Saturday, January 12, 2008

SDGS Seminar with Arlene Eakle

The San Diego Genealogical Society 62nd Annual Seminar and Luncheon was today at the Handlery Hotel and Resort in Mission Valley in San Diego. There were about 160 in attendance. This program was very informative and helpful to anyone doing genealogy research.

Arlene H. Eakle was the Seminar presenter, and she had four talks:

* "The Appalachian Triangle" - SW Virginia, including West Virginia, NW North Carolina, NE Tennessee and SE Kentucky - tracing an ancestor through the Appalachian Triangle is the most difficult American lineage of all to prove.

* "How to Find Birth, Marriage, Death Records Before 1900" - a review of how to obtain records from public offices, and how to find vital records in non-public office records, such as in newspapers, Americana, Bibles, pedigree and family group sheet files, mortality schedules, military pension records, etc. She had a list of useful web sites, both fee and free.

* "Evaluating Genealogical Evidence" - Accuracy for your genealogy records is a direct result of how you record and organize your genealogy data. She introduced her unique system, the jurisdictional approach, which guarantees a 96% success rate in tracing hard-to-find ancestors.

* "Tracing Women: A Fresh Look" - Tracing women successfully requires an examination of the activities in their daily lives - work, skills, duties, contacts, responsibilities, etc. Most historical treatments overlook or ignore the role of women in history. Arlene covered women's historical study resources, and gave examples form her own research.

Arlene passed out 24 pages of handouts, and there were several more free pages on the sales table. Although she didn't say it explicitly, one of her major messages is that in order to solve difficult ancestral research problems, you need to visit the localities involved and research in town, county and state repositories. The Internet speeds up the "survey" part of research with online books, census, military, immigration and other records, but there is so much more not yet on the Internet.

Needless to say, Arlene is a remarkable genealogy speaker and researcher. You can read about her research trips, publications and business endeavors on her blog site at and her web site at She sold many books and reports at this seminar!

The lunch was good (green salad, pork roast, mashed potatoes, veggies, cheesecake), and the table conversation was great. There was a mix of experience at our table, and it was amazing to find three sets of people at our table with an interest in the same counties. Ann and I talked extensively about Jefferson County, NY while Mary and Penny discussed eastern Alabama research.

The society installed its new officers today. Congratulations to Marna Clemmons for her election to President, succeeding Peter Steelquist who has served six years. SDGS has been in good hands during Peter's service, and I'm confident that Marna will continue SDGS's excellence in programs, administration and education. Peter received a nice desk set for his service.

There were many opportunity drawing prizes today, and once again I didn't win a darn thing. The big prize was a two-day stay at a Salt Lake City hotel. That would have been nice!

The conference room is not a wonderful venue. There were 170 seats jammed together in rows of 10, with a center aisle, a table with the overhead projector and a stand-up screen in the front. I much prefer to see visuals than hear the speaker talk. Arlene had some visuals to show her points, but not many, and they were difficult to read for many in the audience.

I struggle to stay awake in the afternoons. I was full, the doors were closed, the room got warm, and I found myself drowsing and jerking awake. I hope I didn't snore or snort - the lady in front of me looked at me funny once. I'm afraid I missed some of the afternoon lectures.

All in all, it was a fun, informative and interesting day for each of us. Arlene Eakle was great, the food was great and the company was wonderful. Thank you to Peter, Marna, Gloria and the others who made this event happen so that the San Diego genealogy community could enjoy the day.

UPDATED 8:30 PM: Added some text and edited some.

Family Tree Magazine TOC - March 2008

The March 2008 issue of Family Tree Magazine (Volume 9, Issue 2) came this week in the mail. Here is the Table of Contents:


* Battle of the Bulge, by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, page 16 (Get organized now! These five easy family history filing systems will help you keep your pedigree paperwork under control)

* Moving Targets, by David A. Fryxell, page 22 (With our guide to US migration routes - including a handy clip-and-save map - you'll stay hot on the trail of ancestors on the move)

* What's Your Type? by Lisa A. Alzo, page 30 (Are you a weekend warrior or passive pedigree searcher? Take this quiz to find your inner genealogist - and learn what your results mean to your research)

* Genetic Counseling, by Fern Glazer, page 46 (Forget the advanced biology lesson. Our DNA Q&A explains how you can, and can't, use genetic genealogy to solve your family history mysteries)

* Irish Blessings, by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, page 60 (No need to rely on luck to trace your Irish roots: Our research guide will lead you to your genealogical pot of gold)

* Get 'Em Talking, by Sunny McClellan Morton, page 58 (Every family has its share of tight-lipped relatives. Try these five tactics to glean oral history from reluctant interviewees)


* Out on a Limb, by Allison Stacy, page 5 (Making an impact)

* Making connections, page 6 (Readers respond to Family Tree magazine)

* Branching Out, by Diane Haddad, page 8 (What's new in discovering genealogy and celebrating your family history)

* History Matters, by David A. Fryxell, page 12 (Looking through the lens of history)

* State Research Guides, page 37 (Pullout guides for Colorado and Kentucky)

* Everything's Relative, page 64 (Tales from the lighter side of family history)

* Now What?, page 66 (Our experts answer your questions about Rough Riders, elusive e-mailers and Polish places)

* Photo Detective, by Maureen A. Taylor, page 70 (Which caption is correct?)

* Preserving Memories, by Grace Dobush, page 72 (Get the dish on saving fine china)

* The Toolkit, by Allison Stacy, page 74 (Reviews and roundups of Family Tree Maker 2008, best genealogy web directories, digital photo conversion tips, computer file formats glossary, and the Book Report)

* Uprooted, by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, page 80 (Test your genealogy IQ on Henry John Heinz's family tree).

Family Tree Magazine announced that they have the complete set of 2006 and 2007 back issues on CDROM, fully searchable, bookmarked for easy navigation, and hotlinked to the featured web sites.

The article on the US migration routes was the highlight of this issue for me - the map is great, and the text briefly describes each migration path. It is an excellent summary.

The article about file organization and paper pile reduction doesn't help me - it would take months to re-organize, at the expense of everything else. My piles are so high and my files so disorganized that I'm going to leave them for my heirs to sort out.

The Genetic Counseling article is a Q&A format, with typical questions about DNA testing and its application to genealogy research, answered by several recognized experts in the field. There is also a box that defines the different types of DNA testing.

The Irish article has a great 1921 map of the counties, a nice timeline of Irish history, a toolkit of Irish research web sites, repositories and books/CDs, and an excellent roadmap to searching for records of Irish ancestors.

Check the Family Tree Magazine web site at for web special articles, all of the links from the most recent issue. The present link is to the January 2008 issue, not to the March 2008 issue.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Articles on Information, Sources, Evidence and Proof

I've been reading and printing out articles from the Ancestry Learning Center dealing with Information, Sources, Evidence and Proof. The Learning Center has been revamped - and now I cannot "capture" the articles by doing a [File] [Save As] and putting them into a directory on my computer.

Here are some of the articles I've printed out so far for my reading pleasure (usually during baseball games or TV shows):

* "Building a Case When No Record 'Proves' a Point" by Elizabeth Shown Mills, 4 April 2000.

* "Corroborating or Conflicting Evidence" by Patricia Law Hatcher, 6 August 2003

* "Corroborating or Conflicting Evidence - Part 2" by Patricia Law Hatcher, 19 August 2003

* "Doing the History" by Curt B. Witcher, 3 June 2004.

* "Evaluating Evidence" by Patricia Law Hatcher, 11 June 2002.

* "Information, Evidence and Proof" by Donn Devine, 19 October 2001

* "Red Flags and Rationalization" by Patricia Law Hatcher, 28 November 2000
* "Evidence and Sources - How They Differ" by Donn Devine, 26 September 2000

* "A Template for Evaluating Evidence" by Elizabeth Shown Mills, April-June 2004.

* "Weighing the Evidence" by George G. Morgan, 12 February 1999.

