Saturday, March 29, 2008

Carringer Family Letters, 1890 to 1900 - Post 6

This series of family letters is 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 (David Jackson and Rebecca (Spangler) Carringer and brother (Edgar, unmarried) resided in Boulder, Colorado during this period of time and there is news of towns people and events in these letters.

The sixth letter is from Austin's mother, Rebecca Carringer, in Boulder.


6. Letter from Rebecca Carringer of Boulder, Colorado to Austin and Della Carringer in San Diego, California. No envelope.

Boulder Colo Mar 13 [18]97

Dear children your good letter found us all better. My side hurts me some yet and between my shoulder aches but my limbs is better then they have bin since last fall and pa is better but he dont do any thing but feed the chickens and cary out the ashes just such little things like that. Now Austin there is know use in talking we cant go until we sell and cant sell until some one comes to by now it is four weeks since we put in the add and there has not any one bin here yet and we have it in agents hands. When the weather gets good some one may come but this is the last week we will have it in the paper for we have not got the money to spare.

Now I will tell you have much there is against the place. There 1500 [could be 2500, overmarked] on this 2 ackers that is the old debt and a year ago this winter and fall on account of my sickness we had to get 50050 so you see if we have to sell one lot we can get enough pay it all off but as long as we can pay the ins[urance] we can have the money but we will do every thing we can to sell so if it is the Lords will we will sell and if we have to stay here and die there will be some way provided for us. We wont dy alone for I think we can get one to do the work if we have to stay we are going to sell the big wagan if we can for we don’t need it now when Pa is not able to haul.

14. This is a bright morn with snow on the ground and we need all of it. There was a fire in Macks house Friday morn it burnt up his bed we are not shure how it caught fire he had some old close hanging against the chimney over the stove pipe hole it had a cap on it so it might of caught from that he takes his meals over town and sleeps there in the up stairs room and he had not gone more than an our when Mr Walton saw the smoke a little more it would got the start of them and not having watter it would of burnt the house down and I think that was Macks idea as he will have to leave the house soon as it will be sold this week Mack wont put it off any longer we don’t say what we think – tell Lyle the snow boy is all around the house this morning. There has been more Deaths in Boulder this winter then has bin any winter since we have bin here. No more winter.

Love to all from Parents and brother.


It appears that DJ and Rebecca Carringer want to sell their place - they have put an advertisement in the newspaper but have had no takers. They apparently have a mortgage on the house and owe money on it. The "50050" is a puzzle to me - it may be $500.50 but I can't tell. The weather and their physical health situation dominates these letters. The big news is the fire at Mr. Mack's house.

The Elusive Mary Hoax (ca1768-1850, wife of Martin Carringer)

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 Mary/Maria Magdalena/Molly (Hoax/Houx) Carringer --

Mary/Maria Magdalena/Molly Hoax/Houx was born About 1768 in MD, and died 31 August 1850 in Sandy Creek, Mercer County, PA. She married Martin Carringer March 1785 in probably Westmoreland County, PA. He was born about 1758 in probably PA, and died 25 January 1835 in Sandy Creek, Mercer County, PA.

Notes for Mary/Maria Magdalena/Molly Hoax/Houx:

The only clues available for the ancestry of Mary Magdalena (Molly) Hoax (or Houx?) are the Revolutionary War Pension file data which state she was age 71 in 1839, and the 1850 U.S. census record which shows a Mary Caringer, aged 82 born in Maryland, living in the house of Henry Caringer. This defines Mary's birth year as 1767-1768.

The god-parents of their first child, Jacob Carringer, were Nicolaus and Barbara Hack (from German Church records of Westmoreland County, PA) which may be a phonetic version of Hoax (or Houx?), just as Hoax may be a phonetic spelling of Hoaks or Hokes.

There was a Theodore Frederick Houx who had a son Mathias Houx born in 1759 in Frederick, Frederick, Maryland. Mary (Molly) may have been related to this Houx family.

There are many families with surnames like Hack, Houks, Hokes, Houx, Houcks, Hauck, Hough, Hout, Hoat, etc. in Pennsylvania and Maryland in the 1760-1790 time frame, and it may be impossible to determine Mary's ancestry without definitive land or probate records.

Notes for Martin Carringer:

The ancestry of Martin Carringer is a mystery. There appear to be no church records, town records, or other records which record his birth or baptism. It is probable that he was born in Pennsylvania to parents of German heritage. There were a number of persons with the surname Carringer, Garringer, Kerringer, Gehringer, Gerringer, or variants living in Pennsylvania and Maryland in the period 1750-1780.

After the Revolutionary War, he was a resident of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Church records ("The German Church Records of Westmoreland County, PA 1772-1791" by Paul Miller Ruff, 2nd edition, pub. 1980) show the birth and baptismal records of four of their children:

* Joh. Jacob, born 1 October 1785, baptized 16 October 1785, parents Marthinius Geringer and Maria Magthalena, sponsors Nicolaus and Barbara Hack,

* Maria Elisabetha, born 6 September 1789, baptized 25 December 1789, parents Martin Gehring and Magdalena, sponsors Thomas Weickert and Maria Elisabetha,

* Catherina, born 17 July 1792, baptized 26 May 1793, parents Martin Gehringer and Maria, sponsor Maria Catherine Weis

* Georg, born 5 February 1795, baptized 9 June 1795, parents Martin Geringer and Magthalena, sponsors Johannes Grub and Sussana.

