Saturday, February 23, 2008

Names for your grandparents

On the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) mailing list, Carolyn E. Billingsley asked "what names were used for grandparents by their grandchildren?" She got a lot of responses!

I posted my answers on the APG list, saying (order revised below):

* Nana - my mother called her maternal grandmother this (San Diego CA)
* Nana - my children and my niece called my mother this (she requested it) (San Diego CA)
* Nana - my wife and her brother called their paternal grandmother this (San Francisco CA area)
* Nana Seaver - my brothers and I called our paternal grandmother this because she lived in Massachusetts. My Massachusetts cousins called her Nana also.
* Gram - my brothers and I called my maternal grandmother this (San Diego CA)
* Gramma - my 4-year old grandson calls my wife this now (San Diego CA)
* Mamma - my 3-year old granddaughter calls my wife this, but is working on Gramma (San Diego CA)
* Oo-hoo - my wife and her brother called their maternal grandmother this (San Francisco CA). The story here is that whenever they went to visit thier grandmother, their mother would open the front door and shout "Yoo-hoo." Their grandmother would always answer "Yoo-hoo" and come quickly. The kids figured her name was "Yoo-hoo" but could say only "Oo-hoo." What a dear!

* Papa Lee and Mama Lee - my children called their maternal grandparents these names. His name was Lee Leland, so that's how it came about (San Francisco CA)
* GigiPa and GigiMa - my grandsons call their father's maternal grandparents this because they are Great-Grandparents - G-G-Pa or G-G-Ma - get it? Pretty smart, actually. Unique and accurate. They love it!

* Gramp - my brothers and I called my maternal grandfather this (San Diego CA)
* Grampa - my 4-year old grandson calls me this now (San Diego CA)
* Baba - my 3-year old granddaughter calls me this now (San Diego CA) but is working on Grampa.
* Pop-pop - my children and my niece called my father this (San Diego area) - this kind of goes with Nana, eh? The story here is that when I married Linda, my Massachusetts born father called her Linder. So Linder called him Popper and my mother Mommer (they got used to it). It was a short jump to Pop-pop for the grandkids, but my mother wanted to be called Nana.
* GrandStan - my brother's grandson calls him this (San Diego CA). His given name is Stanley. The name fits... I've resisted being called GrandRand!

What did you call your grandparents? What did your children call their grandparents? What do your grandchildren call you? Please list where they all lived too - Carolyn is trying to figure out regional trends.

Either post about it on your own blog, or add a comment here. i'll pass them on to Carolyn if we get a nice list.

UPDATED: 7:40 pm. - added GigiMa and GigiPa to thel ist after I remembered it.

Letters from home - Post 18

This is the seventeenth letter in the stack of Letters from Home to Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer, residing in the San Diego, California area after 1887. An explanation of the family members and situation is here.


Letter from Abigail (Vaux) Smith (in Glendale near Los Angeles) to grandson Lyle Carringer (in San Diego). Envelope showing Commercial House, McCook Neb., addressed to Lyle L. Carringer, cor of 28th St and Logan Ave, San Diego, Cal., care of H.A. Carringer, postmarked McCook Nebr 23 Feb 1898?, postmarked on back San Diego Cal Feb 27 1898?.

Dear Lyle,

This letter is just for you only, excuse me for not writing before because I was writeing several letters one to Amy one to Sarah Linney one to cousin Mida, and one to Mr. Sillman and wrote the puzzles down and tried some of the answers and if it had not been for my tablet I keep account of who and when I write to people I should have thought I answered you and MaMas good nice letters. I guess Grand Ma must be getting forgetful in her old age. Well if you live long enough you will know how it is, I cannot guess the conundrums or puzzles as you call them so after this send the answers right along too. That is a very good proverb at the heading of your last letter. I believe in having a good time now and all the time through life but about being a long time dead, I cannot believe that, as the Bible teaches us that we never die, and that the better purer lives we lead while our Spirits inhabit this Body the better it will be for us when our Breath leaves the Body, some think the way we will have to pay for lying, cheating and any other mean thing we do we will have to comence and live our lives all over again. I think that would be pretty bad, for instance, suppose your teacher now in School should say to you Lyle you have made such slow poor progress in your studies I shall have to put you into the first grade where you can study it all over again before you can go into the higher grades. I think you would feel pretty much discouraged

2/ so you would, let us so live that we will not look back with sorrowful hearts over our past lives and feel that we have made a failure of everything. I have a few papers Mr. Sanford gave me to read and then pass on to some one else so will send you a few if you do not have time to read them now save them for future reference, when you do have time. You will learn what it takes to make a succesful business man of yourself. I was pleased to hear you say you had saved your money instead of going to the Dog Show because it is not what it was at first now it has so much circus performances attached to it, if you remember the last time I went with you, the horses, dogs and in fact the seals did not perform nicely at all. I used to think what a wonderful thing it was just to watch those seals balance those fire balls on their nose and keep them tossing up in the air, and in fact all they did sing and shoot off a gun.

Cousin Mida's little grans son is 8 years old he has been a couple of times and he prefered a new cap this time. I thought, well they are bringing their boy up like Lyle. The little girl is 7 years old, and she is in 4th B grade I believe if I remember right. They are very nice children just like you are. Sometimes I expect they feel the lessons their Grand Ma gives them is pretty hard to have to listen to too. She lives in the same house with them the same as I do with you, only she cooks and does all of her worke separate. These Grand Mas have some old fashioned notions about the care of children. But - I can see when I go into a family where there is one the children are better behaved and smarter that is old of their age, Ma Ma and Papa can explain to you.

3/ Now I mean if you read this to them. I am glad you are getting along nicely with your music. I suppose you do not take any more lessons do you (or do you). I thought that lady told me when you were through with the 18 lessons you could learn the rest yourself.