* "Cold Case Genealogy" by George G. Morgan, 6 January 2006

I know there are lots more good articles, but the Search box on the Ancestry Learning Center is a problem now - it doesn't find everything! For instance, I input "elizabeth shown mills" into the search box, figuring it would give me all the articles authored by ESM, plus any others that mention her. I get three pages (less than 30 matches), most of which are Ancestry Journal or News items, book reviews and only four articles by ESM (none of which are the two on my list above). I figure there are more, because I found more doing the search for "Evidence" and "Proof" as the search term!

Ancestry needs to fix their search engine in the Learning Center in order to get consistent and complete results.

If you know of other articles on these topics, please let me know!

UPDATE 7:40 PM: I added some more articles to the list. It looks like the "new and improved" Ancestry Learning Center article "Archive" (when you click on the "Archive" link) goes back to 2004 only.

After growing frustration at not finding articles I was sure were in the Ancestry Learning Center, I found the "old" Library files at The Search Box at this site works well (724 matches for "evidence"), but the articles can not be saved to your hard drive.

General Land Office (GLO) Records

I noticed that has recently added the US General Land Office records for 1796-1907 for 13 US States (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin).

One of the two land patents for Ranslow Smith, who bought two parcels in Dodge County, Wisconsin, is shown below.

I wondered how the Ancestry collection compared to the collection of similar records on the US General Land Office web site at which is free. There are patents for 30 states at this site (the 13 above, plus Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming). In the Advanced Search box, you can search by the Legal Land Description or the Issue Date.

The same image for Ranslow Smith is below:

You have a choice of downloading a GIF, PDF or TIFF file from the GLO web site. I selected a GIF and converted it to a JPG to upload here.

On the GLO site, you can input information in the Land Description box - State, County, Section, Township, Range, etc. and see all of the patentees. Or, you could enter an Issue Date or a Document Number in the Miscellaneous box.

The image quality from the GLO web site, for this particular record, is much better than from the Ancestry site, at least when viewed as a downloaded picture on my computer. However, if you click the two pictures above, there is very little difference between them.

Have you found Land Patents for all of your ancestral families? If you don't know exactly when your ancestors moved west, these records may help you find out.

Thomas Richmond (1848-1917) and Julia White (1848-1913)

The picture below is of the family of my great-grandparents, Thomas and Julia (White) Richmond, and was taken in Clinton, Massachusetts in about 1895.

In the back row, from left to right: Edwin, Charles, Grace, Emily and Everett
In the front row: Bessie, Julia, Thomas and Annie
Seated in front: James

Thomas3 Richmond (James2 Richman/Richmond, John1 Richman), son of John Richman and Hannah Rich, was born 16 June 1848 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND, and died 09 November 1917 in Clinton, Worcester County, MA. He married Julia White 20 June 1868 in Elmville, Windham County, CT, daughter of Henry White and Amy Oatley. She was born 08 September 1848 in Killingly, Windham County, CT, and died 04 October 1913 in Putnam, Windham County, CT, (death cert).

Thomas Richmond (age 21, born England, resides Killingly CT) married Juliette White (age 20, born Killingly, resides Killingly) were married in Killingly, Connecticut on 20 June 1868 by Minister Austin Robbins (Killingly CT Births, Marriages, Deaths, 1849-1881, page 358).

In the 1870 US census, the Thomas Richmond family resided in the Second Ward of Stonington, New London County, Connecticut (FHL Microfilm 0,545,613, page 775, house #272, family #386). The household included:

* Thomas Richmond -- age 23, male, works in woolen mill, born England
* Julia Richmond -- age 21, female, keeping house, born CT
* Anna Richmond -- age 1, at home, born CT

In the 1880 U.S. census, the Thomas Richmond family resided in Killingly town, Windham County, Connecticut (National Archives Microfilm Series T9, Roll 110, Page 379A, dwelling # 26, family #42, line 26, also on FHL Microfilm 1,254,110, page 379A). The family included:

* Thomas Richmond -- white, male, age 31, married, overseer in a woolen mill, born England, father and mother born in England),
* Julia Richmond -- white, female, age 33, wife, married, keeping house, born CT, father born CT, mother born RI * Annie Richmond -- white, female, age 10, daughter, single, attended school, born RI, father born England, mother born CT
* Everett Richmond -- white, male, age 4, son, single, born CT, father born England, mother born CT
* Grace Richmond -- white, female, age 3, daughter, single, born CT, father born England, mother born CT
* Emily Richmond -- white, female, age 1, daughter, single, born CT, born CT, father born England, mother born CT

The births of Charles Percy Richmond (25 May 1880), Alma Bessie Richmond (16 February 1882), Thomas Edwin Richmond (7 December 1883) and James Henry Richmond (16 November 1885) are in the Killingly town records (Killingly CT Births, Marriages, Deaths, Volume 3, 1882-1888).

Thomas Richmond of Killingly CT became a citizen of the United States on 10 September 1890 at a Superior Court held in Putnam, Windham County before the Hon. S.A. Robinson, Judge. He stated that he came to the United States as a minor under age 18, that it was then and ever since has been his intention to become a citizen of the United States, and he renounced forever all allegiance and fidelity to every foreign Prince, Potentate, State or sovereignty whatever. He also stated that he had resided in the United States for at least five years, and at least one year in the State of Connecticut, and that during this period he has behaved as a man of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same. He declared under oath that he would support the Constitution of the United States and that he absolutely and entirely renounced and abjured all allegiance and fidelity to any Foreign Prince, Potentate, State or Sovereignty whatever, and particularly to Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, of whom he was before a subject. (Superior Court Records of Windham County, Volume 5, page 72).

While the family resided in Killingly, Thomas Richmond was the choir director at St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Putnam. There is a memorial plaque in the church for his excellent work there.

In the 1900 US census, the Thomas Richmond family resided at 42 Summer Street in Leominster, Worcester County, Massachusetts. The head of household was indexed as "Thomas Richemond." The family included (National Archives Microfilm Series T623, Roll 692, page 225, ED 1644, Sheet 4B, dwelling #63, family #88, Line 61):

* Thomas Richmond -- head, white, male, born Jun 1848, age 51, married, for 31 years, born England, parents born England, immigrated in 1856, a resident of the US for 44 years, a naturalized citizen, an overseer of a woolen mill, rents a house
* Juliette Richmond -- wife, white, female, born Sep 1848, age 51, married, for 31 years, 9 children born, 1 living (obviously an error), born CT, parents born RI * Grace Richmond -- daughter, white, female, born Aug 1876, age 23, single, born CT, father born England, mother born CT, a shirt maker
* Emily W. Richmond -- daughter, white, female, born Jan 1879, age 21, single, born CT, father born England, mother born CT
* Charles E. Richmond -- son, white, male, born May 1880, age 20, single, born CT, father born England, mother born CT, a painter
* Alma B. Richmond -- daughter, white, female, born Feb 1882, age 18, single, born CT, father born England, mother born CT, housework
* Edwin T. Richmond -- son, white, male, born Dec 1883, age 16, single, born CT, father born England, mother born CT, a laundryman
* James H. Richmond -- son, white, male, born Nov 1886, age 13, born CT, father born England, mother born CT, at school

In the 1910 US census, the family resided in Killingly, Windham County, Connecticut. The family included (National Archives Microfilm Series T624, Roll 143, ED 514, Sheet 16B, page 165, dwelling #335, family #392):

* Thomas Richmond -- head of household, male, white, age 61, first marriage, married 41 years, born England, parents born England, immigrated in 1856, naturalized, a carder, in a woolen mill, out of work for 26 weeks
* Juliette Richmond -- wife, female, white, age 62, first marriage, married 41 years, born CT, parents born RI

Julia (White) Richmond died 4 October 1913 in Putnam, Connecticut (undated newspaper clipping, probably about 9 October 1913, published in the Putnam, Connecticut area), and her obituary reads:

"Mrs. Juliett (White) Richmond died Wednesday morning at her home No. 6 Church Street, Putnam, aged 66 years after an illness of more than a year.

"She was born here and was daughter of Henry A. and Amy (Oatley) White. Her early years were spent here. In 1868 she married to Thomas Richmond, since which time they have resided in Elmville, Putnam and other places. For the past three years, Mr. Richmond has been an overseer in the Putnam Woolen company's mill.

