Saturday, October 10, 2009

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - A Satisfying Moment

Yes, it's Saturday Night, and time for some Genealogy Fun!

My friend, Leland Meitzler, posted his Top Ten list of "Most Satisfying Genealogy Events" yesterday - and it's a good list - please read it and respond to it if you want to.

For today's SNGF, if you choose to participate (cue the Mission Impossible music!), please:

1) Tell us about one (or more) "Satisfying Genealogy Moments" from your family history and genealogy research. What was it, and how did it make you feel? You can make a Top Ten list if you want to!

2) Write your own blog post, or make a comment on this post, or make a comment on Facebook, and tell us about your "moment in time."

Here's one of mine (I'm still thinking about a Top Ten list):

Breaking down the father of Isaac Buck (1757-1846) brick wall. I described some of this research in two posts titled "Isaac Buck in the Woodpile - Part I" and "Part II." I found the Worcester County MA vanity book that listed an Isaac Buck (born about 1730) as a son of Isaac and Ruth (Graves) Buck, and the husband of Mary Richards and the father of Isaac Buck (1757-1846). Then I found the article "Southborough MA Notifications" in The American Genealogist (1992) stating that Isaac and Ruth Buck had moved into the house of Joseph Richards in Southborough. I found that article just by chance - browsing at the Carlsbad library. Then I worked really hard to find the land record that indicated (proved?) that Isaac and Ruth (Graves) Buck had a son named Isaac Buck. However, I didn't prove that the son Isaac was the father of Isaac Buck (born 1757 to Mary Richards). That hypothesis is a lot more logical than the hypothesis that the elder Isaac Buck fathered a child by a much younger woman in a house with his wife present.

After this year-long study, done before we had online databases (and only the County book is in current online databases), I felt really satisfied that I had solved this research problem with the help of a County vanity book and an obscure deed hiding in the Worcester County MA deed books.

That's mine - please tell me yours!

Thank you, Leland, for the SNGF topic!

Thomas MacEntee will have a post on Geneabloggers to capture all of the blog entries. I will put the link here when it is available.

Discount for World Vital Records memberships

I received an email today from World Vital Records offering a 25% discount on a year subscription to their US and World Collection memberships. The email said:
" October is National Family History Month. In celebration, WorldVitalRecords is offering an amazing low price for the U.S. and World Collections. Now get up to 25% OFF a membership, where you'll enjoy access to thousands of databases—including Birth, Death, Military, Census, And Parish Records—to help you build your family tree. Plus discover newly-added collections, such as Newspaper Archives, Immigration Records, Yearbooks, Vital Records, Military Records, and Tax Lists. Hurry! This incredible offer ends Friday, October 16th. Select one of the following membership options or call 1-888-377-0588 (M-F, 8am-5pm MST)."
* The US Collection Membership retail price is $39.95, and they are offering it for $29.95.
* The World Collection Membership (which includes the US Collection) retail price is $99.95 and they are offering it for $79.95.
The deadline for these offers is Friday, 16 October. This is the best deal yet for this subscription website.
If you are not a subscriber to, I encourage you to go check their databases at and see if they have records that might help you in your research. There is a 7-day free trial, access to recent US databases is free for ten days, using the search engine is free, but most search results are not.
Disclosure: I am not an employee, contrator or affiliate of or World Vital Records. I have a paid US subscription to World Vital Records.

"Nooks and Crannies of" at North San Diego County Genealogical Society on Tuesday

Some guy named Randy Seaver will present a program called "The Nooks and Crannies of" at the Computer Oriented Genealogy Group (COGG) meeting of the North San Diego County Genealogical Society (NSDCGS) on Tuesday, 13 October at 10 a.m. The meeting will be held at the Carlsbad (CA) City Council Chambers (1200 Carlsbad Village Drive, Carlsbad CA 92008) and is open and free to the public.

The publicity for the program says:

Randy Seaver will enlighten his audience on the nooks and crannies of this thing called "Ancestry." While most members use this subscription service, Randy will demonstrate features rarely seen before.

Randy is a native San Diegan, a graduate of San Diego State University, a retired aerospace engineer, a genealogists and a family guy. He has been active in CGSSD for several years and is a past-president of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society. His ancestry is about 50% colonial New England (including Mayflower passengers, Massachusetts Bay Governors, and several of royal descent), with liberal portions of English, German and Dutch lines. Randy runs several blogs about his families and the Southern California area. He is a contributing member of the Association of Graveyard Rabbits.

Hmmm, sounds somewhat familiar. It sure raises the expectations of the audience, doesn't it? Did you know that had nooks and crannies? It does, of course! I'm not sure I've found them all, but I do have some suggestions for the audience about features that they, perhaps, haven't seen before. I'm actually calling the presentation "Exploring" but didn't get the revised publicity to the program chair in time (I was on my vacation).

