Saturday, November 17, 2007

My most prolific ancestor

John Newmark at the Transylvania Dutch blog has started his own "meme" - called "Can You Top This?" The idea is to find your ancestor with the most children in his or her family and try to top John's list of 22 children born to Samuel Van Every and his three wives.

The closest I can come is Zachariah Hildreth (1754-1828) of Townsend MA who had two very fecund wives. Unfortunately, his first wife died after 9 offspring and he married the 18-year old housekeeper soon after, who produced eight more children for randy old Zachariah. Only 17 - not even close to John's 22, but it's the best I can do.

John said he would give bonus points for a screen shot of the information in a software program. FamilyTreeMaker makes many good charts, but none that gets every person on one Windows screen in a decent size, except for the Outline Descendants Chart, as shown below.

Some of the graphic charts could get on one screen with the reduction of two landscape pages down to the screen width, but that would not be readable. FTM has nothing comparable to John's chart, apparently (I couldn't find it - can anybody help me out here?).

I am descended from son Zachariah Hildreth (1783-1857) who was the fourth child born to Elizabeth Keyes (1759-1793).

Of course, John's 22 children is just a "drop in the bucket" compared to the last Sharifian Emperor of Morocco named Mulai Ismail (1646-1727), who reportedly fathered at least 867 children (see my post here). Thankfully, Mulai is NOT in my database!

How about your genealogy research? Do you have someone who has produced more than 22 children? If so, go tell John about it.

CGSSD Meeting today

The Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego (CGSSD) meeting was this morning at 9 a.m. on the UCSD campus. There are usually two sessions at this meeting. Today, they were -

1) I attended the FamilyTreeMaker User Group, led by Lance Dohe. Note that there were user groups for Legacy and RootsMagic also at this time. There were about 16 attendees, and only two of them had obtained FTM 2008 and tried to use it. Lance had uploaded a GEDCOM file earlier but said that he had not used it much. Since this was the first meeting since FTM 2008 was released, Lance demonstrated some basic things - the Plan tab, Person tab, the Places tab, the Media tab, etc. He played with the name index a bit, noting that the spouse's name was no longer on the name index page.

The maps on the Places page are from Microsoft Virtual Earth and were fairly impressive. Of course, the place name in the database needs to match the place name in the Virtual Earth database. The first place Lance tried to demonstrate - an Orchard Place in Chicago IL (now under O'Hare Airport runways, apparently) - did not show up; the program did find an Orchard Place in Fort Collins CO, however!

In the Media tab, Lance clicked on each type of media and noted that the Report options did not yet include the traditional genealogy reports, but did include the AncestryPress type book. I shared that there was an AncestryPress Webinar and an FTM 2008 Webinar available for those who want to see a presentation about those subjects.

2) The CGSSD business meeting followed at 10:30 a.m, with about 45 people in attendance. CGSSD President John Kracha reviewed the present state of the society, and had each Board member summarize their area. The most impressive statistic was that CGSSD has increased from 202 members to 233 members this year. The Society made a significant profit in the past year, mainly due to the new members and the Dick Eastman seminar back in May, co-sponsored with the San Diego Genealogical Society.

Elections were held, but there was no candidate for the President position. Linda Hervig (VP-Administration), Dale Nesbit (VP-Membership), Barbara Cogburn (Secretary) and Louise Giulbault (Treasurer) were re-elected to one-year terms for their current positions. John Kracha will take the open Program Chairman position.

Then it was time for member sharing. John Kracha showed photos from his trip to the Midwest (WI, IL, IN) and the South (KY, VA, FL), including the Allen County Public Library. He and his wife visited relatives in each location and had a wonderful time talking about family history. Ed Hasselmann presented the results of the survey he took about computer backups back in the summer. I may post a summary of his results, or a link to them if he puts them on the Internet. Jerry Oen told about creating a Norwegian Genealogy Group which meets monthly at the San Diego FHC. Lastly, they held a drawing and my ticket was the first one picked - I selected a nice poinsettia plant. My wise-ass remark just before the drawing that "the winner should be named President" went unheard, thankfully.

After the meeting a light brunch was served and the attendees sat and stood in groups talking to each other.

The "161" Meme

The one day I have to leave home early and don't get back until after lunch, a tagging exercise breaks out. Jasia at Creative Gene tagged me. I'm supposed to open up the book I am currently reading to page 161 and share with you the 6th sentence on that page. Why? Don't ask me, there must be some reason. How do these things start?

OK, I'll play: I'm presently in the middle of two books -

1) My "TV book" is "Simple Genius" by David Baldacci. I read this book while watching TV news, sports or programs - sometimes I concentrate on the book and sometimes on the TV. This is a CIA/political mystery, one of many excellent books by this author. On page 161 of this book, the 6th sentence reads:

"That's right." The larger context is "'That's right. Len Rivest told me about the computer log. They were able to track Monk Turing's movements that way. So we can just ask the computer when you came here last night and when you left.'"

I'm only on page 40 of this book, so I have no clue what all of that means. Len and Monk have not yet made their appearance so far up to page 40.

2) The "study book" I'm reading is "The Times of Their Lives: Life, Love and Death in Plymouth Colony" by James Deetz and Patricia Scott Deetz. Coincidentally, my book mark is at page 161! The 6th sentence on page 161 reads:

"Although women in Plymouth Colony were given greater opportunities and freedoms than many of their peers in Old England, and some women were moving out from their traditional place to involve themselves in religious, social, and even political spheres (witness the religious dissenter Anne Hutchinson in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and other women persecuted there for their beliefs), society was still under male control, and a certain degree of spousal 'correction' was probably accepted as the norm."