"Mrs. Richmond is survived by her husband, three sons and four daughters: Everett of Putnam, Mrs. Annie Pickford and James Richmond of Clinton, Mass., Mrs. Grace Shaw, Edward Richmond, and Mrs. Bessie Seaver of Leominster, Mass., and Mrs. Emily Taylor of San Diego, Cal. There are also nearly twenty grandchildren. Henry White of Danielson is a brother of the deceased and Mrs. William Buck of Oxford, Mass. and Mrs. Emily Bastow of this place are surviving sisters.

"Mrs. Richmond had always retained many old acquaintances and friends here, by whom she was highly esteemed, and who will greatly miss her occasional visits, which served to keep alive the ties of former years.

"The funeral was in Putnam Saturday and was attended by relatives from this place."

Another newspaper clipping reads:

"The Women's Auxiliary (of St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Putnam CT) will meet with Mrs. George L. Padgett, 87 Fremont street, Thursday afternoon, April 16.

"On Easter morning was used for the first time the lecture Bible, given in memory of Juliett (White) Richmond, late wife of Thomas Richmond, Lay Chairman of the Executive Committee. The book is according to the American Revised Version, the most accurate translation ever made into any language, and recently authorized for use in the Church. It is bound in full leather, purple in color, with the inscription in gilt on the front cover. Mrs. Richmond was a faithful communicant of St. Philip's, constant in attendance at services, and active in the work of the church."

Thomas Richmond died 9 November 1917 in Clinton, Massachusetts, at the home of his daughter, Annie (Richmond) Pickford. His obituary (dated November 17, 1917, unknown newspaper, obtained from family papers) reads:

"Thomas Richmond, one of the best known woolen carders in New England, died in Clinton, Mass., on Friday, November 9, at the home of his son-in-law, Walter Pickford, the well-known secretary of the National Association of Woolen and Worsted Overseers. Mr. Richmond was born in England in 1848 and came to this country with his parents at the age of eight. He began his mill career in some Connecticut mill and by the time he had reached his majority he had already become an overseer, holding his first position with the Westerly (R.I.) Woolen Co., long since out of business. During a long and busy life the recognized ability of Mr. Richmond obtained for him some of the best positions in the country. Besides being overseer of carding in Westerly, R.I., Mr. Richmond was in the early days of his mill career employed with old time mills in Salisbury and Elmville, conn.

"He had been ill since last April from pernicious anaemia, and last August went to live with his son-in-law, Walter Pickford. Although the best medical service was employed, it was without avail. Mr. Richmond was well and favorably known in the textile industry. His passing away will be a distinct shock and loss to the overseers of New England, among whom he passed his busy and practical life. He was of a very affable disposition and his spirit of good will maintained even during his last days illness buoyed him up to the last.

"He leaves one son and four daughters, one of whom is the wife of Walter Pickford, head of the Alliance Chemical Company in Boston. Mr. Richmond had been a member of the National Association of woolen and Worsted Overseers for many years. Funeral services were held at St. Phillip's Episcopal Church, Putnam, Conn., and interment was in Grove Cemetery, same city. He held his last position with the Putnam (Conn.) Woolen Co."

Thomas Richmond died intestate in Clinton, Worcester County, Massachusetts. His probate records are in Worcester County Probate Records, Enclosure 65,803B (reviewed at Worcester County Court House in Worcester M, Massachusetts). Administration of the estate was filed on 18 April 1918 and was granted to son Edwin T. Richmond on 7 May 1918 by the Court. Edwin T. Richmond, George S. Boynton and James C. Smith, all of Leominster, were bondsmen, with a bond of $700 posted on 16 April 1918. The heirs-at-law were listed as:

* Annie F. Pickford, Clinton, Mass., daughter
* Emilie W. Taylor, San Diego, Cal., daughter
* Grace L. Shaw, Fitchburg, Mass., daughter
* Bessie A. Seaver, Leominster, Mass., daughter
* Edwin T. Richmond, Leominster, Mass., son.

An inventory of the estate of Thomas Richmond was appraised on 18 June 1918. There was no real estate listed. The personal property included:

* Deposit, Putnam Savings Bank (Putnam CT) ........ $ 208.31
* Deposit, Brooklyn Savings Bank (Danielson CT) ... $ 122.90
* Deposit, Fitchburg Savings Bank (Fitchburg MA) ...$ 53.06
* Piano ................................................................... $ 100.00
* Household furniture ............................................. $ 25.00
TOTAL ................................................................... $ 509.27

Thomas and Julia (White) Richmond are buried in Grove Street Cemetery, in Putnam, Windham County, Connecticut.

Children of Thomas Richmond and Julia White are:

i. Anne Frances4 Richmond, born 13 July 1869 in Westerly, Washington County, RI; died 06 July 1939 in Clinton, Worcester County, MA. She married Walter Pickford Bef. 1890 in prob. Putnam, Windham County, CT; born August 1864 in ENGLAND; died 02 July 1918 in Clinton, Worcester County, MA.
ii. Frederic J. Richmond, born 1870 in Westerly, Washington County, RI; died 1875 in Killingly, Windham County, CT.
iii. Everett Glens Richmond, born 24 July 1875 in Killingly, Windham County, CT; died 04 January 1917 in Putnam, Windham County, CT. He married Ethel Pierce 07 December 1896 in Leominster, Worcester County, MA (VR).
iv. Grace L. Richmond, born 1876 in Killingly, Windham County, CT; died 1963 in Leominster, Worcester County, MA (buried). She married Alfred Shaw About 1907 in Leominster, Worcester County, MA; born 1884 in ENGLAND; died 1919 in Leominster, Worcester County, MA (buried).
v. Emily White Richmond, born 06 January 1879 in Killingly, Windham County, CT; died 23 July 1966 in San Diego, San Diego County, CA. She married George Russell Taylor 10 April 1901 in Leominster, Worcester, MA (MA VR 514.302); born 06 September 1865 in Stamford, CT; died 12 September 1945 in San Diego, San Diego, CA.
vi. Charles Percival Richmond, born 25 May 1880 in Killingly, Windham County, CT (VR); died 29 April 1910 in Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara County, CA. He married Jessie Brown About 1908 in prob. Santa Barbara County, CA; born 13 August 1882 in CT; died 27 October 1947 in Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA.
vii. Alma Bessie Richmond, born 16 February 1882 in Killingly, Windham County, CT (VR); died 29 June 1962 in Leominster, Worcester County, MA (VR). She married Frederick Walton Seaver 21 June 1900 in Leominster, Worcester County, MA (VR); born 09 October 1876 in Leominster, Worcester County, MA (MA VR 279.311); died 13 March 1942 in Lawrence, Essex County, MA (VR).
viii. Edwin Thomas Richmond, born 07 December 1883 in Killingly, Windham County, CT (VR); died 23 April 1935 in Leominster, Worcester County, MA. He married Alice B. Corey 11 June 1905 in Danielson, Windham County, CT (in MA VR 564:354); born 07 October 1884 in Leominster, Worcester County, MA; died 07 January 1979 in Leominster, Worcester County, MA.
ix. James Henry Richmond, born 16 November 1885 in Killingly, Windham County, CT (VR); died 1913 in Clinton, Worcester County, MA. He married Ethel Judson 30 November 1911 in Danielson, Windham County, CT.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Elusive Russell Smith - Post 4

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 Dwight Smith (1807-1889) and George Smith (1812-1876). The family history information from Old World Wisconsin, derived from obituaries for Lyman and George Smith, says that Russell Smith was born in Rhode Island, settled in Oneida County NY, and then settled in Jefferson County, New York in about 1800.

In Post 2, I summarized the sparse evidence from Jefferson County, New York for Russell Smith residing in that county, where the three purported sons first settled and started their families. The only information I found about Russell Smith in Jefferson County was a mention in a history book of an 1800 residence in or near Adams town, as recounted in Post 1.

In Post 3, I questioned if the Russell Smith mentioned in one history book of Jefferson County NY was the same Russell Smith mentioned in one history book of Oneida County NY, and if these were the same Russell Smith who was the purported father of Ranslow Smith. I evaluated all of the sparse evidence gathered to date, and decided that they might be the same person, and therefore it is worthwhile to work toward gathering more evidence, especially in Oneida County NY where the three sons were supposedly born.

