Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - a Family Timeline

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

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

1) Open up your genealogy family tree software (you do have family tree software, right?) and:

2) Create a timeline for one or more of your ancestral families. The design is yours to create - make it as intricate or beautiful as you wish. timeline" - you should be able to find detailed instructions.

3) Show us your creation in a blog post of your own, as a comment to this blog post, or in a note or comment on Facebook. Tell us which software you used, too.

Here's mine:

I used RootsMagic 4 to create this three generation chart for my great-grandparents (Frederick and Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver, his parents and their children.

In RootsMagic, I selected Reports > Charts > Timeline Chart and then chose "Select from list) on the "People to include" dropdown menu. I selected a highlighted person in the "Select People" screen (I chose Frederick Walton Seaver), checked his name, then in the "Mark People" dropdown list I selected "Family of highlighted person" and checked both "As a parents with spouse" and "As a Child with parents." Then clicked on OK > OK > Generate Report and the chart was created.

To create the image above, I did a screen capture with "Print Screen," pasted the image into MSWord, right-clicked the image and saved it as a PNG file, then brought the image into the Microsoft digital Editor program and cropped it, then saved it to a file, and imported it into Blogger.

As an alternative, I could have manually checked any number of names in the "Select People" list to include Frederick's siblings, other spouses, etc.

I wonder how many different software programs will be used to do this task tonight? Have fun!

Surname Saturday - KOENIG/KING (Germany > PA)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ahnentafel list each week. I'm up to number 51, who is Elizabeth King (1796-1863).

My ancestral line back through the four generations of my King 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)

50. John Daniel Spangler, born 09 October 1781 in York, York County, PA, died 19 July 1851 in Georgetown, Mercer County, PA. He was the son of 100. Rudolf Spangler and 101. Maria Dorothea Dinkel. He married 12 March 1815 in York, York County, PA.
51. Elizabeth King, born 05 March 1796 in York, York County, PA; died 18 March 1863 in Conneautville, Crawford County, PA.

102. Philip Jacob King, born 24 February 1764 in York, York County, PA; died 02 March 1829 in Springgarden, York County, PA. He married before 1792 in PA.
103. Christina Johnston, born 10 March 1770 in Berks County, PA; died 08 December 1813 in York, York County, PA.

Children of Philip King and Christina Johnston are: Catherine (1792-????), George (1794-1860); Elizabeth (1796-1863); Sarah (1797-????); Lydia (1799-????); Catherine (1801-????); Jacob (1803-????); Rebecca (1805-????); Anna Maria (1806-????); Barbara (1808-????); Julia Anna (1810-1825; Henry (1813-????).

204. Philip Jacob King, born About 1739 in GERMANY; died before 25 February 1792 in York, York County, PA. He married 01 April 1763 in Lancaster, York County, PA.
205. Maria Barbara Wilhelm, born about 1740; died before 1789 in York, York County, PA. She was the daughter of 410. Jacob Wilhelm and 411. Catharine.

Children of Philip King and Maria Wilhelm are: Philip Jacob (1764-1829); Elizabeth (1767-????); Henry (1770-????); George (1774-????); Peter (1775-????); John (1776-????); Barbara (1777-1800).

408. Johann Nicolaus Koenig/King, born 18 May 1707 in Edenkoben, GERMANY; died before 29 March 1776 in York, York County, PA. He married 19 June 1735 in Edenkoben, GERMANY.
409. Maria Margaretha Stuber, born 30 November 1702 in Herren-Sulzbach, GERMANY; died before 1771 in York, York, PA.

Children of Johann Koenig/King and Maria Stuber are: Anna Elisabetha (1736-????); Philip Jacob (1739-1792); Maria Barbara (1750-????); Gottfried (1738-1806).

All of my information about this family was obtained from the excellent book, "The Kings of York County: Pioneers, Patriots and Papermakers" by Richard Shue.

Are there any King cousins out in Genea-Musings land? If so, please email me at

Friday, April 16, 2010

First Look at - a Database Site?

