Saturday, May 9, 2009

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Add to "You Might Be a ..."

Ah, Saturday Night again, time for some Genealogy Fun. C'mon, rack your brain and come up with something funny and appropriate to the theme of:

"You Might be a Professional Genealogist if ..."

The directions for this SNGF are:

1) Check Richard Pence's list on the Association of Professional Genealogists mailing list, and don't duplicate any of them.

2) Create your own (hopefully) funny and (definitely) appropriate thoughts

3) Post them on your own blog or in comments to this post.

Here are some of mine:

* ... you shamelessly hawk your books, magazine articles, CDs, videos and lectures on mailing lists, Facebook and Twitter.

* ... you were once injured by stacks of genealogy books and magazines falling on you.

* ... you complain when less-experienced researchers with lower rates take away some of your business.

* ... you think that "professional" means "getting paid for your work" and nothing more.

That's enough for now, and I know that they aren't that good (I'm really not very creative, I fear).

This has the potential to be interesting and funny. Give us one thought or many!

Working in RootsMagic 4 - Post 18: Creating an Individual Summary

Previous posts in this series are listed in Working in RootsMagic 4 - Summary of Posts.

In this post, I'm going to create an "Individual Summary" report - defined as a summary of all the information for a single person. In the "Family" View with my grandfather, Frederick Walton Seaver, highlighted, I clicked on the "Report" menu item and clicked the "Individual Summary" option. The "Report Settings" menu opened:

The menu options include selecting either the "Current person" or "Select from list." There are check boxes for Notes, Individual Facts, Parents, Spouses/Children, Photo, Current address and To-Do items. The familiar formatting buttons for Reset, Layout, Fonts and Sources are on the right of the menu. I made my selections and clicked on the "Generate Report" button:

The screen above shows the top of the first page of the four page report (I zoomed in to 100% to make the pages easier to read) for Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942). The preferred photo is shown, with his name, gender, parents names, individual facts, spouse and children, and notes on the first page. The notes continue on page 2:

The last page is a Source list in Endnote format:

This report can be very useful for researchers. The font and color options are limited for this report as for many other reports. I would like to see the person's name in the title block on each page.

Only one photograph (the "preferred" photo selected by the user) can be shown. For all photographs attached to a person, the "Scrapbook" option should be used.

The next post will describe creating a "Custom Report" in RootsMagic 4.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Walter (2000 - 2008)

I've written about our family pets before - in Rootie Toot Toot, Lickety Split, Softie and Squash/Mira and I discussed our grand-pets in My two grandhounds and my grandcat. Since I wrote those posts, our grandhounds Lucy and Walter have died (Walter on my birthday, 23 October - I didn't know that until today).

Here is the picture of Walter that I remember best - being a watchdog in Long Beach.

My daughter and her husband bought Walter in April 2000 as a basset hound puppy, and he was really cute. James and I would take him up to the 7th Avenue shopping area in Long Beach and he was a really great chick magnet - young ladies couldn't help but stop and pet him. James even had offers to rent him out from single guys.

Walter was their first "baby" and they doted on him. They loved the walks, the enthusiastic chowdowns, and the humorous escapades that Walter took them on. Walter and his parents joined the Basset Hound Rescue of Southern California (BHRSC) organization, and participated in many of their activities. Tami became editor of the BHRSC quarterly newsletter and wrote the "Walter's Whimsies" column that was the Page 1 article in every issue - written from Walter's view, of course.

Walter is easily the most memorable dog in my lifetime. As I thought about this post, the memories flooded in:

* The dog could leap, even as a 70 pounder. Up on the couch. Up on the bed. And what inevitably followed was a belly rub for Walter thoroughly enjoyed by the rubber and the rubbee, especially the rubbee! He could take it for hours, it seemed.

* The doleful look. Walter was the happiest dog in the world with the saddest looking face. If only he could have smiled and laughed, we would all be even richer.

* The howling. The dog could howl with the best of them. Arrroooouuuuuu. He always got dressed up for the Howlalujah Chorus at the Basset Hound games every year. And looked embarrassed about it.

* The walks around the neighborhood. Walter knew where all the cats lived, and made sure that he visited all of their front yards in hopes of cat sh!t delicacies. It was really hard to pull him along when he had a whiff of the really good stuff.

* The slobber. Walter always made it a point to energetically shake his head every so often and of course the built-up jowl slobber would fly all over the place - usually onto my face, arms and legs.