To work toward that goal, I went to the Family History Center today and ordered three microfilms for Oneida County NY - Will Abstracts, Deed Grantors and Deed Grantees for the earliest years. My research will be on hold until the microfilms come in and I can review them.

I mentioned the other early families that settled near David Smith in Delta, Western and Lee in Oneida County - the Wheelock, Salisbury and Sheldon families. In the Jefferson County NY records I have, I found that the David Smith who settled in Adams town married two Salisbury sisters, and that three Salisbury males settled in Ellisburgh, just southwest of Adams. I didn't find Sheldons or Wheelocks, though.

I checked the WorldConnect database on Rootsweb, and found that the Salisbury family that was in Oneida and Jefferson Counties migrated from Glocester in Providence County, RI. By chance, I happen to have the Glocester RI probate records (Volumes 1 and 2, up to 1798) on microfilm in my drawer at the FHC. I checked for all of the Smith entries on that microfilm, and I don't see a David Smith. I did copy the probate record for my ancestor, Elizabeth Smith, however {BG}. Not satisfied with my reading (since I had to read it page by page and might have missed something in the handwriting), I found Volumes 6 and 7 of the Rhode Island Genealogical Register (RIGR) on the shelf at the FHC - and these volumes include the Glocester RI will abstracts (note that it is not all of the probate records, just will abstracts). I checked all of them, and found that I did a good job of reading page by page.

The FHC does not have all of the RIGR volumes with the will abstracts from many more Rhode Island towns, so I'll have to put that on my to-do list for my next visit to Carlsbad Library (maybe sooner than I thought!). David Smith may have resided in another town near Glocester, or he may have migrated to Glocester and been born in, say, southeastern Massachusetts. There were Smith's everywhere!

The next Russell Smith post will be in several weeks, since I have to wait for the microfilms to arrive at the FHC. I might start in on "Elusive David Smith" posts since he looks to be just as elusive, or more so, than Russell!

I just realized that I did not check the LDS Family History Library Catalog to see if there is a Dodge County (WI) Citizen newspaper for the 1845-1890 time period. I emailed a library in Dodge County last week asking for lookups, but I haven't heard a peep from them. Maybe they're snowed in...or off to Green Bay to watch the Packer game.

Another loose end is Esther --?--, born in Connecticut, who married Russell Smith. One of her sons is Lyman Dwight Smith according to his obituary - might Esther's maiden name be Dwight? It's worth checking in the WorldConnect and other databases, and in the Oneida County NY census records.

I should post my findings to date on some message boards just in case someone else has run up against my brick wall before and has done some of the research in land and probate records that I'm planning on doing.

One reader asked via email "Why do you post your ongoing research like this? Won't you be embarrassed if you can't solve the puzzle, or if someone else has solved it but you haven't found it yet?" My answer is simple - a) Writing it out this way helps me organize my thoughts; b) Writing it out may stimulate someone else to take a crack at it or offer help; and c) Writing it out may help some other researcher solve a similar problem in these localities. I'm not a good enough researcher to drive right to the solution, so I have to muddle through the way I'm doing it. I'm not embarrassed by failure or by lack of success...I just try harder and accept things as they come - even lack of success. Lack of success can always be used as a bad example in a genealogy presentation! But if I'm successful, I get to do a genealogy happy dance... and then I will try to find the earlier generations. And use the experience as a good example in a presentation or article.

One of the neat side effects of starting research in a new locality is that you need to learn the history of that place. I don't know the history, geography, settlement patterns, etc. of every county in the Northeast, but I'm gradually adding new ones to my list! Oneida County NY looks like a really neat place with lots of interesting history, especially in the late 1700's. When David Smith settled in Delta, this was the frontier - there were miles of hills, forests and streams between there and Lake Erie.

If any reader has any great ideas on where else to search for Ranslow, Russell or David Smith, please let me know in Comments or by email to rjseaver(at) Thanks!!

Kissing Cousins?

Roots Television has a video by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak that investigates if the man she married, Brian Smolenyak, was her cousin. Megan's father, George Smolenyak, also appears on the video. Megan introduced this on her blog in the post "Did I Marry My Cousin?" You'll have to watch the video to find out the answer.

The research done to answer the question is impressive and extensive, and well worth viewing the 17 minute video to marvel at the methods and the analytical results.

Megan mentioned "kissing cousin" jokes, which intrigued me a bit. I went looking on Google and Yahoo and found - no actual jokes, just lines from movies or TV shows, or articles talking about kissing cousins. In recent years, there were lots of references about John Kerry and George W. Bush, and Barack Obama and Dick Cheney, not being kissing cousins. The most famous movie is Elvis Presley starring in dual roles, as a soldier and as a hillbilly in the 1964 movie Kissin'Cousins.

The Wiktionary definition of "kissing cousins" is "A relatively distant relative who is familiar enough to be greeted with a kiss. "

I have several "kissing cousins" that fit the definition above. Before 1966, the only cousin I had ever met was my cousin Diana, who came to visit us with her grandparents in 1959 when she was 12 (I was 15 at the time, and very shy). Needless to say, we weren't kissing cousins then...but we are now.

In 1966, I went to Massachusetts for a convention and stayed with my Aunt Gerry in Newton and we journeyed west to Leominster and I finally got to meet my Uncle Ed and his family, including his daughter Joanie. Immediately, everybody there goaded us into a hug and a kiss (a peck on the cheek as I recall), which embarrassed me no end (now being 22 and still very shy). Joanie came to live with my parents for a while in San Diego, and over the years we got to know each other pretty well and have turned into kissing cousins - the last time was on the beach in Maui in August.

I have other kissing cousins - the 5 female cousins in my generation and the 8 in the next generation - the kids of my generation (like Diana), with whom I've become close. We always have a wonderful time together laughing, sharing and doing things together. We know that we share not only ancestry and heritage, but we share a love and appreciation for our elders, their hard work and success.

And then there are all the women that I hug and kiss even if I don't know if they are related to me - my daughter's in-law families, long-time friends, church members, etc. I consider them kissing cousins too, since we are all part of a very large family of human beings.

Heard any kissing cousins jokes? If so, please tell me. Tell us about your favorite kissing cousin, or family experience with kissing cousins.

And watch Megan's video to get insight on having DNA testing done. It's very well done, nicely sentimental, and fun to watch. I even feel like Megan is my cousin since I've seen her on RootsTV so often!

Dear Cousin - I think we're related!

One of the most satisfying, and often challenging, connections we genealogy researchers experience is contacting living people, or being contacted by them. I cannot count the number of email contacts I've had with distant cousins who have found my blog, my web page, my online databases, my message board or mailing list droppings, (um, notes, posts?). I get several emails each week (especially since I put my databases on the Ancestry Member Trees) and I try to respond to them.

The very best genealogy sharing experience I've had was in the early 1990's on the Prodigy bulletin board system. Using my 0.3kbs modem I could log onto Prodigy and share information with people on hundreds of surname threads and quite a few locality threads. Most of them were in Massachusetts, and I soon found a thriving community that welcomed me (because I shared as well as requested) and made me feel welcome. I obtained so much information in the two years the community thrived - and then Prodigy raised their rates and cut the access time, and everybody left for cheaper pastures. Our little group of 20 or so researchers circulated a "round robin" collection of paper for about two years before that died out. I met several of these people on trips to Massachusetts in 1994 and 1995. My funniest genealogy experience came from this group - the Cemetery video that I described in "A Cure for Insomnia".

The most helpful, rewarding and enduring connection so far has been a 10 year conversation and association with Sara (an American) and Hanna (a Brit) with whom I share a fine Vaux ancestry ("Ma" in Della's Journal is Abigail Vaux (1844-1931), the wife of Devier Smith, and Dell (Smith) Carringer's mother). Sara and Hanna found me in 1997 after I had dropped a note on the ROOTS-L mailing list (which I cannot find in the Archives now) asking for more information about Samuel Vaux and his wife Mary Ann Underhill of Aurora NY, Burnett WI and Platte MO.