I'll bet that's the longest sentence we see in this meme! You can see why I've been reading this book while I am fully alert - the sentences seem to run for several lines. When I started counting sentences, I hoped that there would be a 6th sentence on page 161!

Now, my task is to tag 5 other bloggers to extend the network out. Being so late since this tag game started, it is difficult to know who has been tagged already. I'll tag the following people hoping that they 1) read this post and b) haven't already been tagged.

* Thomas Jay Kemp of the "Genealogy Librarian News" blog.

* Megan Smolenyak of the "Megan's Roots World" blog.

* Paul Allen of the "Paul Allen: Internet Entrepreneur" blog.

* Carolyn Earle Billingsley of the "Life in Possum Holler" blog.

* Paula Stuart-Warren of the "Paula's Genealogical Eclectica" blog.

I'm not sure if any of them read my blog, so it will be interesting to see if any of them react to being tagged. And it may be interesting to see what they are reading.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The grassy patch at Mount Hope Cemetery

I went to Mount Hope Cemetery in San Diego today to try to get a picture of the gravestone of Harriet N. Barkley, who died 15 November 1900. I obtained the death certificate on Tuesday down at the County Clerk's office in downtown San Diego, and it said that she was buried at Mount Hope, which is the oldest continuously operating public cemetery in San Diego (since 1869).

At the cemetery office, I asked about her grave site. They didn't have a Harriet Barkley who died in 1900. They did have a Harriett Barclay who died 16 November 1900. Close enough, I figured (my correspondent warned me about the different spellings). She is buried in Section 1-7, Block 43, Lot 4.

The office gave me a map for the cemetery as shown below, with a "local" map
below. The "local" map has numbers corresponding to the deceased who are buried within a 15 foot radius of the target person, who is marked with a star on the lot map. Information about the target person, and the names of the "neighbors," are also on the page to the right of the cemetery map. The page provided by the cemetery is shown below:

The dashed line to the right of the lot map is the cemetery fence, and the road above the lots is the road heading east to the fence.

Unfortunately, not every grave has a stone - whether above ground or in the ground. I found the stones of #07 John Nicholas, #03 Annie Chambers, and #02 Fred Chaffee. Harriet's grave is about two feet east of Fred Chaffee, in the center of the grassy patch shown below.

I also took pictures with views to the north, east, south and west of Harriet's grave, including the stones for Nicholas, Chaffee and Chambers noted above. I'm sending the map and four pictures to my correspondent along with the death certificate.
This cemetery has a lot of people buried in it. The San Diego County USGenWeb site at has a link to the Tombstone Transcription Project for San Diego County at There are over 14,000 Mount Hope tombstones transcribed in the database at I checked for the gravestones noted above, and they are all on the transcribed list. Unfortunately, the grave information for those without stones is not included.
I sure wish every cemetery provided the "grave-finding" maps like Mount Hope does. It would make the searching job a lot easier. In this case, the graves are not marked with section-block-lot numbers. The Section numbers are marked every so often on the curb by the road. Without the map, it would be difficult to find somebody.

What every genealogy society needs

What does every genealogy society need? Besides lots of members, "how-to" classes or groups, interesting and helpful programs, work projects and the like?

The biggest thing needed by most genealogy societies is enthusiasm and a steady stream of new and current members willing to volunteer their time and talent.

I was reminded of this last week when I read the article "Youth Leader" in the January/February 2008 issue of Family Tree Magazine. There is a two page article on page 10 about Anthony Ray, a 16-year old young man who has a passion for genealogy and helping others. He holds three positions in the Antelope Valley (CA) Genealogical Society in the high desert northeast of Los Angeles. In addition to being chairman of the publicity committee, he also heads the cemetery committee and leads an effort to form a Hispanic genealogy team. Anthony also presented "How I Researched My Five Hispanic Families" in September to the society members.

Anthony responded back in early March 2007 to the Family Tree Magazine forum question "Genealogy Societies: What's Your Take?" - his response is about 60% of the way down the page. There is a lot of experience and wisdom in his responses.

If you can, please read the FTM article about Anthony and be inspired by his excellent example of being a genealogist, a society member and a volunteer.

All genealogy societies need to broaden their membership to include young people of all ages.

Genealogy societies thrive when members volunteer to serve on a Board or a committee, to lead meetings or speak at a program.

The best picture from Gerry's collection

While I've been working through my Aunt Geraldine (Seaver) Remley's photograph collection, I've been on the lookout for "keepers." You know, the ones that nicely group family members or depict critical family events.

This is one of the "keepers."

This is from July 1942 in downtown San Diego at the Santa Fe train station. The people in the picture from the left are

* Lyle Carringer, my mother's father,
* Emily (Auble) Carringer, my mother's mother, partially hidden,
* Frederick W. Seaver, my father (age 30)
* Dorothy Chamberlain, my father's first cousin who lived in San Diego.
* Geraldine Seaver (age 23), my father's youngest sister.
* Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver, my father's mother, recently widowed.
* Betty V. Carringer, my mother (age 22)

I immediately realized that this picture shows five of my ancestors in one photo, my two parents and three of my four grandparents. How often do we get that opportunity?

Gerry and Bess Seaver have just debarked from the train that brought them across the country from Leominster MA to San Diego over about three days. Bess looks tired, but Gerry looks fresh and is absolutely beaming staring at Fred.

