Saturday, February 7, 2009

Saturday Night Fun - Your High School Years

Hey there, genea-funsters! Are you ready for some Saturday Night family history fun? I realize that many of you are reading this Sunday morning or even later, but that's OK. You can still participate.

There is a great meme going around the genealogy community on Facebook right now - it's called High School Survey. It's 25 questions about your high school senior year, so it's a bit long for our purposes here. I've modified it a bit and picked ten questions for you to ponder about your high school years. Here they are, with my responses:

1. What was your school's full name, where was it, and what year did you graduate? San Diego High School, in downtown San Diego, 1961.

2. What was the school team nickname, and what are/were your school's colors? Cavemen, and uniforms were Powder Blue and White

3. What was the name of your school song, and can you still sing it? The Gray Castle. No, I had to look up the name of the song, let alone the words and have no idea of the melody.

4. Did you have a car? How did you get to and from school? No car until I was 23. I took the bus both ways.

5. Did you date someone from your high school? Or marry someone from your high school? Were you considered a flirt? No; No; and I was too self-conscious to flirt.

6. What social group were you in? I was in the outcast group - the nerds and geeks, with short hair and glasses, and heavy into math, physics, chemistry, etc.

7. Who was/were your favorite teachers? Mrs. Johnsie Posey (geometry, calculus), J.O. Peterson (chemistry)

8. What did you do on Friday nights? Football game in the fall, home watching TV or playing family games.

9. Did you go to and have fun at the Senior Prom? Nope. Didn't go to the prom, although they tried to line me up with a really smart girl. She didn't want to go either.

10. Have you been to reunions, and are you planning on going to the next reunion? I wnt to the 10th, and was essentially shunned by all the people I didn't know. I might go to the 50th in 2011 when no one will remember what anybody looked like!

I really hated high school because I got picked on for being small, unathletic and smart. All except the learning part - that was fun!

See, that wasn't so bad, was it? Kind of true confessions time. Now write a post answering these questions on your blog or put a comment on this post.

Enjoy the memories! Or not...

Searching for Mary's Parents - Post 2

I really appreciate the Family History Library microfilm and microfiche collection, because I've learned that many research problems involving elusive ancestors can be solved by using them to find original records that clearly define names and relationships.

However, I get frustrated sometimes by the time it takes to obtain information from requesting and reading the microfilms. A case in point:

11/1/08 - I met with Sandy Hewlett at the Wholly Genes conference and cruise in a one-on-one to talk about my Mary Hoax/Houx/Houks/Hokes, etc. ancestral problem. One of her suggestions was to search land and probate information in Westmoreland County PA where she married in 1785 - perhaps she is mentioned in a deed or will or probate settlement. I came home from the cruise very enthused, and set to work on the task.

12/6/08 - I posted about some preliminary work in Searching for Mary's Parents - Post 1. I captured images on my USB drive from the deed grantor and grantee indexes. I also found a book with the index to the early wills, which identified several persons with surname Hokes/Houk/Hawk,etc. persons that might be of interest (I made photocopies). I didn't order any microfilms that day - I needed to make a list of the deeds in the early deed books and the wills in the will book with the target surnames. I did the will list because I had the photocopy handy.

12/13/08 - still enthusiastic about my mission, I went to the FHC to order microfilm of the early wills and to order the early deed microfilms. When I got there, I realized that I had not listed the early deeds I wanted, so I didn't know the exact volumes I needed. Okay, Plan B was to enter the very first book of the deeds. I also ordered the film with the first two volumes of the wills, since those were the volumes I needed.

1/22/09 - The FHC called right after Christmas to say the microfilms had arrived, but I had to go to Salt Lake City and the FHL for a weekend so it took another week to get to the FHC. I still had not listed the deeds I wanted from the Grantor and Grantee Indexes! When I got to the FHC, I found and captured the images of the three wills in Volumes 1 and 2 of the Will Books. I scanned the wills, and did not see that they are helpful, but they might be to other researchers. Uh-oh, the first deed book I ordered doesn't have an index on the film, I'll have to wait until I make the list.

1/29/09 - I went to the FHC on the CVGS Research Trip, but didn't have time to check the deed microfilm. Ooops, I still haven't made my deed list.

2/6/09 - I finally made my deed list from the images of the Grantor and Grantee deed books. I came up with about 30 deeds in the period 1771-1820. Great -- now I can go to the FHC and find deeds on the film I have waiting patiently in the drawer for me to read.

2/7/09 - I looked at my list, and there's only one deed that is on the microfilm that I ordered. Volume A, page 309, recorded 3 March 1783, Conrad Hawk grants land in Huntingdon Township to Peter Huber. No mention of Mary, but now I know where Conrad Hawk lived. I ordered the next two microfilms in the series that will provide about 14 more deeds on volumes B through D and 1 through 2 that might be useful. So I have to wait another two or three weeks for these films to come in.

Most of the delay here is my own fault - I didn't make my target deed list when it was fresh in my mind. If I had, I would have saved at least four weeks to obtain the first 15 target deeds.

When I was at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City in January, I intentionally did not work on this research problem because I knew that I had the films waiting for me at the San Diego FHC. The FHL is especially helpful to use for probate and deed records because all of the films are available and the researcher can obtain many records in a day or two. If I had done that, I would have saved 6 weeks and would be much further ahead!

