Saturday, October 3, 2009

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - A Childhood Memory

Hey, it's Saturday Night - time for some Genealogy Fun!

We all have childhood memories, but if you're like me, you're concentrating on getting the family history of your parents and earlier generations. Let's think about ourselves here.

Here's your mission if you want to accept it ...

1. What is one of your most vivid childhood memories? Was it family, friends, places, events, or just plain fun?

2) Tell us about it in a comment to this post, a Comment or Note on Facebook, or in a blog post of your own.

Here's mine:

My earliest memory is of my parents bringing my brother Stanley home from the hospital after his birth. I still have the visual of my father holding the baby as he came through the front door of the small flat at 2114 Fern Street in San Diego.

I was almost three years old and had been the focus of my parents and my grandparents for a long time. It wasn't long before our growing family moved into a larger flat at 2119 30th Street in the two-story house right next to the Fern Street house. I have many memories of the 30th Street house, and can draw the floor plan from memory.

Probably the most fun that Stan and I had in the 30th Street house was setting up and playing with the Lionel train set. We had tracks through the living room, our adjoining bedroom, in my parents bedroom and into the entry hall/office area. We ran two different trains on the tracks trying to make them crash into each other. Heck, we were boys! Our father was probably the biggest boy of all!

There - two memories... there are many more!

Free Databases on

There are at least three lists of FREE databases on They are:

* Genealogy Buff ( has a list with links here. Some of the items on this list are duplicates - it looks like there are 68 different links at this time.

* Cyndi's List ( has a list with links here. There are 55 databases on this list, including some that are not on the Genealogy Buff list.

* Lorine Schulze's Olive Tree Genealogy ( has a list with links here. She claims over 250 links, but some are duplicates, I think. I think that she has some not on the other two lists.

In some cases, the Free access includes only the Index and the record summary, not the record image. This is the case for the 1880 United States census, and the 1881 England/Wales Census. Of course, if you are an Ancestry paid subscriber you can access the images too.

If someone has another list of FREE Ancestry databases, please let me know.

UPDATED: Lorine commented that her web site has links also - I added it to my list above.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Updated List of Unindexed Databases

I posted Unindexed Databases on Redux back in May, and wanted to update the list, since it appears that there are more databases that are not name indexed now on the list. They can be searched only by browsing page by page.

I used the Google site search string of "no search function for names" and received these results:

* Missouri Still Birth & Miscellaneous Records, 1805-2002

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

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

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

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

* Hamburg Passenger Lists, Handwritten Indexes, 1855-1934

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

* AJHS New York Hebrew Orphan Asylum Records, 1860-1934

* AJHS Industrial Removal Office Records, 1899-1922

* AJHS Selected Mayor's Court Cases, New York, 1674-1860

* AJHS Selected Insolvent Debtor's Cases, 1787-1861

* Paris & Vicinity, France, Death Notices, 1860-1902

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

* Dept of Interior Decisions on Pensions and Bounty-Land Claims ...

* London, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812 ...

* U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Croix Slave Plantation and Head Tax Lists ...

* Lübeck, Germany, Births, 1813-1875

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

* Summit County, Ohio, Death Records, 1870-1908

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

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

* Returns from Regular Army Regiments, 1821-1916

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

* Lübeck, Germany, Marriage Banns, 1813-1871

* Lübeck, Germany Citizenship Register, 1591-1919

So there are 25 databases without any name indexing now - there were only 15 on this list in May 2009. Some of these databases being indexed by the World Archives Project may have an index later.

My May post also pointed out that many of the Massachusetts Vital Records to Year 1850 books are not first-name indexed, and that the US Revolutionary War Compiled Service Records database is arranged by State and Regiment.

Now I need to figure out how to find all of the FREE databases on

What happened to the ability to search the Card Catalog list of over 29,000 databases by size of database, date of availability, etc.?

FamilySearch Wiki Research Articles

There is a wealth of useful information for Beginning and Intermediate genealogy researchers on the LDS FamilySearch Wiki Research Page.

There are categories for:

* Get Started with this site
* Where to start
* Research Analysis
* Organization and Documentation
* Getting Started in Research
* Technology

There are some interesting articles on this list - I carefully read:

* Genealogical Proof Standard

* Cite Your Sources (Source Footnotes) -- has examples

* Organizing Your Files

* Major Databases for Beginning United States Research

* Rookie Mistakes

* Solving Tough Research Problems—Overcoming Brick Walls

There are many more articles. Check them out.

