroy's Social Security application.

The family had military records from World War I and memories from his four daughters, one of whom is still alive. The four daughters included Gwen Margaret Thompson (born 7 May 1921) and Lois Elizabeth Thompson (born 18 July 1926).

The family said that after Robert left the Army, he attended college in Georgia and the family reportedly lived in southwestern Virginia and in Kingsport, Sullivan County, TN where Lois was born in 1926.

Robert Leroy Thompson's parents, according to all the family records and the death certificate, were William A. and Lydia (Childress) Thompson. They had at least one other child - William Thompson - before Robert's birth. The family says that Lydia died when Robert was 3, and his father married again. The family records also say that William A. Thompson's parents were William S. and Parthenia (Dean?) Thompson.

I cannot find ANY census record for any of these three families.

I started in the 1930 census, hoping to find Robert Leroy and Lillian Thompson somewhere with their daughters Gwen and Lois. I've used wild cards extensively for the surname (e.g., Thomp*, Tomp*, Thom*, Tom*, etc.). I've tried looking for just the children - for each of them with either their given or middle name, etc. I've tried searching for just Robert (or Leroy, Rob*, Lee*, Ler*, R, L) and Lillian (or Lil*, Lel*, L) as husband and wife, using wild cards and spelling variations, without success. I searched the Kingsport TN census for 1930 line-by-line hoping that I would find the family there. There is one Robert L. Thompson married to a Lila living in Guilford NC with an 18-year old daughter, Hazel. I don't believe that this is the right family, although they came from eastern Tennessee. The 1930 census is more difficult to work with because the birthplace of dependents are not indexed - only the head of household (and those with another surname in a family) are indexed.

They are just not in the 1930 census records with any of these names. I have expanded the search to surrounding states and have been unable to find them using all of the search techniques I normally use.

I also can't find them in the 1920, 1910 or 1900 census records. Same process, same results. In 1900 and 1910, Robert Leroy Thompson was not married, according to family memories (but who knows?). For instance, there are 25 Rob* Thomp* born 1875-1885 in TN (but no Ler* Thomp*) in the 1910 census.

In the 1880 census, there are Thompson families in Franklin County TN, but none with a son William or parents William and Lydia Thompson. I estimated that William and Lydia are in the age 20 to 40 range in 1880. Robert Leroy was born in August and therefore is not likely to appear on the 1880 census, although I've looked for him! I've looked for parents named William and Lydia and son William (using wild cards) without success. I have expanded this search to surrounding states without success.

In the 1870, 1860 and 1850 census, there are no entries for a William and Parthenia Thompson - with alternative spellings, using wild cards, etc.

So there are 7 sets of census data without a hint of three generations of this family. What are the odds for that? If the chance of an incorrect census index entry is 20% (my guess), then 0.2 to the 7th power is 1 in 78,125. Those are pretty long odds!

Did this family change their name at some point? Did they hide from the census taker every year? Were they dropped off from a UFO?

I'm now thinking that perhaps Robert Leroy Thompson was adopted by another family after his mother died, and that he took their Thompson surname. If that was the case, then William and Lydia's surname might not be Thompson but some other name. That would reduce the "dodging the census" to 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 only - the odds are still 0.2 to the 4th power, or 1 chance in 625.

Another possibility is that Robert Leroy's birth parents had the surname Thompson, but that he was adopted by a family with another surname, and when he became an adult (say before 1910) he changed his surname back to Thompson.

I would appreciate any suggestions that readers have - please help me think outside the box!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Best of the Genea-Blogs - Week of August 26

Here's is my short list of the "Best of the Genea-Blogs" for the week of August 26. This week was dominated on the genealogy blogs by the news of Ancestry's "Internet Biographical Collection" - see my earlier posts for more details, I won't pick any of them here (well, one, sort of). There were also many posts about family stories and myths, which are the subject of this week's Carnival of Genealogy, so I didn't pick any of them either.

