Saturday, March 22, 2008

Carringer Family Letters, 1890 to 1900 - Post 3

I have a series of family letters from the parents, brother and aunt of Henry Austin Carringer residing in National City and San Diego in the 1890 to 1900 time frame. Austin's parents and brother resided in Boulder, Colorado during this period of time and there is news of towns people and events in these letters.

The third letter is from Austin's mother, Rebecca (Spangler) Carringer, in Boulder.

Letter from Rebecca Carringer of Boulder, Colorado to Austin and Della Carringer in National City, California. No envelope.

Boulder Colo Nov 8 1891

Dear children we rec your note yesterday and was glad to here that your girl boy had arrived and hope all is doing nicely we all congratulate you and hope the lord will spare him to you that he may be a comfort to you and I hope Della can nurce him for it will be better for her and the child both. What will you call it. Aunt Mary is here she says to call it “the girl” for her She think that would suit I tell you. You ought to seen Edgar clap his hands when he heard it was a boy he said it was a Joke on you for you was talking about a girl all the time.

Well it is all the same if he only lives and is healthy and grows up to be a good man. Ella’s baby is a very nice baby and grows nicely and is a very good child they will call it Mary Inez. Is Mrs Smith staying with you or do you have good nurce. I hope D will not take any cold. Ella has got quite strong again.

Monday morn Jane done churning had over 4 pounds of butter.

I wish you had some of the milk I have to throw away I hate to waste it. This is a breasy morning. Pa is covering bushes and it blows so he can hardly work. I suppose Dan Combs is out there by this time have you seen any of the Boulder folks yet. We did not know Mr Teal was going until he was gone.

Love to all and a kiss for baby. Write and tell me how you get along. Hope this will find you all right. Aunt Mary sends love from Parents and brother.


This letter came after the news about Lyle Lawrence Carringer's birth to Austin and Della Carringer on 2 November 1891. The mail sure traveled fast then, didn't it? No air mail - certainly it was by rail. They had the news within 6 days of the birth of the baby.

Austin and Della were apparently hoping for a girl child for whatever reason. I'm really glad they didn't this time - Lyle is my grandfather!

The Elusive Hannah Brown (ca1725 - before 1774, wife of John Phillips)

It's National Women's History month, so I am posting some of my most elusive women ancestors in hopes that someone will Google their name and find my post. Ideally, the Googlers will provide me with more information about my elusive female ancestor's ancestry. Realistically, they will commiserate with me about the lack of records and wonder why no researcher has figured the problem out yet.

Family of Hannah (Brown) Phillips

Hannah Brown was born about 1725 in MA, and died before 1774 in probably Shrewsbury, Worcester County, MA. She married John Phillips 03 May 1749 in Southborough, Worcester County, MA, (vr), son of Ebenezer Phillips and Mary Smith. He was born 11 September 1722 in Charlestown, Middlesex County, MA, (VR, 278).

Notes for Hannah Brown:

The parents, birth date and birth place of Hannah Brown are not known.

There were many Brown families in Southborough, Massachusetts and surrounding towns (e.g., Marlborough, Sudbury, Framingham, Stow, etc.) during the 1740 to 1750 time frame.

Town vital records do not provide a clue to Hannah's parentage, nor do probate records of Worcester and Middlesex Counties, Massachusetts for candidate Brown males.

Notes for John Phillips:

John Philips was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts. He married Hannah Brown in 1749 in Southborough, and their first two children were born there. Their last three children were born in Shrewsbury in Worcester County, Massachusetts.

Hannah may have died before 1774, because John married Mary Richards of Southborough in 1774. She had one son, named Isaac Buck, born out of wedlock in 1757. They resided in their later years at least, in Sterling, Massachusetts.

In the 1790 US Census, John Philips is a head of household in Sterling, Massachusetts with one male over age 16 and three females.

There are no probate records for John, Hannah or Mary Philips in the Middlesex County or Worcester County, Massachusetts probate indexes.

Children of Hannah Brown and John Phillips are:

i. Sarah Phillips, born 01 May 1750 in Southborough, Worcester County, MA, (vr).

ii. Jonathan Phillips, born 22 February 1752 in Southborough, Worcester County, MA, (vr).

iii. Joanna Phillips, born 24 August 1755 in Shrewsbury, Worcester County, MA, (vr).

iv. Martha/Patty Phillips, born 20 August 1757 in Shrewsbury, Worcester County, MA, (VR, 84); died after 1820 in probably Sterling, Worcester County, MA. She married Isaac Buck 18 May 1780 in Lancaster, Worcester County, MA (VR, 126); born 27 September 1757 in Southborough, Worcester County, MA, (VR, 23); died 07 February 1846 in Sterling, Worcester County, MA (VR).

v. Elizabeth Phillips, born 15 June 1764 in Shrewsbury, Worcester County, MA, (vr).


