Saturday, April 18, 2009

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Poetry and Genealogy

It's Saturday Night - are you ready for your weekly dose of Genealogy Fun? I hope so!

I was reading my 450 blog subscriptions on Bloglines this morning (not all post every day, of course) and noticed Robert Baca's post Poetry and Genealogy. Aha, said I, that's a SNGF challenge! After all, Genea-Musings readers are surely the most creative, playful, helpful and intelligent folks in the genealogy world.

Here's your challenge for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun:

1) Create a poem - rhyming, free verse, doggerel, limerick, etc. - about genealogy research, whether general or specific.

2) Post it on your blog, on Facebook, in Comments to this post so all of the world can appreciate your creativity.

Have fun!

Here's mine:

There was a family named Lamphear
with an unwanted son Devier.
He was adopted by a Smith,
I don't think it was a myth,
his parents identity I would cheer!
(c) Randall J. Seaver, 2009
Not exactly iambic pentameter, eh? Or exactly the right limerick meter, but appropriate considering my present research challenge.

Finding the Devier Lamphear ==> Smith Name Change Record

My genea-blogging colleagues and readers are so good to me...

I mentioned in my blog post in December 2007 titled 'Tis a Mystery that I had found a name change extract on a Wisconsin GenWeb web site - now on The record indicated a name change from Devier J. Lamphear to Devier J. Smith on 21 March 1866 in Dodge County, Wisconsin. Here is the top of the page with the reference information:

And here is the screen showing the Devier J. Lamphier to Devier J. Smith abstract:

I wondered if the actual court records would have Devier J. Lamphier's parents names. The only way to find out is to search for and obtain the court documents filed for the case. How do I find them? I Googled quite a bit today using the title Private & Local Laws Passed by the Legislature of Wisconsin of the record from the web page. I had little luck!

footnoteMaven read my posts (see her comments here), and found a Google Book entry that leads me one more step. Here is the front page of the Google Book entry:

The Search results box on the right shows four entries for Senate Bill 191 S - on pages 497 (Assembly concurs), 528 (Committee examines and finds correctly enrolled ), 580 (Presented to President of Assembly for signature), and 680 (March 21, 1866 presented to Governor for signature). Here is page 497:

The text for Senate Bill 191 S reads: "A bill to change the name of Devier Lamphier to Devier J. Smith and constitute him the legal heir of Rainslow Smith, of Dodge County." The other three pages say essentially the same thing.

I'm getting closer, thanks to footnoteMaven's wonderful search ability (why didn't I think of that?). She even gave me a hint on what to do next:

"Try State Historical and State Law Libraries to find where actual Bill 191 S. 1866 might be found."

I'm on it...on Saturday afternoon! Will it have more details about the parentage of Devier Lamphier? I sure hope so!

We all love the thrill of the hunt and solving the problem. This really shows one of the powers of genealogy blogging - if you interest researchers in your research problem, they will help you solve it!

Thank you everybody, and especially footnoteMaven, for being so helpful.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 12: Creating Lists - Part 1

I downloaded the free RootsMagic 4 beta release in early March, and purchased the program on 30 March. I easily uploaded my Family Tree Maker file to it. In this series, I'm looking at different features of RootsMagic 4. I'm not doing a comprehensive review, just looking at features important to me.

Previous posts in this series include:

* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 1: Navigation
* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 2: Editing Person Data
* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 3: Adding a Child to the Family
* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 4A: Creating a Pedigree Chart
* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 4B: Creating a Pedigree Chart
* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 5: Creating a Family Group Sheet
* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 6: Creating a Narrative Ancestors Report
* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 7: Creating a Narrative Descendants Report
* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 8: Creating a Wall Chart
* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 9: Creating a Timeline Chart
* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 10: Creating a Box Chart
* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 11: Creating a Relationship Chart

In this post, I'm going to look at several of the Lists that can be created using the Reports > Lists menu. In the "Family" View with myself highlighted, I clicked on the "Report" menu item and clicked the "Lists" option. The Lists menu opened and I maximized it so that I could see all of the icons. I chose "All Reports" from the left hand column and the 33 list options showed (in icon format):

I could check the "List" button and received a list of the Lists available. Note that everything that is on the "Reports" menu is included in the Lists menu, including all of the Charts.

I'm going to go through these 33 items one-by-one in a series of posts, leaving out the ones I've previously described and tested. I'll start on the top row. The first six List items are:

1. Address Labels - this makes labels of all of the addresses in the database. I don't have any in mine, so I won't show it.

2. Address List - this lists all of the addresses in the database. I don't have any in mine, so I won't show it.

3. Ahnentafel - a list of ancestors. This is one of my favorite lists. Here is the "Report Settings" menu for the Ahnentafel list:

In the menu shown above, I made myself the start person, chose 12 generations of ancestors, chose to print color coding, and used the previously selected layout, fonts and indexes. I clicked on "Generate Report" button and the top of the Ahnentafel list looked like this:

It took less than seven seconds to create this 76 page ahnentafel list of my ancestors, with names color coded by grandparent. 50 pages are the Ahnentafel list, the remaining 26 pages are indexes of names and places. The user can save this report (in RTF, PDF, HTML or TXT format) or print it out.

