Saturday, April 10, 2010

"FamilyLink is (or soon will be) for genealogists"

I've been away from the computer for most of the day, so I just read this post by Paul Allen - FamilyLink is (or soon will be) for genealogists on his blog,

Paul's post was written, at least partially, in response to my blog post Do I Need FamilyLink Plus? which was pretty critical of the social networking site.

I really appreciate Paul understanding my frustration with some of his websites and products - and he's right - I do look at things from a genealogist's point of view. And I sometimes have an "I'll Believe It When I See It" attitude. My use of social networks to communicate with other researchers and family members is frequent, but not in online family trees (mainly because the family isn't really into genealogy, unfortunately!).

I am pleased that Paul wrote that his company will be "for genealogists" in the near future (hope springs eternal here in the Genealogy Cave). I look forward to that, and I think that all genealogy researchers look forward to that because has already made, and can make more, significant contributions to the genealogy world.

My thanks to Paul for helping us understand the progress that is making and I look forward to reporting about that progress as it happens.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Which Ancestor...

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

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1) Tell us: Which ancestor or relative do you readily identify with? Which one do you admire? Which one are you most like, or wish that you were most like? Which one would you really like to sit down and have a heart-to-heart conversation with?

2) Write your response in a blog post on your own blog, in a Facebook note or response to this post, or in a comment on this post.

Here's mine:

This was harder to choose than I expected, because there are so many possible candidates!

In the end, my choice was my second great-grandfather, Isaac Seaver (1823-1901). I know so much about the highlights of his life, but nothing about his daily walk with family and friends. I know that he was a blacksmith throughout his life, and admire that. I know that he suffered personal tragedies - the loss of his father at age 2, the loss of his first wife in childbirth, the loss of his second wife at age 56, and that he served in the Civil War. I admire Isaac's perseverance and steadfastness - the fact that he overcame personal hardships to be a success in life. He was described in the military record in 1865 as ""age 40 years, a blacksmith, eyes blue, complexion light, hair sandy, 5 feet 10-1/2 inches." Hmm, that sounds like me at age 40!

But there are still so many questions! How did he meet his three wives? How did he treat his children? Where was his blacksmith shop in Leominster? What excited him about life? What scared him? Why did he join the Union Army? What was the best experience of his life? What was he proud of accomplishing?

Surname Saturday - FEATHER (NJ > PA)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ahnentafel list each week. I'm up to number 49, who is Sarah Feather (1804-1848).

My ancestral line back through the three generations of my Feather ancestral families:

1. Randall J. Seaver

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

6. Lyle Lawrence Carringer (1891-1976)
7. Emily Kemp Auble (1899-1977)

12. Henry Austin Carringer (1853-1946)
13. Abbie Ardell Smith (1864-1944)

24. David Jackson Carringer (1823-1902)
25. Rebecca Spangler (1828-1901)

48. Heinrich/Henry Carringer, born 06 June 1800 in Sandy Creek, Mercer County, PA, and died 10 August 1881 in Columbus City, Louisa County, IA. He was the son of Martin Carringer and Mary Magdalena Molly Hoax. He married before 1825 in Mercer County, PA.
49. Sarah Feather, born 07 June 1804 in Warren, Trumbull County, OH; died 09 April 1848 in Perry, Mercer County, PA.

98. Cornelius Feather, born 1777 in Middlesex County, NJ; died 1852 in Salem, Mercer County, PA. He married before 1804 in probably Trumbull County, OH.
99. Mrs. Cornelius Feather, born before 1785 in CT; died before 1830 in probably Mercer County, PA.

Children of Cornelius Feather and Mrs. Feather are: Sarah (1804-1848), John (1806-????); George (1808-1890); Mary Ann (1815-????).

196. Stephen Feather, born about 1736 in Germany; died 1804 in Westmoreland County, PA.

Children of Stephen Feather are: John (1760-1838); David (1765-????); Stephen (1774-????); Cornelius (1777-1852); Anna (1786-1839).

I wrote about The Elusive Stephen Feather (ca 1740-1804) and The Elusive --?-- (who married Cornelius Feather) in earlier posts. There are several other researchers working on this Feather family, but the lack of records has hampered the search process. Or perhaps it's that we aren't looking in all the right places?

If there are any Feather cousins out there, I would appreciate hearing from you via email at

Friday, April 9, 2010

NGS Magazine - January-March 2010 Issue

The January-March 2010 issue (Volume 36, number 1) of the quarterly NGS Magazine came last week in the mail, and I've been reading it when I've had time between blog posts.

The Table of Contents includes:


page 10 - NGS Board of Directors election
page 13 - Official NGS 2010 ballot
page 14 - Family History Library ready for NGS conference, by FamilySearch staff
page 16 - Research at the Family History Library during the NGS conference, by Paula Stuart-Warren, CG
page 21 - The Twittering genealogist, part 2, by Mark Tucker
page 28 - Writing for the Family History Writing Contest, by Kay Haviland Freilich, CG, CGL
page 31 - Documenting death in the Civil War with Union War Department records, by John P. Deeben
page 38 - Articles of Incorporation of the National Genealogical Society
page 40 - Bylaws of the National Genealogical Society
page 44 - Following the trails of Daniel Boone and other western travelers, by J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA
page 60 - Case study: Killed off too early: William and Sarah Mason, by Charles S. Mason, CG


page 50 - National Archives, by Claire Prechtel-Kluskens (Myron E. Foster, Postmaster - A case study in using original records)
page 56 - Beginning Genealogy, by Gary M. Smith and Diana Crisman Smith (Immigration alternatives)
page 65 - Software Review, by Barbara Schenck (Review of Kith & Kin Pro 3)
page 71 - Writing Family History, by Harold E. Hinds, Jr, PhD (Mistakes and why we all make them)

This issue was chock full of information about the upcoming NGS Conference in Salt Lake City and articles about genealogy resources. Mark Tucker's article about Twitter was excellent. The wealth of information available in Government documents was described in the article by John Deeben and the column by Claire Prechtel-Kluskens. Mark Lowe's article provided me with new information about the NC/TN/VA/KY area in colonial times, and Chuck Mason's article about finding New Jersey death records was helpful also.