Everybody thinks that Massachusetts town records contain every birth, marriage and death in the mid-1700's. In truth, the records are spotty - some towns are very complete, others are not. In this case, there are no Hannah Brown's in the town records that match up well with the known facts.

My own ancestry is through Martha/Patty Phillips, who married Isaac Buck.

If anyone has additions or corrections to this family data, please, please, please, please (shades of James Brown, eh?) email me at

Friday, March 21, 2008

Carringer Family Letters, 1890 to 1900 - Post 2

I have a series of family letters from the parents, brother and aunt of Henry Austin Carringer residing in National City and San Diego in the 1890 to 1900 time frame. Austin's parents and brother resided in Boulder, Colorado during this period of time and there is news of towns people and events in these letters.

The second letter is from Austin's aunt, Helen Brown, in Pennsylvania.

Letter from Helen Brown of Conneautville, PA to Austin and Della Carringer in National City, California. No envelope.

Conneautville, Pa
October 2, 1890

My Dear Auston and Della. I often wonderd why you did not write to me the particulars consirning your Darlings Death and today my letter came back to me had not been calfor and it went to the Dead letter office. I will sende it in this letter and see if you get it. I recived the photo and I think him a butifull child. I no it was harde to Part with him, but you have a Bright future before you for you can go to him and thare will be no tears and no parting forever. O woant that be joyfull to meete to part no more.

Callie has a butifull Boy he can talk everything, and is admired by everyone he is such a good child.

Eugenes has got a Smart Boy for his age they have to children.

I was to your cousin Milow Carringer and they have have Seven children and they are all nice children to and good looking. Milow is getting a long nicely.

Do you like it out thare as well as you did when I was in Boulder. The Apples is afalier here this year. I hope that this will find you both well and hope to here from you Soon. We all send love to you Both.

Your Aunt Hellen Brown.


Poor Helen got the first letter back, but they must have received both of them in the mail because we have them now. She still can't spell! I think the line in the last paragraph means "The apples are a failure here this year." What happened in 1890 for this to happen in Pennsylvania?

Helen looks to be one of those aunts who travels to see her nephews and nieces - she's been to several already (Callie, Eugene and Milo), and was apparently out to Boulder in years past. This family travelled quite a bit, it seems, probably mostly by railroad train.

The Elusive Jerusha --?-- (1750?-1817, who married Burgess Metcalf)

It's National Women's History month, so I am posting some of my most elusive women ancestors in hopes that someone will Google their name and find my post. Ideally, the Googlers will provide me with more information about my elusive female ancestor's ancestry. Realistically, they will commiserate with me about the lack of records and wonder why no researcher has figured the problem out yet.

Family of Jerusha --?--

Jerusha --?-- was born About 1750, and died 09 June 1817 in Piermont, Grafton County, NH. She married Burgess Metcalf before 1772 in probably Piermont, Grafton County, NH, son of Michael Metcalf and Melatiah Hamant. He was born 28 August 1741 in Medway, Norfolk County, MA, and died 26 September 1816 in Piermont, Grafton County, NH.

Notes for Jerusha:

Jerusha (--?--) Metcalf's parents, her birth date and birth place, and her marriage date and place are unknown.

Some researchers claim that her maiden name was Chandler, although, apparently, there are no records for that claim, which may have come from the given name of one of her sons.

Notes for Burgess Metcalf:

Burgess Metcalf moved to Keene, Cheshire, New Hampshire with his family about 1750. He removed to Piermont, Grafton, New Hampshire, and purchased Lot 9 in Range 1 for 70 piunds on 13 August 1773 from Richard Jenness of Rye, New Hampshire. This lot was on present-day River Road.

They early became identified with the work of the church in Piermont. In 1779, Burgess and his son Burgess Jr signed, with others, a paper "to pay the sum of $80 for the support of Publishing the Gospel this present year, according to the Poll, and valuable estate appraised on me by the selectmen of this town of Piermont." In 1803 when the present Congregational Church was organized the name of Burgess Metcalf was one of its members, and his son John was later one of its deacons.

Burgess Metcalf served in the Revolutionary War as an Ensign in the 12th New Hampshire Regiment. He served from 25 September to 26 October 1777, and was at the surrender of Burgoyne.

