Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday Night Fun - who is the oldest in 1880 census?

It's Saturday night, and time for some genealogy fun. If you're reading this on Sunday morning, you can still have fun, and will probably miss church doing so. You may have more energy to do it than those of us wasting Saturday night playing silly genealogy games.

Here's the challenge: In the 1880 United States census, what is the age of the oldest person enumerated? Who is this person, and where does the person live?

I chose the 1880 census, because it is available on free sites (like the LDS Record Search and LDS FamilySearch sites, and on HeritageQuestOnline) and on commercial sites (like

This should be a piece of cake, right? I don't want you to work too hard and stay up too late (on Saturday night) or miss church (on Sunday morning). Have fun!

Please post the answer on your own blog, or post a comment on my blog. Your choice.

SDGS Seminar and Luncheon on Saturday, 10 January 2009

The San Diego Genealogical Society will have a very special event on Saturday, January 10, 2009. It is the 63rd Annual all-day Seminar and Luncheon, with nationally known lecturer and researcher, Lloyd Bockstruck as the featured speaker for the day.

The Seminar and Luncheon will be at the Handlery Hotel and Resort (950 Hotel Cir North, San Diego, CA 92108)

DATE: January 10th, 2009,

TIME: 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

REGISTRATION: Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m.

FEE: Including gourmet sit down lunch, is $40 per person.

RESERVATIONS: Reservations must be received by 5 January 2009 (see note below)

The featured speaker for this all day seminar will be nationally known lecturer and researcher, Lloyd Bockstruck. Last at SDGS in 2001, his talks always get rave reviews. This year he will be discussing:

1) Migrations 1607-1850,
2) Newspaper Genealogy,
3) Church Records,
4) Illegitimacy.

These are certainly topics every researcher will want to hear.

Mr Bockstruck has been Supervisor of the Genealogical Section of the Dallas Public Library since 1973. He graduated cum laude with a B. A. in Biology and
History from Greenville College, earned his M. A. in Modern European History at Southern Illinois University, a M. S. in Library Science at University of Illinois and a certificate from the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research. He is also a teacher and since 1991 has authored the “Family Tree” column in the Dallas Morning News. He is a member of numerous genealogical and historical societies and is featured in Who’s Who. His awards include the Filby Prize for Genealogical Librarianship, Outstanding Alumnus and Award of Merit from the National Genealogical Society. We are most fortunate that he could be with us for this event.

The luncheon will feature a three course, sit-down gourmet meal including salad, choice of Chicken Pecan or Salmon Ravioli, dessert and beverage.

SDGS will also be installing our new board members for 2009. There will be drawings for numerous door prizes. There will be a special drawing for a 7 night hotel package for the Plaza Hotel in Salt Lake City. Tickets for this will be available at the seminar and by mail on the SDGS web site.

Get your reservations in now before the holiday season starts so you don’t miss this important event. The reservation form is on the SDGS web site ( ). Parking will be validated for a reduced fee.

Genealogy Software Reviews Revisited

It's been almost three months since Louis Kessler unveiled his Genealogy Software Reviews web site at I thought I would take another look and see if many persons have contributed their opinions.

There are over 380 genealogy software products here at present, just waiting for you, and others, to evaluate and rate them.

Each software review has information about the provider, a short program description, and a ratings box. Windows, Mac, Unix, handheld and online programs are included. The summary includes whether the program is free, purchased, subscribed, or unsupported.

Program types include Full-Featured, Utilities, Website builders and Auxiliary programs useful for genealogy. The user ratings are in five categories:

* Whether you enjoy using it
* Do you use it often
* Does it have easy input
* Does it have useful output
* An overall rating.

The user can contribute ratings, write a short review and list the program's biggest benefit and biggest problem.

Or the user can read the ratings and read the reviews and decide which program to download and use.

The site also has Frequently Asked Questions, Links to software providers and articles about software, and a suggestion page.

The Search feature is really useful. You can put the name of a program into the Search box (at the top right of the page) and find a specific program rather than scroll through up to 20 pages of summaries to find that program.

Or you can fill in one or more of the Search boxes in the web site heading - you can select from:

* Software License: All Licenses, Free, Purchase, Subscription, Unsupported
* Computer Platforms: All Platforms, Windows, Mac, Unix, Handheld, Online
* Types of Software: All Types, Full Featured, Utility, Builds Website, Auxiliary

Using these Search boxes really helps find specific software program types quickly.

There is a Sort box below the Search box. You can choose to Sort by Most Reviews, Latest Reviews, Alphabetically, and by each rating phrase.

The five software programs with the most ratings is The Master Genealogist (53 ratings), followed by RootsMagic (27), Legacy (22), Family Tree Maker Since Version 2008 (18) and Family Tree Builder (16). There are many that don't have any evaluations yet. That's where you come in!