All in all, a wonderful issue!

The Ancestor Approved Award

My thanks to Jean Wilcox Hibben (the Circlemending blog), Terri O'Connell (the Finding Our Ancestors blog) and Tim Abbott (the Walking the Berkshires blog) for naming me and Genea-Musings as a winner of the Ancestor Approved Award:

As a recipient of this award, I’m supposed to list ten things I have learned about any of my ancestors that has surprised, humbled, or enlightened me and pass along the award to ten other bloggers whom I feel are doing their ancestors proud.

My ten surprising, humbling and enlightening things (pretty much random based on my memory...):

* Humbled by the courage of my immigrant ancestors to colonial America in the 17th century, e.g., the Pilgrims to Plymouth. Travel by sailing ship was no picnic and, in some cases, they had no real clue where they would land and what they would have to do to survive.

* Enlightened by the building of a stable society in colonial New England, gradually conquering the wilderness to form towns with representative government (albeit by men only).

* Humbled by the enduring effort of my ancestral families to do the very best they could with the education, skills and resources they had, with only a few notable exceptions.

* Surprised that so many of my colonial ancestors lived into their 70s, 80s and 90s; but not that surprised once you figure out that this is survival of the fittest! Thank goodness for that!

* Surprised (long ago) to find that I have at least six Mayflower 1620 passengers in my ancestry - William White, Susanna (--?--) White, Richard Warren, George Soule, Francis Cooke and John Cooke. There may be several more if I ever figure out my Elizabeth Horton Dill ancestry.

* Surprised (long ago) to find links to royal connections through New England colonial ancestors Mary (Gye) Maverick, Olive (Welby) Farwell, Anne (Dudley) Bradstreet, Elizabeth (Blossom) FitzRandolph and perhaps several others. All women, for some reason!

* Enlightened by family histories written by many genealogists from the 19th century who slogged through voluminous and barely legible New England town records to find genealogy information, Gustave Anjou fakers notwithstanding. Sure, some are poorly done, but many were well done and foundational.

* Surprised that I found that Devier J. Smith was adopted by Ranslow and Mary (Bell) Smith - his birth surname was Lamphear. I wonder how many other adoption surprises there are in my ancestry?

* Enlightened by all of the Smith and Carringer family papers, photographs and artifacts that were saved by four generations - my research task has been made infinitely easier, and more interesting, by all of the stuff! Thank you Abigail (Vaux) Smith, Della (Smith) Carringer, Lyle L. Carringer and Betty (Carringer) Seaver for being packrats!

* Surprised that my parents, born 2,500 miles apart, were distant cousins several times over - most recent common ancestors were Joseph and Rose (Allen) Holloway and Timothy and Melatiah (Clark) Hamant.

* Enlightened and humbled by the knowledge and skills of the genealogists and family historians that contribute to the world of genealogy research. There are "experts" on every subject, it seems, and we all benefit from their scholarship and works.

I came to this award fairly late, and have not kept score of who has received it or not. Rather than naming ten genea-bloggers who might already have received it, I nominate any genea-blogger who believes that they have earned it to accept it from me. Please let me know who you are!

Thank you to Jean, Terri and Tim for the award - please go visit their blogs and read their surprising, enlightening and humbling things.

Does anybody know who the lady in the award picture above is? And who started this award?

UPDATE: Thank you, Denise, for the comment that the originator of this award was Leslie Ann Ballou at Ancestors Live Here -

I wondered how it got to me - so I checked thel ine back from Tim Abbott:

* Tim Abbott on Walking the Berkshires
* Heather Rojo on Nutfield Genealogy (three nominations, I picked one)
* Carol at Reflections from the Fence (three nominations, I picked one)
* Anne (TennLady) at Gene Notes
* Michelle Goodrum at The Turning of Generations
* Kelly at Family History Fun
* Denise Levenick at The Family Curator
* Cyndi (Texicanwife) at Mountain Genealogist
* Dianne Ford at Finding Josephine
* Leslie Ann Ballou at Ancestors Live Here.

That's quite a genealogy line in itself! I'm now following all of these folks.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spring 2010 Issue of FGS FORUM Magazine available

The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) produces an excellent quarterly magazine called FORUM. The Spring 2010 edition is now available on the FGS web site here (if you are a member of FGS).

The cover of the Spring 2010 issue is:

The Table of Contents for this issue includes:

* page 3 - A Great Program and a Special Program For FGS 2010
* page 9 - Scanning Announcement – 2010 FGS
* page 10 - War of 1812: Brief Background and Genealogical Resources
* page 13 - Save Everything But the Squeal!
* page 15 - A Census Challenge: Two Questions
* page 17 - Marsha Hoffman Rising CG, CGL, FASG (1945.–2010)
* page 19 - Tributes to Marsha Hoffman Rising
* page 21- Focus on Societies: A New Approach to Supporting Our Societies
* page 25 - FGS Awards: Call for Submissions
* page 26 - Board Bytes
* page 27 - FGS Election Results
* page 28 - Malcolm H. Stern NARA Gift Fund
* page 30 - News in Brief
* page 30 - State Reporting
* page 32 - Records Preservation & Access
* page 34 - Ethnic & International
* page 36 - Family Associations
* page 37 - Strays
* page 38 - Genealogy 2.0
* page 41 - Book & CD-ROM Reviews

My Genealogy 2.0 column in this issue is titled "Wikis for Genealogy" - the first page looks like this:

The FGS FORUM Magazine is now a digitally produced publication available only as a download from the FGS web site. You can download a sample issue (from Spring 2009) here.

