Saturday, October 20, 2007

It went really well

Our CVGS seminar "Genealogy Online - Discover Your Family History" went pretty well today. The minor start-up problems were quickly overcome, the speaker stayed pretty close to the time limits, and the attendees received a wealth of information.

The biggest problems were ones you like to have. We had 48 reservations, but 62 people attended, and there was still a line out the auditorium door at the scheduled start time of 10:20 AM. So we started at 10:30 when everyone was registered. The program ran about 15 minutes behind, but nobody seemed to care much. We made only 50 copies of the syllabus (on Monday we had only 18 reservations), and need to make 5 more to mail out to the folks who didn't get one today. We almost ran out of food, but had just enough. When we set up the computer and projector, we were missing the video cable - we found it in the Computer Lab where we left it last wednesday!

Of the 62 attendees, about 25 were non-CVGS members, and 5 joined the society. That's a big addition to an 80 member society.

The talks went pretty well - I had to talk fast and only highlight the screen shots because I had about 100 slides in each 50 minute presentation. All of the links and web pages shown were in the syllabus, so there was no need to spell things out or pronounce them slowly. We asked for written questions, which I answered at the beginning of the next session. The Q&A at the very end went well, with the most challenging question being "What do you see happening with the subscription sites in the future?" Crystal ball time - I'll probably write a separate blog post with my answer.

I was concerned that my coughing jags (caused by medications) would hamper the talks, but I sucked a lozenge during each talk and that really helped. My throat is sore, and my feet hurt, but I weathered the four hours of presentation well. The microphone helped with projection, although my hand cramped while holding it (the library has only a hand-held).

The attendees enjoyed taking their food out to the park adjacent to the library and sitting in small groups on the park benches - it was a 75 F degree day with some clouds here in Chula Vista - just about perfect weather. I wandered out there with my plate and talked to some of the folks, especially the non-members. Genealogists are really friendly! And supportive.

One of the major financial advantages that our society has is that we use the library venues - auditorium, conference room and computer lab - free of charge each month. We really appreciate the library's support, and they appreciate our support of them. However, when we use the library's venues, we can't charge money for the programs. We can charge for printed materials, and did charge $5 for a 24 page syllabus. This allowed us to recoup our printing, food and drawing prize costs.

All in all, it was a very good day for the Chula Vista Genealogical Society - we had a high quality genealogy program, an excellent lunch, gained some new members, and didn't lose money doing it. This was our third seminar effort, and we continue to learn things about programming, publicity and cooperation each time.

UPDATE 10/21 9 AM: I added a few details above. I have posted a summary of the day on the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe blog here.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Wish me luck

I've never been so glad to have a major project finished - all that's left to do is to present about 400 slides at the "Genealogy Online - Discover Your Family History" seminar tomorrow at the Chula Vista Genealogical Society meeting in the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library auditorium from 10 AM to 3 PM.

The four presentations are done - the word charts are written, the screen shots are annotated with circles, rectangles and arrows, and I'm tired of improving them...

I have the OpenOffice presentations installed on my flash drive and also on my laptop. I need to transfer them to the laptop that we use for the presentations with the LCD projector. I'll do that when I get to the library.

My briefcase is chock full of seminar syllabi - 24 pages of links and advice for doing online genealogy research. I also have the flyers for our October programs and the seminar agenda program for handouts. Tonight, I wrote up my pre-presentation bullet points - the goals and objectives of the seminar, and the caveats about the presentation.

I even made a list of things to take with me so that I wouldn't forget anything important. Lozenges - check. Water bottle - check. Raffle prizes - check. Syllabi - check. Programs - check. Signs - check. Laptop - check. Flash drive - it's on my desk. Everything is in my pack and laptop bag except for the flash drive, which I just put in my pants pocket.

The "doomsday scenario" is a morning heart attack, food poisoning at my men's Bible study in the morning, or a Saturday morning accident on the way to the library. I guess they would just move the venue to my hospital, maybe not...maybe someone else could present it.

We go into the library about 30 minutes before it opens and set up the podium, projector and laptop in the auditorium, the refreshments in the conference room and the registration desk with handouts and sales items in the auditorium.

The CVGS board has worked really hard to put this together - we think we will have a fair number of non-members attending - hopefully, some will join CVGS when they see what a dynamic organization we have.

After this is over, I'll be ecstatic to get back to my normal blogging, research, testing, transcribing, reading and writing routine. I must have modified the presentations ten times each over the past four weeks. Fortunately, I couldn't modify them too much these last two days since if I did the charts wouldn't match the syllabus.

So wish me luck -- I'll probably post something about "how it went" on Saturday night. If there are good questions from the audience, I may use them as blog fodder in the coming weeks.

Unsung heroes transcribe records

I think that the real unsung heroes of genealogy are those people that transcribe books, tombstones, wills, deeds, and other records and then post them for researchers to freely use.

One of my favorite "unsung heroes" is Janice Farnsworth who regularly posts book transcriptions on the GenMassachusetts mailing list on

Recently, Janice has been working through the Tombstone Inscriptions of the Old Burying Ground in Lynn (MA), by John T. Moulton, Lynn, Massachusetts. The transcriptions are online in several mailing list threads:

** Part 3 --
** Part 4 --
** Part 6 --
** Parts 7 to 28 (to date) --

I couldn't find Parts 1, 2 and 5 on the mailing list archives.

Part 28 is up to page 80 in the book. The inscriptions from the 18th and 19th century are often poignant and hopeful, to wit:

** On page 27:

"My widowed mother,
My only earthly friend
Erected this monument
To tell each traveller,
Who looks this way,
That underneath this stone
Rests the ashes of her only son,
Josiah Burrage, who died Dec. 13th, 1797.
Aged 21 years.
Oft do we see the tender bud of hope,
Opening its beauties to the morning light,
When lo! A frost cuts down the tender plant,
And levels all our prospects with the dust."