* The nuzzler and nudger. Basset hounds love to nuzzle their family and friends, and I almost always got a dose of jowl slobber on my pants or arms. He would nudge my arm when he wanted attention.

* The eater. Everything was good for Walter. He was the primary cleanup machine when Lolo was a baby - drop it and Walter got it before it hit the floor. Lolo figured out that this was good fun and she was Walter's favorite person.

* The sniffer. Walter had a wonderful nose. It was always moist and always moving. It was fascinating to watch this hound take full advantage of all of his senses.

* The ears. Ah, the floppy ears. The ends were always wet it seemed from drinking in his water dish, the toilets or the gutter. He didn't like to have his ears blown into. He could hear the fire engines before I could.

* The sleeper. Walter could fall asleep anywhere he lay down, it seemed. We napped together on the couch frequently. My space always seemed to get smaller - I wonder why?

* The visitor. Walter came to our house fairly often, and seemed to enjoy the new smells, new sounds, new food caches, etc. It always took him a good half hour to stake out his claim to our back yard.

* The male partner. Lucy was a dominant female and Walter was a submissive male. It was interesting to see the relationship develop. Walter never really complained - he was happy to have a playmate and someone to nap with.

* The patient. Because Walter was keen on sampling everything, he sometimes ate things that he should not have had. After too many peach pits (great for teeth, bad for tummies) his intestines were blocked and he needed an expensive operation. We picked him up from the pet hospital one morning before Christmas and took him home.

Walter's last column in The Basseteer was published in December 2008. He wraps it up with:

"Final thoughts: As I write this, the cancer is ravaging my body and I only have days to live. But that hasn't stopped me from enjoying every moment I have with my beloved family. We still walk together at night and smell all the sweet scents. I still wag my tail when my mom gives me chicken and rice to fatten me up a bit. I still greet them at the door when they come home from an adventure. When I am gone, I hope they will remember what I have taught them about living life to the fullest. To my faithful readers and loved ones, please remember to party like a basset hound. I will miss you all."

Walter went over the Rainbow Bridge on 23 October 2008. I hope that he is running free in doggie heaven, chasing cats, eating what he wants, and enjoying being a Forever Pet. He deserves it.

What a wonderful dog, basset hound, companion, friend, lover, visitor, slobberer, listener, sniffer, sleeper and eater. Walter rocked!

"The American Genealogist" (TAG) to be digitized on NEHGS site

I was excited to receive this press release via email today from the New England Historic Genealogical Society today --



Early volumes of premier genealogical journal now available online

Boston, MA – May 8, 2009 – NEHGS is pleased to announce a new collaboration with The American Genealogist (TAG), one of the premier scholarly genealogical publications in the country. The Society is digitizing back issues of the journal and making them available on its award-winning Web site,

Founded in 1922 by Donald Lines Jacobus, TAG is edited by a trio of NEHGS members: Dr. David L. Greene, FASG, past recipient of NEHGSCoddington Award of Merit; Robert Charles Anderson, FASG, director of the NEHGS Great Migration Study Project; and Joseph C. Anderson II, FASG, who is also editor of The Maine Genealogist. These distinguished genealogists, along with dozens of highly-regarded contributors, uphold and advance the standards for genealogical scholarship so carefully articulated by Jacobus and the Jacobus “School.”

David L. Greene will be at the NEHGS booth at the upcoming NGS conference in Raleigh, NC on Thursday, May 14.

Henry Hoff, FASG, editor of The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, notes that the addition of TAG to online searchable databases will provide unprecedented access to some of the most important scholarly work in the field, adding that when editing Register articles, he always makes certain that authors have cited all relevant TAG articles.

The first eight volumes, covering the years 1923–1932, were published as “Families of Ancient New Haven.” These are also available online at

Volumes 9–13, published between 1933 and 1937, are now available online as a fully searchable database. These first five issues contain 34,537 name records, 847 title/author records, and 1,508 page images. The database may be searched by first and last name. It may also be searched by “article title keyword(s).” This option is an “any match” search that includes article titles and authors. Finally, entering a specific year or volume number, and page number, will provide access to that portion of the journal. When search results are displayed, links to the corresponding TAG pages are provided. Once viewing a TAG page, additional links allow users to see the previous or next search result, or the previous or next TAG page.

Additional volumes will be added regularly, until the database includes Volume 82. At that point new volumes will be added each year, five years after publication. The most recent five volumes will only be available in print.