Everybody looks so formal - the men are wearing suits and ties, the women are wearing dresses and hats and probably gloves.

Who took the picture? Probably Dorothy's husband, Marshall Chamberlain, who was my father's best man at my parents' wedding.

I think that this picture is a Christmas present for my brothers. We've been exchanging framed photos the last several years from our picture caches.

I'll post more "keepers" when I find them! This is MY family history.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Extending my subscription

I posted back in October about "The Deal of the Year?" and the "Followup to 'Deal of the Year?'" Today was the day that my previous Ancestry US Deluxe subscription ran out.

When I called Ancestry on 25 October, Sherry (the helpful Ancestry person) said that I should call on the day my present subscription ran out, and tell the helpful Ancestry person to extend my subscription for the next year based on my FamilyTreeMaker 16 purchase from She gave me a cancellation number for my previous subscription and said it would be effective 15 November. I thought that was strange at the time, but, hey, she knows what she is doing.

Bright and early this morning, I checked My Account and noticed that I was now a Registered Guest and not a US Deluxe subscriber. I called the 1-800-ANCESTRY number and talked to Eldon (I think - a helpful Ancestry person). I told him my story, and he said that Sherry should have just extended my subscription back on 25 October. Then he said that I should put the FTM CD in the drive and sign in that way. I pointed out that I already have an Ancestry ID that I want to use, and that when I tried to do that with the FTM CD it wouldn't let me do it because I already had an active account. So he extended my US Deluxe subscription for one year. He did ask for some identification information.

This was a very good deal for me - I paid $15.49 plus $6.95 shipping for FamilyTreeMaker 16, the one-year Ancestry subscription, GenSmarts software, several reference books, the FTM 16 guide, etc. I haven't used the Ancestry research consultation yet - I need to find something in my research that challenges their research expert.

If you want FamilyTreeMaker software, and an Ancestry subscription, you might look again at They presently have deals for

* FamilyTreeMaker Duluxe Edition Version 16 - $29.95 - FTM16, 9 month Ancestry subscription, Gensmarts, several CDROMs, the 30 minute consultation and some books.

* FamilyTreeMaker Version 16 Collector's Edition - $59.95 - FTM16, one year of Ancestry, GenSmarts, several DVDs and CDROMs, a 30 minute consultation, and some books.

* FamilyTreeMaker 2008 Deluxe Edition - $59.95 - FTM 2008, 3 month Ancestry subscription, Official Guide to FTM 2008, FTM Training video, FTM 2008 Getting Started guide, and the Ancestry Reference Library DVD.

While these "deals" aren't as good as what I received, they are still a lot cheaper than buying FTM 16 (or FTM 2008) separately in a store or online and signing up with Ancestry for a year at $99.00 (their present US Deluxe bargain price) or $199.00 (their present World Deluxe price) here.

Now back to doing useful research!

Ancestry's "Search Like the Pros" Webinar

I spent an enjoyable hour last night watching the webinar (WEB semINAR) titled "Search Like the Pros." This webinar was broadcast on 29 August 2007, and is available for viewing here.

If you want some ideas on how to search effectively on, I encourage you to view the webinar video. Suzanne Russo Adams is the speaker for the technical aspects of the video. I learned several new things about ranked and advanced searches in this webinar and can't wait to try them out. They do have several poll questions, and answer several questions submitted by the participants at the end of the 53 minute webinar. You can download the presentation in PDF format (100 slides, 7 mb) for your review at a later time.

About the only link on the main page at that I have not clicked on is the "Help" link. There are six tabs on this page for Ask Ancestry, Videos, Email Ancestry Support, Live Help, My Profile, and Webinar. The Ask Ancestry tab has a list of 15 FAQ articles. The Videos tab includes 7 video demonstrations about using your Ancestry subscription. The Webinar tab has links for the AncestryPress, FTM 2008 and Search Like the Pros hour-long videos.

This type of presentation sure looks like the future of genealogy education to me. When executed by professional presenters, this is an effective way to teach genealogy. This technology could be used to teach groups of people if a high-speed wireless connection is available.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Keeping track of my work

Not too many people have stopped by The Geneaholic blog to check out my daily journal posts about my genealogy days and nights. I started back in late October thinking that I need some evidence that I'm really a Geneaholic, so I started doing a daily journal.

Let's see how much of a Blogalanche I get from this post.

What do you think? Geneaholic? Time-waster? Having too much fun? Not doing enough research?

Slimming down my scanning project

After almost two weeks of wrestling with photo albums, loose pictures, documents and the computer, I've decided to "slim down" my scanning project for 2007. Veteran blog readers will recall that I volunteered to scan and digitize the photo collection of my aunt Geraldine (Seaver) Remley (GSR) when I was back east in early May for her memorial service. The family sent me two boxes of stuff and I took a lot home with me.

In the GSR collection, there were about 100 loose photos, several photo collages in frames, and three photo albums. One of the photo albums, with the oldest photos, had the photos glued down onto the pages (sticky surface with a mylar film over them). The other two photo albums have the photos in "magnetic" albums (sticky surface with the mylar sheet cover) but they are not glued down - they all come off the sticky surface pretty easy.

At this point, I've scanned the loose photos, the photo collages, the old album page-by-page (16 pages) and half of the album with the later family photos (50 pages so far, 50 to go). The third album is about 100 pages and is mostly pictures of GSR and the Remley family. I may not get to that one this year.

