Saturday, June 20, 2009

My Daily Three - 20 June 2009

I went to the CGSSD meeting today and learned many things, but I also learned other things, so here my three for today:

1) Family Tree Maker 2010 Platinum was described in a "hands-on" review here. Interesting take from a writer with no genealogy experience - how did he get to do this plum job? The telling quote is "From my experience, it would take close to two weeks before someone could gather together a significant amount of information. Other users have explained that it takes about two weeks to get into family history dating back into the 1600s. " LOLROFL!!!

2) Now I know what Genealogy in the Cloud means. I missed Gary Hoffman's talk to CGSSD last year, but really enjoyed it this year. He updated it - I'll post a bit about it soon.

3) Who knew that the San Diego Public Library had an obituary index for the San Diego Herald newspaper for 1851 to 1860 and the San Diego Union newspaper for 1868-1915? Online? I knew about the card index on microfiche at SDPL and other libraries, but not about an index. Good - more blog fodder!

That's all I learned today - the GinaC stuff was fascinating. Lots of questions!

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun (?) - the Death Clock

It's Saturday Night - time for some Genealogy Fun!! Today we will investigate the Death Clock at Fun? Well, maybe. Here's the challenge:

1) Go to (it takes awhile to load) and enter your birth date, sex, mode (normal, optimistic, pessimistic or sadistic), BMI (body mass index - there's a handy calculator for this) and smoking status.

2) Click on the "Check Your Death Clock" button. (This took a long time to load for me)

3) Write about it in your blog, or in comments to this post. Or keep it secret - your choice!

For extra credit, tell us how much longer you would live if you made some lifestyle changes (like stop smoking, reduce BMI or improved your outlook on life).

Here's mine - I chose Optimistic, BMI = 32, Non-smoker: Sunday, September 21, 2036. Wow, almost age 93? I wonder if I did that right?

Last time I checked it was the year 2016 if I recall correctly. Ah, I input "Normal" as my mode last time - Wednesday, August 3, 2016. I'm going to be more optimistic!!! I put in "Pessimistic" and it said my time on Earth expired back in 1994. For "Sadistic," it said I didn't make it to age 40.

What about BMI? I'm overweight - I'll put in 25 and see what my projected death date is: Friday, August 24, 2017. I get an extra year by losing 50 pounds?

Does this work for deceased people? I put my father in and it said he would die on 8 October 1982. He died on 26 May 1983 - pretty close! I must have guessed right on everything (I chose Normal, BMI=30, smoker). What about my mother (I chose Optimistic, BMI<25, smoker)? It predicted 12 December 2009 - she died 4 January 2002.

I'm not sure of the value of the Death Clock is, other than to scare you into being optimistic, a non-smoker, and lighter!

Beginning Genealogy Helps - Post 4:

In Beginning Genealogy Helps - Post 1, I listed four online genealogy tutorials and asked my readers for help finding others. In Beginning Genealogy Helps - Post 2:, I focused on the Learning Center at In Beginning Genealogy Helps - Post 3: LearnWebSkills Tutorial, I described the tutorials at the Researching Your Family Tree: An Introduction to Genealogy site.

In this post, I'm going to look at the three-part series on Getting Started in Genealogy by Marie Daly on the New England Historic Genealogical Society web site.

There are links to a total of fourteen seminar videos (Powerpoint presentations with voice-over descriptions) on the Getting Started page at These videos are on the FREEly available portion of the NEHGS site. Here is the top of the Getting Started page:

There are links to articles on Canadian and Irish genealogy research on the right sidebar. There are other Articles on the website - see the Articles page here.

The bottom of the Getting Started page has the Online Seminar links:

The three videos for Getting Started in Genealogy are at the bottom of the screen. Clicking on Part 1 shows the Introductory page for the series (expanded to full screen):

Here is the screen with the content of Part 1. This is a 10:23 minute video:

Here is the screen with the content of Part 2. This is a 13:16 minute video:

Here is the screen with the content of Part 3. This is a 16:21 minute video:

The total time for these videos is about 40 minutes, and the content is oriented toward New England research and using the web site (and subscribing to NEHGS).

Real beginning genealogy researchers will not be helped much by these videos or the articles on the website, but researchers interested in using the NEHGS resources can be significantly informed by these videos and articles.

Friday, June 19, 2009

My Daily Three - 19 June 2009

I didn't learn a whole lot today in genealogy - lots of good family history made with my granddaughters, though. Here are my three new things learned:

1) The FamilySearch Alpha site is up and working. Interesting.

2) Footnote is raising their subscription price to $79.95 retail, but has a $59.95 offer until 31 July.

3) Today was Loyalists Day in Canada. Earline Bradt blogged about it here.

A bonus: 4) The FGS Conference will have free wireless Internet available in the hotels and main floor of the Convention Center in Little Rock (but not the exhibit hall. Wonder about the conference rooms?). Cool. Thanks for the info, Paula.

That's it - what did you learn today?