This web site serves two functions - the first is a catalog of available software. The second is the reviews provided by users of the software. Both functions serve the genealogy community well.

For the second function to be really helpful to readers, more people need to submit their software review to the site. It is real easy to do - you provide your name, select your ratings, and write any comments you want. Go for it!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Genealogy Metrics - does it have your number?

Genea-Musings has occasionally posted traffic statistics for genealogy web sites and blogs - see here and here for the latest.

David Lifferth alerted me via email to his web site which is keeping a monthly count (I think!) of the top genealogy web sites, in terms of traffic ranking relative to the entire Internet.

There are listings for:

* Top Genealogy Web Sites (Quantcast rankings) - top 8
* All Genealogy/Family History sites (Alexa rankings) - Top 9
* US Top 15 Web Sites (Alexa rankings)
* UK Top 9 Genealogy/Family History web sites (Alexa rankings)
* Europe Top 3 Genealogy/Family History web sites (Alexa rankings)
* Canada Web Sites (Alexa Rankings)
* International Web Sites (Alexa Rankings)
* Top Genealogy Blogs (Alexa rankings, but the list doesn't include URLs that contain a Blogspot domain name or other URLs that cannot be quantified)
* Top Genealogy software sold by Amazon
* Top Genealogy Books sold by Amazon

There are also links for Blogs, Groups (discuss web sites or blogs), Events, a Discussion Forum, a Member List, personal member pages, and a place to invite others to join the Genealogy Metrics network.

This site is FREE to join. Once you have joined, you can update your profile with a picture, some personal description, etc. just like a blog. You can write posts in a personal blog environment, although my guess is that the blog topics might focus on the genealogy industry and traffic rankings.

According to the blog rankings, Illya D'Addezio's leads (although it is much more than a blog site), Dick Eastman's is second, third, followed by,, (also more than a blog), and As mentioned above, the rankings do not include URLs that are on a site like Blogger, WordPress, etc., so take them with a large grain of salt.

The top 9 genealogy/family history web sites by Alexa rankings?


Thanks to David Lifferth for creating a quick, easy-to-use web site that reveals traffic information about genealogy web sites, and a forum to discuss them.

UPDATE: 12/14/08: I messed up the most important thing in this post - the link to Genealogy Metrics! Thank you to Daniel Horowitz of for his comment noting the error. The correct URL is (which I've corrected in the original post).

Blog Caroling - "Angels We Have Heard on High"

Our dear footnoteMaven is warming up the Choir of GeneAngels for this year's sing-along of Christmas Carols. We are supposed to claim our favorite Christmas Carol. The collection of songs from genea-bloggers should lift all of our spirits as we shop until we drop.

Mine is still "Angels we Have Heard On High" - maybe because of the Latin in it? Or because I can sing it in J-sharp and no one notices because of the joy it brings everyone else? Most likely because Linda collects angels and is referred to as Angel Linda by friends. The rumor that the first angel she collected was me is untrue.

Angels We Have Heard on High

Angels we have heard on high,
Singing sweetly through the night,
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their brave delight.

Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Gloria in excelsis Deo.

Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why these songs of happy cheer?
What great brightness did you see?
What glad tiding did you hear?

Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Gloria in excelsis Deo.

Come to Bethlehem and see Him
whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee
Christ, the Lord, the new-born King.

Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Gloria in excelsis Deo.

See him in a manger laid
Whom the angels praise above;
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid,
While we raise our hearts in love.

Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Gloria in excelsis Deo.


Musicologists have decided that this anonymous French tune was probably created around the eighteenth century. Some legends place its origin as as early as the second century.

Traditional French Carol

Words: Tra­di­tion­al French car­ol (Les Anges dans nos Cam­pagnes).

Trans­lat­ed from French to Eng­lish by James Chad­wick (1813-1882); ap­peared in Crown of Jesus, 1862.

Music: “Gloria (Barnes),” French carol melody; ar­ranged by Ed­ward S. Barnes.

Recorded/Performed: Andy Williams - 1970

Also recorded by: Tennessee Ernie Ford; Mormon Tabernacle Choir; Tommy Greer; Clancey Brothers; Scarlet Rivera; Eric Rigler; Madeline McNeil; Sandi Patty; Nat King Cole; Lorie Line; Connie Brown; Scott Miller; Vienna Boys Choir; Percy Faith; Collin Raye; Frankie Gavin; Texas Boys Choir; Mel Weston; Donny Osmond.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Getting Ed and his brother together

I posted several times over the past four months about my Project M research. In the last post, I mentioned that I had found Ed's step-siblings and that I was trying to set up a telephone call between them. I wrote then "I have a feeling that this adventure in finding and contacting living people and ancestral information isn't over yet."

