Saturday, January 5, 2008

A four generation picture

One of my "get-a-round-tuit" projects is to capture all of our family photographs and scan them into the computer and create a photo story of our family. It's been on the back burner for many years!

When we find pictures in a drawer, in a book, or in a cabinet we usually put them in an over-flowing box in the Genea-Cave to save for filing and scanning when I get a round tuit. Today, I noticed that there was a photo on the floor below the box in the Genea-Cave, so I picked it up and discovered probably the only four generation picture we have with one of my daughters.

This was taken in our living room in April 1975 (either at our old house or just after moving into our present house). From the left, there is my father, Fred Seaver (age 63), Randy Seaver (age 31, beardless for another three years, see - I had hair once), daughter Lori Seaver (age 11 months, cute as a bug), my grandmother, Emily (Auble) Carringer (age 76), my grandfather, Lyle Carringer (age 83) and my mother Betty (Carringer) Seaver (age 54). We still have the dark wood coffee table, but gave the red and gold couch to charity last year.
It's not a wonderful picture - not everyone is smiling or looking at the camera (it was probably taken by Linda), but it's the only four generation picture of this family group that I have. I enhanced it a bit in the photo editing program.
Finding this kind of makes me want to go look in the garage to look in the big box of photos taken from 1970 to 1990 or so that I know is out there, but I fear that the bugs or mice have snacked on over the years. I wonder what other gems are in that box!
It's funny how things happen, isn't it? I don't recall ever seeing this picture before, but there it was on the floor of the Genea-Cave today. Angel Linda must have found it (and there are several others in the top of the box) somewhere. If she had put it in the box, I may never have seen it. But she missed, I saw it and picked it up, scanned it, and now it's on the Internet and is part of my family picture collection.
I love it when things work out well. It's been a good day!

The Full "Ancestry" at the FHCs

Ancestry and the LDS Family History Library announced two weeks ago that they had agreed to provide the full suite of Ancestry databases at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and at 13 large Family History Centers around the country (including San Diego).

I went to the San Diego FHC today and tried it out. From all of my testing, it appears that Ancestry Family History Library Edition is the World Deluxe database collection. I was able to access the Canadian and United Kingdom records in addition to all of the USA records. I tried to access Australia, Germany and Italy but it gave me the "we're busy - check back soon" message.

So that is wonderful news. Having the Canada and UK records is a step up for those of us with a US-only subscription. My society colleagues will be thrilled to have it back after 9 months.

Of course, that wasn't the only thing I did at the FHC today. I read my Glocester RI probate record microfilm and then searched for my elusive Russell Smith on Footnote and WorldVitalRecords. I'll report on that in a separate post.

Then I decided to check for RI and Connecticut records in books on the shelf, since Russell Smith was born in RI according to the scant records we have. The three-volume book "Genealogies of Rhode Island Families" published by the NEHGS has a large section (over 150 pages) on the descendants of John Smith the Miller of Providence (as opposed to my ancestor, John Smith the Mason of Providence). In that work, there is reference to an Elizabeth (Arnold) Hawkins, widow of William Hawkins, who married (2) Israel Smith. The book says she died, as Elizabeth Smith, in Glocester in 1758. I had the date, and an abstract of the probate record, but did not have it on my list of probate records to obtain from Glocester RI. Now I do! It was just happenstance - perhaps even serendipity - that I saw this in the article. A case of being lucky and good, I guess.

I asked one of the center managers about New FamilySearch and when it might be available to non-LDS members; he said by the end of the year. I also asked him why Ancestry and the FHL agreed to put Ancestry in the FHL and 13 FHCs - he said that it helps both organizations, and that the FamilySearch Indexing projects created both competition and cooperation. I don't know how plugged in he is to the FamilySearch folks, but it was an intriguing comment.

The Elusive Russell Smith - Post 2

In Post 1, I summarized the information I gathered recently about Russell Smith (born RI ca 1775), who married Esther --?--, and had at least three children, Ranslow Smith (1805->1870), Lyman Smith (1807-1889) and George Smith (1812-1876). The family history information from Old World Wisconsin says that Russell Smith settled in Jefferson County, New York in about 1800.

Over the years, I have gathered a wealth of Smith information from Jefferson County. From online searches and a research trip in 2004 to Jefferson County, which included visits to the Jefferson County Genealogical Society holdings at the Flower Memorial Library in Watertown and the South Jefferson County Historical Association in Adams, the information on hand includes:

1) Deed Indexes, 1806-1885, Grantor and Grantee for "Smith"

2) Surrogate Court Records - Estate papers (1805-1945), Estates, orders and decrees (1830-1910), Record of wills (1830-1900). I abstracted all Smith entries in the Estate papers file.