4. Birthday and Anniversary List - a list of birthdays and anniversaries in the database. I double-clicked on the icon, and the "Report Settings" menu opened with check boxes for Birthdays, Marriage anniversaries, People to include (choice of Everyone or Select from list), and Only living people. I checked Birthdays and Marriages, and selected all of my ancestors from the "Select People" menu that opened when I did that. The screen looked like:

I clicked on the "Generate Report" button and it took about five seconds to create an 11 page report of my ancestors in the database, in date order.

This is another very useful report, especially for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun events!

6. Calendar - a calendar which can include birthdays and anniversaries. I double-clicked on the icon, and the "Report Settings" menu opened. The user can select a specific month (or all months) and year, input a Title, select People to include, include only living people, use married name for females, include age, include birthdays, marriages, divorced marriages, and print private facts. I chose April 2009, selected my ancestors, excluded living people, included birthdays and marriages, etc. The menu selections looked like this:

When I clicked the "Generate Report" button, it took about three seconds to create my one page April 2009 calendar with ancestral birthdays and anniversaries included:

As a note, the List took about 17 seconds to create for the entire year - I have over 2,000 ancestors in my database, but don't have dates for some events.

All three of the reports I showed above are very useful. The program works quickly and the reports are consistent.

I wonder why the Birthday and Anniversary report and the Calendar Report don't allow listing of any death information. One more check button should be easy to add. The Calendar page gets full, but the user could select birth, marriage or death to see the different events. Not a big deal to me.

There are 27 more List items to go...I'm on it!

Finding Lamphears in Jefferson County NY - Post 2

As I've searched for Lamphear/Lamphere/Lamphier/Lamfear/Lamfier and other surname variants in Jefferson County, New York, I've tried to identify families in the records that lived in or near Henderson township. A little background:

I am looking for the biological parents of Devier J. Lamphear, born in 1839 or 1842 according to family records, and adopted by Ranslow and Mary (Bell) Smith of Henderson, Jefferson County, NY. I decided to start with the census records, and with the 1840 census. The only Lamphear/variant surname entries in the 1840 US Census for Jefferson County NY living near Henderson are in Lorraine - two townships away.

1) 1840 US Census: There are three indexed entries for Isaac Lanfear, William Lanfear and Erin Lanfear in the 1840 US census in Lorraine. Isaac and William are identified as early settlers in 1804 in Lorraine. They appear to be there for a long time, living near the town center.

In the 1840 census for Lorraine, Isaac Lanfear (aged 60 to 69) has two males, aged 15-19 and 20-29) - the older one is likely Latham/Lathrum who is in the 1850 census living with him. There is no infant male listed. William Lanfear (aged 50 to 59) has two males aged 10 to 14 and 15-19 in his household, and Orin Lanfear (aged 30-39) has two males aged 5-9, one aged 10-14, and one aged 20-29.

So there are no infant Lanfear males in the 1840 census in Lorraine, Jefferson County, NY living with Lanfear (and variants) families. Of course, there may be one hiding in the other 400 or so families in Lorraine, or the thousands of families in Jefferson County!!!

2) 1850 US Census: I knew that Isaac Lanfear died in 1851 in Lorraine, Jefferson County, NY (from cemetery records) and that his wife Rosanna Lanfear died there in 1881, and they were in the 1840 US census in Lorraine, so I figured they were probably in the 1850 US Census. However, searching for Isa* Lan* and Isa* Lam* in Lorraine yielded no results. I used Ros* without a surname to find Isaac and Rosanna Lamfear (it looks like Lamfear to me!) and easily found them, but they had been indexed as "Samfear." The capital "S" and "L" often are interchanged (I have much experience with this having searched for Seaver for many years).

There are two younger "Samfear" people in the record - Lathrum Samfear (a male age 36) and Melinda Samfear (a female age 27). Are they siblings or husband and wife? It's impossible to tell in this record. I checked the 1860 US Census and found Latham with a wife and infant living next door to Rosanna and Malinda. So they are probably siblings, although they could be brother and sister-in-law (if Melinda was a widow of a brother of Latham).

There is also a Hannah Lamfers family (Hannah age 50, Ann age 24, Martha age 11) and a Sarah Lamfers (age 22, living with the Clark and Maranda (age 33) Bailey family) in Lorraine in the 1850 census. I wonder if thiese are from William Lanfear's family? I don't find William in the 1850 census.

There is a John Lanfear (age 26), with wife (?) Rhoda Lanfear (age 24) enumerated in Worth, the town just east of Lorraine. John may be a son of Isaac Lanfear.

3) In the 1830 US census for Lorraine are not indexed as Lan* or Lam*. Are they there? Yes! All three are indexed as "Lmfrie." I can see how it might have been indexed as "Lamfier" or even "Lamfire" but I can't figure out how the indexer got "Lmfrie" out of it! In all three cases!

In this census, Isaac Lamfire (aged 50 to 59) has two young males aged 5-9 and 15-19 in his household. William Lamfire (aged 40 to 49) has one young male in his household aged 10 to 14. Orran Lamfire (aged 20 to 29) has a young male aged 0 to 4 in his household. Orran might be another candidate for having an infant and giving him up in the 1839-1842 time period. Orran is indexed as "Oran" although it is clearly "Orran" on the census image.