The first phone call finally happened today. Ed talked to his youngest step-brother today, and they spent an hour talking about their memories and their lives. I tried to take some notes of the historical information. They talked about their lives, which are very similar in some ways (locality, struggle with an absent father, church work) and different in their present circumstances (mainly due to age and health). They both told stories about the last time they saw their father. It was fascinating to see them settle into a camaraderie - they both thought that their father was a "scoundrel" for deserting their mothers and themselves.

When I posted about this earlier, I was told by some colleagues that "you've done the job he asked you to do - you found the siblings - now let them deal with each other." That was obviously a voice of experience talking - it took over two months to get this telephone call done because I was acting as an intermediary due to Ed's illness. In hindsight, I should have told him "here's the phone number, why don't you call your brothers and sister and ask them about your father?" But then I wouldn't have heard some of the funny, and sad, stories, that these brothers exchanged today.

Learning my lesson, I gave Ed a list of his brothers' and sister's phone numbers and addresses, and threw in the information for a cousin too - since he apparently knows quite a bit about Ed's father.

Census Fun with Christmas names

Here's an oldie but a goodie for my devoted readers --

I was devastated when the post came out two years ago about the Christmas characters that Dan Lynch posted on his web site, I had worked on most of those names for two weeks and was waiting for the "season" to post them.

So, here are the rest of my "character" findings (originally posted in 2006) -

1) Ebenezer Scroggs (1850, Harrison County OH) is as close to Ebenezer Scrooge as I can get.

2) Robert Crachet (1880, Scott County AR). Another Robert Crachet flew into New York City from Paris on Air France on 2 August 1956 - maybe to perform in a play on Broadway?

3) Three Grinch brothers (Charles, John and Lenwards) came into New York City on 6 September 1875 aboard the "Egypt." There is no word if they came to steal Christmas. Obviously, if they did, they failed.

4) There is a Jasper Magi and Baldermo Magi (1930, Fairfield County CT) but no Melchior; there are Gaspar Wiseman (1930, Queens County NY) and Melvin Wiseman (1930, Muskegon county MI), but no Balthasar or similar.

5) There are 18 Harold Angel persons in the 1930 census. No Hark Angel, however.

6) Sila Knight (1870, Randolph County, AL) is the closest to Silent Night I could find. Lots of Silas Knight people.

7) There are 3 Noel Noel persons in the 1930 census.

8) Angel Angel (1930, Maricopa County AZ) is one of the repeating angels.

9) There are two Merry Christmas girls in the 1930 census (there are lots of Mary Christmas females too).

10) Holly Bush (1930, Roanoke County VA) sticks out.

11) Christ Tree (1930, LaPorte County IN) probably extended his branches

12) Jessie Manger (1930, Polk County IA) parents were not Joseph and Mary

13) Then there are Santa's reindeer: Were they:

Cupid Wiseman
Melvin Dancer
Hugo Blitzen
Chris Donder
Rudolf Dasher
Dasher Berry
Prancer Saner
Vixen Locke
Theodore Comet

Just wondering!!

You know, if Bah Morgan (1900, Stephenson IL) had married Cecil Humbug (1900, Delaware County PA) we would have had more Humbugs than we would know what to do with.

I'm wondering if Alvin Monk (1930, Schoharie County NY), Simon Monk (1930, Lonoke AR) and Theodore Monk (1930, Cotton County OK) really got together in 1958 to sing The Chipmunk song. I guess they were a figment of Ross Bagdasarian's imagination.

OK, I'm done! I hope you enjoyed this little prance down Santa Claus lane.

What other Christmas related names are there? C'mon, lay them on me.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dear Genea-Santa

I've tried really hard to be a good genealogy boy this year - served my local society as President, presented at three local societies, helped several friends and colleagues with their research, added many sources to my database (I'm not done yet, though), and blogged about all of it in deathless prose, er, ramblings. However, I did not blog about the demise of Santa Claus this year like I did in a previous year. I know you appreciate that!

Genea-Santa, old friend, old buddy, can I ask you for three really special gifts that will help me in my family history research? They are:

1) The green photograph album that my Aunt Marion said that she gave to my cousin Peter many years ago. My dearly departed Aunt claimed that it had family pictures for several generations.

2) The family Bible kept by my fourth great-grandfather Russell Smith, who lived in Oneida county NY in the early 1800's. I don't know much about his parents, his wife's maiden name, his siblings, or his children, and I think that his family Bible might have information that would help me break down my Smith brick wall.

