Saturday, August 1, 2009

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -- My Genealogical Threes

It's Saturday Night - time for some Genealogy Fun!

Over on Facebook, some people have been posting their "3s of Me" with information about themselves providing three responses in different categories like "Three names I go by," "Three jobs I've had," "Three favorite drinks," etc. You get the idea.

So here is your assignment, if you decide to accept it (this is not Mission Impossible, of course):

1) Tell us your three responses to the questions:

* Three genealogical libraries I frequent
* Three places I've visited on genealogy trips
* Three genealogy societies I belong to (or want to)
* Three websites that help my research
* Three ancestral graves that I've visited
* Three ancestral places I want to visit
* Three brickwall ancestors I want to research more

2) Post your responses as comments to this blog post, in your own blog, or in a Facebook comment.

Here are my responses:

* Three genealogical libraries I frequent
1) San Diego Regional Family History Center in Mission Valley
2) Carlsbad Georgina Cole Library in Carlsbad
3) Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library

* Three places I've visited on genealogy trips

1) Norway - Oslo, Voss and Bergen
2) England - Richmond in Yorkshire, Oxford in Oxfordshire, Hilperton in Wiltshire
3) New York - Watertown

* Three genealogy societies I belong to (or want to)

1) New England Historic Genealogical Society
2) National Genealogical Society
3) Chula Vista Genealogical Society

* Three websites that help my research

* Three ancestral graves that I've visited

1) Isaac Seaver in Evergreen Cemetery, Leominster MA
2) Thomas Richmond in Grove Street Cemetery, Putnam CT
3) D.J. Carringer in La vista Cemetery, National City CA

* Three ancestral places I want to visit
1) Dodge County WI (Smith)
2) Andrew County MO (Smith, Vaux)
3) Aurora, Erie County NY (Vaux, Underhill)

* Three brickwall ancestors I want to research more
1) Thomas J. Newton (ca1795 ME - >1834)
2) William Knapp (1775 NY - 1856 NJ)
3) Hannah Smith (1768 NH - 1827 MA)

Family Tree Maker 2010 <=> Ancestry Member Tree Synchronization

Family Tree Maker 2010 finally made an appearance in the Ancestry Store - see this Pre-sell announcement. The web page lists the new features, the existing features, the system requirements and the retail cost for FTM 2010 as $39.95.

Russ Worthington called the Ancestry Store listing to our attention yesterday in his post Family Tree Maker Version 2010 at . Russ's link has a Direct Upgrade price of $29.95. There are some comments on Russ's post about synchronizing Ancestry Member Trees with Family Tree Maker 2010 databases that are helpful.

I posted about the FTM 2010 features several weeks ago in Family Tree Maker 2010 software - what? when? It looks like the features I listed in that post are similar to the features listed in the Ancestry Store page but they are in a different order and there is more descriptive text.

The bottom line for me is still synchronization:

* Users of FTM 2010 will be able to upload their native FTM file to a new Ancestry Member Tree with their attached media (images, audio, video). This can presently be done with FTM 2009 as I demonstrated in Uploading a FTM 2009 Database with Attached Media to

* Users of Ancestry Member Trees will be able to download their own Tree to FTM 2010 with the attached media (images, audio, video) previously uploaded by the user to their Ancestry Member Tree. However, Ancestry's historical records (e.g., census, military, vital, etc. records) attached to the Member Tree will not be downloaded to FTM 2010 media.

* A download from Ancestry Member Tree to an FTM 2010 database will probably have to be a new FTM 2010 database in order to avoid duplicating data in an existing FTM 2010 database. A problem here may be too many copies of media items if the user has many database versions saved.

* If users want to include the Ancestry historical record images in their FTM 2010 and Ancestry Member Tree, they should download the images to their computer system, and then upload them to FTM 2010 and/or their Ancestry Member Tree as media. If users do that, then the historical record images (census, military, vital, etc.) can be transferred between the Ancestry Member Tree and FTM 2010. The benefit here is that you only have to do this once! Not once into Ancestry and once into FTM.

* Keeping track of which tree on which site has the latest database information and media collection will be a challenge for many users. It is so much easier to add database information and media items to Family Tree Maker than to Ancestry Member Trees that I'm going to continue to do my work in FTM and upload major changes to an Ancestry Member Tree when I feel the need to do so. That minimizes the number of database versions I have in FTM and I have only one at Ancestry - the latest (after I delete the previous one).

* An Ancestry Member Tree with recent FTM uploads is an excellent backup of a genealogy database and the attached media, and is probably my major reason for keeping my Family Tree Maker software current.

Keeping up with all of these changes and complications is not easy - I hope that this post has helped my readers understand the issues and the tradeoffs involved with synchronization of Family Tree Maker databases and Ancestry Member Trees.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Almost as good as being there?

The four-day BYU Family History Conference just finished today in Provo, Utah. There were many presentations by experienced and renowned speakers on topics of interest to genealogy researchers. The course schedule and talk descriptions are on the web site.

Michael de Groote summarized at least eight talks in his articles for the Mormon Times - you can read them from the Family History link on the publication. I read several of these summary articles and gleaned some tips and information.

The Ancestry Insider, Mark Tucker and Janet Hovorka tweeted through several talks on Twitter - providing highlights from the talks. The hashtag #byugen was used for the conference. It was fun to read the tweets in almost real time. The problem with reading the tweets is that the latest updates are at the top of the you don't get the natural flow of the talk. You start at the end of the conference, or the day, or the talk. Maybe Mr. AI, Mark and Janet will pull their tweets together into posts for all of us to read in the right order (I did this for the Jamboree, but it was a challenge). Thanks, AI, MT and JH!

Mark Tucker posted his slide presentation on his ThinkGenealogy blog in Navigating Research with the GPS – July 2009 Update. He also posted his three-page syllabus material here for the talk. If you have some spare time it is worth printing off the syllabus pages and then scrolling through Mark's slide presentation. I gain more knowledge and insight every time I go through his presentation. Thank you, Mark, for being so open with your presentation material - doing this is different from most presenters at genealogy conferences.