Postcard: A Tijuana Barbecue

My grandparents collected postcards from all over the world, since my grandfather had a wide correspondence with philatelists (stamp collectors).

When they died in the late 1970's, I recall my parents had a garage sale and that the boxes of postcards (some inscribed, many not) were quickly sold. When I started genealogy research ten years later, I visited some of the used book stores and antique stores in San Diego hoping to find some of the cards, but was unsuccessful.

I recently scanned photographs from a small envelope of scattered photos and the box contained several postcards (uninscribed, undated). Here is one of them:

My grandfather wrote "A Barbecue at Tijuana Mex." on the face of the card (I recognize his printing!). I don't know if this was a personal photograph made into a card, or it it was a card sold commercially. My guess is that it's a personal photograph, otherwise how would he know the location and event shown?

I don't know the exact date for this card, but I'm guessing that it is in the 1915 to 1930 time period. Perhaps a reader with a knowledge of the automobile makes and years can narrow it down better. Almost all of the men are wearing a suit with tie and hat, and most of the women have dresses and hats. Although this is labelled as in Tijuana, I don't see any people with the "typical" Mexican dress. This may be a tourist event sponsored by a Tijuana group or place.

My First Look at FamilySearch Alpha

I love it when new things come to light in the genealogy world. Since I'm not an LDS church member, I'm on the outside of the New FamilySearch watching the development with interest and anticipation.

Dan Lawyer on the FamilySearch Labs blog mentioned FamilySearch Alpha today... so I went exploring and found the Alpha home page:

I couldn't resist putting a name in the Search fields, and it led me to, surprise! the FamilySearch Record Search page of matches:

There are five links in the top menu - Home, Search (which goes to the Record Search home page), Learning, Library and Indexing.

Clicking on the "Learning" link, I saw:

This page will probably link to articles and the FamilySearch Wiki at some time.
The link to the "Library" provides a general information page about the library - and will be added to in the future.

Similarly, the "Indexing" link leads to a generic page.

If you notice the Utah forest and mountain theme in the top screen shot - this is on every page on FamilySearch Alpha. Nice!

I look forward to watching the site grow! It will eventually replace the current web page.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Daily Three - 18 June 2009

My research time was limited today by the arrival of my granddaughters - we are hosting them for the weekend while their parents celebrate their birthdays and anniversary.

Here are three things I learned about genealogy today:

1) The American Memory collection (of papers and photographs) at the Library of Congress has 971 items for San Diego, including many panorama photos of the city and the bay from the 1880 to 1940 time period. It was fun scrolling through the list.

2) has 60% of the Civil War "Widows Pensions" imaged (350,287) and available in their collection. There are 39 "Seaver" matches, including a complete set for George F. Seaver of Northbridge MA who died on 23 October 1861 at Balls Bluff. He had been married for only three months, and his widow received $8 a month for his service. I've corresponded with Seaver cousins related to George. My recollection is that this set of records was a small percentage of the total number of Civil War Pension files. However, they are priceless if your soldier's widow received a pension.

3) Leland Meitzler has recommended Jeffrey A. Bockman's website several times in the past months, and I finally wandered over there today. Jeff has a list of articles (most have appeared in Heritage Quest magazine or Everton's Genealogical Helper in recent years) and links to useful websites. Both are excellent resources.

Those are my three - what did you learn today? Tell us! Member Connect Service has posted several mockup pages here for their previously announced Member Connect service. Diane Haddad has posted pictures of some of the pages on The Genealogy Insider here.

The newly posted mockup page says:

"Connecting you to others researching your ancestors

"Millions of people are discovering their family stories on Coming soon Member Connect will help you stay in touch with other members who also happen to be researching your ancestors. You’ll be able to contact them, share research and be notified when they add new content about your ancestors to their family trees."

and from the different tabs:

"We'll scan public member trees on to find members researching the people in your tree. You'll be able to decide if you want to connect to matching ancestors in other trees to build a network for each ancestor in your tree. "


"Once you connect a matching ancestor from another member’s tree to one of your ancestors, we’ll let you know when that member adds new life events, source records, photos or stories featuring your ancestor. "


"You’ll be able to easily save new content you discover from other members to your tree. And you’ll be able to choose exactly what new life events, source records, photos and stories to add."


"Connect through historical records

"Member Connect will not only show you the member activity on the ancestors in your family tree, it will also show you who has saved or commented on records featuring your ancestors. See an example"


"Stay up to date from your home page

"A new box on your home page will show you all of the Member Connect activity surrounding your ancestors. This includes activity around records you’ve saved or commented on and members you’ve connected to through your family tree. See an example"


You can go to the mockup page and click on the tabs and links to see the Member Connect features. I didn't post the images here because you can do it yourself, and diane has showed some of them.

This Member Connect service appears to be an attempt to "socially network" subscribers and registrants. It appears to be a significant improvement over the current Collaborate > Member Connections feature. But will it be really useful?

