Saturday, November 14, 2009

SDGS Family History Seminar Highlights

I had an enjoyable day at the San Diego Genealogical Society (SDGS) meeting today - it was an Family History Seminar at The Handlery Hotel and Resort in Mission Valley (in San Diego), from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. About 300 were in attendance (I heard that 170 were SDGS members, the rest were guests), including several from Orange County and Riverside County. The meeting room was packed wall-to-wall, and two projectors and large screens were used to show the Powerpoint and online presentations.

During the day, there were four presentations, along with the SDGS elections and announcements, a nice box lunch, document and photo scanning sessions, and door prize drawings. The four presentations by Suzanne Russo Adams of were:

1. "The Best Strategies for Getting the Most Out of"

This was a combination of two parts of the handout - "Getting the Most from" covered the goals and vision of the company,, and briefly described the site tools and products. The mission of was "To help everyone discover, preserve and share their family history." Site content was described as Data Content (records, document images, etc.), Rich Content (photos, postcards, yearbooks, maps) and Member Contributed Content (Family Trees, Photos, Stories, Self-Published Books). Brief mention was made of the Learning Center and Expert Connect features on

The second part of the handout was "Best Search Strategies for," and in this part of the first presentation, Suzanne described the Home Page, the different Search Strategies that can be used, and provided recommendations for doing a "Top down approach" and key pieces of a "Global ranked search." The inherent problems associated with name spellings, dates and ages, place names and relationships were explored. The use of search tools like Name Authority lists, Ranked searches using Soundex methods, the Lifespan filter, Location selection lists, Wildcards, Keyword exact phrases, and Family Tree leaves/hints were discussed and demonstrated. Searching within a category (e.g., census records, military records) and searching within specific data collections (e.g., the 1920 census, the New York Passenger Lists) were discussed. Only "New Search" with "Ranked matches" were demonstrated - no "Exact matches" or "Old Search" were shown, but were briefly mentioned. A show of hands indicated that very few (less than 5%) of the attendees even knew there was an "Old Search."

Based on a show of hands, I estimated that about 70% of the attendees were Ancestry subscribers, about 30% have Ancestry Member Trees, about 30% considered themselves beginners, about 50% intermediate, and about 20% advanced researchers.

2. "Tapping into the Ancestry and Rootsweb Community"

The handout for this talk included details about the Learning Center, the Collaborate features (Family Trees, Public Profiles, Member Directory, Member Connections, and Message Boards), RootsWeb features (My Account, WorldConnect, Mailing Lists, Hosted Websites, Databases, RootsWeb Guide to Tracing Family Trees, RootsWeb Review, etc.), but Suzanne focused her presentation on Mailing Lists, Message Boards, Family Trees and Member Connections.

Suggestions for effective mailing list and message board submissions were made. Ancestry Member Trees were described and demonstrated in some detail, noting that any registered person can have a Member Tree (either Public or Private) on These trees can be input one person at a time or a GEDCOM file, created by a software program, can be uploaded to Ancestry. One of the questions was about how long the Member Tree would be on the site, and the answer was "forever," even if the submitter ends their subscription or dies, unless the user deletes the tree. A non-subscriber cannot attach records from databases to their tree, but they can upload images to their own tree, and can search Public Member Trees. The ability of a user to upload a tree directly from Family Tree Maker 2010, or download a tree directly to Family Tree Maker 2010, or to upload a GEDCOM file from another software program, and to download a GEDCOM file from for any software program, was described. Where should a user keep their "master" file? Suzanne keeps hers on her computer, not online on

The Member Connections aspect of was a major focus of this presentation. There are three main places to find Member connect on - on the enhanced image page (the user can see which users have saved, commented on or added to a certain database record or image); in Family Trees (the user can determine which persons in their family trees are shared with other users, can contact each other and share research); and the Recent Member Connect Activities list on the Home Page (the user can receive a list of information added to or copied from or to their own Member Tree). The user can communicate anonymously (if they wish) with other users via an online message system (subscribers only).

3. "The Ancestry World Archives Project"

In the third session, Suzanne briefly described the "journey of a record" from discovery, acquisition, digitization, indexing, data preparation to posting online. She showed several slides of books and records that needed extensive preparation before they could be digitized, including the Gretna Green, Scotland records and the 1851 UK Census for Manchester. The use of document forensics to bring invisible writing to visibility was shown. For some records, 25 to 30% of the images are indeterminate or illegible.

The World Archives Project was discussed in much detail - the goals are preservation and accessibility of historical records. This is a volunteer project for individuals and societies or groups that can index imaged records using an Ancestry provided keying tool. Indexing is done by two different volunteers, and an arbitrator settles disputes.

SDGS is participating in this Project, and members are indexing California Naturalization Originals, 1795-1872 (25% complete) for San Diego (1883-1936) and Los Angeles Counties (1887-1942), and Southern California Naturalization Indexes (81% complete).

The Archives Project results in free indexes for everybody on, and volunteers with high keying rates can obtain subscription discounts. If the society or group provided the records for scanning and indexing, then the society receives the index and a digital copy of the database for their own use.

Suzanne noted that projects are selected by the local societies or groups. The keying tool works on a MacIntosh computer if the user has a Windows simulator like Parallels. The Index arbitrator can decide to use either index result, or create their own. is combining some indexes with FamilySearch for census and other records.

4. "Publishing and Printing Using 'MyCanvas' "

This session covered using the "MyCanvas" program, part of the site tools, to create and print custom family history books, posters, and calendars to showcase your family history research and make gifts to share with your family. This is a "Print on Demand" system - you make it, you can print it, or you can pat for a professionally produced book based on your selected content. The process relies on your Ancestry Member Tree for the names, dates and places, and the user can attach photographs and document images to create the MyCanvas product. The steps to creating the work is fairly simple - choose a size and format for the book, choose a start person from your tree, import data and records from your tree, add stories, documents, maps and more, choose layouts, backgrounds, frames and embellishments, etc. The page order can be modified as the user wishes. Pedigree charts, family group sheets and timelines can be created by the program. Notes and stories can be added to text boxes by typing into the text box or pasting from another document.

Creating the book or other article is free to anyone - they can create the family tree, upload their documents and photos, add or edit facts, sources and notes, etc. Up to five generations from the selected person can be included in the book, up to a maximum of 250 pages.

The book or other article can be printed to the user's printer, but cannot be saved on the user's computer. The book is saved on the computer system, and can be accessed and edited at any time, even by another family member invited to do so by the creator. If the user wishes to have the book published by MyCanvas, price estimates are available based on cover style, binding type, and then umber of pages in the book.

Suzanne spent considerable time in this session demonstrating how to create a book from an Ancestry Member Tree, and then she manipulated book content from a previously created book to show how easy it was to add content, edit content, move pages around, add backgrounds and embellishments, etc. The audience gasped at times by how easy it was to perform these tasks, but there is a learning curve involved!


This seminar ran like clockwork - right on time, all of the equipment worked well, and the business parts of the meeting were concise and informative. It was an excellent opportunity for and SDGS to display their wares and opportunities. SDGS had tables at the back of the room to offer memberships, sell opportunity drawing tickets, sell books, sell snacks, and provide water glasses. offered the use of two scanning machines during the day to SDGS members to scan their documents and photographs and copy them to a member's USB drive. SDGS volunteers were trained to perform the scanning work, and many members had their precious family history albums, loose or framed pictures scanned during 15-minute sessions. is leaving one of these machines for SDGS to use at the SDGS library for member use.

A box lunch was provided with a croissant sandwich, banana, chips, cookies and a soft drink. Folks ate in one of the nearby dining rooms or outside in several patio areas at the hotel. I shared a table with six other people and we talked about and SDGS.