I keep learning lessons over and over again. I need more discipline in my genealogy life, I guess. The major lesson here is to not let record images just sit in your USB drive and computer files - you have to use them effectively to move ahead on the project. Hmmm, I still haven't transcribed the three wills. Drat - I hate it when I remind myself of things I haven't done. Where's the to-do list I made several months ago?

Ah, I wonder when the FHL will have the imaging and indexing done for these Westmoreland county PA records? Probably not for several years, so I'm going to have to keep ordering films or visit the FHL more often in order to make progress on my elusive ancestor problems.

Like the old saying goes - "no one is completely useless, s/he can always he held up to others as a bad example!"

Some Data Portal Site traffic statistics

I gathered 2008 traffic statistics for several of the more popular data portal web sites on recently. The four sites I selected were:

* - a cemetery site

* - a cemetery site

* - an immigration and passenger list site

* - a links site

The daily People traffic for the four sites in 2008 is shown below:

The chart below shows the Daily Visits for the four sites:

The average daily traffic for these four sites is:

* - 41.0K US (53.6K World) People, 66.6K US (81.3K World) Visits

* - 9.0K US ( 11.3K World) People, 10.3K US (12.9K World) Visits

* - 3.3K US People, 5.2K US Visits

* - 11.4K US People, 13.4K US Visits

During 2008, traffic on FindAGrave went up significantly in the last quarter, but traffic throughout 2008 decreased for the other three sites. Perhaps this reflects new content on FindaGrave and not much new content on the other sites.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Legacy 7 Source Citations - First Look

I posted yesterday about the Family Tree Maker 2009 Source Citation templates and my experience testing it.

I worked in Legacy Family Tree 7.0 today to learn about and test the Source Citation templates, developed from Elizabeth Shown Mills' book, Evidence Explained. For this test, I decided to use the same person and citation details as in the FTM post - Henry Austin Carringer's birth record in the Carringer Family Bible.

While on the [Family] tab page, with Henry highlighted, I clicked on the Birth line and the "Individual's Information" window opened:

I was confused at this point - where is the Source indicator for the birth? I found it by putting the cursor in the Birth input box, and clicking on the "Sources" icon (the small bookcase set next to the notepad). When I clicked on the "Sources" icon, this small window titled "Assigned Sources for Henry Austin Carringer" opened:

In this window, the Birth was highlighted, and since I did not have a Source listed for the Birth, I figured I should click on the "New Source" button. I did and a small window titled "Source Template Index" opened. I input the word "Bible" in the text box:

I clicked the "Search" button at the top of the window, and the Source Template Index window for "Bible" entries opened. There is a choice here - I chose "Bible - Held Privately - Bible Pages, Loose, from unidentified Bible:

I clicked the "Go" button and the "Add New Master Source" window opened. There are a number of "fill-in-the-blanks" text boxes in each of five tabs (across the top). It opens in the "Source Info" tab:

I entered the information about the source in the "Source Info" tab screen. As I added information, the input data appears in the "Output Preview" on the right side of the window.

I clicked on the "Text/Comments" tab and saw that I could add the actual text on the Bible pages in the top text box, and input Comments about the Bible pages in the lower text box. I put the hand and provenance information in the Comments box, as shown below:

I clicked on the "Repository" tab and couldn't figure out if I could add anything for this type of source. I could have clicked on the "Add" button and added my name, address, phone, email, web site, etc. I didn't at this time:

The "Multimedia" tab is where I could input images of the Bible pages. The "Overrides" tab permits the user to make their own edits to the created source citations, or to create their own if they don't want the EE templates. Here is the "Overrides" tab screen:

I was done entering Source data for this fact, so I clicked on the "Save" button. I was back to the "Assigned Sources..." screen, where I could add detail information about this particular entry in the text box, and could choose the source quality from the pick list near the bottom. I picked "3. Almost Certain Conclusion." You can see the finished citations on the right of the screen:

I clicked the "Save" button and the source information appeared in the Birth text box. The source citations also show up below the Facts box - in the "Output" tab:

I clicked on the "Text Comments" tab and the "Master" and "Detail" Text and Comments appear for the selected source:

I clicked "Close" and was back to the "Family" tab screen. Instead of "Close," I could have clicked on another Fact and added a new source or edited an existing source for that Fact.

The final Source Citations read:

"Footnote/Endnote Citation:
Carringer Family Bible, family pages; Original pages held by Randall J. Seaver, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Chula Vista, California 91911, 1988.

"Subsequent Citation:
Carringer Family Bible, family pages only.

Carringer Family Bible. Family Pages Only. Original pages held by Randall J. Seaver, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Chula Vista, California 91911. 1988. "

I can use this master source for all of the persons mentioned in this Family Bible.

The Legacy Family Tree Source Citation template seemed to be easy to navigate and use. I thought that it was easier to use and was more organized than the FTM 2009 template. I have only worked in three different templates so far, so I haven't explored all of the options for either program.

Teeth and Dentistry over time

I broke a cusp off of one of my upper molars last week, and have been running my tongue over it ever since. This got me thinking, of course, about how lucky we are to have dentists and the like to repair the damage done before real problems set in. I called yesterday and got an appointment this morning, and had the tooth ground down, impressions made and a temporary crown installed. All within 90 minutes without any pain, except to the wallet.