3) 1810 to 1850 US Census, and 1825 and 1835 NY State Census, data for Smiths in Jefferson County, by town.

4) Some of the Smith family records from the South Jefferson County Historical Association in Adams. I obtained these handwritten and typewritten pages, which were developed over time from records collected at the association. I don't believe I captured ALL Smith family records - only the ones with families in Henderson, Ellisburgh and Rodman townships.

5) Jefferson County cemetery list, in alphabetical format, for all Smiths in the database (10 pages, about 420 entries).

6) Three articles from the book "Old Houses of the North Country" that describe the Ranslow Smith house in Henderson, the Harvey Smith house in Henderson and the Jesse Smith house in Adams.

I have entered all of this data into my genealogy database in hopes that the parents of Ranslow, George and Lyman would magically appear, but that hasn't happened.

Unhappily, the name Russell Smith does not appear in any of these records. It looks like I'm stuck in a majorly way, doesn't it?

My current mantra is - "Smith families are easy to find, but hard to figure out."

Friday, January 4, 2008

39th Carnival of Genealogy is Online

Jasia on the Creative Gene blog has posted the 39th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy. The theme for this edition is New Years Resolutions. The post is at

22 genealogy bloggers wrote posts with their resolutions and/or goals for 2008. My own post was Genealogy Goals for 2008. This is an impressive list of blog posts, and there are many ambitious and thoughtful goals and resolutions. May we all succeed! But then, what would we do in 2009?

Looking ahead, the 40th Carnival of Genealogy theme will be: Living-relative connections made during your research processes and/or blog. Who found you or how did you find them? Were they helpful or did they send you on a wild goose chase for further information? How much and what kind of information did they share with you? What did you share with them? What kinds of contacts have you had... in person, via phone, online chat, email, snail mail, web casts? (If you're not comfortable using their real names you might want to consider using pseudonyms).

Submit your blog article to the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy using our carnival submission form. The deadline for submissions is January 15th. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Heir Hunters Videos on BBC

A post on the Transitional-Genealogists-Forum mailing list hosted by Rootsweb by Melissa Barker provided a link to the Fraser & Fraser web site ( Fraser & Fraser are heir hunters - a United Kingdom firm that specializes in International Probate Research.

Heir hunting is a competitive business - if someone dies without a will or trust, there may be a sizable estate. Companies like Fraser & Fraser perform some research to find heirs, attempt to sign them up, and then receive a percentage of the inheritance as a result of their research work. It is competitive in many places, including the USA. Apparently, if estates are not settled in a specific time in the UK, the government receives the estate - 25 million pounds in a recent year.

On the Fraser & Fraser site are links to 15 episodes of hour-long videos that were broadcast on the BBC from 4 June to 22 June 2007 about probate research in England.

I watched the first video, which showed the initial search to find heirs to Samuel Summersby who left an estate of 300,000 pounds, and then showed the contacts of the heirs (cousins of Mr. Summersby) by the F&F employees. Needless to say, the videos are very well done with a detective story flair. You see the work in the office, the work by the researchers in the field, and the reactions of the heirs to their good fortune.

If you are interested in doing heir research, or even interested in researching in England, these videos may be very helpful and interesting. It was a fun hour away from the Russell Smith search!

Another WorldVitalRecords Survey

I just took the latest WorldVitalRecords Customer Input Panel survey. Here are the questions and my answers:

1) Have you ever interviewed a person about family history?

Answer: Yes.

2) What was the purpose of the interview?

Answers: Preserve the individual's legacy, Capture a specific story, Find out more about the individual, Family project

3) Who have you conducted interviews with?

Answers: Parent, Aunt/Uncle, Cousin, Friend of my grandmother.

4) What medium did you use to interview?

Answer: Face to face (parent, cousin, uncle, aunts, friend), and written questions (aunts)

5) How did you record the interview?

Answers: Paper (parent, cousin, friend) , audio recorder (aunts, uncle)

6) Did either of you have to travel more than 100 miles to conduct the interview?

Answer: Yes (Massachusetts from California for uncle).

7) Have you preserved the interview in any way?

Answer: Yes.

8) How have you preserved it?

Answers: Retained the audio-tapes. Transcribed the interviews. Passed the transcriptions to the interviewees, their children and my brothers.

9) How interested would you be in a professional service that conducted video interviews with loved ones anywhere in the US?

Answer: Somewhat interested.