** Page 28:

"Here lyes buried the body of the Honorable John Burrill,Esq.
who died December 10th Anno Christi, MDCCXXI AEtatisLXIV.
Alas! Our patron's dead! The Country - Court
The Church in tears, all echo the report;
Grieved that no piety, no mastering sense,
No counsel, gravity, no eloquence,
No generous temper, gravitating to
Those honors, which they did upon him throw,
Could stay his fate, or their dear Burrill save
From a contagious sickness and the grave.
The adjacent towns this loss reluctant share:
But widowed Lynn sustains the greatest share:
Yet joys in being guardian of his dust
Until the resurrection of the Just."

** Page 52 - the saddest are the ones for small children:

"In Memory of two children of Samuel J. & Lydia A. Gibby.
Ann, died June 27, 1843, AEt. 11 mos. & 14 days.
Martha Ann, died March 17, 1847, AEt. 11 mos. & five days.
Such was thy fate, dear little ones, Thy opening much,
Pre-eminence in early bloom was shown, And loved too much,
Heaven saw, and early marked them for its own."

Janice has transcribed many, many books and provided them online - they are now on USGenWeb county and town web pages. I can't find a complete list of them anywhere. Maybe Janice will tell us sometime.

VP Dick Cheney is my Cousin Too!

Newspaper articles and TV "news" reported that Vice President Dick Cheney and Barack Obama are distant cousins with Mareen Duvall of Maryland the Most Recent common ancestor - see the article here. The article said that Mareen Duvall's (a male) son Samuel Duvall married Ann, a daughter of Richard Cheney, a 17th century immigrant to Maryland. Of course, CNN news got it almost right - they called Mareen Duvall a female, initially.

When I read this article, it struck me as strange that they would latch onto the Veep's 9th great-grandfather Richard Cheney whose daughter supposedly married a Duvall. An unsuspecting reader would think that immigrant Richard Cheney was in the patrilineal line that brought the Cheney name down to the Vice President. He isn't - he's in the ancestry, but not in the patrilineal line that carried the Cheney surname.

A look at Dick Cheney's ancestry at created by Richard Addams Reitweisner shows that VP Cheney's patrilineal line is (with ahnentafel numbers):

1024. William Cheney (1604-1667) of Roxbury MA, married Margaret
512. Thomas Cheney (????-1693) of Cambridge MA, married Jane Atkinson.
256. Benjamin Cheney (1675-1718) of Cambridge MA, married Mary Harbert
128. Joseph Cheney (1709-1776) of Cambridge MA, married Elizabeth Tucker.
64. William Cheney (1741-1803) of Newbury MA, married Elizabeth Swett
32. Ebenezer Cheney (1764-1832) of Campton NH, married Hannah Eaton.
16. Elias Eaton Cheney (1793-1859) of Thetford VT, married Lucy Fletcher.
8. Samuel Fletcher Cheney (1829->1900) of Buffalo NE, married Ella Phillips.
4. Thomas Herbert Cheney (1869->1900) of Dawson NE, married Margaret Ellen Tyler.
2. Richard Herbert Cheney (1915-1999) of Casper WY, married Marjorie Lorraine Dickey.
1. Richard Bruce Cheney (1941-living), the Vice President 2001-present.

The tie to Barack Obama comes into this line through Margaret Ellen Tyler, Dick Cheney's paternal grandmother.

The common ancestors that I share with my cousin Richard Bruce Cheney include (ahnentafel numbers from the Reitweisner data):

536. John Colby (1633-1674) of Amesbury MA, married Frances Hoyt.
544. Joshua Fletcher (1648-1713) of Chelmsford MA, married Sarah Willey.
1024. William Cheney (1604-1667) of Roxbury MA, married Margaret.
1074. John Hoyt (1613-1688) of Amesbury MA, married Frances Tuxberry
1090. John Willey (1610-1662) of Reading MA, married Elizabeth Clough.
1134. Crispus Brewer (????-1706) of Lynn MA, married Mary --?--
2184. Henry Adams (1583-1646) of Braintree MA, married Edith Squire.

There may be more - I see Parkhurst, Martin, Bacon, Merriam and several others in the Dick Cheney ahnentafel, but the line is not extended back to my ancestor of the surname. My own ahnentafel is in reports at

Barack Obama is also my cousin - I documented my cousinship to him in my post here.

In looking through the Dick Cheney ahnentafel, I see where the newspapers also got the connection to Mareen Duvall wrong. The article says that Samuel Duvall married Ann Cheney. The Reitweisner data shows that Samuel Duvall married Elizabeth Ijams, whose mother was Ann Cheney. Also, Mareen Duvall's daughter Elizabeth Duvall married Robert Tyler.

The Family Forest blog has a post "Another Barack Obama Cousins Story" that lists other cousins of Dick Cheney - including Harriet Miers, Wallis Warfield, Paris Hilton, Harry Truman and Robert Duvall.

My cousin, Richard Eastman, has some interesting thoughts about this issue on his Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter blog here. As Dick says, "Let's face it, everyone is related to everyone." True. I still find it interesting and challenging, and it is an entree to talking to potential genealogists.

The point of this post is that genealogists should treat newspaper articles and TV news reports concerning genealogy with a grain of salt - if they don't quote a recognized expert in the field, my observation is that they almost always get it factually wrong. Does it matter? Probably not!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

"Genealogy Online" Seminar - 10/20/07 - Last Call!

Hey, San Diego genealogy buffs - are you busy this Saturday, October 20? If not, you could come to a FREE all-day seminar in Chula Vista

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society and the Chula Vista Public Library are co-sponsoring the seminar - titled "Genealogy Online - Discover Your Family History" -- on Saturday, 20 October 2007, from 10 AM until 3 PM at the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library auditorium (365 "F" Street, Chula Vista CA).

Check-in will start at 10 AM and the program will start at 10:20 am. Four presentations will be made by Randy Seaver:

10:30 am: Internet Genealogy Survey
11:30 am: LDS FamilySearch Resources
1:00 pm: Rootsweb/USGenWeb Resources
2:00 pm: Resources

The emphasis in these presentations will be on finding real genealogy data and information helpful to your search using online resources. A program syllabus summarizing the links in the program content will be available for $5.00.

There will be a 45 minute refreshment break with fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, cookies and desserts provided by CVGS.