4) Potential Parents: Latham Lamfear rose quickly to the top of my list as a potential father of my Devier J. Lamphear (born 1839-1842). Did he marry someone before 1842 and have a small child, but lose his wife in childbirth or when Devier was an infant?

Melinda Lamfear also is near the top of my list as a potential mother of my Devier J. Lamphear. Did she have a baby out of wedlock (she would have been 16 in 1839 and 19 in 1842) or by a brother of son of Isaac and Rosanna Lamfear?

The son of William Lamfire (born 1815-1820) in the 1830 census is another candidate old enough to father a child in 1839-1842.

Orran Lamfire is also old enough to father a child in that period, but not before the 1840 census. However, I think that the Orrin Lanphere in Warren County, Illinois in the 1850 census is the Orran in Lorraine in 1830 and 1840, with children born in 1838/9 and 1841/2. Haven't proved this, of course!

So now I have identified several potential parents for my Devier J. Lamphear in Lorraine. There are probably more potential parents to identify, especially if I expand the search to all of Jefferson County and even the three neighbor counties.

Your comments and ideas are welcome! I will capture all of them and discuss them in a future post.

Addendum: I posted corrections to the three 1830 "Lmfrie" entries in Lorraine to last night, and will correct the 1850 "Samfear" entries today. I hope the system doesn't bog down because of my efforts!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Finding Lamphears in Jefferson County NY - Post 1

My major research effort this month has been to start my search for the potential parents of Devier J. Lamphear Smith (1839/1842-1894), whom I've written about in the recent past - see here and here. To summarize, Devier formally changed his name from Lamphear to Smith in Dodge county, Wisconsin in 1866 and his father, Ranslow Smith, named him as his adopted son Devier J. Lamphere also known as Devier J. Smith in his will written in 1865 in Dodge County and proved in 1875 in Andrew County, Missouri.

Ranslow and Mary (Bell) Smith moved from Henderson, Jefferson County, New York to Dodge County, Wisconsin in about 1843, and then to Taylor County, Iowa in 1867 and Andrew County, Missouri before 1875. Devier J. Smith ended up in Concordia, Cloud County, Kansas and McCook, Red Willow County, Nebraska and died there in 1894.

Based on the above, I'm starting my search in Jefferson County, New York, since that is where Ranslow Smith was before 1843.

I ordered some Surrogates Court and Deed Index microfilms for Jefferson County NY in March, and abstracted the Lamphere/variants data several weeks ago. Now I have a list of persons that had estates and deeds recorded in the County. I ordered the 1825 and 1835 State Census records on microfilm, and need to go to the FHC next week to read them.

Online, I searched in vain for any listing for "Devier J. Lamphear" (and surname variants like Lamphier, Lamphere, Lamfear, Lamfere, Lanfear, Lanphear, Lanphier, Lanphere, Lanpher, etc.) in my list of about 50 web sites with surname databases. I spent some time using Google to find him also, using both "Lamphere Devier" and "Devier * Lamphere" (and variant surnames) as search strings. Nearly everything I found is from my own musings.

Last week, I searched the 1830, 1840 and 1850 census records for Jefferson County NY for the Lamphear and surname variants. I did a bit more today and found more variants by using given name searches in the county. There were very few Lamphear/variant families in Jefferson County in these records.

My working hypothesis is that Devier J. Lamphear was orphaned at an early age and was adopted by Ranslow and Mary (Bell) Smith of Henderson, Jefferson County, New York. Henderson is in the southern part of the County, but the Lamphear family could be anywhere in the county or the surrounding counties of St. Lawrence, Lewis and Oswego.

One orphan scenario is that Devier's mother died soon after his birth, and the father could not deal with an infant child while supporting his family. Perhaps he looked for a wet nurse, or a family that wanted an infant to adopt and raise. Perhaps he was a young man without much family support.

I will summarize what I find in future posts. If you have any ideas or hypotheses about why and how an adoption of an infant or young child was done in the 1840 time frame in upstate New York, I would appreciate knowing about them! What records would you search for? Who would you contact for information not online?

Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 11: Creating a Relationship Chart

I downloaded the free RootsMagic 4 beta release in early March, and purchased the program on 30 March. I easily uploaded my Family Tree Maker file to it. In this series, I'm looking at different features of RootsMagic 4. I'm not doing a comprehensive review, just looking at features important to me.