10) Who in your family besides you, would be interested in a service that did a video Interview of a loved one?

Answers: Child, Cousin, Friend (society colleagues).

11) Would you pay $400 for an interview service that would travel anywhere in the U.S; perform a professional video-taped interveiw with a loved one; edit the video; preserve the interview on a DVD packaged in a museum-quality metal case that you would receive in the mail and could be ordered by anyone?

Answer: No.

12) How much would you be willing to spend?

Answer: $0 (I'm cheap! I feel I can do this myself).

13) Do you have any comments about a service that would do a professional video interview of a loved one?

Answer: Unfortunately, there are no loved ones still alive that can shed light on my ancestors - I'm too old!


As with previous surveys, we can glean some insight into what WorldVitalRecords is about to offer to subscribers. This is a pretty good idea for people who have parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins etc. in a distant state, especially if the interviewee had special insight into the family stories and history.

The Genetic Genealogist Challenge

Blaine Bettinger at The Genetic Genealogist blog (which discusses genetic genealogy issues with authority and detail) is celebrating his first anniversary of blogging, and will award a free DNA test to one of the entries to his contest. See his post here for rules and more information.

I posted about my Genetic Genealogy challenges here, and Blaine discussed them in his post summarizing the 35th Carnival of Genealogy here. If you haven't read Blaine's blog before, and are interested in genetic generalogy, please go visit The Genetic Genealogist and read Blaine's body of work.

I really appreciate Blaine's PhD-level expertise and willingness to analyze genetic genealogy issues for those of us who are interested but challenged by the messy genetic details (my limited reading tells me that it is one of the most complicated subjects in the world's body of knowledge!).

Like many researchers, I have procrastinated in getting a Y-DNA or mtDNA test done. It's on my mental "to-do" list as a "nice-to-have."

Is this contest just Blaine's way of getting more hits for his blog to raise his Alexa ranking (currently 224,343 according to his widgit)? If so, I hope it works for him!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Checking in with GenealogyBank

Tom Kemp on the Genealogy Bank blog posted that they have added another 2.8 million records at Genealogy Bank, and that there are now over 2,300 newspapers in the Historical Newspaper section and over 1,000 newspapers in the America's Obituaries section.

The complete list of the newspapers archived on GenealogyBank is at This is indeed an impressive list.

The home page for GenealogyBank is at - they list the collections that they have for historical and modern records.

I don't subscribe to Genealogy Bank, since I've thought that many of their records are available on other web sites. I'm going to compare what they have with the newspaper holdings on other sites.

I've been hoping that one of these newspaper archives sites will digitize and index the San Diego Union newspaper before 2000, and I know one of my CVGS colleagues is anxiously waiting for a major Philadelphia newspaper between 1922 and 1977 to find her John Robinson Hall's obituary and death date.

Access Genealogy has some databases and many links

The web site is a free genealogy resource that has some databases on their site and links, by category, to many other web sites. The link collections include:

* African American Records Our African American records section provides extensive listings of available free resources online for African American ancestral research.

* Bible Records Our Bible records section contains a listing of the available online Bible records, listed by geographical area.

* Biographies Our biography center is a great way to add genealogy notes to your family tree. While some are small sketches of citizens of various townships and county histories, others are extensive biographies of the individual.

* Cemetery Records Our US cemetery transcription listings listed by state. Browse these listings for cemetery transcriptions found across the web.

* Census Records Our census listings provide an accurate state-by-state view of all available census records online.

* Family Tree Search Search for your ancestor, or upload your own family tree!

* Free Genealogy Charts Large collection of free genealogy forms available for you to download, print, and fill out, along with an explanation how to conduct your research using each chart.

* Genealogy Books Online Extensive directory to all available history and genealogy books online. These can be anything from biography anthologies, county or local histories, to a family history.

* A Bundle of Old Letters History and life as shown through historical letters. Each day a new letter is posted which can provide you with an incredible historical view of our ancestors lives as written by them.

* Military Records Find your American war hero here. From the early Indian wars to the Second Gulf War, we'll provide you with rosters, regimental histories, honor rolls, etc.

* Native American Records We are the premier resource online for Native American Records: tribal histories, final rolls, census, and an extensive collection of online books.

* Naturalization Records Extensive listing of the available naturalization records available online.

* Surnames Investigate your surname meaning and origin. Read family history books online.

* United States Genealogy A large directory of genealogy data organized by state.

* Vital Records These pages contain information about how and where to obtain vital records for each state, and county in the United States.

* World Genealogy A directory of genealogy data organized by country.