I've tried to scan the full pages from the albums with the mylar sheets removed. This has worked fairly well, except the pages are just a little too large for my scanner. My aunt wrote some captions on the edges where there wasn't any glue. I've been saving the 9.0 x 12.0 scanned pages as TIF files, which are running about 22 mb each.

After I complete a batch of pages, I go in with my photo editing software (I've been using HP Image Zone and Microsoft Digital Image Standard 2006 Editor) and crop out individual photos of interest and save them with a unique name.

I'm trying to create a series of "albums" in PDF format using the OpenOffice 2.2 Impress presentation software. That way I can have nearly full page size album page photos (or two smaller loose photos per page) and can add text boxes for the captions. I decided to use JPG files for the album page images (only 2 mb in size for most of them) so a 16 page album (the first one) file is about 33 mb.

I will have to break the two bigger albums up into 25 page sections in order to keep the PDF file sizes to a manageable level.

With the loose photos, and the captured images off the album pages, I'm in the process of cropping them to eliminate the photo edges, rotating them if necessary, and making what used to be black-and-white photos really black-and-white. Some of the color photos have faded badly, so I'm experimenting with the automatic color, contrast and other corrections available in the Microsoft software - some have turned out really well with truer color and brighter images.

In addition to digitally replicating the photo albums, my plan is to create a separate set of albums from all of the pictures for each of the six families (my father and his siblings) plus one of the Fred and Bessie Seaver family of Leominster MA. I may run out of time to do this one!

My goal is to create a CDROM with the albums in time for Christmas for each of the cousins and siblings. That way, Aunt Gerry's albums will be distributed to everyone in some sort of fashion - they can page through them on the computer, or print them off if they want, as if she was there with them.

My biggest problem has been that captions on most of the album pages are few and far between. Some of the loose photos and some of the photos in the sticky albums have captions on the back and I'm trying to use them to identify persons, year and location in the photo file names.

This is a much bigger project than I thought it would be. I sure wish I had started this sooner. It is cutting into my research time.

Does anybody have experience doing this type of job or have suggestions for streamlining and improving the process?

CGSSD Meeting on Saturday 11/17

I received this information from Linda H, the excellent program person for CGSSD:

"The Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego will meet on Saturday, November 17, 2007 from 9:00 am to noon.

"9:00 a.m. -- User Groups will meet for Family Tree Maker, Legacy and RootsMagic.

10:15 a.m. -- Break
10:30 a.m. -- The annual meeting will begin. There will be the election of officers, updates on CGSSD from board members, and a time for members to share recent research breakthroughs, new websites, new software and computer techniques, and a discussion of unsolved problems and mysteries. Bring your stories and questions and contribute to a lively discussion of genealogical experiences from the past year. Let our room of experts address your questions and solve your current problems. Now is your opportunity to ask those “how to” questions! (To help plan for our meeting, please send Linda an email (
lrh0529(at) with your questions, or let Linda know if you want to contribute a story.)

"11:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon -- we can continue discussions over light lunch in the lobby.

"We meet 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 our website; or the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies website for driving directions and a map (If you need information on handicap parking spaces, please contact Linda.)"

I always look forward to the FamilyTreeMaker class. I'm wondering if the leader will work in FTM2008 or 2006?

The session with success stories and questions-and-answers should also be interesting. I may try to live blog both sessions if I can connect to the UCSD wireless network (I usually can).

San Diego area readers - if you haven't been to a CGSSD meeting, why not come along this time. You will get a good idea about the society and its members and hopefully learn something about one of the software programs too.

The Grammar Police give me a ticket

"Why did you give me a ticket, officer?" "I plead 'guilty,' judge." I had no idea that a misused colon would be so important. I promise to use a complete phrase if I use a colon from now on. Honest.

As an "old dog" engineer, I used colons extensively to introduce numbered, lettered or bulleted lists of items. As a "new pup" in genealogy writing, I just used my former writing "style" in my work, including this blog. I hope my mal-use of the colon has not infuriated any of my loyal readers to the extent that they stop reading my wit (?) and wisdom (?). [Note to self - should the "(?)" be inside the period or outside? Better check that too.]

The APG mailing list has had an extensive discussion about the use of a colon in written materials. It got started with this post by Virginia noting that genealogy software programs often write (for example) "Children of Frederick Seaver and Alma Bessie Richmond are:" followed by a numbered or lettered list of children. This post garnered a number of responses from the highly respected and emulated genealogy writing experts, and then several new threads were started. Claire Bettag pulled out the Chicago Manual of Style as the authoritative word, which states:


"A vertical list is best introduced by a complete grammatical sentence, followed by a colon.....Items carry no closing punctuation unless they consist of complete sentences. If the items are numbered, a period follows the numeral and each item begins with a capital letter."


"In a numbered vertical list that completes a sentence begun in an introductory element and consists of phrases or sentences with internal punctuation, semicolons may be used between the items, and a period should follow the final item. Each item begins with a lowercase letter .... If bullets were used instead of numbers ... the punctuation and capitalization would remain the same."