After some time, I heard from both Sara and Hanna and quickly found out that they had a book in the works on the Vaux family - Sara had worked on the American families and Hanna on the English families in Somerset. I quickly jumped in finding American Vaux families in the census records for 1850 to 1920 using the AIS indexes and Soundexes for those census years (this was 1999-2002, before all of the census Indexes were online). My data was quickly incorporated into the manuscript and helped extend many American families into the 20th century. Sara and Hanna have not published their book yet, but they have put some of it online at (it requires a password). Hanna had a Vaux database and shared it with me, and I added my census data to it. She has posted the updated database on the Rootsweb WorldConnect databases.

Sara's son lived in San Diego for several years, and Sara and her husband came to town in 1990 to visit, and we got together. Her son lived just up the hill from my mother's house on Point Loma. We took some pictures and still exchange emails and Christmas letters/cards. Hanna and I exchange emails and Christmas letters - she lives in London and works for the UK government and travels a lot. I almost met her in 2002 when I had a business trip to England scheduled, but my trip was canceled. I hope to get together with her the next time we visit London.

Sharing information with other researchers is the quickest way to finding "new" ancestors and cousins. Every researcher should be posting messages on message boards, mailing lists, web pages, etc. in order to find distant cousins who may have much more information that they do.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Della's Journal - Christmas Cards Received

This is Installment 54 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 cards received in 1928, 1929 and 1930. I have transcribed them below:


Cards received (symbols used for 1929 and 1930):

* Aunt Libbie [Crouch in Long Beach] - [1928, 1930]
* Myrtle & Ben [Milbank of Long Beach] - [1928, 1930]
* Will Crouches [of Long Beach] - [1928]
* Clyde & Agness - [1928, 1929, 1930]
* Phila & Geo[rge] - [1928, 1929, 1930]

* Mr. & Mrs. Robinson - [1928, 1929]
* Mrs. Easterbrook - [1928, 1929]
* Mrs. Geo[rge] Nolan - [1928]
* Elta & Frank - [1928, 1929]
* Forrest & Katie - [1928]

* Mr. & Mrs. Frear, L.G. [Lemon Grove?] - [1928]
* Lilly Barton - [1928, 1929]
* Georgie Munger Potter - [1928, 1930]
* Mrs. Morland - [1928]
* Callie White - [1928]

* Mrs. Benson - [1928, 1929]
* Mrs. Jacobs - [1928, 1929, 1930]
* Mrs. Jones & Setchel - [1928, 1929, 1930]
* Louie Doctor - [1928, 1929, 1930]
* Miss Sorenson - [1928, 1929, 1930]

* Mrs. Baxter - [1928, 1929]
* Fannie Munger - [1928]
* Ella Stanton - [1928, 1929, 1930]
* Susie Morgan - [1928, 1929, 1930]
* Geo[rge] & Sarah - [1928, 1929, 1930]

* Florence Ahlstrom - [1928, 1929, 1930]
* Geo[rge] Kimballs [1928, 1929]
* Frank Munger [1928, 1929, 1930]
* Henry Bowers [1928, 1930]
* Frank Morrill [1928]

* Sorrenson [1929]
* A[ustin]'s foot Dr [1929]
* Mrs. Tresher [1930]
* Marg Vaux [1929, 1930]
* E. G. Lupton [1929, 1930]

* Mrs. Sample [1930]
* Benjamans [1929, 1930]
* Mrs. Lane [1929, 1930]
* Putman [1929]
* Florence Branaman [1929, 1930]

* Dallas Stubbs [1930]
* E.M. Schmidt [1929]
* (Eva Stanton) Mr. & Mrs J. Loyal Potts [1930]

There are so many people on this list that are not mentioned in the daily Journal. My guess is that many of them are neighbors or acquaintances in San Diego.

I will post the Christmas cards sent in the next installment.

What do you want genealogy software to do for you?

Mark Tucker on the ThinkGenealogy blog posted this question last night in his "What Do You Wish Genealogy Software Did?"

Almost all genealogists and family historians use one form of genealogy database software or another, and most of them serve the simple purpose of showing names, dates, places, and relationships with facts, research notes, source citations, charts, reports, books, web site creation, etc. The most recent programs include maps, timelines, and web search capabilities. I posted "Genealogy Roftware Reviews" here last week.

As I've stated before, I currently use FamilyTreeMaker 16. I am frustrated by "small" things that happen in FTM 16. The list I put on Mark's blog in a comment include:

1) Do everything FamilyTreeMaker 16 does and lots more.
2) Create an ahnentafel list (just ancestors names, dates, places, no children, in a list) - FTM 16 doesn’t do this.
3) Create Time Lines with important events for user-selected people in the database - FTM 16 doesn't do this.
4) Create Word Processor editable pages with field codes embedded for a name index and TOC - FTM 16 doesn't do this (it creates it in PDF format).

Unfortunately, I have found that I am not a visionary. My strengths are researching, testing, analysis and discussion, not trying to figure out the next nifty geewhiz gimcrackery (I'm not calling anything currently used on genealogy software as 'gimcrackery,' I just wanted to use the word on my blog to get more hits! I could have used 'gewgaw' too). When the nifty features in software appear, I appreciate them, figure them out and use them.

What Mark is doing is called "Listening to the Voice of the Customer (VOC)." It is a vital part of marketing any new product. A company that does this well usually produces a superior product out of the box. A company that continues to listen to the VOC and continues to continually improve their product will have a very successful product. Naturally, I don't know if Mark or his company is creating a new product...

I encourage all of my readers to think about what they would like to have in their genealogy software that isn't in their present software or isn't done well in their present software. Then go to Mark's post and add to the list - add your Voice to the din that might create a new product. If nothing else, Mark can always pass it to the next software company trying to create The Mother of all Genealogy Databases.

"We're Related" on

The WorldVitalRecords blog had a post yesterday about their application called We're Related. The application is described as:

"In less than three months since it was introduced, We‘re Related, a Facebook application created by Provo based, has become the #1 social application for families, out of more than 11,000 applications, with more than 2 million users.

"We‘re Related allows people to create and share their family tree, connect with members of their living families, and find relatives on Facebook. Since October, nearly 700,000 family trees have been built or uploaded and thousands of photos and family documents are being uploaded to individual Ancestor Pages."

I've tried several genealogy "social network" sites and have been unimpressed by the "family tree" aspects of them - they just don't seem useful to me yet. I decided to try this particular one today.

You have to register at After registration, you can Search for the "We're Related" application and add the application to your Facebook list of applications.

In We're Related, you can then upload your GEDCOM file. My first try failed because I signed up for Facebook as "Randy Seaver" while my GEDCOM has "Randall Seaver" for my name. They give you that hint before you try the GEDCOM upload, but somebody didn't read it! Alas, after about two minutes, the 20,000 person GEDCOM upload timed out on me - twice. No reason was given. I had this happen to me when I tried FamilyLink also.

As with all social networks, you can invite friends and relatives to create a Facebook account and contribute to the family tree (assuming you can upload one). You are limited to 20 relatives a day by Facebook. I haven't tried that yet.

There are also several genealogy groups on Facebook - each group has a message board and members can upload pictures, videos or files for sharing. I will try to browse this as time permits.

I'm disappointed that my GEDCOM didn't upload and have no clue as to how to find out why. I sent a message to the We're Related Help Desk (the Help button on the page is at the lower right hand corner) and expect an email reply.

Has anyone else joined Facebook, been successful with We're Related, or had a problem uploading their GEDCOM?

UPDATE 7:45 PM: I had a response to my Help desk query. They said:

"Right now the app still has a hard time uploading very large GedComs. This has to do with response time between our servers and Facebook's servers. If our servers are working to upload anything (such as a GedCom) and Facebook's servers do not get a response within a set and rather short amount of time, then the whole thing will time-out and you'll get an error page. We are working on this and trying to make the communication go faster so that Facebook's servers don't give up on us. If you would like, you can email the GedCom to me and I will have one of our developers upload it for you."