You can enter a surname or a person's name in the search box and the site. I entered "smith" and had over 13,000 hits in the online databases. I entered "seaver" and had 93 hits. It appears that they add databases on a regular basis.

There are links to commercial web sites (Ancestry and Footnote were noted) for some information.

I had high hopes for the Beginner's Guide at, but the lniks for the tutorial pages don't work - it looks like they link to the Rootsweb Guide to Tracing Family Trees at There are also some charts available for odwnloading.

This is a useful web site, especially if you are just starting on a surname search (well, maybe not for Smith or Johnson...). You can find many links to records and data.

NEHGR Table of Contents - October 2007

The Table of Contents for the New England Historical and Genealogical Register for October 2007 (Volume 161, Number 4, Whole Number 644) includes:

* "Editorial" - page 243.

* "Notes on the Family of George Grave of Hartford, Connecticut" by Eben W. Graves - page 245

* "Ancestry of Bennet Eliot of Nazeing, Essex, Father of Seven Great Migration Immigrants to Massachusetts," by William Wyman Fiske ( continued from 161:198) - page 250

* "The London Apprenticeship of Edward Rainsford of Boston, Massachusetts," by Leslie Mahler - page 260

* "Samuel Owen of Springfield and Brookfield, Massachusetts, and Three Descendants Named Samuel Owen" by Nancy Clague - page 261

* Joan (_____) (Wylley) Pilston of Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire by William Wyman Fiske - page 280

* "Updates to 'Peter Pattee of Haverhill, Massachusetts'" by Marie Lollo Scalisi and Virginia M. Ryan - page 282

* "Genealogist John Farmer Discovers His Ancestry: The Warwickshire Family of Edward Farmer, Isabel (Farmer) (Wyman) (Blood) Green, and Thomas Pollard, of Billerica, Massachusetts" by Nathaniel Lane Taylor (continued from 161:222) - page 289

* "Additions and Corrections" - page 300

* Reviews of Books and CD-ROMs - page 302

* Index of Subjects in Volume 161 - page 305

* Index of Persons in Volume 161 - page 308.

The web site for the Register is at If you are an NEHGS member, you can download PDF versions of the four issues for 2007.

I am a member of NEHGS and enjoy the publications immensely - they each serve as wonderful examples of the best in genealogy research. Since I have significant New England ancestry, the databases on the NEHGS site are highly valued by me.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Genea-Musings Stats for 2007

I thought my readers would be interested to know how Genea-Musings is "doing" with regard to readership and page views.

The first graph (above) is a day-by-day look at returning visitors (orange), unique visitors (blue) and page views (green) as counted by, which has specific criteria. As you can see, only during early May did I have much over 400 page views or over 200 unique visitors on any day, and that was after there was a link on both Leland Meitzler's blog and Dick Eastman's blog - I think this was during the "Genealogy is Bunk" controversy. I had one very big day, several good days, and about 360 average days. Terry Thornton would call the early May data a "blogalanche."

The second graph (above) is a month-by-month summary created by The total numbers are somewhat different from the Statcounter numbers - one of them counts Blogger hits and the other doesn't, I think. They both seem to collect newsreader hits since I see them in the individual records when I review them.

As you can see, my visits and page views are somewhat constant since May 2007. I average about 200 visitors and 300 page views each day. This is nowhere near what some of the other bloggers average, but that's OK - my readers seem to be very discerning!

If there are other free "counter" programs, please tell me about them. I haven't looked recently. I would love to be able to see how many readers each post generates, and do more analysis, but I only have these two free counting services at this time.

There are also about 100 readers who subscribe to get email via

I thank each and every one of my readers for their support, encouragement, and especially their comments. I'm trying to balance genealogy-related news, commentary, entertainment, research and stories in this blog.

The Elusive Russell Smith - Post 1

Working on the assumption that the obituaries for Ranslow Smith's (1805-????) purported brothers, Lyman (1812-1889) and George Smith (1807-1876), are correct, the parents of these three (and perhaps more?) persons was Russell and Esther (--?--) Smith.


* Russell Smith must have been born before at least 1785 and perhaps as early as 1760.

* The 1880 census for Lyman Smith in Dodge County WI says that his father was born in CT and his mother in RI (this is, of course, about 100 years after the fact!).

* The Bible record for Ranslow Smith (in my possession) says he was born in Henderson, Jefferson County, NY. Was he?

