Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Best of Genea-Musings for 2009

I have nominated the following posts as my "Best of Genea-Musings for 2009" based on my own subjective criteria. I tried to pick only three or four posts from each month so that it is a manageable list (but included posts in a series).

January 2009:

* Day 1 in Salt Lake City, Day 2a, Day 2b, Day 2c, Day 3, Day 4 (visit to

* Checking out the Family History Library - Post 1, Post 2

* Papers, Images, Indexes and Searches

* Are imaging services missing NARA records? and More on Originals, Images and Indexes

* A Tale of Two Genealogy Companies

February 2009:

* I Use the Internet for Genealogy Research by...

* Use Google Language Tools to aid Hispanic Research

March 2009:

* My Y-DNA Results - Post 1: Getting Started, Post 2: Reading the Markers, Post 3: GeneBase Family Tree, Post 4: GeneBase Possible Matches, Post 5: FamilyTreeDNA Possible Matches, Post 6: Uploading to DNA Ancestry, Post 7: DNA Ancestry Possible Matches , Post 8: Uploading Data to Ysearch Post 9: Looking for Matches on Ysearch

* What is the Value of Genealogy 2.0 Technology?

* Is useful to genealogists?

April 2009:

* Who's Talkin' about you? Or me? Or something you care about?

* Working in RootsMagic 4 - Summary of Posts

* Adding Quality Source Citations to Genealogy Software Through Technology

* Happy Dance, Ah-ha, Eureka, Geneagasm Moments

May 2009:

* Using - Post 1, Post 2

* Searching Online for Genealogy Data

* First Look at - Post 1, Post 2 and Post 3

June 2009:

* Canadian Census Records, Canada Census Indexes at FamilySearch Record Search, Finding 1851 Canada Census Images - Post 1, Post 2, and Post 3

* "Genealogy in the Cloud" Program Summary - Part 1, Part 2

* SCGS Jamboree Highlights - Friday - Post 1, Saturday - Day 2, Tweeting the Blogger Summit, Day 3 - a Day of Rest?, Pictures

July 2009:

* My Interview with Lisa Louise Cooke at Jamboree and More SCGS Genealogy Jamboree Audio/Video

* My Favorite FREE Genealogy Resources

* Are there standards for names in family trees? and Standardizing names in family trees

* Are you ready to embrace these changes?

August 2009:

* 18 April 1906 - San Francisco - They Were There!, Same house, 103 years later? and Same house, 103 years later? Revisited

* GenSeek on Facebook Application is Available

September 2009:

* Bridging the Internet vs. Traditional Genealogy Gap

* Day 0 at the FGS Conference, Day 1a, Day 1b, Day 2a, Day 2b, Day 3, Day 4

* Download record images ... don't link to them

* Using Google Earth to find land location in the Public Land Survey System States

October 2009:

* Updated List of Unindexed Databases

* AB 130 Signed Into Law - California Vital Records Access

* Genealogy and Family Tree Patents

* Obtaining my 43-Marker Y-DNA Test Results and Finding Potential Y-DNA Matches - Post 1: GeneTree

November 2009:

* San Francisco Funeral Home Records and More San Francisco Treats

* SDGS Family History Seminar Highlights

* Using the DAR Genealogical Research System (GRS) and Using the DAR GRS - Ancestors and Descendants

* Canadian County Atlas Project - Wonderful! and Kemp and Sovereen Lands in Norfolk County, Ontario

December 2009:

* Are There Errors in the Social Security Death Index?

* Found a Family Home on Google...

* works great!

* Grading my Progress on 2009 Goals and Objectives

Whew! That's 81 of them - out of about 1,013 posts for the entire year! But many of the 81 are part of a series (I didn't list the 25 individual posts for the RootsMagic 4 review - just the summary post).

I can't parse them any further. Frankly, I don't remember writing some of them - I look at some of the posts on that list and think "hmmm, that was pretty good!" Other posts, not on the list above, are repeats from previous years. I found that I said essentially the same thing at different times of the year.

Which is your favorite post on that list (or in all of Genea-Musings for 2009)? And why?

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - The Best 2009 Genealogy Moment

Hey, it's Saturday Night - time for some Genealogy Fun!! I know - you had a great time on New Year's Eve, and are just recovering from the holidays, so we'll keep this one pretty easy.

Here is your assignment, if you choose to accept it (frankly, I've noticed that SNGF participation has dropped off in the last month - why? Too much eggnog? Too much work? What?):

1) "What was your best Genealogy Moment during 2009?" This could be a research find, a fabulous trip, a found family treasure, etc. Your choice!

2) Tell us about it in a blog post of your own, a comment to this blog post, or a comment to the Twitter or Facebook status line for this post.

Here's mine:

I posted Top Ten Genealogy Moments in 2009 on Wednesday, and my #1 Genealogy Moment was:

1. Attending the "Bloggers day" at in Provo, Utah in January (Day 1, Day 2a, Day 2b, Day 2c, Day 3, Day 4), including the tours, the dinners, and the meetings with staff and executives, and having fun with the SLIG planners. I really appreciated the invitation (not being one of the "elite" in genealogy circles) and the opportunity to become acquainted with the company and the staff.