Please contact Virginia (phone 619-425-7922 or email to make your reservation or for more information.

Put this event on your genealogy calendar!

For more information about the Chula Vista Genealogical Society, please visit the CVGS web page at and the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe blog at

TGN Acquisition commentaries

There has been been more commentary in the genealogy blogosphere, both by The Generations Network executives, the former CEO, and genealogy bloggers.

Here is a list of commentary:

* Richard Eastman at the Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter has a post with notes from a phone interview with Tim Sullivan (TGN CEO), in addition to his earlier posts with many comments here and here.

* Leland Meitzler at the Everton's Publishers Genealogy Blog has Tim Sullivan's letter to TGN employees here.

* Paul Allen (former MyFamily/Ancestry CEO) posted his observations on his Paul Allen blog here. Thanks to Tim Agazio at Genealogy Reviews Online for the link - good catch!

* Diane Haddad at The Genealogy Insider blog has another telephone interview with Tim Sullivan here.

* The Ancestry Insider had some nice things to say about my comments and discussed some comments made by others in his Inside Scoop on Ancestry Acquisition post.

* My own analysis and comments posted yesterday are here.

What other bloggers have commented on or analyzed this acquisition? Please tell me and I'll add them to my list above.

UPDATED 10/20 9:15 AM: Added the Ancestry Insider link.

CGSSD Meeting on Saturday

The Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego meets on Saturday, October 20, 2007 from 9:00 am to noon.

CGSSD hosts a mini-fair this month. There will be two sessions at 9:00 and 10:30 with two presentations to choose from at each session. User groups will not meet this month.

9:00 - Session I

* "Managing Those Pesky Files" by Lance Dohe . Learn everything you wanted to know about moving your files and keeping back-ups, including the potential backup devices and strategies for their use.

* "Maximizing Your Search Success on Ancestry" by Dona Ritchie. is continually adding databases and changing the face of their web site. Learn search strategies and ways to navigate the different databases and research resources on to maximize your search success for finding your ancestors.

10:15 - A break and refreshments

10:30 - Session II

* "Archiving Your Genealogical Data" by Ed Hasselmann . Archiving your genealogy information means storing it for future generations. Current electronic media may not survive 10-15 years for even one generation. This presentation will discuss the storage life of the media and how to insure your grandchildren will be able to enjoy reading about their own history.

* "Using GenSmarts to Clean Your Databases" by Pam Journey. GenSmarts looks at your data and speculates on possible records available in many locations for you to research for your next family clue. GenSmarts is reasonably easy to use and can become a powerful research tool for the beginner or advanced genealogist in their family search. (A review of Family Atlas as previously announced will be discussed at a later time.)

CGSSD meetings are held at the Robinson Auditorium complex on the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) campus in La Jolla. From North Torrey Pine Road turn at Pangea Drive into UCSD. Free parking is available in the parking garage on the left; use any A, B, or S space. Signs will mark directions to our meeting room. Please refer to the website; or the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies website for driving directions and a map.

Thanks to Linda Hervig for this information.

The presentations sound excellent, and I look forward to hearing them at some time (since I'm going to be pretty busy this Saturday morning at the CVGS Seminar).

"Hallowe'en" Carnival of genealogy is up

The 34th Carnival of Genealogy featuring "Hallowe'en and Supernatural" posts is available at Jasia's Creative Gene blog - the post is here.

There are 17 writers on the list, several have more than one post submitted or discussed. As always, the topics and writing styles vary significantly, but all are exdfellent examples of blogging! Please go read the Carnival!

The next edition of the COG will be hosted by Blaine Bettinger. As you know, he's The Genetic Genealogist. Here's the question he's putting out to you... Do you have a family mystery that might be solved by DNA? Blaine will analyze your post for possible answers to questions or mysteries based on genetic genealogy and then he'll try to help us all understand if and how genetic genealogy might be used to solve our mysteries and questions. Please submit your blog article to the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy using our carnival submission form. The deadline for submissions will be November 1st. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

CVGS Computer Group today

We had our monthly Chula Vista Genealogical Society Computer Group today in the Computer Lab at the Library. Unfortunately, the library Online Databases were unavailable, so Shirley led us through a plethora of interesting genealogy resources, including:

* Black Sheep Ancestors --
Don’t overlook your ancestors that were not the best. They can be fun to find and add some zing to your family tree.

* Cemetery Records -- These sites contain mostly unique data:
** Findagrave --
** Interment --

* Irish Research -- These websites may help you to discover more about your Irish ancestry.
** Boston Pilot --
** Griffiths Valuation 1848-1864 --
** Fianna -- Http://

* Free Public Records Online --
A stop where you can learn what is available for wherever you are researching.

* Linkpendium USA -- . A straight forward list of available resources, organized by topic, all linked to the original source data.

* WorldCat/OCLC -- You can search for books, CDs and videos

* Native American Research -- These two resources contain many key records.
** Access Genealogy --
** National Archives (NARA) Archival Resource Catalog --

* Passenger Lists -- It is important to remember that not everyone came through Ellis Island. There are surviving records from other ports also.
** Castle Gardens --
** Ancestors on Board $ --

* Canadian Genealogy Centre -- An excellent starting place for researching your Canadian ancestors.

* Irish Immigrants -- These two collections may prove useful if you think you have Irish famine emigrants.
** New York Irish Famine Passenger Records --
** New Brunswick Irish Famine Migration 1845-1852 --

* Old Newspapers -- These are just a sample of the archives available.
** London Times & Newspaper Archive $ --
** Paper of Record --
** Brooklyn Daily Eagle --

* War Graves
** Commonwealth War Graves -- menuid=14
** U S Department of Veterans Affairs Gravesite Locator --
The first site lists the 1.7 million from the UK who died during the two world wars. The second site includes veterans and their families in Virginia National Cemeteries, state veteran cemeteries and those buried in other cemeteries.

* -- This website explains how and where to find the record you searching for.