This has happened before, of course, since I am a pretty old guy with lots of silver fillings in my teeth - the result of a sweet-laden and mis-brushed/flossed youth. Every time I go in for a cleaning, the dentist comes by to say hello and pick at the fillings, hoping to shake one loose and create another earning opportunity for the office.

My father decided as a young man (I don't know what age he was - perhaps under age 30) that he wanted nothing to do with future tooth problems. He had a dentist remove all of his teeth and replace them with full dentures. His sister claimed that this was done without anesthesia, which I cannot imagine! I never knew this as a boy, it was only until I met my Aunts and Uncle in the 1960's that I was told. I do recall seeing dentures in a glass from time to time but I don't recall seeing my father without his teeth installed, ever.

My mind wandered while I was staring at the dentist's bright light (even with the fashion dark glasses they gave me - they fold in the middle!) and I wondered what dentistry in colonial times might have been like. I Googled [dentistry colonial teeth] and was rewarded with a fascinating book titled The Excruciating History of Dentistry, Toothsome Tales & Oral Oddities from Babylon to Braces, by James Wynbrandt.

This book was published in 2000, but excerpts are available on Google Books. I read several chapters from this book and am appalled at the practices used for dental care, even into the 20th century.

Paul Revere apparently was one who practiced some aspect of dentistry. The web site has this excerpt from the book Customs and Fashions in Old New England by Alice Morse Earle:

"Live Teeth. Those Persons inclined to dispose of Live Teeth may apply to Templeton. Whereas many Persons are so unfortunate as to lose their Fore Teeth by Accident or Otherways to their great detriment not only in looks but in speaking both public and private.

"This is to inform all such that they may have them replaced with artificial ones that look as well as the Natural and answer the End of Speaking by Paul Revere, Silversmith, near the head of Dr. Clark’s wharf. All persons who have had False Teeth Fixed by Mr. Jos. Baker, Surgeone Dentist, and They have got loose as they will in Time may have them fastened by above said Revere who learnst the method of fixing them from Mr. Baker."

The daily life of our colonial (and later!) ancestors was hard on them physically, and was often painful for long periods. Still, many of them lived to what we consider "old age."

I am really glad that we have the level of professional dentistry that we have today.

UPDATE: Gena Philibert Ortega posted Dentistry two months ago - it has some useful links too.

Family History Expo in St. George Utah on 27-28 February

The 5th Annual Family History Expo in St. George, Utah will be on Friday and Saturday, 27-28 February (8 am to 6 pm). The web site with complete registration, program and exhibit information is here.

Pre-registration cost for both days is $60.00 (Ends Feb. 14, 2009). The "at the door" cost will be $65.00. The one day "at the door cost" will be $50.00.

Registration includes: packet, name tag, CD syllabus, and a goody bag.

There will be a Friday evening Banquet at 6:30 p.m. featuring Tom Kemp (of GenealogyBank) - the cost is $33 per person, and seats are limited.

The Program Schedule is listed here. Arlene Eakle is the Keynote speaker on Friday morning at 8 a.m. with "Digging Roots: It's That Easy!"

Genea-Blogger Mark Tucker (ThinkGenealogy) is presenting "Navigating Research with the Genealogical Proof Standard " at 10 a.m. on Friday.

Genea-Blogger Kathryn Lake Hogan (Looking4Ancestors) is presenting "Digging Your Canadian Roots" at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, "Patriot or Loyalist--Whose Side Was He On?" on Saturday at 8 a.m, and "Making the Most of Canadian Census Records" at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Genea-Blogger The Ancestry Insider is presenting "Visiting the National Archives" at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.

There are many more speakers on databases, software, and research topics throughout the two days - 50 speakers, over 130 presentations in 12 tracks and 11 time slots.

I would really like to go...anybody from San Diego want to share driving?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

FTM 2009 Source Citations - First Look

Tana L. Petersen of the The Generations Network (TGN) announced yesterday on the Blog that the long anticipated Family Tree Maker 2009 Source Citation templates had been implemented on the latest FTM 2009 Upgrade.

There was no explicit direction as to how to obtain the upgrade, so I just opened FTM 2009 and a notcie came up saying there was an Upgrade and I followed the directions and the upgrade quickly downloaded. Then it took FTM 2009 quite a while (I'm guessing two minutes) to start up (it usually takes only one minute or so) and I maneuvered to some source citations and sure enough, there was a way to create new source citations and edit earlier citations using a series of source citation templates based on the Quick Check models in Elizabeth Shown Mills' book, Evidence Explained.

Before I dove into this exercise, I downloaded and read the PDF that was in Tana blog post - titled 2009 Software Update (one section covers the Source Citation templates). This was a big help in getting me started.

I have a series of screen shots for my first exercise in editing an existing source citation. I chose the Carringer Family Bible for which my source citation had been:

"Family Data, D.J. Carringer Family Bible (loose pages), no book title, author, or publiication information."

