Saturday, November 28, 2009

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Famous Look-Alikes

It's Saturday Night again - are you ready for some Genealogy Fun?

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to find which celebrities that have the same facial features that you (or someone else you choose) have. Here are the directions:

1) Go to - you don't have to be a registered member to use this feature. Click on the "Celebrities and Fun" tab.

2) Click on the "Celebrity Collage" tab, and then on the "Create my Collage" button.

3) Upload a photograph with your face (or another person's face) to the site (the face must be at least 100 x 100 pixels) and click on the "Run face recognition" button.

4) Select a collage template, and the faces (up to 8) to go into the collage template. Click on "Next" and "Preview" your template, which should bring up the template for you to review. You could click on "Save" and it would go off to your selected social networking site.

5) Figure out how to show your collage on your blog or social network site (I have my own process defined below).

6) Tell us which celebrities that you (or your selected person) look alike - write your own blog post, make a comment to this post or on Facebook.

7) Think about how you could use something like this as a Christmas gift.

Here's mine:

The system says that my current photograph looks like celebrities:

* Benoit Mandelbrot (who?) - 67%
* Beyonce Knowles - 66% (huh? will Beyonce be bald in 40 years?)
* Kylie Minogue - 64% (poor Kylie - does her celebrity look-alike collage include me?)
* Missi Pyle (who?) - 61%
* Colin Powell - 61% (all right - me and Colin...)
* Darius Milhaud - 56% (who?)
* Alec Baldwin - 55% (I dislike him...)
* Edward Heath - 54% (another statesman!)

At least there weren't any ax murderers or real bad people on my collage list!

I did one for my mother at age 23 and her celebrity look-alikes include Rachel Bilson, Katherine Hepburn (she would have loved that), Cindy Crawford, Elizabeth Hurley, Cindy Crawford, and Helen Hunt.

Here's how I created the JPG image above from the Celebrity Collage on the MyHeritage site:

* Went to full screen (F11 key), then "Print Screen" key
* Opened my OpenOffice Impress (presentation program) and did a "Paste (Ctrl-V keys) operation.
* Right-clicked on image, and clicked on "Save Picture as" and saved the screen shot to my hard drive as a .PNG file.
* Opened my photo editing program (I use Microsoft Digital Image 2006 Standard Editor"), opened the saved .PNG file, cropped it to the collage frame, and saved it as a .JPG file.

Readers may have some other handy method to capture screen images and post them, but that is mine. If you want, please share your methods with the rest of us in your blog post or comments.

Was this fun? It was for me. I can hardly wait to see who you look alike!

Surname Saturday - WHITE

It's Saturday - time for another Surname Saturday post. I'm doing mine in ahnentafel order.

Number 11 on my ahnentafel list is Julia White. Here is my ahnentafel report for the WHITE line from Julia back to William White on the Mayflower in 1620 (Note: I have reduced the children to a list of names in order to conserve space):

1. Randy Seaver (1943-....)

2. Frederick W. Seaver (1911-1983)

4. Frederick W. Seaver (1876-1942)
5. Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962)

10. Thomas Richmond (1848-1917)
11. Julia White, born 08 September 1848 in Killingly, Windham County, CT; died 04 October 1913 in Putnam, Windham County, CT. She married Thomas Richmond 20 June 1868 in Elmville, Windham County, CT.

22. Henry A. White, born 1824 in Glocester, Providence County, RI; died 01 August 1885 in East Killingly, Windham County, CT. He married Amy Frances Oatley 30 June 1844 in Thompson, Windham County, CT.
23. Amy Frances Oatley, born 1826 in South Kingstown, Washington County, RI; died Bef. 1870 in Killingly, Windham County, CT. She was the daughter of 6. Jonathan Oatley and 7. Amy Champlin. Children of Henry White and Amy Oatley are:
.......... i. Ellen Frances White (1845-1916), married 1867 William Henry Buck (1848-1912)
..11.... ii. Julia White (1848-1913), married 1868 Thomas Richmond (1848-1917)
.......... iii. Emily Elizabeth White (1849-1939), married 1869 Marcus Barstow (1845-1912)
.......... iv. Henry J. White (1853-1919), married 1878 Ida Fogg (1861-1932)
.......... v. (infant) White (1858-1858)
.......... vi. Frederick J. White (1859-????)

44 Jonathan White, born 1806 in Glocester, Providence County, RI; died 19 April 1850 in Killingly, Windham County, CT. He married Miranda Wade About 1824 in prob. Foster, Providence County, RI.
45. Miranda Wade, born 25 January 1804 in Foster, Providence County, RI; died 27 August 1850 in Killingly, Windham County, CT. Children of Jonathan White and Miranda Wade are:
..22.... i. Henry A. White (1824-1885), married 1844 Amy Frances Oatley
.......... ii. Albert H. White (1827-1910) ,married 1866 Olive A. (1839-1926)
.......... iii. Harriet A. White (1836-????)