Under an Act of the General Assembly of 24 February 1785, distributing the donation lands promised the troops of the Commonwealth, Martin Carringer received Warrant No. 941, containing 200 acres, located in District No. 5 in what is now Perry Township, Mercer County, PA. It was surveyed 3 October 1785 by Benj. Lodge, D.S., and is described as in the County of Westmoreland. The warrant was drawn for Martin Carringer by William Turnbull on 28 August 1797. Martin Carringer went to his land in the wilderness and built a cabin in 1795 or early 1796. The land remained in his family to the third generation.

Martin Carringer also receives prominent mention in the "History of Mercer County, Pennsylvania", published in Chicago by Brown, Runk & Co in 1888:

"Mention will be made of one early pioneer, whose life was a succession of eccentric thoughts and equally as eccentric actions. Reference is made to Martin Carringer. He was an old Revolutionary War veteran, whose entrance into (Perry) township dates back, according to the best authenticated accounts, to the year 1796. Some assert that Carringer arrived as early as 1795, and built a cabin. If this could be verified it would unquestionably establish him as the earliest settler in the county. But however the mere date may be, he is fairly entitled to rank among the very earliest pioneers. He settled on donation lot No. 941, which had been granted to him from the commonwealth on account of his services in the Revolution. He was a German, as the name indicates, and was known, in later years, after settlements had been made about him, for his wonderful kindness. He was extremely generous, but his generosity was only extended to the poor and helpless. All worthy public enterprises received his hearty support, and all unworthy ones were as readily met with his vehement opposition. It is seldom in the history of any community that a character is found which deserves higher encomiums than those which even his neighbors and associates bestowed on Martin Carringer" (p. 568).

"Martin Carringer was a native of Westmoreland County, Penn. and came to this county in 1796; was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. He settled in Perry Township, and died in 1838. He was the father of Jacob, George, Henry and Joseph, all dead. Jacob was in the War of 1812. George was born in Westmoreland County, and married Isabella Montgomery. He was an early member of the militia. He died in 1876, aged 81 years and was the father of the following children: John, George, Emily, Maude (deceased), Milton, Isabella, married Humphrey Orr, James, deceased, was in the war, Harvey and Jane, wife of Stephen Feather; Isabella Montgomery, wife of George Carringer, died September 24, 1888, aged 85 years, making a residence on the farm they first settled on 67 years." (p. 1119-1120)

He was officially listed as a Pennsylvania Revolutionary War pensioner on 19 June 1824, when he was 75 years of age. His widow was allowed her pension in 1839 after his death, a resident of Sandy Creek township and 71 years of age. Martin Carringer's Revolutionary War pension file abstract reads:

"CARRINGER, Martin, Molly, W6905 BLW 1259-100, PA line, soldier enlisted in Westmoreland Cty PA, soldier applied 12 Apr 1824 Mercer Cty PA aged 65, soldier married Mary "Molly" Hoax in May 1785 and soldier died 25 Jan 1835 in Mercer Cty PA and widow applied there 8 Feb 1839 a resident of Sandy Creek Twnshp PA aged 71 and widow died there 31 Aug 1850. Children were Jacob, born 1 Oct 1785, Lizbet born 6 Sept 1789, Katharine born 18 Jan 1792, George born 5 Sept 1795, Calli born 9 Mar 1797, Henrick born 6 June 1800, Soloman born 24 Aug 1802, Joseph born 22 Oct 1805. Also shown was a grandchild Tastet born 13 May 1811 and died 27 Aug 1820; soldier's son George signs affidavit 28 Aug 1851 Mercer Cty PA, surviving children at widow's death were Jacob Carrigan, Elizabeth McCartney deceased in 1851, Catherine Cazbe, George, Henry and Joseph Carrigan. Soldier's daughter Elizabeth McCartney died 14 Nov 1850". (Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files" by Virgil D. White, pub. 1990)

Children of Mary Hoax/Houx and Martin Carringer are:
i. Johann Jacob Carringer, born 01 October 1785 in Westmoreland County, PA; died 03 September 1865 in Sandy Creek, Mercer, PA (gravestone). He married Elizabeth About 1808 in probably Westmoreland County, PA; born 19 September 1785 in PA (age at death 83y 0m 20d); died 09 October 1868 in Sandy Creek, Mercer, PA (gravestone).
ii. Maria Elisabetha/Lizbet/Elizabeth Carringer, born 06 September 1789 in Westmoreland County, PA; died 20 November 1850 in Perry, Mercer, PA (gravestone). She married McCartney Bef. 1815 in prob. Mercer County, PA.

iii. Katharine Carringer, born 18 January 1792 in Westmoreland County, PA; died after 1860 in Conneaut, Crawford County, PA. She married Abraham Kazebee before 1825 in prob. Mercer County, PA; born in NY.

iv. George Carringer, born 05 February 1795 in Westmoreland County, PA (age at death 80y 11m 24d); died 30 January 1876 in Perry, Mercer, PA (gravestone). He married Isabella Montgomery 25 January 1821 in Mercer County, PA; born 1803 in Westmoreland County, PA; died 24 September 1888 in Mercer County, PA.
v. Calli/Clara Carringer, born 09 March 1797 in Sandy Creek, Mercer County, PA; died before 1810 in Mercer County, PA.

vi. Heinrich/Henry Carringer, born 06 June 1800 in Sandy Creek, Mercer County, PA; died 10 August 1881 in Columbus City, Louisa County, IA (gravestone, "age 78"). He married Sarah Feather Bef. 1825 in Mercer County, PA; born 07 June 1804 in Warren, Trumbull County, OH; died 09 April 1848 in Perry, Mercer County, PA (gravestone).
vii. Soloman Carringer, born 24 August 1802 in Sandy Creek, Mercer County, PA; died after 1820.

viii. Joseph Carringer, born 22 October 1805 in Sandy Creek, Mercer County, PA; died 08 June 1869 in Columbus City, Louisa County, IA. He married Anna Maria/Mary Ann Spangler About 1835 in Mercer County, PA; born 10 January 1818 in Winchester, Frederick County, VA; died 30 December 1869 in Mercer County, PA.