Family History Library Favorites

I was browsing through the FamilySearch Wiki this morning and found this article about Family History Library Internet Favorites. There is a link to this web page with the list of Family History Library Favorites.

This compilation is organized by country (and then state, province or county) and then by subject.

For instance, for the state of Wisconsin, the links include:

Archives Libraries and Internet

Wisconsin Historical Society Archives
Wisconsin Maritime Museum Library and Archives


Wisconsin Name Index (Biographies)


Archdiocese of Milwaukee Catholic Cemeteries Index
Tombstone Photos


1855 WI State Census Images - FamilySearch
1875 WI State Census Images - FamilySearch
1885 WI State Census Images - FamilySearch
1895 WI State Census Images - FamilySearch
1905 WI State Census Images - FamilySearch
Census Indexes Online for States and Counties
Census Indexes Online Links -
Colonial and Territorial Census List
State Census List
Wisconsin Indexes 1830-1926

Church Records

Drouin French Cath Collection 1621-1967

Emigration and Immigration

Immigration and Settlement


Ghost Towns of Wisconsin


Draper Manuscripts at Bowling Green State Univ
Draper Manuscripts at Family History Library
Draper Manuscripts at Ohio Univ Libraries
Draper Manuscripts at RootsWeb
Draper Manuscripts at Truman State Univ
Draper Manuscripts at UMI ProQuest
Draper Manuscripts at Wisconsin Hist Soc
Draper Manuscripts description
Genealogy Resources at Wis Hist Soc
Guide to the Draper Mss. book description
Lyman C. Draper Documents Home Page

Land and Property

Wisconsin Land Records Index


Historic Maps » of Wisconsin

Military Records

Roster of Wis Volunteers, Civil War 1861-1865

Native Races

Early Native Peoples

Naturalization and Citizenship

Online Searchable Naturalization Indexes


Wisconsin Newspaper Articles


Obituary Lookup Volunteers
Wisconsin Name Index (Obituaries)


Historical and Genealogical Societies of Wisconsin

Vital Records

Births 1820-1907
Births Marriages Deaths Index Pre-1907
Burned Courthouses Dates
Deaths 1820-1907
Delayed Births before 1 Oct 1907
Marriages 1835-1900
Marriages to 1907
Online Birth & Marriage Records Indexes
Online Wisconsin Death Indexes
Record Office
Wisconsin Genealogy Index pre-1907 BMDs
Cyndi s List - U.S. - Wisconsin
Wisconsin Genealogy Links
Wisconsin Research Outline

This is a useful file to download and to make a Favorite or Bookmark in your Internet browser. It is a large file (over 2.2 megabytes).

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Genea-Musings dies - blogger goes...

Genea-Musings, Rest in Peace (somewhere!)

One minute it was there, and the next minute it was gone. Disappeared. As if it was never there. Oh, some of it is on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, and the cached pages will be on Google searches for some time, but the blog itself is gone. And the archived monthly pages are hiding on more than one computer.

What happened? Well, the writer of the Genea-Musings blog worked so hard at providing content to his hundreds of readers that he filled up the allowable number of posts and images on Blogger. Screen images were probably the downfall - they take up bandwidth and Genea-Musings had thousands of them. Of Family Tree Maker, RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree, Family Tree Builder, Ancestry, Footnote, WorldVitalRecords, and many more websites. Family pictures and record images too. They were all there, and now the images - and the text - are gone. Off to blog hell...

Two days ago, when the blog writer logged into Blogger the dashboard said that there was no Genea-Musings. What? How could that be? A futile search, and messages to the Blogger proprietors resulted in nothing but silence... and Genea-Musings was lost. All of that work. Those family pictures. The family stories and transcriptions. The endless screen shots.

After 3 years, five months, and 12 days, with 3,425 posts carefully crafted (yeah, right!) in those 1,270 days, it is all gone. Poof! Kaput! Gone. Whew!

On the second day after the loss, the blog writer decided to sell his house, put all of his genealogy papers in a repository, buy a small motor home with a satellite wireless connection, and hit the road with his lovely but neglected bride of 40 years, with a driver. The plan is to work in the databases during the drives, visit the grandchildren regularly, visit friends and relatives occasionally, travel to genealogy libraries and societies all over the country to do research and give stirring presentations about the benefits and evils of online genealogy research, and attend as many genealogy seminars and conferences as possible. Talk about the endless genealogy vacation!