No - it's not almost as good as being there! But it's better than not having any information at all about the talks at the conference.

Same house, 103 years later?

While I was writing my 18 April 1906 - San Francisco - They Were There! last night, I got to wondering about the house in my picture below.

Is the house still there? If so, what does it look like? I realized that I didn't know where 4135 19th Street in San Francisco was located. So I used Google Maps to find the neighborhood and saw:

Ah, it's just south of Market Street and just west of Castro Street, on the south side of 19th Street, in the Castro District. Google Maps has the Street View available for this neighborhood, so I clicked on that and was able to see the houses on the block.

After a bit of playing around with the Street View, I managed to get this screen shot (full screen by the way) of a house currently 4131 19th Street:

The house at 4131 19th Street is the light blue house just to the right of the beige/brown house on the left. It is a two-story house, with a garage and entry built in front of the older two-story structure.

In the top photo of the house in 1906, you can see the bottom two-pane windows on the right with another two-pane window above, the entry door up a staircase on the left with a smaller window with a small porch above the entry door. In the bottom 2008 (?) photo, you can see the same features, but the entry door is probably now a window. The staircase, entry door and first-floor windows are hidden by the garage and new street-level entry.

It appears that they have added another "slice" of building between the 1906 building and the beige/brown building on the left that includes the new entry to the house on the first floor.

I have absolutely no doubt that this is the same building! I can hardly wait to go visit it the next time we are in San Francisco. My brother-in-law told me that the house had been replaced - he will be surprised to see this!

Have you used Google Street Maps to find ancestral homes of your families? Are the homes still there? Do they still look similar to what they did many years ago? Try it - have fun!

Are you ready to embrace these changes?

Dick Eastman posted the link to the Mormon Times article Genealogists encouraged to embrace change by Michael de Groote published yesterday.

In the article, the Chief Genealogical Officer at FamilySearch, David Rencher, noted that technology continually changes and that all researchers at the Family History Library, and at the Family History Centers, will have to adapt to the loss of:

* Microfilm (eventually... cost of raw film is soaring)
* The International Genealogical Index (on microfiche and FHL/FHC computers)
* Pedigree Resource File (on CDROMs and FHL/FHC computers)
* Family History Library Catalog (on CDROMs at FHL/FHCs)
* Census Indexes (on CDROMs at FHL/FHCs)
* Personal Ancestral File (PAF) software (no new versions)

To see the future of genealogy at the Family History Library and the Centers, see the examples at FamilySearch Labs. The article notes:

"Change is to be expected, he explained, as products and services go through a natural life cycle. Several popular family history products and services are at the end of their usefulness as technology provides better solutions."

The vision driving the FamilySearch Indexing program and the FamilySearch Record Search projects. is that the information on the 2.5 million microfilms and 1.5 million microfiche sets in the Granite Mountain Vault will be digitized and available on a really big computer system, accessible at the FHL and FHCs, and at home on each of our computer systems. LDS members will do their TempleReady work using the New FamilySearch system.

The Family History Library Catalog is already available on the Internet and will be upgraded with links to digital databases when becomes available. The paper copies of the Genealogy Research Guides are mostly online as HTML and PDF files, and are being replaced by information on the FamilySearch Wiki. The Census Indexes are all available in digital format on several websites with searchable indexes.

I read somewhere that the IGI will be split into two databases - one with the extracted records, and one for the LDS-member submitted records - and will be available on FamilySearch Record Search. I'm not sure if the Ancestral File and Pedigree Resource Files will also be available on FamilySearch RecordSearch. does anyone know?

Will the Family History Library, and Centers, of the future be one big room with big rooms full of rows of computer stations? With no microfilm readers, microfiche readers, books on the shelves, photocopy machines, how-to guides in racks, etc.? There are many challenges to make this happen.

Will there even be a "brick-and-mortar" Family History Library in Salt Lake city, or Family History Centers spread all over the world? If all of the microfilm and microfiche resources in the FHL system are available in digital format to researchers at home, why even have physical libraries and centers? I can see at least three reasons:

1) There are many books, manuscripts and periodicals on the shelves at the FHL and FHCs that are still in copyright protection and cannot be digitized without agreement of the copyright holder.

2) The FHL and FHCs provide valuable consulting services to researchers, LDS members and non-members alike.

3) The FHL and some FHCs have free access to online commercial databases (Ancestry, Footnote, WorldVitalRecords, Godfrey, etc.) that include records not available at the FHL in any format.

One of my favorite quotations is "All progress requires change, but not all change is progress." -- John Wooden.

In the present case, I think that these changes reflect progress and will help all genealogy researchers that embrace it.

I look forward to these changes, and am very impatient for them to occur, since my biological clock is ticking. Why am I looking forward to the changes? Because I know that many elusive ancestor problems will be solved when the original documents in digital format reveal the relationships and associations that are "hiding" on the microfilms and microfiches. Of course, they won't solve all of our research problems, but they will solve some of them and create many more research challenges for us to conquer.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

18 April 1906 - San Francisco - They Were There!

We all know what happened in the early morning on 18 April 1906 in San Francisco - and what happened afterwards. Much of the city of San Francisco was destroyed by earthquake and fire.

The Elijah McKnew family resided at 4135 19th Street in San Francisco during this time. They are enumerated at this address in the 1900 census. I posted this picture taken of the family in the days after the earthquake in my post Scanfest Today dated 7 September 2007.

In the picture, Elijah and Jane McKnew are surrounded by four of their children on the sidewalk in front of their home. Loose bricks can be seen on the curb and in the street. There appears to be a small stove with a teakettle on the right in front of May McKnew. It looks like Jane McKnew has a skillet in her left hand and a pancake spatula in her right hand. Is that a trash can or ash can in front of Edna McKnew on the left? What is Leland McKnew standing in? Another can of some sort?

Were they cooking out on the street? It sure looks like it, doesn't it? Why would they be doing this? Were they staying out of their house because of broken water or gas pipes, or because of structural damage inside the house? Perhaps.