I think that these changes may be beneficial to many subscribers if they will use them. It can easily connect me to other researchers with the same families in their databases. One user will be able to "see" what another user with the same person has added. It seems a bit voyeuristic to me... but that's OK I guess. Currently, I can easily find the other researchers, and their content, through the current Hints system.

There are some bigger issues (and perhaps I'm ignorant of some of the details, but I will bravely forge on):

1) If I have uploaded a family photograph to my tree, then others interested in my photograph could capture it. If I don't want that to happen, then I won't upload the photograph and nobody else will benefit from the knowledge in the photograph. I should have some control over downloading of my content.

2) It will be much easier to capture information from another Member Tree into my Tree. That may be real exciting for some people (more ancestors!), but many researchers have posted real junk on their trees. It will be easy to add information but it will be one Fact or Event at a time. Events can be easily removed from a tree, but it has to be done one event at a time.

3) It appears from all of the words above that the "seeker" (e.g., you) will have the ability to add anything they want to their tree with the "provider" (e.g., me) of the information having no control whatsoever. After all, it is a "Public Member Tree."

4) From what I have observed so far, the Ancestry Member Trees are not going to be wiki-type pages where anyone interested in the person could add content, including photographs, record images, stories, notes, etc. There will still be one page for each person in my database, and in your database, and everybody's database. There will be hundreds of Person Pages for some individuals like Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Mayflower passengers, royalty, etc. posted by many descendants who have Member Trees. While a wiki-type of Person Page would be ideal, it is probably too big a job for to tackle and the discussions/arguments over which data is correct is not something most people would want to tackle.

I have some other thoughts about the Member Trees and the changes to the record image pages which I'll post in future weeks.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Daily Three - 17 June 2009

Here are three useful genealogy things I learned today:

1) There is more than one list of Loyalists in Canada, per Lorine at Ask Olive Tree Genealogy a Question. Lorine goes through her recommended procedure for finding records of probably loyalists other than using a list. I didn't see any way to do this online - most of the steps she recommended use microfilm. Another lesson learned, and a reason to go visit Ontario, methinks.

2) James Tanner on the Genealogy's Star blog mentioned Google Squared today, so I checked it out. It works, but wasn't real useful for the terms I input. Maybe I need more imagination.

3) The NEHGS web site has some Pilgrim Village Fa miles sketches online (readable from the free side) which are based on the Great Migration Begins series sketches. They are useful as finding aids at a minimum.

That's my three - what did you learn today?

NARA Databases at

One of the latest collections listed on the Genealogy Databases Posted or Updated Recently at is the NARA Collections on list. There are 366 items on this list, which is ordered alphabetically by NARA Series Number. This is a Free Index for all researchers to access (just the list, not the databases themselves).

The site says:

"This database is a catalog to NARA collections published on It allows you to easily find what NARA collections are available on Ancestry. You can search the database by typing in a NARA microfilm series number (ex. A1154 or M158), or by typing in all or part of a NARA collection title or database title."

Researchers should have noted the NARA Series Number when they have used records at the National Archives, or at the Family History Library or some other repository. Now we can use this list to see if there are records available on that we have not seen before, or perhaps we can now capture an image of a record that we abstracted or transcribed in the repository.

It's easy to use your browser's Edit > Find combination to locate specific words or years. For example, doing an Edit > Find for 1890 provided M123 for the 1890 Census Veterans Schedule and M407 for the 1890 Census Population Schedule fragments.

CGSSD Meeting on Saturday 20 June - Gary Hoffman on "Genealogy in the Cloud "

From an email from Linda Hervig of CGSSD:

The Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego (CGSSD) meets on Saturday, June 20, 2009 from 9:00 am to noon.

* 9:00 - User groups for Family Tree Maker and Macintosh; and Special Interest Group “New Genealogy Websites”

* 10:00 - A break and refreshments

* 10:15 - Announcements followed by Program:"Genealogy in the Cloud" by Gary B. Hoffman

These days, storing your genealogy data in your hard drive and viewing it through a program installed on your computer is about as cool as driving your father's Oldsmobile or using a black landline telephone. Today's researchers upload their genealogy to a specialized website, either one you control yourself or a shared pedigree system. These programs are not on your computer but in the Internet "cloud," giving rise to the term "cloud computing." Some benefits include having your entire pedigree available wherever you connect to the Internet and being able to make links to cousins you didn't know. After all, genealogy is the ultimate social networking activity. (Are your ancestors on Facebook?)

In this presentation, Gary will review the latest developments in cloud genealogy applications, including MyAncestry,, and new FamilySearch and several programs you can install on your own web site. After looking at the advantages of cloud genealogy, Gary will demonstrate some weaknesses and offer pointers to protect your research from poaching by others.

Gary Hoffman is former President and webmaster for CGSSD and works at U.C. San Diego in IT support. He has been making technology presentations for nearly 20 years at national and local genealogy venues. He also runs the Tarvin Family Association website and is actively researching his Hoffman, Harpold, Webster and Tarvin lines through Kentucky and Indiana.