In the past year, Genea-Musings has taken more and more of the writer's time - at times 10 hours a day. He has had less time to do his own research, to create and give presentations and classes, and to enjoy "real life" in San Diego, Santa Cruz and Victorville, not to mention San Francisco, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Denver, Nebraska, Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, England, Norway and other fun places to visit and do research.

So remember Genea-Musings with fond memories of that smiling, rotund, bearded genealogy blogger that no one had ever heard of three years ago, and if he comes knocking on your door please offer him a place to park, a bowl of soup and some genealogy conversation.

I've just been informed that there's been a setback for this plan - the writer of Genea-Musings was admitted today to the Geneaholic wing of the Geneabloggers Sunnybrook Farm in Salt Lake City, Utah for rest and rehabilitation. His lovely wife is there with him... trying to pry his fingers off the wornk eyboard thatk eeps makingt ypographic error sin everyp ost. He just keeps repeating "Control-C, Control-V, spell check, damn fingers, genealogical proof standard, it's not all on the internet, Ancestry is..., they're coming to take my blog away! it's Carnival time, Saturday Night Genealogy Fun rocks..."

To Genea-Musings - Rest in Peace! And have fun doing it!

Dr. Jasia (Meitzler) (MacEntee) (Thornton) Eastman, Psychiatrist
Geneabloggers Sunnybrook Farm Staff and Family History Guru
author of "When Bloggers go mad, and other fun times"

[Note: posted for the 81st Carnival of Genealogy - topic is Your Blog's Obituary.]

Stymied on Devier J. Lamphear Smith problems

I used my Devier J. Lamphear Smith research problem for my ProGen homework assignment. Specifically, when and where was he born?

Devoted Genea-Musings readers will recall that Devier J. Smith was adopted by Ranslow and Mary (Bell) Smith, according to Ranslow Smith's will from 1875, and that Devier changed his surname from Lamphear to Smith via a Wisconsin Legislature private law in 1866.

To recap, the evidence includes:

* A Family Bible page written by Devier himself in 1889 that states he was born on 7 May 1842 in Jefferson County NY.

* A family paper written by his wife, Abigail (Vaux) Smith in (probably 1895) that states he was born on 7 May 1839 in Jefferson County NY.

* An obituary in the McCook NE Times-Democrat newspaper that says he was born in May 1842 in Wisconsin.

* A transcription of his tombstone in a Red Willow County NE cemetery book that says 1842.

* A newspaper article in the Wano KS Plain Dealer published in 1886 states 1839 that says he was born in Jefferson County NY.

* Federal census records for 1850 (age 11), 1860 (age 21), 1870 (age 30), and 1880 (age 41) that imply 1839 or 1840.

* State census records for 1875 (KS, age 35), 1885 (KS, age 46), and 1885 (NE, age 45) that imply 1839 or 1840.

The informant for the obituary and the tombstone was Devier's son, David D. Smith, who had access to the Family Bible. So there is really one original source record for 1842, and one original source record for 1839, and they are secondary information because of the dates they were written. There are nine derivative sources with secondary information for 1839 or 1840.

The Preponderance of Evidence principle is no longer the standard - the Genealogical Proof Standard requires resolution of all conflicts - and I cannot resolve the conflict at this time with the information I have.

In order to resolve the contradiction, I need more source records. I have two localities to investigate:

1) Jefferson County, New York is where Devier was almost certainly born. I've checked guardianship, letters of administration and estate papers for Lamphears in Jefferson County without a mention of Devier Lamphear.

There is one record that might be available -- a church record may identify Devier's birth parents and birth date. I need to determine if there are any records in the Henderson/Adams/Lorraine townships at that time.

2) Dodge County, Wisconsin is where Devier J. Smith ended up as an adopted son of Ranslow and Mary (Bell) Smith, formerly of Henderson, Jefferson County, New York, who migrated in 1843. All county records were lost in a fire in 1877, including guardianships, probates, deeds, taxes, vital records, etc.

My first thought had been that, since Devier J. Smith married Abigail Vaux in April 1861 in Dodge County (when Devier was either 18 or 21, and Abigail was age 16), that there might be a marriage record for the marriage that might list their ages, or the agreement by both parents for the marriage.

