Saturday, October 25, 2008

Visiting the New York Public Library

I lucked out and dodged the rain today - I got to do some genealogy research at the New York Public Library. Linda didn't want to go out, so I braved the subway again and found my way to Grand Central Station and walked the three blocks to the NYPL at 5th Avenue and 42nd Street. When I arrived there, it looked like this:

This is one of those buildings with lots of marble floors, tall square columns, many hallways, many rooms (each with a number), and a real "old world" feel to it. The Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy is in Room 121 on the first floor. Here is the entrance to the Reading Room:

There is a microform room nearby, which has the copy card machine (buy one, and load it up) and the microfilm and microfiche machines.

In the Reading Room, you look up items in the NYPL catalog on the computer, fill out a call slip, hand it in to the staff, and wait just two or three minutes for the item to be delivered at your table spot. The staff is very patient, friendly and helpful, and expert at what they do. Here is the view of the computers and the staff area.

The computers have both the CATNYP library online catalog and access to electronic resources. The electronic resources include Ancestry Library Edition, HeritageQuestOnline,, ProQuest Historical Newspapers, America's Historical Newspapers, Times of London, 19th Century Masterfile, New England Ancestors, New York County Histories Online, Origins Network and Burke's Peerage & Gentry Online.

The "classical" library setting - book shelves and tables for researchers - is remarkably small. There are about 30 table spaces for researchers, and the open shelves have general research books, New York City records, periodicals, and some local history books. All of the other books and microforms in the catalog are in closed stacks - you do the call slip routine. It was not onerous.

To copy something from a book, you need to buy a copy card. They cost 30 cents, but you have to put $1.00 from a bill on the card. I didn't have a $1 bill, so I had to go to the opposite corner of the building to get change (in a machine), then come back and load my card. The staff doesn't allow books older than 1923, or books in poor condition, to be copied. Of course, knowledgeable researchers know that most pre-1923 genealogy and family history books are available in digital format.

I imposed on one of my neighbor researchers to take this picture of me at my "place" - Table 3, Seat 24:

I had hoped to find the book Colonial Families of Long Island, New York and Connecticut Being the Ancestry & Kindred of Herbert Furman Seversmith, by Herbert Furman Seversmith, FASG, published Washington DC, 1953. The NYPL had 6 volumes of it, and I checked out Volume 4, which contained information about my Lewis family. Unfortunately, it did not have information on the LaTourette family of Long Island. I copied the table of contents for all volumes and the Lewis information.

Next on my list was the LaTourette family - I copied pages from LaTourette Annals in America, by Lyman E. LaTourette, LLB, MA, LLD, 1954. This small book seems to be the only one available for this fmaily.

I checked Martin, Putman, Knapp, Seaver, Bresee, Scism and a bunch of other surnames and didn't see anything that I hadn't seen before. Then I remembered my Jones family of the 1600's in Huntington LI that went to Elizabethtown and Woodbridge NJ in the late 1600's. I found a book The Long Island Ancestry of William Jones, of Woodbridge, N.J. by Oliver D. Drake, reprintred from NJHQ 44:77, April 1946. An interesting book, but no mention of my Jeffrey. Drat. I hate it when that happens.

I recalled that my John and Sarah (Martin) Putman had lived in Wantage NJ for some years, so I searched Old Sussex County Families of the Minisink Region, by Charles Edgar Stickney, a 1988 reprint by Virginia Alleman Brown. This had an article with a Martin family (but no Mulford, Putman, Weiser, Morrison, Kinnan, etc. - the other families associated) which I copied.

In three hours, I got quite a bit done in resources that I might not find in a San Diego area library.

My observation was that very few researchers were working in the closed stack books, and hardly anyone was browsing in the open stacks. There were a few researchers in the microform room using the film and fiche machines. Perhaps 80% of those in the genealogy library area were on the Internet in the free-to-access databases.

It was raining when I left the NYPL feeling good about my day. I ducked into the Bryant Park subway station right by the library and caught the 7 train to Queensboro Plaza, where I had to go outside and walk three blocks to the R train. I was back by 4:30 and we went to an early dinner at Pop Diner. They have a 16-ounce Angus Ribeye steak that is great!

My Whaley House Adventure - Fact or Fiction?

I posted The Haunted Whaley House in San Diego two weeks ago as my submittal to the Carnival of Genealogy. In the story, I told about the double-dare to spend a night in the house - we had to sneak in, of course.

One of the twists of the 58th Carnival of genealogy was that the story could be fact or fiction. I only had three comments - Bill and Jasia said Fact, but Apple said Fiction. Which one was it?