Founded in 1845, New England Historic Genealogical Society is the country's oldest and largest non-profit genealogical organization. Located in Boston, NEHGS collects, preserves, and interprets materials that make accessible the histories of families in America. The NEHGS research library, one of the most respected genealogical libraries in the field, is home to millions of books, journals, manuscripts, photographs, microfilms, documents, records, and other artifacts that date back more than four centuries. The award-winning web site
offers access to more than 110 million names in 2,500 searchable databases. NEHGS has more than 23,000 members nationally. NEHGS staff includes some of the leading expert genealogists in the country, specializing in early American, Irish, English, Scottish, Jewish, Atlantic and French Canadian, Italian. African American, and Native American genealogy.


I am a member of NEHGS, and a 20-year subscriber to The American Genealogist. The two scholarly publications have provided me with countless articles about my New England and New York ancestors, in addition to ideas about how to pursue elusive ancestors in New England, New York and the British Isles.

This is really good news for me - I was checking TAG issues almost every time I went down to the San Diego FHC, and now I'll be able to browse them at my leisure at home through my NEHGS subscription.

I sure wish that more genealogy publications would permit digitization and indexing of their publications. NEHGS has all of their New England Historical and Genealogical Register (NEHGR, since 1847) on their web site behind their subscription firewall. That's fine with me - they've earned it.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - periodicals like NEHGR and TAG contain wonderful genealogy gems just waiting to be discovered by researchers. But it will take online indexes for researchers to find them efficiently.

What will it take for societies like NGS and NEHGS (and many other state and regional societies) to compile an every-name index to their periodicals and put it online for FREE access by researchers? An alternative would be to collaborate with a record database provider that would put the index online. In most cases, the index already exists, at least in paper format. Having an every-name index online will lead to more subscribers, readers of the periodicals, or visitors to the brick library and web site.

You might be a Professional Genealogist if ...

The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) mailing list continues debating who is a professional, what are the requirements to be a professional, how do they get the appellation, and other hoary topics for several months now.

Richard Pence has composed a list of humorous (mostly, I think!) criteria to help everyone decide if they are or not - see his post here. Here are just two of his 17 requirements:

"- your leisure time is spent memorizing source citation templates from _Evidence Explained_.

"- your Aunt Hester won't talk to you because she thinks you don't' know all of the darkest family secrets . . . and is sure you would publish them if you did."

Please read the full list that Richard created from his own experience and imagination. I can truthfully say I've done 6 of his list!

So what do you think qualifies someone to be a professional genealogist? That they take clients for hire? That they have CG or AG credentials? That they are a member of APG? That they write and/or edit books and periodicals? That they work for a genealogy research company? That they say they are (they self-designate) and therefore they are? The APG mailing list has debated all of this through several cycles.

I think we have the makings of a Saturday Night Genealogy Fun here - look for the question tomorrow! Think about how you can add to Richard's funny and mostly spot-on list.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

When will be unveiled?

One of the most anticipated genealogy web site events this year is the unveiling of I summarized what I knew, and linked to Tamura Jones's article and GenSeek screen views, in my posts A Sneak Peek at in February and Lifting the Skirt on back in March.

In an interview with Lisa Louise Cooke in March, Steve Nickle said that the site would be released to the public in two months, perhaps late May.

Now I wonder if that wasn't a little bit of misdirection - the National Genealogical Society conference is in Raleigh starting next week. Might announce the unveiling of Genseek then, or perhaps they will lift the skirts on it a bit more, but not release it yet, in order to tantalize the avid genealogy web crawlers in the audience?

I Googled and got this Powerpoint presentation by Brett S(tubbs?) titled GenSeek API. I could not find a date for the presentation. It also says Genseek will be available in "a couple of months."

Take a little time to go through the presentation, and notice the stated purpose of GenSeek and how searches can be conducted for genealogy resources. I think that this will be a big winner in the genealogy world. I can hardly wait!

Genealogy Society Newsletters

We had a challenging discussion yesterday at our Chula Vista Genealogical society board meeting. The question was: Should we offer the current society newsletter for free on the CVGS web site?

At present, we send a password via email to our members and they then use the password to read the newsletter in a PDF format, or download and save it, or print it out. About 25% of our membership does not have an email address, so we print and mail the newsletter to them each month. The CVGS web site has only the current issue password protected - the previous eleven issues are available to read, for free, by anyone browsing through the site - see the Newsletter page here.