Look at their faces. I see a "we are going to make it, and have a good time making the best of it, even if we have to sleep in the yard" type of attitude on each of their faces. It's like they can't quite believe what happened to them, but they are going to survive.

And they did survive. Edna McKnew is my wife's maternal grandmother - she was age 22 when the earthquake hit. She married Paul Schaffner on 24 June 1906 in San Francisco and they had two daughters - and Edna Schaffner was Linda's mother. Linda was always very close to her grandmother, who lived to be 90 years old and see her first great-grandchild (our daughter) before she died in 1974.

In this case, this family survived a disaster, mainly because they lived in a place that did not shake down during the earthquake or burn down after the earthquake. I regret not having taken the time to talk to Linda's grandmother about her memories of the earthquake. It must have been one of the strongest memories of her life experiences. I wonder if my brother-in-law interviewed her before she died? I'll have to ask.

I wonder who took this picture? Somebody in the family? A local photographer passing by, or one who was making a living selling family photographs in the wake of the event? We may never know.

There are many articles and photographs of the effects of the 1906 earthquake at the Virtual Museum of San Francisco, and many other websites too.

Making Index Updates

I posted yesterday about the changes to their Record Image pages, at least for 11 census databases. In that post, I described the Record Image page, but did not discuss the changes that has made to the user's capability to modify more than the name of a record.

When a user submits a modification to one or more parts of any record on, the original index information is not changed - it is added to. Another entry is put into the database with the modified entry ("updated") submitted by the user.

Here is the process I used yesterday to modify the surname of one of my families that were incorrectly indexed in the 1870 U.S. census. I looked for my great-grandfather, born Henry Austin Carringer in 1853 in PA, and I knew that he lived in Iowa in 1870. He should be with his parents David J. and Rebecca Carringer and his brother Harvey Edgar Carringer. Finding him was a challenge because of how his name was indexed, but I eventually found him in the 1870 census in Washington County, Iowa indexed as Henry A. Current. Here is the screen shot of the census record:

As you can see, the name is difficult to read - the enumerator's scrawl is almost as bad as mine). I can understand how it was indexed as "Current" and not "Curruntr" or similar. I can almost see the letter "g" in the surname but it's hidden by Rebecca's "b". But I absolutely KNOW that the surname is "Carringer" based on other records, so I want to UPDATE the index for all five members of the family.

Henry's name is highlighted in the index, so I clicked on the "Add Update" button on the left side of his name:

The popup box above offers to change either the Family Number, the Given Name, the Surname, the Estimated Birth Year or the Birth Place. I chose the Surname. Once I did that, another field appeared in the popup box and I had to choose between Transcription Error, Incorrect in Image, Nick Name, Maiden Name, Name Change or Variation.

I chose "Transcription Error" (even though it probably wasn't - now that I look carefully at the image, it should have been an "Incorrect in Image" reason). Once I selected "Transcription Error" then I could add the "correct" Surname to the bottom field in the popup box:

After putting "Carringer" in the "Add an update for Surname" field, I clicked on the orange "Submit Alternate" button and my "Member Contribution" was recorded, and shows up in the Index on the screen below:

Clicking on the orange "Close" button completed this "Update." I proceeded to do the same exercise for the rest of the D.J. Carringer (indexed as "Current" family - all five of them (daughter Effie appears below the edge of the screen below) and saw:

So I have successfully updated the surname for this family in the 1870 US Census. If the given names, birth year or birth place was erroneous, I could have updated them also. All of the other data is OK with me for this family.

Now when will this Update show up in the 1870 US Census index on I don't know - maybe days or weeks later. It's been about 24 hours already and they don't come up on a search for "Henry" and "Carringer" in the search fields. I'll let you know when it does!

This Update or Correction feature is an excellent way to overcome Enumerator and Indexing errors and find elusive ancestors in the US census records. Of course, the users need to make the Updates for their families in order for another user to use the updated index to find the right people.

Is the only company that offers this Update service and eventually adds the information to their databases? They are to be commended for this feature.

"Cemetery Sexton" in Graveyard Rabbit Online Journal

My latest "Digging for Answers" column on the topic of "Cemetery Sexton" is in the GraveYard Rabbit Online Journal. The article was posted by Julie Tarr yesterday.

Read the answer to the question "What is the job of a Sexton at the Cemetery?"

Standardizing names in family trees

My post Are there standards for names in family trees? yesterday garnered a number of very helpful responses - thank you to all who took the time to provide their practices.

I have two major articles for readers to consider:

1) Rebecca, in a comment to my post, provided a link to the Genealogical Standards page on the International Institute of Jewish Genealogy webpage with links to an article by Gary Mokotoff, who wrote an article in AVOYTANU (XXIV, 3 (Fall, 2008), pp. 3-6) titled A Proposed Standard for Names, Dates and Places in A Genealogical Database. Section 1 of this article proposes standards for Names of persons that are logical and consistent.

2) Russ Worthington posted Data Base Clean Up - How to handle Names on the Family Tree Maker User blog yesterday. Russ is one of the real gurus on using Family Tree Maker and I greatly respect his opinions. He took each paragraph of my post and wrote his practices and comments. Some of Russ's practices differ from Gary Mokotoff's proposed standards. Russ also suggests checking the Family Tree Make Knowledge Base which address some of these questions.

I tried to use ? and ???? in FTM 16 and it creates a data entry error. What about in Legacy and RootsMagic? And in Ancestry family trees?

I really like Russ's idea of using five underscores (e.g., "_____" ) for an unknown name. It does make them stand out in reports. however, it is an illegal character in the Name field in Family Tree Maker 16. Using it would put all of the females with unknown surnames in one place in the index - right now I have "loose" women all over the place since a "Mary A." shows up as "A., Mary" in the index! I'm wondering if the underscore is an allowable character in other software programs like FTM 2009, Legacy, RootsMagic and Ancestry trees - I don't want to do this again!