There were door prize drawings at each break for three books published by, and for passes to the Marston House in Balboa Park donated by SOHO. At the end of the seminar, there was a drawing for an world Deluxe subscription. Suzanne Adams will draw another World Deluxe subscription winner from the seminar evaluation sheets turned in at the end of the day.

All in all, this seminar was an excellent genealogy day - it was action packed, educational and entertaining. Thanks to Suzanne Russo Adams, Anastasia Tyler and Laryn Brown from, and to SDGS President Marna Clemons, Program Chair Suzette Aprea, and many other SDGS board members and willing workers.

Needless to say, I could not capture every pertinent or useful statement made during the presentations, so I've tried to summarize, in some detail, the highlights from each session, based on my own notes and recollections. Hopefully, other attendees will report on their impressions and conclusions. If other attendees want to be a "reporter" for a day, I'll be happy to publish their reports on this blog. Please email me at with your submissions. I know that Chris on the San Diego Genealogical Society blog will also post articles or reports from other members also.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -- A Nice Thing

It's Saturday Night - time for lots of Genealogy Fun!

Here is your genealogy writing mission, if you decide to accept it (cue the Mission: Impossible music...):

1. What is the Nicest Thing another genealogist did for you, or to you, in the last week or so? (If you have no examples for this past week, go back in time - surely someone has done a nice thing for you in recent years!).

2. Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, in a comment on Facebook, or in a tweet on Twitter.

Here's mine (I have two from today):

1) Martin Hollick, author of The Slovak Yankee blog (you do read Martin's blog, don't you? It's excellent for New England researchers), commented on my NEHGS post yesterday, saying:

"Saw your comment on Eliza(beth) Horton Dill and read your postings on her. I was at the NEHGS library today and thought I would look into it. Thomas Dill leaves no probate at Barnstable Co. However, in 1821 a Thomas Dill was placed in guardianship for spendthrift. Didn't look at that although it could be that Thomas was getting senile and his kids had to reel him in. NEHGS doesn't have the Barnstable deeds but they exist after 1827 (when the fire happened), so a good quitclaim deed may be in the offing for you."

He continues with analysis of my Elizabeth Horton (Dill) Smith research problem, with expert opinion based on years of experience and knowledge. Very nice!!! I really appreciate Martin's effort, analysis and encouragement. It is often useful to have another pair of eyes stare at your research problem and analyze it for you. Unfortunately, I've searched the particular probate record and the land records, and cannot find anything that ties Elizabeth to that particular Thomas Dill of Eastham MA, although I'm pretty sure that he is her father. I'm still not tying her to Thomas and Hannah (Horton) Dill because of the conflicting evidence on her two death records naming her parents, which I cannot resolve yet.

2) Yesterday, for Follow Friday (another "official" daily blogging theme), Amy Coffin, who writes the We Tree blog (which now has a nice picture of Amy - it used to have a waffle image in the shape of Texas - I like Amy's photo much better) mentioned my name and Genea-Musings as worthy of being followed. Thank you, Amy. That was really nice of you. I appreciate it! I've enjoyed getting to know Amy at Jamboree and the FGS Conference.

P.S. would someone be nice enough to tweet the appearance of this post for me? I'm at the SDGS seminar all day today!

Surname Saturday - AUBLE/ABLE

On Surname Saturday, I am posting my known family line for the selected surname in ahnentafel format (with myself as #1).

Today's featured Surname is AUBLE (and the earlier variant, ABLE) - pronounced by my grandmother as in "awe-bull."

Here is my AUBLE/ABLE line (with myself as #1 in the Ahnentafel list):

1. Randall J. Seaver (1943-....)

2. Frederick W. Seaver (1911-1983)
3. Betty Virginia Carringer (1919-2002)

6. Lyle Lawrence Carringer (1891-1976)
7. Emily Kemp Auble, born 19 August 1899 in Chicago, Cook County, IL; died 19 June 1977 in San Diego, San Diego County, CA. She married (1) Lyle Lawrence Carringer 19 June 1918 in San Diego, San Diego County, CA.

14. Charles Auble, born 31 October 1849 in prob. Newton, Sussex County, NJ; died 23 March 1916 in San Diego, San Diego County, CA. He was the son of 4. David Auble and 5. Sarah G. Knapp. He married 3. Georgianna/Georgia Kemp 19 June 1898 in Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, WI.
15. Georgianna/Georgia Kemp, born 04 August 1868 in Middleton Township, Norfolk County, ONTARIO; died 08 November 1952 in San Diego, San Diego County, CA. She was the daughter of 6. James Abram Kemp and 7. Mary Jane Sovereen. Child of Charles Auble and Georgianna/Georgia Kemp is:
..7...... i. Emily Kemp Auble, born 19 August 1899 in Chicago, Cook County, IL; died 19 June 1977 in San Diego, San Diego County, CA; married Lyle Lawrence Carringer 19 June 1918 in San Diego, San Diego County, CA.

28. David Auble, born 1817 in Stillwater, Sussex County, NJ; died 22 March 1894 in Terre Haute, Vigo County, IN. He married 29. Sarah G. Knapp About 1844 in Newton, Sussex County, NJ.
29. Sarah G. Knapp, born January 1818 in prob. Woodbridge, Middlesex County, NJ; died Aft. 1900 in prob. Bushnell, McDonough County, IL. Children of David Auble and Sarah Knapp are:
..........i. William A. Auble, born About 1845 in prob. Newton, Sussex County, NJ; died Bef. 24 January 1901 in Prob. Danville, Vermillion County, IL; married Mary S. Thompson 28 March 1880 in Terre Haute, Vigo County, IN; born May 1860 in IL; died February 1927 in Danville, Vermillion County, IL.
..........ii. Frances M. Auble, born October 1846 in prob. Newton, Sussex County, NJ; died 08 January 1917 in Terre Haute, Vigo, IN.
..14....iii. Charles Auble, born 31 October 1849 in prob. Newton, Sussex County, NJ; died 23 March 1916 in San Diego, San Diego County, CA; married Georgianna/Georgia Kemp 19 June 1898 in Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, WI.
..........iv. Katherine Auble, born October 1851 in prob. Newark, Union County, NJ.
.......... v. Anna Auble, born February 1860 in prob. Newark, Union County, NJ; married Henry S. Bunton 17 December 1888 in Terre Haute, Vigo County, IN; born March 1856 in IN; died Bef. 1910 in prob. Bushnell, McDonough County, IL. Cora Auble, born About 1862 in prob. Newark, Union County, NJ.

56. Johannes/John Able/Auble, born 11 March 1780 in New Germantown, Hunterdon County, NJ. He married 9. Anna Rau/Row 15 July 1804 in New Germantown, Hunterdon County, NJ.
57. Anna Rau/Row, born About 1787 in New Germantown, Hunterdon County, NJ; died 12 June 1860 in Stillwater, Sussex County, NJ. Children of Johannes/John Able/Auble and Anna Rau/Row are:
..........i. Elizabeth Auble, born About 1814 in Sussex County, NJ.
..28...ii. David Auble, born 1817 in Stillwater, Sussex County, NJ; died 22 March 1894 in Terre Haute, Vigo County, IN; married Sarah G. Knapp About 1844 in Newton, Sussex County, NJ.
..........iii. William Auble, born About 1820 in Sussex County, NJ; died Bef. 10 September 1844 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, PA.
..........iv. Hampton Auble, born About 1827 in Sussex County, NJ.
..........v. Robert Auble, born 20 June 1830 in Sussex County, NJ; died 04 February 1920 in Blairstown, Warren County, NJ; married Ellen E. Hartman Bef. 1858 in NJ; born 25 June 1833 in NJ; died 25 July 1894 in Blairstown, Warren County, NJ.