I read the press release Adds Millions of Historical Records to Meet Surging Interest in Family History on Dick Eastman's site this morning and decided to take a look at what the site offers and how it is set up. The press release claims:

"In response to Americans' growing interest in family history and genealogy,, which makes researching family history simple and affordable, has expanded its collection to include more than 1.2 billion historical records and has added a number of new features, including Free Internet Search. Now a single search on can locate records from several popular online genealogy resources - for FREE."

Further down is:

"Thousands of people join Archives every day, creating a lively community of family historians, casual hobbyists, and experienced genealogists. Membership is $39.95 for an entire year, and users can try it for free for seven days with no obligation."

Let's take a look at the home page at

It has links for "Explore Your Family History" (which opens the home page - note that there is a search box here. We'll return to that a bit later), a "Browse Collections" page, a "Build Your Family Tree" page, and a "Learn from Experts" page.

There is also a link for "Start 7-Day Free Trial" on every page which opens this page and asks for your credit card number. There is a link to the Terms and Conditions and to a list of Member Benefits also (Flash links, not separate URLs) on this page.

The "Browse Collections" page provides a list and description of the databases searched by the search engine. As of today, there are 115 different collections listed with 1.3 billion names included:

Some of the collections are from FamilySearch Record Search (all free access), from (you may need a subscription), (free access), (all free access), USGenWeb Archives (all free access), (all free access), and (all free access). There are other databases available for Vital Records - not on those sites - that are behind the membership fire wall.

The "Build Your Family Tree" application is behind the membership fire wall:

The family tree application permits a GEDCOM upload. The features listed include a scrapbook (photos and documents), multiple trees, print and share, timeline, tree search and email notifications. That sounds pretty good - comparable to other online family trees (many of which are free to use).

The "Learn from Experts" page has articles from several genealogy writers - including genea-bloggers Amy Coffin, Thomas MacEntee, Katrina McQuarrie and Kathleen Brandt, plus other writers (complete list of articles and authors).

Back to the home page - I was curious about the search engine. I put in the name "John Smith" (you have to enter both a first and last name) and left the area as "United States" (you can pick a state from a list):

I pressed the "Search" button and received this page:

There were 106,247 matches found in seven sources for "John Smith." 100,328 of them were in Vital Records and not in the seven sources listed above. I'm not sure where the Vital Records are, but they are all listed in the list of database Collections. The matches for FamilySearch were limited to 5,600, and for the other six listed databases to 64 (what are the odds that six databases will have the same number of matches for "John Smith"?). There are likely more matches in all seven of the listed external databases.

What about the Search Engine? A link on the home page takes you to this page:

The page claims that searches are comprehensive, accurate and fast. Without a membership, it's impossible to judge those claims. There is an advanced search engine where the user can add a birth date, a death date and select from different record types. I had several questions about the search engine:

* Can the search engine perform exact matches only? I don't think so.
* What about using wild cards? Again, I don't think so.
* I used one of my ancestors to answer these questions!

So the question many of you are asking - is a $39.95 annual membership in worth it? I cannot answer that question without more investigation of the databases to determine if all of them, or just some of them, are available in free online databases or in other fee-based databases (like Ancestry, Footnote, WorldVitalRecords, etc.). For my own research, I will "wait and see" if the site provides unique databases that I need to access to work on my ancestral research.

Disclosure: I am not an employee, affiliate, contractor or writer for, nor have I accepted any remuneration for this article.

SDGS Train Trip to SCGS Jamboree 2010

Hey San Diego readers - go to the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree in Burbank on the train with the San Diego Genealogical Society (SDGS)! The SCGS Jamboree is Friday, June 11th to Sunday June 13th at the Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel and Convention Center.

SDGS has organized going to the SCGS Jamboree on the train, and the prices include two nights at the hotel (you choose how many people to room with) and the Jamboree registration fee. See the PDF registration form here. The San Diego Genealogical Society blog has more information in the post Jamboree 2010. If you want a quote for a total price, please contact Kristeen at

Linda and I went on the train last year with about 15 other people, and it was a no-hassle and fun trip. No driving in rush hour traffic, no parking fees. The hotel shuttle picks us up at the nearby train station, and you get to talk genealogy pretty much non-stop for several hours on the way to and from Jamboree.