My second thought was that Devier J. Smith might be listed on a tax list when he turned age 21 - either in 1860 or 1863.

My third thought is that there might be an article in the local newspaper for the marriage, and perhaps another when his name change became official in March 1866.

I contacted the Dodge/Jefferson Counties Genealogical Society last week to see if there are records for churches and newspapers in those time frames. Apparently, there are, and they can perform the search for a fee. I'm thinking about it!

Before I request this search, I'm wondering if other researchers have any other ideas to help me solve my dilemma?

"Lost and Forgotten Cemeteries of San Diego" Program Summary

The September 30th program meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society featured Dr. Setrh Mallios of San Diego State University's Anthropology Department as the speaker. Dr. Mallios's topic was "The Lost and Forgotten Cemeteries of San Diego." His curriculum vitae was posted here.

This presentation was one of the "best ever" we've had at CVGS. Seth is an accomplished professor of anthropology, and has written two books (with David Caterino) on San Diego cemeteries - The Cemeteries of San Diego and The Cemeteries of San Diego County, both published by Arcadia Press and available online and in San Diego bookstores.

Seth described the San Diego Gravestone Project, which includes a study of San Diego's dead and how San Diego treats them, restoration and preservation of grave markers (which are a non-renewable cultural resource), and anthropological analysis of mortuary culture.

The goal of the San Diego Gravestone Project is to document all cemeteries and grave markers in San Diego County erected prior to 1960, to locate them using a Geographic Information System (GIS), to document them with digital photos, using archaeological rigor and standardized methodology. The project includes collecting data about gravestone physical properties (type of marker, type of material, condition) and literal properties (inscriptions, etc.).

There are 23 known cemeteries within San Diego city limits, and about 150 known cemeteries in the County. However, some of the known cemeteries are buried under parks, roads, parking lots and buildings. The most well-known example is Calvary Cemetery in the Mission Hills neighborhood of San Diego. There were over 3,000 burials in this cemetery when it was converted to a park (called Pioneer Park) in 1968. The gravestones were removed and dumped in a ravine at Mount Hope Cemetery several miles away. When the stones were found, the 142 "best looking" stones were salvaged and returned to Pioneer Park and placed in a corner of the park. These stones were not placed on the graves of their namesakes, just put in the corner. The graves are still in Calvary Cemetery under Pioneer Park.

A 1982 article in the Journal of San Diego History listed 38 known cemeteries in San Diego County. Mallios's team found another 110 cemeteries by searching old maps, old photographs, surveys and word of mouth.

Seth provided a chronology of San Diego cemeteries - breaking the known locations down into Prehistoric, Mission and Indian (1769-1847, with Indian, Spanish and Mexican remains), Pioneer (1848-1907, with early American and Victorian graves), and Mega (1908 to the present, with gardens and landscaped grounds). He noted the trends in types of markers and symbols over the years. The shift from above ground columns, tablets and markers to flush in-ground stones took place in the 1910-1920 time period, and was heavily influenced by World War I and the 1918 influenza pandemic.

There was much more in the hour-long talk, of course! This presentation was an enjoyable, amusing and informative walk through San Diego's past. Seth is an excellent presenter and an expert in San Diego burial cultural history.

There are some interesting articles available online about Seth Mallios and the San Diego Gravestone Project:

* The San Diego Gravestone Project (with a list of pre-1960 burials at the Jewish Home of Peace Cemetery in San Diego)

* City of the forgotten dead (describes the Calvary Cemetery debacle)

* Cemeteries are the repository of centuries past

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

October-November 2009 Issue of Internet Genealogy

I received the October-November 2009 issue of Internet Genealogy magazine in their downloadable format yesterday. Here is the Table of Contents:

* NET NOTES -- page 6
*** Canadian Headstone Photo Project,

*** It Runs In My Family,
*** Valley of the Shadow,
*** Non-Conformist UK Records

David A. Norris shows you how to locate Native American ancestors in federal

Lisa A. Alzo discusses a dozen ways to find elusive ancestors online

Donna Murray explains the basics of message boards and e-mail lists

Michael John Neil looks at what else you can learn from the census

Diane L. Richard looks at online resources dedicated to county boundaries

David A. Norris looks at a classic resource of Napoleonic wars now online

* OLD PHOTOS ON THE ‘NET -- page 26
Lisa A. Alzo shows you where to find genealogical and historical images online