Do you ever go down on Saturday and visit your Uncle Davie and little Mable. He would show you how he manages things when the fire bells ring. When I was there he showed me how it would be when it was finished. It all worked like clock worke. I expect he has to train his Horses every day. If you were there on Saturday some time you could see him practice with them. I would like to see them. I never saw a team even drive out of the barn yet during a fire call. I have seen them on the street. But I mean to see them take their places under their harness ... [line missing]

Horse here in Los Angeles that used to be on the Fire department for years and wherever it is when the fire bells rings it starts right off on the run and the man cannot hold it just like it was running away he has to let it go to the fire. He runs a Vegetable Waggon, ain't that funny. I would like to see it Lyle I am glad for your sake San Diego is not a big city. My Oh, your parents would not feel like letting you out of their sight even to go to school there are so many accidents. Children are never safe the streets are just jammed with people cars and every kind of loaded teames pleasure teams and wheels of all kinds. My Oh, no wonder so many people are buying outside property for homes. It is to keep their children out of the crowded city. You can go down on Spring Street and stand there and you can

4/ be an eye witness to well let me give you a specimen of what I saw. First - a policeman conducting a mother with several children acrost the street, with his club in his hand swinging it to the right and left he got them safe acrost - then he would grab an old man just in time to keep the car from running over him, and stop teams that were just ready to pass in front of a street car, and Mida and I just had to hang to each other and dodge this way and that to get acrost safe. I would not try it again that is on Spring Street where so many cars centre, it seems so nice and quiet out here in Glendale, just like out where you live Lyle. Nothing to fear, too far back from the Railroad for tramps to care to come &c. Well I get quite homesick to see you Lyle. You know you seem like my own boy, but we cannot always be together, I do not know when I will come back as Cousin Sadie just has to have someone to live with her and she likes to have me with her the best of any one that ever lived with her, so that makes me feel perfectly at home, and we just have a nice time. We worke or play just as we feel like doing it is too good to last, isn't it. But - I guess not, as Ma Ma says don't worry and look for trouble in the line of sickness and it will not come, so I am trying the thought all the time, now all is well. Let me see Mrs. Breckinridge said to you in her letter (God is life, in that life we safely dwell, it is above beneath and within us, all is well and I am well) so I am repeating that every day and think all my folks at home are well too, well good morning, the mail man is coming, I guess you can read this.

with lots of love,

[cutoff, definitely Abigail (Vaux) Smith, Lyle's grandmother]
Please forward to Matie Callie's and Bert's letters when Mama writes again.


Perhaps we have another case of a letter in the wrong envelope. It is obvious that Abby is in Glendale, California from the letter, but the envelope is postmarked McCook, Nebraska. The letter must be from after 1897, since she is writing directly to Lyle and telling him stories that she hopes he will read to his mother (he was born in 1891, so he might have learned to read by age 6 or 7). It is possible that this letter was written after 1900. I may be able to tell if I can find out who Cousin Mida's grandson was!

We get some idea of what it's like in the "big city" - Los Angeles on Spring Street with lots of traffic and confusion.

I'm not sure yet who this Cousin Mida or Cousin Sadie is - I think it's one of Abby's Vaux cousins. There was a Sadie who was a daughter of George Vaux, one of Abby's first cousins. I should look in Glendale, I think!

This is the first mention of Abby's son, David Smith and his daughter Mable - they are in San Diego at the time of this letter.

Friday, February 22, 2008

RootsTelevision Videos from St. George

I couldn't attend the St. George, Utah Family History Expo on February 8-9, but I can watch some of the highlights on Roots Television. It's not the same as being there, experiencing the exhibit hall, attending the presentations, being wined and dined by the vendors, meeting fans of genea-bloggers, but it's fun to see the faces and hear the voices of some of my favorite people. has posted a number of videos made at the Expo, including --

* Family History Expo Overview by Family Tree Magazine

* FamilySearch interviewed by Tracey Long

* Genealogy Gems with Lisa Louise Cooke

* DearMYRTLE/Pat Richley with Dick Eastman

* Ken McGinnis on Legacy Family Tree with Dick Eastman

* Holly Hansen of MyAncestorsFound with Dick Eastman

* Allison Stacy of Family Tree Magazine with Dick Eastman

* Paul Larsen author of Crash Course in Genealogy with Tracey Long

* Jon Shupe of Passage Express Software

* Floyd Nordine of Forever Family Embroidery

I hope I got them all. These are all fairly short interviews and are informative and fun - for me at least!

Oh - last thing - The Genealogy Guys, George G. Morgan and Drew Smith, have a great 12 minute video called Down Under:Florida about cemetery research. Be sure to watch this one - you get to see George and Drew in their element!

You will have to endure several 30 second commercials if you stay long at this site. An alternative is to click on the static ads on the right hand side of the web site - check out those Russian beauty girls too ...

If you have a free hour, go visit and see what genealogy videos excite you. This time is often the most fun hour of my genealogy week!

Writing narratives in genealogy software

There has been an extensive civil discussion on the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) mailing list concerning writing narrative text, all or part of a person's life story, for genealogy reports, magazine articles or books. The critical post that set off the discussion was Elizabeth Shown Mills post here. Her preference is to write narratives in a word processor so that the author has full control over the result without "software-created" sentences.

In response, Bob Velke of Wholly Genes (which produces The Master Genealogist (TMG) software) claimed that his software could do exactly what Elizabeth said shouldn't be done. Terry Reigel chimed in with a link to an article he wrote that demonstrates the range of flexibility in adapting TMG capabilities to different facts and the use of end notes in creating "flowing narratives." My observation is that "it seems to take a lot of effort" to do it.

The need for writing "flowing narratives" is vital for client reports and publication in genealogy periodicals or books. One of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) requirements is to submit a Narrative Report as a requirement for certification. The certification submission requirements are here. A sample work product of a narrative genealogy is provided here. Reviewing all of the sample work products are an excellent way to understand the BCG requirements and application process.

The issue is "can TMG, or any other software program, create this type of a report, complete with note callouts, footnotes with text, headings, bullet points, etc." Bob Velke and Terry Reigel think that TMG can do it, albeit with substantial custom text writing, as Terry's web site example demonstrates.

I have not written a report similar to the narrative example. But I think that I could use FamilyTreeMaker 16 to generate all of the text, and footnotes, using the Facts, Sources and Notes capabilities of the software. I would then have to edit the result in a Word Processor to superscript the footnote numbers, to put the right footnotes with the right number at the bottom of each page, to modify the source citations as required (short forms for second and later citation of the same source), to indent, change font size, bold or italicize when necessary, etc. Other software, like TMG, may allow the user to do all or many of these tasks.