The grammatically correct formats should be (Note that I didn't use a colon here - I actually had to delete it when I edited this post! Note also that I edited out the dangling participle in the initial sentence)

1) Use a complete introductory sentence with a colon, with no punctuation to end the list items, as in

"Frederick Seaver and Alma Bessie Richmond had seven children:
i. Marion Seaver, born 1901 in Catgut, MA, died 1999 in Pepper Maze, SC
ii. Evelyn Seaver, born 1903 in Hogswallow, MA, died 1977 in Witch Hazel, NH
iii. Stanley Seaver, etc.
iv. Ruth Seaver
v. Frederick Seaver
vi. Edward Seaver
vii. Geraldine Seaver"

2) Don't use a complete sentence and have no colon after the introductory phrase, but use semi-colons in the list, as in

"Children of Frederick Seaver and Alma Bessie Richmond were
i. Marion Seaver, born 1901 in Catgut, MA, died 1999 in Pepper Maze, SC;
ii. Evelyn Seaver, born 1903 in Hogswallow, MA, died 1977 in Witch Hazel, NH;
iii. Stanley Seaver, etc.;
iv. Ruth Seaver;
v. Frederick Seaver;
vi. Edward Seaver;
vii. Geraldine Seaver."

There. Got it. Are you impressed? Were my examples done good?

Now I need to go change all of my thousands of Notes in my databases, in my books and on my web site and ... [note to self - what about the ellipsis? How should I deal with that, besides don't use it for fear I'm going to get another grammar ticket?]. That should keep me busy until 2009.

The reason given for being grammatically correct is that a professional genealogist should using writing standards set by experts will impress their clients and colleagues with their erudition and perspicacity [is that the right word?] Obviously, I want to be accepted by my clients, customers, colleagues, peers and superiors.

My excuse for my previous errancy over about 50 years is that I only got 470 on my Verbal SAT way back when and in engineering they recommended clear and concise writing that enable the reader to easily understand what was written (and most of the readers probably had low Verbal SAT scores also) - ergo the colon was a good friend (I now know why one of my engineering colleagues always redlined my work, much to my chagrin and misunderstanding).

Maybe I should have my English PhD candidate daughter review all of my posts, but she's pretty busy teaching proper grammar to a 2-year old and her classes of prospective teachers.

Note to all readers (no colon here, dummy) - Genea-Musings will publish only updated notes until the grammar is correct. Some of you have missed many of the notes anyway, so it will be like reading them the first time, right? There are over 1,300 posts here, so it may take awhile.

Hopefully, no one will grade this musing for proper grammer and punctiation, let alone for speling.

UPDATED 1:15 PM. I corrected some phraseology to make it more sensible and accurate. In Comments, Drew told me that I had dangled a particple and so I think I put it back in the sack where it belongs. I'm still confused by dangling participles, pluperfect subjunctives and the like.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Four Steps Forward, One Step Back

Sometimes things happen serendipitously, and sometimes they get screwed up. I love when the first part happens, but I get really upset when I or someone messes up and I don't catch it. There's a lesson here!

CVGS received a query several weeks ago from a fellow wondering if we could find the burial place of his grandfather and grandmother, who died in the 1930's in Chula Vista. The California Death Index for 1930-1939 at had both persons listed, so I now had a death date. A check of the Glen Abbey Memorial Park CDROM produced by CVGS last year yielded the burial locations at the cemetery. Then he asked for death certificates for both of them, so I happily offered to obtain them. Finally, he had the thought that maybe the grandmother's father was buried there too - I checked, he was, and he wanted a death certificate for him too. No problem.

I went down to the County Clerk's office in Chula Vista last Friday to get the death certificates. The clerk found one of them on the computer system and quickly printed it off. The other two were not on the system, so she called the main office in San Diego and the copies from the microfilm were printed and then was faxed to Chula Vista. But the faxed copies were very difficult to read. The CV clerk recommended going to the downtown San Diego office and getting them there. No problem.

Now the serendipity - over the weekend, one of my CVGS colleagues got a request from a correspondent in Ohio asking about a death date, burial location and death certificate for her great-grandmother. I found the death date in 1900 on the San Diego County USGenWeb site (Pre-1905 Deaths), and told her that I was going downtown to the Clerk's office and would pick up the Death Certificate. No problem. Two birds with one rock, so to speak!

I went downtown to the County Clerk office today. The clerk was helpful and efficient. She quixkly found the three death certificates on the microfilms, and made the certified copies for me. I paid my money ($12 each), declined a receipt, said thank you and left the office happy as a pig in s**t. I was there less than 40 minutes.

Tonight I took the certificates out of my case and wrote emails to my two correspondents telling them I had their death certificates and please send me their mail address. I'm glad I looked at each of them before I put them in the envelopes to mail. The one for the grandmother's father wasn't there - I got another death certificate by mistake. Oops. Big problem.

Now what? Another trip to the County Clerk downtown tomorrow, I think. Hopefully, they'll accept my story and produce the correct death certificate for me. My guess is that someone else wanted the one I got and received the one I didn't get. It may be lying around at the office waiting for me to claim it. I thought I did so well at this. Just d**n.

Lesson learned: Check the certificate before you leave the County Clerk's office. I'm sure I won't do that again! Humph. Serendipity breeds complacency, I fear.

UPDATED 11/15 - I went back to the County Clerk's office today and finally got the right death certificate. On the first try, the clerk handed me a birth certificate of someone I didn't want or need - he had used the record number from births instead of deaths. I guess he was embarrassed, because his supervisor finally gave me the right death certificate. I checked it over this time! No charge. I appreciated that.

Ancestry Magazine, November/December 2007 Issue TOC

The November/December 2007 issue of Ancestry magazine came in my email today. subscribers now receive a digital version of the magazine just by having an annual subscription to The email has a link to the online magazine. There is a FAQ about this digital version here.