Previous posts in this series include:

* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 1: Navigation
* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 2: Editing Person Data
* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 3: Adding a Child to the Family
* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 4A: Creating a Pedigree Chart
* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 4B: Creating a Pedigree Chart
* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 5: Creating a Family Group Sheet
* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 6: Creating a Narrative Ancestors Report
* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 7: Creating a Narrative Descendants Report
* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 8: Creating a Wall Chart
* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 9: Creating a Timeline Chart
* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 10: Creating a Box Chart

In this post, I'm going to create a Relationship Chart for myself to my cousin Roma in England. In the "Family" View with myself highlighted, I clicked on the "Report" menu item and highlighted the "Charts" option, and then the "Relationship Chart" item:

I clicked on "Relationship Chart" and the "Report Settings" box opened with me as the "First Person." The usual buttons are present - Reset, Layout, fonts and Box Style, and some check boxes:

I wanted to use my cousin, Roma Alexander who lives in England, as the second person, so I clicked the "Second Person" button, and the "RootsMagic Explorer" menu opened. I scrolled down to cousin Roma's entry. I could have started typing "Alexander" and found her entry also. I highlighted Roma and her family information appeared:

I clicked on the Select button and was back to the "Report Settings" menu. I wanted to increase the font size for the text on the charts, so I clicked on the "Fonts" button and increased the font size. There is no option here for text color, which I would really like to have!

I clicked OK and was back to the "Report Settings" menu. I wanted to change the Box Style, so I clicked on the "Box Style" button and the "Border Styles" menu opened. I made the corners round, the box line and shadow red, and the background light green:

I clicked on the OK button, and was back to the "Report Settings" menu. I added a Title to the "Title" box and clicked on the "Generate Report" button.

There are two portrait pages (I could have chosen Landscape in the "Layout" menu) for this Relationship Chart - here they are:

The chart tells me that Roma and I are fourth cousins - the common ancestors are Thomas and Ann (Marshman) Richman of Hilperton, Wiltshire, England.

I really like this chart. It is easy to create, modify, save and/or print.

What would I add? Line weight and color to the lines between boxes; color options for the box text; color and font options for the title; full birth, marriage and death information options in the text; ability to put it all on one page. I know - it's easy to complain and suggest! It's pretty good as it is - I want it better!

The fifth choice in the Reports>Charts menu is "Photo Tree." I don't have any photos loaded in RootsMagic yet, so I cannot show this in a post.

I'll start going thorugh the Reports>Lists options in the next post.

CGSSD Meeting on Saturday, 4/18 - Dorothy Miller on "Spring Cleaning for Genealogists"

Email from Linda Hervig of CGSSD --

The Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego (CGSSD) meets on Saturday, April 18, 2009 from 9:00 am to noon. Note the new time for the break and start of the program.

9:00 - User groups for Legacy and RootsMagic; and Special Interest Group “Digital Imaging and Scanning.” The Imaging SIG will review items discussed in previous sessions: editors of digital images and restoring old photos with some of the newer editors, such as Adobe's Photoshop Elements version 7.0, Picasa3 and online editors. Scanning of documents, negatives and slides will be demonstrated using an HP flatbed scanner. This will be an unstructured meeting of members to address individual interests as time permits. A laptop with imaging software and a scanner will be available for members to use to investigate software and scanning options.

10:00 - A break and refreshments

10:15 - Announcements followed by Program "Spring Cleaning for Genealogists" by Dorothy Miller, Ph.D.

Dorothy Miller will present an overview of maintaining one's computer in order to preserve it physically as well as to keep it organized and running efficiently. There will be some illustrations specific to genealogy, their programs and performance issues.

Dorothy is the immediate past president of the North San Diego County Genealogical Society. She is a retired Associate Dean, College of Engineering and Computer Science, California State University, Northridge (CSUN) 1998; Chair, Computer Science Department CSUN 1988-1994; Professor, Computer Science CSUN 1978-1998; Teacher, Mathematics, Simi High School, Simi CA 1968-1978. She has a B.A. in mathematics from CSUN; an M.A. in mathematics education from UC Santa Barbara; an M.S. in Computer Science from UCLA, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from UCLA.

She became interested in genealogy in 1999 and has given talks primarily on the uses of computers in genealogy as well as taught classes in Family Tree Maker.

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

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Genea-Musings is a 3-year old today! - some musings

It seems like just yesterday that I started my Randy's Musings blog - here is the first post on 15 April 2006. I explained the change to Genea-Musings in my first anniversary post on 15 April 2007. In my two-year-old post, I showed a screen shot of the early blog page and showed a graph of my traffic in the past year.

After three years of Randy's Musings and Genea-Musings, this is post number 2,818. Over 1,096 days, that averages out to be 2.57 posts per day. In the past year, I've written 1,036 posts, or 2.83 posts per day. I think that the most was 7 posts in one day and I've had many days with zero posts (usually when on vacation).

Not every post has been a work of meaning or pride. It's hard not to make misteaks in content or spellking (thankfully, Blogger's spell check is working again). I've learned to express opinions after thinking hard about it rather than in a moment of pique or sarcasm. I try not to criticize the work of others, but sometimes it has to be done by somebody. This has become a labor of fun and love - I enjoy hearing from all of my readers. I wake up each morning wondering what I'm going to write about during the day.

My readership has increased each year. Since I started this blog, I have had over 230,000 unique visitors (these can be multiple visits per day by the same reader) and over 340,000 page views. Those numbers have doubled in the last year. My statistics indicate that this blog currently has about 500 unique visitors a day, with an average of about 740 page views. In addition, about 250 subscribe via email using Feedburner, and about 50 subscribe via Bloglines. I don't have a count for other feeds and blog readers.

This is a traffic chart for the last three years (since July 2006 when I subscribed to StatCounter). The three lines are Page Loads (green), Unique Visitors (blue), and Returning Visitors (orange).