However, the folks who don't want software to "write" their narrative do all of that in their Word Processor document when they write their reports or narratives.

I think the issue is really "how many times do you write a narrative?" The ideal number is "once." It shouldn't matter if it is in your word processor or in a software program. The goal is to document your work in a clear and complete manner. The second issue is "how many times do you edit a narrative?"

My current preference is to write my narratives for an individual in the Notes section of FTM16, and include my source citations in the text body (either as cited, or numbered with a list at the end). Either method can be used to generate a genealogy report that can be edited. IMHO, the key is that I've typed it in only once, I have it saved in a place I can find it, and I can edit it if necessary. Once I put it into a word processor, then I may have to edit it to put it in a preferred format. At that point, the information in my word document and in my database are different.

Whether it is in a word processed document or in a database-generated report, the work product of my narrative will be generated by me using my so-called creative writing skills. If I submit it for publication, I expect it to be edited, polished as required, and submitted again. Whether I started in a word processor or my database really shouldn't matter.

What think you? Do you use a word processor to write client reports, magazine articles, book chapters, or do you use your genealogy software? Or some combination of the two? Tell us about it - I'm willing to learn best practices!

Letters from home - Post 17

This is the sixteenth letter in the stack of Letters from Home to Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer, residing in the San Diego, California area after 1887. An explanation of the family members and situation is here.


Letter from D.J. Smith in McCook Neb. to his grandson Lyle Carringer in San Diego CA. No envelope.

McCook Neb., 2nd 5th 93

Dear little grandson,

Good evening, this is Sunday evening and 3 minutes past 8 and I expect you are abed and asleep, sweet dreams to you my little Gran. I am alone in my Office and did not feel like going to bed but let my man go home early as it was cold and no work today only one bug without team, one Doller. My man has a family and lives croxt the block near the stable. He has 3 little girls and the youngest one is a fatt little chub and she runs off to see Smiff and she has a little puppy that I let them take and she ses no Smiffs won't take the puppy.

Wal now, old chum, I will just tell you Bess is in her bed asleep and she is a good one to snore you bett and another thing I can tell you I have 2 white catts and they run all over my sholders and up my arms while I am riting to you and one on the paper. I keep them on the table and have a baskett for them to sleep in one is on top of my head now, and then playing with my hair. Would you like a pr Old Boy. Last Friday I was halling straw and saw a big flock of wild geese and a farmer up there told me yesterday that the flock had been here all winter. I rember of seeing a flock 20 years ago in Feb in Iowa, and your Granma saw them to. My catts are jolley felows and chases the other. It is fun to see them.

Tell your mother that I can

[Note - ends abruptly, perhaps the final pages were lost]


I doubt that Devier J. Smith has seen his grandson yet - he's in McCook, Nebraska and Lyle is in San Diego. But he writes this letter as if he's sitting right next ot him telling him stories about the dog and cats. The "Smiff" is, of course, DJ himself - the little girl calls him Smiff.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

New England Historical and Genealogical Register - January 2008 Issue Table of Contents

The January 2008 issue of the New England Historical and Genealogical Register (Volume 162, Number 1, Whole Number 645) Table of Contents includes:

* Editorial - page 3

* "Identification of the Unnamed Daughter of John1 and Elizabeth (Thomson) Cogswell Who Remained in England" by Priscilla Colstad Greenlees - page 5

* "The Probable English Origins of Thomas Betterley" by Lawrence McGrath, Esther Whitney Mott, and Phylicia Salisbury - page 8

* "Mary Hemenway, Wife of George2 Lawrence of Watertown, Massachusetts" by Michael J. Leclerc - page 15

* "Jeremiah1 Rogers of Dorchester and Lancaster, Massachusetts" by Henry B. Hoff, Michael J. Leclerc, and Helen Schauvet Ullmann - page 18

* "Dorcas (_____) Lippitt of Providence, Rhode Island, and Her Descendants" by Cherry Fletcher Bamberg - page 23

* "Wolston Brockway of Lyme, Connecticut, With Further Analysis of His Associations" by Gale Ion Harris - page 37

* "A Jordan-Silvester Connection Revealed" by Ernest Hyde Helliwell III - page 47

* "Joseph5 and Phoebe (MIUllington) Rounds of Clarendon and Monkton, Vermont" by John Bradley Arthaud and Marcia (Yannizze) Melnyk - page 54

* "Ancestry of Bennet Eliot of Nazeing, Essex, Father of Seven Great Migration Immigrants to Massachusetts" by William Wyman Fiske (continued from 161:259) - page 63

* Review of Books and CD-ROMs - page 73

The most intriguing in this list is the Wolston Brockway (about 1638-1718) article - there are 10 pages of narrative here, to be continued, about his life events, including a discussion of the probable identities of his three wives. The richness of the colonial resources is amazing - probably due to his litigious nature!

The Bennet Eliot article s also continued - I keep hoping that they will identify one of my "given-name only" females as an Eliot, because there is a lot of English ancestry in this multi-part article.

The Jordan-Silvester article untangles a Jordan family, finding a surname for the first wife of John Jordan (????-1729) of Milton MA. However, the author can't determine if the wife was Esther or Naomi Silvester.

In almost every article, the panoply of record types is broad - and virtually none of them are online or on CDROM, which is typical of early colonial records in New England (with the exception of NEHGR and town VR images).

If you have colonial New England ancestry, there is much to be learned from the NEHGR and the information on (the web site of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Letters from home - Post 16

This is the fifteenth letter in the stack of Letters from Home to Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer, residing in the San Diego, California area after 1887. An explanation of the family members and situation is here.


Letter written by Abby (Vaux) Smith, no addressee or date, no envelope. Perhaps it was written to Austin Carringer in colorado, Lyle's father. It was probably written around late 1892 as it refers to Lyle as a baby.

Thursday, 11 A.M.