The people and visit were great, but the longlasting memory is of meeting some of my TGSG and ProGen colleagues and many other genealogists - who were on the FGS Board, were the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) planners, or were attending SLIG. I especially loved meeting Pat Richley, who picked Dick Eastman and I up on Thursday night and shared dinner with us and several other "genealogy goddesses." On Sunday, Pat and the SLIG folks invited me to a wonderful brunch at my hotel and I had a great time meeting and sharing with a lot of really neat people! On Sunday night, I went to dinner with the TGSG group organized by Christy Fillerup. Meeting other genealogists is one of the best experiences I have, and I encourage every reader to go to conferences or seminars and meet people. You never know who might be a distant ocusin!

Surname Saturday - RICH

On Surname Saturdays, I am posting family lines from my own ancestry. I am doing this in Ahnentafel order, and am up to number #21, who is Hannah Rich (1824-1911).

My ancestry back to John Rich (1793-1868) is:

1. Randall J. Seaver

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

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

10. Thomas Richmond (1848-1917)
11. Julia White (1848-1913)

20. James Richman (1821-1912)

21. Hannah Rich, born 14 April 1824 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND; died 07 August 1911 in Putnam, Windham County, CT. She married 07 September 1845 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND.

42. John Rich, born About 1793 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND; died before 06 June 1868 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND. He married 14 February 1815 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND.
43. Rebecca Hill, born before 25 April 1790 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND; died before 07 March 1862 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND. She was the daughter of 6. John Hill and 7. Ann Warren. Children of John Rich and Rebecca Hill are:
............ i. Ann Rich, born before 07 June 1818 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND; died 20 December 1882 in Minock, Woodford, IL; married James Gaisford 25 March 1836 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND; born October 1819 in ENGLAND; died 21 April 1905 in Minock, Woodford, IL;
............ ii. James Rich, born before 23 June 1818 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND.
............ iii. John Rich, born before 22 November 1818 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND; died before 1822 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND.
............ iv. William Rich, born before 09 December 1821 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND; died before 14 April 1822 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND.
............ v. John Rich, born before 15 August 1822 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND; married Lydia Scott 23 December 1838 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND.
............ vi. Jesse Rich, born before 18 August 1822 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND; died before 04 December 1871 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND; married Jane Rose 18 June 1849 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND; born About 1824 in Wiltshire, ENGLAND; died 26 April 1906 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND.
.... 21 .. vii. Hannah Rich, born 14 April 1824 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND; died 07 August 1911 in Putnam, Windham County, CT; married James Richman/Richmond 07 September 1845 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND.
............ viii. Emma Rich, born before 25 March 1827 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND.
............ ix. Elizabeth Rich, born About 1828 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND; married James Carpenter 07 March 1847 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND.
............ x. William Rich, born before 11 March 1830 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND; died 06 April 1914 in Putnam, Windham, CT; married Caroline Linzey 09 June 1851 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND; born 16 April 1832 in ENGLAND; died 28 March 1904 in Putnam, Windham, CT.
............ xi. Samuel Rich, born before 28 February 1833 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND; married Annie D. before. 1864 in RI; born 1835 in CT; died 25 August 1917 in Pomfret, Windham, CT.

I have been unable to determine the parents of John Rich. If there are any Rich cousins reading this with more information, I would appreciate hearing from you via email at

Friday, January 1, 2010


I spent some time today wondering what to do with all of my "stuff." You see, the Genealogy Cave is pretty much "full" - to the point where a major earthquake in San Diego might damage more than the dust bunnies or spill paper on the floor. Worse yet - a fire in the right place could heat and entertain Chula Vista for weeks, I fear!

I added up all of the linear feet of paper hiding in plain sight in the Cave and came up with about 50 feet, give or take 10 feet, which doesn't include what's hiding in the closet and the "throwaway" box on the floor. What is there, you ask?

* The magazine collection - stacks of NEHGR, NewEnglandAncestors, NGSQ, NGS Magazine, TAG, Ancestry, Family Tree Magazine, Everton's Genealogical Helper, assorted other magazines, SDGS Newsletter, CGSSD newsletter, CVGS Newsletter, assorted other newsletters), all stacked on the top shelves of three bookcases up to the window sill.

* The book and syllabus collection - on top of some of the magazine stacks, or in a wall-hung book holder, and in my tall bookcase.

* The "collected papers" collection - in notebooks on four bookcases, sorted by surnames or locality-based surnames. There are also two stacks of unfiled papers waiting to go into the notebooks. Frankly, I haven't looked in many of these notebooks for over five years.

* Six boxes of copied papers which hold printed conference or journal papers, my presentation and teaching handouts, the ProGen/TG study group printouts, the CVGS files (queries, programs, newsletters, board minutes) that I've kept, etc.

* Three large boxes of old photographs, most of which I've scanned (but I don't have a log of what is or isn't).

* Two file cabinets with old presentations, Christmas letters, the family journal archives, and family artifacts (old Bibles, photo albums, etc.). Who knows what treasures that these hold - I haven't been in some of the drawers for over five years.

* A bookcase with family photograph albums, most of which have not been scanned, and a box of Aunt Gerry's albums, all of which I've scanned but not sorted out.

Now, be assured that I know exactly where every piece of paper is. LOL - right! The challenge is moving the stuff that's usually in front of it.

What value are the magazines from years ago? All of the NEHGR are online at - it's probably easier to search there than look through 20 years of printed issues. Not all of the NGSQ issues I have are online, but they are since 2002. The Chula Vista, and other local libraries, have complete runs of Everton's, NEGHR, NGSQ, NewEnglandAncestors, NGS News Magazine, and Family Tree Magazine - why should I keep any of them longer than one year? I probably should donate them to CVGS and see them sold at the book auction to interested members (if there are any!).