88. Humphrey White, born About 1758 in prob. Westport, Bristol County, MA; died 15 January 1814 in Glocester, Providence County, RI. He married Sybil Kirby 11 February 1788 in Dartmouth, Bristol County, MA.
89. Sybil Kirby, born 08 January 1764 in Dartmouth, Bristol County, MA; died Bef. 11 March 1848 in Glocester, Providence County, RI. Children of Humphrey White and Sybil Kirby are:
.......... i. Meribah White, (1789-????), married 1820 Hutchinson
.......... ii. Benjamin White (1789-1863) ,married 1815 Polly Hopkins (1795-1855)
.......... iii. David White (<1797-????), married 1818 Phebe Hathaway (1798-????)
.......... iv. Elizabeth White (<1797-????), married Peleg Wood.
.......... v. Humphrey White (<1797-????)
.......... vi. Nancy White (<1797-????), married Aaron Cutler.
.......... vii. Martha White (1797-1841), married 1822 Isaac Snell
..4...... viii. Jonathan White (1806-1850), married 1824 Miranda Wade (1804-1850)
.......... ix. Rhoda White (1807-????), married 1824 Erastus Clark
.......... x. William White (1807-1866), married Drusilla R. Chase (1805-1876)

176. Jonathan White, born About 1730 in prob. Dartmouth, Bristol County, MA; died 21 November 1804 in Westport, Bristol County, MA. He married Abigail Wing 01 January 1756 in Dartmouth, Bristol County, MA.
177. Abigail Wing, born 25 April 1734 in Dartmouth, Bristol County, MA; died 06 August 1806 in Dartmouth, Bristol County, MA. Children of Jonathan White and Abigail Wing are:
..88.... i. Humphrey White (1758-1814), married 1788 Sybil Kirby (1764-1848)
.......... ii. Ruth White (1758-1835), married 1778 Gideon Cornell (1753-1836)
.......... iii. Rhoda White (1761-1822), married 1781 Stephen Cornell (????-1828)
.......... iv. Hannah White (1765-1842), married 1791 Luthan Kirby (1770-1860)
.......... v. Holder White (1768-1853), married 1781 Cynthia Milk
.......... vi. Jonathan White (1778-????), married 1798 Mary Wait

352. William White, born About 1708 in prob. Dartmouth, Bristol County, MA; died Bef. 03 October 1780 in Dartmouth, Bristol County, MA. He married Abigail Thurston 02 October 1729 in Little Compton, Newport County, RI.
353. Abigail Thurston, born 07 May 1700 in Little Compton, Newport County, RI. Children of William White and Abigail Thurston are:
..176.. i. Jonathan White (1730-1804), married 1756 Abigail Wing (1734-1806)
.......... ii. Hannah White (1732-????), married 1751 Wesson Kirby (1731-1798)
.......... iii. Elizabeth White (1734-????), married Stephen Peckham.
.......... iv. Abigail White (1736-????), married 1766 William White

704. William White, born About 1683 in MA; died Bef. 03 October 1780 in Dartmouth, Bristol County, MA. He married Elizabeth Cadman About 1707 in prob. Dartmouth, Bristol County, MA.
705. Elizabeth Cadman, born 06 June 1685 in Dartmouth, Bristol County, MA; died Aft. January 1768 in prob. Dartmouth, Bristol County, MA. Children of William White and Elizabeth Cadman are:
.......... i. Roger White (1707-1802), married 1736 Rebecca Grinnell (1710-????)
..352.. ii. William White (1708-1780), married 1729 Abigail Thurston (1700-????)
.......... iii. Sarah White (1709-1795), married 1726 John Brown (1705-1773)
.......... iv. Hannah White (1711-1792), married 1730 William Taber (1705-1758)
.......... v. George White (1712-1764), married 1731 Deborah Shaw (1711-1766)
.......... vi. Christopher White (1715-1795), married 1739 Elizabeth Thurston (1719-1782)
.......... vii. Elizabeth White (1717-1749), married 1737 Benjamin Slocum (1714-1792)
.......... viii. Susanna White (1720-1780) ,
.......... ix. Oliver White (1724-1791), married 1747 Mary Sherman (1725-????)
.......... x. Abner White (1725-1774), ,married 1746 Ruth Brownell (1727-1806)
.......... xi. Thomas White (1730-????)

1408. Sylvanus White, born Bef. 1667 in Marshfield, Plymouth County, MA; died Bef. 29 June 1688 in Scituate, Plymouth County, MA. He married Deborah Bef. 1683 in MA.
1409. Deborah, died Aft. 1688. Child of Sylvanus White and Deborah is:
..704... i. William White (1683-1780), married 1707 Elizabeth Cadman (1685-1768)

2816. Peregrine White, born 07 December 1620 in Cape Cod Harbor, New England; died 22 July 1704 in Marshfield, Plymouth County, MA. He married Sarah Bassett Bef. 06 March 1647/48 in prob Duxbury, Plymouth County, MA.
2817. Sarah Bassett, born About 1628 in Plymouth, Plymouth County, MA; died 22 January 1710/11 in Marshfield, Plymouth County, MA. Children of Peregrine White and Sarah Bassett are:
.......... i. Daniel White (1649-1724), married 1674 Hannah Hunt (????-1721)
.......... ii. (infant) White (1650-1650?)
.......... iii. Jonathan White (1658-1737), married (1) 1683 Hester Nickerson (1656-1703), married (2) 1708 Margaret Elizabeth Alexander (????-1718)
..........iv. Peregrine White (1660-1727), married (1) 1684, Susanna, married (2) 1696 Mary (????-1755)
.......... v. Sarah White (1663-1755), married 1689 Thomas Young (1663-1732)
..1408. vi. Sylvanus White (1667-1688), married 1683 Deborah.
.......... vii. Mercy White (1670-1739), married 1698 William Sherman (1672-1739)

5632. William White, born About 1590 in ENGLAND; died 21 February 1620/21 in Plymouth, Plymouth Colony. He married Susanna Bef. 1615 in prob. HOLLAND.
5633. Susanna, born in ENGLAND; died Bef. February 1679/80 in prob. Marshfield, Plymouth County, MA. Children of William White and Susanna are:
.......... i. Resolved White (1615-1687), married (1) 1640 Judith Vassall (1619-1670), married (2) 1674 Abigail (widow of Robert Lord).
.. 2816..ii. Peregrine White (1620-1704), married 1648 Sarah Bassett (1628-1711).