The Table of Contents for the November/December issue (Volume 25, number 6) of Ancestry magazine includes

* "Ride of Their Lives" - page 19. Years later, stories of orphan train riders are once again being told.

* "Easter Eggs and Tobacco" by Colleen Fitzpatrick, PhD. - page 21. They did have a sense of humor way back when.

* "What's Cooking America?" by Kelly Burgess - page 22. Burgers, fries, pizza, and tacos. American food had to come from somewhere - and mostly it came from our earliest immigrant ancestors.

* "Big Bird, Dig Dilemma" by Dean Harding McGarity - page 30. With no family, and no cash, a young couple still finds happiness.

* "Finding a Holiday Treasure" by Myra Vanderpool Gormley, CG - page 32. How my relatives spent his Christmas - 175 years ago.

* "Turkey and Trimmings" - page 34. Where did we get cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie?

* "My Navy Blue Hawaii" by Ellen Notbohm - page 37. A free trip to Hawaii has a deeper meaning.

* "Big Skies and White Houses" by Janet Bernice - page 39. America's 2nd lady, Lynne Cheney, takes a shot at her past.

* "A Place in the Country" by Amy Johnson Crow, CG, CGI - page 40. Life wasn't always great but it did leave some wonderful records.

* "Confection Connection" by Paula Stuart-Warren, CG - page 41. Those cookies are brimming with history.

* "Dark Days" by Deidre Burridge Dagner - page 42. Selective breeding isn't a foreign concept. But for one researcher who stumbled upon the American eugenics movement, it felt a bit too much like unnatural selection.

* "A Travelin' Man" by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak - page 48. No heir apparent? Look for the next best thing.

* "Fame in Your Family" by Esther Yu Sumner - page 53. Using tall tales to prove you're related to your favorite star.

* "Nothing Like Homemade - an Ancestry Digital exclusive" by Juliana Szucs Smith - page 54. Looking for the best holiday gift ever? Find out how to turn your favorite family recipes into a treasured heirloom.

* "Black Holes" by Ian Pope - page 60. When the pull of history is more than anyone can explain.

* "Actor Kills Wife" by Marjorie Waterfield - page 62. With no one left to tell the story, the newspaper steps in.

There is a special offer at the Ancestry Store for a print version of this magazine for $14.95.

It is difficult to read the digital version of the magazine online. You read one page at a time and use the Page Up/Down keys and arrow keys to move from page to page. You can print the pages one at a time. There is a pop-up ad for the print version every four pages that you have to disable one at a time. The whole exercise seems to be to induce you to pay for the printed version of the magazine.

The magazine is visually beautiful - layout, colors, pictures, drawings, themes. The articles are, in the main, not about genealogy research but about social history and cultural topics. I appreciate them, but I don't get much "help" from them to do my research.

What is your genetic identity?

Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak has an interesting post on the 24/7 Family History Circle blog titled "Honoring Our Ancestors: Haley Family of Roots Fame Joins the DNA Game" about the Y-DNA tests that Chris Haley (nephew of Roots author Alex Haley) took at the recent FGS Conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The article describes the results of Chris Haley's Y-DNA test and what options are available for finding relationships to other men from his patrilineal line. The results indicated that the patrilineal line haplogroup is R1b - which is common in Western Europe.

But what is a person's true genetic identity? To me, it is ALL of the genetic material that goes into creating a person. In each person, the biological ancestors are 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great-grandparents, 16 great-great-grandparents, and so on. Each person is descended from many ancestors (1,024 in the 10th generation) and each contributes to the genetic makeup of a person.

Are researchers concentrating too much on just the patrilineal line, especially for persons with Native American, African American and other "racial" ancestry? Of course, the reason they have concentrated on the patrilineal line is that it is the only one that currently provides real evidence of haplogroup and relationships to others with the same Y-DNA "signature."

Shouldn't we be trying to determine the whole genetic and cultural ancestry of ourselves? To me, that means trying to find the Y-DNA signature of each of my 8 great-great-grandfathers, if possible. And finding the mitochondrial DNA signature of my 8 great-great-grandmothers, if possible.

I'm attempting to identify living male descendants with a patrilineal line to each of my great-great-grandfathers. Likewise, I'm trying to find living female descendants with a matrilineal line to each of my great-great-grandmothers. If I can do that, then I may be able to determine my "genetic identity" to supplement my "cultural identity."

In my case, my great-great-grandparents were born between 1817 and 1844, and died between 1867 and 1931. And their children (the candidates for further research) were born later and usually died later. Fortunately, I know quite a bit about these 16 individuals - when and where they were born, lived and died, and what their cultural heritage was. There are usually records for people with deaths in the above time frame. Unfortunately, some states have restricted access to vital records in the 20th century, and that may hamper the search for living descendants. Traditional genealogy research can find many of these persons in vital records, city directories, cemeteries, obituaries, etc.

It is evident from Chris Haley's known ancestry that he has a significant African ancestry. I believe that he should be concentrating on finding out about each of the branches in his family tree rather than stopping with finding relationships with others who have the same patrilineal line. Of course, he should do the latter, because it extends his knowledge in that ancestral line.

I'm not criticizing Chris Haley and others trying to find their genetic heritage - I'm just suggesting that each of us could do a lot more in this area as DNA analysis techniques improve. The possibilities need to be discussed, described and pursued. Hopefully, the price will come down too!