Reader Barbara suggested adding using "Mary (____) w/o John Smith" in the name field to indicate that Mary with an unknown maiden surname is the wife of John Smith. This is similar to what I've done in some cases for widows who marry again. I guess for widows who marry again something along the lines of "Mary (_____) widow of Bert Jones, wife of John Smith" would work too.

Reader Miz J pointed out that doesn't accept punctuation or parentheses in their family trees. These are characters that also create an error notice in FTM 16. Miz J also suggested using something like "Albert aka Bert Smith" in the name field in FTM 16 to avoid an error notice in FTM 16 and Ancestry. However, both "AKA" and "aka" create a data entry error because of capitalization), but "Aka" does not. Again, is this allowable in FTM 2009, Legacy and RootsMagic?

Reader David suggested to put "widow of Bert Jones" in the Suffix field. However, Russ pointed out that there is no suffix field in Family Tree Maker (all versions) so that won't work for me either. But it's a great thought!

Readers swe2sea, Miz J and GrannyPam said to just use the names you know and no others. If Mary [last name unknown] married John Smith and then Bert Jones, you can enter the two marriages and they will show up in reports. That would certainly eliminate a lot of spurious entries in my database!

I've poked around in FTM 16 and cannot figure out how to make an AKA show up in a genealogy report or family group sheet. I'm sure it can be done, but I can't figure it out myself, it seems.

Maybe one of the ASCII characters not associated with punctuation could be used for an unknown name. Actually, Fnu or Lnu would do, wouldn't they? No data entry error, all Lnus would be in one place in the index, etc. But I would have to learn the keystroke combination for the character, and cannot figure out how I did it before!

I'm open to other suggestions!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Are there standards for names in family trees?

Since I merged six family trees into one large tree this month, I've been trying to clean up the mess in my "big" family tree database in Family Tree Maker 16.

[For those wondering why I'm still working in FTM 16, it's a long story. Mainly it is because I am real comfortable with it and can work fairly quickly in it, and then I can import the native FTW file to FTM 2009 and RootsMagic.]

I would really like to create a genealogy database that I can be proud of, with standardized naming conventions and the like.

When I looked in my index list for the names, I found that I have been very inconsistent with my naming conventions, including:

* (unknown) - I have some persons named (unknown) because I don't know either their first or last birth names. This is different from persons with no names at all who are listed as I deleted them because they had no connections to any other person in my tree. Should I use underscores like _____ for an unknown name? Should I use FNU for "first name unknown" and LNU for "last name unknown?"

* known first name and unknown last name. I could use underscores or LNU.

* unknown first name and known last name. I could use underscores or FNU.

* Persons found with more than one first name in the records. Or a diminutive like Harry for Henry, Bob for Robert, Bert for Albert or Herbert, Molly for Mary, Abbie for Abigail, Peggy for Margaret, Sally for Sarah, etc. I've been putting these in as "Henry/Harry" (without the quotes) and getting a notice from FTM that there's an unrecognized character.

* Persons found with a first name in one record and an obvious nickname in another. I've been doing the same thing as the diminutive, e.g. "Henry/Skip." These are usually nicknames and I've seen them input as Henry "Skip" with the nickname in quotes.

* Widows (and divorcees too) that marry again. I have a lot of "Mary Jones (widow Smith)" in my database because Tom Brown married Mary Smith in the records and she was the widow of Mr. Smith. Even worse, I have many of these loose widows without a known maiden name. I shouldn't be inputting her as "Mary Smith" because I don't know her maiden surname. Should I be inputting "Mary _____ Smith" or "Mary MNU Smith?' Or just "Mary _____," "Mary MNU" or "Mary LNU" and connect her to an unknown "FNU Smith."

* I've also seen the string "--?--" in genealogy periodicals and books for unknown names.

I note that the Rootsweb WorldConnect databases have:

* 60,920 entries for surname - LNU
* 11,052 entries for surname MNU
* 92,331 entries for surname - Unk
* 5,232,913 entries for surname Unknown
* 181,428 entries for surname (Unknown)
* 20,305 entries for surname --?--
* 124,687 entries for surname _____
* 1,166,278 entries for surname ?
* 8,117 for surname ?????
* 78 entries for surname Whoknows
* 64 entries for surname Dontknow
* 37 entries with surname Mystery
* 1,493 entries for surname Who
* 35 entries for surname Who?

Are there any standards for inputting these names into a genealogy database? Who has the authority to deal with this? Have there been extended discussions about these issues that I've missed in books, articles, blogs, message boards or mailing lists?

What do you do in your genealogy software database? price goes up on 1 August

I received an email from telling me that the cost of an annual subscription to Footnote would increase from $69.95 to $79.95 on August 1. However, they are offering a renewal for $59.95 to existing subscribers.

I took the opportunity to renew for another year at the $59.95 price.

I renewed, and then signed out and clicked on the Join Now link to see what the subscription will cost to someone that subscribes now:

* Basic membership is FREE

* Monthly subscription is $11.95 per month

* Annual membership is $59.95 per year.

You can see what the free and subscription plans offer here. Changes Record Image Pages

The blog had two posts yesterday about changes to the Record Image Pages, Editing the Index and the Member Connect feature. You can read them at:

* Enhanced Editing and Image Page by Anne Mitchell. This post points out that there are only a few databases using this feature - the 1860 and 1870 US census, the 1861 and 1971 Canada census, and the 1861 and 1871 UK census.

* Member Connect: Discover More by Connecting with Other Members by David Graham. This post provides detail about Member Connect, including its presence on the Record Image page.

I wanted to try the Enhanced Image Page feature, so I signed into Ancestry and my home page came up:

Hmm, doesn't look like it did before. There's a big blob of "Recent Member Connect Activity" right at the top where the handy Search Box used to be. Do I really care that some other researcher added a record to an obscure ancestor in their database? But, I can change my home page - right? I can delete this feature or at least move it down on the page to where I cannot see it but could find it if I cared to.