I look forward to seeing my friends in Carlsbad again. I was up there for the COGG presentation last March. This is a very interesting and energetic genealogy society that sponsors two speakers each month, on the second and fourth Tuesdays, and has an excellent beginners class and supports the wonderful genealogy and family history collection at the Carlsbad Georgina Cole Library.

Friday, October 9, 2009

LOL- the Laziest Man in Genealogy?

My erstwhile genea-friend, The Genealogue (Chris Dunham), has posted "The Laziest Man in Genealogy" (with not even a question mark!) saying:

"I must say I'm disappointed that Randy Seaver refuses to update's 1930 U.S. census index to include the birthplaces of all the wives and children. He seems to be willing to do it for his relatives, but not for the millions of people who don't show up in his GEDCOM files. And he calls himself a "Geneaholic"..."

Typical Chris... he has, um, let's say, a unique view about things genealogical. Funny as hell, too. My response on Chris's post:

"LOL. This is payback for what, eh? Here I blog eight hours a day, try to find all of's errors, give three presentations a week, and I get a ration for not correcting the errors in the census records of YOUR ancestors? And everybody else's!"

Made my night! Now I have a presentation to proofread, a handout to create, 20 more pages of the 1930 census to fix, and the CVGS newsletter to finish up. I spent too much time watching the damn Yankees game. I guess I'm the martyr of Chula Vista genealogy?

California Genealogy and History Archives

If you are a California researcher, or have California ancestry, have you checked out the California Genealogy and and History Archives site at

There are web pages for the following Collections:

Argonauts (Pioneers)
Biographies -- (partial)

CA Connections -- See who may be researching your family line.
Cemetery Records and Tombstone Photos
Civil War Records: Records of California Men in the War of the Rebellion, 1861 to 1867

Civil War files: obits, documents, newspaper clippings, re-enactments, etc
Civilian Conservation Corp
Crimes and Criminals: pre 1924
Death records - Obits
Diaries and Letters

Directories: County and City
Family Files

Misc. Records

Obits -Death records
Pension Files
Photos & Images
Registers: Great and Voting


Some of the collections are fairly sparse, but some of them are quite large. Check out the Cemetery Records and Tombstone Photos and the Obits -Death records.

Many of the California cemetery records are also in the US GenWeb Archives Tombstone Transcription Project.

More information about individual counties, and the records availability in those counties, can be found on the California USGenWeb pages at

1930 US Census on

After writing about the drawbacks of the 1930 U.S. Census Indexing on, I was happy to hear this at the bloggers briefing at the 2009 FGS Conference:

"The 1930 U.S. census index has been updated to include street address, dwelling and family number, and father and mother's birthplace." [Note - my interpretation of what I heard - posted here].

That sounded like some progress, and I finally had a chance to check it out yesterday. I knew that the birthplace of children was not indexed previously, so I put my mother's name (Betty Carringer) into the Search Engine with her birth year and birthplace and saw ... no matches. Hmmm. Why is that? I quickly found the 1930 census record for the family in San Diego:

Yep. There they are at 2130 Fern Street in San Diego. The Index List at the bottom of the page shows Betty Carringer, birth year about 1920, but no birthplace is listed, nor are birthplaces for her parents. The only birthplace listed in the family is for the head-of-household, Betty's father, Lyle Carringer.

The entry in the Index List for the non-entered birthplaces says "Add," so I did. I clicked on the "Update" link for Betty, selected "Birthplace" and filled in the blank with "California:"

That worked. So I added birthplaces for everybody in the household, and the birthplaces of their parents too, based on the entries in the census record page. After all of that, my grandparents family now has the birthplaces entered for them. Here's what it looks like:

So I had to Do It Myself. I'm not going to do everyone's birthplace, though! Nope. But soon, when these updates are added to the index for the 1930 US Census, I will be able to put my mother's name and birthplace into the Search field and find the census record without having to remember that it was not indexed originally by

So - did I misunderstand the people at the FGS Conference? Apparently - they must have said:

"The 1930 U.S. census index has been updated to permit users to include street address, dwelling and family number, and father and mother's birthplace." said some time ago that they would spend some funds and time to correct poor indexes - I hope they improve the 1930 U.S. census, especially by adding the birthplaces, and the birthplaces of the parents, of all persons. That would bring the 1930 Census index up to the standards set by the 1900, 1910 and 1920 census records on and the 1930 Census index on

Full disclosure: I am still not an employee, contractor or affiliate of I have paid for a US Deluxe subscription to The comments and opinions above are my own.

Found some new cousins!

I love it when I find some distant cousins I didn't know about. Now I can add Ben Affleck and Matt Damon to my Christmas family newsletter list!