Searching for a Russell Smith in the census records reveals:

* 1800 US Census

** Western, Oneida County NY: Russel Smith males 1-0-0-1-0. females 0-0-1-0-0 (other Smiths in Western: Caleb, Benjamin, James, Philip, David, John and Arnold)

* 1810 US Census

** Fabius, Onondaga County NY: Russel Smith - males 2-1-0-1-0, females 3-0-0-1-0

** Hadley, Saratoga County, NY: Russel Smith - males 1-0-0-1-0, females 0-0-1-0-0
** Mamakating, Sullivan County, NY: Russell Smith - males 0-0-0-1-0, females 2-0-0-1-0
** Hartford, Washington county, NY: Russel Smith - males 0-0-0-1-0, females 0-0-0-1-0

* 1820 US Census:

** Genoa, Cayuga County, NY: Russel Smith - males 4-0-0-0-1-0, females 1-1-0-1-0
** Austerlitz, Columbia County, NY: Russle Smith - males 0-0-0-0-1-0, females 2-0-1-0-0
** Fabius, Onondaga County, NY: Russell Smith - males, 2-1-0-2-0-1, females 2-1-1-1-0
** Henrietta, Ontario County, NY: Russell Smith - males 1-1-0-0-1-0, females 2-0-1-0-0
** Troy, Renssalaer County, NY: Russell Smith - males 1-0-0-1-1-0, females 1-3-2-2-0
** Greenfield, Saratoga County, NY: Russell Smith - males 3-2-1-1-1-0, females 1-0-1-1-0
** Hartford, Washington County, NY: Russel Smith - males 0-0-0-2-0-1, females 2-0-0-0-1

* "Our County and Its' People" Chapter 37, The Town of Lee [Oneida county, NY}:

** Page 461: "...David Smith and his sons, David and Russell, came to the Mohawk country, near Delta, described by a writer of that time as 'away up the Mohawk country beyond Fort Stanwix, inhabited only by bears, wolves and Indians.' David Smith, Jr. built a saw mill there soon after, which he subsequently sold to Judge Prosper Rudd..."

* "A History of Jefferson County in the State of New York ..." by Franklin Benjamin Hough, pub. 1854:

** Page 72: In a list of early settlers in Adams township, the following are found:

*** 29 Oct 1799: Solomon Smith, David Smith,
*** 14 Nov 1799: John W. Smith
*** 1800: Russell Smith

** Page 73: "...A tract of 500 acres, where Adams village now is, was taken up by David Smith [Footnote: Mr. Smith died March 18, 1844, age 73], who in 1800, built and got in operation a saw mill, and the same season witnessed the arrival of numerous settlers, mostly from Oneida County..."


That's all I've been able to find in the 1790 to 1820 time frame for Russell Smith in searches of, Google (including Books), and the USGenWeb sites for Jefferson County and Oneida County in New York.

Based on the Hough book, it appears that a Russell Smith was in Adams township, Jefferson County NY in 1800, along with a David Smith. Are these the brothers David and Russell Smith from Oneida County in the Oneida history book, and the 1800 census records for Oneida County NY? Possibly.

The first record for my Ranslow Smith is in the 1830 census for Henderson in Jefferson County NY. Henderson township is the township just to the west of Adams township.

Are any of the Russell Smith families in the 1810 and 1820 census records in NY the same Russell Smith who was in Oneida County in the 1800 census? If there are three brothers that are sons of Russell Smith, then his family would have had at least two males under age 10 in the 1810 census and at least 1 males under age 10 and 2 males aged 10-16 in the 1820 census. The only Russell Smith that I see in the 1820 census that fits that criteria is the one in Greenfield, Saratoga County, NY. While the one in 1810 in Fabius, Onondaga County in 1810 also qualifies, he is still in Fabius in 1820 with only 1 son aged 10 to 16. It is possible that this is the correct Russell smith family and the three sons went up to Jefferson county NY sometime after 1820 to settle, perhaps with an uncle or cousin. All of that is very thin evidence to stake a proof on! It is also possible that Russell and his family were enumerated among other Smith families in Jefferson County NY in 1810 and 1820.

In a future post, I will define the Smith families in Adams and Henderson townships in Jefferson County, NY in the 1800 to 1840 census records.

Unfortunately, finding only two mentions of the name Russell Smith in or near places that my Ranslow Smith lived is very disheartening - I need to look for land and probate records for Smith's to see if Russell Smith put roots down in Adams township. The search, and analysis, is complicated by the Smith surname ... it is difficult to connect families with so many given names and so few pieces of information about each.

I realize that this post may be very boring - and probably skipped - by many readers, but writing this down makes it easier for me to figure out what I've done and what I need to do next.