You will note a distinct uptick in readership in late 2008. I attribute this to gaining many Facebook Friends and Twitter-folks that read my "instant messages" on Twitter and Facebook and click on a link to a blog post. Social networking works!

What lies ahead for Genea-Musings? I'm not sure... it takes two to three hours each day to feed, and I've posted about all of my elusive ancestors, the three new software programs, almost all of my tombstone photos, and many family photographs. Gee, I'm gonna haveta write something original! Genea-Musings may move to more commentary and fewer personal research items.

What lies ahead for Genealogy? The future of Genealogy 2.0 is limitless, I think, and I'm looking forward to the new web sites coming soon (they say!) - like,, and new FamilySearch, among others. What else should I know about?

One of the very best uses of genealogy blogs is to act as a town crier - saying "hey, look at this," or "watch out for this." There comes a time when every genealogist is overwhelmed by "info-glut" - too much information for a full mind. Genea-bloggers can help sort the genea-wheat from the genea-chaff and guide other researchers to useful web sites that provide useful and helpful information. That's one of the functions that I, and many other genea-bloggers, try to fulfill. I will continue to do that as best I can.

In the three years since I've been genealogy blogging, I've seen a wonderful genealogy blogging community form, grow, mature and blossom into a caring and sharing community. A social network of Geneabloggers has grown and flourished on Facebook, and spawned the Geneabloggers blog, and both provide an encouraging and supportive group of fellow genea-bloggers. I'm proud of what we "unknown genealogists" have accomplished over several years - this is really a great example of taking genealogy writing to the common person.

Genealogy book, software and database companies also recognize the potential power of genealogy blogs to reach readers, and have courted genealogy bloggers (e.g., the Blogger Day in Provo in January that I attended) and become more communicative and collaborative in the process.

Many of us are not connected to the "traditional genealogy" world of conferences, magazines, and societies, and some of us have entered into that world with magazine columns or articles, talks at local, regional or national conferences, etc. The "traditional genealogy" world realizes that some genealogy bloggers are the society officers, web site columnists and magazine article writers of the future, and is nurturing them. I am one example - I was recently appointed the "Genealogy 2.0" (a new column) columnist for FORUM, the quarterly magazine of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. My first column appears in the Spring 2009 issue, which should be in mailboxes this month.

It's time for my Genea-Musings birthday cake, and I can hardly wait to open my birthday present. I'll have to show it off when I get it. Genea-Musings is a toddler now! Where's my party hat?

Uncle Ed

My only "real" uncle by blood was my father's brother, Edward Richmond Seaver (1913-2004), born in Leominster, Massachusetts, the son of Frederick Walton and Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver. Ed married Janet Arlene Roukes in 1940 and they had a son and a daughter, and two grandchildren. He played football at Columbia University, and graduated in 1935. Ed served in the United States Navy in World War II as a ship's captain. After the war, he went back to his family in Leominster, and he and Janet moved to Arizona in the late 1980's, where he died in 2004. Ed and Janet are buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Leominster, in the ground beside the graves of his grandparents, Frank and Hattie (Hildreth) Seaver.

Here is Ed in 1931, fresh out of high school and off to Columbia to play football:

This is the only wedding picture I have of Ed and Janet from 1940:

Ed and Janet came to San Diego several times to visit - here they are (on the right) with my parents Fred and Betty Seaver (on the left):

After they moved to Sun Lakes, Arizona in the late 1980's, we visited them several times. This was taken in 1992:

All of my other uncles were married to my father's sisters, and I only knew one of them well - my Aunt Geraldine's husband, James Howard Remley. All of these people were in New England and we lived in San Diego, so we rarely saw them. My mother was an only child, and her parents were only children, so I had no aunts or uncles on my mother's side.

When Ed died, a memorial service was held in Leominster on 7 July 2004 for both he and Janet, who had died in 2003. Here is part of my eulogy for Uncle Ed:


We are here today to honor and to celebrate the lives of Edward and Janet Seaver. Ed was my father’s brother, and therefore my uncle. The stories my dad told us about Ed and Fred as mischievous children, rowdy teenagers and young adults were funny and rang true.

My earliest memories of Ed and Janet were the Christmas gifts sent each year from Leominster during the 1950’s. I visited Leominster in 1966 and 1968 on business and pleasure trips and met Ed and Janet in person then. They welcomed me warmly and told me their side of the family stories. During the 1970’s, Ed and Janet came to San Diego several times to stay with my parents and to meet my growing family. In 1982, my family visited Leominster on vacation and had a wonderful time. After they moved to Arizona, we visited them several times in Sun Lakes and they visited us in San Diego. In the last twenty years, we kept in touch by phone on a regular basis. Every time we talked or got together, it seemed like we had known them forever. The time we spent with them and the lessons of life they taught us were priceless. We loved and admired Ed and Janet Seaver.