112. Johannes Able, born About 1758 in Roxbury, Morris county, NJ; died About 1818 in Sussex County, NJ. He married 17. Sophia Trimmer 30 January 1777 in Oldwick, Hunterdon County, NJ (CR).
113. Sophia Trimmer, born 1747 in Hunterdon County, NJ; died Bef. 1811 in Sussex County, NJ. Children of Johannes Able and Sophia Trimmer are:
..........i. Anna Maria Able, born 13 April 1778 in New Germantown, Hunterdon County, NJ; died in (young).
..56... ii. Johannes/John Able/Auble, born 11 March 1780 in New Germantown, Hunterdon County, NJ; married Anna Rau/Row 15 July 1804 in New Germantown, Hunterdon County, NJ.
..........iii. Anna Maria Able, born 11 May 1784 in New Germantown, Hunterdon County, NJ; married Samuel Ogden 28 March 1803 in New Germantown, Hunterdon, NJ.
..........iv. David Able, born 10 January 1787 in New Germantown, Hunterdon County, NJ; died 11 August 1858 in Beverly, Ontario, CANADA; married Mary Dineen Bef. 1813; born 28 February 1790 in NJ; died 22 March 1868 in Beverly, Ontario, CANADA.
..........v. Elisabeth Able, born 17 January 1789 in New Germantown, Hunterdon County, NJ. George Able, born 08 September 1793 in New Germantown, Hunterdon County, NJ; died 06 November 1870 in Tompkins County, NY; married (1) Rachel Cripps 29 May 1813; born 1793 in NJ; died 1849 in Tompkins County, NY; married (2) Betsey Bef. 1855 in prob. Tompkins County, NY; born 1817 in NY.
..........vii. Jacob Able, born 21 April 1796 in New Germantown, Hunterdon County, NJ; died Bef. 1837 in NJ; married Esther Moore 16 March 1816 in Oldwick, Hunterdon County, NJ; born 20 February 1791 in Hunterdon County, NJ.

224. Michael Able, born About 1719 in GERMANY; died 26 February 1791 in Roxbury, Morris County, NJ. He married 33. Christina Bef. 1757 in NJ.
225. Christina, died 1804 in prob. Roxbury, Morris County, NJ. Children of Michael Able and Christina are:
..........i. Andreas Able, born 13 August 1757 in Roxbury, Morris county, NJ; died 09 August 1830 in Glen, Montgomery County, NY; married (1) Mary Christina Schuyler 26 January 1779 in Morris County, NJ; born About 1757 in NJ; died 05 September 1819 in Glen, Montgomery County, NY; married (2) Catherine Winne Aft. 1819 in Montgomery County, NY; born 12 April 1772 in Glen, Montgomery, NY.
..112...ii. Johannes Able, born About 1758 in Roxbury, Morris county, NJ; died About 1818 in Sussex County, NJ; married (1) Sophia Trimmer 30 January 1777 in Oldwick, Hunterdon County, NJ (CR); married (2) Mary Cripps 17 April 1811 in New Germantown, Hunterdon, NJ.
..........iii. Matthias Able, born 28 February 1759 in Roxbury, Morris county, NJ; died 08 March 1826 in Seneca County, NY; married Catharina Fritts 10 April 1781 in Oldwick, Hunterdon County, NJ (CR); born 23 October 1762 in Hunterdon County, NJ; died 18 December 1842 in Seneca County, NY.
..........iv. Mary Able, born 1760 in Roxbury, Morris county, NJ; died 10 April 1829 in NJ; married William Fritts 28 July 1782 in Oldwixk, Hunterdon County, NJ (CR); born About 1759 in NJ.
..........v. Jacob Able, born About 1763 in Roxbury, Morris county, NJ; died 1816 in Tewksbury, Hunterdon County, NJ, (gravestone); married Anna Gertrude/Charity Pickle 18 January 1794 in Oldwick, Hunterdon County, NJ (CR); born About 1774 in NJ; died 13 August 1862 in Tewksbury, Hunterdon County, NJ, (gravestone). Anna Elisabeth Able, born 1765 in Roxbury, Morris county, NJ; died 18 November 1815 in NJ; married George Fritts 17 January 1786 in Oldwick, Hunterdon County, NJ (CR).
..........vii. Catharine Able, born About 1767 in Roxbury, Morris county, NJ.
..........viii. Eva Able, born About 1769 in Roxbury, Morris county, NJ.
..........ix. Christina Able, born 17 May 1771 in New Germantown, Hunterdon County, NJ; married Johannes Reinhardt 19 August 1792 in Oldwick, Hunterdon County, NJ (CR).

448. Andreas Able, born in GERMANY; died 09 April 1751 in Roxbury, Morris, NJ. He married 65. Maria.
449. Maria, died April 1771 in Roxbury, Morris, NJ. Children of Andreas Able and Maria are:
..........i. Mathias Able
..........ii. Paul Able, married Leany.
..........iii. Andreas Able, died 16 July 1782 in Fox Hill, Morris County, NJ; married Hannah.
..224..iv. Michael Able, born About 1719 in GERMANY; died 26 February 1791 in Roxbury, Morris County, NJ; married Christina Bef. 1757 in NJ.

I have posted a 6 generation Descendants of Andreas Able report in NGSQ format here.

Does any reader have any of these families? If so, please contact me at and let's compare our database information.

Friday, November 13, 2009

CVGS Research Group Highlights - 12 November 2009

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society Research Group met on Thursday, 12 November at the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library at 12 noon. There were eight avid story tellers and researchers in attendance,

Randy opened the session by noting that Family Tree Magazine has changed their cover design, and that the latest issue has a free CDROM of Family Tree Builder 4.0 software. He also noted that is a publicly traded company and wondered if anybody owns stock in it yet.

* We were happy to have Martha back with us after her surgery. She has been accepted as a member of the Flannery Clan in Ireland and has the colorful certificates to prove it. More importantly, she has corresponded with a researcher in Ireland that has taken the Flannery line back to 1800 - it added several more generations to her line. Martha wanted to know how to access only Ireland databases on - we told her to select "Irish Collections" in the New Search box.

* David has done no new research, but has noticed lots more Member Connect activity on Some of his research is being attached by other researchers.

* Dick sent a pedigree chart and family group sheets to two sibling cousins requesting help with family information. One sent it back filled out, the other is working on it. Dick has all of his genealogy data in Ancestry Member Trees, but downloads it occasionally to make reports and charts.

* Virginia went to Indiana last month to visit her sister and do research. She looked for her cousin's papers in a local museum - they aren't there yet. She did find a family reunion photograph from 1928 with about 50 people in it - all named on a separate sheet of paper.

* Ruth brought her six generation ancestors chart and talked about the one who was put in a well by his father. She met a new cousin and they are sharing lots of information, including about Elizabeth Jane, a child that was adopted out and was lost to her cousin's family. Ruth knows all about her! She wants to write books for Christmas and is thinking about doing a website.

* Gary has had some success with "leaves" while doing Web Searches in FTM 2010 on his Roff family. He's now expanding his search to New England for his Roff surname line. He's working on a new project, which he'll unveil at the November meeting.

* John had a nasty computer virus that cost him two weeks of effort, but he recovered his files and email. He noted that some family trees have bad information - so be careful what you bring into your online tree.

* Randy shared a San Francisco Funeral Home record, and his search through San Francisco Chronicle newspapers and city directories for ancestral death dates, occupations and residences. He also talked about his Y-DNA results through SMGF and GeneTree, and finding two other Seaver researchers with close matches.