If anyone has suggestions for further research, I am open to them! Please! Please! Please! Russell Smith appears to be a real elusive ancestor!

Genealogy Software Reviews

I hope to upgrade my genealogy software on my Windows computer system sometime during 2008. I currently have and use FamilyTreeMaker 16, but I want improved charting and publishing capabilities.

I went looking for comparison charts of features, ease of use, and publishing capabilities. I found several, including:

1) Genealogy Software Review, Top Ten Reviews for 2008.

2) Kimberly Powell's Genealogy Software Reviews & Roundup 2007.

3) Louis Kessler's Genealogy Software Links - the most complete list!

4) ConsumerSearch Genealogy Software Reviews - lists of reviews.

The Top Ten Review of Genealogy Software rates the top 10 Windows programs as (prices as shown, ratings based on feature set, ease of use, reporting and publishing, and help/documentation on scale of 4 high, 0 low):

1) Legacy Deluxe 6 ($29.95) - 4.0 rating (out of 4.0)
2) FamilyTreeMaker 2008 ($29.95) - 4.0 rating
3) RootsMagic 3 ($29.95) - 3.5 rating
4) Ancestral Quest 12 ($29.95) - 3.5 rating
5) The Master Genealogist 6.12 Gold ($59.00) - 3.0 rating

6) Family Historian 3.1.2 ($76.00) - 3.0 rating
7) DoroTree 2.1 ($59.00) - 3.0 rating
8) Genbox Family Tree 3.7 ($29.95) - 2.5 rating
9) Cumberland Family Tree 3.14 ($39.00) - 2.0 rating
10) Win-Family 7 ($29.95) - 2.0 rating

There are extensive comparison charts for

* Data Entry and Sourcing
* Management Tools
* Views
* Reports and Charts
* Online Integration, Printing & Publishing
* Help and Support
* Supported Configurations

There are also extensive reviews for each software program found by clicking the software program name.

I also know that The Master Genealogist has just released Version 7 (see announcement here) and that Legacy 7 will be released soon (see discussion here).

Obviously, this list does not include the online genealogy software that stores and displays family trees - like the Ancestry Member Trees, MyHeritage, WeRelate, Geni, FamilyLink, Famillion, TNG, PhpGedView, and several others.

The comparisons noted above are interesting and useful to me. I really need to test drive some of these, and have downloaded the trial versions of Legacy and RootsMagic to do that evaluation.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

My Greatest Genealogy Find Ever

Craig Manson has a great post about his "Greatest Genealogy Find Ever" which talks about finding records for the mother of his Aunt Grace. In his post, Craig challenges others to describe their greatest genealogy find.

I want to describe two genealogy "finds" that have immensely benefited my research efforts.

1) The family papers collected over four generations about the Devier and Abigail (Vaux) Smith and Henry Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer families. These were passed down to me by my mother pretty much as they were left by Della in 1944. They include the family Bible pages for several families (with the only known records of birth, marriage and death dates); several letters to and from Abbie and Della from their extended family (one listed all of Della's cousins); Della's Journal for 1929; my grandfather's daily account books; Della's scrapbook and autograph book; many family photographs - framed, loose and pasted into books. My research would be very scanty on this family without all of this material.

2) The father of Isaac Buck (1757-1846) - I described some of this research in two posts titled "Isaac Buck in the Woodpile - Part I" and "Part II." I found the article in "Southborough MA Notifications," stating that Isaac and Ruth Buck had moved into the house of Joseph Richards in Southborough, just by chance - browsing at the library. Then I worked really hard to find the land record that proved that Isaac and Ruth (Graves) Buck had a son named Isaac Buck. I didn't prove that the son Isaac was the father of Isaac Buck (born 1757 to Mary Richards), but that is a lot more logical than the elder Isaac Buck fathering a child by a young woman. But it did affect the genealogy - it added Ruth Graves and her rich Lynn MA ancestry to my ancestral families.

Note that both of these "greatest finds" were obtained before the advent of online genealogy research and online databases. Even now, this information would not be found online except on my blog and web site.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!!!

I wish all of my readers a Happy 2008 - may all of your current genealogy research problems be solved! And may more of your genealogy research problems be found - we are never finished, are we?.

Della's Journal - Christmas Presents

This is Installment 53 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.

Included in Della's 1929 Journal are lists of Christmas gifts given and received in 1928 and 1929. I have transcribed them below:


Gifts Given - 1928:

* We gave Etta rubber apron, table cloth (for her to work the corners), F[orrest]: telephone pad,
* We gave Rose Red & white apron, children doll bed & book.