This was from the We're Related side - I appreciate the quick response and explicit information. I could make another GEDCOM I guess with more limited information and see if it will upload say 2,000 names instead of 20,000 names. But the whole purpose of the test is to see what happens with any size file so that others can know that their database will upload also. In other words, I go through all of the pain so you don't have to.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Elusive Russell Smith - Post 3

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, derived from obituaries for Lyman and George Smith, says that Russell Smith was born in Rhode Island, settled in Oneida County NY, and then settled in Jefferson County, New York in about 1800.

In Post 2, I summarized the sparse evidence from Jefferson County, New York for Russell Smith residing in that county, where the three purported sons first settled and started their families. The only information I found about Russell Smith in Jefferson County was a mention in a history book of an 1800 residence in or near Adams township, as recounted in Post 1.

The basic question I have is - is the Russell Smith, son of David Smith of Lee town in Oneida County NY, the same Russell Smith who settled in Jefferson County NY for some period of time?

Looking carefully at the "Gazetteer and Business Directory of Oneida County, New York for 1869, published in 1869, page 96 says in the Lee town description "... The first settlement was commenced at Delta in 1790, by two brothers, Stephen and Reuben Shelton. At that time, there was no house between them and Fort Stanwix. Other early settlers in this vicinity were David Smith, Daniel Spinning, Stephen and Nicholas Salisbury..."

In the book "Our County and Its People" about Oneida County NY in the Lee town section, there is this on 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, wovles and Indians.' David Smith Jr. built a saw mill there soon after ..."

On page 462, there is this tantalizing bit of information: "...The Sheldons, Smiths, Wheelocks and Salisburys emigrated from the state of Rhode Island..." The sons of Edward Salisbury named on this page are Nicholas, Edward S., Enon, Alexander, Lodowick, De Estaing and Smith Salisbury.

In the 1810 US Census for Jefferson County NY, there are 37 Smith households in the county, including David Smith in Adams township (also Asa, Chauncey, Ezekiel, Isaac, Isaac, John and Solomon Smith). There are three Salisbury households in Ellisburgh (just southwest of Adams) - Edward, De Estaing and Viol (looks like Nial or Nick to me) Salisbury. Coincidence? There were no Wheelock or Sheldon households in the southern part of Jefferson County.

The David Smith Jr. who lived in Oneida County erected a saw mill in 1791/2, and the David Smith who settled in Adams in Jefferson County also erected a saw mill. Coincidence? This David Smith died in 1844, aged 73 (so born in 1771).

My working hypothesis is that Russell Smith, the father of Ranslow Smith) and David Smith Jr. of Oneida and Jefferson Counties, are brothers born in Rhode Island, and are the sons of David Smith also born in Rhode Island in a place where there were Wheelock, Sheldon and Salisbury families.

I am still a long way from proving any relationship of Russell Smith with any of the Smith's in either Oneida or Jefferson Counties, but so far I have no conflicting evidence. My big problem is that I have very little corroborating evidence! The Jefferson County books mention that Oneida County was one of the places where large numbers of Jefferson County settlers migrated from - it was in the same area of New York and up the road only 40 or 50 miles.

I need to do more research in Oneida County - perhaps there is a will or deed by the elder David Smith that names some or all of his children. I should also look for wills or deeds of other people that might identify a Russell Smith that married their daughter. There are more rocks to turn over, I think.

Taking this study the next step, I now know that the Smith, Sheldon, Salisbury and Wheelock families probably came from Rhode Island. My hope is that I can identify a town in Rhode Island from whence they came, and thereby find town records that will identify Smith family members and relationships in that place.

I'm also thinking about Russell's wife, Esther, whose maiden name I don't know. I'm willing to bet that her maiden name is that of one of the early settlers of Delta and Western (including Lee, formed in 1811) in Oneida County - perhaps Wheelock, Sheldon, Salisbury, Elmer, Rudd, Spinning, Crittenden, etc.

If anybody has good ideas for further research, I would appreciate knowing them!

Frank Walton Seaver (1852-1922) and Hattie Louise Hildreth (1857-1920)

One set of my great-grandparents were Frank and Hattie (Hildreth) Seaver who resided in Leominster, Massachusetts for many years. I don't have a clear picture of Frank Seaver. The only picture I have of Frank Seaver is this group photograph in front of the house at 149 Lancaster Street, taken in about 1907.

The photograph includes Sophia (Newton) Hildreth (seated) the widow of Edward Hildreth; Frank (second male from left standing) and Hattie (Hildreth) Seaver (seated on left); Frederick and Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver (third and fourth standing from the left); Harry Seaver (standing on left); and the three children of Fred and Bessie Seaver - Marion, Evelyn and Stanley (standing in front on the left).

I do have a good picture of Hattie (Hildreth) Seaver in her later years, as shown below, obtained from Marion (Seaver) (Braithwaite) Hemphill, one of Hattie's granddaughters. Hattie had red hair, which has been passed to several females in later generations.

Frank Walton9 Seaver (Isaac8, Benjamin7, Benjamin6, Norman5, Robert4, Joseph3, Shubael2, Robert1) was born 06 June 1852 in Medfield, Norfolk County, MA (MA VR 64.198), and died 27 November 1922 in Leominster, Worcester County, MA (VR). He married Hattie Louise Hildreth 14 December 1874 in Keene, Cheshire County, NH (VR), daughter of Edward Hildreth and Sophia Newton. She was born 28 November 1857 in Northborough, Worcester County, MA (MA VR 107.232), and died 29 November 1920 in Leominster, Worcester County, MA (VR).

In the 1880 U.S. Census, the Frank W. Seaver family resided in Leominster, Worcester County, Massachusetts (National Archives Microfilm Series T9, Roll 565, Page 525, dwelling # 354, family #436, line 15). The family included

* Frank W. Seaver -- white, male, age 27, married, works in a comb shop, born MA, parents born MA/MA
* Hattie S. Seaver -- white, female, age 22, wife, married, keeping house, born MA, parents born MA/MA
* Frederick W. Seaver -- white, male, age 3, son, single, born MA, parents born MA/MA.

In the 1900 U.S. Census, the Frank Seaver family resided at 149 Lancaster Street in Leominster, Worcester County, Massachusetts. The Seaver family was renting the house (1900 U.S. Census for Massachusetts, National Archives Microfilm Series T623, Roll 692, Page 264, Enumeration District 1645, sheet 16, line 44). The family included

* Frank W. Seaver -- head of household, white, male, born June 1852, age 47, married 26 years, born MA, parents born MA, a teamster, rents home
* Hattie L. Seaver -- wife, white, female, born Nov 1856, age 43, married 26 years, mother of 3 children, 2 living, born MA, father born MA, mother born VT
* Fred W. Seaver -- son, white, male, born February 1876, age 24, single, born MA, parents born PA a painter of combs
* Harry C. Seaver -- son, white, male, born March 1885, age 15, single, born MA, parents born MA, a painter of combs
* Sophia Hildreth -- mother-in-law, white, female, born September 1835, age 64, widow, mother of 1 child, 1 living, born MA, father born ME, mother born MA

In the 1910 U.S. census, the Frank W. Seaver family resided at 146 Lancaster Street in Leominster, Worcester County, Massachusetts (1910 US Census for Massachusetts, National Archives Microfilm Series T624, Roll 629, Page 100, Enumeration District 1772, Sheet 13B, dwelling #149, family #257, line 96). The family included

* Sophia Hildreth -- head of household, female, white, age 73, widow, mother of 2 children, 1 living, born VT, father and mother born MA, speaks English, no occupation, can read and write, owns the home, free of mortgage
* Frank W. Seaver -- son-in-law, male, white, age 57, married once, 35 years, born MA, father and mother born MA, speaks English, foreman, works in horn supply, a worker, reads and writes
* Hattie L. Seaver -- daughter, female, white, age 52, married once, 35 years, mother of 3 children, 2 living, born MA, father born MA, mother born VT, speaks English, can read and write
* Harry C. Seaver -- son, male, white, age 25, single, born MA, father and mother born MA, speaks English, laborer, works in comb shop, a worker, can read and write