Well, Regis did have a show about the Whaley House, it apparently had one or more ghosts, I did have a friend Randy, we did double dare each other, and then we chickened out. We didn't even go down there to check it out. So it was FICTION. About the best I can do - this engineer can't craft scenes and action very well - I'm pretty much a "just the facts in a plain wrapper" type of guy.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Visit to Ellis Island

We were disappointed yesterday when the tour did not stop at Ellis Island even though it advertised that it did. The problem was that the other stops took too long, and we missed the last ferry that went to Ellis Island, so we saw only the Statue of Liberty.

Linda wanted a quiet day, and was really tired from all of the walking yesterday. So she went to the mall, and I took the New York subway back to Battery Park and the ferry to Ellis Island. I left at 10:30 a.m. from Queens on the R subway, and was at Battery Park at 11:30. I bought my ticket, and then found the end of the line - it wrapped all the way around the park - maybe 300 yards long. I passed through security after 1 pm. and caught the 1:30 p.m. boat - it stopped at the Statue of Liberty, and got to Ellis Island at 2 p.m. Here's the view from the boat on approach:

This is the entrance to the Ellis Island Immigration Center. You enter into the Baggage Room.

At the west end of the room is the American Family Immigration History Center. This center has the resources of the web site on computers - the visitors can look for the ship manifests and ship passengers. I stood and watched an excellent docent coax the immigration information from a patron - and then the patron went to a computer for a 35 minute session to find and copy the ship manifest and ships picture. Of course, the patron can buy a beautiful framed reproduction. I sensed the excitement, though. This is really ground-floor genealogy. I'll bet few of these patrons knew before hand that they would have this opportunity.
I had limited time, so I went up to the second floor where most of the exhibits are located. I no sooner entered than I was face-to-face with Annie Moore, the first recorded immigrant to Ellis Island. I had to get a picture of and with Annie, since I have such strong feelings for her:

The rest of the exhibits were excellent - rooms showing the ships, the ocean passage experience, the inspection process at Ellis Island, and how the passengers left Ellis Island - to meet family, sponsors or back to the home country. I didn't have time to watch the theater shows - one is a 30 minute film of "Island of Hope, Island of Fears" about the Ellis Island experience. I quickly toured the third floor too, but had to leave on the 3:20 pm. boat in order to be back in Queens by 5 p.m.
Unfortunately, the long wait in line really curtailed my time at the Center. But it was a great hour of reading, learning and seeing the Ellis Island experience.
This was my first time on the New York subway. I bought a one-day MetroPass for $7 and could have gone all over the system if I had had time. Going back was during rush hour, and the cars filled and partially emptied several times.
Linda and I went to a restaurant down the block from the hotel for dinner. We celebrated my birthday with a big lemon meringue dessert that we shared.
It's supposed to rain tomorrow, so we aren't sure what we will do for the day. I would love to go to the New York Public Library ( I even know where it is - 5th Avenue and 42nd Street!) for several hours just to see the genealogy collection and perhaps work with it a bit.
I have many more pictures from inside the Center, but Blogger is not cooperating tonight in loading pictures.

The American Genealogist - October 2007 Issue Table of Contents

The October 2007 issue (Volume 82, number 4, published in August 2008, received in September 2008) of The American Genealogist (TAG) was full of interesting articles. Unfortunately, none of them were about my ancestors!

The Table of Contents includes:

* Richard Omohundro of Westmoreland County, Virginia, by Eric D. Grundset and Patricia Law Hatcher -- page 241

* Subscription Price Increase - page 249

* The Chaplin Family of Co. Suffolk: Ancestors of the Plumb and Parke Families of Connecticut, by Clifford L. Stott -- page 250

* Thomas Sharpe and Philip Watson Challis: Family Connections (Continued), by Glade Ian Nelson - page 261

* Permission to Speak Disorderly -- page 266

* Enigmas #24: Richard White of Huntington, Long Island, by David Kendall Martin -- page 267

* The Perry Family of Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire: Shared Ancestry of Six Massachusetts Immigrants: John Perry of Roxbury, Isaac Perry of Boston, Mary (Perry) Heath of Roxbury, Phebe (Perry) Desborough of Roxburey, John Reddington of Topsfield, and Abraham Reddington of Topsfield and Boxford (concluded) by William Wyman Fiske -- page 273.