The census records show the following for the Metcalf families in Piermont andf Grafton County, New Hampshire:

1776 ..... Piermont .......... Burges Medcalf

1790 ..... Piermont (p 36) ...... Burges Medcalf ..... 04 03 07
1790 ..... Piermont (p 30) ...... Samuel Medcalf ..... 01 03 02

1800 ..... Piermont (p 422) ...... Burges Metcalf ..... 1 1 1 1 1 - 0 1 1 0 1
1800 ..... Piermont (p 395) ...... Richard Metcalf ..... 1 0 0 0 1 - 1 0 0 1 1

1810 ..... Piermont (p 364) ...... Burjes Metcalf
1810 ..... Piermont (p 364) ...... Burjes Metcalf Jr.
1810 ..... Piermont (p 364) ...... Cyrus Metcalf
1810 ..... Grafton (p 392) ...... Samuel Metcalf
1810 ..... Hanover (p 312) ...... Sarah Medcalf

Children of Jerusha --?-- and Burgess Metcalf are:

i. Ephraim Metcalf, born About 1770 in Westmoreland, NH; died 08 April 1858 in Newbury, Orange County, VT. He married Martha About 1791.

ii. Samuel Metcalf, born About 1771 in Piermont, Grafton County, NH.

iii. Burgess Metcalf, born 08 August 1772 in Canaan, Grafton County, NH; died 19 December 1831 in Piermont, Grafton County, NH. He married (1) Elizabeth Wait 28 December 1802 in Piermont, Grafton County, NH; born 1782 in Piermont, Grafton County, NH; died 08 January 1825 in Piermont, Grafton County, NH. He married (2) Rachel Taplin 16 March 1826 in Piermont, Grafton County, VT.

iv. Sally Metcalf, born About 1774 in Piermont, Grafton County, NH. She married Edward Chapman 15 July 1794 in Haverhill, Grafton County, NH.

v. Cyrus Metcalf, born 1776 in Piermont, Grafton County, NH; died 03 March 1843 in Irasburg, Orleans County, VT. He married Lydia A. Root 1798 in Piermont, Grafton County, NH; born 23 February 1784 in Piermont, Grafton County, NH; died 28 April 1867 in Irasburg, Orleans County, VT.

vi. Meletiah Metcalf, born About 1778 in Piermont, Grafton County, NH. She married Salmon Niles 16 December 1797 in Piermont, Grafton County, VT.

vii. Mary/Polly Metcalf, born About 1780 in Piermont, Grafton County, NH; died in Aurora, Erie County, NY. She married Amos Underhill 25 March 1801 in Piermont, Grafton County, NY; born 15 April 1772 in Chester, Rockingham County, NH; died 15 October 1865 in Aurora, Erie County, NY.

viii. Joseph Metcalf, born 1781 in Piermont, Grafton County, NH; died 10 March 1796 in Piermont, Grafton County, NH.

ix. Jerusha Metcalf, born About 1789 in Piermont, Grafton County, NH; died 22 December 1864 in Troy, Orleans County, VT. She married John Bickford 04 June 1807 in Piermont, Grafton County, VT; born 31 October 1786 in Gilmanton, Strafford County, NH; died 16 July 1859 in Bakersfield, Franklin County, VT.

x. Michael C. Metcalf, born about 1791 in Piermont, Grafton County, NH.

xi. Chandler Metcalf, born 07 April 1798 in Piermont, Grafton County, NH; died 08 June 1842 in Haverhill, Grafton County, NH. He married Letitia Olmstead 17 December 1827 in Piermont, Grafton County, NH; born 11 May 1804 in Bradford, Orange County, VT; died in Haverhill, Grafton County, NH.


My own ancestry is through Mary/Polly Metcalf, who married Amos Underhill.

If anyone has additions or corrections to this family data, please, please, please, please (shades of James Brown, eh?) email me at

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Carringer Family Letters, 1890 to 1900 - Post 1

I have a series of family letters from the parents, brother and aunt of Henry Austin Carringer residing in National City and San Diego in the 1890 to 1900 time frame. Austin's parents and brother resided in Boulder, Colorado during this period of time and there is news of towns people and events in these letters.

The first letter is from Austin's aunt, Helen Brown, in Pennsylvania.


Letter from Helen Brown of Conneautville, PA to Austin and Della Carringer in National City, California. No envelope.

Conneautville Pa.
May 28, 1890

My Dear Auston & Della.

I recived the Paper containing the Sad news of the Death of your Darling Boy.

I asure you have My Deepe felt Symphaty in this your great tryll in having to part with your Darling Just when he was getting to be so interresting yet we have to Say the Lord will be dun not ours.

Thare is no Death not for him the fair the beautifull you loved your Babe is Safe at home. At Home with God who rains above think of one who careth for all, who loves little children beyond others, and think of the bright and neverending future life of that Dear Babe whose Spirit has passed away but for a brief period, whose soul only waits in Heaven to meete you both from whom he has been parted. I have to commit you to a higher power then mine to that which I cannot.