My Jamboree trip reports from last year are:

* Friday highlights
* Saturday highlights
* Sunday highlights
* Geneablogger Dinner - Post 1 and Post 2 and Post 3
* Tweeting the Blogger Summit
* The Geneabloggers Lounge
* SCGS Jamboree Exhibit Hall - Post 1 and Post 2
* Facebook/Twitter Meetup
* My Interview with Lisa Louise Cooke

I sent my reservation in yesterday and look forward to riding the rails with my colleagues and friends to Jamboree 2010.

Follow Friday - Genealogy Education

It's Follow Friday - and time to reveal another of my favorite blogs. Today, it's Ken Aitken's Genealogy Education blog.

My guess is that no one reads the Genealogy Education blog on a regular basis. There's a good reason for this - Ken died three years ago on 21 April 2007.

I started reading Ken's blog in 2005, and we carried on an excellent conversation on his blog and via email until his hospitalization and death.

I posted this yesterday in my Genea-Musings is 4 years old today post:

"I want to give credit to one of my blogging mentors - the late Ken Aitken who wrote the excellent
Genealogy Education blog until shortly before his death in April 2007. Ken was a wonderful example of a genealogy blogger - a teacher, a writer, an encourager, a helper, a sharer - everything that many of my genea-blogging colleagues have or will become. I miss Ken terribly. Thankfully, his blog is still online. If you have a free hour, please go read some of Ken's work. It is because of Ken's encouragement and ideas that the Transitional Genealogy Forum discussion group and mailing list started, and from that the Professional Genealogy Study Group was started. Many genealogists and bloggers owe Ken Aitken their appreciation and gratitude for his efforts."

I, and the entire genealogy community, really miss Ken Aitken.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Genea-Musings is 4 years old today

It seems like just yesterday that I started my Randy's Musings blog - here is the first post on 15 April 2006. I explained the change to Genea-Musings in my first anniversary post on 15 April 2007. In my two-year anniversary post, I showed a screen shot of the early blog page and showed a graph of my traffic in the past year. Last year, in my three-year anniversary post, I wrote about the past and the future of Genea-Musings.

Frankly, not much has changed in the past year - readership is up slightly, and the number of posts is down slightly. The content has changed a bit - tilting more toward the personal family history research and the daily blogging memes. My time budget has changed a bit too - with more time devoted to blogging and speaking/teaching rather than research (e.g., I haven't been to the Family History Center once yet this year).

After four years of Randy's Musings and Genea-Musings, this is post number 3,774. Over 1,461 days, that averages out to be 2.58 posts per day. In the past year, I've written 956 posts, or 2.62 posts per day (those are somewhat lower than the third year). I think that the most was 7 posts in one day and I've had many days with zero posts (usually when on vacation).

My readership has increased each year. Since I started this blog, I have had over 422,000 unique visitors (these can be multiple visits per day by the same reader) and over 608,000 page views over four years, and over 267,000 page views and 191,000 unique visitors in the past year. Those numbers have stayed about the same in the last year.

My statistics indicate that this blog currently has about 526 unique visitors a day, with an average of about 733 page views. In addition, about 470 subscribe via email using Feedburner, about 560 via Google Reader, and about 70 subscribe via Bloglines. I don't have a count for other feeds, blog readers and Facebook posts. If I had to guess, I would say that about 1,800 persons read Genea-Musings on an average day. A significant number of the readers (probably over 50%) on the actual website come via a search engine - you wouldn't believe what some of the search parameters are!

This traffic chart for the last year (15 April 2009 to 14 April 2010) shows Page Loads (green), Unique Visitors (blue), and Returning Visitors (orange). You can really see the effects of my Down Under vacation in March, eh?

This is a traffic chart for the last four years (since July 2006 when I subscribed to StatCounter) in terms of Page Loads (green), Unique Visitors (blue), and Returning Visitors (orange).

I analyzed this chart to death last year so I won't bother doing it again.

I really appreciate the Genea-bloggers community and all of my Genea-Musings readers. Without all of you, we would not have as much genealogy information (news, research experiences, family history, photographs, etc.) online. Blogging and then social networking has brought democratization to the world of genealogy writing - anybody can do it (and many do it very well) and the genealogy community has more information faster than it ever has had before.