Lisa A. Alzo looks at a site billed as “facebook for the deceased”

Susanna De Groot looks at the online resources available for Dutch research

A collection of upcoming genealogy related events that may be of interest

John D. Reid reads up on family history in online newspaper archives

Harry Wyatt chronicles his search for his elusive ancestor

Lisa A. Alzo shows you how to improve your family photos for free

Rick Norberg looks at researching your Irish ancestors on the web

* A “CUIL” SEARCH ENGINE! -- page 52
Lisa A. Alzo looks at another search engine to utilize for your genealogy research

Donna Potter Phillips discovers a resource she won’t overlook again


With the demise of Everton's Genealogical Helper and Digital Genealogist magazines in the past few months, we are left with fewer genealogy popular magazines. I guess that I need to subscribe to Family Chronicle also so that I get all of them!

Trying to use GenSeek Application

The GenSeek website is supposed to be launched in October 2009, according to knowledgeable sources quoted back in the summertime. GenSeek is widely expected to be "Family History Library Catalog 2.0." I, along with others, have interpreted that to mean that it will have:

* the content of the current FHLC
* additional content from other repositories
* links to books or databases available online

I've used the GenSeek application on Facebook several times, and I've seen the content of the current FHLC (to some extent), and the links to FHLC items when they have been digitized (e.g., in the BYU Family History Archive).

What does the GenSeek application on Facebook look like? Here's a peek:

I wanted to check out Dodge County, Wisconsin resources, so I went to Facebook and clicked on the GenSeek application ( and then the "Search" tab:

On the "Location" field, I typed in "Dodge, Wisconsin." The results came back (two screens shown, four in all):

In the GenSeek application on Facebook, the results for a certain location appear all together, not separated into categories like on the Family History Library Catalog. I don't see any organization to these entries - they are not alphabetical, or by record type, or by publication date. It's just a list. This is terrible, IMHO - were librarians putting this together, or website designers?

There are only about 60 matches to my Search request for Dodge County, Wisconsin, so I can easily scan the list. What about a County with many documents in the FHLC, and many more in other repositories? It's too much to ask researchers to scan through hundreds or thousands of matches. A list of categories (like the FHLC) makes a lot of sense to me.

The record that caught my eye was the book or manuscript "Cemeteries and Churches of Dodge County, Wisconsin." I clicked on the link for it:

The resulting page shows me the information about this document, and provides the call number for the document at the Family History Library, and the fact that it is microfilmed.

There is a box on the right side that contains links for Comments, Add to Favorites, Get Citation, Share with Family, Share on Facebook. I clicked on the "Get Citation" link and saw:

The gray box provides the source citation for this record - it says:

"Turner, Clara M. (Clara Muriel Benson) , 1914-, "Cemeteries and churches of Dodge County, Wisconsin", , [originally published Turner, (c1974)] , , accessed on 30 September 2009 "

That's great - a decent online source citation. Of course, the citation does not include the actual document, only the source of the document.

Where is the microfilm number? That's what I usually use the FHLC for - to find the microfilm number so that I can order a document on film at my local Family History Center.

I can find no place in the GenSeek application on Facebook that lists the microfilm number. Am I missing something here? Isn't that one of the key points about using GenSeek? That it will be user friendly and provide information about the documents that it lists in repositories? Isn't the purpose of to be a "one-stop shop" for all things genealogical - documents, books, databases, etc., and to make it easy to find where they reside?

The only place that I could find the microfilm number of this book is in the Family History Library Catalog - it is US/CAN Film 982018 Item 6. This document is listed only under Church History in the FHLC, not under Cemeteries or Church Records (hmmm, the FHLC is imperfect too!).

We don't know - yet - if the "real" GenSeek will have some semblance of order to the requested documents and databases, or if it will contain the FHL microform numbers for the documents. To my thinking, GenSeek will be pretty useless without those two critical items.