I truncated the notes for Martin Carringer a bit - I have more about his possible parents, his pension file and his military service records.

My own ancestry is through his son, Henry Carringer who married Sarah Feather.

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

On the road again...

Linda and I are going to Anaheim for two nights to celebrate our 38th wedding anniversary a week late, since I was in Santa Cruz last weekend. We were going to spend this weekend in a fancy hotel in downtown San Diego and experience two Padres games on opening day weekend. But there are conventions in town, and the Omni Hotel didn't have the Opening Day Special like last year.

Our daughter called and said "let's go to Disneyland together on Sunday - Lolo wants to go on the rides with you again." We're real easy ... it didn't take us long to say "great - we'll meet you there" and book a nice hotel (with a pool, spa, wireless internet, king bed, nice restaurant, etc.) for two nights. We'll come home on Monday in time to go to the Padres opening night game at 7 p.m.

I am taking my laptop and should be able to check email and Bloglines. I have prepared several posts with Carringer Family Letters and Elusive Females just to keep the Genea-Musings blog embers glowing...

I will hold my "Best of the Genea-Blogs" post until I get home on Monday.

I'm really looking forward to riding Buzz Lightyear again with Lolo - she is a great driver - we always go around in circles while trying to hit the targets.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Now we know what happened to Virgil

You never know how or when something you blog about comes back to visit you. Sometimes it gives you a warm feeling that you've helped somebody.

Over a year ago, I found a newspaper article about a 13 year old boy who walked into a police station and asked for help, and posted "Tough times in Iowa." I wondered about him the next day, and posted "What happened to Virgil?" Sharon Elliott and I found some data about his wives and child and I posted it. In my post, I sincerely hoped that he had experienced a happy and successful life.

His grandson saw the post recently, and wrote a comment. It read:

"Louis Virgil Corporon was my grandfather. He fought in both world wars. WWI in 142nd field artillery battalion, WWII in the SeaBees. He married Nettie Barton in 1942 and went on to the war.

"He returned to Cushing Oklahoma after the war and raised Nettie's three daughters as his own. He retired from Deep Rock refinery in 1962.

"At the time of his passing in 1975, he had 8 grand children and one great grandson.

"He was the finest grandad that ever lived and was my best friend."

How about that. He served in the military in two wars, worked hard, and raised a family. I am ecstatic that he had a successful life and that there are people who remember and appreciate him. We should all be so lucky.

You never know what life holds when you are 13 years old and down on your luck. It looked like early in his life that fate gave Louis Virgil Corporon lemons, but then he made lemonade out of it, and shared it with a lot of people.

I need to share this with my friend who was Louis' cousin, and is also a cousin to his progeny.

Earth's cities at night

Stepping away from genealogy for a minute - I watched a 10 minute video done by an astronaut with images taken from outer space of many of the Earth's cities at night. It is fascinating. The video is at (I haven't figured out how to embed it yet) -

In a family history vein - we need to remember that just 100 years ago the Earth was essentially dark at night. There were limited areas with electric lights, but they were not concentrated over large areas like this video shows. Of course, the stars were a lot easier to see then in the cities at least!

Traffic for Genealogy Social Network Sites

Here are the Reach (unique visitors each day per million Internet users) and Page View (daily views per million Internet users) statistics charts from for five of the genealogy social networking web sites over the last three years -

* (#3 on Kory Meyerink's Top 50)

* (#18)

* (#6)

* (not rated)

* (not rated)

Since the graphs are somewhat hard to read, I will list the average Reach (per Million Internet users) and page views (per user) for the last three months for all of the sites listed in my Social Networking post yesterday (plus Ancestry's statistics for comparison purposes) -

* -- Reach = 197.5, Page Views = 15.4 per user

* - Reach = 0.25, Page Views = 4.0 per user

* - Reach = 1.45, Page Views = 2.8 per user

* - Reach = 15.0, Page Views = 1.7 per view

* - Reach = 1.15, Page Views = 4.9 per user

* - Reach = 39.0, Page Views = 11.4 per user

* - Reach = 2.45, Page Views = 8.3 per user

* - Reach = 61.0, Page Views = 10.2 per user

* - Reach = 0.8, Page Views = 5.9 per user

* - Reach = 0.01, Page views = 6.0 per user

* - Reach = 77.5, Page Views = 10.5 per view

* - Reach = 272, Page views = 5.8 per user

* - Reach = 0.2, Page Views = 4.4 per user

* - Reach = 5.05, Page Views = 2.4 per user

* - Reach = 0.1, Page Views = 9.9 per user

* = 0.9, Page Views = 3.6 per user

* - Reach = 0.95, Page Views = 5.4 per user

* - Reach = 1.0, Page Views = 3.3 per user

The charts are always interesting, aren't they? You can see that Geni made a big splash in early 2007 when they started up. MyHeritage made a splash with their face recognition in 2006, and their traffic increased significantly until the last 6 months. FamilyLink started small without a splash and is slowly gaining traffic. MyFamily and GenesReunited have steadily lost Reach similar to other long-lived genealogy web sites.

The site that surprised me was . I thought that this site would take off because of the Wiki feature. But it hasn't - there is not even enough traffic to show up on the graph.