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.

I really look forward to the discussion of New Genealogy Websites and Gary's talk on "Genealogy in the Cloud."

Family Photographs - Post 60: Christmas 1920

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 persons in this photograph are my grandparents, Lyle L. and Emily (Auble) Carringer with their one-year-old daughter, Betty Virginia Carringer, my mother. My grandfather kindly noted "Xmas 1920" on the bottom of this photograph. The setting is the Carringer's home at 2054 Harrison Avenue in San Diego, I think.

I'm not sure who the man is sitting on the railing of the porch - it may be Uncle Edgar Carringer or a family friend. I wonder who took the picture? Perhaps one of Lyle's parents or Emily's mother, who lived with them.

Isn't Betty cute all dressed up in a hat, jacket and leggings? It gets cool in San Diego at Christmas - so the warm clothes are appropriate outside. When I see pictures like this, I wonder if these clothes were Christmas gifts from friends or family.

101 Best Genealogy Web Sites for 2009

Family Tree Magazine published their 101 Best Web Sites 2009 today. The 101 sites include:

* 10 Best Web Sites to See Dead People -- Use these sites to find obituaries, cemeteries and other traces of your departed ancestors.

* 10 Best Web Sites for Vital Records
-- These are the best searchable databases of vital records from health departments, historical societies and state archives.

* 10 Best Web Sites for Storing and Sharing
-- Sharing your family history just got easier with these Web sites that let you create a family tree, store pictures and more.

* 10 Best Big Web Sites
-- You're sure to find information about your family in these stellar genealogy Web sites.

* 10 Best Web Sites for Maps
-- Trace your family's paths, find your ancestors' homes and explore the old country.

* 10 Best Web Sites for Local Searches
-- You can thank your lucky stars if your ancestors resided in the areas these Web sites cover.

* 10 Best Web Sites for International Searches
-- Tracking down immigrant ancestors has never been easier.

* 10 Best Cutting-edge Web Sites
-- Stay informed about the latest technology for genealogists with these sites.

* 10 Best Web Sites for Military Research
-- Find ancestors who served their country in these databases.

* 10 Best Virtual Library Web Sites
-- Powerful search tools let you explore great library collections in the comfort of your own home.

That's 100 - what's #101? of course - in a class by itself.

Three genealogy blogs made the cut in the "Cutting Edge Web Sites" category - The Ancestry Insider, DearMYRTLE and Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter.

There are three genealogy media sites named in the "Cutting Edge Web Sites" category -- Genealogy Gems, GenealogyGuys and RootsTelevision.

I noted that there were some obvious omissions from some of the categories (e.g., the Missouri Death Records from the "Vital Records" category) but they are included in another category (for the Missouri Death Records, they were included in the "Local Searches" category).

There are quite a few web sites on this list that I haven't reviewed recently - it will be useful to explore on future genealogy days!

What did they miss? For blogs, I would say Genea-Musings (um, toot toot), Shades of the Departed, Family Matters, ThinkGenealogy, and my other 480 favorites.

For web sites, I would say Family History 101, Olive Tree Genealogy, Family Tree Legends, and many more.

I guess I'll have to do my own! What would you add?

Thanks to Schelly for her Twitter mention of her article on Tracing the Tribe.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My Daily Three - 16 June 2009

Three neat genealogy things I learned today were:

1. The Member Trees have a mapping feature similar to those in the newer software programs. They aren't as versatile as the ones in Family Tree Maker 2009, RootsMagic 4 or Legacy Family Tree 7 in that the only show roads, not a satellite or birds-eye view. I missed this when it was announced, or just forgot about it. I played with it for awhile today while procrastinating over starting my column article.

2. Emily Anne Croom's book The Sleuth Book for Genealogists, Strategies for More Successful Family History Research, Genealogical Publishing Company, 2000, Baltimore MD, is simply awesome. The strategies for different record types, and the research examples that illustrate the strategies, are excellent. I got tired of the sleuth quotations, though. I've been reading chapters of this book while I watch my Padres lose (every night, it seems!).

3. Bill Dollarhide has written a new book titled Genealogical Resources of the Civil War Era – Online and Published Military or Civilian Name Lists, 1861-1869 & Post-Civil War Veteran Lists; 2009; Soft Cover, Perfect Bound; 8.5×11; 203 pp; Item # FR0113. The pre-publication price (order by 22 June) is $29.95, retail price is $32.95. This looks like a winner! Leland Meitzler has a review of it on his blog - see Dollarhide’s New “Genealogical Resources of the Civil War Era” is at the Printer. So that's where Leland's been hiding! He posted almost 20 blogs today too.

I wonder what "genea-candy" I'll find tomorrow to write about?

Free Wi-Fi at SCGS Jamboree

Paula Hinkel just posted on the Southern California Genealogical Society Genealogy Jamboree blog that there will be free wireless Internet in the public areas of the Marriott Conference Center in Burbank during the Genealogy Jamboree on 26-28 June.