Some blogs die out due to lack of blogger interest or readership, and some have found a comfortable regular pace, while others chug along providing a daily diet of genealogy information (hopefully, some of it is helpful and useful).

I want to give credit to one of my blogging mentors - the late Ken Aitken who wrote the excellent Genealogy Education blog until shortly before his death in April 2007. Ken was a wonderful example of a genealogy blogger - a teacher, a writer, an encourager, a helper, a sharer - everything that many of my genea-blogging colleagues have or will become. I miss Ken terribly. Thankfully, his blog is still online. If you have a free hour, please go read some of Ken's work. It is because of Ken's encouragement and ideas that the Transitional Genealogy Forum discussion group and mailing list started, and from that the Professional Genealogy Study Group was started. Many genealogists and bloggers owe Ken Aitken their appreciation and gratitude for his efforts.

I'm going to take the rest of the blogging day off and celebrate - have a toast to Ken Aitken, and work on my Genealogy 101 class presentations and handouts! Oh - play with the grandgirls too!

Treasure Chest Thursday - White-Richmond Marriage Record

It's Treasure Chest Thursday - time to find another jewel hiding in my genealogical treasure files on my computer.

One of the records I need to prove my ancestral line back to the 1620 Mayflower passengers (if I ever want to join the Mayflower Society) is the marriage of Thomas Richmond to Julia White in 1868. I sent away to the Killingly, Connecticut Town Hall and received this:

The record indicates that Thomas Richmond (age 21, white, born in England, resided in Killingly) was married to Juliette White (age 20, white, born in Killingly, Connecticut, resided in Killingly, CT) on 20 June 1867 in Killingly, by William N. Ackley.

That's wonderful, but all other records I have indicate that the marriage date was 1868 not 1867. However, this is an "official" record and it says 1867, whereas the family records are not "official." When I visited Killingly Town Hall in 1994, I searched through the record book for this marriage and it was on the page that had 1867 at the top of the page, but 1868 further down and before this particular entry, so I am pretty sure that 1868 is the correct year.

My problem is this: Which year should I use for any descendancy application? Obviously, I could write again to Killingly and see if I get a record with the correct year.

Another potential problem: Juliette White's given name was Julia, not Juliette, so that is a "difference" that has to be noted and justified on any descendancy application. She went by Juliet all of her life.

One of the frustrations with this record, like other records, is that not all possible information is filled in. I would have loved to have the birthplaces, date of birth and parents names on this record, but they were not included. Those items would have made the link from her parents to Julia White. I don't have a birth record for Julia/Juliet. I do have a death record for "Julliet Richmond" that lists her birth date, birthplace and parents names.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Genealogy Merit Badge - Boy Scout Requirements

I was recently asked to be a counselor for Boy Scouts in the Chula Vista area for the Genealogy Merit Badge, so thought it might make an interesting blog post.

The requirement for obtaining the merit badge is posted on the Boy Scout Trail website here:

1. Explain to your counselor what the words genealogy, ancestor, and descendant mean.

2. Do ONE of the following:

a. Do a time line for yourself or for a relative. Then write a short biography based on that time line.
b. Keep a journal for 6 weeks. You must write in it at least once a week.

3. With your parent's help, choose a relative or a family acquaintance you can interview in person, by telephone, or by e-mail or letter. Record the information you collect so you do not forget it.

4. Do the following:

a. Name three types of genealogical resources and explain how these resources can help you chart your family tree.
b. Obtain at least one genealogical document that supports an event that is or can be recorded on your pedigree chart or family group record. The document could be found at home or at a government office, religious organization, archive, or library.
c. Tell how you would evaluate the genealogical information you found for requirement 4b.

5. Contact ONE of the following individuals or institutions. Ask what genealogical services, records, or activities this individual or institution provides, and report the results:

a. A genealogical or lineage society
b. A professional genealogist (someone who gets paid for doing genealogical research)
c. A surname organization, such as your family's organization
d. A genealogical education facility or institution.
e. A genealogical record repository of any type (courthouse, genealogical library, state or national archive, state library, etc.)