* Joseph Taylor of Colchester, Connecticut: A Son of John Taylor, Sr. of Hebron, Connecticut, by Priscilla Noyes Chatfield -- page 290

* A Spectre, Shrouded Sable -- page 294

* The English Ancestry of John Gosse of Watertown, Massachusetts, and his Niece Sarah Caly, Wife of John Dillingham of Massachusetts, by Leslie Mahler -- page 295

* A Warning for Genealogical Authors -- page 307

* Nathan Rowley of Tioga County, Pennsylvania: Circumstantial Identification of Children Confirmed, by David M. Morehouse -- page 308

* Asa Bacon and the Shaking Quakers: Bacon Migration (1644-1850): Massachusetts-Connecticut-Massachusetts-New York-Indiana (concluded), by Ronald A. Hill - page 309.

* Contending for Church Seats (With Suitable Weapons) -- page 318

* Editorial Notes and Observations: Families as social units; New subscription prices; TAG's Schedule; Indexing TAG; Book reviews -- 319

* Book Reviews -- page 320

* Index for Volume 82, by John Bradley Arthaud -- page 321.

* Historical Note -- page 358


As always, this scholarly journal has many interesting articles. Even if they don't directly cover my family, I often find research methodology information in them, and I usually marvel at the good fortune and/or dogged dedication of these researchers and authors.

The subscription price increase will be:

* One year (four issues): $40 US
* Two years (eight issues): $70 US
* Three years (twelve issues): $100 US.

Most back issues are now priced at $10 US each.

The TAG web site is

Thursday, October 23, 2008

All about New York City...

Oo-wah oo-wah cool cool kitty, talkin' 'bout the boy in New York City... Remember that song? I felt like the subject today.

We got into NYC last night on Jet Blue and reached our hotel at about 10 p.m. We had a quick dinner in the bar, watched the game, I checked email and went to bed at midnight.

We signed up for an 8-hour tour of New York City last night, and we left the hotel after 10 a.m. on our adventure. The stops included:

* The United Nations building - through security, visitor center, pictures outside.
* Rockefeller Plaza - inside, outside, Today show building, skating rink, etc.
* Empire State Building - up to the 86th floor observation deck, gift shop, etc.
* Water Street Gourmet deli - got lunch at 3 pm.
* Battery Park ferry - caught ferry boat to Liberty Island, ate lunch.
* Statue of Liberty - pictures, gift shop, feed seagull. Can't go up in statue.
* Ground Zero - I was surprised by how small the footprint is. And how everything around the site is open for business.
* Chinatown - lots of open-air booths - fruit, vegetables, seafood, jewelry, souvenirs, etc.
* Clogged expressways - took an hour to get from Chinatown to Elmhurst. Arrgghh. We got back at 7 p.m. - a 10 hour day.

The latter gave me the chance to talk genealogy with the ladies from Nova Scotia across the aisle. They were surprised that I knew where Cape Breton was... one of my CVGS colleagues has ancestry there! I told them about my Norway research and trip to Voss in 1999. Then the traffic jam broke and we had to stop.

Some pictures - here is your humble correspondent with a friend at the Empire State Building.

Here is the Statue of Liberty from the boat with the south end of Manhattan in the background. I have a similar picture from 1998 with the World Trade Center in the mix.

The wireless connection at the hotel is crappy, I can't read my email using cox web mail tonight - they never load. Bloglines has been slow but manageable, and blogger worked pretty well (no graphics). I downloaded today's pictures to the laptop and experimented to see how long it would take to upload two of them - not too bad. I'll do more during the week.

I don't know what I'll do tomorrow - go to Ellis Island (by myself, Linda is exhausted and can't climb subway stairs); go to the New York Public Library; walk around Calvary Cemetery in Queens looking for Annie Moore. I hope that Calvary is not the cemetery we saw from the expressway that extends for about a mile on both sides of the road.

NGS Quarterly - September 2008 Table of Contents

The September 2008 issue (Volume 96, Number 3) of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly came several weeks ago in the mail. Here is the Table of Contents:


* Using Questionable Sources Productively: The Parents of Rial, Edwin and George Plummer of Alna, Maine, by George L. Findlen, PhD, CG -- page 165

* The Myth of Impossible Proof: Modern Genealogy Methods and a Holocaust Fraud, by Sharon E. Sergeant -- page 177

* Beyond the Basics: Identifying the Parents of Hannah (nee Curtin) Barry (c. 1850-1917), by Eileen Maloney Condon - page 193

* Finding Truth in Traditions: The Parents of Jennie Isabel (nee Mason) Topping of New York City and Hartford, Connecticut, by Laura Murphy DeGrazia, CG, and Wheaton G. Hudson -- page 211


* Dear "Master David": A Letter from an African-American in the Confederate Service, by Bryna C. O'Sullivan - page 223

REVIEWS - page 233


The highlight of this issue was the Sharon Sergeant article about the Holocaust Hoax. Sharon documents her work extremely well and built an airtight case that proved that Misha DeFonseca was not a Jewish child with a forgotten surname or raised by wolves.