The next CVGS Research Group will be at 12 noon on Wednesday, 9 December, in the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library Conference Room.

Book Review: "Genealogical Resources of the Civil War Era"

I recently read the book Genealogical Resources of the Civil War Era by William Dollarhide and really enjoyed it. It has a prominent space in my genealogy bookcase now because it is so valuable for both online and published resources!

In the foreword, publisher Leland Meitzler says:

"This book was not written as a guide to Civil War narratives as such, but a guide to the various records in which one will find the lists of names of both soldiers and civilians. Those lists include records created during the War, records produced immediately after the War, Veteran Censuses, State Censuses taken (1885-1945) with Civil War Veterans listed, and numerous Internet resources."

The major value of this book is that it comprehensively lists the online resources and the repository resources (books, libraries, archives, etc.) for twenty specific Civil War Resource Groups, and then lists the States for which these resources are available. The specific Civil War Resource Groups considered (in Part 2 of the book) are:

National Resources:

* Civil War Soldiers & Sailors System
* The American Civil War Research Database
* Official Records of the War of the Rebellion
* General and Organizational Indexes to Pension Files, 1861-1934
* 1883 List of U.S. Pensioners on the Roll
* 1890 Federal Census of Union Veterans
* Roll of Honor & Veteran Burials
* 1865-1867 Confederate Amnesty Papers
* Consolidated Lists of Confederate Soldiers & United Confederate Veterans Association
* Index to Compiled Service Records

Statewide Resources:
* Compiled Service Records (by state)
* Index to Compiled Service Records (by state)
* 1861-1869 State Censuses and any 1885-1945 State Censuses with Civil War veterans noted
* 1861-1869 Statewide Name Lists
* 1862-1869 Internal Revenue Assessment Lists
* Statewide Militia Lists
* Confederate Pension Applications. Pensioner Name Lists and Censuses of Confederate Veterans
* Indexes to Statewide Records
* Statewide Lists of Veteran Burials
* State Adjutant General Reports

For each Research Group, there is a description of the records - why and how they were created, with a visual example of a record page. A list of the states for which there are online databases or Family History Library (FHL) microfilm is provided, with the relevant page numbers. A two-page table summarizes the resource groups available for each state.

There are paragraphs for each State to define the online and published (book or microfilm) resources available in Part 3 of the book titled "Statewide Name Lists, 1861-1869 & Post-War Veteran Lists." The Online Resources for each state includes:

* The State Archives and/or State Library website; and any Civil War related databases available at that website
* Any Civil War website for the state
* Any 1861-1869 online name list or Post-War veteran list for the state

The Published Resources include:

* Any published Compiled Service Records, Militia Lists, Pension Records, or Veteran Records specific to each state
* Any statewide name lists 1861-1869, including State Censuses, Tax Lists, or Voter Registrations
* Any published guides relating to the Civil War for a state with resource lists.

In these state sections, website URLs are provided for online resources, and FHL microfilm numbers are provided for records microfilmed by the Family History Library.

Part 1 of the book provides a concise description of the Civil War Era - what happened, why it happened, where events occurred, etc.

Part 4 of the book lists "The Best Civil War Resource Centers for Local & County Research." It cites as the most comprehensive locality portal site to identify local and county resources on the Internet. This section provides a detailed description of the top six Civil War era resource centers - the Family History Library in Salt Lake City; the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana; the Library of Congress in Washington DC; the Military History Institute, U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, in Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania; the Historical Research Center, Texas Heritage Museum, at Hill College, Hillsboro, Texas; and the National Park Service.

What is missing in this book about Civil War Era records? I can think of:

* Published books, manuscripts, and periodicals that are not microfilmed, but may be found in local, state, regional or national repositories
* State Archives resources that have not been published or microfilmed
* National Archives resources that have not been published or microfilmed (for example, the Civil War Invalid and Widows Pension Files come to mind)

Many more Civil War Era records will appear in online databases over future years as a result of, for instance,'s digitizing and indexing of National Archives records, and the Family History Library's imaging and indexing of FHL microfilms and other records. It is likely that the content of this book will be expanded in future years to include newly digitized online databases and new publications.

All in all, this book is an outstanding effort by an expert in the genealogy research field. It should be part of every serious American genealogist's library and on the shelf in every local, state and national library as well.

The book is available from Family Roots Publishing Company, owned by Leland Meitzler. The retail cost is $32.95, but it is available through Christmas 2009 for $26.36 on their website.

William Dollarhide, Genealogical Resources in the Civil War Era, Family Roots Publishing Company, Bountiful, Utah, 2009, 191 pages.

Disclosure: I was provided a free copy of this book by Leland Meitzler for review purposes, but was not requested to write a favorable review. The comments and opinions given above are my own.

Check out The Beginning Genealogist website

Professor Dru (Dru Pair) has highlighted a new website in her Find Your Folks blog in a post titled The Beginning Genealogist Website and Videos.

Professor Dru describes Angela Walton-Raji's new website, The Beginning Genealogist. Check it out!

Angela says on her site:

"I realize that many are anxious to find their ancestors and get started. Well, many I am finding have not learned the basic steps on researching family history and I want to share with you those basic steps, plus provide some guidance on where and how to do this."

Angela also produces the African Roots Podcast and the AYWalton YouTube channel.

I wish Angela luck, and look forward to reading her text pages and her video presentations. While the site currently emphasizes African- and Native-American ancestry, my guess is that the resources on this page will encompass general genealogy education for all beginning researchers.

Thank you, Professor Dru, for the information and links to Angela's work.

Follow Friday - The Ancestry Insider

You know, it is hard to pick just one genealogy blog each week for Follow Friday. That's because there are so many good ones.

My choice this week is The Ancestry Insider, written by an anonymous suspender-clad gentleman with an excellent avatar (it even kind of looks like him!).

The Ancestry Insider provides a unique perspective among genealogy blogs - an insider's look at and He is currently employed by FamilySearch and was previously employed by In addition, he has a computer background and is an LDS church member. That is quite a combination of knowledge and talent, and Mr. AI puts it to good use.

To top it off, Mr AI is a distant cousin of mine - his surname leads back to one of my Massachusetts Bay Colony immigrants. My guess is, that if he made his ancestry known, that we would find several other cousin relationships.

If you are not reading The Ancestry Insider blog, I recommend that you add it to your RSS feed, blog reader, or Favorites/Bookmarks and visit the site often.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

October 2009 New England HistGen Register contains American Ancestors Journal

The New England Historic Genealogical Society released the October 2009 issue of the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, and it has an additional set of pages for the first issue of American Ancestors Journal.

The announcement noted:

"New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) announces the launch of a new scholarly publication, American Ancestors Journal, to be included in the October 2009 issue of The New England Historical and Genealogical Register.

This new annual supplement will include valuable information outside of New England, including New York state and other regions popular with families migrating out of New England. American Ancestors Journal is automatically included with NEHGS membership, and will be available in both print and paperless PDF formats.

"D. Brenton Simons, NEHGS President and CEO, said, 'The creation of this new vehicle for communicating valuable scholarship beyond New England will serve our geographically diverse audience with first rate content and, at the same time, broaden our institutional reach.'

"American Ancestors Journal will provide readers genealogical content of national scope, with an emphasis on New York State and out migrations from New England. This first installment is thirty-six pages and future issues may be longer. The editors are Henry B. Hoff and Helen Schatvet Ullmann, who are also the editor and associate editor of the Register, respectively."