6. Begin your family tree by listing yourself and include at least two additional generations. You may complete this requirement by using the chart provided in the Genealogy merit badge pamphlet or the genealogy software program of your choice.

7. Complete a family group record form, listing yourself and your brothers and sisters as the children. On another family group record form, show one of your parents and his or her brothers and sisters as the children. This requirement may be completed using the chart provided or the genealogy software program of your choice.

8. Do the following:

a. Explain the effect computers and the Internet are having on the world of genealogy.
b. Explain how photography (including microfilming) has influenced genealogy.

9. Discuss what you have learned about your family and your family members through your genealogical research.

A Genealogy Worksheet in PDF format for the Scout to complete is posted here.

This seems like a pretty reasonable course of action to earn a Merit Badge for a Boy Scout. Is there a similar Merit Badge for Girl Scouts?

I look forward to helping the young men in the Chula Vista area with their genealogy Merit Badge work.

CGSSD Meeting on Saturday, 17 April features Del Ritchhart

The next meeting of the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego (CGSSD) is Saturday, April 17, 2010.

User Groups for Family Tree Maker (led by Del Ritchhart), Macintosh (led by Dona Ritchie), and RootsMagic (led by Pam Journey and Chris Christensen) will begin at 9:00 a.m.

After a break and refreshments at 10:00 a.m., Del Ritchhart will present the main program, “Researching at the Allen County Public Library and the Family History Library.”

Del will discuss his visits last year to both the Allen County Public Library in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, and the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. He will describe the libraries and their holdings and resources, and give suggestions about how to prepare for your visit and effectively conduct your research. Del’s presentation will be augmented with extensive photos taken during his visits.

Del is a retired Navy captain and aerospace executive who has been active in San Diego genealogical organizations for about ten years. He is the current president of the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego.

We meet at the Robinson Auditorium complex on the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) campus in La Jolla. From North Torrey Pine Road turn at Pangea Drive into UCSD. Free parking is available in the parking garage on the left; use any A, B, or S space. Signs will mark directions to our meeting room. Please refer to our website; or the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies website for driving directions and a map.

UPDATED: 15 April - modified User Groups listing per email from Linda Hervig.

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 99: The Russ Mill in San Diego

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:

This is a photograph of the inside of the Russ Lumber & Mill Company in San Diego, from the 1900 to 1910 time period. My great-grandfather, Henry Austin Carringer, worked at the Russ Lumber and Mill for several years - at least from 1897 to 1903, according to the San Diego City Directories. The Russ Lumber and Mill was located at First and I Streets in downtown San Diego.

I wonder if this was the machine that Austin used, or if this is a stock photograph made by the company? I have not researched the Russ Lumber and Mill Company in any depth. I wonder if there are files on the company at the San Diego Historical Society?

A side note: Last week's photograph of my grandfather and his friends at La Jolla beach was seen by the editor of the La Jolla Light newspaper, and will be published in the newspaper soon. The editor passed the photograph to local historians who identified the site that the photograph was taken. I updated my post to reflect that site.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

More Devier J. Smith tidbits in McCook NE Newspapers

At the break of the SDGS meeting on Saturday, Chris Christensen mentioned to me that he had checked the Library of Congress Chronicling America historical newspaper site that Barbara Renick mentioned in her talk, and that it had the McCook (Nebraska) Tribune newspaper from 188? to 1922.

I vaguely recalled finding something in this newspaper several months ago, and when I checked the voluminous Genea-Musings archives, I found this post - My Smiths owed tax money! The post indicated that I found that article in a search of "Devier J. Smith" - what about for his name "D.J. Smith?" And for his son David D. Smith" (or "D.D. Smith"), his daughter "Della Smith," his daughter "Matie Smith" and his wife "Abbie Smith?"

I spent some time tonight searching on the Chronicling America site and found many more mentions of my favorite Smith family! Here are two:

* On 7 May 1885, the newspaper published two short articles:

In the first one, it noted that:

"The Wallace house on Madison street, lately occupied by L.B. Stiles, is now occupied by D.J. Smith and family, late arrivals from Concordia, Kans. Mr. Smith purchased the property, and moved into the same, Saturday night."