You can order or renew your FORUM subscription here - they have a special of one year for $15 and two years for $25.

The content of the FORUM magazine, from their website, is described as:

FGS publishes FORUM, a quarterly magazine providing current information essential to the informed genealogist. Features include:

* News about discoveries, record access and record preservation.
* Feature articles on a variety of subjects of interest to all genealogists.
* Notices of important events taking place in the genealogical community.
* Detailed calendar of genealogical events, conferences and workshops.
* Indexing and publication projects in progress or completed.
* News from genealogical and historical societies worldwide.
* News briefs from family associations, ethnic organizations and international groups.
* Book reviews and notices covering a wide variety of publications.
* Articles and tips for more effective society management.
* And much, much more!

The FGS has started a new blog - the FGS Voice - subscribe to it in your blog reader and stay current on genealogy society happenings.

New "Digging for Answers" Column Posted

The latest "Digging for Answers" column in the Graveyard Rabbit Online Journal was posted this morning. It is titled "Renting a burial plot?"

Jasia asked the question: "I know in that in Europe they have an entirely different approach to burying the dead in cemeteries. Essentially, they "rent" out burial plots rather than allowing families to actually buy and own one. So how long does a typical rental period last? What are typical rental fees for a grave? If the rental fee goes unpaid, what happens to the remains of the person buried in the grave? Is there another re-burying ceremony or some such thing? They have much more elaborate gravestones in Europe. So what happens to the gravestone if the grave rental fee goes unpaid and the persons remains are removed to somewhere else?"

I attempted to answer some of that, but need some help from people with more knowledge about specific countries.

Check out all of the articles in the current Graveyard Rabbit Online Journal:

* Digging For Answers 4/8/2010 - "Renting a Burial Plot" by Randy Seaver

* The Educated Rabbit 4/2/2010 - "Symbolism in Cemeteries, Website Recommendations" by Sheri Fenley

* Photo Monument 3/25/2010 - "Face to Face" by Gale Wall

* Tech T.I.P. - March 18, 2010 "Let's Redecorate the Warren" by Denise Olson

* The History Hare - March 11, 2010 - "Cabinet Maker, Undertaker" by footnoteMaven

* Graveyard Guru – March 4, 2010 - "The Southern Cemetery" by Stephanie Lincecum

Gale Wall has assumed the editorship of this online journal, and I'm sure that she will continue the high quality of articles that the previous editor, Julie Cahill Tarr, maintained. My thanks to Julie for her dedication and effort over the past 18 months.

Treasure Chest Thursday - A Playbill

It's Treasure Chest Thursday - time to open the vault and show one of the priceless treasures that make for an interesting family history.

By far the most interesting treasure found in the Smith and Carringer papers and artifacts was Della (Smith) Carringer's scrapbook. This scrapbook had many pages with several newspaper articles pasted on each page. I scanned some of the pages, and then captured individual articles into separate image files.

Here is one of the image files:

This is a playbill from Wano, Kansas (in Cherokee County, the most northwest county in Kansas), probably in 1887. The "Watson Dramatic Company" performed these popular plays of the time in a small playhouse in the booming prairie town of Wano (now a ghost town? located west of present-day St. Francis).

What makes this especially interesting to me is the presence of my great-grandparents, Austin Carringer and Miss Della Smith, in the cast of Lady Audley's Secret. Was this the spark that led to their marriage in Wano on 11 September 1887?

There are two other cast members in my Smith family here - Miss Matie Smith is Della Smith's sister, both are daughters of Devier J. and Abigail (Vaux) Smith. Charles F. Woodward is also in the play - he married Nellie Redfield, daughter of Celia (Vaux) (Redfield) Munger, sister of Abigail (Vaux) Smith.

Click on the image above and read the "synopsis of scenery and incidents." It sounds like a fascinating melodrama, doesn't it? Now I want to know who gets Alecia Audley... is it George Talboys?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Barbara Renick is SDGS Program Speaker on Saturday 10 April

From the SDGS Newsletter....

The April Meeting of the San Diego Genealogical Society is Saturday, April 10 at 12 Noon at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church (8350 Lake Murray Blvd in San Diego).

The featured Speaker is Barbara Renick on two topics: “Newspapers: Finding Them Using Online Resources” and “Five C’s to Success in Today’s Genealogy”.

Today's genealogists can often solve problems that stumped them just a decade ago by combining classic and computer resources, collaborating with cousins, citing sources consistently, and doing comprehensive searching.

"Five C's to Success in Genealogy Today" focuses on advanced search techniques in combination with newly reachable resources from the modern era of genealogy.

"Newspapers: Finding Them Using Online Sources." Old newspapers, when they still exist, are found preserved in boxes, photocopied and bound in book form or placed on microfilms, digitized and searchable online. Only a small fraction of existing historical newspapers are searchable online. Therefore, two newspaper search methods have to be applied. Barbara will discuss the methods to find them.

Barbara Renick began teaching PAF and computer genealogy classes in 1985. She lectures and teaches computer labs at national genealogical conferences and at the Regional Family History Center in Orange, California. Barbara has had articles published in genealogy publications including the NGS NewsMagazine, Genealogical Computing, and the APG Quarterly. She co-authored the book The Internet for Genealogists: A Beginner's Guide, made two instructional videos on using the Internet for genealogy, and her last book titled Genealogy 101: How to Trace your Family's History and Heritage sponsored by the National Genealogical Society for their 100th Anniversary.

I'm looking forward to hearing Barbara's presentations on Saturday, and I urge all of my San Diego readers to join me.