Just mailed your letter. I want to tell you about little Lyle then must go to sewing. He is asleep now. Last night when I got supper I made graham mush, we have not had any Della thinks for about a week, but I hardly think that long the little dear he seemed to know what it was and could hardly wait until supper was ready. I was so surprised how did he know what it was he flaped his hands and squealed like he does when anything pleases him. I always noticed he liked it and when we fry it for breakfast he eats so hearty of it. I tell Della he shall never go a day without it until he gets tired of it. He is tired of bread soaked in milk will spit it out as fast as he can. Will eat bread and butter, also crackers will eat oyster soup codfish gravey and beef. I do not know how much he would eat if we dare give him all he wants. Any kinds of fresh fruits sets his bowels to running off as boiled potatoes or give him baked potatoes sometimes we could aford chicken, he has never tasted one yet. We intend to get one just for him soon, a young one.

Friday, Della took Lyle up for a treatment as he got so he would throw his head back and bump it against things as though it felt bad also has quite a fever. Kept us up until 11 o'clock two nights seemed to have ear ache we thought it might be fleas biteing him and a hot cloth on his bowels they seem to trouble him a good deal. He feels better since his treatment. Olive said he needed one said his eyeteeth have started what makes him so nervous and wakeful. Della got him some kid shoes as he has outgrown these he has and the chamois wear out as fast as we can make them now almost (Mrs.. Morril made him a pr for his birthday we had them cut out).

(Saturday) Della has gone down to give Mrs. Beck and Gracie their painting lessons will stay to the parade and speaking. Well, she has come home 10 P.M. Baby and I had a big time while she was gone. I baked bread. Baked some apples and washed some, gave him a roll of newspapers to play with and he carpeted the kitchen floor with them then strew clothes pins diapers his oil stove sit near enough the edge of the table he got that and his box is half full of playthings and he pulled them all out and I just had to wade through knee deep I told him. He would not keep still another way, then after supper I put him to sleep he woke up twice once with ear ache and I had to sit and hold him. I did a two weeks ironing had just finished and looked at the watch as Della came was surprised to see it was so late. She went to Mrs. Case's to supper and they went to the Plaza together said it was all verry interesting to her as she goes and hears so few speeches. Could not endorse all that was said of course. Mrs. C is quite a Democrat.

(Sunday) Lyle had his bath this morning he does enjoy them so it feeling better his hands are feet are a little cold but has not got as much fever. Olive told Della to give him a little acconite once in awhile and she did. He walks better with shoes to strengthen his ankles went clear from the kitchen into the parlor without falling once today pushes his buggy then walks backwards and pulls it and hangs on his feet just a slideing it goes too fast for him but he hangs on until it hits against something to stop it then gathers himself up sometimes he cannot do it and he yells for help right away.

[Abruptly ends - perhaps following pages are lost]


This letter is almost all about her grandson one-year old Lyle - he's walking a bit, loves to eat graham mush, plays and makes a mess on the floor, and has earaches. Pretty typical, eh?

I wonder what kinds of "treatments" Lyle was getting? For fever, earaches, diarrhea? Sounds like he had an ear infection, doesn't it?

I haven't found the final page(s) - too bad!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Working with Beginning Genealogists

One of the major benefits of any newspaper publicity is the influx of phone calls from people in the community asking for information about "how to find my ancestry." This was the case with the recent newspaper articles about CVGS that I wrote about here.

We had five phone calls in the last week to CVGS members asking for information and about joining the society. Four of them came to our Computer Group meeting today. Two of them have done no genealogy research, other than gathering family papers. One of them had drawn a rough ancestral chart with three generations on his father's side and two on his mother's side, which was an excellent start.

Rather than work on the computers today, John, Dearl and I took the two neophytes into the conference room and discussed the basics of genealogy research -- family papers and stories, obtaining vital records, obtaining other records, filling out pedigree charts and family group sheets, what resources are online and what are not, etc. They both asked great questions and we tried to answer them as best we could. We gave them the "homework assignment" of filling out the pedigree chart and family group sheets for each known family.

I have passed them a pedigree chart, family group sheet, and my Online Genealogy syllabus via email. I will pass them several other documents tonight, including the Research Process and my matrix of Record Types and where to find them.

They were intrigued by the thought of genealogy software, and how the software can make charts and reports. We recommended for discounted software to get started.

After the meeting, we took them over to the library computers with Ancestry Library Edition and found several census records for one fellow's family. He was pretty excited.

It was a good day for all of us - hopefully they learned something, and we helped two potential new members get started on their genealogy adventure. I realized that I need to carry more of a "beginning genealogist" kit in my briefcase for situations like this. CVGS holds a beginners class every year, but often times the need for help is immediate and we have to reel in these potential new members before they wriggle off the hook.

What ahould I include in my "beginning genealogist" kit? I have the pedigree, group sheet and record type charts, a list of online genealogy tutorials, examples of the charts and a genealogy report, etc. What else should I have?

The Non-fiction book meme

Bill West on the West in New England blog and Colleen on the Orations of OMcHodoy blog, and perhaps others that I've missed, tagged me for the ongoing non-fiction meme. I'll play for a bit. The questions and my answers are:

What issues/topic interests you most--non-fiction, i.e, cooking, knitting, stitching, there are infinite topics that has nothing to do with novels?

Genealogy, biography, history and current political affairs are the topics that I read most often. I am presently reading the Peter Morton Coan book on Ellis Island Interviews. I have James Mann's Rise of the Vulcans and Mona Charen's Do-Gooders on my hope chest for vacation reading.

I really like historical fiction - where fictional characters are put into historical situations and are witnesses to history. James Michener, Edward Rutherfurd, William Martin and Jeff Shaara's books are great examples.

Would you like to review books concerning those?

Not really - too much work for no reward.

Would you like to be paid or do it as interest or hobby? Tell reasons for what ever you choose.

Not really. I have blogging to do!

Would you recommend those to your friends and how?

Recommend what? The books I haven't yet read? How could I? Stupid question.

If you have already done something like this, link it to your post.

I did review Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick here, and have reviewed several of the Schaara books in the past - see here.

I'm not going to list 10 more bloggers to respond to the meme. It would be a waste of my time and theirs, I think. What did anyone learn from this?

I hate to be a grinch here, but memes like this do not advance the cause of genealogy. In my judgment, they are a time waster.

Dream On!

I can hardly wait to go to sleep tonight... no, silly, Angel Linda didn't get a new sexy nightgown, hmm... good idea, our anniversary is approaching. Oops, got off my train of thought. sorry.