The "collected papers" in notebooks include many printouts from years ago - LDS Ancestral File group sheets, copies of journal and book pages for my ancestral families, and emails from correspondents long forgotten, etc. Many of those book pages are online at Google Books or on However, not all of the information on the collected papers are in my genealogy database, so that means that before I have to sort through them and enter the information and the source (a major flaw in my database!) before I can think of dumping them. The key here will be to go through the notebooks one time, enter the important data, reference the online book or journal, and save only what is not online.

I have a system of (bulging) manila folders for genealogy research subjects - you know, like census, military, immigration, land, probate, directories, English, Canadian, etc. The loose papers have more articles and printouts that need to be added to them. But some (or perhaps many!) of the printed pages are from online articles. I probably need to create a list of articles I have, try to find them online, dump the duplicates, scan the rest, and keep the archive in digital format.

The photographs in boxes or albums really need to be organized somehow into collections, scanned to a common standard (some are small JPGs, others are large TIFs), and the digitized photo collection organized around families and localities.

I started today with the loose papers sitting on top of the boxes since those are the messiest looking and the closest to my reach. I sorted them out, and put quite a few papers into folders which went back on top of the boxes (lacking any other open area in the Genealogy Cave). I managed to throw out (well, they're in the box under my desk reserved for non-private recycling) about five inches of the ten inches of paper I sorted through. Hey, it's a start!

Is anybody else in this predicament? Are your piles as high or long as mine? I like to think that I am well organized - and the public perception is that I am because I meet commitments and deadlines - but my description of the collection of "stuff" kind of belies that impression, doesn't it? I blame it all on over-commitment, blogging and having a fine New England ancestry!

I must be a descendant of the "Packrat" family... I can't even imagine throwing stuff out without agonizing over it!

Ah - I just realized that I need a bigger Genealogy Cave, more bookcases, etc. Problem solved! I wonder if Linda would mind moving our bedroom into the present Cave? Um, bad idea... not enough closet space and no cable TV outlet here. One solution is that we don't use our living room at all - the furniture sits there catching dust and housing the inherited artifacts that my daughters don't have room for at their homes. If we added some nice bookcases to the living room, we could make it a reading library... with the books, notebooks, photograph albums, etc.

Happy New Year 2010!!!

I wish all of my readers HAPPY NEW YEAR!

May 2010 bring you happiness, good health, many friends, lots of love and more time to pursue your genealogy addic.., er, passion.

May it also be a year that all of your dreams come true, and if you are a genealogist, that you experience many genea-gasms during the year.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Genealogy Goals and Dreams for 2010

After reading how poorly I performed on my 2009 goals and objectives (see Grading my Progress on 2009 Goals and Objectives), I've decided to be a bit more vague in my goals and objectives for 2010.

Here are my GOALS for 2010:

1) Research

* Go to the local Family History Center and local libraries more often in order to pursue ancestral information.
* Go to at least one major genealogy repository and do research over several days.
* Concentrate on brickwall ancestors, but spend time finding family history items for known ancestors.

2) Data Organization

* Convert items in computer file folders into couple-based digital file folders, including photographs and documents, using systematic file naming protocols.
* Start to weed out extraneous paper from bookcase binders, and enter useful sourced data into genealogy database.
* Start the clean up of the Genealogy Cave so that I can find things.

3) Genealogy Database

* Continue converting existing sources in my database to actual sources (with author, title, publisher, date, page, comments, etc.).
* Eliminate duplicate persons and facts, and add specific page numbers to existing source citations.
* Add sources to unsourced information in my database.
* Update Randy Seaver web page.

4) Education

* Attend at least two genealogy conferences (or cruises) in 2010.
* Participate in Transitional Genealogists Forum monthly chats.
* Obtain or borrow genealogy resource and how-to books of interest.

5) Society Activities

* Attend CVGS, CGSSD and SDGS society programs and seminars.
* Lead CVGS research group effectively.
* Be effective editor of Chula Vista Genealogical Society Newsletter.
* contribute articles to SDGS and CGSSD newsletters.
* Respond to research queries received by CVGS and CV library.
* Help society colleagues and friends with their research if requested.

6) Speaking and Teaching

* Speak to at least five different local and regional genealogical societies in 2010
* Teach three adult education "Beginning Computer Genealogy" classes for OASIS (4 sessions each, 8 hours total each class)
* Speak at local libraries and service groups about genealogy and family history.

7) Writing

* Blog a bit... on Genea-Musings, The Geneaholic, The South San Diego County Graveyard Rabbit, and the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe blogs.
* Publish Volume 23 of the Seaver-Richmond Family Journal for extended family.
* Produce four "Genealogy 2.0" columns for the Federation of Genealogical Societies FORUM magazine.
* Produce six "Digging for Answers" columns for the Online Graveyard Rabbit Journal.

8) Real Life

* Take my wife to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji to celebrate our 40th anniversary
* Visit our daughters and grandchildren, and our brothers and their families, more often in order to make more family history and spread the joy of genealogy research around [yeah, right... they might even read the yearly Family Journal]
* Limit genealogy activities to no more than 10 hours a day... [who put that in? Linda, do you know how to edit this? At least it doesn't say 3 hours]

Here are my DREAMS for 2010:

* Solve all of my major brickwall ancestral challenges - Newton, Dill, Knapp, Smith/Lamphear, Richman, etc.