374 Years Ago today... really?

I love it when a genea-blogger posts something about an ancestral family of mine - and I add a new distant cousin to my list!

Check out David Weller's Tree Rings blog post Today’s Tidbit April 7, 1636 about the mansion of John Benjamin burning down in what is now Cambridge, Massachusetts on 7 April 1636. David links to his article John and Abigail Benjamin in his blog archives. Excellent work!

My own descent from John and Abigail (Eddye) Benjamin is:

1. John Benjamin (1585-1645) married Abigail Eddye (1601-1687)
2. Joseph Benjamin (1633-1704) married Sarah Clarke (1639-1716)
3. Hannah Benjamin (1687-????) married Simon Gates (1667-1752)
4. Amos Gates (1706-1783) married Mary Hubbard (1712-1754)
5. Simon Gates (1739-1803) married Susannah Reed (1745-1833)
6. Nathan Gates (1767-1830) married Abigail Knowlton (1774-1855)
7. Abigail Gates (1797-1867) married Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825)
8. Isaac Seaver (1823-1901) married Lucretia Smith (1827-1884)
9. Frank W. Seaver (1852-1922) married Hattie Hildreth (1857-1920)
10. Frederick W. Seaver (1876-1942) married Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962)
11. Frederick W. Seaver (1911-1983) married Betty V. Carringer (1919-2002)
12. Randall J. Seaver (1943-....)

Does any other blogger or reader have John and Abigail (Eddye) Benjamin in their ancestry? Tell us!

Of course, the burning of the mansion didn't happen exactly 374 years ago -- since eleven days were added to the calendar in 1752, this actually happened 373 years and 354 days ago. But who's quibbling?

Do I Need FamilyLink Plus?

I was surfing my genealogy family tree sites and clicked on, wondering if they've put my family tree data from Facebook on the tree yet. Nope.

But a pop-up screen for FamilyLink Plus came up. What's this? They want me to pay for stuff? The rates are $7.95 for a monthly subscription and $4.95 per month for an annual subscription (total of $59.40). I would show a screen shot here, but Blogger won't post it for some unknown reason...

What does a user receive for their money? Information from the FamilyLink Plus page is in purple:

* Advanced Ancestor Searching -- Instantly find your ancestors in 1.5 billion records from more than 12,000 databases. Find tombstone photos and military collections, birth and death records, census and immigration data, digitized books and newspapers, and much, much more (a $99 value by itself!).

This must be a subscription to World Vital Records, right? I'm already a subscriber - do I get to extend my subscription for $59.40 a year? Is this for a US subscription or the World subscription? A current retail cost for a World subscription is $99.95.

* Virtual Gifts & Memorials -- Unlimited access to hundreds of figurines, icons, badges, flowers, flags, and virtual gifts for sharing with relatives and decorating your family tree.

Huh? Why do I want any of this stuff? This is a social networking thing that I have absolutely no time or use for.

* Family Tree Matching -- Our advanced tree matching system will help you find possible living relatives by matching your ancestors with theirs. We will automatically search millions of family trees built by FamilyLink users. Don’t re-invent the wheel. Find and connect with distant relatives that have the family history information you need. (Coming very soon!)

A promise that they will match my family tree data to that of others. Using the family tree that I've patiently input one-by-one - all 8 of them since FamilyLink won't accept a GEDCOM file. Does this mean that they will finally accept a GEDCOM file upload? If so, good. If not, count me out. This family tree matching has been done well by many others - especially and, who gladly accept a GEDCOM upload.

* Map My Ancestors -- View where your ancestors lived on an interactive/time shifting online map, and discover famous people and important events that touched the lives of your ancestors. (Coming very soon!)

Another promise. still has the website in beta which does this,. The site even accepts a GEDCOM file upload, but it limits how many localities a user can show for some reason.

If the annual subscription for $59.40 is for a World subscription to World Vital Records, then it's a decent deal to subscribe to FamilyLink Plus. If FamilyLink Plus will permit a GEDCOM upload, then the matching service is useful. If the World History site permits all localities to be shown for the family tree entries, then the FamilyLink Plus site will be useful. But will be behind the subscription firewall?

I'm a big believer in IBIWISI - I'll Believe It When I See It. has promised so much over the past two years and has delivered so little (FamilyHistoryLink, WebTree, We're Related, FamilyLink, world History, GenSeek, GenealogyWise, etc.).

I want them to succeed, because they have really good ideas and I believe that competition is really good for the genealogy world.

For now, I'll pass on the FamilyLink Plus offer. IBIWISI.

Disclosure: I am not an employer, contractor or affiliate of I am a fully paid subscriber to a US subscription for WorldVitalRecords, and do have a small family tree on, and a large family tree on

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 98: A Picnic at La Jolla

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.

I managed to scan about 100 family photographs in the Scanfest in January, and have converted the scanned TIF files to smaller JPGs, cropped and rotated as best I can. Many of these were "new" to my digital photograph collection.

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

My grandfather, Lyle L. Carringer, described the date, setting and subjects of this photograph in his beautiful handwriting on the back of this photograph:

"Picnic at La Jolla, May 9, 1915.

"Left to right -- Bess Perret, L. Carringer, Sally Saunders, Mr. Anderson, Vera Easton, Van Stewart, Jessie Weaver, and Doris Thompson."

This photograph was probably taken at either La Jolla Cove (you get down to the rocks through a store and a long rickety staircase) or at the wave-carved cliffs south of the Children's Pool at La Jolla. These are still popular photo areas for San Diego area people.

Whenever I see a photograph like this with my grandfather's friends identified, I always wonder if he kept in contact with them over the course of his life. Lyle was 23, and just out of high school (he went to school very late) when this picture was made, and these may be his high school friends, or they may be some of his colleagues from Marston's Department Store, where he worked as an accountant. A review of the San Diego High School yearbooks and the San Diego City directories for this period might shed some light on the relationships.