Wordly Wednesday - Family Photographs: Post 73 - Auble Cousins

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 the collection of pictures given to me by my mother from the four generation Smith-Carringer-Seaver archives during the 1988 to 2002 time period:

The people in this picture, from the left:

* Emily (Auble) Carringer (1891-1977), daughter of Charles and Georgianna (Kemp) Auble, wife of Lyle Carringer.
* Georgianna (Kemp) Auble (1868-1952), daughter of James A. and Mary Jane (Sovereen) Kemp, widow of Charles Auble
* Will Pentecost (1869-1953), husband of Bessie (Auble) Pentecost
* Bessie (Auble) Pentecost (1881-1969), daughter of William A. and Mary (Thompson) Auble, wife of Will Pentecost.
* Lyle L. Carringer (1891-1976), son of Henry Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer, husband of Emily (Auble) Carringer.

Emily and Bessie are first cousins, their grandparents being David and Sarah (Knapp) Auble. Will and Bessie moved from Danville, Illinois to Whittier in Los Angeles County, California at some time, and the families regularly visited each other. Emily and Bessie corresponded regularly throughout their lives, but I don't have any of their letters.

This picture was taken in about 1945, probably in the back yard at 2130 Fern Street where my grandparents, Lyle and Emily (Auble) Carringer lived. It was probably taken by my mother, Betty (Carringer) Seaver. I may have been a witness to this photograph taking, since I was one or two years old at the time.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ancestry Magazine articles online

I noticed the Ancestry Magazine notices appearing in my Google news search notices several weeks ago, and I wondered what had changed. When one appeared today, I went and checked out

They've made it into a I added it to my Bloglines list so that I wouldn't miss out on anything (I hate to miss out on things!). In the header is a nifty flash graphic that you can click on to see the contents of one, or all, of the available magazines.

The magazine Archives have also been revised - you can see the articles in HTML format (not in the glossy magazine format) by issue. For instance, the Table of Contents, and links to articles, of the current September-October 2009 issue is here. The issues available in this format seem to be:

* November-December 2008
* January-February 2009
* March-April, 2009
* May-June, 2009
* July-August 2009
* September-October 2009

You will need to click on the links to each article on the list for each issue. It looks like most, if not all, of the articles in the September-October 2009 issue have an associated blog post at

I especially commend for your reading the article Saving the Family Bible by Megan Smolenyak in the September-October 2009 issue. Had a genea-gasm reading it! Classical, and excellent, work finding living people in order to pass an heirloom along.

Enjoy! Thank you, Ancestry Magazine, for putting these useful and interesting articles online.

Roots Television's Top 10 Videos

The Roots Television / Og Blog announced today that it is Roots Television's third birthday, and to celebrate the birthday, they are listing their Top Ten most popular and intriguing videos.

The top ten include:

1) DNA: Tale of 2 Fathers
2) In Search of Annie Moore
3) Down Under Florida: Ashley
4) Unclaimed Persons
5) Cyndi’s List
6) Psychic Roots
7) Heir Jordan
8) Haley-Baff Genetic Reunion
9) DNA: Were They Sisters?
10) DNA: Did She Marry Her Cousin?

There are four DNA videos on the list, which reflects, I think, Megan Smolenyak's interest in and passion for the subject. And that of her viewers, too!

I'm happy to see the Annie Moore video on the list. The search for the real Annie Moore three years ago really sparked my interest in participating in searches of this nature as part of a group of people. I think that it is one of the very best examples of genealogy and family history research in this century.

Partly because of the success of the Annie Moore search, Megan started the Unclaimed Persons group on Facebook in 2008, and the group is working on its 145th case now, with over 50% of them solved by the energy and intelligence of the group of researchers.

If you have not watched Roots Television, I urge you to go to and select one of the channels and watch some of the videos. I try to watch it every month and try to keep current. It is FREE, and there is a lot of how-to content, in addition to interviews and public interest stories, on the site.

Congratulations - and THANK YOU - to Megan Smolenyak and her team for creating, building and sustaining a Top Ten Genealogy website (on my list, anyway!) for three years. I hope that it is many more!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Tutorials for

I had the privilege of meeting Dallan Quass, the creator of, the largest genealogy wiki available to date, at the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in Little Rock. I also attended one of his two presentations also to obtain more information about how to use

Dallan's recent WeRelate Blog post alerted me to the Tutorial page on the WeRelate site here. There are a number of video and text tutorials on this page, with six of the videos being newly released. Here is the list of tutorials available at this time:

Video tutorials


What is WeRelate? (5:20) - what is and why should you care? (new)
Tour of WeRelate (8:00) - a quick helicopter ride around WeRelate
Why share your genealogy? (5:12) - five reasons to share your genealogy with others (new)
Why share your genealogy on (7:15) - nine reasons to share your genealogy on (new)