Well, that's shorter than before, but more work to edit it.

If anybody can improve on the names, dates and places for the people above, I wouldl ike to hear from you!

Finding Sarah Martin's Parents - Mark Putman did it!

It has been an exciting week or two for Mark Putman who shares ancestry with me to John and Sarah (Martin) Putman. I wrote about the dilemma of searching for Sarah's parents before - in:

* The Elusive Sarah Martin (1792-1860), wife of John Putman

* Digging in the Putman Garden of Genealogy Mysteries

* Evidence of Sarah Martin's Maiden Name in the Putman Files

Note that the children of John and Sarah (Martin) Putman are, in order, Peter W. Putman, Mulford Martin Putman, Isaac Kinnan Putman, Eliza Putman, Rebecca Putman, Mary Putman, Martha Putman and William C. Putman. Peter was John Putman's father's name. Was Sarah's father's name Mulford Martin? Isaac Kinnan Putman was named after John Putman's brother, Isaac Kinnan Putman, who may have been named for an uncle (John Putman's mother was a Kinnan). It seems like onomastics played some role in naming the children of John and Sarah (Martin) Putman.

Recently, Mark dug around in the LDS IGI and Ancestral File and found some interesting items - they indicated that Sarah Martin's parents were Mulford Martin and Betsey Rolfe, and that Betsey Rolfe's parents were Ephraim and Sarah (Campbell) Rolfe. After checking the 1810 census for New York, he found the Ephraim Rolfe family next to the Putman family in Ulysses, Seneca County, NY (Tompkins County NY after 1817). His first message describing the find on the Putman message board is here.
After more data mining, Mark posted a message to the Rolfe message board here, and received an answer on Friday that Betsey Rolfe married John Putnam, according to a recently published Rolfe surname book, "The Early Rolfe Settlers of New England" by Frederick G. Rolfe (Gateway Press, Baltimore, 1995).

Mark then found that the book was digitized by the Family History Library and is available online at the BYU Family History Archive here.

The book says that "Sally Martin (7.142), niece of Jonathan (6.147), daughter of Betsey Rolfe Martin (6.144), married John Putnam and moved to Canada, had a large family" (page 15). The numbers refer to individuals in each generation (book I, 7th generation, person number 142 for Sally Martin) listed in the book.

While I am very pleased that Mark has been able to find this connection to the Martin and Rolfe families, I am concerned that all we have at this point in time is:

* LDS IGI and Ancestral File records, member submitted, of the parents of Sarah Martin. We all know that these may have some basis in fact, but should be used only as finding aids.

* Rootsweb WorldConnect databases for the Martin and Rolfe families that give no dates or places for the Mulford and Betsey (Rolfe) Martin family, which came out of Middlesex County, NJ. Again, these are helpful to put families into context, but should be used as finding aids.

* A Rolfe surname book that relies on a narrative written by one of Ephraim Rolfe's granddaughters about the family in Tompkins County, New York. The information on the Ephraim Rolfe family is based on a narrative, completely included in the book, that provides much information about persons, dates and places for the particular line.

To date, there is not one original source or any primary information records for the birth of Mulford Martin or of Betsey Rolfe, for their marriage, or for the names, birth dates or birth places of their children. We do have several derivative sources with secondary information records. However, there are few, if any, conflicts among the data, but that may be because they all came from the Rolfe book information, and especially from the Rolfe granddaughter's narrative.

Hopefully, we can find some probate records or deeds in Middlesex County, NJ and Tompkins County, NY that ties the Rolfe family to the Putman family so that we can conclusively say that Betsey Rolfe and Mulford Martin are the parents of Sarah Martin, wife of John Putman. That said, I am very confident that they are!

Over the past three days, I've been mining the online databases for as much information as possible, and found that the Mulford Martin data is, at best, muddled. The records in Middlesex County NJ are pretty poor after about 1750 and there are several Mulford Martins in that time frame. I had not found the Rolfe book before Mark passed on the information - and the book refers to Mulford Martin as "Mulfied Martin."

We have no idea what happened to Mulford Martin (1763-????) or Betsey (Rolfe) Martin (1766-????) for that matter. Did Mulford die before, say, 1810, and did Betsey move to New York to be near her father and brothers? Was Sarah/Sally adopted by one of her uncles and taken to New York? Betsey's last child was born in about 1807, so Mulford and Betsey must have been alive at least until then.

Young Sarah/Sally Martin either went to Tompkins County, NY, with or without her mother and siblings, and met John Putman, or John Putman came back to Middlesex County, NJ to meet and marry her. Several of Sarah/Sally's siblings raised families in Middlesex County, NJ, so it may be that Mulford Martin left an estate there, or perhaps Betsey and those children never left NJ.

The neat thing, for me, is that Sarah Martin, and now Betsey Rolfe, and her mother, Sarah Campbell, are in my own matrilineal line - I share my mitochondrial DNA with these women. So I can push my matrilineal line back two more generations with this find.

Happy dance, er, genea-gasm, experienced... with all credit to Mark Putman for nailing this down after ten years of searching. I hope that he enjoys the genea-gasm more than I did! He earned it, I just piggybacked on his effort.

UPDATED: 8:30 a.m. - added more context, especially the onomastics, and a bit more analysis.

Friday, November 27, 2009

ProGen Group Christmas Elf Dance

The fearless, and creative, leader of my ProGen Study Group (Sheri Fenley) has created another little video using the fine services of JibJab - see the ProGen group members dance their way to fame and fortune here.