3) The letters written by Isaac Seaver (1823-1901) to his wife and children when he served in the Civil War. I'm not sure that these exist, but if they do, I would love to have them.

My list is longer, but these three will suffice for now. Perhaps some distant cousins will find more "goodies" to put under my Christmas tree.

Thank you, Genea-Santa, for listening to my pleas. I will leave a nice hot dog and a beer by the chimney for you on Christmas Eve just in case you need fortification. You can get a yummy Dove chocolate ice cream bar out of the refrigerator if you'd like. Nothing's too good for Genea-Santa - mi casa es su casa.

CVGS Holiday Luncheon Highlights

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society Holiday Luncheon was today - what a movable feast!! Great food, wonderful company, and installing our new elected officers for 2009-2010. We had 31 attendees today and filled the room at the South Chula Vista Library with laughter, applause and stories.

The menu included ham and turkey provided by CVGS, salads, vegetable and potato dishes, and desserts provided by the attendees, and a sherbet-filled punch bowl. Susi P and Shirley B organized the luncheon and did a wonderful job of planning and executing the event.

One of the CVGS holiday traditions is to have a large Santa Claus, a large Angel and poinsettia plants as door prizes, donated by several members. Five attendees went home with a nice gift. We also had a wrapped gift exchange and the members donated toys and non-perishable food to the Salvation Army.

In the business meeting, 2007-2008 President Randy Seaver gave a "state of the society" address, thanked the 2007-2008 board members for their service, presented them with certificates of appreciation, and then performed the installation ceremony for the elected 2009-2010 officers. 2009-2010 President Gary Brock gave a short speech, then managed the door prize and gift exchange drawings, and sharing by the attendees of their "best" genealogy experience in 2008.

We finished up with holiday greetings and cleaning up the room and kitchen.

This is always a fun meeting, and for me it was a nostalgic one. I enjoyed being the leader of CVGS and having outstanding support and participation from the board members. The President's job is really easy when the Board acts efficiently, responsibly and enthusiastically. I'm remaining on the Board as the Research Group and Queries Chairman.

Family Photographs - Post 33: Wedding Announcement

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-Richmond family collection:

This is the wedding announcement of my grandparents, Alma Bessie Richmond to Fred Walton Seaver on Thursday, 21 June 1900 in Leominster, Massachusetts.

From this union came seven children, 11 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren, 30 great-great-grandchildren and 4 3rd-great-grandchildren (and more undoubtedly in the future).

I received this wedding announcement from my second cousin, Laura, who found me on the Internet. Her great-grandmother, Grace (Richmond) Shaw, was a sister of Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

40 Things About Me

I haven't done the 25 Things About Me meme and now Apple tags me for a 40 Things meme. They aren't the same list... but I'm a good sport.

1. Do you like blue cheese? No.

2. Have you ever done something you regretted? Yes, of course, I'm an imperfect human.

3. Do you own a gun? No.

4. What flavor of Kool Aid was your favorite? Lime

5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? Only for surgery - minor or major.

6. What do you think of hot dogs? I like them, and eat one almost once a week (usually at Costco).

7. Favorite Christmas movie? A Christmas Story (1983)

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Water.

9. Can you do push ups? Not many any more.

10. Favorite hobby? Family history research - all day, all week, all month, all year.

11. Do you have A.D.D.? No

12. What's one trait you hate about yourself? Procrastination.

13. Middle name? Jeffrey.

14. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment? * Not another meme! * I need to work on CVGS. * Time for lunch.

15. Name 3 drinks you regularly have? Water, orange juice once a week, Fruit punch once a week.

16. Current hate right now? Politicians.

17. Favorite place to be? Daughters' homes.

18. How did you bring in the New Year? When, last year? You expect me to remember? Ah, we went to a progressive dinner that ended with a white elephant gift exchange hurriedly finished just at midnight.

19. A place you would like to go? Salt Lake City (the FHL)

20. Name three people who will complete this: Lori, Elizabeth and Kathryn.

21. Do you have slippers? Yes, but I don't wear them.

22. What shirt are you wearing? Hawaiian print

23. Do you like sleeping on satin? Yes, but they're slippery. I don't like flannel.

24. Can you whistle? Only under my breath these days - constantly. I used to be able to, but my teeth have changed, I guess - I can't whistle through my lips or my teeth any more. Too bad - there are still pretty girls out there.