Getting started

Part 1 (6:01) - wiki etiquette, page-oriented genealogy, and search (new)
Part 2 (7:02) - creating and editing pages (new)
Part 3 (9:39) - import a gedcom, get around, connect with others, joint projects, and ask questions (new)


Pedigree maps (4:45) - pedigrees, maps, and timelines!
Older a bit out of date, but you may still find them useful
Navigating WeRelate (5:00) - using the menus, searching, and editing pages
Basic concepts (2:56) - pages, titles, namespaces, and index numbers
Creating a person page (4:27) - demonstration
Creating a family page (4:45) - demonstration

Text tutorials

Entering your first family on WeRelate - Includes screen shots
Family Tree Explorer tutorial - Building and navigating your family tree
Person pages tutorial - Creating person pages and linking supporting sources and images
Family pages tutorial - Creating family pages and linking supporting sources and images
Images tutorial - Uploading and annotating images
Research tutorial - Researching names, places, sources, etc.
My Relate tutorial - Creating a profile, user pages, and shared research pages; collaborating with others
101 Ways to use

Unique Baby Names in Canadian History

I am such a sucker for information like this... have you seen the Press Release on Reveals the Most Unique Baby Names in Canadian History? Somehow this didn't come across my email inbox, but it came across John D. Reid's Inbox and he posted some of the names on his Anglo-Celtic Connections blog here.

Karen Peterson, Marketing Director for commented: “Searching through historical records has never been more fun or easy, thanks to the online preservation and indexing of family history records such as censuses, birth and marriage records, passenger lists and immigration records.”

This is a pretty good, but clean, list of names! I especially liked:

* Duck McPhee - born 1857, and lived for 64 years - a long life, for a Duck (from Ontario French Catholic Church Records/Drouin Collection, 1747-1967) --wouldn't that be perfect for Donald Duck's family tree?

* Myholy Cupid - a 24-year-old recent Polish immigrant to Canada, working 40-plus hour work weeks as a street labourer, sharing a lodge with other Polish immigrants (from 1911 Census of Canada) -- perhaps named Myholy after being shot by Cupid's arrow?

* Jester MacNut - lived in Colchester, Nova Scotia (from 1891 Census of Canada) -- you'd have to be a lown to even carry the name MacNut, right?

Has anyone checked to see if these are really the names in the census?

Thanks to for adding more examples to my "Genealogy is Fun! Seriously." presentation.

"Lost and Forgotten Cemeteries of San Diego" presentation at CVGS meeting on Wednesday

The Wednesday, 30 September program for the Chula Vista Genealogical Society will start at 12 noon in the Chula Vista Civic Center Library auditorium (365 F Street in Chula Vista). After a brief business meeting, the program speaker will be:

Dr. Seth Mallios on "The Lost and Forgotten Cemeteries of San Diego."

Here is Dr. Mallios's curriculum vitae and program description:

"San Diego County has a rich and unique cultural history that can be effectively told through the commemoration of its dead. Local cemeteries throughout the region reflect San Diego's multi-ethnic cultural dynamism and pinpoint marked shifts in power from Native American to Spanish to Mexican to U. S. American governance. They also reveal the current struggle for space in a burgeoning metropolis. Many graveyards have disappeared entirely, erasing the last vestiges of too many of the region's formative pioneers.

"Dr. Mallios will discuss his ongoing San Diego Gravestone Project and its primary goals to preserve local history and reconnect present San Diegans with the past.

"Dr. Seth Mallios is currently Professor and Chair of the Anthropology department at San Diego State University. He is also Director of the South Coastal and South East Information Center. Mallios received his Bachelor's Degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1993 and a Master's Degree and Doctorate from the University of Virginia in 1998.

"An anthropologist and an historical archaeologist, Dr. Mallios was Site Supervisor at the Jamestown Rediscovery project, specializing in the excavation of and research on the original 1607 James Fort at Jamestown Island, Virginia, the oldest permanent English settlement in the Americas. He continues to serve as editor of the journal he founded there, the peer-reviewed Journal of the Jamestown Rediscovery Center. His first book, The Deadly Politics of Giving, published by the University of Alabama Press, came out in August of 2006.