My observation is that each of these social networking sites are very well done in a creative sense - they look great, have wonderful capabilities, and should appeal to users. However, many of them have very limited Reach. If the purpose of these sites is for researchers to find data and to really share data, then there are way too many of them. Practically, researchers will post their information to either the most popular sites or the ones with the most data on them.

2008 Artistry of Genealogy Awards

The Photo Preservation Center announced the 2008 Artistry of Genealogy Awards, sponsored by The list of award winners is at

The announcement says:

"Serving as a source of inspiration and recognition to showcase outstanding genealogy websites, the 2008 Artistry of Genealogy Awards (AGA) recognizes excellence in preserving family history through genealogy. The categories and winners were selected by consumers across the country who had their photo memories digitally preserved by

"Technology has enhanced the interest in learning about genealogy - the art of studying family history and investigating the ancestry of a family tree. While there are tens of thousands of Blog postings and websites dedicated to genealogy, The Photo Preservation Center - an educational division of - has commissioned a study to reveal the very best sites and is announcing the winners of the 2008 Artistry of Genealogy Awards."

Several genealogy bloggers received awards -

* Jasia's Creative Gene blog for "Best Ongoing Family History Story"

* Miriam Midkiff's Ancestories1: Stories of My Ancestors blog for "Best Personal Genealogy Blog."

* Renee Zamora's Renee's Genealogy Blog for "Best Personal Genealogy Blog"

* Diane Haddad's Genealogy Insider blog for "Best Genealogy Reference Tool."

* Richard Eastman's Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter for "Best Genealogy Newsletter."

Congratulations to these award winners - they all do a wonderful job. Overall, there were 15 awards given for Artistry of Genealogy - go read the entire list.

I was curious about the award for "Most Popular Genealogy Database" to I had never heard of this site. However, it is part of the web site empire of Illya Daddezio. I also discovered Illya's new blog there!

Thanks to Becky Wiseman for being the first genea-blogger to "find" this announcement on her Kinnexions blog.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Jasia: Ready for the Blogalanche?

Somebody (probably Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit) has coined the term blogalanche for the avalanche of visits to a blog site when the blog is named or referenced in the media, publications or on a web site. For most genealogy bloggers, the blogalanche is temporary and welcome - the traffic spikes quickly and then subsides. But some readers like what they see and bookmark the blog or put it into their blog reader, resulting in a wider audience for the blog.

Jasia's Creative Gene blog, and the Carnival of Genealogy, just received major publicity - a half page article by Janice Nickerson on page 7 of the May 2008 issue of Internet Genealogy, a digital magazine. The paragraph I really liked was this

"If you’re new to the “blogosphere” and want a quick way to find genealogy bloggers, and see what their posts are like, this is a great way to find a whole
bunch of quality writers and get their takes on the latest theme. If you’re a
blogger who writes about genealogy-related topics, this is just the ticket for getting your work noticed, and learning from other like-minded people."

Excellent summary. I totally agree.

Congratulations, Jasia, for the article and thank you for all you do to promote the Carnival and genealogy. I hope you enjoy your blogalanche.

Genealogy Social Networking Sites

Has anyone seen a "complete" list of genealogy social networking sites recently? Kimberly Powell on the About:Genealogy blog has a list (date unknown), and there is a fairly recent list by Rick Crume that appeared in the January 2008 Family Tree Magazine. More social networking sites become available monthly, it seems, and I'm struggling to keep up with them.

Here is a list, in alphabetical order, for the sites I've found so far (Kimberly's plus Rick's plus my own search). Some of these sites are commercial - they require a subscription, but many of them are absolutely free.

* Amiglia -

* Member Trees -

* Famillion -

* Famiva -

* FamilyLink -

* Find My Past -

* Footnote -

* Genes Reunited -

* Genetree -

* Geni -

* Kincafe -

* My Trees/Kindred Konnections -

* Living Genealogy -

* MyFamily -

* MyHeritage -

* NokTree -

* Our Story -

* Shared Tree -

* Story of My Life -

* We Relate -

* Zooof -

You can read Kimberly's and Rick's articles for details about them, or click on the links and read about them yourself.

The list above does not include Pedigree Databases - Rick Crume has a list of them at

I have my family trees on Ancestry as a Private Member Tree, FindMyPast, MyHeritage and WeRelate. I receive notices every once in awhile that there is a match with another user on MyHeritage, and almost daily emails from my Ancestry Member Tree asking for more information (because my tree is private, they can't see it, only query me about it).

What other social networking sites for genealogy research should be on this list?

Any opinions on the "best one" to use? What criteria should I use to decide on one to use? Is one site better than another for searching for common ancestors, having a family web site, or posting family photos and stories.

Free Genealogy Database Site Traffic

Here are the Reach (unique visitors each day per million Internet users) and Page View (daily per million Internet users) statistics from for five highly-rated free genealogy database web sites over the last three years -

* (#5 on Kory Meyerink's Top 50)
* (#7)
* (#14)
* (#16)
* (#17)

Since the graphs are somewhat hard to read, I will list the average Reach (per Million Internet users) and page views (per user) for the last three months (plus Ancestry's statistics for comparison purposes

* -- Reach = 197.5, Page Views = 15.4 per user

* - Reach = 59.5, Page Views = 7.6 per user

* - Reach = 43.5, Page Views = 5.0 per user

* Reach = 6.45, Page Views = 15.3 per user

* - Reach = 7.1, Page Views = 3.3 per user

* - Reach = 5.65, Page Views = 1.9 per user.

The overall trend for each of these web sites is similar to that of Ancestry - a slow and steady downward trend in Reach and Page Views over the last 3 years, with a plateau of almost constant Reach in the past six months or so.