25. Would you be a pirate? No, I'm too respectful of property and don't like pain or agony.

26. What songs do you sing in the shower? I'm My Own Grandpa? Oh Lord, It's Hard to be Humble. Unchained Melody.

27. Favorite girl's name(s)? Linda!!! I also like Tami, Lori, Lauren and Audrey.

28. What's in your pocket right now? cell phone.

29. Last thing that made you laugh? Desperate Housewives.

30. Favorite bed sheets as a child? White sheets fitted to the bed.

31. Worst injury ever? Concussion - flipped off my flexible flyer, hit the curb. Knock on wood, here.

32. Do you like where you live? Yes - I love Chula Vista and the San Diego area.

33. How many TVs do you have in your house? Four - two on cable, one not plugged in - a spare, and a small battery-powered portable that won't be useful after February.

34. Who is your loudest friend? Bob P.

35. How many dogs do you have? None. We just losto ur two grand-hounds Walter and Lucy, bassets.

36. Does someone have a crush on you? I hope not...I am Mr. Oblivious...

37. What is your favorite book? Pick one book? One book? Generations by Strauss and Howe.

38. What is your favorite candy? Dark chocolate.

39. Favorite Sports Team? Football Chargers and Baseball Padres.

40. What song do you want played at your funeral? Not "How Great Thou Art!" How about "Shine, Jesus, Shine."

FamilySearch Record Search - Census Databases (Updated)

This is an update to my post from early September 2008 about Census Databases on the LDS FamilySearch Labs Record Search site.

As of today, the site has the following Census records available - the completion status is for the index and/or record images:

* 1850 US Census - index 92% complete (33 states, not Indiana, Kansas, Alabama, Missouri, probably others.)

* 1850 US Census Mortality Schedules - index 88% complete.

* 1850 US Census Slave Schedules - index 83% complete.

* 1855 Massachusetts State Census - 15% indexed (only city of Boston), 100% images

* 1855 Wisconsin State Census - no index, 100% images only, by county and township.

* 1860 US Census - index 99% complete (from

* 1865 Massachusetts State Census - 15% indexed (only city of Boston), 100% images.

* 1870 US Census - index 85% complete (39 states, not New York, Virginia, Kentucky), images for all except Virginia, Kentucky, Vermont.

* 1875 Wisconsin State Census - no index, 100% complete images, by county and township. Head of household only.

* 1880 US Census - index 100% complete, no images

* 1885 Florida State Census - no index, images 100% complete.

* 1885 Wisconsin State Census - no index, images 100% complete, by county and township. Head of household only.

* 1895 Wisconsin State Census - no index, images 100% complete, by county and township. Head of household only.

* 1900 US Census - this is not listed! It was indexed 99% complete (lacks Military and Indian Territory) in September. A note on the home page says "The 1900 U.S. Census continues to be off-line for statistical work to ensure integrity."

* 1905 South Dakota State Census - index 100% complete, index card images.

* 1905 Wisconsin State Census - no index, images 100% complete by county and township

* 1935 Florida State Census - no index, images 100% complete, by county and township.

* 1945 Florida State Census - no index, images 100% complete, by county and township

* 1930 Mexico Census - index 19% complete (6 states only indexed)

* 1841 England and Wales Census - 100% indexed, summary (name, age, gender, birthplace) available, no family or location provided. Images available only if user has a FindMyPast subscription.

* 1861 England and Wales Census - 100% indexed, summary (name, age, gender, birthplace, relationship to head of household) available, no family or location provided. Images available only if user has a FindMyPast subscription.

* 1855 Argentina, Buenos Aires City Census - no index, images 100% complete.

* 1895 Argentina Census - index 100% complete, images 100% complete.

The Current Projects page includes:

* 1920 United States Census (by state)
* 1869 Argentina Census
* 1916 Canadian Census (apparently 99% complete)
* 1930 Mexico census (more states)

The Upcoming Projects page includes:

* 1920 US Census (more states)
* 1930 Mexico Census (more states)
* 1885 Florida State Census
* 1895 Minnesota State Census
* 1875 and 1905 New York State Census
* 1875 Norway Census

Comparing the September list to this list reveals major improvements in the 1850, 1860 and 1870 census records - everything else is incremental.

Tombstone Tuesday - the Isaac Seaver Family Stone

The Isaac Seaver family gravestone is in Evergreen Cemetery in Leominster, Massachusetts. The stone is located near the south entrance to the cemetery. The west face (facing Main Street) of the stone is visible from the entry road and has "Seaver" on the face of it:

The east side of the stone has the names of the family buried in the plot:

The names and dates on the stone are:

* 1823 Isaac Seaver 1901
* 1826 Juliett his wife 1847
* 1827 Lucretia T. his wife 1884
* 1854 Benjamin Seaver 1894
* 1861 Nellie Seaver 1933

Juliet (Glazier) Seaver was Isaac Seaver's first wife who died after childbirth of their only child, Juliette Seaver. Lucretia Townsend (Smith) Seaver was Isaac's second wife, them other of Frank, Benjamin, Elizabeth and Nellie Seaver.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Davy, Davy Crockett ... the memories

The 7th edition of the Smile for the Camera Carnival, hosted by footnoteMaven on the Shades of the Departed blog, is Stocking Stuffer - show us that picture that would make a great Stocking Stuffer and tell us whose stocking you'd stuff.