The stated purpose of the password was "so that people could not read current information on our newsletter without paying for it." The concern is that people in the Chula Vista area will read the current newsletter online and will not join the society. What other arguments are there for "hiding" the current newsletter, or all editions of it, from online readers?

The society has offered a $10 per year "newsletter only" option for those in distant places who want to support the society and stay current on the society activities. No one has subscribed in this way for several years. When the newsletter was available in a print version only, this was certainly necessary to cover the printing and mailing costs.

The discussion in favor of putting the current newsletter on the web site without a password included:

* The purpose of the genealogical society is to offer programs and services that enhance genealogical knowledge and member participation.

* Persons join the society for the programs and services, not just to read the newsletter.

* Putting the current newsletter on the web site will promote the current programs of the society.

* Almost all of the information in the newsletter is news of "what's coming" or "what happened," plus some articles written by members or reprinted by permission from online sources or other society newsletters.

* Much of what is in the current newsletter is already available at the CVGS web site and blog - the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe.

* Presently, people interested in the society activities can wait one month and read all about them in the previous month newsletters.

* Presently, visitors to the Chula Vista Civic Center Library can pick up a free copy of the current newsletter in the Family History section of thel ibrary.

* Making the current newsletter accessible to readers would reduce the workload of the webmaster.

The CVGS Board decided to put it to the test - we agreed to put the current newsletter online for the rest of 2009 and then evaluate the decision, based on the membership renewals, at the end of the year.

As the current newsletter editor, I favor this approach. I don't think that we have anything in our newsletter that should be hidden from the genealogy world, and I don't think that people are reading the newsletter in lieu of attending the society activities.

How have other genealogy societies handled this? I know some have their current newsletter online, and some do not. Some email a PDF version to their members with email addresses, but still mail printed copies to all members. Some societies have opted for email distribution only. Some societies just print and mail their newsletters or other publications.

The collection of CVGS newsletters since January 2008 is now online for reading and browsing at

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society would like to exchange newsletters, via a PDF attachment to an email, with other genealogical societies. If your society would like to do this, please email me at

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

One "New Search" "Quirk" is fixed

I posted last Thursday about the "quirk" I discovered while trying to put my 101 presentation together, and then posted Tony Macklin's comments on Friday about how the "quirk", er, mistake, happened in the Search development process.

Anne Mitchell, who is in charge of the Search team at, posted a comment on my first post today saying that the fix has been implemented and I can find all of the search results in "New Search" that I had found in "Old Search." I'm happy to report that "New Search" found the same six matches as "Old Search" did for my test case of Isa* Sea* born in 1823 +/- 2 years in Massachusetts. Good. Thank you, Anne.

Anne posted a note "Latest on Lifespan Filtering" on the Blog yesterday about this feature. Read it for more information. In comment #47 to that post, Anne said:

"I’d say in order, the requests have been fix dates, places, and names. We’ve just launched the date filtering which should help there a lot. We are now working on places…also not a trivial thing to implement and this one will require UI changes as well. And then we will work on names."

So there are more changes to the "New Search" user interface coming in the near future. I can hardly wait! And will test them to see if "New Search" matches "Old Search." [What do you want to bet that a comparison with "Old Search" is now one of the QA tests?]

My attitude toward the search features are that they are the best, generally speaking, in the genealogy industry. I don't think any other site has as many options, or works so hard at developing them, as They make mistakes when implementing them occasionally, as they did in this case. But, in general, they are top notch. is, rightly or wrongly, the company that more people love to hate because of past experiences, the cost, or the fact that they are a for-profit company. By being communicative, by being responsive and by being user-friendly they will gradually overcome some of the built-up ill-will brought on by previous management teams.

I find that almost all of my problems with finding people in the databases lies with the Indexing of the databases, not with the Search engine. That's why I was perplexed last week when this problem raised its head.

SDGS Meeting on Saturday, 5/9 - Susan Pentico on "Lost Colony of Virginia"

The Monthly Meeting of the San Diego Genealogical Society will be Saturday, May 9th, at 12 noon at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church (8350 Lake Murray Blvd in San Diego, just south of Jackson Drive).

The program presentation will be ‘The Lost Colony of Virginia’ with Susan Pentico. The program summary is:

The Lost Colony is about Roanoke Island in Virginia in the late 1500’s when England and Spain were arguing over the ownership of America. It involves a specific group of people that were supposed to have landed elsewhere and what happened to them after their arrival at Roanoke Island.