I finally had what I think was an "ancestor dream" last night. The scene was my grandparents house at 2130 Fern Street in San Diego, where they lived from 1920 until 1951. Lyle and Emily (Kemp) Carringer built it in 1920, and my mother grew up in this house until she married, and Emily's mother lived here throughout this time. It was on the same block as the house inhabited by Austin and Della Carringer at 2115 30th Street, and the upstairs flat I "remember as home " at 2119 30th Street. In the dream, I recognized the front yard and the front door of the house, which faces the driveway.

I recognized my grandfather, who was outside and invited me in. A little girl was in the background when the door opened. I immediately sat down at a long table with my grandfather at the far end, the little girl and an older wizened man with a mustache, and a little boy sat on the other side of the table, and my grandmother sat at the near end of the table right next to me. Her facial features and voice were unmistakable, but her body was distorted.

My grandmother started praying (I don't know if she ever did this at the dinner table) out loud and went on for awhile in a preachy strident voice. I opened my eyes (in the dream) while she prayed and looked around at the windows, counters, furniture, artwork and knickknacks in the room.

Then I woke up all excited that I had finally had an "ancestor dream." I don't remember recognizing any of the scenes inside the house, or the household "stuff," after I woke up.

I lived in this house from mid-1944 until late 1945 (approximately age 9 months to 25 months) with my mother and my grandparents when my father was in the US Navy in World War II. I have no clue now how the rooms inside were laid out, or what household "stuff" they had at that time, although I imagine that most of what was in their house in 1977 after they died was there, especially the books, china and counter knickknacks.

I remember very few dreams - usually they are the ones that result in stark terror and an instant wakeup and sigh that I'm still there in bed breathing, sometimes heavily. I guess that is good, eh?

I have hoped and wished to have "ancestor dreams" for 20 years. I can't remember a dream about my parents or grandparents in the last 20 years, let along a more distant ancestor. Maybe I shouldn't wish for something like this?

Were they trying to tell me something? Who were the girl, boy and mustache man? Too many questions - no answers yet!

How about you? Have you had meaningful "ancestor dreams?" Were they realistic? Scary? Tell us about them!

Letters from home - Post 15

This is the fourteenth letter in the stack of Letters from Home to Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer, residing in the San Diego, California area after 1887. An explanation of the family members and situation is here.


Three letters on one set of paper, two from Della (Smith) Carringer to her husband Austin Carringer (probably at his parents home in Boulder Colorado), the second from Abby (Vaux) Smith to Austin Carringer. No envelope of letterhead.

This is the letter from Abby to Austin:

Wed. 4 P.M.

Well, Della took the boy up for a visit - Olive says his teeth are coming right along, says he is a nice healthy boy only a weak stomache will out grow that in time with care about his diet. Says she could see a letter right here that spoke of a change said if you did not change your mind you might be home before Feb said times were surely going to be better very soon, you will see by the papers the trial of Indian Joe and quite a little about the young woman that suicided at the Coronado Hotel. It seems to be a mystery yet who she is, no relatives seem to claim her yet. I tell you Johnson is making money there are two of them a cousin in company the day Mrs. Abbey was burried a young boy was at the same time. Mr. Abbey said they only charged him 60 dollars for the whole thing did pretty well.

Better prices for their land dont it look that way. Olive still says times are going to be better verry soon now, well time will tell. I think Lyle thinks you are comeing he twists his tongue in all manner of shapes trying to talk sometimes he repeats things after us that sound as plain as we say it, but of course we think it just happened so. He got his chair today and tried to bring it to the table then at another time he pushed a kitchen chair up to me and tried to climb up into it, then tonight he let us know he wanted his milk and wanted one to undress him, dear little fellow when he does get so he can tell us things by talking his tongue will just fly.

Della got a letter from your folks today with 10 dollars some stamps so she will not have to use mine now. Elmer Green is gone, the altitude was too high there for him perhaps if he had remained here he might have lived several years. His folks must feel pretty bad. Austin I imagine your mother thinks her only hope of seeing Della and the baby there in the spring is to keep you. But tell her she could go back just the same if you were here of course it would be nicer to be there at the same time. But health is better than wealth.

Mrs. Wood came and brought Della three dollars 25 cts her 25 cts on the dollar had to be counted out left 2.25. She has sold a few articles that she expects pay for Sat so we are taking in a little again. Della had a young lady this afternoon taking a lesson on the plush mill come again tomorrow their mail for the third one next week.

I bronzed three little rolling pins three potatoe mashers and three little deep dishes will put ribbons on them in the morning and hooks for shoe buttoners to hang on the dishes of wood I just plush in the center and they sell for ring holders as any kind of jewelry, all 10 cts apiece. I fixed a lot of shells for card baskets and made some thimble cases ready for Della to paint, also made some mass cards.

Jessie took care of Lyle he went to sleep before she brought him in just wheeled him from here to Bemis's Barn before she came. He kept me busy I tell you. Della is going to take him up for a treatment in the morning. It does Lyle so much good to have a treat. He has played around by himself so much more today.

??rone had to go over on the beach to treat a lady that had her hip broke made it so late for her she got so little sleep poor woman. There seems to be no rest for her at all. How much good she is doing if Elmer Green understood this phenomina he might possibly come and inspire Della with his gift of painting, too bad if he had not finished his picture for the World's Fair.

Della is goeing to write this eve and wrap up some more papers. She has stoped it and ordered the weekly Union so you will have time to read that and so will we. What was it that did not have postage enough or was it a roll of papers containing 4 instead of three at a time., I thought it was no bigger than one of the San Francisco papers would make. Well good-bye from Mother.


Abby gives us even more news about their piece work - both of them are making things and bringing in some money to live on.

Little Lyle is working his tongue and trying to talk - he sounds so cute!

They apparently have been sending newspapers to Austin with their letters, but one came back for postage due.

Elmer, who died in Colorado and lived in San Diego for awhile, is apparently Elmer Green, who is not in my database. He must be a family friend in San Diego or Boulder. Austin lived with his brother and parents there from about 1873 to 1887.

Abby comments about the young woman who committed suicide at the Hotel del coronado. She may be the ghost rumored to reside in one of the rooms there even today.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Another WVR Survey

I get emails occasionally from occasionally asking me to takje a survey as part of their Customer Input Panel program. I appreciate the effort on their part to survey their current and potential customers.