* Quakers -- These two resources will aid you in your search of a Quaker heritage.
** Quaker Corner --
** Quaker Meetings --

* African-American Ancestry -- These sites provide access to data unique to African-Americans.
** Afrigeneas --
** Freedman’s Bureau --
** Research Guide --
** African-American Cemeteries -- Has links all over the internet, regardless of where the source material is stored.

* Mexican Research -- These are resource sites for research in Mexico:

We had 12 attendees today to go through most of these sites, and several people found new information about their ancestors or relatives during the two hours.

WVR Customer Input Panel Questions

I signed up several weeks ago to contribute to the WorldVitalRecords Customer Input Panel. You can sign up for it here. This week's survey had 15 questions, and the most important ones (to me) were (paraphrased in my notes):

* What 5 US states would you like to see more Vital Records from? I put MA, MD, NY, CT and NH.

* What 2 Canadian provinces would you like to see more Vital Records from? I put Ontario and New Brunswick.

* What 5 countries other than the US and Canada would you like to see more records from? I put England, Germany, Norway, Netherlands and Mexico.

* How important are Historical and Genealogical societies to your research? I said Important.

* How many genealogical societies do you belong to? I said 5 or more.

* What societies are they? I named NGS, NEHGS, ESOG, SDGS, CVGS and CGSSD.

* Would it be beneficial if WVR offered a discount membership to a society? I said Yes.

* How satisfied are you with the current census image collection? I said Dissatisfied (as I posted last week).

This is a very useful sensing of genealogy resources and opinion, and I commend WorldVitalRecords for taking the time to take the surveys and to implement the responses.

TGN acquired - what's in it for us?

A majority interest in The Generations Network, Inc. has been obtained by Spectrum Equity Investors for $300 million. The full press release can be seen on their Press Room here.

From the announcement, it appears to me that this is a financial investment - the majority owners expect to make a significant profit from the continuing operations of the company. My observations of similar deals in the industrial world is that an investment group like this might eventually sell the holdings for a profit after the company significantly increases in value.

We don't know the financial history of The Generations Network, Inc. because it has been a privately held company. It likely will continue to be a privately held company, with different shareholders and a revamped board of directors.

The interesting paragraphs in the press release, for me, were the following:

"The Generations Network properties have more than 900,000 paying subscribers and receive 8.2 million worldwide unique visitors per month (© comScore Media Metrix, August 2007). In the last 18 months, the company has solidified its position as one of the largest and most profitable subscription businesses online with success in several areas:

"• is the world’s leading online family history resource, with more than 5 billion names from historical records, unmatched and proprietary search technologies and an engaged and passionate community of more than 2.5 million active members."

This is followed by a long list of each of TGN's franchises and the progress made by each in the last year or so.

So there are 900,000 paying customers - at perhaps $200 per subscription on average - that's about $180 million annual income from subscriptions alone - add on the software, books, and other income; so the annual income is probably in the $150 to $250 million range. Since the investors had to pay $300 million for a majority interest, that means that the value of TGN is at least $600 million. We don't know the profit picture since the company is privately held - but an investment group like this would look for a company with at least a 10% profit margin, and perhaps a lot more.

In the current competitive environment that is the genealogy commercial business (with several startups in the last year - e.g., WVR, Footnote, GenealogyBank - and the ambitious plans of FamilySearch Inc.), I think that TGN needed a cash infusion to keep the growth going so that they can be a long-term competitor in the business. The investors wouldn't make the investment without a commitment to the long-term, so that bodes well for the customers of TGN. The cash infusion also provides an opportunity for additional acquisitions of smaller companies that might add value to the TGN stable.

After all of the public relations disasters for TGN this last year (e.g., the FHL/FHC decision, the IBC embarrassment, the FTM 2008 problems), it wouldn't surprise me if the new management team brings an improved PR and communications skill set on board.

You can always tell when an industry is growing and burgeoning - there are buyouts, investments, startups, partnerships, etc. For genealogy research consumers like most of us, this is a really good thing. Competition keeps subscription prices relatively low and the companies have to add more content in order to stay competitive. It's all good!

Please note that I have no financial interest in any of these enterprises - although I am a subscriber to Ancestry. I am also not a financial expert or analyst (it probably shows in the comments above, eh?) - just a really interested observer and customer.

UPDATE 2 PM: Leland Meitzler has an interesting link to a TechCrunch blog where this acquisition is discussed. One claim there is that yearly income for TGN is in the $150 million range, which seems reasonable to me - with US subs at $155, World subs at $299, and partial subs for certain countries, plus any discounts or special offers that reduce the initial subscription price.

It also compares TGN to and as if they are comparable. To my mind, they are nowhere near comparable. The commenters do think that this is a good deal for the buyers.

I edited the original text above as shown in purple.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Have you checked NUCMC? What's that?

The initials NUCMC stand for the "National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections" at the Library of Congress in Washington DC. The Catalog is online with a search box at

The description of this Catalog is:

"The Library of Congress provides a gateway for searching OCLC WorldCat (Manuscript materials) -- close to 300,000 catalog records describing archival and manuscript collections in public, college and university, and special libraries located throughout North America and around the world. Access to this gateway is made available courtesy of OCLC, Inc. "

This sounded interesting to me, so I plugged in my ever-trusty surname Seaver into the "Simple Word Form - Title, Author Subject" search box (you can't post the URL) thinking I wouldn't get many hits - and there were 245 matches!

Well, that's interesting!