The NGS Quarterly is online in PDF form as a Member benefit at There appears to be a Certificate Error, at least for me. I had to take the chance that the site didn't have a virus problem.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

We're off on our vacation

Linda and I are Leaving On a Jet Plane (all my bags are packed...), heading off for New York, New York (start spreadin' the news...).

On Sunday, we'll join up with a Sea Cruise (oo-whee baby) out of Brooklyn on the Caribbean Princess cruise ship along with the other lucky folks attending the Wholly Genes Conference and Cruise. We will visit St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Thomas and Puerto Rico on this cruise, winding up in San Juan on Sunday, 2 November. We will fly home on 5 November (assuming the election results, or worse, don't ground airplanes). You can see where the Caribbean Princess currently is located on the Bridge-Cam here.

The Wholly Genes Conference schedule is described here. There are three full days of classes provided by an excellent faculty. In addition, some cruise days have hosted breakfasts with the conference faculty and Wholly Genes staff, and some days there are one-on-one consultation with the faculty. I'm really looking forward to meeting and hearing some of the excellent speakers in the genealogy world. It should be fun. I love to attend classes and talk to genealogists, and Linda likes to swim and talk to everybody, so this is kind of a great opportunity to have some fun. Of course, it will be warm in the Caribbean (we just hope that there are no hurricanes to spoil the trip, although more days at sea might be fun with the conference folks!).

I expect to have Internet access at our hotels in New York City (Wednesday to Sunday) and in San Juan (Sunday to Wednesday), but not on the cruise ship (Sunday to Sunday). Therefore, I've prepared a slim menu of blogs to post while I'm gone, which I hope to embellish with details when I have the opportunity - either during the cruise or afterwards. Never fear - Genea-Musings will be here...just on automatic pilot some days.

Family Photographs - Post 28

I'm posting old family photographs from my collection on Wednesdays, but they won't be wordless posts like others do - I simply am incapable of having a wordless post.

Here is one of the most precious (to me) images from my Seaver family collection:

These are the first three children of my grandparents, Frederick W. and Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver. From left to right, the children pictured are Marion Seaver (born 1901), Stanley Seaver (born 1905) and Evelyn Seaver (born 1903). I think that the picture was taken in 1907 or 1908. It's difficult to tell what the setting was, although it must be in or near Leominster, Massachusetts. Their father, Frederick W. Seaver, probably took this picture.

This is the only picture I have of Stanley Richmond Seaver (1905-1910), who died of scarlet fever locked away from his family. Marion always remembered touching his hand through a slot in the door when he was quarantined.

This family photograph was found in the collection of my parents in the 1988 time frame. My mother passed it to me then.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Look for the Graveyard Rabbits

Terry Thornton has started the Association of Graveyard Rabbits - the web page is The purpose of the association is to:

"...promote ... the historical importance of cemeteries, grave markers, and the family history to be learned from a study of burial customs, burying grounds, and tombstones."

Several genealogy bloggers have created new blogs for their area of graveyard expertise - you can see the up-to-date list at

To do my small part, I have started the South San Diego County Graveyard Rabbit blog at in response to Terry's call for "graveyard rabbits" to sign up. I have limited my rabbit haven to south of Interstate 8 in San Diego - that takes in the southern 20 miles of the county, approximately, which includes many of the major San Diego City and South County cemeteries. Over time, I will visit each cemetery in my area and post information about the cemetery, the "residents" and resources that provide information about the "residents."

Are you interested in being a "graveyard rabbit" for your city or county? If so, read Terry's invitation post here and if you agree to abide by the rules set forth, send him an email requesting to be a member of the Association of Graveyard Rabbits (but you have to do it before 1 November 2008 in order to be a charter member).

Why use the name "Graveyard Rabbit" for an association of blogs about cemeteries and their inhabitants? Terry explains in his post About the Name THE GRAVEYARD RABBIT.
This may be a lot of fun, don't you think? I'm ready to hop over to my local cemetery soon, but it will have to be after my vacation.

Political Persuasions

What were the political opinions of your ancestors? Unless there are specific records that say "I voted for Roosevelt" or "I voted for McKinley," or family stories that "Grandma was a Prohibitionist," we really don't know.