My opinion is that this downward trend and plateau reflects the static nature of these sites - they are not adding significant content on a regular basis.

The exception to that opinion is which is adding new content gradually in the Record Search part of the Labs section, and the New FamilySearch testing that is ongoing (which not visible to non-LDS members). When the "rest of the genealogy world" discovers the Record Search databases and is permitted to access New FamilySearch, the total traffic will go up significantly. provides a breakdown of the sub-domains for each web site - for the traffic on each sub-domain are (last 3 months):

* - 85%

* - 12%

* - 1%

* Other subdomains - 1%

I have several more of these analyses to post in the next few days - I'm trying to group them by function (e.g., commercial database, free database, etc.). I anticipate doing this every twelve months or so, unless something really interesting happens (which I anticipate with excitement!).

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"English Research" presentation by June Hanson

June Hanson was our speaker today at the Chula Vista Genealogical Society monthly meeting. Her topic was "English Research." June's CV is posted at

June provided an overview of research techniques and resources for England and Wales. Not for Scotland or Ireland. She used overheads sparingly to illustrate different types of records. June's outline of English Research included:

* Find United States records that provide clues for English ancestors and localities - vital, immigration, census, church, land, probate, newspapers, cemeteries, etc.

* Use Civil Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths in England and Wales - 1837 to the present. She described the process of finding names in the indexes, then obtaining the records by mail from England for a price. There is no other way. The indexes are available on microfilm at the FHC, on Rootsweb at or Certificates with the vital record information cost 10 pounds each and can be ordered online for delivery by mail at

* Census data is available from 1841 to 1901, with 1911 coming online soon. The census indexes and images are available in the Ancestry World subscription (free at the FHC), in the Ancestry Library Edition (free at some local libraries, including San Diego and Chula Vista) and on English commercial sites like

* Church records are the most complete source for christenings, marriages and burials from 1538 to 1837, and even later. Most church Parish records have been filmed by the LDS and are available on microfilm. Some parish records have been extracted and are in the LDS IGI. There are other church records that may be helpful if they are available - Bishops' Transcripts, Vestry Minutes, Welfare, etc.

* Probate records are excellent if they can be found, since only about 10% of people left wills. Until 1858, wills were handled by the Prerogative Courts of York and Canterbury. Canterbury wills have been filmed by the LDS, and can be searched at After 1858, the government has archived wills.

* Other sources mentioned were Victoria County Histories (in San Diego, available at UCSD and SDSU libraries), Local English Genealogical and Historical Societies, Manor Court Rolls, Monumental Inscriptions, Newspapers, etc.

June covered a lot of ground in one hour and didn't delve into these topics in much detail. It was an excellent summary of how to do English research. A number of our newer members (and many of our older members) have English ancestry, so this was a useful presentation for all in attendance.

June didn't mention it, but the local British Isles Genealogical Research Association (BIGRA) maintains a collection of books, magazines, periodicals, research guides, and other research aids at the San Diego Family History Center in Mission Valley.

My American Accent

Thomas MacEntee started this! He took a test at

When I got home today, I clicked on the link and took the test.

I have a Midland American accent (about 90% on the scale shown). The site says:

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The site indicates that about 75% of people in the West have this accent - and even the Northeast has it with about 35% of the people. The other regions are in between those extremes.

That's strange... I was born in San Diego, my father and 3/4 of his ancestors were colonial Massachusetts English stock, the other 1/4 was Wiltshire English stock. My mother's father was from western Pennsylvania German stock, and my mother's mother was from northern New Jersey German stock and Ontario-New Jersey colonial English stock.

Each child learns to speak in his first four years or so based on his parents and other close family members and friends. My father came to San Diego in 1940, went into the Navy when I was less than a year old and didn't come back until I was over age 2. I was taken care of by my mother and her parents. Now it makes sense, doesn't it? My father had a New England accent, but not as noticeable as his siblings and parents.

What American accent do you have? Go take the test and blog about it or tell me in Comments here.

Commercial Genealogy Site statistics

Here are the Reach (unique visitors each day per million Internet users) and Page View (daily per million Internet users) statistics from for five commercial genealogy web sites over the last three years -

* (#10 on Kory Meyerink's Top 50)

* (#8)

* (#41)

* (#50)

* (#11)

Since the graphs are somewhat hard to read, I will list the average Reach (per Million Internet users) and page views (per user) for the last three months (plus Ancestry's statistics for comparison purposes )

* -- Reach = 197.5, Page Views = 15.4 per user

* - Reach = 15.5, Page Views = 6.1 per user

* - Reach = 26.0, Page Views = 3.0 per user

* - Reach = 3.55, Page Views = 5.0 per user

* - Reach = 8.4, Page Views = 5.5 per user

* - Reach = 47.0, Page Views = 2.0 per user.

The graphs vividly show the startups for all of these (except Genealogy Today) in 2006 and 2007. WorldVitalRecords, Footnote and FindMyPast had large spikes in the first month of availability.

* shows a slow and steady increase in Reach over the months - perhaps resulting from the steady daily addition of new online databases.

* shows a steady increase in Reach over the months, with several spikes that probably reflect the addition of several large new databases - like the Revolutionary War Pension Files.

* has a very large spike in early 2007 - was that the UK Census records coming available to users? Or the ability to upload user databases and access them for free?

* shows no large spikes in Reach, a slow growth since inception, and essentially no growth in Reach or Page Views over the last three months.

* Reach surprised me - I didn't know that there were that many unique visitors. They also show significant spikes in each of the last four months. I'm not familiar enough with the offerings to opine about the cause of the spikes.