Here are the summaries of three of the more interesting matches:

1) Author: Seaver, William A.
Title: Letter, April 9, [1860].
Description: 2 p.
Notes: Buffalo, New York editor and publisher of that
city's Courier.
Letter to General George P. Morris, states he has
been "with the 'stubby Little Giant' of Illinois" and
comments on his campaign.
Schindler's Antique Shop; Charleston, SC;
Purchase; Sept. 1952; $4.00.
William A. Seaver Letter, Illinois State
Historical Library.
Subjects: Seaver, William A.
Douglas, Stephen Arnold, 1813-1861.
Control No.: ocm54682248

2) Author: Seaver, Rodney.
Title: Diary, 1863-1865, 1871.
Description: 0.07 linear ft. (1 v.)
Notes: Soldier in Company K, 2nd Regiment, Wisconsin
Cavalry, during the Civil War.
Pocket diary containing an account of Seaver's
activities and descriptions of several battles in which he
participated, primarily in 1864.
Subjects: United States. Army. Wisconsin Cavalry Regiment,
2nd (1861-1865). Company K.
Soldiers -- Wisconsin -- Diaries.
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865
-- Personal narratives.
Control No.: ocm22355369

3) Author: Seaver, Charles Morse, 1848-1924.
Title: Family papers, 1812-1947, bulk: 1893-1947.
Description: 1 narrow box.
Notes: Papers of the family of Charles M. Seaver
including three maps sketched by him (1861-62); biographical
reminiscences of him and his sons Philip and Walter H. by
another son Henry M. Seaver; genealogical notes on the
Hibbard, Seaver, and Morse families compiled by Henry M.
Seaver; and a few misc. Seaver family papers.
Hoffman, Elizabeth, 1972.
Subjects: Hibbard family.
Morse family.
Other authors: Seaver, Henry Morse, 1873-1947.
Seaver, Philip, 1881-1943.
Seaver, Walter Hibbard, 1870-1930.
Seaver family.
Control No.: ocm26868809

And I only went down through 60 matches! If these records related to my family, I would be ecstatic to find them. But how to find them?

This page ( provides directions to locate a manuscript:

Locating collections found during an OCLC search

1. From the multiple display choose "more on this record"; next, choose "tagged display" and locate the 040 field toward the top of the record.
2. Make note of the letter code (e.g., DLC) located in subfield a ($a).
3. Go to the
Participating Institutions Search page, enter the letter code , and submit the search.
4. If search is unsuccessful, go to the Library of Congress'
MARC Code List for Organizations and select Go Directly to the MARC Organization Code Database, choose "Organization code" as your search type, type in your letter code, and submit the search.

So I didn't do the search exactly right - I have to locate the 040 field in the Tagged Display. The Tagged Display for the third entry above is:

* LDR 01044npc 2200253Ka 4500
001 ocm26868809
003 OCoLC
005 20071016225450.0
008 921027i18121947vp eng d
040 $aMAH$cMAH
035 $a(OCoLC)26868809
100 1 $aSeaver, Charles Morse,$d1848-1924.
245 00$aFamily papers,$f1812-1947,$gbulk: 1893-1947.
300 $a1 narrow box.
520 $aPapers of the family of Charles M. Seaver including three maps sketched
by him (1861-62); biographical reminiscences of him and his sons Philip and
Walter H. by another son Henry M. Seaver; genealogical notes on the Hibbard,
Seaver, and Morse families compiled by Henry M. Seaver; and a few misc.
Seaver family papers.
541 $aHoffman, Elizabeth,$d1972.
600 30$aHibbard family.
600 30$aMorse family.
700 1 $aSeaver, Henry Morse,$d1873-1947.
700 1 $aSeaver, Philip,$d1881-1943.
700 1 $aSeaver, Walter Hibbard,$d1870-1930.
700 3 $aSeaver family.
994 $aZ0$bLCC

The 040 line says 040 $aMAH$cMAH, so the letter code is MAH.

On the OCLC Particpating Institutions page at I input the code MAH and found that the repository for that record is

BOSTON, MA 02215-3695
United States

No surprise, I guess, since Charles M. Seaver was a Massachusetts resident. So now I know where to find the manuscript or collection. The challenge before me is how to obtian a copy of it. I'll see if I can figure out my options in a later post.

The point here is that there may be manuscripts and collections of papers that may really help you with your family history resting in a drawer or on a shelf in an institution just waiting for you to discover it. The NUCMC system is another tool in the family history researcher's kit - but only a few researchers even know of it and fewer still have used it. Of course, the records are not online! But at least the index and the search capability are online, which makes the search easier.

Of course, some students of New England Native American lore would say that the "Nucmuck" tribe resided in Massachusetts, but that would be wrong - the "Nipmuck" and "Tadmuck" tribes were there, but there was no "Nucmuck" tribe. I guess you could consider the NUCMC tribe to be the genealogists parading through the Library of Congress reading room looking for NUCMC manuscripts.

CVGS Seminar on Saturday, 20 October - Last Call!

This is the last call for the FREE Chula Vista Genealogical Society seminar "Genealogy Online - Discover Your Family History" which will be held on Saturday 20 October 2007 at the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street in CV) between 10 AM and 3 PM in the library auditorium. The full announcement is here.

The program schedule is:

10:00 AM -- Library doors open, sign-in for seminar.

10:30 AM -- Internet Genealogy Survey

11:30 AM -- LDS FamilySearch Resources

12:15 PM -- Refreshments in the conference room, eat in the park.

1:00 PM -- Rootsweb and USGenWeb Resources

2:00 PM -- Resources

I have spent about 60 hours over the last three weeks creating the four OpenOffice presentations and the syllabus for the program. There are a lot of screen shots and "how-to" sequences in each presentation. I couldn't show every web site referred to, but I do have shots of many of them. The syllabus handout is 24 pages of links and comments from the presentations.

Now I BEG Ancestry, Footnote, WVR, GenealogyBank, Rootsweb, USGenWeb and FamilySearch to NOT CHANGE ANYTHING for the rest of the week - no new web pages, don't change links, don't redesign your pages. PLEASE? Pretty please?

I will put the presentations on my flash drive and laptop tonight (for backup) and then onto the society laptop tomorrow so that we have multiple copies available for Saturday. I don't want to do this again...

If you are in the San Diego area and want to attend this FREE presentation (the syllabus costs $5), we welcome your attendance. We do need you to register by calling Virginia at 619-425-7922 or email her at irishdoll(at), since we need a count for the syllabus and the refreshments.

If you are going to the CGSSD meeting on the Saturday morning, you can make a really full genealogy day by coming to the CVGS program for the afternoon sessions.

Five Questions about Home

Juliana Smith at the 24/7 Family History Circle blog, as part of her Weekly Planner series, has been providing a list of 5 questions on a particular subject as part of honoring October as Family History Month. The topic this week is Home. The questions are:

1) What was your room like when you were growing up? Did you share it or did you have your own room? What did it look like?