The Boston Herald newspaper article yesterday, titled Ben Affleck and Matt Damon: Keepin’ it in the family!, by Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa, reported that actors, and best friends, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are distant cousins. Rhonda McClure and Chris Child at the New England Historic Genealogical Society did the research.

Ben Affleck:

Matt Damon:

The article has a link to a descendants chart for both men. Their common ancestors are William Knowlton (1615-1655) and Elizabeth ____ who settled in Ipswich, Massachusetts. Here's the chart:

How am I connected to Ben and Matt? Well, I have a descent from William Knowlton's (1615-1655) parents, William Knowlton (1584-1639) and Ann Elizabeth Smith (????-1675). Here is my line:

1. William Knowlton (1584-1639) and Ann Elizabeth Smith (????-1675)
2. John Knowlton (1610-1654) and Marjery ____ (????-ca 1654)
3. John Knowlton (1633-1684) and Deborah Grant (1637-ca 1666)
4. Nathaniel Knowlton (16587-1726) and Deborah Jewett (1664-1743)
5. Nathaniel Knowlton (1684-1760) and Mary Bennett (1686-1717)
6. Jeremiah Knowlton (1713-1752) and Sarah Allen (1717-1796)
7. Jeremiah Knowlton (1745-????) and Abigail Pierce (1750-1776)
8. Abigail Knowlton (1774-1855) and Nathan Gates (1767-1830)
9. Abigail Gates (1797-1867) and Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825)
10. Isaac Seaver (1823-1901) and Lucretia Smith (1827-1884)
11. Frank W. Seaver (1852-1922) and Hattie Hildreth (1857-1920)
12. Frederick W. Seaver (1876-1942) and Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962)
13. Frederick W. Seaver (1911-1983) and Betty V. Carringer (1919-2002)
14. Randall J. Seaver (1943-....)

So, I am a 11th cousin once removed to Ben Affleck and a 12th cousin to Matt Damon. Who knew? See any resemblance between the three of us? I thought not! After 12 generations, we share maybe 1/4,096 of the same genes. Obviously, they got some good hair genes, eh?

Boy, are my cousins going to be excited about this! They didn't believe me at first when I told them they were related to Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, then they scoffed at my claim that we were cousins to Barack Obama, but now they'll be ecstatic about cousins Matt and Ben!

Are there any readers that have these Knowltons in Ipswich MA? We are cousins too, and you are cousins with Matt and Ben. Please let me know!

Thursday, October 8, 2009 Old Search vs. New Search Update continues to impress me and frustrate me. As an user, I really appreciate the available databases, the search algorithms, and the communication efforts of staff. I just wish that there would be more consistency with the Search tables and help functions.

At the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in Little Rock, the team said that they want one search experience, but that they are not satisfied with the New Search screen yet, and will work with it some more, and that about 70% of searches are done in New Search now (paraphrased in my notes here).

Experienced users of understand that there are four available Search screens from the Home Page at

1) "Old" Search -- basic search (from Home Page, has Exact Match check box)):

2) "Old" Search - advanced search (link from Home Page, has Exact Match check boxes):

3) "New" Search - Basic Search (from Home Page, has no Exact Match check box):

4) "New" Search - Advanced Search (link from home page, has Exact Match check boxes):

Shouldn't all of the available Search tables have a check box for Exact Matches? No wonder users of "New" Search are often confused (believe me, when I help my society colleagues, they are really confused sometimes! They are using New Search because it is the default when they log in to, and they have no clue as to how to change it, or even that there is an "Old" Search).

There is a link to "Advanced Search" on the "Old" Search Home Page down in the right-hand corner of the Search table.

In "New" Search from the Home Page, the Basic Search table says "Advanced" in the upper right-hand corner, but it isn't the Advanced Search table. If you click on the "Advanced" link, then you get the "New" Search Advanced Search table, which includes the "Match all Terms Exactly"check boxes for each item.

The "Old" Search table has a link for "Search Tips" that produces a page with four line items (you have to click on each item to see the content):

Here is a screen shot of the top part of these Search Tips:

However, the "New" Search tables on the Home Page do not provide a link for these "Search Tips." Shouldn't these Search Tips be offered on the Home Page Search table for "New" Search users?

I continue to be frustrated by "New" Search every time I try it. It just seems like it is more "work" than "Old" Search, probably because I always use Exact Matches for my searches (and have to click to "Advanced Search" to use it). I much prefer having the current Search table at the bottom of the Search Matches page in "Old" Search, although the "Hot Key" feature in "New" Search provides an equivalent capability (but my guess is that only a few users actually know about it).

Perhaps my frustration above stems from using the Home Page ( when I go to the web site. Using the "Search" tab in ( provides a somewhat different presentation of the Search table, including a "Learning Resources" box on the right of the screen. There is a link for "Show Advanced" on the Basic Search box to go to the Advanced Search box, and "Hide Advanced" on the Advanced Search box. There are also links to "Old Search" and "New Search" on these pages, which are helpful.