I clicked on the "Customize this page" and, after a wait of several minutes, this page came up:

Umm, "There was a problem handling your request. Please try again in a moment." I waited at least three moments, and hit Refresh... and my system locked up big-time. After ten minutes of waiting and fuming, I went in to get cleaned up and came back after 15 minutes and everything seemed to work again. Lesson learned: Don't try to customize your home page right after a major change has been made. It looks like nobody else liked it either!

OK, on to the new Record Image Viewer! I looked for the 1870 census image for Seaver Torgerson (I mentioned him back in Tracking Torger in the Census Records), and when I clicked on "View Image" I saw (with my Windows menus showing):

There is the image in the middle, the index results are at the bottom, and on the right sidebar are tabs for the Member connect and Source. When I go to full screen, the image view expands:

Just above the image are two rows of links or buttons to:

* Maximize Image
* Print
* Order
* Share
* Options

* Zoom In
* Zoom Out
* Magnify
* Report Problems

The page number is off to the right with back or forward arrows for navigation within a township.

On the right sidebar, the Source tab provides information about the Citation, Information and Description. This is probably the best feature on the Enhanced page - now I don't have to click back to the Record page to see the page number, microfilm and roll number, etc.

I scrolled down to see the lines that were in the index at the bottom of the screen. Torger and his wife were the last two rows on the image:

For the 1870 US Census, the index information shown is Family Number, surname, given Name, Age, Estimated Birth Year, Gender, Race and Birthplace. The user can edit all of the Index information, not just the names.

There is one really neat feature added to this enhanced image page that I had not heard about - the Magnify tool. If you click the "Magnify" link in the second menu row, you can magnify a small portion of the image - as shown below:

I think that is really helpful and even cool. Of course, I would love to be able to magnify more of the image (for presentation reasons!).

If the use does not want the Index lines at the bottom or the Member connect/Source information at the right, they can click on the "Maximize Record" in the first menu row:

Again, this is a useful feature, especially if someone is transcribing the record information into a genealogy program or to paper.

I wondered what the "Options" button did, so I clicked on it:

The Options available are (with a check mark for those currently used):

* Use the Advanced viewer
* Use Enhanced Images
* Use Compressed Images
* Use Image Thumbnail

Are you confused by all of these changes? There is a handy "Help" link at the top right of the screen. I clicked on it and a new window showed me:

I really like all of the Record Image changes, and love the index, source and magnify features. They've made a really big deal about Member Connect, and, frankly, it doesn't really excite me much - just me, I guess.

I will deal with correcting items in the Index feature in another post since this one got pretty long.

What do you think? Do you like the enhanced record image page? What about Member Connect? Is it useful on the home page? Tell Ancestry on their blog or comment here - they usually read my posts.

Wordly Wednesday: Family Photographs - Post 66: School Days

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 loose pictures found in a box, probably from my grandfather's photo album, that I scanned during Scanfest in February:

I think that the girl holding the ball on the right is my mother, Betty Virginia Carringer. She is probably age 5 to 7 in this picture, meaning it was taken in 1924 to 1926.

My guess is that the picture was taken by her father, Lyle L. Carringer at Brooklyn Elementary School (on the block surrounded by Fern Street, A Street, 30th Street and Ash Street) in the Golden Hill neighborhood of San Diego. The building in the background is typical of San Diego school architecture! Betty attended this school, as did all three of her sons.
This must have been some sort of special event - all of the girls have flowers in their hair and one of the boys is wearing a tie (and a flower too!). Perhaps it was an open house and the children were going to demonstrate playing dodgeball or something tamer.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Have any Awkward Family Photos? Share Them!

I was reading my Twitter feeds and saw a link to the Awkward Family Photos website at

What a funny site! There is one or more photos and usually one "awkward moment" story each day. I added it to my Bloglines reads... I need more humor in my life!

Now I need to check my family photos to see if I have one that qualifies. Hmm, the two "rabbit-ear" fingers over my brother's head probably shouldn't be shown.

Estate Papers of Jeremiah Lanphear of Wilna NY (died 1862)

Another of the sets of Estate Papers in Jefferson County, New York is that of Jeremiah Lanphear of Wilna, New York, who died in 1862. The 20-page Estate Paper collection includes this Petition by Jeremiah's wife, Fanny Lanphear, to be appointed Executor of his Estate:

The transcription of this Petition is (without actual line breaks and with handwritten portion denoted by _underscores_):

COUNTY OF JEFFERSON -- Surrogate's Court

To MILTON H. MERWIN, Surrogate of the Court of Jefferson

The Petition of _Fanny Lanphear_ of the Town of _Wilna_ said county, RESPECTFULLY SHOWETH:

That _Jerimiah Lanphear_ late of the town of _Wilna_ in said county, departed this life in the town of _Wilna_ aforesaid, on the _13th_ day of _September_ 186_2_, having previously, as your petitioner is informed and believes, duly made and executed _his_ last Will and Testament. That your petitioner is ["one of" struck out] the _executor_ named in the said Will. That the said deceased was a citizen of the United States. That _he_ was at or immediately previous to _---_ his death an inhabitant of the county of Jefferson, owning real and person estate therein, and that said last Will and Testament relates to both real and personal estate. _That the whole amount of property is less in value than $5000.00_.

Your petitioner further shows that the heirs and next of kin of the said _Jeremiah Lanphear, deceased, are as follows, and none other or others, to the best knowledge, information and belief of your petitioner, viz: _Lydia E. Edwards wife of John Edwards Jr. and Nelson W. Lanphear of Wilna Jefferson County N.Y., Hiram K. Lanphear of Denmark, Lewis County, N.Y., and Mary M. Thompson wife of James A. Thompson of Corona, Shiawassu County, Michigan, all of full age, and Ellen Lanphear and Simeon F. Lanphear, minors having no general guardian, residing in Wilna aforesaid. That said heirs and next of kin are all children of said Jeremiah Lanphear deceased --_

That _Fanny Lanphear_ residing in the town of _Wilna_ aforesaid, of
full age, is the widow of said _Jeremiah Lanphear deceased_.