"Since his move to San Diego seven years ago, he has created the San Diego Gravestone Project, an endeavor that has included two books (Cemeteries of San Diego [2007] Arcadia Press; and Cemeteries of San Diego County [2008] Arcadia Press) and multiple scholarly articles. He developed a Geographic Information System that integrated every archaeological site in the county. Dr. Mallios began excavating at the Nate Harrison Site atop Palomar Mountain in 2004 and continues to dig there every summer. He has just finished his first three archaeological field seasons at the historic Whaley House in Old Town San Diego, having successfully located and excavated the original well."

Please join us for this interesting talk about the cemeteries of San Diego. We request that you enter the auditorium through the conference room on the east hallway of the library in order to sign in, pick up handouts and have a snack before settling into the cushy seats in the auditorium. There will be refreshments after the program in the conference room.

For more information, please contact Barbara at (619) 477-4140 or email at

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Best of the Genea-Blogs - September 20-26, 2009

Best of the Genea-Blogs returns as a weekly feature of Genea-Musings. I've read all of the blog posts over the past four weeks but have been unable to write the posts each week due to time constraints while on vacation and at my daughters last week taking care of my grandsons.

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:

* WSGS State Conference: Day One, WSGS State Conference: Day Two, WSGS State Conference: Day Three by Miriam Midkiff on the Ancestories: The Stories of my Ancestors blog. Miriam was one of the organizers of this conference, which featured Megan Smolenyak. These posts describe Miriam's activities during the conference, and includes a great picture of Megan and Miriam.

* The future of family history by John D. Reid on the Anglo-Celtic Connections blog. John was on a panel at the BIFHSGO conference recently and reprises his comments on this subject.

* Just Try Another Window by Lee Drew on the FamHist blog. Lee discovered some new search techniques while looking for a Utah Death Certificate, including looking at the helpful search tips.

* SNGF – Ahnentafel Roulette by Thomas MacEntee on the Geneabloggers blog. This is the compilation of the blog posts submitted for last week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun about one person in bloggers ahnentafels. Quite a collection - mainly great-great-grandparents! Thomas has this type of collection pretty automated now - it's a great service to all of us.

* How to recover from a genealogy cruise by Geoff Rasmussen on the Legacy News blog. Looks like everyone had a grand time in genealogy classes and on shore during this cruise. It sounds like a wonderful trip.

* Simon says do you remember these games? by Larry Lehmer on the Passing It On blog. Larry has a great list of the childhood games played years ago and wonders if children play them now. Any comments?

* The 23rd edition of the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy by Ambar Diaz on the Still More Genealogy blog. Ambar was the hostess for this monthly carnival with 11 blog posts by seven authors.

* You Can't Get Rid of That! I'll just take it home with me. and You Can't Get Rid of That - Continued by Terri Kallio on The Ties That Bind blog. Terri's post described what many of us go through when we're dealing with our elders, especially if we are family historians!

* Taxation Can Be A Good Thing by Carolyn L. Barkley on the blog. An excellent article about tax records - be happy if you find them!

* BIFHSGO Conference - Panel Discussion, BIFHSGO Conference - LAC Comments and BIFHSGO Conference - Walkabout by Elisabeth Lapointe on the Genealogy Canada blog. Elisabeth provides some overviews of the recent BIFHSGO conference in Ottawa, with lots of pictures!

* Grass Roots Organizing at Its Best by Dick Eastman on the Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter blog. There is good news for some Massachusetts genealogists - a new group is forming in Southborough. Dick describes the action, and volunteers his expertise.

* Jamie the Intern Bids Family Tree Farewell by Jamie on The Genealogy Insider blog. Family Tree Magazine hired Jamie as a summer intern and she discovered some of her ancestry in the process. She's a good writer too!

* Will the Real Pointkouski Great-Grandparents Please Stand Up? by Donna Pointkouski in her The Humor Of It column in footnoteMaven's Shades of the Departed blog. Donna's missing some photos of her great-grandparents, and wonders if some she found online are hers.

* My College Days at Age 76 by Ernie Margheim on the Ernie's Journeys blog. My favorite young-at-heart geneablogger tells one of his life stories - we all need to hear stories like this from our elders.

* Researching With Maps by Ruby Coleman on the Genealogy Lines blog. Ruby has a nice list of online map sites in this helpful post.

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

Read past Best of the Genea-Blogs posts here.