Here is my Stocking Stuffer picture -- it was taken on Christmas Day, 1954 on the front steps of my grandparents home on Point Loma in San Diego:

This was the "Davy Crockett year" when my brother Stan and I received Davy Crockett coonskin caps, a Davy Crockett book, and Daisy BB Gun air rifles. The persons in back of Stan and me are my grandfather (Lyle Carringer), my mother (Betty (Carringer) Seaver, and my father (Frederick w. Seaver). My grandmother, Emily (Auble) Carringer probably took this picture.

I would like to gift this to my brother, Stanley. I need to make a higher quality scan of this picture and perhaps one other photo showing the faces of the family in 1954. I wonder in which album or box the photographs are?

Give Ancestry for Christmas

My Ancestry US Deluxe subscription expires soon, so I went looking for a deal that would give me a discount Ancestry subscription plus some genealogy software that would permit me to gift earlier versions to someone else in my society.

Here is what I found at

* Family Tree Maker 16 Essentials (includes 3-month Ancestry US Deluxe subscription) - $24.49 plus S&H

* Family Tree Maker 16 Standard (includes 6-month Ancestry US Deluxe subscription) - $32.49 plus S&H

* Family Tree Maker 2008 Essentials (includes 1-month Ancestry US Deluxe subscription) - $19.95 plus S&H

* Family Tree Maker 2008 Deluxe (includes 3-month Ancestry US Deluxe subscription) - $29.95 plus S&H

* Family Tree Maker 2008 Platinum (includes 6-month Ancestry US Deluxe subscription) - $79.95 plus S&H

* Family Tree Maker 2009 Essentials (includes 1-month Ancestry US Deluxe subscription) - $29.95 plus S&H

* Family Tree Maker 2009 Deluxe (includes 3-month Ancestry US Deluxe subscription) - $64.49 plus S&H

These Ancestry subscriptions all require that the buyer install the Family Tree Maker software and then create their Trial subscription through a link in the software. If the buyer already has a subscription, the buyer has to cancel their existing subscription and then sign up for the new Trial subscription.

I've had great luck dealing with so far - it comes quickly, is complete and the software installs easily.

Check the above discounts with the Ancestry Store which offers no Ancestry subscription with the software.

The retail Ancestry subscriptions are:

* 1-month US Deluxe - $19.95 per month
* 1-month World Deluxe - $29.95 per month

* 3-month US Deluxe - $50.85 (3 months)
* 3-month World Deluxe - 83.85 (3 months)

* 12-month US Deluxe - $155.40 per year
* 12-month World Deluxe - $299.40 per year

I just obtained a 6-month Ancestry subscription with Family Tree Maker 16 for $32.49 plus $6.95 shipping and handling ($39.44 total). I already have FTM 16, and will donate my earlier copy of it after uninstalling it from my computer, but I just saved $62.26 for a 6-month Ancestry subscription, relative to retail (two 3-month subscriptions). I'll have to renew, or find another deal, in six months but it's worth the minimal effort to me.

If you want to give your favorite genealogist a subscription to Ancestry, you should look into these deals. Of course, you do get Family Tree Maker as part of the bargain.

I'm sure that there are other discount software companies out there, but I didn't look for them. What have you found?

Christmas Advent Calendar - Days 17 to 11

During December 2007, a number of genealogy bloggers participated in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories hosted by Thomas MacEntee on his Destination: Austin Family blog (click on the Day of the Month - unfortunately, the images aren't there any more). Each blogger wrote an article around a meme for the day. It was great fun, but a lot of work. One of my reasons for writing these posts was to leave my memories of Christmas in an organized way for my progeny.

Rather than waste bandwidth duplicating the posts every day (since nothing much has changed since last year), I'm just going to post them week-by-week, along with my little original doggerel for each day. We are counting backwards in this Advent Calendar series - the First Day of Christmas is December 24th.

The second week of Advent posts include:

* Day 17 - Christmas Cookies

On the 17th day of Christmas,
my honey presented me
a whole plate of sugar cookies.

* Day 16 - Christmas Parties

On the 16th day of Christmas,
my relatives acted hearty
at a family Christmas party.

* Day 15 - Christmas Gifts

On the 15th day of Christmas,
my true love gave to me
The greatest gift of all - her love.

* Day 14 - Holiday Travel

On the 14th day of Christmas,
we packed up the car to go
All the way to San Francisco.