But there are some records that state a political persuasion - a party label or similar. I have several pages from biographical sketches in county or local histories that say "Mr. Smith was a strict Republican" or similar.

For researchers with ancestors that resided in California, there are voter registration records available in repositories. For instance, the San Diego Public Library has them from 1866 to 1909. The San Diego Genealogical Society has published the registers for 1880 to 1887 in their publication, Leaves and Saplings. has these Great Registers of Voters available from 1900 to 1968 (note that not all years are included). My San Diego area ancestors, and their voter registration records, include:

Henry A Carringer, age 48, resided 30th and Watkins.

Henry A. Carringer, male, carpenter, resided 2105 30th Street, Republican.
Mrs. Della A. Carringer, male, housekeeper, 2105 30th Street, Republican.
Lyle L. Carringer, male, student, 2105 30th Street, Republican
Mrs. Abbie A. smith, housekeeper, 2105 30th Street, Republican.

Lyle L. Carringer, student, 2105 30th Street, Republican
Henry A. Carringer, millman, 2105 30th Street, Republican
Mrs. Della A. Carringer, housewife, 2105 30th Street, Republican

Charles Auble, painter, 767 14th Street, Republican
Mrs. Georgia Auble, housewife, 767 14th Street, Republican

Mrs. Georgia Auble, housewife, 2140 F Street, Republican

Mrs. Abbie A. Smith, 2105 30th Street, housewife, Prohibition.

Mrs. Georgia K. Auble, housewife, 2100 First, Democratic

Lyle L. Carringer, office work, 2130 Fern Street, Republican
Mrs. Emily K. Carringer, housewife, 2130 Fern Street, Republican
Mrs. Georgia K. Auble, housewife, 2130 Fern Street, Republican

Henry A. Carringer, carpenter, 2105 30th Street, Republican
Mrs. Della A. Carringer, housewife, 2105 30th Street, Republican
Mrs. Abbie A. Smith, housewife, 2105 30th Street, Republican

Lyle L. Carringer, clerical, 2130 Fern Street, Republican
Mrs. Emily K. Carringer, housewife, 2130 Fern Street, Republican
Mrs. Georgia K. Auble, housewife, 2130 Fern Street, Republican

Henry A. Carringer, mechanic, 2105 30th Street, Republican
Mrs. Della A. Carringer, housewife, 2105 30th Street, Republican
Mrs. Abbie A. Smith, housewife, 2105 30th Street, Republican

Mrs. Abbie a. Smith, 2115 30th Street, housewife, Republican.

Lyle L. Carringer, 2130 Fern Street, clerk, Republican
Mrs. Emily K. Carringer, 2130 Fern Street, housewife, Republican
Mrs. Georgia K. Auble, 2130 Fern Street, housewife, Republican

Henry A. Carringer, 2115 30th Street, aviation mechanic, Republican
Mrs. Della A. Carringer, 2115 30th Street, housewife, Republican

Lyle L. Carringer, 2130 Fern Street, bookkeeper, Republican
Mrs. Emily K. Carringer, 2130 Fern Street, housewife, Republican
Mrs. Georgia K. Auble, 2130 Fern Street, housewife, Republican

Henry A. Carringer, 2115 30th Street, mechanist, Republican
Mrs. Della A. Carringer, 2115 30th Street, housewife, Republican

Lyle L. Carringer, 2130 Fern Street, office work, Republican
Mrs. Emily K. Carringer, 2130 Fern Street, housewife, Republican
Mrs. Georgia K. Auble, 2130 Fern Street, housewife, Republican

Henry A. Carringer, 2115 30th Street, retired, Republican
Mrs. Della A. Carringer, 2115 30th Street, housewife, Republican

Lyle L. Carringer, 2130 Fern Street, office work, Republican
Mrs. Emily K. Carringer, 2130 Fern Street, housewife, Republican
Miss Betty V. Carringer, 2130 Fern Street, student, Democratic
Mrs. Georgia K. Auble, 2130 Fern Street, housewife, Republican

Lyle L. Carringer, 2130 Fern Street, office work, Republican
Mrs. Emily K. Carringer, 2130 Fern Street, housewife, Republican
Mrs. Georgia K. Auble, 2130 Fern Street, housewife, Republican

There may be records for other years that were not digitized or indexed, or indexed wrongly. It's not clear to me if the voter registrations were published every two years. Were my families not registered in the years that are not included above?

As you can see, you can use these records to track the residence of your ancestors, and their occupations. All of the information above matches what I knew, from family papers and city directories, about these families. Of course, not all city directories are digitized and online, so these voter registration records provide an excellent finding aid and directory substitute.