We all Symphathise with you. May, God bless you and breath into your bosom peace and cheerful resignation.

Ever yours, Aunt Hellen Brown.

Write me the particulars conserning his Death when ever you feel as tho you can.


This letter refers to the death of Austin and Della's first son, Devier David Carringer, noted here.

Dear Helen didn't win any spelling bees, did she? She's nosy, too - she wants all of the details.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

44th Carnival of Genealogy - All About Women!

The 44th Carnival of Genealogy was posted yesterday by Jasia at the Creative Gene blog - the topic was: A Tribute to Women. March is Nation Women's History Month so we are taking this opportunity to pay tribute to women who have made an impact on our lives.

32 genealogy bloggers contributed one or more stories to this archive - there are many excellent posts - please go read all of them and marvel at the diversity, skill, gumption and love of our favorite females. My contribution was Abigail A. (Vaux) Smith - my great-great-grandmother who was the one who traveled across the country between 1858 and 1890 from New York to San Diego.

The next Carnival of Genealogy topic will be: Cars as stars! Next to purchasing a house, a "new set of wheels" was the next most significant purchase for many families. What car played a starring roll in your family history and what roll did it play? Did your family build cars or tinker with them? Did they take "Sunday drives"? What was your first car? Was there a hangout that you frequented in your car? How far back can you document your family's automotive genealogy? Tell us your car stories... front seat or back! ;-) Vroom, Vroom! The deadline for submissions is April 1st.

Submit your blog article to the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

CGSSD Meeting on Saturday, 3/22 - Alan Jones is speaking

The next Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego meeting is on Saturday, March 22, 2008 from 9:00 am to noon. (The meeting is on the 4th Saturday instead of the 3rd Saturday this month). The schedule is:

9:00 - Brief Announcements and user groups for Family Tree Maker and Macintosh

10:15 - A break and refreshments

10:30 - Announcements followed by Program

The Program is "Free Access to Paid Websites at Family History Centers" by Alan Jones. Alan's presentation will cover the following subscription sites that can be accessed free at local Family History Centers:, HeritageQuest Online,, Godfrey Memorial Library and Kindred Konnections. These sites are available at the Family History Center, San Diego located in Mission Valley.

Alan Jones holds degrees in both Business (El Camino College) and Computer Science (Brigham Young University). He currently works as a senior IT consultant for Southern California Edison. He has been involved in family history for over 30 years, serving as an LDS Stake & Ward family history consultant and director of a Family History Center. He completed the Family History Training Program in Provo, Utah, and has taught classes in FHCs, colleges, and genealogy societies, and published several books. He also maintains several genealogy websites. He and his family live in southern Orange County. Alan loves genealogy on the Internet and often gives presentations on related topics. When Alan was a teenager, his dog, Mugs, had a full and complete pedigree chart with all the ancestors verified and certified, but Alan didn’t know all of his own great-grandparents. He and his mother decided they were as important as their dog and began the quest for their ancestors.

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

My thanks to Linda Hervig for faithfully sending out these program notices. This will be an excellent program on a timely subject, although there is a lot to cover. Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend because I'll be in Santa Cruz next weekend. I have explored the web sites mentioned while at the FHC, so I think I have a handle on them. I will be interested in hearing what my colleagues say about this presentation.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Elusive Ann Marshman (1784?-1856, who married John Richman)

It's National Women's History month, so I am posting some of my most elusive women ancestors in hopes that someone will Google their name and find my post. Ideally, the Googlers will provide me with more information about my elusive female ancestor's ancestry. Realistically, they will commiserate with me about the lack of records and wonder why no researcher has figured the problem out yet.


Family of Ann Marshman (1784?-1856) of Wiltshire in England

Ann Marshman was born in about 1784 in Devizes, Wiltshire, ENGLAND, and died about 1856 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND. She married John Richman 08 February 1811 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND (parish). He was born About 1788 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND, and died 25 April 1867 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND, (burial).

Notes for Ann Marshman:

The parentage of Ann Marshman is unknown. From census records, Ann was born between 1781 (age 59 in 1841 census) and 1784 (age 67 in 1851 census). The 1851 census record clearly states that she was born in Devizes.

An Ann Marshman, daughter of Richard and Rebecca (Phipps) Marshman, was baptized at Southbroom Church in Devizes on 20 June 1784. Another Ann Marshman was baptized 30 October 1780 there, daughter of Thomas and Ann (____) Marshman.

If traditional English naming practices were followed by John and Ann (Marshman) Richman, then her parents were James and Sarah Marshman (second son named James, second daughter named Sarah). However, one cannot be sure that the traditional practices were followed. In fact, it is very likely that they were not in this family. On the other hand, they named their third son Thomas and third daughter Ann, and did not name any child Richard or Rebecca.