How great is that? Can you see the probabilities?

* Live blogging about the second annual Bloggers' Summit. And other presentations. And the exhibits.

* Tweeting through conference presentations by noted genealogists by attendees.

* Uploading photos and videos instantly from mobile phones to Facebook and to blogs. The genea-blogging readers may see photos of the Bloggers' Summit before anyone else does (all of us there will be too busy typing to see them on someone else's blog).

Some questions need to be asked:

* How many genea-bloggers will be tweeting and live-blogging the Bloggers' Summit?

* Will there be enough electric outlets for all of the bloggers and tweeters in the conference room?

* Will there be an unofficial Twitter Cafe or Genea-blogger hangout?

* How many genea-bloggers will be in attendance at the Bloggers' Summit? Want to guess?

* Who will post the best photographs of the genea-bloggers? The most?

* Who will have the most outrageous geneablogger T-shirt!

* Will there be any genea-blogger swimsuit pictures?

* Will any genea-blogger attend any conference session other than the Bloggers' Summit? Or will we just sit around talking, blogging, tweeting, eating, laughing, drinking, etc.?

Ah, the mind wande... er, boggles.

I'm really glad that I can be in the audience at the Bloggers' Summit rather than on the panel waiting my turn to try to say something funny or helpful.

Expectations are really high that this Jamboree will be really FUN!!!

Using Maps

Ben Sayer tipped me on Saturday to the presence of County Formation Maps on the web site. These County Formation Maps use the Animap system (by permission of Goldbug, the Animap providers) and are probably the best online resource for finding how states and counties developed over the years from colonial to modern times.

Here are some screens for the County Formation Maps on the site. On the home page, there is a dropdown menu when you run your mouse over the "Maps" link (options are Census Maps, County Formation Maps and Antique Maps and Atlases):

Clicking on the "County Formation Maps" link, a list of states comes up (two screens, no overlap):

The page says:

"Links to rotating animated maps showing all the county boundary changes for each year overlayed with past and present maps so you can see the changes in county boundaries and State Department of Transportation Maps. See My Census Maps and Genealogy Atlas (Maps made with the use AniMap Plus County Boundary Historical Atlas v. 2.5 (Win)"

I wanted to look at the development of Pennsylvania counties over the years, so I clicked on the "Pennsylvania 1673-present" link on the page (two screens, no overlap):

The starting point for Pennsylvania is 1673 and it shows the earliest Dutch Delaware Settlement areas. Below the map are 98 links for years that Pennsylvania county boundaries changed. Below these links are the abbreviations for all of the counties of Pennsylvania.

The user can use the "Next" or "Prev" buttons below the map to advance map-by-map or can use the "Play," "Stop," or "View" buttons to see the county boundaries play in sequence.

Here is the map for 1772. The changes from the previous map are summarized in a small text area above the map. In this case, the change from 1771 is:

"Northumberland from Cumberland, Bedford
Lancaster, Berks, Northampton, non-county area
Bedford gained from Cumberland"

The next map, for 1773, says:

"Westmoreland from Bedford
Virginia creates West Augusta District
part of which is in southwestern Pennsylvania area"

The user can continue through to see the formation of all of the present Pennsylvania counties.

This is a tremendous resource - valuable to historian and genealogist alike. The major value to the genealogist is that s/he can determine which county may hold records for a given location over time. My Carringer and Hoax families were in Westmoreland county in 1785, which was in Bedford County before 1773, and in Cumberland County before 1771, and unorganized before 1750.

A wise researcher will check out the Census Maps and Antique Maps and Atlases pages too.

Monday, June 15, 2009

My Daily Three - 15 June 2009

Here are three genealogy things I learned today --

1) The web site has really added a lot of content about genealogy research. They also have state boundary maps developed using Animap. Click on the "Maps" menu link. Blog fodder on Tuesday!

2) The Arcalife family tree/social network site is at It looks interesting and worth a try.

3) Megan Smolenyak has been giving grants to deserving persons and organizations to perform genealogy acts of goodness for nine years - see her post 9 Years of Genealogy Grants!. Bravo, Megan!

Tell me about your three things for today - write a blog post or comment here! is a Great Resource

How many really great FREE websites for genealogy research are there on the Internet? There are quite a few, and I get really excited when I find another one.

Have you looked at recently? They have added significant quantity and high quality content since I last looked at them back in August 2007. Here is the top of their home page (two screens, some overlap):

There are links across the top menu with headings for Home, Genealogical Records, Maps, Encyclopedia, Printable Forms, Products, States, Humor, DNA, Free Trials and Blog. I'm not going to write about all of those today, but I want to alert my readers to the educational content available on this web sites for Genealogical Records.

The home page has sections for Census Records, Land Records, court Records, Probate Records, Tax Records, Vital Records, Military Records, and Research in State Histories. These sections can also be reached by links in the Genealogical Records menu dropdown menus.