I am not surprised by the overwhelming Republican persuasion in my Carringer ancestors. They were very tolerant, enterprising, responsible, penny-pinching and self-sufficient throughout their lives. You get a steady dose of those views in my Della's Journal series (week 52 is here).

My mother, Betty V. Carringer, married in 1942 to Frederick W. Seaver. There are no listings for them in 1944 and later in the Ancestry records. However, I'm pretty sure that they voted Republican every year from 1944 on. My mother's favorite politician was Richard Nixon. This rubbed off on me, of course. Barry Goldwater, in 1964, was my first vote for President.

It's too late...

I received an email yesterday from our friends at ItsOurTree that said young men have the chance to figure out their risk of losing their hair by growing their family tree. According to the email:

"Researchers found out which of your ancestors is responsible for men’s genetic probability of losing hair early. Building the family tree on can help men determine their personal risk of losing their hair and improve therapeutic results by starting treatment earlier.

"...Scientific estimations showed that about 80 % of cases of male baldness are inherited. Until now, researchers have assumed that male baldness is passed down to men from their mother’s father. Recent findings have added another possibility: the inherited baldness is closely linked with genetic variations on two regions of chromosome 20. Thus, male baldness can be passed down from the female line of the family as well.

"Building the family tree and uploading the relatives’ photos on social family website can help men determine their probability of losing their hair. The free site offers a clear overview of male ancestors from both the female and the male line of the family in combination with the exact familial relationship. Early prediction and therapy may lead to better results and stronger hair."

Hmmm. My mother's father? I don't think so - Lyle Carringer and his father Austin Carringer had pretty good hair up until the end of their lives.

Not on my father's side either - my grandfather Frederick W. Seaver had a widow's peak late in life, but not a bad head of hair. My father's hair late in life was even fuller than his father's.

Alas, it seems too late for witnessed by my picture that appears on every Genea-Musings post.

Where do I think I inherited my nearly hairless pate? I'm guessing that it came primarily from Charlie Auble - you can see his glorious head here. He is my great-grandfather, with two female generations between me and him.

So here's a warning to all of my young male readers (both of them...) - find pictures of your male ancestors, get their genome tested, and if you find that certain baldness gene on chromosome 20, start hair treatments immediately.

Look what it did for Joe Biden - do you think he would be a candidate for Vice-President if he hadn't had hair plugs transplanted? If he wins the election, I'm sure it will be touted as a victory for those of us who believe that "God made only a few perfect heads - and the rest he covered with hair." If he loses, he will probably complain about discrimination against the "follically challenged."

Monday, October 20, 2008

Project M progress!

I posted before about my research project M for my friend Ed who wanted to know more about his father's life. I had two goals in this project --

1) to obtain records and information about Ed's ancestry, especially on his paternal side.

2) to contact living relatives who might be able to talk to Ed on the phone or send information via email or postal mail to him.

We've had great success on both fronts. In addition to the records I've found on Ancestry and other database sites, I've had several responses from messages that I dropped on both surname and locality message boards asking for information. The most recent was from a cousin of Ed's - they share great-grandparents on his mother's side. The correspondent had pictures of Ed's great-grandmother and an aunt, plus a picture of Ed's paternal great-grandfather and great-grandmother - he served in the Civil War. She also provided more detailed information about the siblings of Ed's grandfather. I passed all of this to Ed via email.

The half-siblings that we wrote to responded a week ago - one by telephone and the other by email. It was exciting to hear Ed's brother's voice, and he had some information to pass on to Ed. The brother who answered by email gave me more family information and a phone number for a cousin who is Ed's father's brother's son - he may have much more family information, since his family was fairly stable. Ed's son died a week ago, so we haven't been able to arrange a phone call with the siblings yet. It's going to have to wait until after I get back from my vacation. We're trying to set up a phone call after I get back.

I have a feeling that this adventure in finding and contacting living people and ancestral information isn't over yet. Stay tuned!

We're Related - when will it be useful?

Whitney Ransom McGowan posted about the We're Related application for Facebook today on the World Vital Records Blog. The post says:

"The We’re Related application allows individuals to find relatives on Facebook, share photos with their friends and families, and also collaboratively build family trees with family members on Facebook. Using We’re Related, individuals have the ability to define which Facebook users are their relatives."

To put it in terms that many genealogists understand, this is Geni for Facebook.

It's a great idea - Facebook has millions of users, all of them with friends and relatives, and it is be a great big network of family members and friends relating to each other - submitting photos, stories, playing games, etc.