The scientific community has taken a great interest in this group of people because it appears that the survivors were taken in by local Indians and their lineage is still waiting to be discovered.

If you have VA, NC, SC, etc. ancestry, this talk may help explain why their history has been so elusive. Handouts on The Lost Colony Genealogy and their DNA Research Group will be most informative as will a list of subject surnames. Find out how DNA research may be the missing link to finding your possible ancestors.

The speaker's CV:

Susan Pentico has been actively pursuing historical and medical genealogy since a young child in 1960, prompted by a family medical condition. She has been involved with numerous genealogical groups over the years including board positions with the Chula Vista Genealogical Society, host of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Golden Gate Forum and currently the Genealogy Look-Up Forum
at Rootsweb. She is also a member of the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego, the New England Genealogical and Historical Society, Ohio Genealogy Society, Genealogical Society of Southwest Pennsylvania, Cornerstone
Genealogy Society of Greene Co. PA and SDGS.

In addition to giving talks on medical genealogy, census searches, brick walls and photography, she also teaches classes twice a month at the Lemon Grove Library. A native of Wyoming, Susan moved to California at an early age. Married to a Iowa farm boy and retired sailor, she is the mother of five with ten grandchildren.

I hope to see many of you at the SDGS meeting this Saturday!

Family Photographs - Post 54: Watermelon feed in 1916

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 information on the back of this picture is that it is taken in Alpine (CA) in 1916. Nothing else, including the identity of the people in the photograph.

The only people that I can positively identify are Della (Smith) Carringer, my great-grandmother, in the white dress in back of the small table holding the watermelon slices, and my grandfather, Lyle Carringer, directly in back of Della. Abigail (Vaux) Smith, Della's mother, may be the lady two persons to the left of Della with the hat and apparent veil (mosquito net?), but I cannot tell for sure. Austin Carringer is not in this picture, so he may have taken the picture.

Look how intent some of these people are addressing their watermelon slice. The little boy to the right of the table is almost done with his.

The Carringer family had a wide circle of friends, so a look at the 1920 census may reveal some people in Alpine that they knew (checking with identified people in this photo collection and Della's 1929 Journal). Or they may have gone to Alpine just for a picnic. The men are all dressed in shirts and ties and the women in long dresses. I guess this was typical of the times.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Top Genealogy Web Sites - from my readers

Last weekend, the Saturday Night Genealogy Fun topic was "What are your Top Ten Genealogy Websites?" Almost 20 readers provided their list, including:

* Terri O'Connell on the Finding Our Ancestors blog.

* Jordan Jones on the Genealogy Media blog.

* Greta Koehl on Greta's Genealogy Bog.

* Gena Ortega on Gena's Genealogy Blog

* Valerie C. on Begin With 'Craft' blog.

* Unknown blogger on Relative Musings blog.

* Lisa Rex on Rootsfinder Family History blog.

* Schelly Talalay Dardashti on the Tracing the Tribe blog.

* TorillJ on the Ord fra DIS-Norges leder blog.

* Earline Bradt on the Ancestral Notes blog.

* Elyse Doerflinger on Elyse's Genealogy Blog.

* Leah on The Internet Genealogist blog.

* Bill West on the West in New England blog.

* John Newmark on the TransylvanianDutch blog.

* Vidar Overlie on the Vidars slektsblogg blog.

* Laila Christiansen on the Slekt og Slikt! blog.

* Randy Seaver on the Genea-Musings blog.

* Professor Dru on the Find Your Folks blog.

* Connie M via email.

Did I miss someone? If so, please let me know as a comment here with a link to your blog.

My first thought was to assign points to each site on each list - 10 for a #1, 9 for a #2, down to a 1 for a #10. But several people didn't want to list them in order. So I'm going to list the favorites by the number of times they made someone's list:

1. - on 16 lists
2. - on 14 lists
3. - on 12 lists
4. - on 10 lists
5. - on 7 lists

5. - on 6 lists
7. - on 5 lists
7. - on 5 lists
7. - on 5 lists
10. - on 4 lists

10. - on 4 lists
10. - on 4 lists
13. - on 3 lists
13. - on 3 lists
13. on 3 lists

13. - on 3 lists
13. - 3 lists
18. - 2 lists
18. - 2 lists
18. - 2 lists
18. - 2 lists
18. - 2 lists

The list is tilted a little toward Norway, since three Norwegian bloggers participated in this SNGF, which I appreciate! Since we had only one Canadian participate, the Canada-specific links didn't make the list. I imagine that the next time I do this that there will be a rush of Canadian, English, Norwegian, and Australian bloggers participating!