Here is the top of the Land Records section:

This Land Records page has links to text sections about Deeds, State Land States, Public Domain States, and Military Bounty Land. Each of these sections provides significant discussion of the terminology, methods, records and related reading. At the top of the page, there are links for the Land Records of each state.

The other genealogical record types have similar content, and links to records for each state.

In my brief review of this site, I found it very helpful to have these extensive discussions available in one place. A researcher desiring information about records in a particular state will find this website invaluable.

Finding 1851 Canada Census Images - Post 3

I wanted to find, and save to my hard drive, the images of my Canadian ancestral families from the 1851 Canadian Census.

I learned in Canada Census Indexes at FamilySearch Record Search that the FamilySearch Record Search index is pretty useless (it has all the people with the indexed information, provides reference numbers, but doesn't provide the parents, spouse or children in a family) and that there are no images available yet. I learned in Canadian Census Records that there is a transcription of the 1851 census at the Automated Genealogy site and that the images are available at the Canadian Genealogy Centre.

In the first post in this series, I went through the 1851 Canada census index on the Automated Genealogy web site to find the Alexander Sovereen family in Norfolk County, Ontario. In the second post, I used the "Split View" feature on the Automated Genealogy site to see the census page image on the Canadian Genealogy Centre site.

Kathryn Lake, who lives in Ontario then commented that there were four pages of information on each person, not just one page linked to by the "Split View" on the Automated Genealogy page. So I need to add the "how to get to the other pages" in this post. Here is the process to see all of the pages associated with a family in the 1851 Canadian census:

1. Go to the Canadian Genealogy Centre website at and choose a language - I chose English and saw the home page of Library and Archives Canada (LAC) in English:

To search Census records, I clicked on the "Census" link in the list in the "Most Requested Searches" box. That opened the "What to Search: Topic" page (not shown here) and I scrolled down (a long way!) to the link for the "Census of 1851" and clicked on it. A page with information about the 1851 Census opened, and there was a link for "Basic Search" in the left side bar, which I clicked and finally found a Search box:

On this page, the user can select the "Province/Colony" (I chose Canada West) and input the Township and county name in the "Geographic Location" field (I recalled that my Sovereen family was in Windham township in Norfolk County). I clicked on the "Submit query" button. This page opened:

There were two matches for my query - both for Windham in Norfolk County. I didn't know which one to pick, so I chose the first one. A long list of page numbers appears (see two screens below):

Now, what were the page numbers I found in the Automated Genealogy search? Oh yes, "p. 17d, 18a (35)." The list above shows "p. 17d, 18a (35)," "p. 18b, 18c (36)," and "p. 18d, 19a (37)." When I clicked on "p. 17d, 18a (35)," I saw the same page I saw on the "Split view" screen in Post 2:

What's important here is to note the line number for your persons of interest. Alexander Sovereen is Person #32, and the family goes down to #39, Mary Jane Sovereen (Alexander's mother).

There appears to be no way to go to the "Next Page" in this system. Back to the list of page numbers, I chose "p. 18b, 18c (36)" and saw:

Almost a blank page. Wait, there are tick marks and a few words. I zoomed in by choosing 75% from the magnification dropdown list:

Now I can read the headings. For Page (b):

Column 9 = Married or Single
Column 10 = Coloured persons - Negroes
Column 11 = Indians if any
Columns 12-13 = Residents - Members, M or F
Columns 14-15 = Residents - Not Members, M or F
Columns 16-17 = Members Absent, M or F
Columns 18-19 = Deaf or Dumb, M or F
Columns 20-21 = Blind, M or F
Columns 22-23 = Lunatics, M or F
Columns 24-25 = Attending School, M or F
Columns 26-27 = Births during the Year 1851, M or F
Columns 28-29 = Deaths during Year 1851, No., M or F
Column 30 = Deaths during Year 1851, Age and Cause of Deaths

For Page (c):
Column 31 = Houses, Brick, Stone, Frame, Log, Shanty, or other kind of residence
Column 32 = Houses, Number of Stories
Column 33 = Houses, No. of families occupying
Column 34 = Houses, Vacant
Column 35 = Houses, Building
Column 36 = Shops, Stores, Inns, Taverns, &c.
Column 37 = Public Buildings
Column 38 = Places of worship

For Page (d):
Column 39 = Information as to Mills, Factories, &c, &c, their cost, power, produce, &c.
Column 40 = Number of persons usually employed therein
Column 41 = General Remarks of the Enumerator

Here is a view of Pages (b) and (c):

And a View of Page (d):

The entries for the Alexander Sovereen family are confusing. Alexander (Line 32) is noted as Single (I think), Male, with no occupation and no House. However, on Line 31, which is the last person of the previous family, that person is listed as a Farmer with a Frame House (Column 31) with one Story (Column 32) and 1 Family (Column 33).

In Line 34, my Mary J. Sovereen, age 12, is listed as Married.

In Line 38, Frederick Sovereen is listed as Married, Male, a Farmer, with a Frame house (Column 31), with 1-1/2 Stories (Column 32) and 1 Family (Column 33).