I hope that each of us pursue the opportunities we have to discover our genetic heritage. We may find interesting and useful, and perhaps mysterious and intriguing, information and connections.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Della's Journal - Week 46 (November 12-18, 1929)

This is Installment 46 of the Journal of Della (Smith) Carringer (1862-1944), 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 46 -


Tuesday, November 12 (windy): A[ustin]'s mouth is so sore he has to leave teeth out. I fixed one of my hats and Ma mended. Lyle's went down to the school this evening, from there to a dance & cards given to the Marston's employes.

Wednesday, November 13 (windy): We washed. Ma sewed a little. Mrs. Wilson came to sew velvet dress on machine. Mate Dinmock called, took supper with us. Brush fire N & E of City.

Thursday, November 14: Did not work much. Washed kitchen windows & front ones. Miss Thoren pd rent. Ma worked outside watered & burnt trash.

Friday, November 15: We worked outside & in. A[ustin] got pay.

Saturday, November 16 (warm): Ed over but lawns did not need cutting so he worked on parking. Cut off Chrysanthemums. Lyle's went to back country. I went to town. Pd on Paving (Dep $110) Pd out $110, Ed $58.76, $52.06, Bridg (?) lamp $2.90, cup 14c Listerine.

Sunday, November 17 (warm): I went out to Ma's, gave Mrs. Schmidt $1.00 for Water. Ma took sponge bath, I cut A[ustin] hair.

Monday, November 18 (foggy on bay): Helped Ma make spout to carry water from cistern to fig tree. Mrs. Wilson moved part of her things put our refridgerator back in place.


I'm terribly confused by the financial transactions on 16 November. She put a $110 deposit down for paving, and then the two numbers following may be what it cost to do the paving at Ed's (in Pacific Beach) and perhaps on 30th Street.

In 2007, we forget or don't understand that the roads needed to be paved, that rain water was collected in cisterns (it's free that way), that they went shopping almost daily for fresh meat and vegetables, thet they grew fruit and vegetables in home gardens, that they burned trash rather than having a collector come or take it to a dump themselves.

I'm not sure what the "parking" is. I've always thought that it was the three foot wide strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street curb - that's what it was when I was a boy. My picture from 1929 shows a paved street and sidewalk with a strip between them, perhaps it's not grass but ground cover or just dirt with weeds - see this post.

Mate Dinmock is a new name for me - probably a friend or neighbor.

Saturday at the FHC

Before the SDGS meeting on Saturday, I spent an hour and a half at the San Diego Family History Center in Mission Valley. My goal was to explore WorldVitalRecords and Footnote databases on the FHC computers a bit more and actually start to collect information about my ancestors and Seaver people.

Attentive readers will recall that I explained how to access the Premium Databases at the FHC in my recent post "Hey San Diegans - Go to the FHC!" These databases are free to access at the Family History Centers and include WorldVitalRecords, Footnote, Godfrey Library, etc.

I also noticed on the computer screen an icon for "New FamilySearch." I clicked on this and got a sign-in box for LDS members. It looks like New FS is rolled out to this FHC but it is still reserved for LDS church members.

I input the surname "Seaver" in the WorldVitalRecords search box and got a long list of WVR databases that contained the term. I looked at the Everton's Pedigree Chart collection and the Leland Meitzler Ahnentafel collection first. They had a few, but none of them had a Seaver in a #1 position.

I wanted to check the Revolutionary War Pension Files for soldiers named Seaver. I read and downloaded the full set for Ichabod Seaver and Robert Seaver (neither of which are my ancestor). Each was about 20 pages long. In the Footnote viewer, you see a film strip of about 15 pages below the image of the page you are looking at. You can choose any image from the film strip. It takes a while for the image to appear - often up to a minute (at least on this FHC computer). I copied the page images as JPG files to my flash drive directly - they were in the 200 kb to 600 kb size range. The connection to Footnote got hung up at least three times in an hour - I had to start over from the Windows screen each time. I don't know if that is a Footnote problem or an FHC computer problem - I suspect the latter.

One of the real benefits of the Footnote store of Revolutionary War Pension Files is the indexing of them. While you can't search for a "firstname lastname" combination, you can search for any number of names or key words. I put "Norman Seaver" in the search box (with and without the quotes - it didn't change the results). Norman is my 5th great-grandfather and was an officer in the RevWar. He doesn't have a pension file. But he was mentioned in several depositions by other soldiers in the same unit. Those pension files also describe the actions taken by the unit and may be the only information available about the unit's actions in more detail than the soldier's service record.

Consequently, researchers should collect not only the full pension file for their ancestor, they should also search for their soldiers who did not have a pension file. They may have been mentioned by another soldier or they may have written an affidavit themselves.

It appears that these records are all transcriptions by a clerk when the pensions were applied for. I didn't see any original documents here - letters, Bible pages, etc. There may be some, especially Bible pages, in some files. The images of the pages are remarkably "clean." It appears that the Archives or Footnote have used some sort of photo enhancement program to remove blotches, tears, dirt, etc. from the papers in the files. They are all gray-scale pages - dark gray writing on a light-gray background. There is some light writing - but these areas probably could be enhanced by a photo enhancement program.

I can see that I have lots more of this type of information to collect from Footnote and other Premium Databases at the FHC. CVGS will start running research trips again to get more of our members back in the FHC to search these new resources.