Here's the survey:

1) What company are you currently a member of below? (Choose all that apply)
* (my selection)
* Both
* Neither

2) Which of the following collections do you currently own on
* US (my selection)
* World

3) How long have you been a member of
* Less than one year
* 1-2 Years (my selection)
* 3-5 years
* More than 5 years

4) Have you purchased any of the other products or services offered by Ancestry .com? (Choose all that apply)
* Books (my selection)
* CDs
* Print
* Other
* None

5) Which of the following databases are/were the most useful in doing your research on (Choose all that apply)
* Family Trees (8)
* Census and Voter Lists (1)
* Birth, Marriage and Death (2)
* Immigration and Emigration (6)
* Military (5)
* Directories and Member Lists (7)
* Court, Wills, Land and Financial (10)
* Dictionaries, Encyclopedias and Reference (11)
* Newspapers and Periodicals (3)
* Stories, Memories and Histories (4)
* Pictures (12)
* Maps, Atlases and Gazetteers (9)
* None of the Above
* Other (specify)

NOTE: I put them in order of importance above - the survey didn't allow that, but it should have IMHO! I selected the top 9.

Since I didn't say that I subscribed to WVR, I didn't get to answer any questions about their databases. Too bad, because I do look at them on occasion at home, and I do use their databases down at the Family History Center.

Looks like they're doing a little competitor research, doesn't it?

"Discovering Family History" magazine debuts with FREE issue

I'm a bit late with this announcement...

Halvoor Moorshead edits and publishes two genealogy-oriented magazines - Family Chronicle magazine and Internet Genealogy magazine. He has a new publication, titled Discovering Family History, which targets the beginning genealogy market.

You can read more about the magazine itself, and download a FREE issue (56 pages), at the web site The magazine is a 1.6 mb PDF file - you will need Adobe Reader Version 5 or later on your computer in order to read it.

They are offering an introductory price of $20 for one year, 6 issues, an $8 discount from the retail price.

I downloaded the magazine and have read several articles. While they are fairly basic, they are comprehensive in nature and are very worthwhile for experienced researchers. Many of the articles refer to online genealogy web sites.

Here is the Table of Contents for the FREE issue:

* First Things First, Genealogy News You Can Use - page 4
* A Few Fantastic Free Family History Websites by David A. Norris - page 7
* Let Obituaries Speak to You by George G. Morgan - page 11
* What's Coming in Discovering Family History - page 13
* The Ultimate Guide to Subscription Services by Rick Crume - page 14

* Who Else is Researching Your Name? by George G. Morgan - page 20
* What is a Vital Record? by Mary Clement Douglass - page 23
* Citing Sources by Rachel Newcombe - page 26
* Case Study: Getting to Know Pap by Lisa A. Alzo - page 28
* Computing Basics by Bill Puller - page 33

* 10 First Steps by Lisa A. Alzo - page 36
* It's All About Parents by Janice Nickerson - page 40
* Genealogy Societies by Donna J. Pointkouski - page 42
* Web 2.0 by Marian Press - page 47
* Making Sense of the US Census by Beverly Smith Vorpahl - page 51
* It's Only Words by Donna Murray - page 54.

Many of these writers also write for the other Halvor Moorshead magazines, and they do a fine job!

I look forward to future issues of this magazine.

Letters from home - Post 14

This is the thirteenth letter in the stack of Letters from Home to Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer, residing in the San Diego, California area after 1887. An explanation of the family members and situation is here.


Three letters on one set of paper, two from Della (Smith) Carringer to her husband Austin Carringer (probably at his parents home in Boulder Colorado), the second from Abby (Vaux) Smith to Austin Carringer. No envelope of letterhead.

This is the second letter from Della to Austin:

Wed eve,

Dear Husband, it is a little cooler last night and tonight. Do as you think best Austin and it is all right with me, but I am glad your mother does not want you to go with Ed. I could get a World's Fair ticket next spring I expect but would have to go to Chicago to have it stamped and I would not want to do that. Well a few months will tell. I hear of carpenters out of work as well as there that have just got work. So that is the way it is here. But I did not want you to feel as if you had to stay in the waiter just for the money. When your health is what we think of most. But if you are with your brother and have good work that is not as bad as you are situated now. Of course we would like you at home and would do all we could to help but you know how you feel and can judge better than we can for you. I am so glad you have gained. I know the change has done you good. But do not want you to stay a minute if you feel you could not stand the weather.

We will do the best we can untill you come either way it may be. --- Mrs. Morrill is coming over Monday to help on my red silk we are making over to pay for the work we did on her tea-gown. I am going over to their fair the 16th. I have earned a 1.00 this week and will 50 cts more tomorrow so I feel rich.

I told your Mother not to get any Christmas present for us as I thought your staying there so long was a big Christmas present. I want to send them each a ??? fraim and Ed. I have to have a pr of shoes and that with getting my dresses fixed up is enough for my Christmas present, and if we send you a small package from home you must remember you are away from home, and send us money all the time. Of course we would prefer your company to any other but will have to wait untill you come. To bad Elmer had to go before the World's Fair, but we can not be the judge. When you see them give them our sympathy in their sorrow, Good night love and kisses from your loving wife.

Lyle is in bed, he can run his tongue out farther than I. He had a big time before he went to sleep.


Della must have received a letter from Austin describing his employment options - he could stay in Boulder or go some place (perhaps Grand Junction CO) with his brother, Edgar Carringer.

Austin must have been sick in months past - health is always a big concern!

Della's thinking about Christmas coming - she is very practical, isn't she? She's pinching pennies too.

I wonder who Elmer was? A Carringer cousin, perhaps? I'll have to search for him in my database.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The iGene Awards - Carnival of Genealogy #42 is Up

The 42nd Carnival of Genealogy has been posted by Jasia on the Creative Gene blog - read it at "Carnival of Genealogy, 42nd Edition." The theme for this Carnival was the iGene Awards for 2007 - the Best of the Best.

There are 23 submissions to this Carnival, each listing five posts selected by the individual blogger for Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Documentary, Best Biography and Best Comedy. Needless to say, these are the Best of 2007 by the founding members of the Academy of Genealogy and Family History.