UPDATED: The editor of the La Jolla Light newspaper contacted me requesting to publish this photograph in the newspaper, and I agreed. The editor passed the photograph to La Jolla historians in an effort to identify the site of this photograph, and the comment back was:

"The photo seems to have been taken by the Devil’s Slide. (You can see the stairs in the background.) Carol informs me that the Devil’s Slide was located by Goldfish Point along what is today the Coast Walk trail."

The next time I visit La Jolla Cove, I will try to visit this site.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Finding Wiltshire Historical Records

I've been stuck on my Wiltshire ancestors for a long time - ever since my visit there in 1993, I've made no real progress on my Richman, Marshman, Rich and Hill ancestral families in Hilperton, near Trowbridge.

Martin commented on my Surname Saturday post about my Marshman family several weeks ago, and I finally had time to check out his suggestion to check out the Wiltshire and Swindon Archives website -

There are some really useful links on this page, including for the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre -

This page says "Welcome to the website of the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre, your passport to the past. Wiltshire and Swindon has a rich and diverse heritage. The new History Centre brings together the archaeology, archive, buildings record, conservation, and museum advisory services together with the county local studies library to create a centre whose sum is much more than that of its parts. If you are researching your ancestors or trying to find out more about a town or parish in Wiltshire or Swindon, or if you want professional advice and guidance on other heritage issues, we are the ideal place to contact or visit. "

I may take them up on that offer!

The Archives page also has a link to the Archives Catalogue -

This page links to the U.K. The National Archives Access to Archives page ( which covers all of the United Kingdom, including Wiltshire.

Another link on the Wiltshire and Swindon Archives page is for the Wiltshire Wills -

The page says: "This catalogue gives access to wills and other probate records of the diocese of Salisbury which used to cover not only Wiltshire but also Berkshire (under certain circumstances) and parts of Dorset and Devon. You can search for people by name, place, occupation and date. The collection covers 1540-1858. Searching the catalogue is FREE. In addition there are digital images for some of the documents (just over 25%) which can be viewed following on-line payment or free of charge by people visiting the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre. Wills and inventories give useful information about people’s financial status and property, and also their family relationships and friendships, which make them a wonderful resource for family and local history."

I searched for the "Richman" surname in this database and there were 36 matches:

I could order a copy of any of those documents from the web site.

The page says: "Where an image is available on-line, the easiest way of getting a copy is to use the pay to view system to view it and copy it however you wish. However, where an image is not yet available we may still be able to send you either print-outs of digital images or photocopies as appropriate. There is a minimum charge of £5.00 for orders by post, excluding postage and packing. Orders under £20.00 will be posted together with an invoice. For orders of £20.00 and over you will be asked for payment in advance. We are now able to take payment by credit card - please telephone or write to us if you would like to use this facility but please do NOT send your credit card details by e-mail."

Lastly, the Archives page links to the Wiltshire Local Studies collection -

I searched for information about Hilperton parish and found 30 matches:

Also on the Wiltshire and Swindon Archives are links for Museums and Sites/Monuments.

The Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre in Chippenham has apparently replaced the County Record Office in Trowbridge, that I visited in 1993.

This is a really great website for Wiltshire and Swindon History that I need to explore a bit more and use. My plan is to email them requesting information about Hilperton and my Richman and other families.

Do all of the United Kingdom counties have similar Archives and History Centres now that have replaced the County Record Offices? I don't know, but I'm sure that some of my UK readers do!

FREE Census Records on through April

I received this email from Justin Schroepfer of today --

"I wanted to update you that we have decided to extend our Interactive Census Collection free to the public through the end of April. Since opening this collection a few weeks ago, we have received a very positive response. In order to view the images from the collection, visitors only need to register for free. If you would like to inform your readers, you can point them to"

The census records available at include:

* 1860 US Census 100% complete

* 1900 US Census 6% complete

* 1910 US Census 4% complete

* 1920 US Census 3% complete

* 1930 US Census 98% complete

On another note, I saw that is offering a $49.95 annual membership price through Dick Eastman's blog site - this is a great bargain over the $79.95 annual membership retail cost.

Disclosure: I am not an employee, affiliate or contractor of I am a fully-paid annual subscriber to

GeneaBlogger Meetup in Sydney

My Facebook friends, and readers of Schelly Talalay Dardashti's blog, Tracing the Tribe, know that there was a very short geneablogger meetup in Sydney, Australia on March 20th.

I was posting my Down Under vacation highlights on Facebook every day, and Schelly noted that we were in Sydney. Schelly was there visiting her cousins, Bob and Di, saw my Facebook note, and commented on it, asking if we could get together. I commented back that we were at the Hotel Mercure and just as I returned to the room, Schelly was on the phone. We quickly agreed to meet at the ferry terminal in Sydney for a trip to Manly Beach on Saturday morning.

Here is Linda, Di, Schelly, and Bob in front of the Manly wharf terminal:

We had fish and chips in a small take-out restaurant:

Di, Schelly and I walked over to the beach while Bob and Linda went shopping. Di snapped this picture of the geneabloggers at the beach (sort of out of our element?):

I wish I had a photo of us smiling...because we did a lot of smiling and laughing and carrying on, as geneabloggers do when they get together. I think we talked about genealogy for the whole ferry trip over and back (about 30 minutes), missing the beautiful scenery along Sydney Harbour. We also talked all the way through lunch. It was only two plus hours, but it was a fun two plus hours!