Did I hear you say "don't give up your day job?" It's the best I've ever danced, frankly.

You want to make one for yourself? Well, collect five head shots of your favorite people and go to to get started!

An even better idea is to get photos of your family and put them into one of the movies on I think I'm going to do it for "You'll Shoot Your Eye Out!" and send it to my brothers and kids.

Funny and creative coffins

After I posted about the Creative Coffins website the other day, I wondered if there were more examples on the Internet. I found the Curious, Funny Photos/Pictures blog had a recent post titled Funny Coffins with many, um, interesting photos. Enjoy!

Black Friday Sale at JMK Gifts!

Jimmy Kavanagh at JMK Gifts emailed me with news of their Black Friday special - today only - good discounts on JMK Gifts products. The discounts include:

* $8 OFF Binders
* 30% OFF Mousepads
* 40% OFF Calendars
* $4 OFF T-Shirts
* $3 OFF Mugs
* 55% OFF Cards

BONUS: FREE SHIPPING on $35+ or more!

Use this promo code ZAZZLEFRIDAY at

Disclosure: I have no financial interest in JMK Gifts, and was not paid for promoting the site on my blog. I am a satisfied customer of JMK Gifts!

Follow Friday - The ProGenealogists(R) Blog

I'm highlighting one of my favorite genealogy blogs every Friday. These are blogs that provide me useful information on a regular basis (not necessarily daily!) that I think my readers might find helpful.

Today's Follow Friday blog is The ProGenealogists(R) Blog. ProGenealogists is a commercial genealogy and family history research company, and started their blog in August 2008. They have had more posts over the past few months written by their staff - there are 15 authors listed on the sidebar of the monthly archive pages (but not the home page for some reason), including well-known genealogists Kory Meyerink, Natalie Cottrill and Heather Henderson.

I've found that the easiest way to read older blog posts is to click on the monthly archives list. The archives pages then list the authors and the topics that you don't fid on the home page.

I encourage you to add The ProGenealogists(R) Blog to your blog reader of choice!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I Am So Thankful

--- for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

--- for my wonderful loving wife, Angel Linda, who makes every day special.

--- for my two beautiful and smart daughters, and their great husbands, who work so hard to do so well in order to live securely.

--- for my four precious grandchildren, so innocent and with so much potential, and so much fun to be with.

--- for my enthusiastic father, who provided a large New England ancestry to research, and passed on an undying love for the game of baseball.

--- for my loving mother, so patient, supportive and kind, who saved so much and whose ancestry provides such fascinating research challenges.

--- for my brothers, their wives and children, who are interested in the family history and remember more than I do about our growing up years.

--- for my grandparents and earlier ancestors, who worked hard, played by the rules, raised healthy families, and provided a firm foundation for their children.

--- for my aunts, uncles and cousins, who opened their homes and their hearts and shared their memories.

--- for the brave passengers on the Mayflower and other early ships who colonized New England, and instilled a republican form of government based on personal freedom and responsibility.

--- for the immigrants that populated our country, diversified our culture, worked hard to succeed, and are woven into the country's fabric.

--- for the courageous citizens who revolted to secure our freedoms, and created the institutions that are the foundations of the USA.

--- for the soldiers, sailors and pilots, of every historical time, who have defended our country and kept us safe and free.

--- for the entire Constitution and Bill of Rights - especially the freedoms of speech, religion and assembly. I am awestruck that the Founders wrote such a magnificent set of documents that have stood the test of time.

--- for educational opportunities, whereby every and any person in this country can be the best that they can be, but they have to really make an effort.

--- for the free market and free enterprise economic system that encourages and rewards work and innovation, and has allowed me and my family to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

--- for the marvels of science and engineering, that drive our health, transportation, communication and entertainment industries.

--- for the wonders of nature that beautify our world, inspire us and occasionally overwhelm us.

--- for my genealogy society colleagues, ProGen and TGSG groups, genea-bloggers and blog readers who challenge, educate, encourage and appreciate me.

--- for,, and other genealogy companies that provide online databases to explore into the wee hours of the night.

--- for genealogy software that organizes our family structures and provide incredible reports and charts to share with our families

--- for repositories that collect, preserve and provide papers, photographs, books, manuscripts and artifacts to expand our research.

--- for genealogy conferences, magazines, books and newsletters that inform and educate us.

This year, I am really thankful for good health and the joys of being with our daughters and grandchildren.

What are you thankful for on this Thanksgiving holiday?

Happy Thanksgiving!


by Edgar Albert Guest (c) 1917

Gettin' together to smile an' rejoice,
An' eatin' an' laughin' with folks of your choice;
An' kissin' the girls an' declarin' that they
Are growin' more beautiful day after day;

Chattin' an' braggin' a bit with the men,
Buildin' the old family circle again;
Livin' the wholesome an' old-fashioned cheer,
Just for awhile at the end of the year.

Greetings fly fast as we crowd through the door
And under the old roof we gather once more
Just as we did when the youngsters were small;
Mother's a little bit grayer, that's all.

Father's a little bit older, but still
Ready to romp an' to laugh with a will.
Here we are back at the table again
Tellin' our stories as women an' men.

Bowed are our heads for a moment in prayer;
Oh, but we're grateful an' glad to be there.
Home from the east land an' home from the west,
Home with the folks that are dearest an' best.

Out of the sham of the cities afar
We've come for a time to be just what we are.
Here we can talk of ourselves an' be frank,
Forgettin' position an' station an' rank.