This is my list of favorite posts (note that some of them go off to another web site) - not in any particular order:

* Chris Dunham's The Genealogue posted "They Were Their Own Grandpas" which pointed to a James Pylant article in Genealogy Magazine about the origins of the world-famous genealogy song.

* Gena Philibert-Ortega's Gena's Genealogy blog has an article titled "School: It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year." The post discusses finding and using school records and yearbooks as resources.

* Blaine Bettinger's The Genetic Genealogist blog has two articles titled "DNA from the Dead: DNA Banking is Legal, Is It Ethical?" - Part 1 is here, part 2 is here. I wish I understood all of this, but I appreciate the technical detail and information.

* footnoteMaven on the footnoteMaven blog posted "Just Because You Can doesn't Mean You Should" which is an allegorical story pertinent to the Ancestry fiasco. fM also has a post about "Nice Through the Ages" which shows how the meaning of the word "nice" has changed over time.

* The Ancestry Insider posted "The Dark Side of Steve Morse's Wonderful Website" and discussed the techniques that Morse uses in his searches and the ramifications of them.

* Lee Drew's FamHist blog post titled "Hello, Cousin" made me think about how much more I could be doing to find distant cousins.

* Bill West at the West in New England blog posts "Caveat Genealogis" that links to an article Diana Henderson Probus wrote by the same title back in 2000 that is posted here (click on the "Caveat Genealogis" link). Diana just passed away and Bill passes some of her wisdom to all of us.

* Jasia at the Creative Gene blog posted "How to Regain Access to Your Yahoo Account After It's Been Hacked." There are lessons to be learned by the misfortune, and reaction, of others.

So go forth and read the posts and the blogs. Oh yeah -- Happy Labor Day! I'm going to blog and transcribe all day, I think.

What's Happening at FamilySearch Indexing?

Most readers know that the LDS FamilySearch organization is digitizing images from microforms in the Family History Library collection and is indexing them in a project called FamilySearch Indexing. The goal is to digitize and index all of the microforms (over 2 million microfilms and over 1 million microfiches) and provide them for FREE at the web site.

The indexing effort is being performed by volunteers who sign up, receive training and indexing software, and commit to doing some indexing on a regular basis. Some of the indexing of specific records is being done by members of genealogical societies. The indexing procedure requires two separate indexers to evaluate each record, and if they agree then the record is accepted. If they disagree, an arbiter makes the final acceptance decision.

Some databases have already been completed - they can be found on the FamilySearch Records Search Project here. You do have to register in order to access these records.

The databases currently being indexed can be found here. The databases that will soon be started are here. As you can see, the major emphasis is on the 1900 United States census at this time. Several genealogy societies are indexing records specific to their local or regional interests.

This indexing effort will take a long time. The more volunteers there are, the less time it will take. The goal is to index census, military, vital, immigration, naturalization, church, probate, land, Bible, tax and other records and link the index to the record image. This is a very ambitious, and worthwhile, effort.

If you are one of the indexers, I applaud your efforts. Please keep them going! If you want to help, they still need volunteers to help - you can volunteer here. You do not have to be an LDS member to volunteer and do the indexing work.

Do you want to keep up-to-date on what is happening with FamilySearch? Check out the FamilySearch Labs web site at This site has links to their four current projects in work -- Record Search , Indexing, Pedigree Viewer and Life Browser.

The promise of these projects is extremely high. I applaud the vision, goals and results of the FamilySearch staff and leadership, especially the intent to make these records available for FREE to researchers like me. I do look forward to using each of the projects in my future genealogy research and practice.

UPDATED 9/3, 9 AM: A commenter asked why FamilySearch is indexing the 1900 census when it's already available on Ancestry and HQO. The big-picture answer is that they want a complete index of all census records available to all genealogy researchers. The LDS goal appears to be for FamilySearch to be the genealogy web site with the most resources available to everybody for free. I think they will achieve it, but it will take some time.

Another commenter noted that the image they saw on FamilySearch was much better than the corresponding image on Ancestry and HQO. You can do a lot of improvement with image enhancement now than you could 5 or 10 years ago.