In the 1920 U.S. census, the Frank Seaver family resided at 149 Lancaster Street in Leominster, Worcester County, Massachusetts (1920 US Census for Massachusetts, National Archives Microfilm Series T625, Roll 747, Page 116, Supervisor District 3, Enumeration District 102, Sheet 5B, dwelling #68, family #132, line 7). The family included

* Frank W. Seaver -- head of household, male, white, age 66, married, born MA, father born MA, mother born MA, an assistant superintendent at a horn shop, a salaried worker, owns home free of mortgage, able to read, write, and speak English
* Hattie L. Seaver -- wife, female, white, age 62, married, born MA, father born MA, mother born VT, no occupation, able to read, write and speak English
* Harry C. Seaver -- son, male, white, age 34, single, born MA, father born MA, mother born MA, a button turner in a button shop, a wage worker, able to read, write and speak English
* Sophia Hildreth -- mother-in-law, female, white, age 82, widow, born VT, father born MA, mother born MA, retired, able to read, write and speak English
Family stories about Frank Seaver include that he was a dapper, handsome man, and had black curly hair and brown eyes, and looked like his mother, Lucretia Smith. He was about 5'10" tall. He was jolly and full of fun, but liked to drink beer, and smoked a pipe. They had a large home at 149 Lancaster St in Leominster with a wonderful garden, fruit trees, a barn in which they used to keep a horse and buggy, and raised bantam chickens. Frank was a manager of the Leominster Horned Goods Company, and died of a stroke at age 70 while at his work.

Frank W. Seaver died intestate, and his probate records are in Worcester County Probate Records, Probate Packet B-81,100 (viewed at Worcester County Court House, in Worcester, Massachusetts). The petition for administration was filed by J. Ward Healey on 6 September 1923. The heirs were listed as son Frederick W. Seaver and son Harry C. Seaver, both of Leominster, who assented to the petition. A $2,000 bond was posted by J. Ward Healey, Frederick W. Seaver and Harry C. Seaver. An inventory was taken 10 September 1923 by the administrator, finding a personal estate of $321.15 and real property valued at $1,200. The property was a one third interest as tenant in common in a two family dwelling house, farm and 10,890 square feet of land, all at 149 Lancaster Street in Leominster, MA, free from Mortgage.

The estate of Frank's mother-in-law, Sophia (Newton) Hildreth was probated before the probate of Frank Seaver. The estate of Frank's wife, Hattie (Hildreth) Seaver, was probated after Frank's estate was probated.

Frank Seaver died of a stroke, and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Leominster with his wife.

Hattie L. Seaver died intestate before her mother and her husband, and her estate was probated simultaneously with that of her husband (Worcester County Probate Records, Probate Packet B-81,101, reviewed at Worcester County Court House, Worcester, Massachusetts). J. Ward Healey petitioned the court to be named administrator of her estate on 6 September 1923. The heirs included husband Frank W. Seaver (who has since died), son Frederick W. Seaver and son Harry C. Seaver, both of Leominster.

An inventory was taken by J. Ward Healey on 10 September 1923 and found $33.10 in personal estate and $2,825 in real estate. The latter was the two family dwelling house at 149 Lancaster Street in Leominster, including a barn and 10,890 square feet of land. Bond of $4,000 was posted on 7 September 1923 by J. Ward Healey, Frederick W. Seaver and Frank C. Seaver.

The real estate was sold on 31 October 1923 for $6,000. The land is described as "land owned by the heirs of Edward Hildreth, Leominster, Mass." by Wm. P. Ray, C.E. It was on the southwesterly side of Lancaster Street, containing 19,317 square feet of land.

The final account of the estate of Hattie L. Seaver was submitted by J. Ward Healey on 10 December 1923, and approved by the court on 8 September 1924. The estate of $6,546.99 was distributed:

* To Harry C. Seaver, $2,700 in cash as his partial distributive share, including a $1,600 payment to Merchants National Bank which was borrowed by him.

* To Frederick W. Seaver, $2,700 in cash as his partial distributive share.

* The furniture was divided by Harry C. and Frederick W. Seaver.

$150 To the City of Leominster for perpetual care of the cemetery lots of Edward Hildreth and Frank W. Seaver.

$55 to Leominster Granite and Marble Works for gravestones, and $294 to Chas. H. Richardson, undertakers.

The balance went to the administrator for taxes, repairs on the house, insurance, and probate costs.

Hattie (Hildreth) Seaver died of stomach cancer, and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Leominster, Massachusetts with her husband.

Children of Frank Seaver and Hattie Hildreth are:
i. Frederick Walton10 Seaver, born 09 October 1876 in Leominster, Worcester County, MA (MA VR 279.311); died 13 March 1942 in Lawrence, Essex County, MA (VR). He married Alma Bessie Richmond 21 June 1900 in Leominster, Worcester County, MA (VR); born 16 February 1882 in Killingly, Windham County, CT (VR); died 29 June 1962 in Leominster, Worcester County, MA (VR).

ii. Harry Clifton Seaver, born 31 March 1885 in Leominster, Worcester County, MA (MA VR 360.330); died 22 May 1951 in Leominster, Worcester County, MA (VR). He married Rose Anna Noel About 1940 in prob. Leominster, Worcester County, MA; born 15 April 1897 in Nashua, Hillsborough County, NH; died 24 April 1948 in Leominster, Worcester County, MA (VR).

iii. Howard Edward Seaver, born 08 August 1893 in Leominster, Worcester County, MA (VR); died 10 April 1900 in Leominster, Worcester County, MA (VR).

The only descendants of Frank and Hattie (Hildreth) Seaver are through their son, Frederick Walton Seaver.

Definition of a ________ Genealogist

There has been a fascinating discussion on the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) mailing list trying to define the different types of genealogists. Dee Dee King's first post was here and the discussion has raged over several days and nearly 100 posts as the APG list members (which includes many professionals, speakers, writers, and researchers) struggle to define, and then wordsmith, what and who they are.

Carolyn Earle Billingsley grabbed the ball early on and created the first "boilerplate" list of genealogist definitions. The definitions have coalesced and Carolyn's most recent post is here (dated 7 January) with the latest updated definitions. This has been an excellent exercise in consensus decision making that has included over 20 people. The discussion has been civil, rational, enlightening and at times humorous.

The latest definitions include:

** A genealogist is one who studies the past and present of individual families and the kinship links among those families. Practitioners of genealogy may focus entirely on their own family, or they may pursue genealogy as either a profession or a scholarly field.

** A professional genealogist is one who earns part or all of their livelihood from the practice of some aspect of genealogy.

** A board-certified genealogist is one who has earned the credential Certified Genealogist (CG) from the Board for Certification of Genealogists through a rigorous examination that includes peer review of his or her written work. The credential designates the practitioner as someone who has met the rigorous standards of that field for knowledge and competence in core knowledge of source materials, record interpretation, research methodology, evidence analysis,and genealogical writing. (see also Certified Genealogist)

** A forensic genealogist is one qualified through a combination of education, training and work experience to be employed or retained by attorneys, law offices, estates, courts, corporations, governmental agencies or other entities to perform genealogical work in legal issues as an independent third-party researcher, analyst, reporter and witness.

** A genetic genealogist is someone who uses DNA analysis and genealogical research to enhance knowledge about kinship ties.

There are several other definitions still in work.

There has been extensive discussion about "amateur" vs. "professional," about what "forensic genealogists" do, and about "genetic genealogists" do.

Why does it matter? The fact is that those in the profession of genealogy research need to act like and be treated like professionals in other disciplines - they need to be educated, be unbiased, be thorough, be honest and truthful, and be respected. Some professions are licensed to practice after extensive education, training, experience and examination - doctors, nurses, lawyers, etc. Other professions require levels of education, training and experience and are treated as experts in their field - professors, teachers, engineers, software, plumbers, etc. without being examined or licensed. Genealogists need standards to be treated as professionals in their discipline.

I want to thank the APG list members for this discussion and their efforts to further the genealogy profession and avocation.