The Table of Contents for the October 2009 issue (Volume 163, Number 4, Whole Number 652) of the NEHGR includes:

* page 243 -- Editorial
* page 245 -- Peter and Jane (_____) Freeman of Ipswich, Massachusetts, and Their Descendants in Maine: An African-American Family, by Bruno Giles
* page 253 -- The Origin of Gabriel1 Whelden of Yarmouth and Malden, Massachusetts, by Jan Porter and Daniel F. Stramara, Jr.
* page 262 -- Identifying Anna Wheeler of Stonington, Connecticut (1675–1714), as the First Wife of Jeremiah Halsey of Southampton, Long Island, by Mary M. Thacher
* page 268 -- Nathaniel Porter (1692–1758) of Farmington and Bethlehem, Connecticut, and His Family, by Bryson Caldwell Cook and Janet Stacey Porter (continued from 163:182)
* page 273 -- Revised Ancestry for William Moulton of Hampton, New Hampshire, Including Some Revisions of the Early Ancestry of His New England Cousins, by Myrtle Stevens Hyde (concluded from 163:173)
* page 278 -- Humphrey Blake (1494?–1558) and His Descendants in New England and South Carolina: Blake, Richards, Selleck, Torrey, and Wolcott, by Clifford L. Stott (continued from 163:211)
* page 296 -- Hawks Family Record - Additions and Corrections
* page 297 -- Additions and Corrections

* page 300 -- Index of Subjects in Volume 163
* page 303 -- Index of Persons in Volume 163
* page 345 -- Annual Table of Contents of Volume 163

* page 349 -- American Ancestors Journal, First Annual Supplement to the Register, Table of Contents
* page 351 -- Editorial
* page 353 -- Revolutionary War Captain Cornelius Wiltsie of Pittstown, New York, by Abbott Lowell Cummings
* page 368 -- Jonathan Wood (1747–1820) of Little Compton, Rhode Island, and Dutchess County, New York, by Michael M. Wood
* page 372 -- The Tudor Family of Barbados, Boston, New York City, Newport, and Bermuda, by Henry B. Hoff
* page 380 -- Index of Persons

It is unclear to me if the American Ancestors Journal will be part of every issue of NEHGR or if it is a once a year addition. It certainly is worthy of being published on a quarterly basis as long as there is qualified material submitted for editing and publication.

My purpose in posting the Tables of Contents of this journal is to get the article titles on the Internet so that they can be found by search engines.

There are several articles of immediate interest to me - my Cape Cod ancestry of Elizabeth Dill (1794?-1869) probably has Gabriel Whelden in it (my problem is with Elizabeth's parents...), and several of the additions and corrections touch my Carpenter and Kent families, and perhaps Jones as well. I also checked the person index for Seaver, Sever, Dill, Hildreth and several other surnames, and saw nothing that I had missed earlier.
Disclosure: I am not an employee, contractor or affiliate of NEHGS, but am a fully-paid member of the Society. I receive my journals by PDF file downloaded from the NewEnglandAncestors website.

Treasure Chest Thursday - The Spoon Holder

While my mother had been giving me family photographs over the years from 1988 (when I started my genealogy research) until she died in early 2002, she pretty much kept the "family treasures" hidden. It was only when we were doing the inventory of the house and personal property, and distributing treasures to the sons and granddaughters, that we found many "goodies." My brothers kindly allowed me to have the "family history" treasures.

One "family history" treasure that I found in the back of a closet was a spoon holder. It had eight spoons in it, each with a monogram on it, but two different sets of initials - six with "C.K." and two with "M.A.V.":

On the back of the spoon holder was a sheet of paper taped to the back:

The page says:

"These silver spoons are made out of the silver buckles worn on the velvet knickerbockers during the revolutionary period by descendants of Sir Isaac Newton - Date of spoons not known but over 100 years old.

"The spoons were given by Catherine Newton Knapp to Mary Auble - and later to her daughter - Bessie Auble Pentecost - grandniece of Catherine Newton Knapp - Now being passed on to another grandniece - Emily Auble Carringer.

"August 19th, 1945.

"The two spoons marked M.A.V. belonged to Lyle's great-grandmother, Mary Ann Vaux. They were made by Cogswell in Boston, Mass. in 1760 - They are coin silver. M.A.V. is Grandma Smith's mother."

The six spoons that have the initials "C.K." are the Catherine Knapp (1810- after before 1892) spoons. Catherine Knapp was the daughter of William Knapp (1775-1856) and Sarah Cutter (1785-1878), and never married. I have part of an obituary for Catherine Knapp, but don't know her death date or place. I can't find any information about her life in my database either...not even census records. Ah, a research challenge!

Another research challenge is the "family story" that the spoons were made out of silver buckles worn by descendants of Sir Isaac Newton. Did Sir Isaac have children and descendants? I don't know, but will try to find out. There was a man named Sir Isaac Newton (not the one of discovering Gravity fame) residing in the early 1800s in Vermont, if I recall correctly!

This is the first clue I have about the Newton middle name for Catherine Knapp. They lived in Newton, Sussex County, New Jersey. There is no Newton family in her mother's ancestry, but there could be in her father's Knapp ancestry (which I have not been able to determine to date).

The two spoons with the initials "M.A.V." were given by Mary Ann (Underhill) Vaux (ca 1815-after 1880), daughter of Amos Underhill (1772-1865) and Mary Metcalf (1780 - ????), and wife of Samuel Vaux (1816-after 1880).

I do not know when or where the wooden spoon holder was obtained by Emily (Auble) Carringer. She probably bought it at a store after she was given the spoons by her cousin, Bessie (Auble) Pentecost on her birthday in 1945.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009's Improved "Edit Search" Feature announced last weekend that they were modifying the "Edit Search" feature in the "New Search" experience. See Anne Mitchell's post "Refine your searches in fewer steps in new search" on the blog.

Before yesterday, the user had two ways to change the search field entries in "New Search" - click on each individual search field title and add or edit the entry information, or hit the "r" Hot Key to get a popup window with all of the search fields and their current entries to "Refine the Search." I really liked the hot key option and used it almost exclusively.

Now, has eliminated the first method of clicking on each search field title, and has added an "Edit Search" button that brings up the popup window with all of the search fields and their entries, and the user can add or enter information.

Here is an example:

I was on the Military Collections page yesterday, and at the bottom of the page I selected the "Advanced Search" feature (I almost always use this advanced search) and checked the "Exact Matches" box (I almost always use exact matches too). I added my father's name, First Name = "fred*" and Last Name = "Seaver," in the search fields:

After clicking "Search," I got 122 matches in the Military Records collection:

Over on the left-hand column at the top, under "Searching for ..." is the current search parameters - only the name entries. The "Edit Search" button is in green (and below it is a link for "Start a new search"). I clicked on the green "Edit Search" button and the popup window with all of the search fields and my current search entries appeared as an overlay to the previous screen:

I refined my search by adding the Birth Year = "1911" and clicked on the "Search" button at the top of the box. I got only one match:

But that was the only one I was interested in. Actually, I was hoping that he would be in a US Navy Cruise Book, but they don't have them posted for World War II.

The "Edit Search" button brings up the same popup "Refine Search" window that the Hot Key "r" brings up (and that feature still works). The hot key saves a click - I find it easier and quicker to type "r" with my left hand than to move my mouse to the Search box and click it with my right hand.

So, THANK YOU, for making the "Edit Search" box easier to use than the previous clunky list of search fields that had to be clicked individually (unless you used the Hot Key "r"). It is much more intuitive this way, I think, and the user still has total control over the entries in the Search fields, and can do it in fewer keystrokes or clicks, including whether to make each field entry exact or not.