The total average Reach of these five sites is about 100 - about half of Ancestry's Reach. These "active" commercial competitors have significantly cut into Ancestry's market share over the past two years, but they still have a ways to go to equal or pass them.

The great thing is that they are all adding database content on a regular basis and are competing. Competition is great for genealogy researchers and users of free and commercial online databases and services.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Christine Rose Seminar in Carlsbad CA on Saturday, 29 March

I received this notice via email about this event:

It is not too late to register for the Annual Spring Seminar hosted by the North San Diego County Genealogical Society, Saturday, March 29, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, at Carlsbad Senior Center, 499 Pine Street, Carlsbad.

The Society is pleased to present renowned professional genealogist, author, and lecturer Christine Rose. The title is "Finding Ancestors with GPS: Genealogical Problem Solving." Sessions include

* Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case,

* Military Records for Problem Solving,

* County Land Records in Depth,

* Using Little-Known and Neglected Sources: A Potpourri

The seminar cost is $25. for members, $30. for non-members, optional lunch is $7.50. Lunch reservations are requested by March 25; there are also numerous restaurants nearby or you can bring your own lunch.

At-the-Door registration will be accepted pending adequate seating. For information or reservations call Nina Anderson 760-599-9958 or e-mail

Ms. Rose has received "rave reviews" from previous attendees at her seminars. Hope to see you there!

I encourage my Southern California readers to attend this event.

5-year statistics for traffic

After I posted yesterday's graphs showing Ancestry and Rootsweb traffic for the last month, I checked the 5-year charts also.

The Reach, Rank and PageViews charts for,, and are shown below.

Aren't those interesting? They show a steady decrease in the Reach (unique visitors per million Internet users), Rank (among all Internet web sites) and Page Views (per million Internet users) of these web sites.

The graphs surely reflect the increased use of the Internet by more people. The statistics are "per million" users of the Internet - not the number of unique visitors or page views on the web sites.

Ancestry's Rank (among all web sites) has decreased from about #300 in 2003 to about #3,000 in 2007. That's a big drop - surely it reflects the increase in the number of web sites, but I have little doubt that the number of visitors and page views of Ancestry has steadily decreased over the last five years.

It appears that Ancestry's traffic has leveled off in the past six months or so, and is trending slightly upward. This is seen also in the Quantcast chart for the last six months at This seeming correlation between the Alexa and Quantcast charts reinforces my belief that Ancestry has been steadily losing Reach and Page Views over the last five years.

Is the bloom off the genealogy rose? If you check other genealogy web site traffic, you see the same trend downward over the past five years, with the exception of startups like,,,, etc. Has the genealogy research community "found everything there is to find" on Ancestry and the other large genealogy sites?

I can't tell exactly how many unique visitors or page views that Ancestry has had over the years because those statistics aren't available on these web sites in those terms.

The other intriguing point about the 5 year charts are the peaks and valleys. The peaks in Ancestry's traffic are probably the release of large new databases - for instance, the 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 census, the passenger list databases, the military databases, etc.

I wonder what caused the significant Rootsweb traffic increase in late 2005. It can't be just new Christmas computers because the jump doesn't appear in other years.

My conclusion from all of this is that Ancestry has lost significant traffic over the past five years. That probably translates into reduced market share and advertising rates. The Rootsweb to Ancestry domain migration makes a lot of sense, doesn't it? It makes me wonder when and are going to be brought into the domain also.

Carringer Family Letters, 1890 to 1900 - Post 5

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 (David Jackson and Rebecca (Spangler) Carringer and brother (Edgar, unmarried) resided in Boulder, Colorado during this period of time and there is news of towns people and events in these letters.

The fifth letter is from Austin's brother, Edgar Carringer, in Boulder.

Letter from Harvey Edgar Carringer of Boulder, Colorado to Austin and Della Carringer in San Diego, California. No envelope.

Boulder Mar 7th 1897

Dear Bro & sister

I will try to write you a little this time. Ma has been having a time with her hives the past few days. She was in bed two days but is up again & able to take her Regular Rations. Pa is able to do anything has not been over town for over two weeks & I don’t think he ever will be any better for he don’t make any effort to get better only to take a little medicine. We are having Strange weather some days w cold & foggy others snow & others warm & sunshine & some all kinds.

Last Friday night the Office of the New Delano Mining & Drilling Co. upon the Old Jack Brierly Garden south of the Road up the Cannon burned down they had their Assay Offices & Other Offices in it. It wasn’t quite finished & cost about $3000.00 & was All Destroied. I heard it caught from the Assay furnace it is outside the City limit & there wasn’t any water so it had to burn it was a 2 story About 20 x 30 house. Ella has another Girl 3 Girls & a Boy now the last one was born Thursday morn & was a big one too weighed 5-3/4# I got a card from Collins inquiring about his tax he is in Los A & isn’t doing much well he wont do much any where for the next 4 years.

With love from parents & Bro.


Edgar gives a health report on his parents, a weather report, and a current events report. There is also the report on cousin Ella (Robinson) Stanton's family. He finishes with something about taxes and perhaps a political statement "he wont do much any where for the next 4 years."

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ancestry and Rootsweb traffic

Has the switch of the Rootsweb main page (and any other pages) from http://www.rootsweb.xcom/ to made any difference in the traffic on the two web sites? It's been almost a week, I think.

I checked the site and found that I could compare the two sites over several periods of time. Start at

Here is the comparison for the last month for "Reach" - that is unique visitors per million Internet users per day:

Here is the comparison for Page Views.

The first graph shows that the Rootsweb Reach (unique visitors per day) went down simultaneously with the Ancestry Reach going up from March 20 to March 21 - pretty much a 1 for 1 variation of magnitude 40 to 50 per million. But the number of page views for both sites went down from March 20 to March 21.