Another clue may be that a Thomas Marshman was a witness to Ann's wedding to John Richman in Hilperton in 1811. This might be Ann's father, brother, uncle or cousin.

Notes for John Richman:

The parentage of John Richman is unknown. From census records, his approximate birth date is between 1788 (age 52 in 1841 census, age 79 in 1867 on burial record) and 1792 (age 59 in 1851 census). There are no baptisms of a John Richman found in the Hilperton church records in the period 1779 to 1795. However, the church records are fairly sparse during this time (Hilperton, Wiltshire Church Records, Bishop's Transcripts, 1748-1812, FHL Microfilm 1,279,404, Item 13). Searches were also made for Trowbridge and several other nearby parishes during this time period without finding a John Richman born between 1788 and 1792.

If English naming practice traditions were followed, then the parents of John Richman were John and Elizabeth Richman. However, one can't be sure that the practices were followed.

The first record of John Richman is at his marriage by banns to Ann Marshman on 8 February 1811 in Hilperton, in the presence of Thomas Marshman (Hilperton, Wiltshire Church Records, Bishop's Transcripts, 1748-1812, FHL Microfilm 1,279,404, Item 13).

The baptisms of the children of John and Ann (Marshman) Richman are in the Hilperton church records during 1814 to 1825, with John Richman listed as a weaver and/or a laborer (Hilperton, Wiltshire Church Records, Bishop's Transcripts, 1622-1880, FHL Microfilm 1,279,404, Item 14).

In the 1841 Census for Wiltshire, the John Richman family resided on Marsh Lane in Hilperton Marsh. The household included John Richman Senior (age 52, coal hauler), Ann Richman (age 59, weaver), Elizabeth Richman (age 30, weaver), James Richman (age 20, Ag Lab), with a second family in the same dwelling -- John Richman Junior (age 25, Ag Lab), Mariah Richman (age 25, weaver), Elizabeth Richman (age 5), James Richman (age 3) and David Richman (age 9 months).

In the 1851 Census for Wiltshire, the John Richman family resided in Hilperton Marsh, Wiltshire, England. The household included John Richman (husband, age 59, butcher, born Hilperton, Wiltshire), Ann Richman (wife, age 67, born Devizes), Elizabeth Richman (daughter, age 38, weaver, born Hilperton), Mary Richman (granddaughter age 8, born Hilperton), and Rosa Richman (granddaughter, age 3, scholar, born Bath, Somerset) (1851 Census for Wiltshire District 257, taken 31 March 1851, FHL Microfilm 0,220,987, page 267A).

In the 1861 Census for Wiltshire, John Richman (widower, pauper) resided in Hilperton Marsh with his granddaughter.

A copy of a picture purported to be John Richman was provided by Russell Richmond of Putrnam CT and also Barbara Richmond of Washington state, which had been provided by Roma Challis of Hilperton. The picture shows a seated older male. Roma Challis showed the Ambrotype picture (common in the 1850's and 1860's) to the Wiltshire Family History Society several years ago, and one of the members, who was an expert in period clothing, said: "He is wearing a traditional Wiltshire smock, his neckerchief would most likely have been red and his hat was fashionable about 50 years before the picture was done, so he probably had it for years, but kept it for Sunday best. I think you will find he was a farmer as well as a butcher. The smock he is wearing was made in Keevil, a village about four miles from Hilperton."

John Richman died 26 April 1867 in Bradford-on-Avon in Wiltshire, and was buried in Hilperton, listed as "age 79."

Children of Ann Marshman and John Richman are:

i. Elizabeth Richman, born 1812 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND. She married Thomas Hogan.

ii. Sarah Richman, born 03 April 1814 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND (baptism). She married James Thompson.

iii. John Richman, born 13 February 1816 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND (baptism); died 01 June 1884 in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, ENGLAND. He married Maria Mathews 11 October 1835 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND (parish); born about 1816 in Hilperton Marsh, Wiltshire, ENGLAND.

iv. Ann Richman, born 08 March 1818 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND (baptism). She married John Hall.

v. James Richman/Richmond, born Bef. 08 April 1821 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND, (baptism); died 20 December 1912 in Putnam, Windham County, CT, (vc). He married Hannah Rich 07 September 1845 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND, (parish); born 14 April 1824 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND; died 07 August 1911 in Putnam, Windham County, CT, (vc).

vi. Thomas Richman, born 22 June 1821 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND (baptism); died 11 September 1844 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND (burial).

vii. Mary Richman, born 22 June 1823 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND (baptism); died before March 1825 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND.

viii. Mary Richman, born 23 March 1825 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND (baptism); died 22 May 1825 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND (burial).