I actually joined We're Related some time ago on Facebook, but was unable to upload a GEDCOM file at the time. I didn't add any information one person at a time because I wanted to upload a GEDCOM - it's easier, faster and more accurate.

Here's a screen view of the "My Tree" page on the We're Related application on Facebook:

I clicked on the "Edit" link on my box, and an edit box popped up just begging to be filled out. I resisted this temptation.

Instead, I clicked on the "Upload Gedcom" link on the line below my picture. I thought that I would get a box that permits me to upload a GEDCOM file from my computer files. I was wrong - I got this screen:

The message says "We appreciate all the feedback we've recieved (sic) from the community on our GEDCOM uploads. Our engineers are actively working to bring GEDCOM uploads to the new version of our app. In the next week, and as soon as uploading is working flawlessly, we will reactivate this feature."

This message has appeared for at least the last three weeks, since I've tried to upload a GEDCOM weekly since the beginning of October. My guess is that it has appeared since I first installed the application.

Sure, I could add family members one-by-one by hand in a time consuming process. The WVR post claims that We're Related has been downloaded by 10 million users, and that over 50 million relationships have been defined. If you look at that critically, that's over 5 per person. It's probably more, because some of those 10 million are genealogists like me who want to upload a GEDCOM and have resisted adding relatives one-by-one.

Frankly, when I saw Whitney's post I figured "great, they've finally fixed it and I'll be able to upload a GEDCOM."

When will We're Related add GEDCOM uploading capability? I can hardly wait! My big question is "Why would they publicize something that doesn't work for genealogists?"

Are Bloglines problems fixed?

DearMYRTLE posted today that recently Bloglines was not pulling information from thousands of blogs.

I have used Bloglines for a long time to read my favorite genealogy blogs efficiently over the past two years. I love the convenience of using Bloglines.

I too noticed that Bloglines was "constipated" for almost three weeks. About 30 of the 350 blogs I subscribe to were not coming through (Bloglines conveniently shows a red ! for those not coming through). Genea-Musings and The Geneaholic were not coming through, and footnoteMaven, Shades of the Departed, and many other genealogy blogs (and my favorite baseball blog) were not either.

Yesterday, I noticed that several of the constipated blogs (on Bloglines, not the blogs themselves) were starting to show up, and by last night my own blogs, and fM's and others too, were showing up, often with 10 to 25 posts (Bloglines now had diarrhea, I guess). This morning, there are only three on my list of 350 that are still constipated.

Hopefully, the Bloglines problems are fixed.

DearMYRTLE uses Google Reader as a backup for Bloglines. I have added about 15 blogs to my Google Reader, and dread putting over 300 more on that list if Bloglines continues to have problems. I much prefer Bloglines as far as reading blogs efficiently.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Photographs from the Dr. Jean Wilcox Hibben Seminar

Here are some pictures from the "Discover Your Family History" seminar presented by Dr. Jean Wilcox Hibben on Saturday, 18 October.

Jean's first presentation was "Clue to Clue" - a recounting of her search, from the beginning, of her Wilcox and Freeman families:

In Jean's second presentation, she told the story of her great-grandfather, John Adam Hollaender in character as Adam's wife, Caroline (Trapschuh) Hollaender:

Jean's husband, Butch, helped her out on the presentation about Civil War songs and stories:

In a spare moment, Jean and CVGS President Randy Seaver posed for a picture:

Best of the Genea-blogs - October 12-18, 2008

Several hundred genealogy and family history bloggers write thousands of posts every week about their research, their families, and their interests. I appreciate each one of them and their efforts.

My criteria for "Best of ..." are pretty simple - I pick posts that advance knowledge about genealogy and family history, address current genealogy issues, provide personal family history, are funny or are poignant. I don't list posts destined for the genealogy carnivals, or other meme submissions (but I do include summaries of them), or my own posts.

Here are my picks for great reads from the genealogy blogs for this past week:

* Godfrey Library - Online Resources by Schelly Talalay Dardashti on the MyHeritage Genealogy Blog. This post summarizes the online resources at the Godfrey Library in Middletown CT.

* Live Image Search (Quick Tip) by Jennifer on Rainy Day Genealogy Readings. Jennifer found that provides some useful search results.

* Peruse our Virtual Album and Tickle Your Funny Bone by Becky Wiseman on the Kinexxions blog. Becky compiled the 6th edition of Smile for the Camera - A Carnival of Images carnival. The topic was Funny Bone - pictures that bring a smile to your face. There were 29 posts by 28 contributors.