I made two videos of Schelly using my Flip video camera but the files are too large to post here. I'll try to put one on Facebook and provide a link later.
Thank you to Schelly, Bob and Di for a wonderful, but too short, time. We got to see a friend, make some new friends, talk some genealogy (were YOUR ears burning?) and visit a beautiful beach.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Internet Genealogy Magazine TOC - April/May 2010 Issue

I subscribe to Internet Genealogy magazine published by Moorshead Publishing, Inc.. The Table of Contents for the April/May 2010 issue includes:

page 6 - NET NOTES
page 9 - COPYRIGHT AND YOUR FAMILY TREE: Alice L. Luckhardt tells you everything you need to know!
page 12 - AFRICAN AMERICAN FUNERAL PROGRAMS ONLINE: Tony Bandy looks at a fantastic online resource
page 14 - INSTANT GRATIFICATION AND FINDING OBITS ONLINE: According to Leland K. Meitzler, genealogists can be an impatient bunch!
page 18 - GETTING MORE FROM GOOGLE: Lisa A. Alzo shows you how to use Google to manage your research (and your life!)

page 22 - SAVE YOUR MEMORIES: ARCALIFE: Diane L. Richard looks at a new way to preserve your story for future generations (
page 24 - GENEALOGY SOCIETY ANNOUNCEMENTS: A collection of upcoming genealogy-related events that may be of interest
page 26 - LIVING GENEALOGY: Lisa A. Alzo reviews an interactive site for your family tree
page 30 - CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’: RESEARCHING THE GOLDEN STATE: Gena Philibert Ortega looks at online resources to help you learn more about your Californian ancestor
page 34 - DIAL IT UP! GENEALOGY ON YOUR SMARTPHONE: Tony Bandy shows you how your mobile phone can boost your research capabilities

page 37 - OGS SCANNING PROJECT: Marian Press looks at a new project in Ontario to preserve historic documents
page 38 - KITH & KIN: Tony Bandy looks at the newest version of a genealogy favorite
page 40 - PORTRAITS FROM THE PAST: Gail Blankenau shows you where to find old family photos online
page 43 - ANCESTRAL ATLAS: Lisa A. Alzo looks at a new way to keep track of where your
ancestors lived
page 46 - CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF... GENEALOGY! Lisa A. Alzo discusses 10 ways to build your genealogy cloud

page 49 - RESEARCHING FIREFIGHTERS IN THE FAMILY: David A. Norris looks at the resources available if your ancestor fought fires
page 54 - COZI UP TO YOUR GENEALOGY! Lisa A. Alzo looks at a free online organizer for families
page 55 - WHAT’S COMING IN INTERNET GENEALOGY: A peek at what we are working on for future issues!

This was a very informative issue. Frankly, they all are. There is something in each issue for beginning and advanced researchers. I especially enjoyed Leland's article on Obituaries, Lisa's article on Cloud Genealogy, Gena's piece on California Resources and Alice's material about Copyright.

1880 US Census Defective, Dependent and Delinquent Schedule Data added the 1880 U.S. Census Schedule for Defective, Dependent and Delinquent Classes for 14 states on 7 February 2010. The states included to date are Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington Territory.

I went looking for Seaver DDDs for my one-name study database, and found an interesting one in Massachusetts: Abby Seaver of Monson (1880 United States Census, Hampden County, Massachusetts, Supplemental Schedules of Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes; Line 6, Page 12119 D, Abby Seaver entry, on Roll 34, NARA Publication Number: T1204; accessed on Publication Title: Nonpopulation Census Schedules for Massachusetts, 1850-1880: ; Archive Location: Washington, D.C.; Archive Name: National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)):

The columns for Abby Seaver have these entries:

1. Number of page (from Sch[edule] 1:
2. Number of line: 6
3. Name: Abby Seaver
4. Residence when at home - City or town: Monson
5. Residence when at home - County (if in same state) or State (if in some other State): Hampden
6. How supported - At cost of city or town: checked
7. How supported - At cost of county: not checked
8. How supported - At cost of State: not checked
9. How supported - At cost of institution: not checked
10. Is this person able-bodied: Yes
11. Is he (or she) habitually intemperate? No
12. Is he (or she) epileptic? No
13. Has he (or she) ever been convicted of a crime? No
14. If disabled, state form of disability (crippled, consumption, dropsy, old age, lying-in, etc.): Insane
15. Was this person born in this institution? No
16. Date of admission: Dec. 22, '42
17. What other members of this family are in this establishment - Husband? Unchecked
18. What other members of this family are in this establishment - Wife? Unchecked
19. What other members of this family are in this establishment - Mother? Unchecked
20. What other members of this family are in this establishment - Father? Unchecked
21. What other members of this family are in this establishment - Sons (how many)? 0
22. What other members of this family are in this establishment - Daughters (how many)? 0
23. What other members of this family are in this establishment - Brothers (how many)? 0
24. What other members of this family are in this establishment - Sisters (how many)? 0
25. Is this person also blind? No
26. Is he or she deaf and dumb? No
27. Is he or she insane? Yes
28. Is he or she idiotic? No

There is quite a bit of information provided in this non-population schedule. Perhaps the most important is that she was listed as Insane and was admitted in December 1842.

This person is Abigail Seaver, born 3 April 1816 to John and Susanna (Trumbull) Seaver in Monson, Hampden County, Massachusetts. Abigail Seaver died 3 September 1887 in Monson, Hampden County, Massachusetts. She was not married.

Amanuensis Monday - Probate Records of Amy (Champlin) Oatley (1798-1865)

Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the excellent TransylvanianDutch blog) started his own Monday blog theme several months ago called Amanuensis Monday.

I loved the idea, and recently decided to follow it in order to share ancestral information and keep the theme going, and perhaps it will expand to other genealogy bloggers.

What does "amanuensis" mean? John offers this definition:

"A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another."