Gifts Received - 1928:

* Lyle's gave us front room 5 light chandelier
* Ma two p[ai]r stocking & 1.00
* Betty to Ma chair cushion.
* Betty to me box letter paper & hand bag
* Betty to Grandpa handkerchief
* Betty to us towel with her first machine stitch
* Betty to us box of candy, Ed box of candy too
* Frank Morrill to A[ustin] two blue handk[erchiefs]
* Frank Morrill to me nice towel & cards
* Frank Morrill to Ma nice towel & cards
* Me from Mrs. Stearns Chicago handkerchief
* A[ustin] from Mrs. Stearns of Chicago handkerchief
* from Ed to me rubber apron
* from Pinkhams to us lemons to A[ustin] to me clothespin bag, to Ma darning bag.
* from Etta handkerchiefs 2 & box flowers
* from Etta to Ma handkerchiefs 2 & box of 3 hank[erchiefs]
* from Rose Kimball roasted hen & dressing & gravie.
* Mrs. Matajaka fruit cake
* Mrs. Auble nut cake, New Years.

Gifts Given - 1929:

* Betty's picture with poinsettias to 1. Gilbert girls, 2. Mrs. Putnam, 3. Miss Thoren, & her house also two of house 4. Mary Dyar, 5. Aunt L[ibbie Crouch], 6. Will's [this is William Crouch, son of Sam and Libbie Crouch], 7. Charlie Woodward, 8. Florence Elliott, 9. Mrs. Easterbrook, 10. Ella Stanton, 11. Mrs. Trusher, 12. Putnam.
* We gave Sun boy & Union boy [Sun and Union are newspapers] box candy each, Roberts & Jack.
* Made Rose apron, fancy coushion, gave the children each a book & box of candy to each also Earnest & Clinton, Geo. & Rose together.
* Candy to Miss Thoren, & Betty picture also one of her house on Fern St.
* I gave away some canned fruit. Mrs. Schmidt & woman in Ma's house.
* Gave Jessie candy, nuts, fruit, pr. silk stockings to Hazel.

Gifts received 1929:

* They [Pinkham's] gave Ma handkerchiefs
* Me towel from Hazel she worked
* Jessie gave me rubber apron
* Present given me Mr. Smith at Rockwell Field a silk scarf.
* Etta gave me lunch cloth & 4 napkins & laundry bag.


I doubt that these lists are complete, since the 1929 lists don't consider Lyle's family, and none of the lists discuss what Della, Austin and Abbey gave each other. The lists are interesting - lots of handkerchiefs, eh? They apparently sent Betty's picture to a number of friends and relatives.

There are some clues for the extended family here - I don't know where Charlie Woodward lives, but he is still alive. Mrs. Stearns, Mrs. Easterbrook, the Gilbert girls, and Ella Stanton are mysteries to me still.

Next week I'll do the Christmas card lists.

Genea-Musings in 2007

I listed my nominations of posts for "Best of Genea-Musings" for 2007, but there were a lot more highlights (at least for me!) in the 990 notes posted in 2007. Included on my highlight list are:

1. Serials

* The Adventures of Benjamin Franklin Seaver - 10 posts - historical newspaper articles about one mariner in the early 1800's - see here and here.

* Della's Journal - 52 posts - a week-by-week transcription of my great-grandmother's 1929 daily journal. The last week is here.

* The Search for Cornelia Bresee - the index for my online search is here, and a plan for traditional research is here. The last post is here.

* The Best of the Genea-Blogs - a regular Sunday post since August highlighting my favorite articles for each week. Last week's is here.

* Christmas Advent Memories - 24 posts with Christmas memories submitted to the Christmas Advent Calendar Carnival.

Genealogy News Commentary

* Ancestry cuts off the FHC - the announcement, personal subscriptions, and Ancestry in the FHL and 13 FHCs.

* The "Genealogy is Bunk" article and reaction - "Genealogy is NOT Bunk"

* The Internet Biographical Collection on Ancestry - the problem, further discussion, the legal quandary. Craig Manson did an excellent series on the legal issues.

* FamilyTreeMaker 2008 problems - Beta testing here and here, first release, more comments and Webinar.

* Acquisition of The Generations Network - questions and analysis here.

Genealogy Research Notes

* The futile search for Robert Leroy Thompson's family in the census records - the brick wall summary here, and the census summary here.

* Success finding living people - summary here.

* The Cornelia Bresee search noted above.

* Probate records for several Rhode Island ancestors.

* The William Hutchi(n)son search results - here, here and here.