I always shared a bedroom with my younger brother (I am 3 years older). Until 1955, we had bunk beds and shared the room next to our parents room in the southeast corner of the house. There was a central desk area for stuff and homework. When my youngest brother was born in 1955, the nursery was set up in that bedroom and we were moved to the sun room in the southwest corner of the building. My dad took the bunk beds apart and we each had a single bed against the outside wall with a long desk built into the other wall. The desk was great - there was wall space and counter space for homework and projects.

From the sun room, we had a commanding view to the south - we could see the B-36 airplanes coming into the airport, the neighborhood down to the church, the bay and Point Loma off to the southwest, and Mount Miguel to the southeast.

2) Did you have a backyard? A garden? Did you grow fruits and/or vegetables?

Before 1953 (when I was 10), we had a large lot to the south of the house - half of it was a field where we played ball and the other half was vegetable, fruit and berry plants. We picked the fruit and berries and sold them at sidewalk stands near the Piggly Wiggly two blocks away. It was a good early lesson in entrepreneurship.

In 1953, my grandparents sold the south lot and two-story apartments were built on them. That reduced our play area to a small patio and garden (walled on the south, against the two apartment houses on the north, and the street on the east and west. My dad put brick down in the patio, and set up a basketball standard. During the summer, the ping pong table was set up and a barbecue was in the corner. When the table wasn't there, we played kickball, dodgeball and whiffle ball in this small patio that measured maybe 20 by 30 feet. We had to be careful not to put the balls over the wall into the apartment complex or to break windows in our own apartments.

3) Did you have a secret hiding place?

In the house, there was a "cubby hole" over the front staircase, accessible from the living room. I would spend time there watching cars and buses on 30th Street - keeping track of the buses and trying to figure out how they scheduled them. In my room, I had a fairly private bookcase at the head of the bed, and would often hide stuff under my mattress. I also had hiding places outside - the house did not have a foundation, so there was a crawl space underneath.

4) What household chores were your responsibilities?

Making my bed and keeping my stuff on my side of the room. I don't remember having washing or cleaning chores, but I think I took out the trash and often went to the store with my mother to help her carry groceries home.

Outside, my brother and I had lawn mowing responsibilities every week or two using a push mower.

5) In what room did your family gather most? Was it in the living room or around the kitchen table? What did you do there? Sing? Talk about the day? Watch T.V.? Tell stories?

We always had meals in the dining room - never in another room or in the bedroom. My dad often read the newspaper during meals, but this sparked conversations about sports and world events. The dining room table was where we played board games, card games and mind games.

We got our first TV in about 1953, and it was set up in the living room with a big antenna on the roof. We watched the cowboy shows - Hopalong Cassidy was a favorite, but also Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and others. We watched game shows and family shows when they came along. Baseball and football games were big favorites on the weekends. We had two TV channels in the 1950's - CBS on Channel 8 and NBC on Channel 10. In about 1960, a third channel came on from Tijuana in English, and we got ABC programs on Channel 6.

During the early 1950's, the only radio in the house was in my parents room. On Saturday and Sunday mornings, my folks would lie in bed and listen to radio shows, often with music. My brother and I would crowd into bed (a double bed) with them and sing along with my folks.

The 1950's were a great time to be a kid growing up in in San Diego. The city was growing but uncrowded, schools were excellent, and kids had a lot of freedom to try and excel. We were all over the neighborhood on our bicycles and flexible flyers. We often went to the cultural places in Balboa Park, enjoyed baseball games downtown, and occasionally went to the beach. A highlight was going to my grandparents home on Point Loma - here there were new neighborhoods to explore and map out, a large garage to find treasures in, a garden to hide in, and a fireplace for Santa to come down at Christmas time.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Della's Journal - Week 42 (October 15-21, 1929)

This is Installment 42 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 42:


Tuesday, October 15: I worked around tree on north. Ed came over, he run the vacuum cleaner for me. We went over & done Miss Thoren's carpet. In afternoon I went to cooking school, drew a Ben Hur coffee drip. Mrs. Jennings & sister were there and we walked together. I injoyed the lesson. We washed in morning. Ed had sold all his grapes about 20.00 for the season, brought us some big apples.

Wednesday, October 16: Got statement from Bank of Italy. Watered in front on west. Ma worked on front parking. Emily & mother finished Emily's new shallip dress very pretty. Ma & I sewed a little. Fixed my black skirt to go with my sweater blouse.

Thursday, October 17: I went out to Ma's house, found the Gas and Electric had been turned off the day before. I painted around carpet in front room & dining room. Told Mrs. S to put up the sign Sun[day] A.M. Ma Ironed.

Friday, October 18: We worked outdoors this forenoon. I finish black skirt, cleaned gloves.

Saturday, October 19 (warm): We worked on West front. I trimmed Turks Caps. Ed over, cut lawns & helped on west side. About 10 A.M. Louie & Ruth drove up, they were on their way home from the East was gone 7 weeks went to Conn. Washington D.C. & home by the Southern rout.

Sunday, October 20 (warmest day in years): We went out to Ma's house took a few things quilt blanket & I stayed all day. An agent said she would bring someone but did not, and the ones that told me they would come did not. It was hot with fires in back country, some flume burned. Lyle's did not go any place.

Monday, October 21: Mrs. Wilson got hurt & her auto smashed, had two wimmen with her. We went over to Emily's to hear Pres. Hoover & Others speak at the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1st Electric light. Mr. Edison spoke also. In the evening I went with Lyle's to the Stadium, it was a beautiful sight, so many colored search lights, there were 20,000 there the paper said.


This was an interesting week. Early on, it's all about clothes, yardwork and getting Ma's house squared away. I wonder why Della had a cooking lesson? Perhaps a new stove or new gadgets? Then it's about the hot weather and fires in the back country (very typical for October - Santa Ana winds create hot weather - highs in the 100 F range - and fires start by lightning in the mountains and burn toward the coast). The flume brought water from the mountains to the city - it burned, a big deal. Then it was about the electric light celebration. I guess Lyle and Emily had a radio so they could hear President Hoover.