On the [People] > [Person] screen for Henry Austin Carringer, I selected the Birth Fact, and clicked on the "Edit" (the pencil icon) on the "Sources" field in the right panel of the screen. This opened the small window, which had my earlier information in the window items, as shown below:

I selected the "Edit" button, and a second small window titled "Edit Source" opened for me to start the citation template process. This window has entries for "Source Template," "Author," "Publisher," etc. I needed to choose a template first, so I clicked the "Change" button on the top line:

Another small window opened titled "Select Source Template" with a selection of template types. I chose "Archives and Artifacts" and then chose "Private Holdings" from the Categories box and "Family Bible Records" from the Template box, as shown below:

I clicked "OK" and a small window titled "Change Source Type" opened with a number of empty boxes to be filled in. The screen looked like this:

I could have added information to the boxes, but I didn't because I had no knowledge of the Bible title, author, publisher, etc. I clicked "OK" in my haste to finally complete a great source citation. A window titled "Edit source" came up with many of the same boxes to fill in, plus more. I filled them in with what I knew about each item. The screen looked like this:

I clicked "OK" and was back to the first "Edit Source Citation" window and I added some information into the "Citation Detail" box, and eliminated the previous text from the "Citation Text" box. The screen looked like this:

I thought I was almost I clicked "OK" and was back to my [People] > [Person] screen with the Birth record highlighted, and the edited Source in the right-hand frame on the screen:

It shows only two lines on this screen - a long source citation is cut off by the window width. If I dragged the window divider to the left, more of the citation would show up.

However, I went to the [Sources] button and chose this Source and the Reference Note that appeared was:

"David Jackson and Rebecca (Spangler) Carringer, about 1853 to 1902, Carringer Family Bible, unknown title (unknown place of publication: unknown publisher, unknown year); privately held by Randall J. Seaver, Chula Vista CA 91911 USA, 1988 to present. The Bible pages are in the hands of Rebecca (Spangler) Carringer, Della (Smith) Carringer, and Lyle L. Carringer. The loose pages were in the family papers of Lyle L. Carringer handed to Betty (Carringer) Seaver in 1977 and to Randall J. Seaver in 1988."

Isn't that cool? Did I do it right? (I really hate criticism, you know, but tell me!). What should I have done to make this better?

I could have attached my images of the Bible pages to the Media tab in the Sources screen.

I could have included a transcription or abstraction in the Reference Note if I had entered them into the "Citation Text" box on one of the small windows.

I can use this master source for all of the persons mentioned in this Family Bible.

Whew! One down, hundreds more to go. It only took an hour or so for this one! I'm sure that I will get better at doing this.

I wonder if the Legacy 7 process is any easier? I'll try it soon and tell you all about it!

I Use the Internet for Genealogy Research by...

John D. Reid has an interesting post today titled How genealogists use the internet on his Anglo-Celtic Connections blog. John describes the content of a Fraser Dunford column on the subject which claimed there were only four uses, and then John provides his own list of ways he uses the Internet. Read his entire post.

This is a very useful topic for genea-bloggers and blog readers, because the list can be useful in expanding knowledge of genealogy resources and ways to find distant cousins

Here are the ways that I use the Internet to perform genealogy research:

* Stay abreast of genealogy industry news and announcements (e.g., company web sites, online magazines, online newsletters, conferences, blogs, etc.)

* Continue my genealogy and history education through reading online articles, magazines, and web sites, listening to podcasts, watching videos, etc.

* Publish my genealogy research reports so that other researchers can find and use them, and contact me (e.g., on web sites, blogs, etc.)

* Publish my family trees on web sites so that other researchers can find and use them, and contact me.

* Post messages on Rootsweb mailing lists, Ancestry and GenForum message boards to solicit help and information from other researchers, and to help other researchers.

* Maintain contact and communicate with family members and genealogy friends through social networks (e.g.,,,,, etc.)

* Search for genealogy and family history information about elusive ancestors in online indexes and databases (e.g.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, etc.)

* Obtain images of original documents from genealogy database companies.

* Search for genealogy and family history about elusive ancestors on web sites using search engines (e.g., Google, Yahoo, etc.)

* Search for information about local history and available resources on web sites (e.g.,,,, etc.)

* Access library catalogs to determine which institution has holdings of interest (e.g.,, Library of Congress, Family History Library Catalog, local, state and regional libraries)

* Access local and state government office web sites to search for and obtain court, land and vital records

* Access, pay for and download genealogy software to help me enter my genealogy information, organize my research and create charts, reports and books.

* A genealogy writing and publishing outlet for individuals, groups or societies (e.g., blogs, web sites, newsletters, message boards, etc.)

Many of the items on my list are included by John and Fraser Dunford in their lists. As John pointed out, there are many more opportunities than just Fraser's four uses of the Internet for genealogy.

What would you add to these lists? How do you use the Internet in your genealogy activities? Make a comment to this post, or write your own blog post.

My thanks to John and Fraser for a stimulating question, and for the blog fodder.

Selected Family Tree web site traffic statistics

The daily traffic in 2008 for several Family Tree web sites, as measured by, are shown for:





The daily People for these sites are shown below:

The daily visits for these sites are shown below:

We can see that had a major increase in traffic in July 2008, although only US traffic was measured. had a steady increase in traffic throughout 2008, although the US penetration is small. and traffic was constant but small, relative to the other two sites.

The Quantcast statistics provide monthly statistics also (which I believe is for the last month tested):

* 142.4K people, 289.4K visits (US traffic only)

* 59.4K People, 108.2K Visits (Global traffic(

* 14.6K People, 16.0K Visits (US traffic only)

* 3.5K People, 4.0K Visits (US traffic only)

I tried to include in this comparison, but Quantcast was not permitted to measure the web site for some reason.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Dynastree's US Surname Distribution Maps

I received an email from the team explaining their US Surname distribution Maps that was announced the other day.