Amy Champlin was born in March 1798 in South Kingston, Washington County, Rhode Island, the daughter of Joseph and Nancy (Kenyon) Champlin. She married Jonathan Oatley (1790-1872) of South Kingston on 29 May 1813 in Exeter, Washington County, Rhode Island. Amy had 14 children by Jonathan Oatley, from 1815 to 1837, and 13 lived to maturity. She died on 8 February 1865 in East Killingly, Windham County, Connecticut.

Amy (Champlin) Oatley wrote a will and left an estate to ten of her children (from Killingly, Connecticut Probate Records, Volume 3, page 468, accessed on FHL Microfilm 1,451,111; note that Connecticut probate records are organized by districts, which generally correspond to towns):

"In the Name of God Amen. I Amy Oatley of Killingly in the County of Windham and State of Connecticut, of sound disposing mind and memory do constitute and ordain this my will and testament in manner and form following (to wit), that is to say imprimus I will that all my debts and funeral charges be paid and discharged by my executor hereinafter named.

"Item. I give and devise unto my ten children for love and affection I have for them, All my Real Estate situated in said Killingly with a dwelling house and barn therein standing together with all rights and privileges thereunto belong to them equal that is to say: my son Joseph Oatley one tenth part of all the above described premises - to Almira Taft one tenth, to Nancy Edson one tenth, to Lorenzo Oatley one tenth, to William Oatley one tenth, Benedick Oatley one tenth, Jonathan Oatley one tenth, to Mary E. Pray one tenth, to Hannah Chace one tenth and to Olive Burton one tenth, to them and each of them and their heirs forever.

"Lastly, I do make constitute and appoint my son Joseph Oatley Executor of this my last will and testament.

"In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 18th day of January A.D. 1863.
.................................................................. her

.......................................................... Amy x Oatley
................................................................. mark"

"Signed sealed and declared by the said Amy Oatley as her last will and testament in presence of us, who in her presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names. Samuel A. Chace, Henry G. Arnold, Franklin Preston, witnesses."

The executor, Joseph Oatley, presented the will to the probate court in Killingly on 14 February 1865. The court decreed that six months be allowed and limited to the creditors of said estate to exhibit their claims against the estate to the executor, and directed that public notice of the order be made by advertising in a newspaper published in Killingly and by posting a copy on the public sign post in Killingly nearest the place where the deceased had dwelt. The court appointed Samuel A. Chace and John White, disinterested persons, to appraise the real and personal estate of the deceased and to make a true and perfect inventory.

On 23 March 1865, Joseph Oatley, under oath, presented an inventory, made by Samuel A. Chace and John White, showing the real estate, consisting of a house, barn and other buildings together with the land, was valued at $850. The court accepted and recorded the inventory.
On 22 August 1865, the executor alleged that it would be necessary to sell certain real estate belonging to the estate for payment of debts and charges against the estate, and that the estate cannot be beneficially divided. The application was accepted, and the executor was directed by the court to give public notice of the order at least three days before the day of the hearing, set by the court as 26 August 1865.

On 26 August 1865, the hearing was held by the probate court. The real estate was described as bounded to the north by lands owned by Leonard Bartlett, east by lands owned by Waldo Bartlett, south by lands owned by Joseph Oatley, west by the highway leading from the old Providence Turnpike to Miller's Village, lying and situated in Killingly, containing about one fourth of an acre. The court approved the application and directed that the whole real estate be sold. The executor was directed to give at least 20 days notice of the proposed sale by advertising in a Killingly newspaper and on the public signpost nearest to the estate to be sold.
On 2 October 1865, the court ordered that the administration account of the estate be presented for adjustment, allowance and settlement on 7 October. On 2 October, Joseph Oatley gave notice to the court that he had sold the property to William H. Oatley for $950 and executed a conveyance thereof.

On 7 October 1865, the executor presented his account of his administration of the estate, as follows:
To inventory: ..................... 850.00

additional ............................ 132.00
------------------------ $ 982.00

The costs included:

expense of last sickness ....... 21.00
funeral expenses .................... 15.00
debts ..................................... 471.74
repairs ....................................... 1.38
taxes .......................................... 2.70
settling estate .......................... 6.75
executor's services ................ 10.00
probate fees .............................. 9.66
............................................. $ 538.07

The balance of $443.93 was in the hands of the executor. No record of the distribution was found.

By all indications, Amy (Champlin) Oatley, rather than her husband Jonathan Oatley, owned the property in East Killingly. I do not know why. Jonathan Oatley was a Baptist minister for several years in East Killingly, and was a stonecutter. He appears in the 1850, 1860 and 1870 census records, living with Amy in the 1850 and 1860 records. He lived with his son Joseph Oatley in the 1870 census in East Killingly.

Why wasn't her husband Jonathan not mentioned in the will? Was Jonathan incompetent or feeble and therefore not able to own property? There is no probate record for Jonathan Oatley in the Killingly town records. Did Amy inherit the property that they lived on?

Only ten children are mentioned in the will, although 12 were living at the time she made the will. Her last child, G. Whittier Oatley, died in infancy in 1837. Her first son, John Alfred Oatley, died 13 January 1863. Her son Stephen Hazard Oatley is not mentioned in the will - he died in June 1863; perhaps he received a portion previously by deed or gift. My ancestor, daughter Amy (Oatley) White, wife of Henry A. White of Killingly, is not mentioned in the will either - she died before 1870 (and I have found no death record of any sort for her). Perhaps Amy had received a portion previously by deed or gift.

While I have searched the probate records, I have not searched the Killingly, Connecticut land records for my Oatley, White and Wade ancestors. There's another task for my to-do list! You know, the only reliable way I add to my to-do list is to write about the situation and then analyze the situation.