Thank you to all who participated in Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - it wouldn't be any fun without you!

So is this list any better than the one in the previous post? Are there any surprises in this list - either included or not included?

UPDATED: 5/6 8 a.m. - corrected Leah's link and added some commentary.

UPDATED 5/7 9 p.m. - added Dru's link and numbers

100 Genealogy Resources to Discover Your Ancestry

Several genealogy bloggers thought that the article 100 Genealogy Resources to Discover Your Ancestry by Suzane Smith on the Phlebotomy Technician Schools web site was really great, and was a keeper to be passed to novice and experienced genealogists for reference purposes. The stated purpose of the list was to:

"Research and discover your ancestry with these 100 tools to get you started building a family tree. Trace back as far as you can find and share your results with friends and family. Many of the forums in this list will also garner you a few new friends in the genealogy spectrum. Tracing your roots will give you insight into your family’s past and give you an edge in your own forensic education endeavors."

Usually when there is a list of 100 items, they are either put in some order of most important to less important, or are grouped together (such as databases, family trees, DNA sites, archives, etc.). This list does neither.

An unsuspecting genealogist might start with #1 on the list - Genetree: You belong here. The next two on the list are Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation and mitosearch, both DNA related sites. But where is the biggest DNA site,, or the site (the Y-DNA site comparable to the mitochondrial DNA site)?

The genealogy database providers on the list are #8 FamilySearch, #9, #10, #14 HeritageQuestOnline, #17 GenealogyBank, #18, #22 and more.

While this list has some of the most useful genealogy web sites on it, I think that a better list is on Family Tree Magazine's 101 Best Web Sites. There may be a new list out soon - we'll see!

I guess I'll go compile the Top 10 lists that my readers wrote about over the weekend. Let's see how they compare!

Unindexed Databases at Redux

I pointed out in my post Unindexed Databases on that some databases at are not indexed by names in the databases - the user does not receive a search result if they are searching by name. In order to find the records, the user has to "browse" the database. Usually, these unindexed databases are in alphabetical order, or by locality, so the task is not totally random.

Genea-Musings reader and genealogue Chris (Dunham) commented that:

"Doing a Google site search for the phrase "no search function for names" brings up a few more databases."

That was a great idea. Here are the results from that search:

* War of 1812 Pension Application Files Index, 1812-1815

* Hamburg Passenger Lists, Handwritten Indexes, 1855-1934

* U.S. Circuit Court Criminal Case Files, 1790-1871

* New Orleans, Louisiana, Slave Manifests, 1807-1860 (World Archives ...

* Sweden, Kugelberg Newspaper Clips, 1888-1904

* U.S. Freedmen's Marriage Records, 1861-1869

* U.S. Revolutionary War Miscellaneous Records (Manuscript File ...

* World War II Japanese-American Internment Camp Documents, 1942 ...

* Selected U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedules, 1850-1880 ...

* Returns from Regular Army Regiments, 1821-1916 -

* U.S. Index to General Correspondence of the Record and Pension ...

* Returns from U.S. Military Posts, 1800-1916 -

* Missouri Still Birth & Miscellaneous Records, 1805-2002 -

* Selected U.S. Naturalization Record Indexes, 1791-1992 (World ...

* New Orleans, Louisiana, Slave Manifests, 1807-1860 (World Archives ...

There appear to be some databases that are indexed by only the last name. One set of examples is the Massachusetts Town Vital Records Before 1850 books (the so-called "tan books"). Some of these books are indexed only by the surname, not by the given names, parents names, etc. You can find many of these books by using keywords "vital" and "Massachusetts" in the Ancestry Card Catalog search box. My search link is here. I noticed that, even though all of the town Vital Records books contain births, marriages and deaths, many of them are not included in the Birth, Marriage and Death collection but are listed in the Stories, Memories and Histories collection. Some of the town BMD books are indexed with given names also. Ancestry should really fix this cataloguing error - these all belong in the Birth, Marriage & Death collection.

Genea-Musings reader Geolover commented that the US Revolutionary War Compiled Service Records database is arranged by State and Regiment (sometimes misnamed) and other items under 'Miscellaneous'. This database is name-indexed at That is very useful information - thanks!