Unfortunately, the Parish Registers for Devizes and Hilperton are not complete for this time period, and without some other resource it is impossible to determine the parents of either Ann Marshman or John Richman.

My own ancestry is through James Richman. If anyone has additions or corrections to this family data, please, please, please, please (shades of James Brown, eh?) email me at

Light Genea-musings this week

I will be away from home until Sunday afternoon 3/23 - I'm going to Santa Cruz to help my daughter with her two little guys. I look forward to making more family history!

I don't anticipate a lot of computer time, since a 4 year-old and a two-year old are a full time job for two of us, it seems. I should be able to read my email and my favorite 250 blogs on Bloglines every day (God willing). I have prepared several blog posts and will try to post them each evening after bedtime so that there is some Genea-Musings activity. I hope you like elusive women and family letters!

I am taking my laptop just in case I can find time in a library or other wi-fi hot spot (hmmm, the chai and coffee shop has it!), or just for amusement in a dull moment (that may never happen there!).

I anticipate some big, tremendous announcement that shakes the genealogy world to its foundations - these types of announcements always seem to happen when I'm away from home and cannot instantly analyze or respond to them. I look forward to the genealogy news of the week!!

I encourage my readers to read the posts on my Best of the Genea-blogs posts for the past few weeks, or find someone you haven't read on my blogroll in the right-hand sidebar (I know, I haven't added any for several months - it's on my to-do list - if only I could find it!). Or you could read my daily ramblings about my genealogy exploits on the Geneaholic blog, or the jokes and stories on my Randy's Busy Life blog that I'm too busy to write on. There - I've shamelessly plugged them...

Oh, I changed my colors again (did you notice?) since St. Patrick's Day is over - this is a record for the shortest time I've had a set of blog colors. Someday I'll get brave and convert the blog to the New Blogger style and be able to put fancy photos and graphics in the masthead and on the sidebar.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Chronicling America has 500,000 newspaper pages

Lisa Louise Cooke on the Genealogy Gems News blog provided a description of the Chronicling America newspaper collection (currently 1897 to 1911) at the Library of Congress in her post "79,000 Newly Digitized Newspaper Pages Now Available FREE."

I haven't visited this site more than once, but I need to visit it regularly. The potential benefits for finding news articles about my ancestors, or about people in my one-name studies, is tremendous. As an example, here is a transcription of an article from the Los Angeles Herald, dated 27 October 1907.


"Too Busy

"Parents Ill, Couple Wait 21 Years to Wed

Courtship is Extended Over a Long Period, Owing to Faithfulness of Each to Invalid Father

By Associated Press.
NEW YORK, Oct. 26 -- There is to be a wedding in St. Patrick's church at Richmond, Staten Island, soon, which will bring to a happy close a patient wooing. John Seaver, the prospective bridegroom, and Margaret V. Pfaff, the prospective bride, have had a courtship lasting twenty-one years because of the faithfulness of each to an invalid father.

"Seaver is about 45 years old and Miss Pfaff is in the thirties. Seaver's father died about five months ago, aged 86, and Miss Pfaff's father died a few weeks ago aged 75."


According to the 1930 census, John Seaver was born in 1858 (therefore age 49 in 1907) and Margaret Pfaff was born in 1865 (therefore age 42 in 1907). So they cheated on their ages ... they apparently had no children, and this may be the only article in the newspapers that explain why they waited so long to marry and were childless.

What I really like about the images on this site are that the search terms are highlighted so that you can easily find them. You can also see an OCR rendering of some of the text, or a PDF of the whole page. If you zoom in to just the area of interest, you can click the Print button and get what you see on the screen in the window. When you do this, you get a source citation of the image.

The article above is an excellent example of what you might find in this newspaper archive on the Chronicling America web site. While it is only for 1897 to 1911 now, they will gradually expand the available years.

Have you looked for your family members here? By the way, it's FREE!!!

Thanks, Lisa, for the reminder. Bookmarked. Back to looking for goodies. Randy O'Seaver, over and out.

Using SearchThingy

One of the search boxes that I've not used for awhile on Rootsweb is the SearchThingy. What is that, you ask?

Apparently, Rootsweb has not updated this search capability for awhile. According to the 20 February Rootsweb Review:


"RootsWeb users have created millions of websites. About 10 million, to be more precise.

Some were created by individuals; others by historical societies, libraries, or genealogical groups.

Some are hosted by RootsWeb (freepages), and some are hosted elsewhere but linked to RootsWeb (registered websites) so RootsWeb users can locate them more easily.