* Complete the genealogy database source citation, locality resolution, data duplication and note addition.

* Completely reorganize my paper files and computer files.

* Be the #1 genealogy blogger on the Family Tree Magazine list

* completes digitizing and indexing all of their microfilms and microfiches, especially probate records, land records, church records and English parish registers.

* digitizes and indexes more USA and Canadian databases, optimizes their New Search algorithms, and indexes unindexed databases.

* digitizes and indexes more vital records

* digitizes and indexes all of the census records and military records

* digitizes and indexes vital records for all New England states

* and digitize and index all historical newspapers, especially for San Diego.

* launches with an effective navigation system and search engine, and comprehensive lists of online and repository resources.

*,,, and other online family tree databases, permit unrestricted GEDCOM uploads, and provide the ability to synchronize with genealogy software databases to update information.

* Genealogy software programs permit transfer of data, including images, audio and video, from one program to another, and from software to online family tree databases.

* Online family tree databases have report and chart creation capabilities equal to those of genealogy software programs.

* Easy-to-use online collaborative family tree wiki system is created and adopted by millions of genealogists (is it Or FamilySearch Life Browser? Or something else?)

* Family tree data posted online is correct and complete. [then I woke up...]

Hmmm, got carried away a bit there, I guess. We can all dream, can't we?

What are your genealogy goals and dreams?

Treasure Chest Thursday - Abbie Smith's Death Certificate

It's Treasure Chest Thursday, and I want to highlight just how important death certificates can be.

This is the California death certificate for my great-great-grandmother Abbie A. (Vaux) Smith (1844-1931), widow of Devier J. Smith and the mother of my great-grandmother, Abbie Ardell "Della" (Smith) Carringer:

I obtained this death certificate by walking into the San Diego County Recorder's office in Chula Vista and requesting a copy of it and paying $12 for the service.

Here is what I learned from this record:

* Abbie died at "10:10 a.m." on "11 September 1931" at "2115 30th Street" in San Diego, California.
* She was "female," "white" and "widowed" and was the widow of "Devier J. Smith."
* Her birth date was 28 October 1844 , and was age 86 years, 10 months and 14 days at death.
* Her occupation was "at home."
* Her birth place was "New York"
* Her parents names were "Samuel Vaux" born in "England" and "Mary A. Underhill" born in "New York."
* She resided at the place of death for "45 years" and in California for "45 years"
* The cause of death was "Carcinoma of breast with general metastasis" treated over "four" years, with contributing cause of "acute dilatation of heart" for "2 days"
* The attending doctor was Chas. R. Langsworth M.D." who practiced at "3115 University Ave" in San Diego who first attended her on "4 January 1928" and last attended her on "9 September 1931."
* There was no operation performed or autopsy conducted.
* Place of cremation was "Clover Lawn Crematory" and date was "Sept. 15 1931."
* The undertaker was "Benbough Funeral Parlor" at 711 Date St. in San Diego.
* The informant was "Ada G. Kellogg" of "7111 Date St." although I think that is the person who provided the information to the county registrar. I am certain that the information came from Abbie's daughter, Della (Smith) Carringer.

My main purpose of obtaining this death certificate back in 1995 was to determine if it named Abbie's mother - and it did. I did not know the surname "Underhill" before I obtained this record. I have no other record that provides her mother's maiden name. This knowledge led me to an extensive New England ancestry from Old Norfolk County in colonial Massachusetts Bay Colony (eastern New Hampshire towns and Massachusetts towns north of the Merrimack River).

As far as I can tell, all the information in this record is correct (well, the registrar's address is probably incorrect). The birth date, birth place, parents names, parents birthplaces, etc. are secondary information and should be confirmed by other records. But they do match the information in the Smith Family Bible, other family papers, and census records.

I just realized that I have not found Abbie's final resting place - I wonder where she is inurned? My best guess is at Cypress View Mausoleum where my great-grandparents and grandparents are inurned. This is the first I've heard of "Clover Lawn Crematory" and have no clue where that was in 1931, although it was probably near Benbough's Funeral Parlor in downtown San Diego. I can probably find out from a 1931 San Diego City Directory.

One more mystery - what was Abbie's middle name? All of the records say only "A." Her mother's middle name was "Ann." Her daughters middle name was "Ardell." My best guess is that it was "Ardell" but I don't know for sure.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Find Latitude and Longitude of Any Place

Dick Eastman posted Convert an Address to Latitude and Longitude yesterday about the website, so I thought I would try it out. See Dick's article for the basics about latitude and longitude, degrees, minutes, seconds and decimals - all of that scientific stuff that I love.

On the Get Lat Lon website, you are presented with a Google Map of the world, and a search field above the map. I typed in my street address, city and state - shown below:

After I clicked on the "Zoom to place" button, the site went immediately (I mean fast!) to show my house lot on my street:

The cross-hairs in the center of the map are on my house lot (just about the Genealogy Cave actually), and the latitude and longitude numbers for the cross-hairs say

Latitude, Longitude: 32.620434, -117.044326

Yep, that's right! How cool is that?

Dick's post said that we could input the latitude and longitude for a place in the search field, so I picked out a favorite place, and input 40.77040386721811, -111.89426600933075:

And clicked on "Zoom to place" button and saw:

Yep - that's right! The Family History Library in Salt Lake City! [Actually, it's the side of the street outside the library. The Library entrance is at 40.770418086484604, -111.8942928314209 if the Google Map is correct.]