The lessons learned here, for me, are that:

* the indexing and cataloguing systems are imperfect -- they are not consistent nor complete.

* The user has to consult the Card Catalog to determine if Ancestry has databases of specific interest, whether for a locality or record type.

I think that "Caveat Genealogicus!" is going to be the name of my next blog! It certainly applies here!

UPDATED 10 a.m.: Lorine commented that some of these unindexed databases are in the World Archives Project (WAP) and will have indexes in the future. which has a list of databases currently being indexed. Thanks for the great comment, Lorine!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Footnote Pages on Facebook - Great idea!

I received this via email today --

"Have you ever thought, "How can I get my family more interested and involved in our family history?" To see how Footnote is using Facebook to bring family and friends together to remember those that meant the most, click here.

"Creating an I Remember page is easy, fun and free. Start now."

I did this and easily connected the Footnote Pages (previously created) to my Facebook Home page and Wall. Here is the Facebook page that appears when you click on the I Remember link:

I already had Footnote Pages on for my parents and grandparents. I easily linked to them and created these Facebook Pages for my parents. Here's my father's page:

And my mother's page:

Now I can invite some of my Facebook "Friends" to view and add to these pages. I think that I can invite my friends and family members not on Facebook also - I'm testing this out now.

Doing this creates a Facebook page for each person "I Remember" - so for deceased family members it is "Facebook for Dead Relatives." Whatever is uploaded to for the Footnote Pages is accessible on the Facebook Wall, Info and Photos pages for the remembered person.

I was able to create an "I Remember" page on Facebook for my aunt, Geraldine (Seaver) Remley. I wonder if it will appear on We'll see!

This appears to be a win-win for everybody involved - Facebook may get more subscribers, Footnote may get more subscribers (but Footnote Pages are Free to create and access), and genealogists may be able to connect with family members more easily on both Footnote and Facebook. Family members, family friends and genealogists can add stories and photographs to the Facebook pages too.

Although not a classical "wiki," the Footnote Pages are one form of a wiki, and the Facebook Pages are the same form of a wiki. It's now possible that each person in our family history can have a Footnote Page and a Facebook Page. It just takes al ot of work to create them one at a time. But the potential for family connections is tremendous, I think.

Now all we need is a GEDCOM upload to both and Facebook for our family tree databases - and have them find a way to automatically create thousands of Facebook and Footnote Pages about our family members.

Unindexed Databases on

I had an email last week concerning my post What Should I Say About from reader Debbie Duay, and she told me that:

"I think it is important to tell people that has many databases that cannot be searched using the global search box. One of my favorite examples is the War of 1812 Pension Application Files Index."

She gave me the link to the War of 1812 Pension Application Files Index database. Thank you, Debbie!

Naturally, I had to try this one out, and made some screen shots in the process so I could share them with you.

How can I find this database if I can't use the Search function? Ah - the Card Catalog! The Card Catalog permits the user to find a database using a search box, and I did that. But I also wondered how I could find databases that are not indexed - and figured that they would have very few entries in the list of databases. So I clicked on the "Military" collection link on the left side of the Card Catalog, and the list of 330 databases appeared:

I scrolled to the bottom of the first page of 100 databases, and clicked on the "4" at the bottom of the page - next to "Next" - so as to get to the last (and 4th) page of databases:

There it is - the second from the bottom - the War of 1812 Pension Application Files Index, 1812-1815 . My strategy worked, eh? I clicked on the link:

This database is not indexed, but the records are alphabetical. There are 102 files listed, each with about 800 to 1100 pages in them. I decided to look for my Lanfear mystery persons - so I chose the Lane-Led file. The first page has the header for the NARA microfilm:

How can I find information for a specific surname? Ah, I can change the "Image number" just above the image itself - the image above was number 1 of 873. I can click inside that box and input a page number. I chose 100 and got "Stephen Lane." Number 150 was "Abraham Langle," Number 130 was "David Langdon," number 120 was "John Lang," and number 110 was "Charles Laney." Gee, this is just like the "guess the number" game, eh? From there I just used the "Next" arrow to find #113 - Isaac Lanfear:

From my previous work, I knew that this is the "Isaac Lanfear" of Lorraine, Jefferson County, New York because it gives his wife's name, Rosannah! Cool.

Now I need to look for other Lanf*, Lanph*, Lamf*, and Lamph* to see if there are others here that I need to look for. Obtaining the actual Pension File is another exercise, of course!