We can see from the first graph that had more unique visitors than over the last month, which matches the Quantcast numbers I posted several weeks ago noting Rootsweb was #1 in US Reach. But Ancestry had many more page views than Rootsweb, which increased their Rank calculated by Alexa.

The statistics for the last week indicates that -

* 0.021% of Internet users visited this site. That's 1 in 4,760 worldwide Internet users, approximately.

* Rank of 3,267 of all web sites worldwide (combined measure of page views and visitors).

* 14.1 page views per user per day

* 55.2% of all Ancestry users come from the USA, with a rank of 582 in the USA

* 3.8% from United Kingdom, 3.0% from Canada, 2.5% from Puerto Rico, 2.2% from Chile, etc.

The statistics for the last week indicates that -

* 0.026% of Internet users visited this site. That's 1 in 3,850 worldwide Internet users, approximately.

* Rank of 5,638 of all web sites worldwide (combined measure of page views and visitors)

* 3.2 page views per user per day

* 41.2% of all Ancestry users come from the USA, with a rank of 582 in the USA

* 5.6% from United Kingdom, 5.0% from Canada, 3.2% from Dominican Republic, 2.6% from Australia, etc.

There is more data on this site for every web site. Go experiment on this site - it's free and interesting.

I will post several more comparisons in the next week to show how different types of web sites have changed in traffic.

I do have several observations about the data:

* The 0.021% reach for (1 in approximately 4,760 worldwide Internet visitors) is nowhere near the approximately 20% of US residents who claim to be interested in genealogy research. Even if the reach for ALL genealogy web sites was 2% I would be surprised - it's probably more in the 0.2% to 0.5% range (we could find out by adding up all of the Reach numbers one at a time, I guess!). A 0.5% reach would be about 1.5 million people in the US (300 million population).

* The change in domain name for the main Rootsweb page has worked - Ancestry gained more reach and rank, Rootsweb less. As more Rootsweb pages are transferred to the Ancestry domain name, we will see the Rootsweb numbers continue to go down. A factor in this will be the migration of USGenWeb pages off the Rootsweb domain. We'll have to re-visit this in a month or so when the migration is complete.

* 55% of all Ancestry users are in the USA - I'm surprised that this number is that low. I'm even more surprised that 41% of the Rootsweb users were from the USA - my guess would have been something like 80% for both of them.

"English Research" is CVGS Program on March 26

The next General Meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society will be on Wednesday, 26 March at 12 noon in the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library auditorium (365 F Street in Chula Vista). There will be a short business meeting before the program speaker.

Our speaker will be June Hanson who is active in the British Isles Genealogy Research Association (BIGRA) here in San Diego area. Her topic is "English Research." This will be about England only, not Ireland or Scotland - we have several speakers planned for these areas in the next few months.

June's curriculum vitae --

June was born in England and graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles and Central Washington State University. She has a Masters degree from Indiana University - all of her degrees are in French. She taught French at Monte Vista High School in Spring Valley and at San Diego State University. June has also taught genealogy at Foothills and Helix Adult Schools, and for OASIS. She taught for two years in Japan and was a Fulbright Exchange Teacher to France.

June is a member of BIGRA and is currently the England/Wales Interest Group chair. She has served four years as BIGRA President. June is also a member of the BIFHS-USA in Los Angeles, and has been England Chair for that group. She is also a member of the San Diego Genealogical Society and the Southern California Genealogical Society.

We look forward to hearing June's presentation about English Research.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

John McCain's family link to Robert the Bruce

I read about this the other day, but didn't follow the links until tonight. A lot can happen in two days!

John McCain wrote in his book "Faith of My Fathers" that

"... his great-grandparents 'gave life to two renowned fighters, my great-uncle Wild Bill and my grandfather Sid McCain.' Wild Bill, he wrote, 'joined the McCain name to an even more distinguished warrior family. His wife, Mary Louise Earle, was descended from royalty. She claimed as ancestors Scottish kings back to Robert the Bruce.' The passage goes on to say that Mary Louise Earle was also 'in direct descent' from Emperor Charlemagne."

The above summary is from an article in The Guardian newspaper in England published on March 21 titled "John McCain, veteran war hero: yes. But a descendant of Robert the Bruce? Baloney" which goes on to thoroughly trash the claim based on statements from genealogical experts.

Note that the headline is totally erroneous - John McCain didn't claim descent from Robert the Bruce. The Guardian article plainly states that Mary Louise Earle was not his ancestress! A little bit of headline editorial malfeasance there, methinks.

However, I note that there are many documented ancestries from Charlemagne, Robert the Bruce, William the Conqueror and other notable medieval persons. One book with many of them is by NEHGS's Gary Boyd Roberts - "The Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants to the American Colonies or the United States: Who Were Themselves Notable or Left Descendants Notable in American History"

A little Google search by the reporters or the researchers would have turned up this list of Mary Louise Earle's line to Robert the Bruce at
This was found in a soc.genealogy.medieval newsgroup thread here, in a post by D. Spencer Hines (quoting Will somebody, I think).

Whether that line of descent from Robert the Bruce to Mary Earle is correct or not, it is at least available for researchers to verify or dispute. The so-called "experts" could have opined on something concrete. The family connections to the Roberts' book data are in early Virginia and are not well documented, in my opinion. However, the line from Generation 7 back may be well documented (I can't tell from this, and don't have the books - proof to be left to the reader :).