When we were in Leominster in 1982, I sat down with Ed and we talked about the family and about his life. I taped that conversation for posterity. I asked Ed what was the happiest time in his life. He said:

“I think, of course, when I got married. We’d gone together so long, it was just great. We finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel. We’d known all these years that we really loved each other and wanted to get married. And then, when the children came. I was the kind of father that just went completely wild when the children were born. I can remember going in and telling Jan that ‘you make the most beautiful babies.’ That’s kind of cornball stuff. Both of my kids, I’m just crazy about them.”

And what was his basic outlook on life?

“Oh boy. I think like the guy who said ‘Let me live by the side of the road and be a friend to man.’ I like people, and I think it’s much nicer to be friendly to people than to be hostile. It’s better to be positive than to be negative. I like to have things congenial. I like to kid, I like to have fun. I don’t think I take myself too seriously. I love kids, I’m glad I’m in a big family, all these nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, grand-nephews. I enjoy watching them grow up. I think that’s what the world is about – the kids.”

Every time they came to San Diego or we went to see them, Ed and Janet loved talking to and playing with my girls – board games, reading books, exploring the backyard, getting down on the floor roughhousing. They remember Ed and Janet well and loved them dearly.

A man named Carl Eaton wrote this:

"My life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, WOW, What a Ride!"

I think they would have subscribed to that! My sense is that Ed and Janet lived very full and complete lives. They tried their hardest to do the very best they could with their family, education, work, community service, and friends. They succeeded.

They enjoyed being with their family, and were very proud of them. One of their legacies is their genes. Looking at the big picture – Ed and Janet contributed their goodness and love to humanity and were a vital part in the march of the generations.

Another legacy is the memories we have of them, as their family and friends, and the example of two lives well lived as one – filled with love, happiness, and goodness.

It is customary to provide a 21-gun salute to our heroes – in that spirit I offer a 21 word salute to two of my heroes – Ed and Janet Seaver, who were:

Happy, gracious, confident, hard-working, friendly, considerate, compassionate, enthusiastic, fun-loving, courageous, positive, generous, patriotic, corny, blessed, honest, wise, loving wonderful human beings.

I thank God for the privilege and the honor of knowing them and being loved by them – may they rest in peace in this place in Leominster, that they always called “home.”


I am so thankful to have had Uncle Ed in my life. He provided one of the real links to the New England Seaver families. He was also interested in the family history, and kidded me a lot when I came up with relationships to royalty, Mayflower passengers, or Presidents. When I first started my research, he and Gerry provided the most family information that helped me get started, and they provided constant encouragement. One year for Christmas, Ed sent away for the Civil War Pension File of Isaac Seaver (1823-1901) and gave it to me as a gift.

Family Photographs - Post 51: Visiting the Longley's corn field

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

This photograph is from my grandfather's photo album that I scanned during Scanfest in January:

The caption below the photograph says "At the Longley's, July 23, 1916." At least we have the date! I can identify the following persons in the photograph:

* Henry Austin Carringer (far left)
* Abigail (Vaux) Smith (second from left - note stylish face net)
* Della (Smith) Carringer (third from left)

I assume that the others are from the Longley family - all seven of them (mom, dad, four children, grandma) and the dog. I haven't run across the Longley's in my research, but they may be neighbors, coworkers, or family friends developed over 30 years of living in San Diego. I looked for a Longley family with four small children in the 1920 census for San Diego County, and there was only the James Longley family in El Cajon with children born in 1911, 1914 and 1916 - those don't match the kids in the photo. I didn't find a likely candidate family for Langley either. Oh well!

Because I can't identify the family, I can't identify the setting, other than a corn field somewhere in San Diego County!

This photograph was pasted into the album of Lyle L. Carringer, with pictures dating from approximately 1908 to 1925, and was handed down to his daughter (my mother) who gave it to me after 1988.

Want a genealogy job? FamilyLink is hiring!

Paul B. Allen, the CEO of (includes WorldVitalRecords, We're Related on Facebook, etc.) just posted is hiring with a list of the jobs available and potential future job postings. A genealogist with significant software, networking, and/or business background could do well by hiring on with FamilyLink. The side benefit would be living near the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, assuming that the job would not suck all free time away from the job-getter.

Paul and FamilyLink use LinkedIn to get candidate referrals. This is a great way to find job candidates - using a trust referral from professional colleagues! You can see Paul's LinkedIn profile here.

There are some interesting positions on the list that they are seeking:

* QA Manager/Software Test Manager - does this means you can play with all of the applications as they are developed? And critique them? Cool. Requires a devious ability to break software... (that's what the job description says) - I know a five-year-old!

* Chief Genealogy Manager - this sounds like the coolest job for someone wanting to be on the cutting edge of Genealogy 2.0! Travel, contacts, spokesman, etc.

* Twitter Interns - a summer job doing what? Tweeting? Promoting FamilyLink properties on Twitter? Teaching executives to tweet? Sounds interesting - maybe we can have some genealogy fun in the summer time trying to identify them!

I just hope that they find the right candidates to make,,, and the We're Related application on Facebook work consistently and in ways that enhance genealogy research.

I wonder if my sons-in-law would qualify for some of these positions (not Twitter Intern, of course). One is a computer hardware product manager and the other is a school district IT manager. I wouldn't mind visiting the grandchildren every month in Utah! - Coming in May 2009?