And THANK YOU,, for the "Search" button at the top of the Refine Search popup window. It's much easier to click on it there than to have to scroll down and click on it at the bottom of the Search box. Now, please, add it to the other Search boxes too!

These changes apply only to the "New Search" experience, and not to the "Old Search" experience. Of course, in "Old Search," the Search fields are all available on any Results list screen so the user only has to scroll to the bottom (or hit the "End" key) of the screen to see the current search field entries and to modify them to refine the search. The "Old Search" procedure now has more clicks and scrolls than the equivalent "New Search" procedure.

Most users understand that, at some point in time, the "Old Search" experience is going to be eliminated and everybody will have to use the "New Search" experience. Hopefully, will wait to do that until all of the kinks and quirks associated with "New Search" are ironed out (see yesterday's post for a major problem area which will, hopefully, be fixed soon).

Disclosure: I am not an employee, contractor or affiliate with I am a dully paid subscriber to the service. These thoughts and opinions are my own, and I have not been reimbursed in any way for this post.

SDGS on Saturday, 14 November: Seminar

The San Diego Genealogical Society monthly meeting is this Saturday, 14 November at 8:30 a.m. at the Handlery Hotel and Resort in Mission Valley. It is SOLD OUT, so if you don't have a reservation, don't plan on attending.

The seminar, titled "Everyone Has a Story -- Discover Yours," will be presented by Suzanne Russo Adams and representatives. There will be four presentations:

* The Best Strategies for Getting the Most Out of

* Tapping into the and Rootsweb Community

* The Ancestry World Archives Project

* Publishing and Printing Using "My Canvas"

In addition, will provide free photo and document scanning for SDGS members for those that have reserved a 15-minute time block.

There will be a drawing for a one-year World Deluxe membership as well as books for sale.

The schedule for the day includes:

* 7:45 to 8:40 a.m.: Registration
* 8:40 to 8:50 a.m.: Welcome and Introductions
* 8:50 to 9:50 a.m.: "The Best Strategies for Getting the Most Out of"
* 9:50 to 10:15 a.m.: Break
* 10:15 to 10:30 a.m.: Opportunity Drawing and Elections
* 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.: "Tapping into the and Rootsweb Community"

* 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Lunch (in the Palm area and Garden Ballroom)
* 12:30 to 12:45 p.m.: Announcements
* 12:45 to 1:35 p.m.: "The World Archives Project"
* 1:35 to 1:50 p.m.: Break
* 1:50 to 2:50 p.m.: "Publishing and Printing Using 'My Canvas'"
* 2:50 to 3:00 p.m.: Opportunity Drawing and Closing

I look forward to attending and reviewing this seminar.

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 79: Veteran's Day

On the 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11 month of the year 1918, the guns fell silent. It was called Armistice Day then. Now, we commemorate our veterans on Veteran's Day.

I listed the veterans (of all American wars) in my ancestry in my post Veteran's Day - My Heroes.

The only ancestor of mine that served in World War I was my maternal grandfather, Lyle Lawrence Carringer (1891-1976). I posted a biography and muse about him and his life in Today is Gramps' 116th Birthday.

Here is a photograph of Gramps in his U.S. Marines uniform taken in about 1917 in San Diego.

I honor my grandfather and appreciate his service to our country, and his devotion to our family.

I have tremendous respect and appreciation for those serving in the Armed Forces today in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world. May God bless them all and bring them home safe.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

AFL with "New Search" on

I have several reasons for not using the "New Search" capability on - but the most important reason is that I cannot trust it to return matches that I know it should. Let me give you an example.

I went looking for Paul Schaffner in the World War I Draft Registrations for San Francisco, California tonight using "New Search" (I wanted to work with the new refine search tool). I didn't get any matches when I put "Paul" "Schaf* in for the name in the name search fields, and chose "San Francisco County, California, USA" for the Residence field, for the specific database. I checked the "Exact Matches" box. My thought was, "OK, he didn't have a registration for some reason." So I took out the "Paul" and just went with "Schaf* and got the same result.

Hmmm, that's strange - there should be someone named Schafer or Schafner in San Francisco. I wondered how many registration cards there are for San Francisco, so I took out the name and went with just "San Francisco County, California, USA" in the Residence field, as shown below:

I pressed "Search" and saw:

No registrations in San Francisco County? There must have been!!!

What about the whole state of California? Surely there were some? I reduced the Residence field down to "California, USA":

After clicking Search, I was rewarded with 852,456 matches for the State of California:

I wasn't going to look through thousands of results pages for a San Francisco entry, so I clicked on one of the entries, and eventually got to the list of Counties for California as shown below:

There's no entry for San Francisco County, of course. I clicked on "San Francisco City," and was rewarded with a list of Draft board numbers (I think). I chose one at random, and saw a fine list of draft card numbers, chose one of those at random, and was rewarded with this one:

Joseph Dagneau is not the one I wanted, but he'll do for this exercise. At this point I'm pretty befuddled by what has happened. I went back and put "Jos*" "Dagneau" in the Name field, and selected "California, USA" in the Residence field on the search box, and obtained a match:

So what went wrong here? It appears that "New Search" works with the whole state, but not with at least one county on the Residence selection list.

I changed over to the trusty "Old Search" and the 186, 982 matches for Residence State = "California" and County = "San Francisco" popped up immediately. So "Old Search" can find San Francisco entries, but "New Search" apparently cannot.

What about other counties? I went back into "New Search" and checked "Fresno County, California, USA," "San Diego County, California, USA" and several others - without any names in the Search fields - and they all came up dry - No Matches! A Residence = "Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA" worked, but "Los Angeles County, California, USA" does not. A Residence = "Los Angeles County" should find all entries for the city and the county, since the user may only know the county name and not if the person resided in the city or not.

I don't know if "New Search" for this database doesn't work for other counties or other states, but I think, and my readers, can understand the frustration involved in not receiving matches to search queries that are perfectly good queries. The problem seems to be in the associations of the Residence locations with sets of database images. I don't know if this is the only database with the problem. This is not the first time I've encountered this problem in "New Search," and it seems to bite me almost every time I decide I'll join the crowd and use it because it should be as good or better than "Old Search." It isn't yet! Obviously..

I will continue to advise my readers, friends, society colleagues and students to NOT USE's New Search. My preference is "Old Search" with "Exact Matches" checked, and using wild cards, name spelling variations, age ranges and localities to search and find my research targets.

I really don't like to complain about things like this, but my AFL* kind of boiled over after 15 minutes of floundering around trying to find ANY draft registration card in San Francisco, let alone Paul Schaffner's. For what it's worth, I never found it in "Old Search," either! That wasn't Ancestry's fault, or mine either.

Disclosure: I am not an employee, contractor or affiliate of I do have a paid US Deluxe subscription that I utilize almost every day. This post reflects my experience and my opinions, and I was not paid to express them.

* AFL = "Ancestry Frustration Level." Has Military Collection FREE through 13 November

I received an email today from that announced the release of the U.S. Navy Cruise Books from 1950 to 1988. You can read the Press Release here.

That database is an excellent new 20th century resource for U.S. researchers.
The announcement also said:

"In honor of America’s military heroes, the entire U.S. Military Collection on can be searched free through Nov. 13. To begin exploring your family’s military heritage, visit"

Now is a good time for all researchers to delve into the military collection!! Honor your ancestors who served by finding their military records online.

This is an excellent opportunity to obtain useful information in the 964 (as of today) Military databases offered by You can see a list of these collections here.

If you are not an subscriber, you will probably have to register for a free account in order to access the free databases.

I'm sending an email alert to all of my genealogy society members about this also.