Wouldn't it have made more sense to do some research into the McCain book claim before writing an article and publishing a seemingly unsubstantiated claim that

"What wonderful fiction ... Mary Louise Earle's claims to descent from Robert the Bruce are likely to be fantasy. Earle is not a Scottish name. I think it is incredibly unlikely that name would be related to Robert the Bruce. Charlemagne and Robert the Bruce were not connected - that's ludicrous." -- Dr. Katie Stevenson (in The Guardian article).

A very civil conversation between Dr. Katie Stevenson and Tony Hoskins, an American genealogist, is posted on the soc.genealogy.medieval newsgroup here. Stevenson sticks to the fiction that McCain made the claim of direct descent from Robert the Bruce. Perhaps the skilled reporter led her astray?

Dick Eastman posted a link to the Guardian article without further comment on his blog and had some interesting comments, including this one by "boeufdaisy" -

"For the documented history of McCain's ancestors, the best start is with the Ahnentafel by William Addams Reitwiesner at the linked URL. Via his ancestor Anne Hampden, McCain is a descendant of Edward I, King of England. This means that McCain's medieval ancestry is well known, and that Katie Stevenson's assertion that 'it's virtually impossible to prove ancestry through the middle ages' is complete nonsense."

One list of John McCain's known ancestry is posted by William Addams Reitweisner at

Bravo to D. Spencer Hines, Will, Tony Hoskins and "boeufdaisy" (and probably many others) for catching these errors by the newspaper and the so-called experts, and making rational and civil suggestions and observations.

If I can find this stuff just by Googling for 15 minutes (although it took me longer to write it up), don't you think that The Guardian reporters could have done it also? Inept? Hurried? Biased? Political? Probably all of the above.

Best of the Genea-Blogs - March 16-22, 2008

I'm back from my "vacation in Santa Cruz." I did read my Bloglines every day but didn't write down all the "best" ones since Tuesday. I've spent an hour or so reading the ones I thought I remembered...

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.

* "Cabinet of Curiosities #5: Steampunk Edition" by Tim Abbott on the Walking the Berkshires blog. Naturally, I had no idea who, or what, Steampunk is, or was, or will be. But this collection of blog articles is really interesting. Scary. Thanks, Tim, I think.

* "A St. Patrick's Day Parade of Posts" by Lisa on the Small-Leaved Shamrock blog. Lisa hosts the 5th Carnival of Irish History and Culture" and has a fine list of contributors - all about St. Patrick's Day.

* "My Trip to Ireland, 2001" by Dick Hillenbrand on the Upstate New York Genealogy blog. I love to hear about genealogy travels - and Dick has some great stories for St. Patrick's Day.

* "Let the Sunshine In" by Craig Manson on the Geneablogie blog. Craig discusses Sunshine Week (concerning government documents) and how open records policies and genealogy researchers are affected.

* "Rootsweb/Ancestry CC Meltdown" by GenMaster on the Mad Genealogist blog. GenMaster provides a summary, insight and questions about the removal of some USGenWeb sites from the Rootsweb domain because of the TGN move to put Rootsweb pages in the Ancestry domain. A sane analysis. Good questions.

* "Two Ancestry Presidents Contrasted" by the Insider on the Ancestry Insider blog. Mr. Insider summarizes talks by Paul Allen (former President of Ancestry, currently CEO of and Tim Sullivan (current CEO of The Generations Network). The summary leaves me waiting for more shoes to drop. I would love to have heard or seen both of these talks.

* " Ranked #10 Most Popular Genealogy Site for 2008" by Whitney Ransom on the WorldVitalRecords Blog. This post links to Kory Meyerink's presentation at the recent BYU/FamilySearch conference which lists the Top 50 Genealogy Web Sites - Kory's article is "50 Most Popular Genealogy Web Sites for 2008." I see some surprises (to me) on this list!

* "News from the BYU Computerized Genealogy Conference" by Diane Haddad on the Genealogy Insider blog. This is a wonderful summary of important genealogy news that nobody else has published (that I can find).

* "The 'Busted Bubble' Scare in Parham" by Terry Thornton on the Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi blog. Terry is regularly writing a human interest column for the Amory Advertiser newspaper. This post is about his brush with fate when he was a boy. I wish I could remember things like this from my boyhood.

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!

Carringer Family Letters, 1890 to 1900 - Post 4

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 (David Jackson and Rebecca (Spangler) Carringer and brother (Edgar, unmarried) resided in Boulder, Colorado during this period of time and there is news of towns people and events in these letters.

The fourth 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 Dec 6 96

Dear Children now I have Diner over so will tell you all I know and that is not much Pa is not very well his kidney is bad again. Edgar is better and has gone over to Mullens. I am about as usual we have had a few days of nice weather had some wind Friday but is nice and warm today. Aunt Eliza is not able to walk on her foot yet Harve and the boys has to do the work.

You say Tarvin made seven hundred lots of his Bl Bs how much ground has he in Bl Bs that seems a good deal of money of a small pack as Edgar says he had when Ed was there. Why dont you let some one take yours and work it for what they can get of it and try and get some fruit out on it then when you get ready to go on it you would have some thing to start on and it would be growing in value but when it lays idle it don’t improve a bit … [line missing] work done up and Edgar is folding the close to iron.

It snowed about 3 ins last night and the sun is bright and clear not cold the snow will go off today. I will send you this slip of paper and you can see Boulder is not dead yet. I hope this will find you all well love to all from parents and Brother.


Most of this letter concerns some land that Austin and Della own (perhaps in Cardiff-by-the-Sea north of Del Mar) that has fruit trees on it. I think the Bl Bs reference is to bushels or barrels of things, but I may be wrong.

Austin's father, David Jackson Carringer, has a stomach problem, and they had some snow overnight.