How many users click on the "Search" tab when they go into Why should they? There is a Search field right on the Home Page screen (assuming that the user has customized their home page to put it at the top - I have, because it's what I want to use first on

My recommendations for (not requested, but offered freely here!) are:

* Make the Search Tables on the Home Page and Search tab similar
* Include an "Exact Matches only" check box on all Search Tables
* Put "Old Search" and "New Search" links on all Search Table pages
* Add the "Search Tips" link to all Search Table pages.

Along these lines, I noted that there will be a Webinar on 14 October for Best Strategies for Searching on

Full disclosure: I am not an employee, contractor or affiliate of I am a paid subscriber with a U.S. Deluxe subscription.

Colleen Fitzpatrick's Articles in "Orange County Register"

I love it when genealogy and family history research is publicized in the newspapers or in magazines. We had Megan Smolenyak's articles yesterday that continued to resonate in the media today, and we've had the articles about Colleen Fitzpatrick's research in the Orange County (CA) Register over the past week. It's all good!

The four article series about Colleen Fitzpatrick's forensic genealogy cases was completed today. The links to the four articles in the Orange County Register, written by Tom Berg, are here:

* 2 October -- Is she the world's greatest DNA detective? This article describes the mystery man puzzle, and how Colleen came to be a DNA detective.

* 6 October -- A frozen arm in the snow. Whose is it? A severed and frozen arm was found in the ice at a 1948 airplane crash in Alaska. Whose was it? Colleen found a mitochondrial DNA match with a man in Ireland and solved the identity problem.

* 7 October -- Unlocking a Titanic mystery. This article summarizes Colleen's effort to find the identity of the Unknown Child from the Titanic, based on three teeth and a pair of shoes.

* 8 October -- Can she find a name for naked, beaten amnesiac This article discusses the search for Benjaman Kyle's real identity - it has stumped Colleen so far.

These four articles demonstrate that even seemingly unsolvable genealogy mysteries can be worked on and solved. The methods that Colleen uses are the same methods that most genealogists and family historians use in their research. I found the articles to be inspirational and excellent examples that reflect the very best in genealogy research.

Thank you, Colleen, for sharing your stories. Now, about Benjaman, have you put him on America's Most Wanted? Or Dancing with the Stars? How about a meeting with President Obama? Or a spot on the Super Bowl telecast? He really needs more exposure.

"Stones, Bones and Ancient Tomes" Seminar at Corona on 17 October

Hey Southern Californians - are you free on Saturday, 17 October?

The Corona (CA) Genealogical Society (CGS) provides a yearly seminar for the public to learn about family history and genealogy called "Stones, Bones and Ancient Tomes" during Family History Month at the Corona Public Library (650 South Main Street, near 6th Street in Corona).

The seminar is on Saturday, 17 October, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Information is available on the CGS web site here.

Look at the features and events offered at this event:

* AT LEAST TWO Internet stations to look up immigration and census records hosted by Noella and Roger Benvenuti
* Ernest Martinez will again host a Hispanic Genealogy display and assisted those interested in researching their Latino roots
* The Aurantia (Riverside) chapter of the DAR will be on hand to help folks research their patriot ancestors
* The surname board display so people can connect with others researching their same ancestors
* A "handouts" table with flyers and freebies (with tote bags to get it all home) - with thanks to RootsMagic,,, World Vital Records, Heritage Books, and others for sending along items to give away

* Photo restoration helps, this year hosted by society member Edwin Stow
* A display of the history of the Corona Genealogical Society (thanks to Sherry Jones) as well as a membership table (thanks to Jerry Manriquez) so new members can join right there
* The Sunnyslope Cemetery Book display
* Kenny Hedgpeth, DNA expert, will again host a table on using that resource in doing family history
* Helen Woods will return for the 3rd year to host a table on doing African American Research

* Debbie Stuckert will return for her 3rd year as host of the Native American Research table
* A scrapbooking table providing folks with ideas and helps on preserving family history with that medium, this year hosted by Society member Colleen Sanders
* Door prizes to be given away throughout the event


* Display table for historic Riverside County, including the annual Sunnyslope Cemetery Stroll (scheduled for 25 Oct), hosted by Diane S. Wright & Kathleen Dever
* Explanation of the 2010 Census - hosted by Mary Anne Vincent
* Professional genealogist Mara Fein hosting a table on doing Jewish genealogy research
* Display and demonstrations about music and period instruments and how they were employed by our ancestors, hosted by Jean & Butch Hibben
* World Vital Records table, hosted by Gena Philibert Ortega, representative for WVR & the new GenealogyWise social networking website