Rather than print out the announcement, I chose to go visit the site and see what I could find. I input "Seaver" in the surname box and got this web page (separated into three screens):

The map gives me a distribution of the names. The text below indicates that Seaver has 1,349 entries in US phone books and is the 7,398th most common name in the USA. It is most frequent in Massachusetts (139 entries) and California (125 entries). There is a link for the distribution in Canada also.

The surname Smith is the most common surname in the USA - with 783,588 entries in US phone books.

The surname Obama is the 490,118th most common surname with 6 entries.

This surname distribution tool can be useful if you don't know where the surname is predominant. Of course, it measures the current (or nearly current) distribution and not the historical distribution.

"The Webmaster's Guide to TNG 7.0" book

I haven't blogged at all about one of the more interesting online genealogy software programs - The Next Generation of Genealogy Software (TNG). My reason for that is that I have no experience with it, other than browsing through some of the web sites created by it. As I evaluate genealogy software packages that create genealogy and family history web sites, I will add TNG to my list.

TNG is Darrin Lythgoe's creation, and has grown in popularity over the past eight years and is a worthy competitor to other genealogy software programs, especially for displaying genealogy and family history online on a dynamic and attractive web site.

John Pfost has written a book titled "The Webmaster's Guide to TNG 7.0" that is available for $35 at his web site, . John's site describes the book:

"The Webmaster's Guide to TNG 7.0 shows genealogists and family historians how to create and manage their own dynamic genealogy Web site using a commercial software program, The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding (TNG) . Unlike conventional genealogy Web site development applications, TNG utilizes advanced tools – MySQL database and PHP scripting language – to create highly attractive, efficient, and customizable Web sites. TNG is bundled with a number of ready-made templates for quick setup of your Web site. For those who want more control and flexibility, the source code is included and users are allowed -- even encouraged -- to customize their sites in unlimited ways.

"Webmaster's Guide to TNG 7.0 provides everything non-technical family historians need to create a TNG-based site and introduces many of the unlimited possibilities for expanding their site developments."

If you have a TNG web site, or are trying to build one, John's book may be a very helpful companion.

Family Photographs - Post 41: the Carringers and their House

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.

I scanned my grandfather's (Lyle L. Carringer, 1891-1976) "Snapshots" album on 25 January during Scanfest. The photos were from about 1910 to about 1925, and were pasted onto black paper in the album. The album pages are somewhat moth-eaten around the edges and many pages were loose. I decided to take out all of the pages so that I could scan them. There are quite a few blank spots on the pages where someone has removed other photographs. I've seen many loose photos in my collection with "black paper" on the back that were probably in the album at one time.

Here is one of the photographs from the collection:

This photograph is the house located at 2105 30th Street (corner of Hawthorn Street) that my great-grandparents, Henry Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer built in the late 1890's. I posted an earlier photograph of this house before, soon after it was built, here.
There are four persons in this photograph:
* Della (Smith) Carringer - on the far left, dressed up in long dress and hat.
* Lyle L. Carringer (1891-1976) - as a young man, next to Della, wearing a fine suit and a nifty bow tie
* Abigail (Vaux) Smith - on the right of the palm tree, also dressed up in long dress and hat. Abbie is the mother of Della (Smith) Carringer, and widow of Devier J. Smith.
* an unknown male - on the right edge of the photograph. This may be Henry Austin Carringer, but I cannot tell because the photograph is unclear, even when magnified.
I've pondered when this picture might have been taken. There are no dates on the photograph front or back. I have three clues - the first is the relative youth of Lyle - he looks like a young man aged 18 to 25, has a different hair style and and is not as old looking as he was in the 1918 photograph I posted last week. The second clue is the foliage around the house, which was built in the late 1890's. The palm tree in front of the house is relatively new - perhaps only 3 to 5 years old. The trellis on the upper story to the right has quite a bit of foliage, but not as much as a 1916 photograph. The third clue is Della's dress, which looks very similar to the dress in the beach picture taken in February 1910 (dated on back) and shown here. Lyle's suit in this picture appears to be the same suit as in the 1910 photograph (but in the 1910 photo he does not have a bowtie).
My best guess is that this photograph was taken in the 1910 to 1913 time frame.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

New Ancestry Content coming in February

"Content is King" was the mantra we heard from The Generations Network and during the meetings in Provo in early January.

A recent email from described the new content coming in February, courtesy of Gary Gibb, VP U.S. Content

1) Title: Civil War Service Records Update w/Soldier Photos
Names: over 4m
Images: est. 18k soldier and officer photos
Brief description: This is a major enhancement to this priceless database of Civil War soldiers and officers. Actual photos will be linked to the service records, along with many bios and even some signatures.

2) Title: Slave Manifests Filed at New Orleans, Louisiana, 1807-1860
Names: est. 30k
Images: est. 30k
Brief description: This collection includes manifests of slaves who were transported from one place to another within the U.S. The images are being released first while indexing commences through the World Archives Project.

3) Title: Confederate Pension Applications, GA
Names: est. 60k
Images: est. 567k
Brief description: These Georgia Confederate Pension Applications contain an extraordinary amount of genealogical and historical information on Civil War veterans and their widows. Applications for pensions are often multiple pages long and answer numerous questions about the individuals involved.