Even though the system calculates the coordinates to six decimal places, you don't need any more decimal places than that. The numbers go to 14 decimal places if you move the map. By my calculations, 1 foot is .00000274 degrees. Six decimal places is "close enough!" Isn't technology great?

Which raises a point - are you finding latitude and longitude of your ancestral homes, churches, places of work and gravestones, and putting them in your genealogy software database? This is a tool that lets you do it easily without trudging around in the muck and the weeds.

Thank you, Dick Eastman, for the cool technical tip!

Top Ten Genealogy Moments in 2009

Lisa Alzo, who writes The Accidental Genealogist blog, posted her Top 10 Genealogical Moments of 2009 and invited other genea-bloggers to write about theirs too.

Here are my challenges met, highlights and accomplishments (assuming I don't have a tremendous research breakthrough in the next two days!):

10. Mark Putman's solution to the parents of Sarah Martin - it led to many more colonial New Jersey and New England ancestors for me to research!

9. Becoming the "Genealogy 2.0" columnist for the quarterly FGS FORUM Magazine - this is an intellectual challenge for me, and a breakthrough into the traditional "genealogy community."

8. Attending the Federation of Genealogical Societies 2009 Conference in Little Rock (Day 1a, Day 1b, Day 2a, Day 2b, Day 3, Day 4); I enjoyed the presentations, exhibits, meeting people, and our Midwestern vacation (with a special shoutout to Patti Hobbs for her hospitality and sharing a day with us).

7. Speaking seven times for five San Diego County genealogical societies on genealogy subjects, and at two public libraries on "Genealogy - Be An Ancestry Detective."

6. Realizing that Devier J. Smith was born Devier Lamphear and was adopted by Ranslow and Mary Smith, and then re-orienting my research activity to finding his parentage.

5. Teaching the "Beginning Computer Genealogy" adult education course for OASIS in San Diego. I taught three series of four two-hour classes each to ten students in each class.

4. Completing the ProGen Study Group 18-month course, including doing the homework that helped me refine my research methods and analysis.

3. Researching at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City in January (Day 3, Day 5). I had only two days to research, but obtained quite a bit of information for several brick wall problems.

2. Attending the Southern California Genealogical Society Genealogy Jamboree in Burbank, California in June (Day 1, Day 2, Blogger Summit, Day 3, Pictures). In addition to the presentations and the exhibits, I really enjoyed meeting so many genealogy bloggers, exhibitors and presenters.

And the #1 top genealogy moment for me in 2009 was:

Attending the "Bloggers day" at in Provo, Utah in January (Day 1, Day 2a, Day 2b, Day 2c, Day 3, Day 4), including the tours, the dinners, and the meetings with staff and executives, and having fun with the SLIG planners. I really appreciated the invitation (not being one of the "elite" in genealogy circles) and the opportunity to become acquainted with the company and the staff.

In a list like this, the day-to-day genealogy activities - like feeding the database, working for local societies, writing blog posts, get lost in the Top Ten aspects. There is some sort of genealogy highlight or accomplishment almost every day for me - whether it is creating good blog fodder, finding another ancestral record, helping a colleague in their research, or just reading a genealogy magazine or blog that adds to my genealogy education - genealogy is really a lot of FUN for me!

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday -- Honeymoon Couple

I'm posting 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.

Here is a photograph from the Seaver family collection handed down by my mother in the 1988 to 2002 time period:

This is a photograph of my parents, Betty (Carringer) (age 22) and Frederick W. Seaver (age 30), on their honeymoon in July 1942. I believe that it was taken in Dana Point in Orange County, California.

They look happy, don't they? I'm glad! They had no idea what the future held for them. World War II had just started. Fred joined the US Navy. Betty taught school. Fred became an insurance agent. Betty was a stay-at-home mother. Three sons. Bowling tournament vacations. Little League baseball. Chargers football. 41 years of marriage. Four grandchildren. Health issues.

I wonder where the pictures from my own honeymoon are? Probably in the box hiding somewhere in the garage! Yikes - another project that I don't have time to do.

Grading my Progress on 2009 Goals and Objectives

It's the end of the year 2009, and time for an accounting. I defined my 2009 goals and objectives for my genealogy efforts in Genealogy Goals for 2009 on 1 January 2009. They are listed below, with my grade for each goal and objective (the goal in green, the objective in blue, grade in RED):

1) My Genealogy Research -- spend more time working on my own research so that I get more done!

a) Pursue more original source material for my brick wall ancestors - especially Thomas J. NEWTON (ME), William KNAPP (Dutchess County NY), Russell SMITH (NY, RI?), Sarah MARTIN (NJ, NY), Stephen FEATHER (NJ, PA), etc.

GRADE: C minus: Did nothing for Newton, Knapp or Feather. Changed course on Smith (when I found out that Devier Smith was adopted as a Lamphear), and lucked out on Martin when Mark Putman found her ancestry.

b) Obtain more land records and town meeting records for my ancestors of Alma Bessie RICHMOND in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts.

GRADE: F: dropped the ball completely here! Got sidetracked on Lamphear/Smith research.

c) Complete creation of source notes for direct line persons in my ancestral database and in my Seaver database. This is ambitious since there are over 30,000 people in these two databases, but it needs to be done before I write any books.

GRADE: C: Made good progress on this, with perhaps 50% done, but still have lots to do. Bigger job than I thought.

d) Get my filing system in order - scan more photographs and documents, obtain more digital document images, reduce the paper piles, fully implement the new computer data filing system.