The Genea-Musings histogram

Hugh Watkins at his Exploring Rootsweb blog found an intriguing web site that creates a Histogram of a web site. You input the URL of the web site and it draws a histogram showing what type of HTML tags are used on the web site. Hugh's post is here. The Websites as Graphs web site is at

Here is the Genea-Musings histogram:

What does the histogram mean? The page that displays the histogram explains the colors:

* blue: for links (the A tag)
* red: for tables (TABLE, TR and TD tags)
* green: for the DIV tag
* violet: for images (the IMG tag)
* yellow: for forms (FORM, INPUT, TEXTAREA, SELECT and OPTION tags)
* orange: for linebreaks and blockquotes (BR, P, and BLOCKQUOTE tags)
* black: the HTML tag, the root node
* gray: all other tags

My histogram has lots of blue (links), gray (other) and orange (linebreaks), and few red (tables), violet (images) and yellow (forms).

I set this off at about 10 AM this morning and then noticed that my computer had been running continuously for awhile. I ended it after 30 minutes (it was still working), but not before taking a screenshot and saving it. Now I'm worried that perhaps this site is really a worm or something, but my McAfee didn't catch it or stop it.

It looks like there are 20 main spokes off the center wheel (I show 20 posts on this blog) and then analyzes each post for the different types of HTML tags.

In the end, it's interesting but fairly useless. I was hoping that it would show how the site links to other sites. Is there something like that out there?

SDGS Program on 11/10 - John Carpenter on DNA Research

The San Diego Genealogical Society program on Saturday, 10 November, featured John R. Carpenter who gave two presentations on DNA Research. The program description and John's CV were posted here.

John's first talk, on "DNA Research: Haplogroups, Y-DNA and mtDNA" covered the past history of DNA research for genealogy purposes. He showed how the number of haplogroups have increased as more people are analyzed and how the different haplogroups relate to each other. He discussed how the Y-DNA analysis can tell you how other people may be related to a person. He also discussed mitochondrial DNA tests and that they only define a haplogroup, not relationships to a particular person. Unfortunately, he didn't make the necessary point that if you can find living male descendants of all of your great-great-grandparents that you can obtain the Y-DNA haplogroup of the great-great-grandfathers, and mtDNA haplogroups of the great-great-grandmothers. John showed several slides from the International Society of Genetic Genealogists (ISOGG). This is an excellent resource for learning about DNA Research. The 2007 Y-DNA Haplogroup tree is shown on

In his second talk, John discussed "Famous and Other DNA." Most of this information can be found on the ISOGG pages at the "Famous DNA" link on the page. He covered Neanderthal DNA, Ancient Human DNA, Founding Father DNA, and Famous People DNA.

All in all, it was an interesting presentation, but I really didn't learn anything new to apply to my research. I could have learned all of it on the ISOGG web site or from books about Genealogy and DNA. I'm sure that many of the attendees learned quite a bit. John is knowledgeable about this subject, and answered most of the technical questions with good scientific information.

SDGS held elections at this meeting. Marna Clemons was elected President, succeeding Peter Steelquist who has held the position for several years. I congratulate Marna on her election and wish her great success as she leads SDGS. The society is in good hands.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Best of the Genea-Blogs - Week of November 4-10, 2007

Here are my picks for great reads from the genealogy blogs for this past week. My criteria are pretty simple - I like posts that advance knowledge about genealogy, or are funny and/or poignant. I don't list posts destined for the Carnival of Genealogy, or my own posts (hopefully, others will do that!).

* "New Blog Carnival: Cabinet of Curiosities" by GreenmanTim at Walking the Berkshires. Tim is starting this new carnival and has some funny things in his own collection.

* "Mola and Voodoo and My Cat Hattie: Curiosities" by Terry Thornton on the Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi blog. Terry tells about his own curiosities for submission to Tim's new carnival. I didn't know what a mola was, of course.

* "WorldVitalRecords Introduces Valuable Scanning Services (Photos, Documents, Videos and Slides)" by Whitney Ransom on the WorldVitalRecords Blog. This is a great opportunity for those without scanners or technical ability to have their collections digitized. The idea came out of one of the customer surveys that WVR conducts regularly (another good idea).

* "232nd Anniversary of the United States Marine Corps" by Craig Manson on the Geneablogie blog. Craig tells the early history of the USMC and how he was honored two years ago. As a father-in-law of a Marine currently serving in Ramadi, I appreciate the post and have spent some time today thinking about him and all that have gone before. Thanks, Craig!

* "Association of Professional Genealogists Speech" by Paul Allen on his Paul Allen, Internet Entrepreneur blog. Paul talks about his early years at Ancestry/MyFamily and what the future holds for WorldVitalRecords. This is a must read for anyone interested in the future of genealogy.

* "I Am My Own - Well, Not Quite..." by Jessica Oswalt on her Jessica's Genejournal blog. Jessica shares her story about an ancestor who married a much younger woman and relates it to the song "I Am My Own Grandpaw."

* "British Soldiers Weren't Called Lobsterbacks" by J.L. Bell on the Boston 1775 blog. He quota Christopher Lenney's findings about how the term came about. Apparently Nathaniel Hawthorne put the term into the popular speech, but it was used before him.

* "Genealogy Support Group" by Denise Olson on the Family Matters blog. Denise has created a group on Diigo to collect useful links, articles, reviews, resources, discussions, etc.

* "Conspiracy Theories" by John Newmark on his Transylvania Dutch blog. Trekkie John shows some funny pictures of himself in costumes and tells the stories. Good stuff.

That's it - if I missed a really good post, please let me know.