4) Title: Abraham Lincoln Letters
Names: est. 50k
Images: est. 60k
Brief Description: Letters written to and by Abraham Lincoln, from the Library of Congress, include correspondence, speech drafts, notes and other printed material. Most of the items are from the 1850s through 1865.

5) Title: Confederate Applications for Presidential Pardons (Amnesty Papers) 1865-1867
Names: est. 15k
Images: est. 73k
Brief description: After the Civil War, former Confederates not covered by general amnesty were required to request a pardon. This collection includes the letters of application along with other related records.

6) Title: National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938
Names: est. 390k
Images: est. 280k
Brief description: The National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers was instituted following the Civil War. This database contains records from twelve National Homes. The majority of the records consist of historical registers, but other records included in this database are indexes to the historical registers, applications, admissions, deaths, burials, and hospital records.

7) Title: Update to U.S. State Census Collection
Names: est. 5m
Images: est. 1m
Brief description: New state censuses for Kansas and South Dakota, including updates to existing databases.

8) Title: Update to Historic Land Ownership and Reference Atlases, 1507-2000
Names: est. 1m
Images: est. 10k
Brief description: Adding over 10,000 maps. This collection contains many maps of townships showing land plots with the owners' names listed.

Keeping customers informed about site improvements and additions to content is part of doing business. Eric Shoup, the VP Product, wrote this in the latest newsletter:

" As of 2009, Ancestry product managers are making a more concerted effort to reach out more to our customers via our bulletin boards and blog. We recognize how vital this dialogue is to both understanding our customer needs as well as communicating what is new or coming up on And frankly, this helps hold our Product Managers accountable to our customers for building the right features and communicating sufficiently. This is an example of a broader objective this year within the Product team to 'engage our customers in conversation'. We hope this will result in better products and a better informed customer base."

I greatly appreciate the new openness and the engagement of Ancestry with its customers. Regular postings on the Blog by the Ancestry management about all of the products and services provides an opportunity for dialogue with the customers. The posts routinely have many comments, some of them not complimentary. Old habits die hard, I know!

Tombstone Tuesday - Henry White and family

The other ancestral family found buried in Bartlett Cemetery #1 in East Killingly, Windham County, connecticut is that of Henry A. White. The stone is shown below:

The transcription of the stone is:

George A. Winslow
Henry A. White
Almira E. Taft
wife of George A. Winslow
also wife of
Henry A. White
Effie C. White

It looks to me like Almira (Taft) (Winslow) White buried herself with her two husbands and one of her children. George Winslow died in the civil War. He and Almira had a son, George M. Winslow (1862-1928). Almira E. Taft was the daughter of Warren Taft (1817-1899) and Almira O. Oatley (1817-1903). Almira Oatley was the sister of Henry A. White's first wife, Amy Oatley (1826-ca 1868). So Henry married his first wife's Aunt Almira.

I was unable to find the grave of Henry White's first wife, Amy (Oatley) White. I assume that she is buried in this same cemetery but there appears to be no record in the Bartlett Cemetery #1 listing from the Hale Collection.

San Diego John Doe is George D. Schott

"Geary found Orville Schott in Pleasanton with the help of amateur genealogists, and a 24-year-old mystery was solved."

That is the 43rd paragraph in a 47 paragraph story titled Answers found in county push to identify the nameless dead by David Hasemyer published today on Page A-1 in the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper. The focus iof the article is on Gretchen Geary of the Medical Examiner's office in San diego, whose job it is to try to resolve these "Unclaimed Persons" cases. It's a great and sad human interest story - man found dead in a parking lot in 1985 with no identification, buried in an unmarked grave, Medical Examiner's office re-opens cold cases, fingerprint match found, name is George D. Schott. Now, how to find and contact the family?

Da-da!!! Call in the Unclaimed Persons team that Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak and Marcy Brown founded in 2008. Assign a team of 485 crack genealogy researchers to solve the problem without contacting anyone that might be involved. It took five days to find certain relatives, and about five weeks to make sure that they had the right person.

People with a Facebook account can join the Unclaimed Persons group and read this and other case studies. They are fascinating threads of dedicated people working together to solve very complicated research problems involving living people - who are the relatives of the unclaimed persons.

A short history of the key finds in Case #49 - George Donald Schott includes:

* 13 November 2008, 6:44 pm - case file opened by the Case Manager, Kathy. Known facts were white male, birth date, parents names (apparently from the fingerprint file), and death date (from coroner record).
* 13 November, 7:19 pm and 8:16 pm - SSDI entries of parents in Ohio found by Barbara and Lorine.
* 13 November, 8:32 pm - name of wife in Alameda County CA newspaper announcement found by Alisa
* 13 November, 8:37 pm - newspaper article of 1976 arrest in Alameda County of GDS found by Barbara
* 13 November, 8:43 pm - divorce record of GDS found by Linda in Ancestry
* 13 November, 8:46 pm - birth records of two children found by Linda in Ancestry
* 13 November, 8:58 pm - son's phone book info found by Barbara in People Finders
* 14 November, 1:50 pm - Google search by Randy finds online article about GDS's wartime friend Orville Clayton - son's name is Orville C.
* 18 November, 8:04 pm - Linda finds GDS's daughter's married surname in marriage records, and then a birth record for the granddaughter, and it matches the writer of the online article. This was the clincher.
* ?? November - Case Manager Kathy sends the information found to the Medical Examiner's office with contact information for the family.
* 19 December - Coroner's office tells Kathy that the contact was the family and that they are appreciative of the effort.