Give me the end of the year an' its fun
When most of the plannin' an' toilin' is done;
Bring all the wanderers home to the nest,
Let me sit down with the ones I love best,

Hear the old voices still ringin' with song,
See the old faces unblemished by wrong,
See the old table with all of its chairs
An' I'll put soul in my Thanksgivin' prayers.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ruth and her Grandma Genie Camp

My Chula Vista Genealogical Society colleague, Ruth, has her four grandchildren with her for Thanksgiving and she has taken the opportunity to hold a Grandma's Genie Camp for them this week. She has been posting her daily episodes on her blog, Genealogy is Ruthless Without Me.

The posts to date are:

* Thanksgiving and Genealogy -- the plan for Grandma Ruth's genealogy camp

* Day One Grandma's Genie Camp -- see Ruth's 10-generation chart on her wall.

* Day Two Grandma's Geni 101 Class -- reading about ancestors and tracing migration paths on maps

* Day 3 of Grandma's Genie Camp -- more map work and working on the ancestor chart tracing a family.

* Day 4 --- Grandma's Genie Camp -- the kids go to the CVGS meeting and work on the pedigree chart, then enjoy family stories.

I can hardly wait for the rest of the days of Ruth's Genie Camp. I will add them to this post as they are posted by Ruth.

Isn't this a great example of taking genealogy to the family? The kids are participating and enjoying their time with Grandma, and it is obvious that she is really enjoying her time with them.

Well done, Ruth... what a wonderful bonding experience for everyone. I know that you and the grandchildren will remember this week for the rest of your, and their, lives.

Don't you wish your grandmother had done this with you when you were a child? Have you thought about doing something similar with your grandchildren when they get old enough?

Kemp and Sovereen Lands in Norfolk County, Ontario

In my post Canadian County Atlas Project - Wonderful! yesterday, I used the project (at to find land maps of townships of the counties in Ontario Province in the 1874 to 1881 time frame.

Now, I want to find the specific land locations for my ancestors - James Abram Kemp (1831-1902) and Alexander Sovereen (1814-1907). In my earlier post, there was a choice of "Maps" or "People" on the third screen shown. I went back to that page, and clicked on the "People" button:

I entered "Kemp" into the "Last Name" field and "Norfolk" into the "County" field and clicked on "Search:"

There were three matches for my query - and there is James A. Kemp (Middleton township, occupation of farmer, joiner, carpenter, and nativity of Canada) and his son Peter E. Kemp is listed also in Windham township. I clicked on the "Go" button next to James A. Kemp's line:

There is some useful information here. In addition to Name, County, Township, Occupation and Nativity, there is information about Year Settled (1855), Post Office (Delhi), Concession and Lot (1 NTR, 42) and Lot Size (100 acres). I clicked on the "Locate on Map" button and was rewarded with:

On the right of the page above, there is a small map of Middleton township with a square box highlighting the location of James A. Kemp's land. The small map on the left shows James A. Kemp's land. I can use my saved map of Middleton to see the entire township to see how James Kemp's land relates to the roads, terrain and other landowners.

Now, Alexander Sovereen was located in Windham township in Norfolk County, and here is the Windham township map:

I went back to the "People" page and put in Alexander Sovereen into the search box and found:

The information for Alexander Sovereen includes Nativity (Canada), Business (Farmer), Year Settled (1836), Post Office (Delhi), Concession and Lot (XI, 21 and XI, 22) and Lot Size (100 acres and 85 acres):

Three lots are listed (20, 21 and 22) so I clicked on each of them. Here is the map for Lots 21 and 22:

Lots 21 and 22 were across the road from each other, and it appears that the home was on the north side of the road.

Lot 20 was not far away:

In my earlier post, Brenda Merriman and Lynn Palermo offered more advice on finding information about people and land records in Norfolk County. I will follow up on those! Thank you, ladies!

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Family Photographs: Post 81 -- My Red Fire Engine

I'm posting old family photographs from my collection on Wednesdays, but they won't be wordless Wednesday posts like others do - I simply am incapable of having a wordless post.

This photograph is from the box of loose photographs given me by my mother between 1988 and 2002:

This photograph was taken in about 1949 on the block I lived in San Diego (although I don't recognize the background - lost in time, I fear). My guess is that my grandfather, Lyle Carringer, took the picture of me posing with my personal fire engine.

I'm pretty sure that my little red fire engine was well used as I rode around the block (learning to drive?), and between the houses, ringing my little bell and using my voice as a siren. I imagine that when the bell ringing stopped, my mother would start worrying.

Creative Coffins

Do you want to "go out" in high style, make an impression on the cemetery gravediggers, and maybe save your family history?

Check out the unique coffin designs at Creative Coffins - Here is the website's home page:

You can click on the coffin images and see larger views of them. I captured a few screens.

Are you a musician?

Are you into nature and horticulture?

Enjoy flying vintage airplanes?

Check out all of them - do you have a favorite?

So now I'm hoping that they can come up with a coffin on which my pedigree chart could be engraved, with pictures of me and my ancestors. Wouldn't that be impressive at my funeral and burial? The mind boggles, eh? I wonder what that would cost? Hmmm. To the drafting board...

Then - think about 100 years down the road, when all of the world's vital records and publications are lost in the great EMP event that wipes out all computer records, my great-grandson remembers "hey, grandpa Randy had his pedigree chart on his coffin (and his family history research buried with him) - let's dig it up and find our family history!"

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Canadian County Atlas Project - Wonderful!

One of the many questions that we genealogy researchers want to answer is "where did my folks live?"