Obviously, the Enumerator was easily confused by all of the lines and columns!

As you can see, there is quite a bit more to the 1851 Canadian Census than just name, age, birthplace and religion. While there wasn't a lot of additional information for my families here, there is the possibility that a researcher could find significant information about family members by reading all four pages of the 1851 Canadian Census.

This process to see all of the census pages is fairly complex but most experienced Internet searchers can handle it. The alternative is, of ocurse, to obtain the microfilms for these census records through LAC or the Family History Library. I'll take the complex online process!

My thanks to Kathryn for helping me out with this!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Daily Three - 14 June 2009

Here are three new genealogy things I learned today:

* Samuel Rich (1833-????) accompanied James Richman to the USA in 1855 and settled in Burrilville, Rhode Island, then Putnam, CT and Pomfret CT. He married Annie --?-- (born ca 1845 CT) and they had children Arthur (born ca 1865 RI) and Maud (born ca 1872 CT). Hannah Rich, who married James Richman, was Samuel's sister. James and Hannah (Rich) Richman are my 2nd great-grandparents. William Rich (1830-1904) came across later and lived in Putnam CT. Can't find any of them in the Ancestry family trees - wonder if there are Rich cousins still in CT?

* Kathryn Lake commented on my Canadian Census post that there is more than one page for the 1851 census and that there may be some useful information on the other pages. Blog fodder on Monday!

* Tami Glatz on the Relatively Curious blog had a link to an interactive Atlas of Historical County Boundaries map system hosted at Newberry Library in Chicago. Pretty nice system here by state. You can zoom in and pan too.

Best of the Genea-Blogs - June 7-13, 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:

* Countdown to Colorado - “Our Wills and Fates Do So Contrary Run…” and Final Thoughts from the Loveland CO Family History Expo #FHX09-CO by Bernie Gracy on the HistoricalTownMaps Blog. Bernie offers some wonderful quotes about why we do genealogy, and then summarizes his experiences at the Family History Expo in Loveland CO this week. [Yes, I know that the first one was published on 6 June, but I missed it last week and I loved it, so its here this week. It's my schtick, and I'll post if I want to!]

* Search Engines Can't Read Your Mind Or Your Images by footnoteMaven on the footnoteMaven blog. fM has sage advice for naming and tagging the family photographs you post on your blog so that search engines, and your cousins, can find them.

* Some Closing Thoughts ... by Elizabeth Lapointe on the Genealogy Canada blog. Elizabeth summarized her experiences at the Ontario Genealogical Society conference held in Ottawa last week.

* The Problem with Primary Source Documents by Lee Drew on the FamHist blog. Lee points out that death certificates, in particular, sometimes have erroneous information.

* NGS 2009 in Raleigh by msualumni on the Reclaiming Kin blog. Here is another perspective about the NGS 2009 Conference in Raleigh, including talking with presenters and making new friends.

* To step back...... by Amy Crooks on the Untangled Family Roots blog. Amy takes through her day which included a great trip to the courthouse and found records in beautiful cursive handwriting. I know this feeling!

* 10 Ways to Use Twitter for Genealogy by Diane Haddad on the Genealogy Insider blog. Diane has a nice list for Tweeters to use Twitter for genealogy. Guess I haven't missed much, but maybe it will help you.

* Genealogy Travel Kit - What should be included? by Kevin Lett on the Virginia Family Tree Genealogy blog. Kevin has an excellent list for genealogy travellers. I need to print this one out! I'm not sure about the orange hat, though...

* Do You Wiki? by Carolyn L. Barkley on the blog. This is a wonderful post about wikis, their creation, use and benefits. A keeper.

* SL: NGS Conference doings by DearMYRTLE (Pat Richley) on the TeachGenealogy blog. "Clarice Beaumont" lets us eavesdrop on her Second Life chat about the NGS Conference. Some good information that we didn't get from other bloggers. Oh - she announced her engagement to genealogist Gordon Erickson, too! Congratulations to both of you!

* Google Wave is Coming; It's Undertow Will Claim at Least One Victim by John Newmark on the TransylvanianDutch blog. John provides his interpretation of Google Wave and the impact on the computer industry, based on watching the Google Wave demo. Fascinating.

* Graveyards in a Town that Belongs in One by Linda Stienstra in the Lancaster Pennsylvania Graveyard Rabbit blog. Does Centralia PA belong in a graveyard? Linda takes us there and describes the town and its' cemeteries. A wonderful graveyard travel post.

* For the Record: Watch out for errors by Schelly Talalay Dardashti on the MyHeritage Genealogy Blog. Schelly walks us through records for her Talalay family and notes the differences between records and family information. She also offers tips avoiding repeating and compounding errors in your research.

* Personal Highlights from the Colorado Family History Expo by Dean Richardson on the Genlighten Blog - Genealogy Documented blog. Dean shares his experiences at the Loveland Family History Expo from a presenters and exhibitors view.