* Day 13 - Charitable/Volunteer Work

On the 13th Day of Christmas,
My true love gives to the community
Her time, prayers and compassion.

* Day 12 - Christmas and the Arts

On the 12th Day of Christmas,
my true love accompanied me
to witness a Living Christmas Tree!

* Day 11 - Fruitcake, Friend or foe?

On the 11th Day of Christmas,
some joker sent to me
the biggest fruitcake I ever did see!

More next week! Enjoy.

If you didn't participate in this Carnival last year and you want to blog on the memes - go for it! Your progeny will appreciate it, and your colleagues in the Genea-Blog-world will enjoy them.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Jacob Sovereign (1759-1845), Pioneer Canadian Tavern-Keeper

Jacob Sovereign was born 06 November 1759 in Schooley's Mountain, Warren County, NJ; died 1845 Charlotteville, Norfolk County, Canada West. He was the son of Frederick Zavering/Sovereen and Ann Waldruff. He married 01 March 1781 in Oldwick, Morris County, NJ to Elizabeth Pickle, born 03 November 1764 in Hunterdon County, NJ; died 02 January 1849 in Delhi, Norfolk County, Canada West. She was the daughter of Henry Pickel and Elizabeth.

A description of the life of Jacob Sovereign is provided in "Pioneer Sketches of Long Point Settlement" by E.A. Owen, published Toronto 1898. This book describes the settling and building of Norfolk County, Ontario, mostly by Loyalist immigrants from the United States. The section on Jacob is entitled "Jake Sovereign, the Pioneer Tavern-Keeper" and reads:

"About a hundred years ago, Jacob Sovereign, one of eight German-American brothers who came to Long Point settlement before the present dying century was born, built a log cabin on a ridge in the unbroken forest that crosses east and west the front part of Lot 14, in the 6th concession of Charlotteville. Here with his brave New Jersey wife -- formerly Miss Elizabeth Pickle -- and his three children, the eldest of whom, Frederick was only twelve years old, was planted one of the main branches of the great Sovereign family -- a family now widely scattered over the American continent by the many transplantings of a century.

"If the story of Norfolk's development during this first century of its history were written in detail from the time the sharp 'click' of the settler's axe first broke the long and awful stillness down to the present time, what a wonderful tale it would be! We can see in our imagination these primitive log cabins, one here on the shady bank of a babbling brook, and one there on the sunny side of a chestnut ridge, and all intervening space covered with a dark and forbidding forest; and around the cabin door and underneath the wide spreading branches, we see little bare-footed and bare-headed children skipping about. What of the life in these lonely cabins? The days were full of toil, and the nights, oh, how long and dark, and full of strange, startling sounds for young mothers and timid children. If the veil were lifted, what fears, hopes -- eye, and tears -- would be revealed in the inner life of those rude dwellings in the struggle to meet the crying demands of the hour, and in planning for the unknown future! We shall never know the full meaning of such a life; we can only catch a faint glimpse of it through our imaginations. We never saw the brave old pioneer fathers and mothers who erected the first log cabins in Norfolk, but we distinctly remember the bent forms of our grandfathers, and the wrinkled, saintly faces of our grandmothers; and they were the little tots that gambolled around those first cabin doors, and sometimes cried for bread when there was no bread for them. But we have no more space in this sketch for our imaginations.

"After Jacob Sovereign had effected a clearing and made a start in the world, he made his home into a tavern and kept it for several years. It was one of old Charlotteville's first taverns, and the rough-and-ready settlers who used to gather at 'Jake Savreen's tavern' and spin yarns and crack jokes before the big open-mouthed fire-place have long since passed away. The old sand ridge remains, but the people who occupy it at present live in another world and know nothing of the old scenes enacted there so many years ago, or the conditions of life that prevailed at that time. Many a funny story was told at this old tavern, inspired by copious drafts of 'Uncle Jake's grog'; and sometimes our grandfathers exhausted their fund of good humor by indulging too freely in pioneer 'bitters', and then the curtain would drop on the funny part, and the spectators would witness something more tragical. A resort to the old game of fisticuffs was the usual way of settling all disputes in our grandfathers' days; and the fellow who could wield his fists the most effectively was considered the most convincing disputant in all argumentative controversies -- political, religious, or otherwise.

"Jacob Sovereign lived to a good old age, and left two sons -- Frederick and Henry; and one daughter, Elizabeth. When Elizabeth was married her father told her he would give her a span of horses and a wagon if she had a family of twenty children. She came within two of it."