GRADE: D: did scan more photos and documents, did obtain some document images, but paper piles grew and did not implement new computer filing system.

e) Decide on a long-term genealogy software program, convert all databases to use it, and become an expert user of it.

GRADE: C: still doing all database work in FTM 16, but have learned to use FTM 2010, RootsMagic 4 and Legacy 7. I like them all, and don't want to make a choice yet. Combined all databases into one to eliminate duplication of effort. Need to complete the source citation task, and database cleanup in FTM 16, then transfer everything to new programs.

2) Genealogy Education -- learn more about specific research tasks and becoming a professional.

a) Attend at least one major genealogy conference or genealogy cruise.

GRADE: A+: attended SCGS Jamboree in Burbank in June and FGS Conference in Little Rock in September. Woo-hoo!

b) Go to at least one major genealogy library this year for research purposes.

GRADE: A: Went to Family History Library in January for two days of research. Should have added more days! Also went to Kansas State Archives in Topeka for one day, and Carlsbad CA Library for two days.

c) Participate monthly in the Transitional Genealogists and ProGen Study Groups homework and chats.

GRADE: A-: participated in TGF and ProGen monthly chats, but missed several due to family reasons. Turned in all ProGen homework and completed the 18-month course.

3) Genealogy Society -- work for and with my local societies and colleagues.

a) Support Chula Vista Genealogical Society as Research and Queries Chair, leading the monthly Research Group meetings.

GRADE: A-: Completed all queries, led all meetings but one - missed while on family trip.

b) Make at least five presentations to local genealogy societies.

GRADE: A+: Made presentations to Escondido Genealogical Society in January, North SD County Genealogical Society in March and October, Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego in May, local POINTERS group in June, and Chula Vista Genealogical Society in April and October.

c) Help society colleagues (and friends) with genealogy research if requested.

GRADE: C: Finished one project, started another that is not yet complete and has sat for six months, answered questions and gave research advice to several colleagues.

4) Genealogy Writing -- the writing will continue until I'm paid not to write any more.

a) Stay abreast of developments in the genealogy world and pass helpful information to my colleagues and readers.

GRADE: A-: Tried very hard to succeed here - with posts about new websites, new databases, new software, and newspaper stories. Often was first in genea-blog world with screen shots and testing.

b) Post quality research articles and notes on Genea-Musings, the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe and the South San Diego County Graveyard Rabbit that help other researchers, including my society members, pursue their genealogy and family history.

GRADE: C+: Not as many research articles on Genea-Musings as past years, did OK on CVGC, but failed miserably in last six months on SSDC Graveyard Rabbit.

c) Write a quarterly column on genealogy for XYZ Magazine (to be named later)

GRADE: A: Wrote four Genealogy 2.0 columns on deadline for the FGS FORUM Magazine.

Of course, one cannot always predict what's going to happen ahead of time. The big thing I didn't know about at the beginning of 2009 was teaching the 4-session (8 hours total) adult education "Beginning Computer Genealogy" courses at OASIS, and the two library talks that go along with them.

I also fell down big time in going to local libraries and repositories. I went to the Family History Center maybe six times all year, and didn't order enough microfilm. I'm going to add that to my 2010 goals because it is important to me.

An Overall Grade? I would have to say B-. There were major accomplishments and some major failures in achieving my 2009 goals and objectives.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pictures of Annie Moore!

Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak has another post titled Photos of Annie Moore, First Ellis Island Immigrant: Help Solve a History Mystery on The Huffington Post blog. She doesn't show the picture of the young Annie, but she talks about one that sure sounds like it may be her.

The New York Times published a picture, along with an article, about the mature Annie Moore in their article the other day - see (the article may disappear from the site soon). Nice to see who we looked for... and learned the story of three years ago.

Follow the links in the two stories for more information about the Annie Moore saga. New Databases for 2010

I received a "Dear Randy" email from CEO Tim Sullivan over the holidays, telling me the great things that did in 2009 and what was planned for 2010.

The email included these paragraphs:

"Looking ahead, we’re already working on adding the collections many of our members asked for in a recent survey. Here’s just a sampling of what’s to come on in 2010.

"Popular U.S. collections in the works:

* Birth, marriage and death records, especially from 1861–1914
* Funeral home and cemetery records, 1800s–1900s
* State and territory census records
* Land ownership maps, 1860–1920
* Historical newspapers, especially from 1861–1914
* Civil War Records, including Union draft registers and Confederate pension records

"Popular international collections in the works:

* Scottish city directories, 1800s–1900s
* London electoral registers, 1900s
* German regimental histories, 1800s–1900s
* Canadian city and area directories, 1800s–1900s

"See more details about what we brought to in 2009 and what we plan to add in 2010."