Does anyone else have more information about this Oatley family? With 13 children living to maturity, and having children, there should be hundreds of descendants!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Recent Additions to FamilySearch Record Search - March 2010

I really appreciate the effort by Paul Nauta and the FamilySearch Indexing effort to keep genealogy bloggers informed about the databases recently started, in work or completed. Like many other genea-bloggers, I receive an email from Paul several times a month. I haven't posted them on my blog because other bloggers do it - see Renee Zamora's recent blog post, or Dick Eastman's.

All of the current projects in work on the FamilySearch Indexing Project are listed on the Current Projects page and the Partner Projects page. However, these lists do not show the completion percentage - you have to get that from the monthly reports sent out by Paul.

It often takes a month or two for the items shown as "Recently Completed Projects" in the monthly reports to come online to the FamilySearch Record Search Pilot listing of available databases. For instance, the last email noted these projects were recently completed:

* France, Quimper et Leon—Registres Paroissiaux, 1772–1909 [Part A]
* Deutschland, Baden, AchernKirchenb├╝cher, 1810–1869 [Part A]
* Mexico, DFRegistros Parroquiales, 1898–1933 [Parte 3]
* U.K., Bristol—Parish Registers, 1837–1900 [Part B]
* U.S., Massachusetts—1910 Federal Census
* U.S., Michigan—1910 Federal Census
* U.S., Minnesota—1910 Federal Census
* U.S., Nebraska—1910 Federal Census
* U.S., South Dakota—1945 State Census [Part A]

However, none of them are yet on the list of available projects that can be searched and/or browsed.

What would be of the most interest and help to me, and many other researchers, would be the list of databases recently added to the RecordSearch available collections. For instance, the page currently highlights these collections as being "new or updated:"

* Florida State Census, 1885 (search or browse)

* United States Census, 1920 (98% completed, search only, no images)

* Mexico Civil Registration (Tlaxcala only, no search, browse images only)

* Norfolk, Church of England Parish Registers, 1538-1900 (complete?, no search, browse images only)

* Spain, Catholic Church Records (six provinces, no search, browse images only)

* Netherlands, Gelderland Province Civil Registration, 1811-1950 (complete?, no search, browse images only)

* Netherlands, Zuid-Holland Province Civil Registration, 1811-1942 (complete?, no search, browse images only)

* Argentina Catholic Church Records (six provinces, no search, browse images only)

* Puerto Rico Civil Registration, 1836-1901 (complete?, no search, browse images only)

* South Africa, Orange Free State, Estate Files, 1951-1973 (complete? no search, browse images only)

I look forward every month to the new list of online databases - and can hardly wait to try some of them out. Hopefully, Somerset and Wiltshire Parish Registers will be put into the pipeline in the future. I appreciate the heads-up from Paul Nauta about "what's coming." It certainly raises my expectations!

Happy Easter!!! Wanta Census-whack with me?

Happy Easter to all readers. In a spare hour this afternoon, I happened to notice that shows:

* Easter Bunny, born about 1908 in North Carolina, was the daughter of John and Mary Bunny in Marion county, South Carolina in the 1910 U.S. Census. I wonder if Easter lived to a ripe old age?

* Easter Bunny, born about 1826, resided in Yorkshire, England in the 1841 U.K. census.

* Easter Eggers, born about 1820, resided in Cole County, Missouri in the 1850 U.S. census.

* Easter Morning, born about 1905, resided in Williamsburg, Virginia in the 1930 U.S. Census.

* Easter H. Easter, born about 1825, resided in Cherokee County, Texas in the 1850 U.S. census.

* Easter Chick, born about 1910, resided in Cape May County, New Jersey in the 1910 U.S. Census.

* There are several persons named Easter Flowers, Easter Day and Easter Hunt in the U.S. census records.

* Felix Easter resided in Rusk County, Texas in the 1880 U.S. Census.

* There are a few persons named Easter Lily and Easter Lilly in the U.S. Census records.

* I found no persons named Happy Easter, Easter Sunday, Easter Rabbit, or Easter Egg in the U.S. census records.

* Peter Rabbit, born about 1833 in Ireland, was residing in New Orleans, Louisiana in the 1880 U.S. census.

* Peter Rabbit, born about 1840 in Ireland, was residing in New York City in the 1880 U.S. census.

* Several other Peter Rabbit persons hop in and out of the U.S. census over the years!

* There are plenty of persons named Peter Cotton in the U.S. census, but no Peter Cottontail persons. Too bad!

* A person named Peter Easter resided in Bourbon County, Kansas in the 1880 U.S. Census.

What other names can you find that appear in the Census Records that pertain, remotely, to Easter?

P.S. While I was writing this, my own Easter bunny came hopping into the Genealogy Cave with a bowl of pastel-coated M&Ms, singing "Here Comes Peter Cottontail." Wasn't my honey-bunny sweet? Some of you have probably wondered how I keep my figure so, um, full ... now you know!

Best of the Genea-Blogs - next week!

Since I'm still recovering from my jet lag and hastily withdrawn unforeseen job opportunity (something about a work permit - don't they know that genealogy isn't work, it's fun?), I did not prepare a Best of the Genea-Blogs this week.

Fortunately, John Newmark on the TransylvanianDutch blog valiantly reads almost every genealogy blog post and news article about genealogy each week, and he summarized his Weekly Genealogy Picks -- March 28 to April 3 on his blog this morning. Please read his post, and visit the other lists he provided. Thank you, John, Diane, Greta, Megan and Thomas!

The one blog post that I would add to John's list is Insider Ketchup for 2 April 2010 by The Ancestry Insider. I appreciate this summary which saved me hours of trying to figure out what and did while I was away. I'm still confused, of course, but now I know that others are too.

My Best of the Genea-Blogs will return next week in earnest. Keep up the really good work, genea-bloggers!