What am I? I am a genealogist - it's the only one that fits my perception of my skills and status. I also consider myself a family historian, but that seems to be included within the genealogist definition. I am not a professional genealogist because I don't derive any of my income from my genealogy work, although I have been paid a bit for my work by societies, friends and colleagues to cover expenses. I have considered pursuing certification by the Board for Certification of Genealogists, but haven't started the application process. I have also considered joining the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), but haven't done that either. Anyone can join APG as long as they will sign the Code of Ethics and pay the membership fee ($65 per year for USA residents).

Do you agree with these definitions? If not, I urge you to join in the discussion on the APG list.

UPDATED 12 January, 8 AM: Carolyn Earle Billingsley has updated the list of definitions - you can see the latest update (dated 10 January) here.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Winter in San Diego - Memories

Miriam Midkiff on her Ancestories 2: Stories of Me for My Descendants blog has added a new prompt - WINTER. I promised myself that I would write about all of her prompts so that my memories would be available for my progeny to read until time immemorial. My hardy and hearty readers will read it before them! So here goes:

1) What has been your attitude toward winter? Is it "the weather outside is frightful" or "let it snow, let it snow, let it snow"?

It has always been "We need the rain, I hope it comes during the night" and "Will it ever snow again in San Diego? Maybe this year!" and "On a clear day, you can see forever." Besides, it's football playoff season followed by baseball spring training.

2) What are or were your favorite outdoor winter activities? Some ideas to jog your memory include sledding, skiing, skating, snowshoeing, snowball fights, or making snowmen. Where did you go to do these activities? Did you ever have an accident participating in any of the more active sports?

On warm winter days, we would sometimes go to the beach, make sand castles, watch the waves, hunt for neat shells and watch the birds skitter across the wet sand. On cold and clear winter days, we kids would go for a brisk walk ... to the neighbor, to the park or maybe to the zoo. On rainy days, we kids would stay inside and work with our stamp and coin collections, and play with our electric train.

Sledding? Skiing? Skating? Snowball fights? Making snowmen? Those don't compute for a San Diego kid - never done them in San Diego. Several times when I was a youth, the church group took us to the mountains for play in the snow - sliding on trash can lids or cardboard and snowball fights. Fun. Wet. Cold.

3) What are or were your favorite indoor winter activities? Did you play board games or cards, listen to the radio or watch TV, do puzzles or needlework, read books and magazines, or write letters, journals, or stories?

As a kid, we played lots of board games and card games, and did puzzles. There was no radio or TV programs worth dealing with - I know I read a lot of books.

4) What do you remember about winter clothing in your childhood? Do you have any stories to tell about long johns, snow suits or snow pants, a favorite or unfavorite pair of boots? Did you wear a pair of mittens with a string connecting them around your neck?

Well, in San Diego we usually wore long pants in the winter and a light jacket over our shirt on most days. When it rained, we sometimes wore a poncho and a rain hat. My wife bought me long johns early in our marriage and I don't think I've worn them yet. I do keep gloves and a stocking cap in my trench coat which is wadded up in the trunk of my car. I haven't worn it for several years.

5) Did anyone ever make you hats, scarves, mittens or sweaters to wear? Were they knitted or crocheted?

Nobody made us anything - it was all store bought. We had mittens and sweaters and stocking caps, but no scarves.

6) What were your favorite winter foods or drinks? Some ideas include soups, stews, casseroles, hot chocolate, tea, or hot buttered rum.

I love soup, stew, casseroles and hot chocolate. Those are winter foods? I don't drink coffee or tea or hot liquor drinks. I love macaroni and cheese, steak, ice cream and chocolate.

7) How about the cold? Did you ever get frostbite? Did you ever take a dare and stick your tongue on something metal? Was your bedroom cold at night in the winter? How did you stay warm at night...with an electric blanket, a bedwarming pan, or hot potatoes at the foot of your bed under the covers?

I've never come close to frostbite, except on the cruise ship in College Fjord in Alaska in August, which probably doesn't count as winter. It was 35 F, with a stiff wind and a fine mist. My forehead (no cap) had a layer of frost.

Why would I stick my tongue on something metal? Probably has germs...

My folks left the wall heater on low overnight when it was cold, and we have always had central heating in our houses. No electric blanket, or warming pan (huh?), or hot potatoes (huh?). Just socks and another blanket.

8) What big storms or hard winters do you have memories or stories of?

I posted a whole blog about Snow in San Diego here. That's what I remember!

9) If you lived in areas that get little to no snow during the winter, what are or were your winters like? Windy and rainy? Warm or hot? Did you wish for snow, or were you glad you didn't get any? If it did occasionally snow, did the bad weather shut down your community? Do you remember the first time you saw snow? What did you think of it?

Yep, that's us! Little or no snow. Some or little rain. In San Diego, winter days vary greatly - rainy, cloudy without rain, partly cloudy, sunny, sometimes windy. Occasionally, we get Santa Ana winds with warm or cold temperatures - it depends how far north the high pressure area is over the Great Basin. When it is clear overnight, it can get down to freezing - once or twice each year. For instance, today the high was 60 F, last night the low was 50 F, the record high was 83 F in 2006, the record low was 28 F in 1913. We typically get an average of 10 inches of rain between October and April. Two years ago, we had 20 inches with no fires and lots of greenery. Last year it was less than 3 inches and the brush dried out and over 500 square miles of the county burned. This year we are at normal levels, which is good - too much rain and the burn areas will slide down the hills, too little and the rest of the county will burn next year.

10) Do you remember stories from your parents, grandparents, or other family members or old timers of big storms or hard winters of the past?

I do remember my father saying he never wanted to see snow again - he had shoveled too much of it in Massachusetts as a youth and young adult (he came to San Diego in the winter of 1940 and never went back). I never heard stories about storms or hard winters from my Massachusetts grandmother- I only met her once, and it was summer. My grandmother spent 12 years in Chicago, but I don't recall hearing anything from her. My grandfather was born and raised and lived his life in San Diego where we had only the occasional cold spell.

My Aunt Gerry talked about sledding down the hill in Leominster right into the middle of Central Street, but that was in the 1920's. Unfortunately, I forgot to ask weather questions of my father, uncle and aunts. Drat.

11) Do you have any photos of your ancestors outdoors in the winter, or of their homes or automobiles covered with snow? What about photos of ancestral horses and sleighs?

Nope, no photos of snow, sleighs or ancestral horses (of course, I don't have a horse in my ancestry, does anyone besides Mr. Ed?).

You will be amazed to know that the two places that I've been the coldest are Orlando, Florida and Laa Vegas, Nevada. In January 1982, I was in Orlando for an engineering convention and stayed with my Aunt Gerry for a weekend. This was the weekend that the Chargers lost 27-7 to Cincinnati in - 27 F wind chill and QB Dan Fouts got frostbite in his fingers trying to throw the rock. The temp in Orlando was 20 F and the wind was blowing. Then, in the early 90s we took Tami's travel softball team to Las Vegas for a post-Christmas tournament. We had to play in 15 F weather - the girls wore mittens under their ball gloves and wore several layers under their jerseys. Coach Randy was out there in the 3rd base coaches box in his polyester pants and team windbreaker. Cool. We won! I've been in Yosemite, Portland, Topeka and Boston in the winter when it was cold with snow in the air and on the ground, but it was always warmer than 20 F.

Now I can hear many of my readers and fellow genea-bloggers laughing out loud and saying "Boy howdy, that Randy has sure missed out on a major part of life because he didn't live where there was more than one season." And I probably have missed out on many boring days inside trying to stay warm and dry, many walks or rides to school in the cold and flakes, many snowball fights, some ice skating crashes, some sledding mishaps and the like. I've never had to drive with tire chains or snow tires.

My best memory of winter in San Diego is during a Santa Ana several years ago. It was crystal clear, and we went out to the end of Point Loma and could see 100 miles to the north and 50 miles to the east. There were snow capped mountains out there - from Mount Baldy above Ontario (we can see just the top of it due to the Earth's curvature), to Mount San Jacinto above Palm Springs, to Mounts Palomar, Cuyamaca and Laguna in San Diego County. Majestic. Awe inspiring. Breathtakingly beautiful. I will try to go take a picture from this spot the next time these conditions present themselves. From the ocean, to the city, to the mountains white with snow ... I love San Diego winters.