I clicked on the "See more details" link and there was a nice list of the databases planned for 2010 - and I captured the screens below:

I wonder why the email didn't list ALL of the items shown on the web page? The ones not listed are:

* State Vital Records - Connecticut divorce records (1969-1997), Delaware birth, marriage and death records (1800s-1933), Missouri death records (1910-1958), Ohio death index (1830-2009) and Vermont birth, marriage and death records (1909-2003)
* Improved U.S. Federal Census Records
* U.S. Public Records - voter lists, 1930s to 1980s
* Naturalization Records (1795-1972)
* Passenger Lists (1899-1957) - including Boston, Honolulu, New Orleans
* Revolutionary War Records - including compiled army service records (1775-1783) and pension and bounty land applications (1775-1800)
* World War II Draft Cards - for Idaho, Oregon and Washington (1942 only)
* Returns from U.S. Military Posts (1800-1916) - for 21 states
* Navy Muster Rolls (1900s)
* Federal Penitentiary Records - for McNeil Island (1875-1923) and Atlanta (1898-1922).
* Yearbooks (1900-2000)

* German Census Records for L├╝beck, Germany between 1808 and 1831
* French Vital Records
* UK Vital Records (1694-1921) - non-conformist clergy records
* Australian Birth, Marriage and Death Registers (1788-early 1900s)
* UK Alien Entry Books (1794-1921)
* French Citizenship Declarations - Alsace-Lorraine in 1872
* Australian Passenger Lists - Queensland and Western Australia
* UK Military Citations
* Australian Convict Records from New South Wales

I'm especially looking forward to the state vital records, the voter lists, the Navy muster rolls and the 1950s City Directory collections.

My Favorite Online Genealogy Newsletters

The Genealogy In Time website recently listed the Top Ten Most Popular Online Genealogy Magazines, which included two genealogy blogs (one an excellent newsletter, not really a magazine) and several magazines/journals behind subscription walls.

For some reason, the list did not include Ancestry Magazine, Internet Genealogy magazine, Discovering Family History Magazine, the FGS Forum Magazine, the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, or the Chula Vista Genealogical Society newsletter, among others. All of the above, perhaps with the exception of the CVGS newsletter, have many more readers than half of the Genealogy In Time list.

There are many more online "magazines" and journals, and most of them are behind a subscription wall for a good reason. However, many society newsletters are pulbished in PDF format on the Internet for free, and a reader can subscribe to free online or email newsletters from web sites, software companies, print magazines and database providers.

Here is my list of genealogy newsletters sent regularly via email to keep me informed of genealogy events and news (I'm not counting blogs here...):

* Rootsweb Review - a monthly newsletter - subscribe here.

* Ancestry Monthly Update and Ancestry Weekly Discovery - weekly and monthly newsletters from - subscribe here (in the "Up-to-date Family History News" box on the right).

* Genealogy Gems Podcast free monthly e-Newsletter - subscribe here.

* News from the Photo Detective newsletter - subscribe here.

* Genealogy Pointers from - subscribe here.

* California Genealogical Society and Library eNews - subscribe here.

* New England Historic Genealogical Society eNews - subscribe here.

* free newsletter - subscribe here.

* free newsletter - subscribe here (click on Settings).

* free newsletter - subscribe here.

* Legacy Family Tree software free newsletter - subscribe here.

* e-newsletter - subscribe here.

* Family Tree Magazine free e-newsletter - subscribe here.

There are several more, but finding a subscription link for some of them is difficult.

Which online or email newsletters do you subscribe to and get genealogy information from? Tell me!

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Mayflower (1620) Research Article Index

I was reading the Fall 2009 issue of New England Ancestors (published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society) and saw the letter from Susan E. Roser (Deputy Governor, Historian; Canadian Society of Mayflower Descendants; Milton, Ontario). The letter mentioned that there is an index of Mayflower-related research articles which have appeared in genealogical journals from 1976 to the present. There are over 350 entries, indexed under the Mayflower head of the family.

The index is on the website of the Canadian Mayflower Society ( The list of reference articles is at

I'm interested in this topic because I have four known Mayflower families (Cooke, Soule, Warren, White), plus several possible families from my Dill and Martin ancestry. Looking through the list, I saw several articles that I have not read to date, including:

* "Susanna White, Woman of the Mayflower", by Kay Campbell, MQ 75 [Sept. 2009]:207-210. [Biographical]

* "William White", MQ 70 [Mar. 2004]:61-63. [Biographical]

* "Descendants Of John Young Of Plymouth And Eastham", by Andrew P. Langlois, MD 55 [Winter 2006]:29-52. [Includes family of Elizabeth4 Young (Robert3-2, John1) and William5 Green (William4, Elizabeth3 Warren, Nathaniel2, Richard1).

* "Pilgrim George Soule: Update on his possible ancestry", by Louise W. Throop, MQ 74 [June 2008]:140-43. [Discussion with no firm conclusion.]

* "The Hunt for the English Origins of George Soule", by Caleb Johnson, MQ 75 [Sept. 2009]:245-261. [Recounts in depth research in many English parish registers and the various George Soules which have been found.]

This is a wonderful bibliography of articles written about the Mayflower families.

"Playing with DNA" Article

One of the very best things about Genealogy in 2009 is that Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak is writing a regular column for The Huffington Post. Genealogy research, including DNA analysis, is getting significant exposure in the online and elite media.

Her latest column is titled Playing with DNA: Is Larry David Really 37 Percent Native American? She talks about George Lopez's autosomal DNA results and the problems with the specific test that he took. Then she discusses Larry David's autosomal DNA results, and warns people about taking these test results as gospel truth.

Please read the whole article, and watch the George Lopez video too.

Mystery Monday - Finding Jane and Elijah in the 1860 Census

If we don't have the good fortune of an autobiography or a great obituary, piecing together the lives of our ancestors relies on finding bits of information about them. Typically, we can find census records, vital records (if available), city directories, immigration and/or citizenship records, military records (if they registered or served), land records, probate records, a gravestone, an obituary, and other types of records. An elusive ancestor hunt is like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates - you never know exactly what you are going to find.