There were 109 posts in this thread by 9 researchers. The case was solved within a week, but it took awhile to tie up all loose ends and ensure that the identification was correct. On 13 November, there were 47 posts in the first four hours of investigation.

My part in this was to spend an hour at the library looking for city directory entries for George D. Schott, and an hour online looking at San Diego and Los Angeles County deed, probate and criminal court records. Plus the Google search on the 14th. Funny how something so simple can be really important, isn't it?

All of these Unclaimed Persons cases are real challenges because they usually involve persons who left few tracks in public records and probably didn't want to be found. The Group has attacked 68 cases so far, and 37 have been solved, with 8 pending.

One benefit of participating in the Unclaimed Persons group is that it really hones your research skills in finding records of dead and living persons. Many of the researchers in the Group are not well known genealogists - but they are all dedicated and wonderfully persistent researchers.

Well done - Unclaimed Persons Group! It's nice to be recognized in the newspaper too, even if it's only one sentence in the article!

The article notes "the rest of the story":

"Schott was stunned to hear from Geary. One of George's daughters had seen him a few months before his death, when he was working with a traveling carnival. They didn't know he was on the streets of San Diego.

"'We finally know what happened,' Schott said. 'After all these years we had answers to our questions.'"

UPDATED: 3 February, 1 p.m. - corrected factual error, and added times of posts on Facebook group.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Sneak Peek at

I posted 10 days ago about What will GenSeek Be? From the advance publicity, I am pretty sure that it will be the Family History Library Catalog 2.0 - with additional links and a user's forum to boot.

Tamura Jones tweeted about it today and said he had an advanced look at GenSeek in an article on his web site, (NOTE: Users of Internet Explorer won't be able to access the site without a fix, linked to by Tamura; I use Firefox to do access his site.)

Tamura has screen shots of the GenSeek development web site. The screen shots show the Catalog structure - tabs for US, World and Community. The World tab lists many countries. The US tab has all of the states. The user can click on a state and see a list of all of the FHLC entries, and a notation of the available media - book, manuscript, microfilm, microfiche, web site, etc. When you get down to a specific catalog entry, the material is essentially the same as on the FHLC site.

The advantage to this system is that these catalog entries will not be "hidden" in the deep web (as they are now in the FHLC) - they will be available to search engines. For instance, if you Google [chattooga county georgia genealogy], you will get a match for the Chattooga County GA entries in the FHLC and any other web sites and databases with genealogy on them.

The promise of this site is that it will be collaborative - "Not only will everyone be able to add new sources, and improve the descriptions of existing sources, but we will also be linking to the online versions of all the sources as soon as we (or the community) can create the links."

After reading Tamura's tweet this morning, I found the development web site and worked through some of the menus, thinking I could return and do some screen captures this afternoon and show them to my readers tonight. However, the development web site is no longer available to snoopers like me at the former URL. Oh well, we'll just have to wait until it comes on live in less than two months.

I think that GenSeek will be great! Go take a sneak peek at (just don't use IE).

Finding the Source on Ancestry's U.S. City Directories has updated their collection of United States City Directories. I decided to search for my people in San Diego - the Carringer, Auble and Smith families, hopefully find the entries, and enter the found information, with a source citation, into my database.

I used the Genealogy Databases Posted or Updated Recently link, clicked on the US City Directories link, and input [carringer] in the surname box, [California] in the State box, and Exact Matches checked. The screen looks like this:

I was curious about the source citation at the bottom of the search box. It says:

" U.S. City Directories [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2008. Original data: Original sources vary according to directory. Check the directory title page image for full title and publication information."

That really doesn't tell me much, does it? Just that obtained them somehow. Perhaps the directory images will help me. I clicked on Search and received three matches in San Diego, one for 1897, one for 1899-1900, and one for 1901. Here is the linked page image for 1897: Here's the image as it opened:

I scrolled down and found the Carringer listings, and saved the image to my computer files. The saved image is (it is Image 94 of 264):

Yep, there are my great-grandparents, H.A. Carringer and D.A. Carringer. Henry Austin Carringer is a millman, works at Russ Lumber and Mill Company, and resides at 28th and Logan in San Diego. Della Carringer is an art teacher, with a studio at 29th and Logan. I didn't know about the art studio - did she own it? I need to find out!

Back to my source citation problem. The database citation noted above is totally useless. Ah, maybe I can find one on a title page for the directory. I could scroll my way back to find it one page at a time.

he short cut is to put the number [1] in the place of 94 in the Image Numbers just above the record image on the second screen shot above. That took me back to the information about this particular city directory - who filmed, where was it filmed, the cover, some advertising, etc. I finally found the front page of the 1897 San Diego City Directory on Image 10 of 264:

I downloaded this page to my computer files also.

So now I can construct my source citation myself from the information on this page:

Directory of San Diego City and County, 1897.
The Olmsted Co., Printers. San Diego, California. Digital image, U.S. City Directories [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2008. Accessed by R.J. Seaver on 2 February 2009. has chosen to lump all of these City Directories in this collection into one "database." It doesn't hurt the search function any, but it sure creates havoc for researchers to easily find and create an accurate source citation for their records.