* Monthly CVGS Research and Computer Group notes - too many to link to.

Testing Web Sites and Databases

* -- a summary, and a test.

* -- the concept, acquisitions, the search with results.

* AncestryPress -- first look, second look and webinar.

* - summary here.

* FamilySearch Record Search -- pilot experiences, list of databases.

I think I'll end there ... one of my reasons for making this list is so that I can FIND links to my body of work.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Genealogy Goals for 2008

For 2008, I decided I shouldn't call them "resolutions" because they really aren't "a decision to do something, or to behave in a certain manner." These are really GOALS to work towards, especially in my own genealogy research.

1. Pursue original source material for my brick wall ancestors - especially Thomas J. NEWTON (ME), William KNAPP (Dutchess County NY), Russell SMITH (RI?), Hannah SMITH (Brookline NH), etc.

2. Obtain more probate records, land records and town meeting records for my ancestors of Alma Bessie RICHMOND (and finish Rhode Island if possible!).

3. Add family history information to my genealogy databases as I obtain it from traditional and online resources, with adequate source notes.

4. Complete editing my Seaver surname database in order to make the notes and sourcing consistent.

5. Complete my term as President of Chula Vista Genealogical Society (CVGS) with energy, vision, wisdom and patience.

6. Create at least three new presentations and deliver them to CVGS and other Southern California societies.

7. Take at least one genealogy research trip this year to visit ancestral homes, nearby repositories and distant cousins.

8. Enjoy at least one genealogy cruise this year with my wife (she likes the idea!).

9. Attend at least one major genealogy conference this year.

10. Post quality research articles and notes on Genea-Musings that help other researchers, including my society members, pursue their genealogy and family history.

11. Help family, friends and colleagues pursue their genealogy research as requested.

12. Stay abreast of developments in the genealogy world and pass information to my colleagues and readers.

That's probably enough! I hesitate to get more specific on some of them because I just don't know what the future holds with my family.

I will make one "resolution" - I resolve to spend more time pursuing these goals than doing frivolous reading or research.

Best of the Genea-blogs - December 23-29, 2007

Here are my picks for great reads from the genealogy blogs for this past week. My criteria are pretty simple - I pick 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!).

* "Trying Again Pays Off Again: Updating The 'French Negroes of Illinois'" and "Important Genealogical Tip: Try, Try Again" by Craig Manson on the Geneablogie blog. Craig hits a double jackpot finding information about two family lines by revisiting web sites and searching using name variations. Wise man!

* "An Olmsted Rediscovered: Adventures in Online Genealogy Blogging" by Tim Abbott on the Walking the Berkshires blog. Tim was contacted by a student doing cemetery research and reaps the reward of posting information on his blog.

* "The Discontinuation of 'Along These Lines...'" by George G. Morgan on the George G. Morgan "Along These Lines..." Blog. George says goodbye to his blogging adventure as he moves on to other endeavors. I will miss George's weekly columns because he always had interesting and helpful things to say.

* "Resources for Irish Genealogical Research from a Beginner's Perspective" by Miriam Midkiff on the Ancestories: Stories of My Ancestors blog. Miriam is almost ready to research her Irish relatives, and provides an excellent list to start with. I don't have any Irish ancestry, but am occasionally asked about it, so this will provide a good reference point.

* "Four Major Don'ts of Family Research" by Summer Owens on the Genealogy, Family History and Temple Work blog. Summer has good advice here about pursuing research - they are all true and should be remembered.

* "Famous DNA Review, Part III - Niall of the Nine Hostages" by Blaine Bettinger on The Genetic Genealogist blog. Blaine posts an excellent summary of the situation with this Famous DNA. Check out his other two Famous DNA articles also.

* "The treat ..." by G. on the how to survive suburban life blog. This is the second Chestnut story she's written - I always feel like I'm there by her side when she writes posts like these.

* "A More Powerful Way to Search" by Kendall Hulet on the Blog. Kendall responds to Ancestry user complaints about the Basic Search options, and demonstrates using the Advanced Search box, which allows you to specify exact or inexact names, dates and places. This is a powerful tool.

* "Researcher's Virtual Toolbox Updated" by Denise Olson on the Family Matters blog. Denise added a few tools to her researcher's toolbox and shares them with us - a good list.

* "Smart Matching 2.0 Released!" by Gilad Japhet on the MyHeritage Blog. Gilad describes and demonstrates this excellent research tool that is free on the MyHeritage site.

That's my list of the best from this past week - what did I miss? Tell me and I'll add it to my list if I like it too.