* 1/2-hour classes as follows (starting at 10:45 a.m.):

** The Corona Genealogical Society Overview - Debbie Stuckert, CGS founding member
** Beginning Family History - Len Enlow, CGS founding member
** How to Use World Vital Records - Gena Ortega, professional genealogist
** Corona Family History Center - Jim Miller, FHC director
** The 2010 Census - Mary Anne Vincent, CGS VP & Census worker
** Library Resources for Genealogy - Corona Public Library staff member

There are lots of excellent opportunities for beginning and advanced genealogists to enjoy at this seminar. The Corona Genealogical Society has put together one of the very best Family History Month programs to introduce the public to the wonders of genealogy and family history research.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

SDGS Seminar on 14 November:

The San Diego Genealogical Society will have an All-Day Seminar on Saturday, 14 November featuring Here is the announcement from the SDGS Newsletter:

On November 14th, replacing our regular monthly meeting, we will be having an all-day seminar featuring -- the largest online genealogy research service. It is titled: Everyone Has a Story -- Discover Yours! company representatives will be with us and give four presentations covering how to get the most from They will cover:

1) The best strategies for getting the most out of,

2) Tapping into the and Rootsweb community,

3) The Ancestry World Archives Project

4) Publishing and printing using ‘My Canvas’.

There will certainly be something of interest to researchers at all levels. If you haven’t used Ancestry or feel you’re not getting the most out of your time online, this seminar is a ‘must’.

The event will be held at the Handlery Hotel in Mission Valley. The cost for the meeting, including lunch, will be $30 for members and $35 for nonmembers. A delicious boxed lunch will be served with a croissant sandwich (choice of ham, turkey, roast beef or grilled vegetables), potato chips, whole fruit, cookie and beverage. Reservations are required, so look for the reservation flyer in this Newsletter and on our web site. The meeting will also be promoted by and we expect a record turnout, so be sure get your reservations in early. There is limited seating so mail your reservation form and check in today so you won’t miss this exciting and information packed seminar. There will be an ‘opportunity drawing’ for an Annual World Deluxe membership. Tickets will be on sale at our meetings and through our web site -- a $300 value. Be sure to enter.

The seminar runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Handlery Hotel in Mission Valley is located at 950 Hotel Circle North in Mission Valley (between I-5 and I-15).

The registration form is on the SDGS web site here.

I'm looking forward to hearing what has to say in this seminar. I missed a similar set of presentations at the FGS Conference in Little Rock.

This type of seminar is a win-win for both and the society - may gain new subscribers and SDGS may gain new members.

Michelle Obama's Roots - Video and Article

Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak has worked on the ancestry and family history of several current political figures. Her latest subject is Michelle (Robinson) Obama, wife of President Barack Obama (my cousin!).

Megan's search for the First Lady's heritage, and in particular the migration from the American South to Chicago, Illinois, are presented in the video. The video includes details about Michelle's Native and Irish heritage, free and enslaved ancestors, ten states that claim a piece of Michelle's past, and which relative invented a marble shooter!

The video is online at Roots Television in Michelle Obama's Roots.

There is an article in The New York Times today, by Rachel L. Swarns and Jodi Kantor titled "In First Lady’s Roots, a Complex Path From Slavery." The article provides more details about the life of Melvina, one of Michelle's slave ancestors.
Both the video and the article are excellent pieces of genealogy research work that demonstrate that genealogy research can unearth significant details in African-American families back to the time of the Civil War, and occasionally back into the 1700s.

The stories of Michelle's ancestors also demonstrate, to me at least, that any person in present-day America can succeed in life through education and determination.

Now I'm wondering if there are any genea-bloggers related to Michelle?

Nice work, Megan! I love it when genealogy research receive favorable publicity in the media.

UPDATED: I wonder if there is a male line from the son Dolphus Shields down to present-day Shields males. If so, then a Y-DNA test might confirm a white Shields paternity for Dolphus if they can find a white male Shields descendant from the 1850's Shields family.

The Genea-Monster Mash

Someone has way too much time on their hands, and is wonderfully creative!

Check out this seasonal video starring, well, see if you can guess who!

The Genea-Monster Mash!!

UPDATED 5 p.m. OK, now we know who did it... I'm surprised that she didn't put it on her blog!

SDGS Meeting -- Gena Ortega on "Using Google for Your Genealogy"

The next meeting of the San Diego Genealogical Society is at 12 noon on Saturday, 10 October, at St. Andrew's Methodist Church (8350 Lake Murray Blvd., at Jackson Drive) in San Diego.