If a researcher wanted to attach a record image from this database into their online family tree on or in Family Tree Maker using a Web Search, s/he would have to go through this same exercise to obtain a useful source citation.

If each City Directory was a separate database on Ancestry, then a useful source citation could be included on the search and results pages on ancestry, and that citation could be easily attached to a user's family tree. Having a separate database for this particular directory would have saved me about 20 clicks (and page views), and perhaps 2 minutes of time, for this single search.

Of course, having information like this on permits a researcher to perform the search at home in his/her jammies at any time of day. I'm not complaining about the search process - this search took a second or two and was really efficient! But the downstream functions of a researcher, including capturing a useful source citation and adding it to Family Tree Maker and Ancestry family trees, could be made easier.
Thanks to Pam Warren for the question on Facebook this morning - it got my interest and created blog fodder for me!

Subscription Genealogy sites traffic statistics

What about the traffic for US-based subscription database web sites during 2008 other than

Here are Daily People and Daily visit charts from for:

* (US rank 3,677)

* (US rank 8,208)

* (US rank 22,344)

* (US rank 6,227)

For comparison purposes, the ranking was 228, and ranking was 2,334.

The charts above show several spikes in people and visits - these probably correspond to major new database releases.

One of the conclusions I draw from the charts above is that the Daily Visits are only a fraction above the Daily People for these sites. This means that few people are visiting more than once a day. The ratio of People to visits was about 8. Page views might be the more useful statistic.

I know that there are several other subscription database providers. I can only show four of them on these comparison charts.

Got Great Ephemera? Tell Marty!

Do you read the Ephemera blog written by Marty Weil? He posts something about "old paper" every day.

Every year he has a World's Coolest Ephemera Contest. Nominations are now open - see his blog post here. The deadline is March 1, so find your coolest ephemera and send him a JPG of it.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Best of the Genea-Blogs - January 25-31, 2009

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:

* 2009 Inauguration of President Barack Obama by Karen Burney on the Louisiana Lineage Legacies blog. Karen's story of her trip to the inauguration of our 44th President is very moving - you can hear the joy in her words and see the smiles on her face as she experienced something she, and her descendants, will never forget.

* What Happens to My Research When I'm Gone? and Part 2 by Sheri Fenley on The Educated Genealogist blog. Sheri ponders what will happen to the genealogy stuff, and shares the genealogy codicil to her will. The second post highlights a possible solution for those who have no interested family members.

* Collaboration in a Virtual World - Updated by Denise Olson on the Family Matters blog. Denise explores virtual tools to collaborate with others - in an online meeting or in a shared document environment. These tools are very useful for online groups that meet on a regular basis, or for a family association or genealogy society to share project information and papers.

* 15th Edition of the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy by Jessica Oswalt on the Jessica's Genejournal blog. This monhly carnival of genealogy posts had four entries on the topic of History Books about Central and Eastern Europe.

* Genealogy Jam and More Genealogy Jam by Pat Richley on the DearMYRTLE Genealogy Blog. Ol' MYRT's talk at the SLIG banquet brought many to tears - see her take on writing family history books for your family, and the beautiful quilt she made for her father. In the second post, MYRT's readers share some of their G-Jam.

* Camp Polk Cemetery "Varieties of Hope" by Dead Man Talking on the Blogging a Dead Horse blog. Want to see a really interesting and non-traditional cemetery? Check out DMT's post about Camp Polk in Oregon.

* The Actual Dime Museum by Lidian on The Virtual Dime Museum blog. Lidian's post describes the Dime Museums that many of our ancestors visited for entertainment in the Victorian era.

* NBC series to give family history a boost by Larry Lehmer on the Passing It On blog. Larry comments about the Who Do You Think You Are? TV show coming in April, and shares his expectations.

* Packing Up a Life and Packing Up a Life, Day 2 by Lorine on the Olive Tree Genealogy Blog. My face is wet after reading these two posts by Lorine about sorting out and packing up her mother's belongings.

* WDYTYA: Impact on Genealogy, American Style by Schelly Talalay Dardaahti on the Tracing the Tribe: The Jewish Genealogy blog. Schelly writes about the upcoming TV show and notes that the ancestors of the three named stars to date are Jewish and eastern European.

* Analyzing Evidence by Gena Philibert Ortega on the Gena's Genealogy blog. Gena links to a form about "how to analyze a document" to help researchers analyze the collected evidence.

* Five Fallacies in Genealogy by Brenda Joyce Jerome on the Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog. Brenda shares five common fallacies from her research and invites readers to add to her list.

* Gentle Advice for Genealogy Societies by Amy Coffin on the WeTree blog. Amy's timely and helpful advice should be taken by every genealogy society.

* Who Do You Think You Are - the downside by Tim Agazio on the Genealogy Reviews Online blog. Tim has a humorous post about what might happen after WDYTYA? debuts. He might be right!

* A Matter of Temporary Insanity by Lee Drew on the FamHist blog. Lee has research success after he checks and rechecks his earlier work. There's a lesson here for all researchers.

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 - all bloggers appreciate feedback on what they write.

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

Read past Best of the Genea-Blogs posts here.

UPDATE: I fixed Tim's name and blog name after the Super Bowl. Thank you, Sheri, for catching my error! Sorry, Tim, for the mixup - I wasn't paying attention, I guess.