Your petitioner further shows that _she_ is informed and believes that the Surrogate of the said county has jurisdiction to take the proof of the said last Will and Testament, and over the executor thereof, and the power of granting Letters Testamentary thereof, with all powers incidental thereto. And that _she_ is desirous that such proof should be taken, and such Letters granted, and that such further or other proceedings in the premises should be had, as are legal and proper.

Your petitioner therefore prays that a Citation may issue out of, and under the seal of, this Court, to be directed to the proper persons, pursuant to the Statute in such case made and provided, requiring them and each of them, at such time and place as shall be in said Citation mentioned, to appear and attend the probate of the said last Will and Testament, and that such further or other proceedings in the premises should be duly had as may be required, to the proving and recording of the said last Will and Testament, and the granting Probate and Letters Testamentary thereof. And your petitioner will ever pray, &c.

DATED _October 16th A.D. 1862_

_M. Bickford, witness_ ........... _Fanny Lanphear_


Source Citation: Jeremiah Lanphear Estate Papers, New York Surrogate's Court (Jefferson County), Estate papers 1905-1945 (original records in Jefferson County Courthouse, Watertown, New York. Microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1967; 278 microfilm reels.); Case File L-46 (accessed on Family History Library US/CAN Film 0,527,036 (Box L 4-7 Cases 17-59, 1805-1900 by Randy Seaver on 21 July 2009).

The beauty of these documents is that they name the heirs-at-law of the deceased. This may be the only record that provides the married name of the daughters or provides evidence of their maiden name.

Internet Genealogy Magazine - August/September 2009 Issue

The latest issue of the Internet Genealogy magazine came in my email today - and I spent an enjoyable hour reading the articles. Then I saved it to my hard drive as a PDF - now I have issues dating back to September 2007. And no paper, other than the selected articles that I've printed out and filed in my resources folders.

Here is the Table of Contents for the August/September 2009 issue of Internet Genealogy magazine.

page 6 -- NET NOTES. . . . . . . . .Discovering American Women’s History, Early California Population Project, Swiss-Italian Migration Project and Afro-Louisiana History and Genealogy

page 9 -- NORTH CAROLINA ONLINE . . . . . .Diane L. Richard looks at some unique online resources for North Carolina

page 14 -- HAMBURG PASSENGER LISTS ONLINE . . . . . Leslie Albrecht Huber tells you where to find Hamburg departures on the ‘net

page 17 -- BRITISH WWII MERCHANT VESSEL CARDS . . . . . . David A. Norris examines an underappreciated genealogical resource

page 19 -- GRADING THE NEXT GENERATION. . . . . . . . Deidre Burridge Dagner looks at a useful software program for budding genealogists

page 22 - - FINDING DIGITIZED HISTORIC MAPS ONLINE . . . . . George G. Morgan looks at the proliferation of old maps on the Internet

page 26 -- TOP 10 SITES FOR NORWEGIAN GENEALOGY! . . . . . . Rick Norberg looks at the best websites for finding your Norwegian ancestors

Tony Bandy test drives a new genealogy tool

page 33 -- IT’S ALL IN THE GENES! . . . . . . Tony Bandy looks at the process of using DNA for genealogy research

page 36 -- GENEALOGY SOCIETY ANNOUNCEMENTS . . . . . A collection of upcoming genealogy related events that may be of interest!

page 38 -- BREAKING NEWS! NEWSREELS ONLINE . . . . . David A. Norris catches up with the breaking stories of the past

page 40 -- TRACING FAMILY ROOTS: SOUTHERN ILLINOIS . . . . . Elizabeth Rau traces her family history to a small town in southern Illinois

Lisa A. Alzo shows you how to score major points using athletic records

page 46 -- LIBRARIES AND ARCHIVES. . . . . . . Donna Murray looks at state libraries and archives

page 49 -- COURTHOUSE GOLD: ESSEX COUNTY COURT RECORDS . . . . . . .David A. Todd looks at early court records online

page 52 -- EIGHT GREAT APPS FOR GENEALOGISTS! . . . . . Lisa A. Alzo looks at some fun and functional tools anyone can use

page 54 -- THE GENEALOGIST’S INTERNET . . . . . . Diane L. Richard looks at Peter Christian’s fourth edition

page 55 -- WHAT’S COMING IN INTERNET GENEALOGY . . . . . A peek at what we are working on for future issues!


This was an information packed edition for me. One of my colleagues can use the North Carolina article for his research. The Deidre Dagner article is about The Next Generation of Genealogy software (TNG). George Morgan's article about online historical maps is useful. I've been wanting to get back to the Norwegian research and that article is great! The Courthouse article is about the Essex County MA 17th century records with a lot of my ancestors included in them.

Project Management at - Post 1

I am deeply involved in a number of my own research projects, and often work on projects for friends and society colleagues. I need a good genealogy research project management system. I have Bill Dollarhide's book Managing a Genealogical Research Project book hiding in my stacks...and haven't read it for years.

In all of the hubbub about the SCGS Jamboree in June, I missed the LiveRoots press release about Live Roots Search Experience, Release Two which highlighted the new Project Management features at

I met Illya D'Addezio at the Jamboree and enjoyed our conversations. I was embarrassed that I had not heard of his project management system, but I promised to try it out. I did that three weeks ago, got busy on other things, and today revisited my work. I thought I would share my findings and thoughts with my readers:

First, please go to and read the About page. You need to sign up for a Team Roots account, which is free for a basic account. I did.