The program speaker is Gena Philibert Ortega on "Using Google for Your Genealogy." The program description and Gena's curriculum vitae are (from the SDGS Newsletter):

Everyone knows what a great search engine Google is but not every family historian knows the many other features it has that can enhance your research. Our presentation will explore the less used aspects of Google like Books, Picasa,
Docs, Maps, World, Archives, etc. If you don’t feel you are getting the most out of this powerful search engine and its many other programs, you need to attend this meeting. You will be amazed at what it can do to take your research to whole new levels.

Our presenter, Gena Philibert Ortega, is a professional genealogist, helping others research their family history. She also teaches classes and workshops in genealogical research techniques. As an author, she writes articles for the online newsletter, Genweekly, published by Genealogy Today. In addition, she has written a book, Cemeteries of the Eastern Sierra published by Arcadia Publishing.

Gena has a master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (Psychology and Women’s Studies) and also holds a Master’s degree in Religion.

You will not want to miss this special presentation that will leave you wondering how you ever got along without Google in your genealogy tool kit.

I look forward to seeing Gena again and learning more about the wonders of using Google for my genealogy research.

The Geneaholic's New Workstation

For the Geneaholic who has no time for regular life functions...

Notice the rollers on the workstation? Cool, eh?

Now where can I put all of my genealogy books and files that are not on my computer hard drive yet?

Wordy Wednesday - Family Photographs: Post 74: Georgianna (Kemp) Auble

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. So this one will be wordy...

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

The subject of this photograph is Georgianna (Kemp) Auble (1868-1952), daughter of James Abram and Mary Jane (Sovereen) Kemp, wife of Charles Auble (1849-1916) and mother of Emily Kemp (Auble) Carringer, my maternal grandmother.

This photograph was taken in about 1916. At this time, the Auble family lived at 767 14th Street in San Diego, according to San Diego City Directories. Charles Auble fell down stairs in March 1916 and died soon after. My guess is that this picture was taken before his fall and death because Georgianna is not in mourning clothes.

I digitally captioned many of these old photographs several years ago, as seen above. For the next Scanfest, I'm going to re-scan many of these photographs at higher resolution with my new printer/scanner/copier and tag the photographs rather than add a caption to the front of the digital photograph.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

NEHGS has Genealogical Journals Online webpage

The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) has created a separate web page for six scholarly genealogy periodicals called "Genealogical Journals Online: National Collection." This page is accessible to NEHGS members only.

The six journals include:

* New England Historical and Genealogical Register (1847 to present)

* New England Ancestors Magazine (2000 to present)

* The American Genealogist (1937 to present)

* The Connecticut Nutmegger (1968 to present)

* New Netherlands Connection (1996 to 2008)

* The Virginia Genealogist (1957 to 1966)

These periodicals are first and last name and subject article keyword indexed. Images of the original pages may be seen from the search results page. It is also possible to browse the pages by entering a Year (or volume number) and a page number.

Full Disclosure: I am not an employee or affiliate of NEHGS, but I am a paid-up NEHGS member and have access to these databases. No one paid me to publish this information.

Ancestry Product Updates

One section of the latest publicity email addresses Product Updates from Eric Shoup, VP Product, including:

* Family Tree Maker 2010

Since Family Tree Maker 2010 was released in mid August, initial reviews are very positive overall. Especially popular is the new ability to download a tree (including photos and stories) from into Family Tree Maker.

We are planning to release a small update to the 2010 version that will address some of the issues that have been reported in early use of the product. Of particular note are the following:

*** Improved linking to source records in trees downloaded from
*** Ability to manually download linked records
*** Fix for media item display when added to a book
*** Improved wording of custom facts in the genealogy reports
*** Improved importing from GEDCOM, PAF and Legacy
*** Other minor stability improvements

* New Tree Viewer

We have had our new tree viewer out in preview mode for a few weeks now. We’ve received more than 8,000 feedback emails so far about it. The preview will continue for several more weeks as we continue to iterate and listen to customer feedback. Stay tuned as we work to update the New Tree Viewer preview to address points of member feedback.

* New Enhanced Image Page

The new Enhanced Image Page (aka the new Content Viewer) has been in use for 2 months now. In my last update, I pondered aloud how the new editing would impact our rate of augmentations submitted by members to our indices. After 2 months of usage, members have submitted 685,000 edits. This equates to 85,000 edits per week over the last 8 weeks, which is up from 30,000 edits per week prior to the new Enhanced Image Page.

* Just Launched -- Share Records through Facebook, Twitter & Email

This week, we just added the ability to share a historical record via Facebook, Twitter and email. Once shared, your friends and family can click-through to to view the record without needing to register. This is an easy way to share your daily discoveries with people who matter to you.

We have implemented this capability in a limited way on the site to gauge interest. You are only able to share historical records and only from the Record page itself. If the response is positive, we will extend this same capability to more places on the site and to more types of media (such as photos and stories).
You can try this by going to a Record page and clicking on Share this record.
From there, you can customize the text of the post or email.