* Family History Expo First Impressions by Becky Jamison on the Grace and Glory blog. Becky shares some pictures and her experiences at the Loveland FH Expo this week.

* Genealogy with the Kids by Taneya Koonce on Taneya's Genealogy Blog. Lucky kids in Nashville are getting bitten by the genealogy bug thanks to Taneya's road trips, and bribes. This is a wonderful family history story.

* I've concluded that nearly every article on footnoteMaven's Shades of the Departed is worthy of being in the weekly Best of the Genea-Blogs post. Every one is that good. So go read:

** Managing a Digital Library by Denise Olson in the Creative Toolbox column.

** Twice Told Tuesday - The American Chaperone by footnoteMaven.

** The Brides of Maureen Taylor by Maureen Taylor.

** The Year Was 1856 by Sheri Fenley in The Year Was column.

** Fathers and Sons Heal as You Go by George Geder in The Healing Brush column.

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! I am currently reading posts from over 480 genealogy bloggers using Bloglines, but I still miss quite a few it seems.

Read past Best of the Genea-Blogs posts here.

Connie Moretti Rocks SDGS Meeting with Two Great Presentations

I love to watch great speakers tell their story and keep the audience actively interested and learning. That happened today at the San Diego Genealogical Society meeting. The program speaker was Connie Moretti from Redondo Beach talking about Geographic Finding Aids in the first session and Understanding Land Records in the second session. The talk summaries and Connie's CV are in my post SDGS Meeting on Saturday features Connie Moretti.

I enjoyed meeting Connie, only briefly, before her first talk and then we chatted some more between the talks. What a delightful lady. Several people commented about her clear and informative presentation style and she blamed it on having been a fifth grade teacher. In my opinion, "Professor" Connie really knows her stuff about Maps and Land Records!

Both talks were a blend of describing traditional (paper) and online (digital) resources, amply illustrated by annotated examples in her presentation. She often showed a handwritten record from a microfilm image, then underlined some text and transcribed it on the margin of the screen using her PowerPoint skills. Very effective.

In the Geographic Finding Aids talk, Connie discussed Gazetteers, Atlases and Maps. Her handout listed Computer Tools (e.g., Street Atlas USA CDROM, AniMap Plus CDROM, US Cities Galore software), Internet sites (e.g., Google Earth, Bing Maps, Earthpoint, Linkpendium) and Print Resources (e.g., Dollarhide's Census Map Guide, Migration Routes and Best Research Centers books, Walking with Your Ancestors, many more). Some of my "takeaways" from this talk included:

* You need to know the County where the ancestors lived when records were recorded. County boundaries changed, especially in colonial and early statehood years.
* Use maps to identify family and friends. People relocated in groups and did business with familiar people. Study these groups using land records.
* The "legal location" (where records were recorded) and the "social location" (where the family went to church, joined clubs, met friends) may be in different places due to geographic considerations.
* "Kissing distance" was about five miles - a beau woulds walk or ride as much as five miles each way to see his beauty. Or she might have been on the next farm over.
* When you go on vacation to your ancestral area, look for repositories that might hold family records (especially vertical files with surname folders!), find family cemeteries and churches, and enjoy historical and living history sites. Stay at a historical Bed and Breakfast if you can.

The second talk on Understanding Land Records had a lot of detail as Connie explained the basic information found in deeds, the types of deeds, some deed terminology, the different grantor and grantee deed index formats, and the two different USA land survey systems (Rectangular Survey with Range, Township, Section in most states west of the Original 13 States; or Metes and Bounds in the 13 original states plus parts of Kentucky and Tennessee). This is all very complicated for most people, but Connie seemed to stay on top of the details. For each concept, she used visual examples to illustrate her points.

The "takeaways" for me from this talk included:

* I didn't know that there were so many different types of indexes! She mentioned and described the Liber, Vowel, Burr, Campbell, Paul, Russell and Cott indexing systems, and blamed the plethora of systems on the salesmen peddling them to unsuspecting county clerks. She said to make sure to check the front of the deed indexes to determine the indexing system being used.
* 90% of the families in the USA from 1790 to 1860 owned land, and 75% owned land between 1860 and 1900. Land ownership was a primary reason to immigrate to the USA.
* Tax lists can be used to determine relative wealth of a family by comparing their taxed property to others in the community.
* Land records may be the only surviving records in some counties where the courthouse burned because they had to reconstitute the land records from deeds held by landowners in order to gather property taxes.
* Land records are a wealth of information because they help identify land holdings, relatives and neighbors.
* There is an online deed platting site at and a Deed Mapper Software and Platted Deeds Pool at

I had to leave a bit early before the end of the second talk so I missed the last 15 minutes of Connie's talk and her parting words.

This is a very difficult subject to present in an understandable way and hold interest. Using the visual aids of the handwritten record, underlining phrases and then showing the transcription worked extremely well!

In my humble opinion, this was an A-plus presentation - in content, visuals and presenting style - that all serious genealogy researchers should see.