I visited Barry J. Ewell's web site today after reading Sharon Sergeant's post today on the APG mailing list. This site is planned to be about "Sharing Information to Join Generations." The site says:

"Whether you are a novice or a seasoned genealogist, will be your first choice for learning, sharing, contemplating, collaboration or simply enjoying genealogy.

"Find hundreds of knowledge-based articles, podcasts, and videos to help with your genealogy research on topics like ..."

There is a list of topics given, including Introduction to Genealogy, Genealogy Research, Editing and Production Tools, and Resources.

You can sign up to receive an email with news about and invites you to take a 5 to 7 minute survey concerning genealogy education and experience. I took the survey, and will receive (it was promised!) a free 150-page article titled "How to Effectively Work with Libraries and Historical Societies." Just what I need!

If you want to shape the content of and receive the free article, I encourage you to visit the web site, sign up for the email and take the survey. The site says that everything on MyGenShare will be 100% FREE.

I look forward to the launch of the web site and hope that Barry Ewell's effort will add value to the genealogy community.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Book Review - "In Search of Your German Roots"

I recently received the updated Fourth Edition of the book In Search of Your German Roots, A Complete Guide to Tracing Your Ancestors in the Germanic Areas of Europe by Angus Baxter. The 127-page book ($16.95 retail in the USA) was published in 2008 by Genealogical Publishing Company, and is an update of the 2001 Fourth Edition.

I have quite a few ancestors from this area of north and western Europe, but they all came to America in colonial times, so I haven't undertaken the research task to find where they came from and earlier ancestors in Europe.

This book was a very pleasant surprise. I expected that it would be full of information about doing research in Germany and other nearby countries, but quite a bit of the book is about general genealogy, repositories and Germans in the United States and Canada. The chapters are:

* Introduction
* Starting the Search
* The Germans and Germany
* Starting the Family Tree
* The Records of the LDS Church
* Jewish Records
* Archives
* The Lutheran Church
* The Germans in the United States
* The Germans in Canada
* Records in Germany
* Continuation
* German Genealogical Associations in North America
* Bibliography
* Index

The most interesting part of the book for me was the chapters about Germans in the United States and Canada. These two chapters provide an excellent history lesson - the who, why, when, where and how of emigration from Germany to North America over the years - from the late 1600s to the 20th century.

The most useful part of the book for genealogists just starting their research on German ancestors is the Records in Germany chapter. This is the longest chapter in the book, and is chock full of information about the Evangelical (Lutheran, Reformed and United) and Catholic church records. The chapter includes information about the calendar change, passenger lists, official records, archives, and genealogical associations in Germany. Addresses and web sites are provided for the church offices, government offices, associations, etc.

The book description on the back cover is on the GPC web site here.

Amazingly, there is only one map in this book - a map of modern Germany opposite the title page. Maps of Germany, and the surrounding countries, at different historical stages would be very useful. I was puzzled that there was no description of the old German script or a list of common German words used in genealogy research.

This is the kind of book that would be popular on the genealogical section book shelves at the library - it is easy to read, full of information, addresses research in North America and Europe, and is not overwhelming.

The author has packed quite a bit of information into this work that is useful to the American genealogist for research in North America and German repositories and web sites. It is a fine addition to my bookcase. I highly recommend it!

Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 10: Creating a Box Chart

I downloaded the free RootsMagic 4 beta release in early March, and purchased the program on 30 March. I easily uploaded my Family Tree Maker file to it. In this series, I'm looking at different features of RootsMagic 4. I'm not doing a comprehensive review, just looking at features important to me.

Previous posts in this series include:

* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 1: Navigation
* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 2: Editing Person Data
* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 3: Adding a Child to the Family
* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 4A: Creating a Pedigree Chart
* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 4B: Creating a Pedigree Chart
* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 5: Creating a Family Group Sheet
* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 6: Creating a Narrative Ancestors Report
* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 7: Creating a Narrative Descendants Report
* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 8: Creating a Wall Chart
* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 9: Creating a Timeline Chart

In this post, I'm going to create a Box Chart for the family of my grandfather, Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942). In the "Family" View, I clicked on the "Report" menu item and highlighted the "Charts" option, and the "Box Chart" item:

After clicking "Box Chart," the "Report Settings" menu opened. The user can select the "Start Person," the "Chart Type" (Ancestors or Descendants, I chose Ancestors), "Number of Generations" (I chose 10), "Format" ( selection shown on next screen, I chose a separate line for each event), a number of check boxes (I chose only to include spouses), Facts to Include (I chose, birth, marriage, death), and the Boxes, Reset, Layout, Fonts, Indexes and Generate Report buttons.

I clicked on the "Boxes" button and was able to change the box line style and colors, and the background color:

When I went back to the "Report Settings" menu, I clicked on the "Generate Report" button and obtained a 67 page report for my 10-generation ancestors report. Here is page 1 (the top):

And here is page 40 - the page showing my Start Person):

And this is page 58, near the bottom:

Somehow they managed to put all 10 generations on one page width. If you request eight generations, my chart is 20 pages, for six generations it is 11 pages, for four generations, it is on two pages, and a three-generation chart is on one page.