I haven't read all of them yet, because my grandsons are still here. But I will! My own submission was "It's Academy Awards Time - the AGFH of Course!"

The next Carnival of Genealogy theme will be Technology. What technology do you most rely on for your genealogy and family history research?

* Select one piece of hardware (besides your computer),
* Select one piece of software (besides your internet browser),
* Select one web site/blog (besides your own)

that are indispensable to you. Resist the urge to dilute the impact of your 3 choices by mentioning several others you use and appreciate as well. This is an exercise in appraising the technology you use/recommend the most. The deadline for submissions is March 1st.

Some welcome publicity for CVGS

Every genealogy society hopes to get publicity in local newspapers once in awhile. The Chula Vista Genealogical Society, of which I am currently President, sends notices of society programs to the daily San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper each month for a Calendar section, requesting it be published the weekend before our monthly program.

I sent the notice on Sunday, 10 February, and received a phone call from David Berlin, a reporter, on Monday. David writes in the "Our South County" section that appears three times each week in the area south of Highway 94 in San Diego. He asked me some questions about CVGS and our speaker on 27 February, and asked if I had a phone number for the speaker. I gave it to him. Then he asked if I would be willing to do a phone interview with him, and we set up Wednesday at 10 a.m. for the interview.

On Wednesday, he called and we talked for about 30 minutes. He asked some specific questions and essentially let me ramble on.

David wrote an article about our 27 February speaker and CVGS, with one of her family pictures, that appeared on Page 1 of the "Our South County" section on Thursday, 14 February. The text is transcribed here.

David also wrote a Question and Answer article about me and CVGS, with a head shot picture, that appeared on Saturday, 16 February, on Page 1 of the "Our South County" section. The text is transcribed here.

You will note that he got my name wrong in the latter article (Richard Seaver is printed) - but I just tell people that it's my evil twin brother who was interviewed (that way if I said something wrong in the interview, it won't be attributable to me).

Any publicity is good for CVGS, and I'm grateful to David Berlin for taking the time to contact me and write these two articles. I've already had three phone calls from people interested in attending our program, and several people at church told me their "family stories" at church on Sunday.

Letters from home - Post 13

This is the twelfth letter in the stack of Letters from Home to Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer, residing in the San Diego, California area after 1887. An explanation of the family members and situation is here.


Three letters on one set of paper, two from Della (Smith) Carringer to her husband Austin Carringer (probably at his parents home in Boulder Colorado), the second from Abby (Vaux) Smith to Austin Carringer. No envelope of letterhead.

This is the first letter from Della to Austin:

San Diego Nov 13th 1892

Dear Husband,

Well the eventfull week is past and we are left, but hope it will not be as bad as we thought it might be. I was so sorry I did not get to write in the week letter and I told you last Sunday I would write oftener. That is all we know about it. I sewed Tuesday Wed and Thur for Mrs. Shaw. A friend of hers Mrs. Lorring's sister is to be married this week Tuesday and she did not have time to finish her sewing so I took two outing flannel night dresses to make at home so we worked in their Fri and Sat forenoon then I went and give my lessons at Mrs. Bicks will deliver the dresses Monday. I got $1.00 a day at Mrs. Shaw's and we get 1.25 for the two N dresses. Baby dress 50 cts we made Monday so we have earned $4.75 and I will have to use it until you send some. I got the baby a pr of kid shoes for 50 cts at the Chicago shoe store. He thinks they are fine. I want to get a few things before the white house closes out, and would use out of our $10. If I knew you would send so I would not need it for living. I paid the rent out of what I had saved. The $10 ought to do my trading with will have to get qts tickets again in a day or two. If it will be a week or two yet before you go back why can't your father colect your wages due with an order from you and then get a check and send me first the earnings if you were there.

Lyle just woke up and I had to turn him over and rock him. His teeth bother him so this week, you ought to see him walk alone in front of the house he will not let me take his hand. Sweet little fellow. It has been warm this week as warm as when you went away. I am quite well. I think you felt it when I had my cold. My piles keep just the same and so I feel weak sometimes but I do not feel very bad and when I get a few days work away it does me good. They will have to hurry if all the building is to be of brick or the freezing will hurt the moisture won't it. Do they expect you to pay your board and wait several days at a time for the brick layers. I should not think they would.

Will send papers too, Bowers got it, you can read about the parade. I have not space as Ma's letter goes in this too. Am glad you went to see Gillpatrick. I know it must have seemed funny to have read my letter as though you were in Grand Junction. I could not go to Nat. City today as I have to go down town tomorrow.

When it is warm I feel it so I have sweat nearly all day. Was out with Lyle this A.M. I want to lie down and read a little. Hope the Journals will come tomorrow. I think of you so much and wish I could walk in Sundays at least am glad you have better food and I do hope they will shake those chicken feathers up. Am glad you feel so well. Love to Mother and Father.

From your loving wife and baby, with love and kisses. Lyle is up have just fixed his milk and kissed him for his Papa. Bye bye D.


Austin is apparently in Boulder, Colorado staying with his parents, DJ and Rebecca (Spangler) Carringer. San Diego was experiencing an economic downturn and Austin needed to work, so he went to Boulder. We are fortunate to have these letters from wife to husband. Recall from Della's Journal that she was the "banker" in the family, and we see her making money and suggesting ways for Austin to send money to her.

The "eventfull week" mentioned was the election in 1892 that resulted in Grover Cleveland's election.

She talks quite a bit about baby Lyle and his antics - Abby's letter described him even better.

It's too bad we don't have Austin's letters too!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Best of the Genea-Blogs - 10-16 February 2008

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, address current genealogy issues, personal family history, are funny or are poignant.

I don't list posts destined for the Carnival of Genealogy, or other meme submissions (but I do include summaries of them), or my own posts.

* "Carlisle Family Papers: University of Michigan" by Charlotte at the Apple's Tree blog. Apple has found a treasure trove sitting in an archive in Ann Arbor and can hardly wait to see what family history secrets it holds. She asked for advice about going to the Bentley research library in April, and got lots of good advice - be sure to read all of this post!

* "It's Not Too Early" by Lee Drew on the FamHist blog. Lee has some suggestions for family history oriented Christmas presents. Don't wait, start now!