Family Tree Statistics from

The website recently announced that they could create 45 different sets of statistics for a family tree on their system. The email I received said:

"... It's a completely free feature that analyzes your family tree and displays 45 interesting statistics using beautiful graphs, charts and maps, including:

• what are the most common first names or last names in your family
• where were your family members born (displayed on maps)
• what's the life expectancy for men and women in your family
• what are the most common birth months and zodiac signs
• at what age do people marry in your family
• what's the average age difference between husband and wife
• the average number of children in a family
• and more

"You'll also find juicy anecdotes, like the top families where the husband or wife are much older than their spouse, the people who married youngest or oldest, had the most children, the shortest marriages that didn't make it, the oldest living people in the family, and much more. "

You know that I cannot resist seeing graphs and numbers and statistics. I have a Seaver surname database with about 8,000 persons on the MyHeritage site.

The first set of graphs is an Overview of the database - with charts of gender, living vs. deceased, relationship status, common last names, and common first names:

The next set is the location, by country, of Places contained in the database for places of birth and places of death:

Next up is Ages of persons in the database, based on birth and death dates - the charts show age distribution, oldest living people, youngest people, average life expectancy, lived the most, and lived the least:

The Births graphs consider birth months, zodiac signs and when people were born (by century before 1900, by decade after 1900):

The Marriages data is for number of marriages, married the most times, when they were married, age at marriage, oldest when married, and youngest when married:

The Children data is for number of children per family, family with most children, people with most children, age when having children, oldest when had a child, youngest when had a child, age difference between oldest and youngest child, largest age difference between children in a family, and smallest age difference between children in a family:

These charts, and the supporting statistics can be very useful to researchers. They may point out problems with data in the database (for instance, my database apparently has a male age 13 marrying a female age 34 - probably not!).

I checked RootsMagic 4, Legacy Family Tree 7 and Family Tree Maker 2010 and did not see comparable family tree statistics capability (did I miss them? If they are there, they are pretty well hidden). Family Tree Maker 16 has a limited File Statistics capability, but nothing like the MyHeritage statistics. I think that this type of statistics analysis should be a standard feature of genealogy software.

Lyle was Driving

I don't know when the Austin Carringer family bought their first car, but it was probably by 1916. The picture below has Della (Smith) Carringer in the foreground, and Lyle L. Carringer at the wheel. I believe that it was taken in about 1916.

Which means that this automobile must have been manufactured before 1916. From limited studies, I believe that the automobile is a Ford Model T of vintage in the 1914 to 1916 time period, based on the fender design, the convertible covering, and the framing and wires between the body and the covering. I couldn't find any pictures that match the left-side spare tire, though.

Once the family had an automobile, the world of Southern California was their playground. Over to Point Loma or La Jolla for a day at the beach, to Balboa Park to visit the 1915 exposition buildings, out to Alpine for a day trip, up to Julian for apples, to Ramona to visit friends, and eventually to Orange County and Los Angeles County, especially to Whittier and Long Beach, to visit extended family.

In later years, after Lyle was married in 1918, he and Emily bought newer automobiles, which I don't have photographs of! However, I think that the auto repair shop and gasoline station at the corner of 30th and Ivy (on the northwest end of the block with their home) did a thriving business keeping Lyle fixed up with spare tires, tire patches, grease, oil, and gasoline.

In the 1930s, the family went further afield, driving all the way to Victoria, British Columbia in 1936 on a vacation that took several weeks. I have the rather mundane travelogue, complete with mileage and gasoline charges, in Lyle's account book of the time. Unfortunately, there are not too many pictures from this trip, so I can't display a true travelogue.

My earliest memory of my grandfather's automobile was probably a 1940's Hudson, with long running boards and a big-car feel. He was so proud of that car, and kept it for a number of years while I was a child. I may have taken my first trip to Disneyland in about 1955 in that car, but I cannot remember what it looked like. It was just a car - something to ride in, feel the wind blow in my hair (yes, I had hair then, short flattop, but hair!), and get us safely from home to wherever we went.

Monday, November 9, 2009

1940 U.S. Federal Census Information

Joel Weintraub kindly forwarded a link to the U.S. National Archives web page for the 1940 census -- .

The web page looks like this:

The big clock on the page counts down the seconds until the 1940 census is released by NARA on 2 April 2012. When I made the screen shot, there were 874 days, 15 hours, 48 minutes and 17 seconds remaining.

The page has links to five other pages:

* Part 1: General Information -- this page says:

"The 1940 census will be released digitally on April 2, 2012. The digital images will be accessible at NARA facilities nationwide through our public access computers as well as on personal computers via the internet."

The page provides the questions asked on the 1940 census, along with explanatory comments and notes. There are also links to a 1940 census template and a blank 1940 census form:

Note that, in the 1940 census, they asked persons #14 and #29 on each page additional questions about birthplaces of parents, mother tongue, veterans status, social security, usual occupation, class of worker, and marriage data for women.

* Part 2: How to Start Your 1940 Census Research -- provides a check list of things you can do to prepare for the 1940 census release.

* Part 3: Indexes and Other Finding Aids -- provides ways to find an address in many larger cities using enumeration district definitions. Note that name indexes will not be provided by NARA.

My assumption is that the genealogy indexing sites (e.g., FamilySearch, Ancestry, Footnote, and whoever else wants to do it) will start their indexing efforts on 2 April 2012, but I may be wrong. Joel pointed out to me that there is still the 72-year privacy rule in effect, so indexing may be delayed until the images are released. Another question arises - can the subscription sites capture the NARA images and provide them, or will they link to the NARA images? Joel points out that the images are not under copyright, being govenrment documents.

* Part 4: Videos -- there are four short films created by the US Census Bureau to train enumerators on their duties and responsibilities.

* Part 5: Informative Articles and Online Data -- there are a number census resources and links about all of the US census records on this page.

It seems to me like the National Archives 1940 census image website is going to be really busy for several weeks in April 2012. I know exactly where my ancestral families were in April 1940, so maybe I'll not even try to look until there are indexes available. I certainly won't try to do any one-name studies until after the indexes are available.

Did anybody else see the spelling errors on the template? What are they? The template was done in 2009, so this is our government bureaucracy in action!

My thanks to Joel for pointing me to the 1940 census page, and for answering my questions.

Calling San Diego Readers -- Dr. Spencer Wells at Natural History Museum on 11/11

From email via the CGSSD list:

I would like to invite all society members to a special lecture at the San Diego Natural History Museum (1788 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101; (619) 232-3821) this Wednesday, the 11th, at 6:30 PM. Population geneticist, and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, Dr. Spencer Wells will be at the San Diego Natural History Museum to discuss his current research leading the Genographic Project – the global, anthropological research study to map humankind’s ancient migratory routes through DNA.

This special lecture coincides with the recent opening of an exhibit on the Genographic Project at the Museum of Man. Genographic aims to provide the first true ‘snapshot’ picture of how each of us moved out of Africa and around the globe 60,000 years ago.