As I was wandering through my 15-inch pile of "paper to be entered into my database and/or filed somewhere" today, I came across two maps from Norfolk County, Ontario. They showed where the lands of two of my ancestors, James A. Kemp in Middleton township and Alexander Sovereen in Windham township, weres located. However, the print of the maps I had was really fuzzy, and I couldn't find the exact land location even with a magnifying glass.

Fortunately, one of the maps had an URL on it - so I entered that URL and saw:

The screen above is the portal for the collection of 32 County Atlases for the Ontario for the time period 1874 to 1881. I quickly clicked on the "County Atlases" button and saw the explanation of the atlases - what, when, where, why and how they were made:

At the bottom of that page is a "Search" button so I clicked that one and saw:

The user has the choice of doing a "People" search or a "Maps" search. I chose the "Maps" search to start with - and clicked on that button:

The screen above shows the colorful counties of Ontario with numbers keyed to the list in blue on the right side of the screen. Norfolk County is #6, so I clicked on the County on the map (I could have clicked the link also):

The screen above shows a map of Norfolk County, with the seven townships outlined. I downloaded the map as a JPG file to my hard drive for further analysis.

I want to look at individual townships to find my Kemp and Sovereen folks, so I opened the dropdown menu for the Townships (all of Ontario, not just Norfolk County), and chose "Middleton:"

When I clicked on the "Get Map" button, the Middleton township map appeared:

I saved this map also to my hard drive, and think I found my Kemp family.

In the next post, I'll go back and do a "People" search for both "Kemp" and "Sovereen" and show you what I found.

This is a really neat website, and it's been around since 2001. However, since I last visited in June of 2007, the contents on the site and the search process has been changed and improved.

Drinking, Singing and Quarreling are dangerous to your livelihood

I've been working on my "to be reviewed and entered into my database if worthy" pile today (it is so nice to not have a speaking or teaching deadline for awhile!) and ran across this entry about a brother of my 2nd great-grandfather, David Auble:

"William Auble, a native of Sussex, and a brother to David Auble, stabbed to death during a quarrel in Philadelphia, by two brothers, who sang obscene songs as Auble was returning from a party with ladies. Auble had a loaded pistol, but did not use it. The deceased, and the men who sent him to an early grave, were intimate acquaintances, and but for improper use of strong drink the trouble never would have occurred."

This was obtained from: The Sussex [NJ] Register, which printed newspaper clippings from earlier editions of the newspaper ( online database, "Newspaper clippings from The Sussex Register," Provo, UT, 2005, original data from The Register, 1897-1899, page 54), which included this item from 10 September 1844.

I guess the lesson here is to not drink heavily, sing obscene songs and quarrel with intimate friends. Who knew? I wonder who the "friends" were, and if they were charged and convicted?

Getting Help with RootsMagic 4

During my adult education classes on Beginning Computer Genealogy this year, I recommend downloading one of the free genealogy software programs to help the students create as a "starter" database. I tell them that Legacy Family Tree (Standard Version), RootsMagic Essentials, Family Tree Builder and Personal Ancestral File are programs that a researcher can start with - for FREE - and if they buy a specific program later, they can import their data in the free program using the GEDCOM file export/import procedure.

In this last class, several students said "I'm totally lost - where can I get help to add data, add notes, add sources?" I showed them the Help menu in Legacy and RootsMagic and how they can use the Search tab to find information, and directions, for their questions. The response was "I didn't know that Help link was there." It seems like some beginners are reluctant (terrified?) of clicking on a menu item for fear of "doing something wrong."

Since some of my society colleagues, and blog readers, have also migrated their databases to RootsMagic 4, I thought that I would highlight how to get help in RootsMagic 4 (I'll do the same with Legacy and Family Tree Maker 2010 in later posts).

From within RootsMagic 4, clicking on the "Help" menu item (top row) and the "Contents" item in the dropdown list takes you to the Help page:

On the Help page, the user can choose an article from the "Contents" list, or click on the tabs for "Index," "Search," or "Favorites" (where the user has saved a help subject previously).

My experience is that putting keywords into the "Search" tab usually brings up an article that answers my questions.

There are several online Help sites also. You can access them from within RootsMagic 4 by clicking on the "Help" menu item and selecting "Technical Support" from the dropdown list. When you do this, the program opens your browser and takes you to the RootsMagic Support Portal:

There are links on the Support Portal for the "Knowledge Base," "News," "Submit a Ticket," "View Tickets" (that you've submitted), and "Message Boards."

Here is the Knowledge Base page:

On this page, there are sections for the different RootsMagic products - Family Atlas, Family Reunion Organizer, Personal Historian and RootsMagic. The user can submit keywords to the Search field at the top of the page to see if there are answers to their questions in the Knowledge Base.

The "Submit a Ticket" link on the Support Portal opens:

On the "Submit a Ticket" form, the user can ask a question that they have not found an adequate answer for on the other support sites.

The "Message Boards" link on the Support Portal takes the user to the "Forums" section, where the user can submit a forum post and receive answers from RootsMagic employees or other users:

These Help sites can be useful to bewildered users of RootsMagic, especially beginning researchers.

Even though RootsMagic claims that their software is easy to use - and they offer basic information and instruction on using the program on their website, a video tutorial on "Getting Started," and a book Getting the Most Out of RootsMagic by Bruce Buzbee - my experience with beginning software users is that they need explicit directions on how to access these helps and to use the software satisfactorily.

Societies should consider having software user groups to teach the basics, demonstrate program features, and answer questions that beginners have. In the San Diego area, both the San Diego Genealogical Society and the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego offer user groups for RootsMagic.