I've written about my wife's great-grandparents, Elijah Pickrell McKnew (born 1836 in MD, died 1912 in CA) and his wife, Jane Whittle (born 1847 in Australia, died 1921 in CA), married in 1865 in San Francisco, California, in Solving Family Mysteries one at a time, 18 April 1906 - San Francisco - They Were There! and Finding daughters married names in census records. I had previously found them in the 1870 US Census in Township 2, Tuolumne County, California, in the 1900 and 1910 US Census in San Francisco, California. But I had not found either Elijah or Jane in the 1860 census, or their family in the 1880 census.

I found Jane in the 1860 US Census last night. Since Jane was born in Australia in about 1847, I searched for "Jane Whit*" born 1847 +/- 2 years in Australia residing in California. There was only one match - Jane White, age 13, born Australia, residing in Township 2, Tuolumne County, California. Here's the census image from

Is that the Jane I'm looknig for on line 31? Jane White (sic) is residing with the W.B. Ray family. And lookee there! Elijah Picrell (age 26, born in MD) is two lines below her! That has to be the Elijah Pickrell McKnew I'm looking for!

Naturally, this raises some questions:

* Where were Jane's parents? Here's a 13 year old girl residing in a mining community in the Gold Country of California. Jane's parents are Joseph and Rachel (Moore) Whittle, and I think that Joseph Whittle lived until 1871, dying in San Francisco. There are no Joseph Whittles (or similar names like White) born in England in about 1821 in Tuolumne County or in San Francisco (although he apparently naturalized in San Francisco in 1861) in the 1860 census (the likeliest candidate is a Joseph White, age 36, born England, in San Francisco with a 23-year-old Sarah White (born Bombay). I have no record of when Rachel (Moore) Whittle died, so I don't know if Sarah is a second wife of Joseph Whittle.

* Is Jane related to Elizabeth Ray (age 21, born in England)? I don't know, but they may be sisters. That would explain why Jane was in Tuolumne County. Perhaps her parents, or at least her mother, had died.

* Why was Elijah Pickrell McKnew listed as "Elijah Picrell?" The simple answer is that he was hiding in plain sight from the US Army that he deserted from in 1856.

I have searched several times for the Elijah McKnew family in the 1880 US Census, especially in San Francisco, without success. According to the San Francisco City Directories on, Elijah McKnew resided in San Francisco from 1875 on, and in 1880 resided on the South side of Nineteenth Street near Castro. I haven't been able to find him in the 1880 census yet, but now that has improved their browse function, I will go search page by page for the McKnew family. If I find them, I will write another post about the search.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Best of the Genea-Blogs: December 20-26, 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:

* Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850: Are they really? by Christine Sharbrough on The ProGenealogists(R) Genealogy Blog. Christine has excellent comments about using the Massachusetts "Tan Books" and provides a link to a list of online Massachusetts vital record books. This is a big help for me!

* Name Game: Celebrities Have Nothing on the Rest of Us by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak on The Huffington Post blog. More "unique" and funny names from the records related to Christmas.

* How to Deal with Distant Repositories by Katrina McQuarrie on the Kick-ass Genealogy blog. Katrina makes excellent how-to lists! This one is valuable, especially to researchers who don't go often (or have never gone) to a distant repository. A keeper.

* Privacy, Identity Theft and Genealogy -- First in a series, Privacy, Identity Theft and Genealogy -- Privacy, an issue?, and Privacy, Identity Theft and Genealogy -- Privacy worries by James Tanner on the Genealogy's Star blog. James tackles the privacy issue for genealogists in terms of identity and information. Wonderful series, to be continued.

* A Visit to Moultrie Creek by Becky Wiseman on the kinexxions blog. Becky is still on her road trip of the eastern USA, and visited Denise Olson in St. Augustine, Florida. They had fun sharing tales and information, and did some sightseeing too. I love it when genea-bloggers get together!

* WorldCat and Online Special Collections, Internet Archive - audio, video, texts and more!, and Other Collections for Family Stories Online by Tami Glatz on the relatively curious about genealogy blog. This series is about finding family stories online - but Tami covers several very useful websites too.

* Ancestry World Archives Project: Keying During the Holidays by Crista Cowan on the Blog. Crista summarizes the efforts by dedicated indexers in 2009 to create free indexes on

* Special Stocking, Precious Gift by Apple on the Apple's Tree blog. Apple's story touches my heart every time I read it - a Christmas nightmare turns out well, eventually.

* Advent Calendar - That Certain Christmas Eve by Thomas MacEntee on the Destination: Austin Family blog. Thomas's birth story is poignant and interesting.

* Weekly Rewind by Apple on the Apple's Tree blog. Apple's weekly summary of her reading and research.

* Weekly Genealogy Picks by John Newmark on the TransylvanianDutch blog. John's weekly summary of his favorite readings.

* There were many fun, poignant and interesting stories on the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories series hosted on the Geneabloggers blog.

I encourage you to go to the blogs listed above and read their articles, and add their blog to your Favorites, Bloglines, reader, feed or email if you like what you read. Please make a comment to them also - all bloggers appreciate feedback on what they write.

Did I miss a great genealogy blog post? Tell me! I am currently reading posts from over 570 genealogy bloggers using Bloglines, but I still miss quite a few it seems. Especially this past week - with the holidays I read through my blog list hurriedly and may have missed your great post.

Read past Best of the Genea-Blogs posts here.