After I signed in to my account, this screen appeared:

In order to use the Project Management system, I clicked on the "Manage" link. An introductory page gave some preliminary information:

There was a link to the Managing your Genealogical Projects at Live Roots page which is shown below:

This page provides a good summary of all of the features of the Project Management system. I decided to start a new project so I clicked on the "Click here to get started" link, and was in the "Research Project Editor." I entered a name for my research project, decided to keep it Private for now, and then was ready to start:

On the screen above, I clicked on the "Manage" link and saw my "Research Project" page:

I decided to do a Search for my Lanphear/Lanfear surname, so I clicked on "Search" and entered "Lanphear" In the Keyword or Surname Search field:

The results are provided in groups - Subscription Data (in GenealogyToday results), Resource Results (from other onlnie resources) and Project Results (if anybody else is working this surname):

The Subscription Data search shows quite a few matches, so I clicked on the "Lanphear Surname" link and received this list of databases on containing the name:

Back on the Search Results screen, I clicked on the first entry in the Resource Results list and saw:

This provides a link to the book on If I had a subscription to Ancestry, I could click on the link and review the book.

I have only started my Project Management work. In the next post, I'll go a bit further with the system.

Are any readers familiar with any other online Project Management system that might be useful to genealogy researchers?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tracking Torger in the Census Records

Since I added my wife's ancestry to my genealogy database several months ago, I wanted to add notes about these people. So I started finding census records on and extracting the information (into Notes) from them for her ancestral families.

Linda's great-grandfather is Torger Sjurson Leland (1850-1933). He was born in Norway to Sjur Torgerson and Britta Olsdatter, and he married in 1876, as Torger Sjurson, to Anna Ellingsdatter in Dane County, Wisconsin. Before 1880, Torger and his parents changed their surname to Leland, which was the farm that Ivar Torgerson's (Ivar was Sjur's brother) wife came from near Voss in Norway. The Sjur Torgerson family came to Wisconsin in the 1850's, according an article in a county history book about Torger's brother, Ole Sjurson Leland.

Tracking Torger Sjurson Leland through the census records was a challenge due to how his name was enumerated and indexed. I found him in all available census records from 1930 back to 1860. Here are the names I found for Torger (and his parents) in the U.S. census indexes on

1930 -- Targer Leland, age 80, in Grange, Chelan County, WA, with nephew Isidore Dykkesten's family and sister Isabel Dykkesten.

1920 -- T.S. Leland, age 69, in Spring Coulee, Okanagan, WA, with son A.H. Leland and his family.

1910 -- T.H. Leland, age 59, in Deerfield, Dane County, WI, with wife Annie and children Mabel, Arthur and Ruth

1900 -- Torga S. Leland, age 50, in Deerfield, Dane County, WI, with wife Anna and children Berthina, Theodore, Mable, Franklin, Arthur, and Ruth and brother Ole.

1880 -- Torger S. Leeland -- age 30, in Deerfield, Dane County, WI, with wife Anna and children Edwin, Sivert, Bertina and brother Ole.

1870 -- Lerger Severson -- age 20, in Dunkirk, Dane County, Wisconsin, boarding with Andrew Less family

1870 -- Seaver Torgerson -- age 67, in Deerfield, Dane County, Wisconsin, with wife Betsy and children Ole, Anna and Isabella.

1860 -- Tangor Fargason -- age 10, in Deerfield, Dane County, Wisconsin, with parents Seva and Bridget Fargason, and siblings Ole, Isabel and Ann. (This record definitely has a capital F for the surname!) I wonder if this was an enumerator from New England?

I learned some things here. It is apparent that the name "Sjur" is pronounced with an "e" or "i" sound for the "j" and a "v" sound for the "u," thereby rendering "Sjur" as "Seaver" or something similar. Granted, there are some entries for "Shurson" in place of "Sjurson" but there are no entries for "Sju*" in the Dane County 1870 census!

Another thing I learned is that sometimes a name is NEVER indexed correctly in the census records. Torger Sjurson Leland's name was never indexed correctly between 1860 and 1930. The only correctly indexed record was T.S. Leland in 1920. Seaver Torgerson's name was spelled phonetically correctly in the 1870 census.

Reading all of these records, I can understand how the written name Torger can be indexed as Tangor, Lerger, Torga, and Targer. Likewise, I can understand how the name Sjur can be spelled and indexed as Seaver and Sever. It is easy to understand how the name Leland can be spelled Leelend, but how did they ever spell the name Torgerson as Fargason?

I find these things fascinating! It points out the need to have advanced searching tools in order to find census records for our target persons, especially those that immigrated from non-English speaking countries. Using wild cards for names, being able to specify birth years and birth places, and to narrow searches to a state, county and township, are very useful tools for the census researcher. I appreciate that Ancestry has these search tools - when properly used they overcome the indexing quirks and problems.

This study will be one of the examples of my forthcoming presentation on "Why Can't I Find Them? Census Search Techniques That Work!" I hope to check the other available indexes (on HeritageQuestOnline and FamilySearch) and will try to report on them also.

Carlsbad Library Research Trip Summary

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society Research Trip on Saturday, 25 July was to Carlsbad's Georgina Cole Library, which has one of the best genealogy book, periodical and microfiche collections in Southern California. Eight of our members went, carpooling the 42 miles each way from Chula Vista.

To prepare for this trip, I searched:

* NEHGR, TAG and NGSQ for book reviews of new books that are of interest to me.

* Updated my "Books I Want to See" to-do list, adding the items above.

* Checked the Carlsbad Library Catalog for the books on my list and for information on the Lanfear/Lanphear/etc. family, and on Jefferson County NY.

When I got to the library, I:

* Put money onto the copier card!

* Read the Family Chronicle periodical available on the shelf - I don't subscribe, but wanted to read several articles. I copied some of them for more critical review.

* Reviewed the book An Osgood and Thayer Genealogy by Franklin Baker Osgood and Virginia Anne Thayer. This is in two large volumes, and has many of my colonial New England ancestors back in the 17th century. I think that I have most of the information in this book, and probably more for some families.

* Found the 1890 Plat Book of Dane County, Wisconsin on the shelf (browsing), and copied pages showing the townships, the indexes for Severson, Leland and Natwig, and the maps for Deerfield and Cottage Grove townships. A beautiful book! All of the names on the maps are indexed!

* Checked all of the Jefferson County NY books on the shelf for Lanfear/Lanphear and didn't see anything new. Now I realize that I didn't check the Tree Talks binder for that county. Oops.