They contain everything from information on a particular family to cemetery burial indexes to instructions on how to create your own freepage.

One of these Web pages may have just the information you are looking for. But how do you find it?


In the early days of RootsWeb, Search Thingy was developed to search all of the websites and freepages hosted by and linked to RootsWeb.

However, because of a lack of hardware and server space, it was not possible to keep Search Thingy up-to-date with the thousands of websites constantly being added to RootsWeb. It has been out-of-date for some time.

That has now changed. Thanks to a special RootsWeb developer, I am happy to announce that Search Thingy is up and running—and indexing 10 million websites.

So if someone, somewhere has put information you need on a RootsWeb website, chances are better than ever that you will find it.


Search Thingy is not in the most intuitive spot. Here's how you find it.

Locate the "Search Engines and Databases" heading on the RootsWeb homepage. Click the "Index of All Search Engines and Databases" link below this heading. Click "Search Thingy." It's the second database listed under "Our Most Popular Searchable Indexes."

Previously published in RootsWeb Review: 20 February 2008, Vol. 11, No. 8


Naturally, I had to try this out.

The list of Rootsweb database searches is at The SearchThingy database search box is at

I input [seaver] and received 3,108 matches from over 10 million web pages. Some of them are web pages submitted by volunteers on USGenWeb state and county sites. I found several pages with "new" data for me - now I need to go through all of them and add information to my Seaver database. It is data like this that often solves those brick wall problems that we all have.

Some of the matches are Homepages or Freepages created by Rootsweb subscribers over the years. Some of the links don't work because the web page has been removed recently by a submitter (I found several just in the first 100 matches I checked).

You might want to try the SearchThingy search function before a lot of USGenWeb pages are migrated from the free Rootsweb domain to some other domain.

Unfortunately, the distrust, dislike and fear of will cause a major disruption in the Rootsweb search functions and the USGenWeb project pages for years to come. Links to web pages will have to be changed on county pages and state pages, probably one at a time. Too bad - it was a great system.

Are you reading Rootsweb Review?

I finally realized that I had not received a weekly Rootsweb Review for several weeks, so I checked my subscriptions at and found that somehow I had been unsubscribed. I took the opportunity to unsubscribe from the Ancestry Weekly News for one of my email addresses too.

Then I went looking for the newsletters that I had missed (since February 6, I think, according to my email files). The archives of Rootsweb Reviews are saved by years - the 2008 Archive to date is at

I read the missing Rootsweb Reviews and am happy as a clam at high tide. They have gone to an HTML version of this newsletter, so pictures and other images can be included. I always enjoy "how-to" articles, the "ancestors found" articles and the humor items, and occasionally I re-post one of the articles here on Genea-Musings.

This newsletter is one way to stay in touch with what is happening on Rootsweb. With the incorporation of Rootsweb into the Ancestry domain, I hope that these newsletters continue to be published, because they serve an excellent purpose.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Family Tree Magazine - May 2008

The May 2008 issue of Family Tree Magazine (Volume 9, Issue 3) came last week in the mail, and I've been reading it while watching my TV shows. As always, there are some excellent articles in this issue. The May 2008 Table of Contents includes:


* "Desperately Seeking Surnames" by Nancy Hendrickson - page 14. Our complete guide to last names explains how to uncover their meanings, trace their origins and learn more through surname studies and societies. Plus: don't fall for fake surname histories!

* "Citizen Gain" by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack - page 20. Finding your ancestors' naturalization records can pay big research dividends. We explain how to retrace your relatives path to citizenship. Plus: A PDF timeline of naturalization laws.

* "The Weather Report" by Maureen A. Taylor - page 26. Wondering why your kin quit farming or moved away from the coast? Perhaps the answer lies in these 10 life-altering weather events.

* "Clearly Canadian" by Lisa A. Alzo - page 42. From Alberta to the Yukon, jump-start your genealogical quest with our Canadian research guide. The web links are here.

* "Hometown Advantage" by Rick Crume - page 50. Follow these seven strategies for studying ancestral places to give yourself a genealogical edge.


* "Out on a Limb" by Allison Stacy - page 4. State guides go digital.

* "Making Connections" - page 5. Readers respond to Family Tree Magazine.

* "Branching Out" edited by Diane Haddad. What's new in discovering, preserving and celebrating your family history, including: One community's effort to save an endangered cemetery; Periodical Source Index update; Past passports on; World Vital Records' global expansion.

* "History Matters" by David A. Fryxell - page 10. Jarring developments.

* "State Research Guides" - page 33. Pullout guides for North Carolina and Nebraska.

* "Now What?" - page 56. Our experts answer your questions about railroad records and ancestral incarcerations.

* "Preserving Memories" by Grace Dobush - page 60. Secrets to save dear diaries.