* "FWOOM: How Do You Handle a Blast of Family History?" by Larry Lehmer on the Passing It On blog. Larry wonders how to handle the "fire hose effect" of Internet genealogy - can you advise him? He makes some great observations too!

* "Famous DNA Review, Part IV: Jesse James" by Blaine Bettinger on The Genetic Genealogist blog. Blaine discusses the mitochrondrial DNA results for the outlaw Jesse James and gives an excllent example of how mtDNA can be used to determine relationships thorugh a female line.

* "Google Views Ancestry & FamilySearch Streets" by ???? on The Ancestry Insider blog. The Insider shows some Salt Lake City sights, including TGN and the FHL, then provides many more views of the area, including a place that one of his/her ancestor's lived in 1850. S/he challenges readers to figure out who s/he is from the clues given in this and earlier posts.

* " 'American' ethnic identity in the United States" by Ruby on The Radical Genealogist blog. Ruby shows some interesting maps about "American" ethnic identity. See the links for more information. The 2000 census map data is intriguing!

* "The American Winston Churchill: 1871-1947" by Janice Brown on the Cow Hampshire blog. Did you know that there was an author named Winston Churchill buried in New Hampshire? Janice found out, and told us about this interesting man, along with a genealogical record.

* "Mortality Schedules" by Lori Thornton on the Smoky Mountain Family Historian blog. Lori checks out 1850 to 1880 mortality schedules, and tells us about some of them ore "interesting" causes of death.

* "Random Acts of Kindness Week" by Miriam Midkiff at the Ancestories: Stories of My Ancestors blog. Miriam has a series of posts this week about Join a Lookup Service, Be a Sponsor, Volunteer for a Society, Share Your Data, Transcribe or Translate, Give a Hand, and Be Grateful and Generous. There are many useful ideas here - give back to genealogy!

* "US Suggestions for Newbies," "News Sources for Newbies" and "Software Suggestions for Newbies" by Pat Richley on the DearMYRTLE blog. Pat has three excellent lists designed to help beginning genealogists get up to speed in a hurry.

Please go to the blogs listed above and read their articles, and add the blog to your Favorites, Bloglines, reader, feed or email if you like what you read.

Please make a comment to them also - we all appreciate feedback on what we write.

Did I miss a great genealogy blog post? Tell me!

Letters from Home - Post 12

This is the eleventh letter in the stack of Letters from Home to Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer, residing in the San Diego, California area after 1887. An explanation of the family members and situation is here.


Letter from Abigail (Vaux) Smith in San Diego to son Davie Smith probably in McCook Neb. No envelope.

San Diego Monday Nov 7th 1892

Dear Son. I thought I would try and write again this week. Della thinks if there is not any particular news it will help you pass away a little time reading it. We got up at 6, Lyle cut a tooth through and he has felt cross all day. Did him lots of good about 2 o'clock Mr. Lewis came and changed the steps and nailed them up good he stood at the screen door nearly all the time then Mrs. Blankford of Nat[ional] City her little red headed girl too came to wait for the motor staid to supper so he had a fine time. Della says he is like her when he feels bad if any one comes in they forget all about it. It took me an hour since supper to get him to sleep and his head is wet with cold sweat he will be all right but his teeth come hard. We cut and made that babies dress to day charged 15 cts. It was all wool good, red we put silk fancy stitches on it looks nice.

Your letter came this morning made me shiver thinking of the snow Tuesday. Della got two days sewing to do downtown on 10th Street a lady Mrs. Loring recommended to her as she is going to have a baby and Della did so well for her she tries to get others to have her. She is cutting and fitting a dress for the lady Mrs. Shaw by name after today the lady will finish it herself then next week wants her to bring her little patterns and cut and baste a few days. She gets 1.00 a day this week and car fare paid. Will get 15 cts on babies clothes .

Lyle feels a little better today but chews everything he can get hold of. I tell him I know he will throw paper wads in school. He has filled my lap full of his playthings then makes believe hand me something. It is so cute it seems we were all of the same mind by your letter. Wonder what little angel inspired us alike about giving Lyle a Dollar apiece. But it seems he has missed the one Phila gave him. Della says she is glad you had it sent before you got her letter. Della came home this evening feeling well did not get verry tired. Had a nice visit with the lady. It seems her husband clerks at Hamilton only been married a year. Mrs. Loring has an 8 lb girl. She was verry sick is doeing well now.

Wednesday, 11 A.M. Della had to get her own breakfast this morning as Lyle woke me at 4 cried a long time with colic and I was sound asleep at getting up time. She wanted to get to work at half past 8 as it gets dark almost at 5 and she had to have a light last evening. Will go to Mrs. Bicks this evening to get my dress and try on her own if it is ready. She expects a Mr. Patten to come for a lesson in plush painting tomorrow. His parents are well pleased with his landscape picture. Lyle clung to my dress skirts all this morning wanted to go every place I did until I thought I would never get the work done up when I scrubbed the kitchen floor. I laid down a chair in the dining room door and kept him in here and he thought he was terribly abused as soon as I took him and gave him his milk he went in to sleep. Yesterday I could not get him to sleep until after three o'clock. The weather is just lovely.

Thursday 9 AM Della expected to get time this morning to write in this but she had to sew again today so it hurried her to get ready she just got this read and approved when it was time to start so she says Ma you tell him how it is and I will write Sunday so I will send this when the mail man comes. Lyle is feeling pretty well this morning. Hope you have not frosted your feet. I pity you so there in the cold. I suppose we are to hurrah for Cleveland.

Bye lots of love Mother and all.


Here is the first letter we have from the people in San Diego to the folks back in McCook, Nebraska.

Abby gives us some insight into the antics of her one year old grandson Lyle Carringer. He is cutting teeth and having a hard time, wakes during the night, brigs things for grandma to hold, and clings to her skirts. We forget that our ancestors were babies and children, and acted like most babies and children.

Della is trying to earn money by sewing and teaching painting, so Grandma Abby gets to take care of her grandson and loves the time she spends with him, although it taxes her.

The election is just over, and Grover Cleveland has just defeated Benjamin Harrison. The economic Panic of 1893 is just around the corner, but they don't know it. It sounds like, from the letters so far, the economic times have been challenging.