* Fractions and DNA by John Newmark on the TransylvanianDutch blog. John explores personal testimonies to the Dawes Commission about his ancestors Native-American ancestry. He then figures that he is 3/64 Native-American, if the numbers are correct.

* Sorting Things Out by Pat Richley on the DearMYRTLE Genealogy Blog. Pat describes her genealogy paper filing system and some of her computer filing system too. There is lots of great advice here based on many years of experience.

* How to share your family history with your family - Take them with you and - post 2 by Janet Hovorka on The Chart Chick blog. Janet continues her marathon of sharing posts with great advice about getting kids involved in genealogy activities.

* Nursery Lore by footnoteMaven on the footnoteMaven blog. fM describes the nursery rhyme variations, the origin of the names of the days of the week, and asks genea-bloggers to determine the day of the week they were born and if their personality matches the nursery rhyme characteristic.

* Blog Action Day: THE GREAT DEPRESSION and THOUGHTS..., Blog Action Day: POVERTY: Some Observations, Blog Action Day: One of the greatest dangers of poverty, Blog Action Day: Hard Times, Just Getting By, and ..., Blog Action Day: A Lesson Learned in Arkansas, Blog Action Day: Hard Times In Hill Country by Terry Thornton and a number of guest authors on the Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi blog. Terry spearheaded this effort for genea-bloggers to participate in Bog Action Day on 15 October 2008.

* Capturing the Reader by Emily Aulicino on the Writing Your Memories blog. Emily discusses different writing techniques for capturing the reader. I can really use this advice, I think.

* Welcome to's new and improved publishing service by Stefanie Condie on the blog. Stefanie describes using MyCanvas, the replacement for AncestryPress. This looks better, but will it be for users like me?

* Using old maps, Google Earth, deeds and census records to find your ancestral home place by Kevin Lett on the Virginia Family Tree Genealogy blog. Kevin shows his process to find an ancestral home site using an umber of online mapping tools. This is a really great post.

* Look to the Land: Understanding Land Records by Carolyn L. Barkley on the blog. This an excellent article about land records, and covers both state land states and federal land states.

* Negatives, Slides - Now What? and Slide and Negative Converter by Cheryl Rothwell on the Ancestor Hunting blog. Cheryl found some old slides and negatives, and then found a useful product. She will post about her experiences with it in the near future.

* Abstract Indexes to Deeds - An Explanation by Genealogy blogger at Olive Tree Genealogy Blog. Lorine wrote an article about these Ontario land records, but they are not online. Nevertheless, researchers with Ontario roots, like me, should know about these records and how to find them.

Thank you to all genealogy bloggers for an interesting and informative week. Did you notice some new blogs on this list? I hope so!

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!

NOTE: Due to my impending vacation, the Best of the Genea-Blogs will be on hiatus for the next two weeks. To my favorite bloggers - please hold your really good posts until I get back? Thanks. Or, post them and somebody else can step in to do a "Best of ..." post. Any takers? I should have planned this better, I guess!

58th Carnival of Genealogy - Haunting, Spooky, Eerie stories

Jasia has done her usual wonderful job of posting the 58th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy on her Creative Gene blog here. The topic for this edition was: Sharing spooky, eerie, and haunting stories involving our ancestors.

There's a twist, however. The readers should respond: How good are you at separating fact from fiction? Check out these stories and make your guess as a comment on the author's blog.

Twenty one talented genea-bloggers submitted articles - mine was The Haunted Whaley House in San Diego. Of course, I flouted the explicit directions and wrote the story about my progeny's ancestor and not about my ancestors. Oh well, I used to follow directions really well! So what do you think - is my story true or false?

The topic for the next Carnival of Genealogy is: Politics and Our Ancestors. The next edition of the COG will be published on Election Day in the U.S. (November 4). So it's the perfect time to research and reflect on what we know (or can find out) about our family members' involvement with the election process. Did one of your ancestors run for office? Who was President when your immigrant ancestors first set foot on American (Canadian, Australian, etc.) shores? What do you know about your grandparents' voting record? Which of your ancestors was first eligible to vote? Do you have any suffragettes on your family tree? What did the electoral process mean to your ancestors? Do you have a personal Election Day memory you'd like to share? Think about it, write about it, and submit it for the next COG! The deadline for submissions is November 1.

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.

Hmmm, I just added this to my lengthy to-do list for the early part of this week. We leave on Wednesday for our two week vacation, and my deadline for a story is 21 October. Maybe I'll be the first submission to the Carnival! I always wanted to be #1. Just watch someone beat me to it.