Children of Jacob Sovereign and Elizabeth Pickle are:

i. Elisabeth Sovereign, born 15 December 1783 in Schooley's Mountain, Warren County, NJ; married Jonathan Wade 17 November 1799 in London Dist, Upper Canada.
ii. Frederick Sovereign, born 14 February 1786 in Schooley's Mountain, Warren County, NJ; died 14 June 1875 in Middleton, Norfolk County, Ontario, Canada; married Mary Jane Hutchison 17 May 1810 in London District, Upper Canada.
iii. Henry Baltis Sovereign, born 30 August 1787 in Schooley's Mountain, Warren County, NJ; died 23 July 1878 in Fredericksburg, Norfolk County, Ontario, Canada; married Margaret Brown 04 January 1815 in Charlotteville, London Dist, Upper Canada; born 08 April 1793; died 02 February 1877 in Fredericksburg, Norfolk County, Ontario, Canada.


My line from Jacob Sovereign to myself is:

* Jacob and Eliza (Pickle) Sovereign
* Frederick Sovereign (1786-1875) married 1810 Mary Jane Hutchison (1792-1868)
* Alexander Sovereign (1814-1907) married 1840 Eliza Putman (1820-1895)
* Mary Jane Sovereign (1840-1874) married 1861 Abraham James Kemp (1831-1902)
* Georgianna Kemp (1868-1952) married 1898 Charles Auble (1848-1916)
* Emily Kemp Auble (1899-1977) married 1918 Lyle Lawrence Carringer (1891-1976)
* Betty Virginia Carringer (1919-1902) married 1942 Frederick W. Seaver (1911-1986)
* Randall J. Seaver (moi)

Jacob and Eliza (Pickle) Sovereign are two of my 5th great-grandparents. Jake sounds like he was quite a guy. He's probably my most famous (perhaps infamous) Canadian ancestor!

I really appreciate the detailed stories about many of my Norfolk County, Ontario ancestors in the book Pioneer Sketches of Long Point Settlement.

Best of the Genea-Blogs - November 30 - December 6, 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:

* Holiday Meme by TennLady on the GENERATIONAL blog. TennLady brings us this holiday meme which is making the rounds. No tag, just write!

* Unraveling a little mystery by Becky Wiseman on the kinexxions blog. Becky has a fascinating research problem identifying people in a photograph. She battles through many records and inconsistencies to reach a conclusion. I love posts like this!

* Why I look at every available source by Kathy Brady-Blake on Kathy's Genealogy Blog. Kathy blogged about her Bestick ancestral family in Ireland all week, and gives excellent advice in this post.

* Alien Registration Records USA by Lorine Schulze on the Olive Tree Genealogy Blog. Lorine provides information and links for these records made after 1917.

* 125 reasons you'll get sent to the lunatic asylum by Dave Tabler on the Appalachian History blog. Dave has this list - it's amazing that everybody wasn't in this asylum!

* No Passport. No Reservations. by Lee Drew on the FamHist blog. Lee has some great ideas for taking virtual vacations and involving children in family history. Check this out.

* Carnival of Genealogy, 61st Edition by Jasia on the Creative Gene blog. The topic for this edition is Traditions, and 30 bloggers participated. The topic for the next edition is Three Wishes - tell Genea-Santa the gifts you desire from your ancestors.

* Library Rules c1910 by Debra Osborne Spindle on the All My Ancestors blog. Deb found a fascinating list of rules from 1910.

* Newspapers: Important Resources for Your Research by Carolyn L. Barkley on the blog. This article concentrates on current genealogy columns in newspapers, which I haven't really explored (except for Terry Snyder's Desktop Genealogist column, of course!).

* Genealogy Round Up and Genealogy Round Up by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak on the RootsTelevision: Megan's Roots World blog. There are two separate posts as Megan catches up with the news (I completely understand that...).

* Yoo-hoo! Are You In There, Daniel? by Sheri Fenley on The Educated Graveyard Rabbit blog. Sheri wonders if her 3rd-great-grandfather is buried beneath his stone, why the stone doesn't have a death date, and other important matters.

* Who's Blogging Where Update by Chris Dunham on The Genealogue blog. Chris has created a map showing where all of the genea-bloggers reside in the world. Impressive. Is this a prelude to genea-voodoo?

* Death Certificate Challenge - John W. Davis by Apple on the Apple's Tree blog. Apple describes her research challenge, and the research performed to solve it. Did I say that I love posts like this?

* African-American Sites to Break Brick Walls by Tina Sansone on the Gtownma's Genealogy blog. Tina has great advice for African-American researchers about names, records and stories.

* December 6 - The Graveyard Rabbit by Terry Thornton on footnoteMaven's Shades of the Departed blog. Terry's monthly "Weekend with Shades" column concerns selection of burial sites. If you only read one of these posts today, read this one!

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!