ABOUT THE GENOGRAPHIC PROJECT……… Who are we? And where do we come from? The story of humanity’s journey can be found within each of us—encoded in our DNA. In 2005, National Geographic and IBM, with support from the Waitt Family Foundation, launched the Genographic Project, one of the most ambitious scientific research and public participation initiatives ever undertaken. With over a quarter of a million people already taking part – funding the Legacy Fund which supports indigenous cultural projects - the project is gathering and analyzing the world’s largest collection of anthropological DNA samples in the hope it will capture an invaluable genetic snapshot of humanity before modern-day influences erase it forever. For more information:

This sounds interesting! It's a great opportunity to hear a world renowned expert in the human genetics field

Square Pegs into Round Holes

The Ancestry Insider produced a thought-provoking post last week titled The Genealogy Maturity Model (GMM) in which he assigned attributes to generic levels (Entry, Emerging, Practicing, Proficient and Stellar) for genealogists in the categories of:

* Sources and Citations

* Information and Evidence

* Conclusions and Conclusion Trees

The five generic levels to describe genealogy researchers in the GMM are:

* Entry -- Newly interested in genealogy

* Emerging -- Emerging knowledge of how to do genealogy

* Practicing -- Usually produces verifiable genealogy conclusions

* Proficient -- Produces verifiably correct genealogies

* Stellar -- Produces well-regarded genealogies

Please read all of The Ancestry Insider's post for the full discussion, and read the comments from knowledgeable people, who mostly disagreed with some or all of the effort to define the levels and attributes.

I was reminded of the recent APG Professional Management Conference presentation (which I did not attend at the FGS Conference - I have only the syllabus) by Natasha Crain titled "Who Pays for Research? Segmenting the Genealogy Consumer Base." Natasha segmented the paying customers, with a primary research interest of genealogy, into the categories of:

* Dabblers -- has limited curiosity, checks out online family trees, falls away.

* Casual Seekers -- has more curiosity, uses entry-level tools and methods, returns occasionally

* Affluently Curious -- Casual Seekers with wealth, want other researchers to do the work for them

* Targeted Seekers -- has objective to solve a family mystery, usually not interested in broad family history

* Avid Hobbyists -- has historical interest, loves the search process, regularly spends time doing research, belongs to groups

* Professional Genealogists -- Generates income from research work, writing or speaking.

Are these categories - both from The Ancestry Insider's and Natasha's lists -- attempts to put square pegs into round holes? Is it really possible to categorize any specific researcher accurately? And if it is possible, do we have the right levels and attributes for those levels?

It seems to me that there are these levels of genealogy researchers (I wrote about this three years ago in the post If Genealogy Interest is so high, why are the number so low?):

* Dabblers -- have some interest in "I wonder who my grandfather was?"

* Casual researchers -- tries to find out who their grandfather was, and earlier generations too, by looking for information in books or online databases

* Part-time researchers -- tries to learn more about how to do research, and then applys the knowledge in online and repository resources occasionally

* Active researchers -- does genealogy research on a regular basis in online and repository resources

* Networkers -- joins societies and groups to network with other researchers, learn more, and share experiences

* Teachers and speakers -- develops teaching and presenting skills

* Actively engaged -- are full-time researchers, take clients, have credentials, writers, editors, leaders.

Nearly every person I know in genealogy circles is at one level or another of this experience and capability ladder. Obviously, the earlier levels feed persons into the later levels.

I'm not sure how much I've added to the discussion started by The Ancestry Insider, but I wanted to get these thoughts on the table.

Your thoughts or ideas?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Checking out ourFamily*ology - Post 3

I learned about the ourFamily*ology family tree web site last week, and reported on the signup and GEDCOM upload in the first post of this series. In the second post of the series, I explored the "Tree" tab on the Private Website page.

In this post, I am going to explore four of the Orange tabs at the top of the web page -- "People," "Content," "Analysis," and "Tools." When you click on the "People" tab you can input a surname or a person's name in the search field, or you can click on a letter of the alphabet. I chose to input the surname "Seaver" and was rewarded with a page of a long list of over 7,800 Seaver persons in my database (they show 25 names per page, and I captured the screen from the one with #651 to #675):

On this "People" screen, I could click on a name and information about that person would appear.

I went back to my grandfather's page, and clicked on the "Content" tab and saw the "Sources" information for him (I think because this is the first link on the list in the right-hand column):

All of the "Content" material seems to be similar to what we saw in Post 2 at the bottom of the "Tree" screens.

I clicked on the "Analysis" tab at the top of the page, and the Pedigree Chart opened:
There are other charts listed in the right-hand column - a descendants chart and a Bow-Tie Chart. I was more interested in the "Reports" link, so I clicked on that:

The "Reports" link on the "Analysis" tab has three selections - "Ahnentafel," "Family Fact Sheet" and "Individual." The screen above shows a three-generation "Ahnentafel" report for my grandfather - including a list of each family in his ahnentafel list by number - himself, then his parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. The list included the children with birth-death years. The number of generations is controlled at the top of the report - the default value seems to be three.

The "Individual" Report" link on the "Analysis" Tab has all of the available information about the selected person and his family (two screens):

I clicked on the "Lists" link on the "Analysis" Tab, and the available lists are "Anniversaries," "Birthdays," "Descendants," Family Members," "Marriages" and "Warning List." I clicked on "Birthdays" and saw:

This list starts with January 1 and goes to December 31, 25 names at a time. For my "family" with over 13,000 members, it runs over 500 screens! The first 25 are shown above. I could print, save as an image, or export the whole list to Excel or to a PDF file. I didn't. I didn't see any way to get to a particular month or day other than by putting a page number in the box above the list. There should be a way to request a certain month and/or date.

The "Tools" Tab on the top of the screen has several options in the right-hand column - "Date Calculator," "Relationship Calculator," "Source Rating Calculator," "Map My Family," "Merge People," "Manage Your Locations" and "Research Links."

I worked with the first three links a bit, and they were pretty straightforward. I clicked on the "Map My Family" link and saw:

The Google Map shows the localities in my database for the events of all of the family members of my grandfather.

I clicked on "Manage Your Locations" and, after inputting a locality (I chose Westminster, MA) and "Birth and Death" events, saw:

The list contained all of the birth and death localities for the 182 people in my database with "Westminster" in one of the fields.

I clicked on the "Research Links" link and saw:

Without any search criteria, there are 1,007 links provided for websites with genealogy information from all over the world. The user can input a country, a source type, or a specific state, city, county or province to reduce the list. I input "United States" in the country field, and there were 634 sources of information. With "Canada" in the country field, there were 24 sources of information. I input "California" in the State field and there were 13 sources listed. It appears that there are no subscription databases in these links, but there are data portals, with links to subscription database sites. This "Research Links" appears to be a pretty good list of links - there are many for the USA, Canada and California that I have not used before.

I'm going to stop here with the screen shots and not spend any more time or bandwidth describing the website.

My conclusions, after spending about four hours working on the site, include:

* The site is visually beautiful
* The site is logically laid out, and navigation from one tab to another is fairly easy to perform, although it often takes a long time to complete.
* Navigation on the site from person to person is easy when a link to a person is available (e.g., parent to child, or person to spouse) but is really cumbersome to jump from one person to a distantly related, or unrelated person, in the database.
* Adding persons and events, or editing events, is easy to perform, but every operation takes a finite time to execute.
* Loading of pages is very slow when the program has to do some calculation or search. This is my biggest criticism of the site - it is very slow.
* The Charts online are visually good, but the printout of the charts is difficult to read - the print is too small and everything is cramped together.
* The Reports online are useful, but there is not nearly the variety of reports offered by desktop software.
* The Lists can be very useful, but it is cumbersome to move around a large list essentially using try-and-see methods.
* The Research Links look to be very useful, on first look.

It may be that some of my criticisms above are the result of having a family tree with over 38,000 persons in it. The site may work much quicker with, say, less than 1,000 persons in it.

Based on my relatively brief evaluation in these three posts, I don't see that the ourFamily*ology family tree system offers anything special compared to other online family trees, especially when many other family tree systems are free to use.

I will not be subscribing to this website when my 15-day free trial period expires next week.

Disclosure: I am not an employee, contractor or subscriber of this website, and I received no remuneration of any kind for providing this analysis.