Monday, November 23, 2009

"Heirloom Discovery Day" is CVGS Program on Wednesday

The next Chula Vista Genealogical Society meeting is Wednesday, 25 November 2009, at 12 noon in the Chula Vista Civic Center Library Auditorium (365 F Street in Chula Vista).

The program will be Georgie Stillman, a certified ASA appraiser, who will present an "Heirloom Discovery Day."

Georgie will evaluate, provide some historical background and estimate a value of family heirlooms brought in by CVGS members. Her expertise is in evaluating and appraising silver, China, glass ware, furniture, artworks, quilts and samplers.

Georgie Stillman ( has worked as a professional appraiser in London, England, Phoenix, AZ and San Diego since 1971. She served as president of the American Society of Appraisers (ASA), vice president of the San Diego chapter, and was founding director of the International Society of Appraisers. She has received numerous awards for her outstanding service, including Appraiser of the Year. Besides being a professional instructor at various colleges, she has made many radio/TV guest appearances and written articles for many publications, teaching audiences about antiques and art.

Please enter the auditorium through the Conference Room door on the east library hallway - and pick up the program, buy a drawing ticket for Family Tree Maker 2010, and have a snack before the program begins at around 12:20 p.m.

For more information, please contact Barbara at 619-427-4110 or email

Adding Other Search Providers to RootsMagic 4 WebSearch

RootsMagic 4 has a number of Standard Search Providers in their WebSearch capability - they are Ancestry, Ancestry Message Boards, Family Search, Find a Grave, Footnote, Genealogy Bank, Google, Bing, Rootsweb, World Vital Records and Yahoo. That's wonderful, as long as they work.

When I clicked on the FamilySearch link I received matches only on the classical FamilySearch results (Ancestral file, IGI, Pedigree Resource File, 1880 US, 1881 Canada and 1881 UK), not for the FamilySearch Record Search where all of the new imaged and indexed databases are going. Can I add that site, and others, to the RootsMagic WebSearch list?

RootsMagic 4 allows the user to add other Search providers to the WebSearch capability, On the screen below, I have opened the list of Search providers and at the bottom of the list is "Manage Search Providers..."

I clicked on the link for "Manage Search Providers" and noted that there were two tabs on the popup window - "Standard Search Providers" and "Custom Search Providers." I clicked on "Custom Search Providers" and it was empty:

I decided to add FamilySearch Record Search to the list, so I clicked on the "Add" button to the right of the empty box, and saw:

I added the words "FamilySearch Record Search" to the first line for "Search Provider Name."

There are three instructions then to enable adding the desired search provider - they are:

1. Visit the desired search engine in your web browser.

2. Use the search engine to search for "John Doe (1700-1800)"

3. Paste the URL (Ctrl-V) of the search results page into the following box.

I used my browser and went to the FamilySearch Record Search page, and entered John Doe 1700-1800 in the appropriate (well, only) search boxes:

I clicked "Search" and the results showed up on the screen below:

I highlighted the URL in the address line, copied it using Ctrl-C, and went back to the RootsMagic WebSearch screen and entered it into the box titled "Search Results URL"

Then I clicked on "OK" and the FamilySearch Record Search item was added to my "Custom Search Provider" list:

I clicked "OK" here, and noted that "FamilySearch Record Search" was added to the dropdown WebSearch provider menu:

All good so far! That was pretty easy. I can see what RootsMagic is doing here - the URL for the search for John Doe and 1700-1800 can be modified by changing the given name, surname, birth year and death year of the target person in RootsMagic - the system should put my "Frank Walton" in place of "John," should put "Seaver" in place of "Doe," and the years "1852" and "1922" in place of "1700" and "1800" in the search query.

Let's see if it works. I clicked on the "FamilySearch Record Search (highlighted above) in the dropdown list and saw:

Results for John Doe. Not for Frank Walton Seaver, as I had hoped. I tried it for several other names (with and without middle names) and it didn't work for them either. The data for John Doe is in the URL searched for by RootsMagic - the data for my person did not replace the John Doe information in the search URL.

I could use the FamilySearch Record Search box within the RootsMagic screen and search for any name and obtain results. I just can't click on the link in the dropdown WebSearch box and get the results I want.

So this capability is messed up, at least for FamilySearch Web Search, and needs to be fixed.

I wondered about some other search website - would it work for any Custom Search Provider? The short answer is YES - it worked for, Family Tree Legends, and Genealogy Today. It didn't work for for some reason - it put the name in correctly but didn't find records (I used John Kelly 1900 to search and it should have found many of them!). It didn't work for - the search terms aren't put into the results URL. I haven't checked any other sites.

I cannot tell if RootsMagic 4 has a capability to capture the document image from a database found in a WebSearch. I looked in the RootsMagic 4 Help > Contents > Search for keywords like "capture image" and found no matches in the Help function.

I guess a user could copy and paste information from a WebSearch screen into a Person's Edit Screen, but that would be somewhat onerous with all of the switching back and forth.

If RootsMagic 4 cannot capture the document images, and their sources, then what is the real value of the WebSearch?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Best of the Genea-Blogs - November 15-21, 2009

Hundreds of 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:

* Beginning Your Online Search for Ancestors for Free by Miles Meyer on the Miles' Genealogy Tips blog. Miles has good advice for finding free online resources for his class. And us.

* What Did Willie Do? by Kay B. on the Kay B's Place blog. Kay has a fascinating biography of her uncle Willie - read and enjoy!

* Briefest of Histories of Genealogy by Polly Kimmitt on the Pollyblog blog. Polly's newspaper column analyzes why genealogy is an addictive and popular pastime.