* "Everything's Relative" - page 62. Tales from the lighter side of family history.

* "Brick Wall Busters" by Maureen A. Taylor - page 64. Is this ancestor actually American Indian?

* "The Toolkit" edited by Allison Stacy - page 66. Reviews and roundups of the latest, greatest family history resources: Tips for tagging and searching digital photos; A genealogist's guide to print-on-demand publishing; GeneTree Web site review; The Book Report.

* "Uprooted" by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack - page 72. Test your genealogy IQ on Robert Frost's family tree.

The magazine has announced that you will be able to buy a complete compilation of the State Research Guides series on CDROM. They've enhanced the digital guides with active Web links and bookmarks for easy navigation. See for information. NOTE: not on the web site yet on 16 March.

They do have CDROMs with the complete 2006 magazine ($24) and 2007 magazine ($20) available at These would be especially useful for persons always on the go with a laptop. I download the yearly list of articles in PDF format to my hard drive so that I can semi-quickly find an article on a specific topic - by checking this index, then finding the magazine issue and flipping the pages. It might be easier to have the CDs on hand!

You can download the links mentioned in the magazine articles here .

I always enjoy reading Family Tree Magazine because there are so many interesting and useful articles with web links provided. My problem is info-glut - there is just too much information for me to remember it all, and I don't have a great system for keeping track of all of it.

Best of the Genea-Blogs - March 9-15, 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.

* "Billions of People in Over 100 Databases On-line for only $50 per Year!" by dick Hillenbrand on the Upstate New York Genealogy blog. Dick covers the New York State Library online holdings and says that it is a really good place to research for New York ancestry. Sounds like it to me!

* "Article in March/April 2008 Digital Genealogist" by Mark Tucker on the ThinkGenealogy blog. Mark is published! Congratulations! I can't wait to read the article "The Future of Genealogy Software is Not Hard to See." Judging from the list of software and web sites listed in his post, I can only guess what Mark sees.

* "New eBook: I Have The Results of My Genetic Genealogy Test, Now What?" by Blaine Bettinger on The Genetic Genealogist blog. Blaine has written a FREE 28 page book about interpreting genetic tests especially for non-geneticists. He offers it for download - just click on the book image to obtain the PDF file asnd save it to your computer or print it out. Excellent work, and very generous too!

* "Working with Images in AncestryPress" by Stefanie Condie on the Blog. Stefanie has been steadily improving the capabilities of ancestryPress to produce coffee table quality family history books - this describes some of the recent changes to the process of working with photos and images.

* "More Hispanic Resources" by Pat Richley on the DearMYRTLE blog. Pat provides links to books, blogs and web sites for Hispanic genealogy resources. This is especially useful to me being involved with the "southwesternmost genealogy society in the USA."

* "Family Search Developers Conference Reports" by Renee Zamora on the Renee's Genealogy Blog. Renee summarizes some of the talks at the recent developers conference, and links to longer summaries blogged live by several bloggers. I don't understand all of this, but I appreciate Renee providing the links.

* "Baby Name Meme" by Lori Thornton on the Smoky Mountain Family Historian blog. Lori answers my question about baby names you would give to your children, even though she doesn't have any. It's a nice list. Thanks, Lori, for participating in one of the shortest meme themes ever!

* "Regrets and Actions to be Proud Of ..." by Jessica Oswalt on the Jessica's GeneJournal blog. Jessica responded to my meme theme about regrets and successes with excellent ideas. She also responded to the Baby Name meme with "Baby Names ..." Well done.

* "The Art of Painting Pictures" by Terry Snyder on the Desktop Genealogist blog. This is a really beautiful tribute to Terry's mother bursting out of a scary story from Terry's life. I loved it - Terry is a gifted writer. [I know, I broke my rule about Carnival entries...too bad - I loved it!]

* "Finding Charlie Stone" by Lee Drew on the FamHist blog. Lee tells a wonderful story of finding long-sought records in a distant place and a long-lost cousin in this post. There's wisdom here for all researchers - finding a Charlie Stone can be a God-send.

* "Resolving Conflicting Evidence in the Spelling of Names" by Steve Danko on Steve's Genealogy Blog. Steve answers Jasia's question about which name spelling(s) to use in her genealogy database, and provides sound reasons for doing so - by applying the Genealogical Proof Standard.

* "Raise Your Pint to St. Patrick ..." by Janice Brown on the Cow Hampshire blog. Janice is the dance-mistress of JibJab videos starring genea-bloggers - view Terry, Jasia, Janice, Charlotte and footnoteMaven doing Irish dancing. Excellent work.

I encourage you to go to the blogs listed above and read their articles, and add their 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!