Using AncestryPress to make a book - Post 2.0

When AncestryPress came out in beta format, I eagerly tried it out - my report is here. It made 26 pages with 4 generations of data - a pedigree chart, a family group sheet for each family, and time lines for each person. Frankly, I was not impressed.

With all of the recent announcements about this product - see Juliana Smith's post and Richard Eastman's post just to name two, both of which essentially parrot the glowing Ancestry press release -- I thought that I would see how the final product has been improved.

Here are four screen shots from a book I created for Frank Walton Seaver (1852-1922) using the "stock" format:

The first screen is of the four generation pedigree chart. Compared to the previous version, they have filled up the screen and added some icons on the left margin, and have some editing options across the top. I can print each page individually.

Screen #2 is the Family Group Sheet page, which I really like. It is well organized and shows information for each person in the family.

Screen #3 is the Time Line page - there is one of these for each person in the "book." The events in the person's life are noted, and there are notes about important historical events at the bottom of the screen. However -- the historical events are:

* British East India company establishes Singapore (ca 1820)

* California Gold Rush (ca 1848)

* Doyle introduces Sherlock Holmes (ca 1886)

* Oil discovered in Persia (ca 1910)

* Persia renamed Iran (ca 1934)

Huh??? Who cares about most of those? If I were doing a timeline, I would add terms of Presidents, notable events like wars, discoveries, inventions, etc. Where is the Civil War? Where is Lincoln's election and assassination? Where is the Spanish-American War? Where is the depression of 1893? The flu epidemic of 1918? This is terrible, frankly.

The fourth screen is of the notes that were available in my database for Frank Seaver. To create this page, I clicked on the "New Page" icon on the top menu and created a blank page, then clicked on the "1880 Census" icon (I have no clue why it's there!) and dragged it onto the blank page. The notes came over in a thin column too long for the space available. I did not see any editing function to allow me to make longer lines or cut and paste some of the lines onto another page.

So I'm still very disappointed in this application. To top it off, they have limited it now to three generations for the "stock" book. I think, but don't know, that you can make a longer book with as many generations as you want by using the "Create a book from scratch" option. At least I hope so.

I don't have any pictures uploaded for my database so I couldn't test that capability out.

In my humble opinion, AncestryPress has a long way to go before this type of "coffee table book" would have any utility or interest for me. To be fair, the book is exactly as they advertise. There is even a $29.99 special offer for a published book in a cover.

Has anyone else had a better experience? Or more comments?

The Witch in my Ancestry

The topic for the current Carnival of Genealogy is Halloween and the Supernatural! Jasia provided lots of possible questions (see here), only one of which I can identify with.

I'm too old (or too senile) to remember favorite Hallowe'en costumes, parties, carnivals or pranks from my childhood. I don't recall spooky places in my neighborhood, although the house that Austin and Della Carringer built at 2115/2119 30th Street in about 1895 in San Diego, that I grew up in, might qualify. We always had cats, but they were usually gray and often flattened on 30th or Fern Streets. No bats. No scarecrows in the city. My grandmother served Squirt! as a drink, not a magic potion.

I have hoped for visions or dream(s) with ghosts or messages (even obscure hints would be nice!) from my brick wall ancestors (Thomas J. Newton, Elizabeth (Dill) Smith, Hannah (Smith) Sawtell, John Richman, William Knapp, Ranslow Smith, etc.) giving me leads to their parentage - but, alas, either my tweeter and snoozer aren't working or these elusive ancestors are happy staying hidden from me.

I have visited cemeteries where some of these people are buried, and have even lain on the ground near their resting place in the sun hoping to fall asleep and be visited by these folks in my daze, but, alas, no luck. The sprinklers went off once, though, which may have interrupted any message I was about to get. I scared the heck out of another cemetery searcher once by getting up off the ground behind a large stone once.

Ah, a witch! My entree to the Carnival this time! There is one person in my ancestry who was hanged as a convicted Salem witch -- my 9th great-grandmother Rebecca (Towne) Nurse was accused in 1692 and hanged after a trial in Salem. I visited the Francis and Rebecca Nurse house in Danvers MA back in 2004 and it was an interesting place to visit and see - especially the house itself with period furnishings and a docent who told stories about the house and the family.

But then, she wasn't really a witch - just accused of being one. She was found not guilty by the jury, but the magistrate sent them back to reconsider. Her statement to the court was:

"I am innocent as the child unborn, but surely, what sin hath God found out in me unrepented of that He should lay such an affliction on me in my old age."

The gravestone inscription on her plot at the Nurse Homestead reads:

"Rebecca Nurse, Yarmouth, England 1621. Salem, Mass., 1692.

"O Christian Martyr who for Truth could die
When all about thee owned the hideous lie!
The world redeemed from Superstition's sway
Is breathing freer for thy sake today."
(From the poem "Christian Martyr," by John Greenleaf Whittier)

Do you think that poor, ancient, hard-of-hearing, decrepit and sinful Rebecca would ever think that she would be famous over 300 years later? Poor Francis Nurse died three years later, probably of a broken heart, likely wondering about the family tragedy that had ruined the lives of himself and his family.

Since Rebecca wasn't really a witch, perhaps this post doesn't qualify me to enter it into the Carnival of Genealogy. Ah well, maybe no one will read down this far and notice my disqualification!

Reading the Wikipedia entry for Rebecca, I found out that Mitt Romney is also a descendant of Rebecca (Towne) Nurse - so now I have another Presidential candidate that I'm related to (besides Barack Obama). Maybe cousin Mitt will invite me to be part of his campaign?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Best of the Genea-blogs - Week of October 7-13

I'm back to work on my Best of the Genea-blogs series - here are my picks for great reads from this past week. My criteria is pretty simple - I like posts that advance knowledge about genealogy, or are funny and/or poignant.

* "My Interview with Ben Nettesheim, FTM Brand Manager" by Kathi at the AncestorSearch blog is a must read for FTM users. Ben really dodges the ball well. Too bad. Good job by Kathi!