My comments:

There was also an update on the Member Connect feature.

I'm sure that all of these announcements and updates, especially the screen shots and perhaps more detail of the Sharing in Twitter, Facebook and email, will be put on the blog.

I wonder how they will distribute the updates to FTM 2010? Probably by CDROM if past history is an indicator - they haven't done any online downloads if I recall correctly.

The New Tree Viewer is useful, but seems like a small change to me and is somewhat confusing to a new user.

The New Enhanced Image Page is great and is a big change from the previous image page. I especially like seeing the index and the source citation information (such as it is). The Magnify feature is really useful, too. The user can expand the image area by clicking on the down arrow to deflate the index box and the right arrow to deflate the Member Connect/source box.

An addition or improvement that I would like to see is to be able to browse through the index page-by-page. It is much easier to read an index list of typed names than to read the handwriting on the image page.

Full disclosure (required by new FTC rules): I am not an employee, contractor or affiliate. I receive publicity emails from I have my own paid US Subscription to I have purchased Family Tree Maker 2008, 2009 and 2010, and have received complimentary copies of FTM 2009 and 2010, which I donated to my local genealogy society.

UPDATED 6 October: So my memory was faulty... Family Tree Maker updated other versions using a downloadable software patch. Sorry! You can download updates for earlier versions by using the "Help" menu in your FTM program and using the "Update" button. You have to be connected to the Internet. See more info on the FTM Support web page.

Databases Coming Soon to

From the email sent by today:

Here’s a preview of some of the Collections Coming soon to

* Improved U.S. Census Collection (1790-1840)

Description: will be release all of the early census years with improved images. These new images will prove new clarity to often difficult to read census pages.

* Improved U.S. Census Collection (1850-1870)

Description: Along with the early census year Ancestry will be releasing improved images and indexes for the census years 1850, 1860 and 1870.

* U.S. Navy Cruise Books
Est. Record Count: 500k
Est. Image County: 78k
Description: U.S. Navy Cruise Books are the equivalent of a high school yearbook for Navy ship deployments. They consist of photos of personnel, ship activities and other events of a deployment.

* Historic Postcards Collection, c. 1893-1963

Est. Record Count: 23k
Est. Image Count: 41k
Description: The current database contains approximately 200,000 postcards dating from about 1893-1960, information provided about each postcard includes: place information, caption, and year range. This addition will include postcards from NJ, SC, CT, WI, WA, TN, IA, VA, IN, MI

At the briefing for bloggers at the FGS Conference, said that they had released almost all of the databases that they had listed in the December 2008 "Coming Soon" page, and listed more databases that would be coming soon. has apparently taken down their "Coming Soon" page that I summarized back in August. I do have screen shots of the August page...

At the FGS Conference meeting, they said that they will not provide "forward looking" announcements because of SEC restrictions.

Full disclosure: I am not an employee or affiliate. I do receive publicity emails from I have my own paid US Subscription to teams with NARA has announced that they expanded their relationship with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) that enables the company to digitize NARA record collections at a new facility in the Washington, D.C., area. The press release of this announcement can be read online in the press room at

The first two collections scanned at this new facility are described below:

* Honolulu, Hawaii Passenger Lists, 1900-1953 – The Honolulu Passenger Lists consists of inbound vessel passenger manifests for the period February 1900 to December 1953 and provides a unique insight into non-traditional ports of entry.

* Death Reports of American Citizens Abroad, 1910-1974 – Death Reports of American Citizens Abroad includes records of the U.S. consular officers that reported to the Department of State the names of U.S. citizens who died within their consular districts. These death reports commonly provide acceptable documentation in the English language for cases in which satisfactory proof of an American death might be very difficult to obtain in any other form.

You can view the full list of databases recently added by, extending back a couple of months, at

Full disclosure: I am not an employee or affiliate. I do receive publicity emails from I have my own paid US Subscription to

Monday, October 5, 2009

Vote for Your Favorite Genealogy Blogs

The polls are now open until 5 November at Family Tree Magazine for voting on your favorite genealogy blogs. The categories (described in detail on The Genealogy Insider blog post) , and number of blogs to vote for in each category, are:

* All-Around (vote for 3)

* Cemeteries (vote for 2)

* Genealogy Companies (vote for 1)

* Genetic Genealogy (vote for 1)

* Heritage (vote for 4)

* How To (vote for 3)

* Local/Regional (vote for 3)

* News/Resources - vote for 4)

* Photos/Heirlooms (vote for 2)

* Personal/Family (vote for 12)

The wonderful and thoughtful footnoteMaven has listed links to all of the nominated blogs in her post here.

I like that they have broken the blogs into categories, that the order in the list is tandom (it changes every time you go to the list), and that we can vote for a number of blogs in each category. There are 131 blogs on the nomination form.