The bigger questions are:

* "How many databases are there on that don't have are not indexed and therefore are not found in a name Search?"

* "Does have a list of these non-indexed databases?"

"If not, why not?"

Surely, wants subscribers to use these databases that they have taken the time, cost and effort to bring to us. But if they are hidden from us (unless a user goes through over 28,000 databases one by one - which is really not an option!), then they are essentially useless. So, to, a love letter:

"Dear, please provide a visible link to a list of Unindexed Databases so that we can be aware of them and use them effectively. Devotedly - Randy."

Thank you, Debbie, for the great link and the comments!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Best of the Genea-Blogs - April 26-May 2, 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:

* Afro-Louisiana History and Genealogy, 1718-1820 by the author of The Ancestry Insider blog. While this post explicitly talks about the databases with this title on, it points up a major issue with the way creates and uses titles. A twofer here!

* Converting My Personal Library to Digital by Dick Eastman on the Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter blog. Dick shares how he is doing this task and the pain he endures while doing it. I can relate! Read the comments too.

* Memory Monday: Running Away by Greta Koehl on the Greta's Genealogy Bog blog. Greta remembers her childhood, and tells us about her adventures. Great stories.

* Secrets, Pt. 6: The Rest of the Story... by Caroline Pointer on the Family Stories blog. This series of posts has been fascinating to me - I love "watching" how people have sorted out mysteries and brickwall problems. Of course, Caroline hasn't found "everything" yet.

* Better Online Citations - Details Part 1 and Better Online Citations - Details Part 2 (GEDCOM) by Mark Tucker on the ThinkGenealogy blog. Mark continues analyzing how to efficiently put better source citations into our genealogy software.

* Top Ten Things You Don't Know About the 2010 Census by Chris Dunham on The Genealogue blog. Chris's irrepressible humor can be applied to almost anything - read this and laugh. If you want, spend more time on his collection of Top 10 items here.

* What if it's a roomful? by DearMYRTLE on the Internet-Genealogy Blog. Pat has thoughts about how to organize and source the 47 boxes of a family history collection -- not quite Eastman's solution but useful I think.

* Black Sheep Canadian Ancestors Submissions by Lorine Schulze on the Olive Tree Genealogy Blog. There are eight fascinating entries to this Canadian blog carnival - read about Black Sheep ancestors!

* Clarence & May (and Leonard) ... continued and May & Leonard.. the story continues by Cindy on the Everything's Relative - Researching Your Family History blog. This is another serial story about relatives that are really hard to track down, but Cindy is working hard on it.

* Tech Tuesday: Tips for Travel and More on Lojack for Laptops and Family Curator Visits NEHGS Spring Research Getaway 2009, Part 1: Preparing to Research by Denise on The Family Curator blog. The first post is really important for everyone that carries a laptop, and the second post describes Denise's research experiences at NEHGS. A twofer here too!

* I Have No Answers - Only Questions and Thoughts, A Clarification and The Citation Goddess - Elizabeth Shown Mills - Weighs In by the author of the footnoteMaven blog. These posts all concern Mark Tucker's posts about Better Source citations. Since footnoteMaven is an expert on this issue, I appreciate her comments, and love her parody of the Beach Boys song Good Citations. I've
been singing it all week!

* ENGINEER'S Report - Tech Info by John G. West on the Tri-State Genealogical Society of Evansville, Indiana "TSGS Cruiser" blog. John links to an article about keeping your computer clean on the outside.

* Why I like Facebook by DearMYRTLE on the DearMYRTLE Genealogy Blog. MYRT sees a grandson's photo on Facebook and has a sentimental time thinking down memory lane. Is Facebook how we get the kids and grandkids interested in what we do?

* Making a Genealogy Time Capsule and Making a Genealogy Time Capsule Part 2 by Lorine Schulze on the Olive Tree Genealogy Blog. Lorine and her husband are having fun putting a time capsule together - see why and how they're doing it!

* Los Angeles County Record Request Requirements–Just Quirky? Or Unconstitutional? by Craig Manson on the Geneablogie blog. Craig encountered an interesting form and questions the constitutionality of it. Great analysis of something we all may face in the future.

* Carnival of Genealogy, 71st Edition by Donna Pointkouski on the What's Past Is Prologue blog. Donna was the hostess for this carnival with the theme of "Local History." 25 genealogy bloggers submitted articles.

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.