* " 'Mother' by Ida Green" posted by John Newmark on the Transylvania Dutch blog. This is a beautiful piece of poetry, made special by John's relationship to the people in the poem.

* "World Vital Records Celebrates Its One-Year Anniversary" by Whitney Ransom on the WorldVitalRecords blog. Congratulations on a very successful year for WVR. They have challenged the "big boys" at Ancestry and have built a very fine genealogy site. I look forward to more good news from them.

* "My sculpture commission" by the writer on the how to survive suburban life blog. This is a real funny story about a school project, which I've come to expect from this blogger who really writes well.

* "Genealogy and History Thoughts - Column Four" by Jessica Oswalt on the Jessica's Genejournal blog. This is part of a series, which I've enjoyed over the past weeks. Jessica is a college student who is really into genealogy research - we need more people like her in our societies. Jessica is always finding new genealogy blogs too!

* "What is Your Genealogy Worth to You? (Reflections)" by Jasia at the Creative Gene blog. This is a five-part series written over the last two weeks or so in which she explores several aspects of genealogy worth. This post has links for the others - read them all. She also linked to other bloggers posting on the topic.

* "Employees: don't Get Hit by the Train - Part 4" by the writer on The Ancestry Insider blog. This is the last post in a series, all of which are interesting reads. This one could apply to any blogger writing from inside a large corporation - genealogy or not. This post also puts a name to the writer of this blog - can you find it?

* "Interesting Posts" by Lori Thornton on the Smoky Mountain Family Historian blog has her own list of useful and interesting posts. There were several there that I had not read - my bad, Lori's good!

Please go read these offerings if they grab your attention.

"Hidden Treasures in the Library" with Penny Feike

I went to the San Diego Genealogical Society meeting on Saturday and heard the presentation "Hidden Treasures in the Library" by Penny Feike. The synopsis of the talk is here.

Penny's talks are different - they are sort of a stream of consciousness of research stories and personal experiences from over 40 years of genealogy work - nearly all of it done the "old-fashioned way" with repository visits, books and microforms. She speaks from her wheelchair and doesn't use overheads or projectors and only occasionally writes on the white board. You have to listen to what she says, enjoy and marvel at the stories, and appreciate Penny's wisdom and experience.

Have you ever heard of the "Historical Records Survey" done by the WPA in the 1930's? A survey was done of the holdings of government agencies and buildings in every county, and the lists made were then copied to the nearest National Archives branch and to the State Library. In Washington DC, there are copies at the Department of Commerce and the Library of Congress. The Family History Library in Salt Lake City has microfilms. Here is a link listing what might be available, and where, for California records.

The unique thing about these lists is that they tell exactly where the record was - such as "in the 3-story building next to the library, on the second floor, room 212, 4th book shelf from the north wall, 6 feet from the east wall, next to the land deeds." Of course, the records may have been moved by now, but the list provides a survey of what was where at the time of the survey. Penny told a story about using the list to find a particular record: she went to the court house, asked to see the record and showed the list to the clerk. The clerk says "I've never heard of or been in that building, I'll have to find out about it. Come back after lunch." After lunch, Penny went back and the clerk had the records for her to review and an "I've learned something today" look on her face.

Penny also mentioned that sometimes repositories, like a local or state library, receives a collection from a person or group, and if the collection has records from more than one county, it is filed under the State rather than with a catalog entry for each county. The researcher needs to look in the State listing in the FHL Catalog and not just the County listings.

She provided a useful tip to finding records kept by a Justice of the Peace or a Notary Public. They are often cataloged under the name of the person, not under a subject name. So how do you get the names? You check County Histories and City Directories for the time period of interest for the name, then search the FHLC for the person's name to find the records.

The most telling advice that Penny shared was "don't trust the reference books that provide an address or person for records" (such as a court clerk, or vital records clerk) along with "don't trust the negative response from a clerk." She had written to Doniphan County KS vital records office for a marriage record, only to receive several snotty letters from the clerk (she obtained the address from a reference work) saying they didn't have the record at that location. On a trip back from Chicago, Penny stopped at the court house, and visited the vital records office - and there was the person who sent the negative responses. She asked if the office really didn't have the records, and then asked if the clerk knew where the records might be. The clerk responded "sure, right across the hall in the court records." Penny went across the hall, talked to the clerk there, and was rewarded with the record she sought. A judge overheard Penny say how frustrated she was by the other clerk's attitude, and the judge called the clerk to the office and fired her on the spot.

Needless to say, Penny is one of San Diego genealogy's hidden treasures, and we come away from her presentations with several nuggets of useful information and an appreciation for her life's work.

"Everyone Has a Story" with Karon Jarrard

I went to the San Diego Genealogical Society meeting on Saturday and heard the presentation "Everyone Has a Story" by Karon Jarrard. The synopsis of the talk is here.

Karon has been writing her life story since 1992 when she began attending adult school classes in Encinitas with about 25 other life story writers, taught by J. McClelland Hartley. Her talk covered her own experiences, some of her own stories, and recommended web sites and memory joggers to get started writing and keeping it going. She is in the process of writing her book.

She recommended the following life story writing websites:



One of the quotes she used in her talk was by Daniel Okrent:

"The fun of recalling something that you saw five days ago, or five years ago, or a lifetime ago -- knowing it's there to be plucked back into your life in an instant -- Oh God, that's rare."

Karon shared a poem she wrote (I hope she doesn't mind my typing it):

Garden of Memories
by Karon Jarrard,
May 28, 1995

"Gather memories of life
And store them in your mind.
Like flowers in a garden,
They're more fragrant over time.

"The beauty of the process
Is it's simple as can be
You merely visit your mind's garden
And pick a memory.

"Some are rambling like a rose,
Some are Violet blue,
Some are true forget-me-nots,
Some have a hazy hue.

"Some travel roads to olden times,
But if you don't want to go
Weed it from your fertile mind
Then visit another row!"

I really enjoyed Karon's talk, and reflected on how well her thoughts mesh with things like our Carnival of Genealogy and the story prompts at Miriam Midkiff's Ancestories2 blog and other sites.