* The 18th Edition Of Smile For The Camera's In Town by footnoteMaven on the Shades of the Departed blog. The theme for this Carnival was "Travel" and 19 bloggers submitted posts - read them all!

* Anatomy of a Military Pension File, Part 1 and Anatomy of a Military Pension File, Part 2 by Amy Coffin on the We Tree blog. Amy received a pension file and is itemizing each page and the things she is learning from the pages.

* How to Keep On Learning Genealogy by Robyn on the Reclaiming Kin blog. Robyn has excellent advice for pursuing more genealogy knowledge.

* Wordy Wednesday: Shaking My Tree At The Roots! by Luckie Daniels on the Our Georgia Roots blog. Luckie declared she is "going rogue" on genealogy - this may be interesting and fun!

* Carnival of Genealogy, 84th Edition by Jasia on the Creative Gene blog. The topic for this Carnival was "What the Carnival of Genealogy Means to Me." There were 23 submissions for this Carnival.

* NFS 1.0 for Non-Mormons by the writer of The Ancestry Insider blog. Mr. AI explains New FamilySearch for the rest of us, and links to a 2005 presentation about how great it was going to be.

* Genealogy Television Programs Sprouting Up by Thomas MacEntee on the Destination: Austin Family blog. Thomas peers intro the crystal ball and foresees new genealogy addicts after they watch the two new TV programs coming soon.

* Canada's Home Children - Still Waiting for Recognition by M. Diane Rogers on the CanadaGenealogy: 'Jane's Your Aunt' blog. Diane describes the resources for Canada's "home children" - shipped to Canada from Englandi n the 19th century. Excellent work!

* Finding Family Stories in Online Digitized Books by Tami Glatz on the relatively curious about genealogy blog. Tami presents a great list of online book resources.

* Preview – Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories by Thomas MacEntee on the Geneabloggers blog. We have an Advent Calendar to follow with topics for each day - I encourage you to follow the calendar, and to read the posts.

* Numbers, part 1 by Beau Sharbrough on The Unofficial Footnote Blog. Beau discusses Footnote database completion percentages in this post, and how users can interpret them.

* Woodmen of the World Unite: A Photo Gallery: I by Dead Man Talking on the Blogging a Dead Horse blog. DMT comes up with some of the most interesting and beautiful photo essays about cemeteries and gravestones.

* The 24th Edition of the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy by Al Wierzba on Al's Polish-American Genealogy Research blog. There were nine entries to this Carnival on the topic of tips, tricks and helps for research.

* Facebook for Genealogists by Jordan Jones on the Blog. Jordan updated his interesting article previously published in the NGS NewsMagazine (April-June 2009).

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

Read past Best of the Genea-Blogs posts here.

RootsMagic 4 WebSearch Quirk

I attended the RootsMagic user group at the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego meeting on Saturday, led by Pam Journey. I downloaded RootsMagic Version at the meeting to my laptop (a quick download and install), and Pam did also.

Pam demonstrated the WebSearch feature of RootsMagic 4 which is one of the main navigation tabs (along with Pedigree View, Family View, Descendants View and People).

As is my wont (and often my downfall) I wandered off on my own to "play around" with the software. While everybody else was clicking on the WebSearch for, I went clicking on some of the other "Standard Search Providers" websites (Ancestry, Ancestry Message Boards, Bing, Family Search, Find a Grave, Footnote, GenealogyBank, Google, Rootsweb, WorldVitalRecords and Yahoo!).

I had my great-grandfather, Frank Walton Seaver (1852-1922) as my selected person, so when I clicked on the "Search" button, his name was in the Search fields in RootsMagic. The results showed:

No matches? Hmmm, strange - I know that he's in the 1860 census and in other documents, but perhaps without a middle name or initial. Checking the Footnote screen carefully, I noticed that the search on Footnote was only for a given name of "Frank Walton" - there was no search field with the surname "Seaver."

I put "Frank Walton Seaver" in the search field (within the WebSearch system) and found:

324 matches, not all of them for persons named "Frank Walton Seaver." Most of them were "Frank Seaver" matches.

Strange, I thought. so I went to and used the Keyword search field and entered "Frank Walton Seaver:"

And after hitting the "Search" button, received 324 matches:

I recalled that there was a "Person" search, so I clicked on that and entered "Frank" and "Seaver" in the search fields:

After clicking "Search," I received 47 matches for persons named "Frank Seaver:"

I tested out the RootsMagic 4 WebSearch on with several other persons, and in every case the RootsMagic 4 WebSearch put only the Given Name in the search field and returned matches only for the Given Name.

I went looking on the RootsMagic Message Boards for Issues for this specific problem but I didn't see it mentioned.

It appears that RootsMagic 4 needs to be modified to use the "Person" Search box on rather than the Keyword search box, and the search needs to consider using only the first name and not the middle name for the Search query. Very few records in (and other website databases) include the middle names.

It turns out that using the Given Name = "Frank Walton" and Surname = "Seaver" on results in zero matches, as I expected. However, by doing this little exercise, I managed to find a quirk in the RootsMagic 4 WebSearch system that needs to be corrected so that the WebSearch returns meaningful results from for any name requested by a RootsMagic user.

I tested all of the other "Standard Search Providers" and they all worked fine - they found results for "Frank Walton Seaver" (but for Frank Seaver persons, not FWS persons) or included the surname in the search criteria (which the user can observe in RootsMagic 4 in the URL searched on the WebSearch screen. As seen in the first two screens above, the URL for doesn't appear in the URL field - the URL is shown as "about:blank" for some reason.