* Found the Andrew County, Missouri index of wills book that I've overlooked before; I saw it in Salt Lake City in January. I could have found my Devier Lanphear Smith adoption much earlier if I had searched for this book previously.

* Found the Andrew County, Missouri Historical Society book of cemetery inscriptions, Volume II, and found that Ranslow Smith (not my ancestor, adoptive father of my Devier Lanphear Smith) was buried in Empire Presbyterian Cemetery in the eastern part of the county. But it says he died 1873, not 1875. Wonder which is right?

* Skimmed the Diane Rapaport book on New England Court Records. Excellent book, may buy it.

* Saw two New Hampshire books on the shelf - William Copeley's New Hampshire Records and the Diane Gravel/David Krueger book on New Hampshire Families 1790, Volume 1. Looked through them for Seaver, Newton, Smith and Sawtell records but didn't see any that fit my problem children.

We took a 30 minute break at noon for lunch out on the picnic tables in front of the library and had a great discussion of online and repository resources.

Somehow all of that took up four hours. Time sure flies when you're having fun!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

San Diego Gaslamp Quarter Program on Wednesday, 29 July

The next Program Meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society is Wednesday, 29 July at 12 noon at the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street in Chula Vista) in the Auditorium. There will be a short business meeting before the program.

The Program will be about the Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego -

“The History and Culture of San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter” by Melissa Trew, and “Every Building Has a Genealogy” by Dan Haslam

The Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation (GHQF) is the non-profit organization which oversees the 16½ block historic area in downtown San Diego as curator and operates the William Heath Davis Museum.

Melissa Trew is the Executive Director of the GQHF. She is dedicated to promoting the history and culture of the Gaslamp Quarter. With her twenty years of experience in public school education and her MA in Library and Information Systems, Melissa uses her knowledge to transform organizations into high fidelity institutions that improve the capabilities of all personnel, develop a community of trust and interaction among all stakeholders, and perpetuates a culture of high achievement beyond the organization.

As Director of Operations at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hawaii, Melissa ensured financial stability for innovation and change as well as created an organizational infrastructure that promoted transparency and flexibility. As the principal of Central Middle School in Honolulu Hawaii, Melissa established a culture of commitment toward authority, responsibility, accountability, and self management for the campus.

Daniel Haslam serves as Director of Development for the GQHF, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2006. Dan regularly speaks to groups about GQHF, writes extensively for the Foundation, writes grants and leads walking and historical tours for GQHF. Dan grew up in rural Vermont and has lived in San Diego for the past eight years. Prior to moving to California, Dan practiced law for twenty years in Tucson, AZ and Washington, DC. During this time he also served as a professional golf club manager (1990-94) for the oldest golf club in Vermont. In addition to his work for the GQHF, Dan consults as a guide and downtown redevelopment specialist for the Centre City Development Corporation, which is the downtown redevelopment arm of the city government.

Please join us for this interesting program about historical San Diego. Enter through the Conference Room door in order to register your attendance, pick up handouts, buy an opportunity drawing ticket, and have a snack. The meeting will start at about 12:20 p.m.

Best of the Genea-Blogs - July 19-25, 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:

* A Baby Boomer Remembers the Man Who Came to Dinner… Every Night by Craig Manson on the Geneablogie blog. What a wonderful memoir of Walter Cronkite - many of us can totally relate to this. Thanks, Craig.

* How To Get Kids Interested In Genealogy by Elyse Doerflinger on Elyse's Genealogy Blog. Elyse shares some ideas, from her own experience, on this subject. Timely - my 6-year-old grandson comes in a week!

* Tonight's Webinar On by Texicanwife on the Mountain Genealogists blog. TW summarized the recent Ancestry Webinar about "European Research: Tips and Tools for success." Well done!

* I’m on a Boat: Passenger List Found! by Brian Zalewski on the Zalewski Family Genealogy blog. Brian shares his recent research success - we can all learn lessons from others' successes!

* NARA 2009 Strategic Plan by the Ancestry Insider on The Ancestry Insider blog. Mr. AI discusses an important document about the National Archives plans.

* Digital Toolbox: Online Printing and Publishing by Denise Olson on the Family Matters blog. Denise seems to post about things I wonder about...I appreciate it!

* A matter of notes by Mary Minton on the Family Lines blog. Mary describes her quandary about the research and family notes that she puts in her genealogy software program. Good discussion and suggestions.

* Chasing The Slave Owner by Luckie Daniels on the Our Georgia Roots blog. Luckie provides a wonderful description of her research process for some of her slave ancestors. This is a beautiful blog (I couldn't resist that!).

* Fotomat. What's That by Donna Pointkouski in her "The Humor of It" column on footnoteMaven's Shades of the Departed blog. Here's another memory post that many of us can all relate to.

* University archives contain family treasures by Schelly Talalay Dardashti on the MyHeritage Genealogy Blog. Schelly provides excellent advice about under-utilized and relatively unknown resources.

* Genealogical & Historical Societies Online by Tami on the Relatively Curious About Genealogy blog. Tami has found some interesting things in local societies - good advice for everyone!

* WE FOUND "MICKEY" ON THE WAY HOME! by Cheri Hopkins on the You Go Girls Genealogy blog. Cheri and her sidekick and co-blogger Ruby Coleman attended the Family History Expo in Sheridan, Wyoming last week and had a great time - and found some interesting things in graveyards on the way home. Needless to say, these grannies had some genealogy fun!

* How do you do research? Looking for the arrow by James Tanner on the Genealogy's Star blog. James describes developing a research methodology after finding the genealogy arrow you shot on the Internet or a repository. Excellent wisdom from experience here.

* Interactive Kinship Calculator by Mark Tucker on the ThinkGenealogy blog. Mark created a useful tool for figuring out how many times you are removed from your newly found cousin. You need to follow Mark's directions to download and use this tool.

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 500 genealogy bloggers using Bloglines, but I still miss quite a few it seems.

Read past Best of the Genea-Blogs posts here.