These box charts are, of course, another version of an ancestral chart, but without the ahnentafel numbers associated with an ancestral chart. I would love to see this chart, and the wall chart, with an option to add an ahnentafel number from the Start person. It would make it a lot easier to track from one page of a box chart to another.

Tombstone Tuesday - Obadiah Sawtell (1648-1741) in Groton MA

Obadiah Swatell was born 14 September 1648 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts Bay Colony, the son of Richard and Elizabeth (--?--) Sawtell. He married Hannah Lawrence, the daughter of George and Elizabeth (Crispe) Lawrence, in about 1680 in Groton, Massachusetts. He died 20 March 1740/1741 in Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts and is buried in the Old Burying Ground in Groton. Here is a picture of his gravestone:

Obadiah Sawtell's gravestone has a death's head at the top. The inscription reads:

Here Lies The Body of
Mr. Obadiah
Sawtell Who Departed
This Life March The 20th
A D l740 in ye 92
Year of his Age.

What a beautifully carved stone. There are many well-preserved stones like this in the Old Burying Ground in Groton. Transcriptions of the stones in this cemetery are provided in the US GenWeb archives here (NOTE: this URL has changed in the last week). A book (Epitaphs from the old burying ground in Groton, Massachusetts, By Samuel Abbott Green, Arthur Bruce Coburn, Published by Little, Brown, & Company, 1878) is available on Google Books here.

I don't recall where I obtained this photograph, and others from this cemetery. I may have taken them myself on a trip to New England in 1994 or 1995, and I may have obtained them from a kind correspondent who took them and sent them to me years ago.

Obadiah Sawtell is one of my 7th great-grandfathers.

Monday, April 13, 2009

SDGS Meeting Summary - Colleen Fitzpatrick on 11 April

I attended the San Diego Genealogical Society meeting on Saturday, 11 April along with about 100 other members and visitors. The speaker was Colleen Fitzpatrick, PhD. on two topics - "A Different Kind of DNA Talk" in the 12 noon hour and "The Hand in the Snow" in the 1 p.m. hour. Both were excellent! The summary and Colleen's CV is here. Colleen's web site is at

In the first presentation, Colleen provided the basics of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y-chromosome DNA (Y-DNA) as they relate to genealogy research. As most of us know, the Y-DNA is passed by father-to-son, and therefore it is very useful in tracing a patrilineal line - the classical surname line. The mtDNA is passed from mother to female and male children, but only the daughters can pass it to their children. Therefore, it is useful in tracing the matrilineal line - a mother's mother's mother, etc.

She even answered why mitochondrial DNA is passed only from the female, even though males have it also. The answer is that the unfertilized egg has much more mass, and mtDNA matter, than the male sperm, which is essentially destroyed in the act of fertilization.

Colleen shared many basic lessons about DNA - base pairs, genes, junk DNA, SNPs, STRs, haplogroups, haplotypes, mutations, MRCA, etc. She noted that for a rare surname, a Y-DNA test of 12 markers may be sufficient, but a more common name might require up to a 67-marker test in order to determine a match with another person.

Her final point in this talk was that Geography, History, and DNA are inseparable, and can be used to define genealogical relationships.

The second talk was about "The Hand in the Snow" - a story recently discussed in a Scientific American article here. Colleen shared some of the history of the frozen arm in the Alaskan glacier, and noted that it was found in 1999, and by 2002 the researchers were able to obtain some fingerprints and extract some mtDNA and Y-DNA from the arm. By 2007, the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory had ruled out 28 of the 30 persons on the aircraft using fingerprint and DNA evidence.

Colleen searched for male siblings, uncles and cousins of Francis Van Zandt (1911-1948) but struck out. She found him in the 1920 census, and found the family in the 1910 census. A brother's marriage record named his mother as Margaret Conway of Timerick, Ireland (which was a misspelling of Limerick). She looked for Margaret's siblings, since there was a Van Zandt story of five siblings coming to America. Colleen turned to Irish records, and finally found Margaret, with the known siblings, in the 1881 UK Census in Limerick, children of John and Ellen (Drum) Conway. The challenge then was to find living descendants of Ellen Drum that might match up mtDNA to Frank Van Zandt. After many calls, she contacted Maurice Conway in Askeaton, County Limerick, who happened to be the cemetery keeper in Askeaton, where John and Ellen Conway were buried. Maurice's matrilineal ancestry was to a Drum female five generations back, a sister of Ellen Drum, and Maurice's mtDNA matched Frank Van Zandt's! In the process, they also found that Maurice Conway had a Y-DNA match with a Conway male in New York known to be a descendant of John and Ellen (Drum) Conway. I hope I got all of that right!!

The audience got a little misty-eyed as Colleen described going to Limerick to meet Maurice Conway, view the Askeaton graveyard, and participate in a traditional Irish wake for the Conway's long-lost and now-found American cousin, Francis Van Zandt.

Why does Colleen do this work to find the person with unknown remains? There are 869 cases open from the Korean War. She said that it was to ensure that there no OLD unknown soldiers.

This combination of an informational talk and a case study, illustrating the research techniques, is perfect for the SDGS two-part meeting. Colleen was an excellent presenter, and kept the audience interested throughout.