You can vote any number of times - you just need to follow the directions.

Genea-Musings is in the All-Around category. Thank you to those who nominated this blog, and I will greatly appreciate your votes.

What happens after 5 November? The Genealogy Insider blog post says:

"The top 80 vote-getting blogs will make it through to a "final" round, and our editorial staff will select 40 blogs from that list. The Family Tree 40 will be announced in the May 2010 Family Tree Magazine and in the Genealogy Insider e-mail newsletter."

Family Tree Maker 2010 Webinar Available

The Family Tree Maker 2010 Webinar, given on Wednesday, 30 September, is now available.

All of the Webinars are listed at

The Family Tree Maker 2010 webinar is here. You have to register with your name and an email address in order to watch and hear the webinar.

Michele Pfister moderated this webinar, and Duff Wilson described the FTM 2010 features in the first 24 minutes, and the balance of the webinar (total of 58 minutes) addresses questions submitted on their blog and by webinar registrants.

I learned a few things from watching this webinar - one being that I could see the Places associated with events for one person, or for up to four generations of a family, by using the Person index in the Places workspace. That had escaped me before.

If you are using FTM 2010 and have a free hour, watch and listen to the webinar.

A recap of this webinar was posted on the blog. has a number of helpful webinars available on their Webinar page for viewing and listening. There is no cost to participate in and/or view the webinars.

"Is She the World's Greatest DNA Detective?"

The Orange County (CA) Register newspaper ran an article by Tom Berg on Friday, 2 October with this title about my genealogy friend, Colleen Fitzpatrick (, The web page has a heading "She's part Sherlock Holmes, part Miss Marple, and a lot CSI." The article talks a bit about Colleen and her search for the identity of "Benjaman Kyle," the man with amnesia found near Savannah, Georgia in 2004.

Read the entire article - it is an excellent summary of Colleen's life and one of the cases that has stumped her, and others. It even lists her telephone number and email address.

There are seven photographs on the page - click through each of them and read the captions too.

Three more stories are planned --

* Tuesday, October 6 -- Fitzpatrick tracks a severed arm halfway around the world

* Wednesday, October 7 -- Three tiny teeth tell the story of the Titanic's "Unknown Child."

* Thursday, October 8 -- Will the Man With No Memory be the first case Fitzpatrick can't solve?

I'm looking forward to all three of these articles.

On the one hand, I am happy that Colleen is getting this publicity because it is a major and favorable boost for Genetic Genealogy and Forensic Genealogy.

However, I think the headline is misleading. There are many DNA detectives out there, and Colleen is one of the best. But I would not put her in the same class as, say, Bryan Sykes.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Best of the Genea-Blogs - September 27 - October 3, 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:

* DropBox: Why You Need This Program by Dick Eastman on the Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter blog. Dick finds these computer gems and tells us about them. This one looks really useful for those of us with more than one computer.

* Finding Sources For IGI Records by the writer of The Ancestry Insider blog. Mr. AI contributes a very welcome tutorial on sources for the IGI records.

* Whatever happened to genealogical evidence standards? and A little more on proof in genealogy by James Tanner on the Genealogy's Star blog. James describes his experiences and frustrations with genealogists who don't understand the need for standards.

* You Don't Know What You Don't Know by Tim Cox on the California Genealogical Society and Library blog. Tim's research experiences parallel those of many researchers - and we should all heed his recommendations.

* Graveyard Rabbits Carnival – October 2009 Edition by Julie Cahill Tarr on The Graveyard Rabbit blog. There were 8 entries in this carnival on the subject of "Funeral Cards."

* More Stirrings from Matilda and Blessings from the Ancestors by Mavis Jones on the Georgia Black Crackers blog. Mavis finds some hidden treasures and then reconnects with some probable cousins.

* The Mysteries of Adline Gines & Belle Wheeler by Craig Manson on the Geneablogie blog. It seems that Craig solves more research mysteries each month than I identify in a year. I love how he tells us about the problems, the research and the solutions. There are lessons her for everybody.

* New (and new to me) Genealogical Serendipity by Janet Hovorka on The Chart Chick blog. Janet collects serendipity stories, and has some good ones for us, and some links to others.

* Look out world - here comes the iceberg! by Tami Glatz on the relatively curious about genealogy blog. Tami comments on the news that most of the FHL microfilms have been digitized.

* Mourning Visiting Cards by footnoteMaven on the Shades of the Departed blog. fM tells us about visiting cards and mourning cards from the Victorian era.

* Google Wave Will Revolutionize Collaborative Genealogy by Jordan Jones on the the blog. Jordan describes how Google Wave may impact genealogy research - fascinating.

* Identity Theft is Usually an Unsophisticated Crime by Dick Eastman on the Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter blog.

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.