With this information, I now know the approximate date that the Smith's came from Concordia and bought a house, and the location of the house (at least the street name). I wonder if the house is still there?

The second short article noted that:

"The new town in Cheyenne county, Kansas, Wano by name, is attracting considerable attention from settlers and speculators. D.J. Smith of our city was at that point, last Thursday, and bought 1,000 acres of land in the neighborhood of the new town."

More information about the property in Wano, including the acreage and the approximate purchase date.

* I wondered what happened to the lawsuit for the back taxes. Here is what appeared in the newspaper on 21 November 1902:

The brief item in the "Equity Cases" section reads:

"John E. Kelley vs. Abbie Smith. Dismissed."

I am pretty sure that Abbie Smith, the widow of Devier J. Smith, had left town years before and was residing in San Diego, California in 1902, as were her three living children, Della (Smith) Carringer, Matie (Smith) Chenery and David D. Smith. This is good news - it looks like the estate owes nothing to anybody now!

A lesson learned here: "Revisit successful searches with alternative name spellings, or collateral names - you may be surprised at what you find!"

Another lesson: "When a speaker provides a website URL to explore - go do it ASAP! You may forget about it until later."

Thank you, Chris Christensen for the lead to the McCook newspaper!!! It's neat when your friends help you out.

New Roots Television Videos

There are several new videos on Roots Television ( that may be useful to beginning and experienced genealogists alike.

* Getting the Most Out of a Genealogy Conference by George G. Morgan. This is an 88 minute presentation, but useful for persons who have never attended a conference before.

* National Genealogical Society - Conferences - an NGS 3 minute, 37 second video using short quotes from experienced conference goers.

* California - a California Genealogical Society (CGS) animated video, 4 minutes, 4 seconds long, that highlights CGS activities.

* Freedmen Indian Territory Obit Project - a slide show video, 5 minutes, 51 seconds long, showing freed persons from Indian Territory with photos, gravestone photos, obituaries. Very effective!

* Backing Up Your Genealogy Files - Elyse Doerflinger's 6 minute, 22 second video.

I try to visit Roots Television on a regular basis, and receive Megan Smolenyak's Megan's Roots World blog and the Og Blog via email so I can keep up with this genealogy video channel. You can subscribe to the Roots Television Newsletter here.

There are so many "how-to" videos on Roots Television that it's impossible to list all of them. Go explore! There are 23 different Roots Television channels - mouse over the icons at the bottom of the home page screen to see all of them.

Tombstone Tuesday - Interesting Memorials

I've run out of my own tombstone pictures, so will post some that are "interesting" to me.

The inscription on the back of this stone says "Stan, may the force be with you." I'm guessing that Stan was a Star Wars fan, or perhaps a Yoda fan. Obviously, he died too young.

This stone is in Edinboro Cemetery in Edinboro, Erie County, Pennsylvania, USA and is on Find A Grave here.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Online Historical Newspapers and Directories sites

Miriam Robbins Midkiff, the author of the Ancestories: Stories of My Ancestors blog and hostess of the monthly Scanfest, continues to add content to her two web sites that list Online Historical Newspapers and Online Historical Directories.

* The Online Historical Newspapers Website ( is an aid for genealogists and historians. Online newspapers are listed by state, county and city/town with links to the online provider, with years of coverage and an indication if the provider is a fee-based or free site. This is still a work in progress, but is already very helpful in determining if historical newspapers are available in specific places.

* The Online Historical Directories Website ( collects similar information for historical alumni, business, city, county, farm, Masonic, rural, social, and other types of directories. This is also a work in progress, but is already very helpful in determining if historical directories are available online in specific places.

Miriam is also adding content on a nearly weekly basis to her series about Free Online resources at State and Local Archives and repositories. See her "collection" of blog posts on this topic at To date, she has covered the 12 states alphabetically through Illinois. When this collection is completed, it will be a priceless resource for genealogists and historians (hmmm, it may never be completed, I fear!).

Amanuensis Monday - the Will of Jonathan White (1806-1850)

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."

Today, my subject is Jonathan White (1806-1850), the son of Humphrey and Sybil (Kirby) White of Glocester, RI, the husband of Miranda (Wade) White, and the father of Henry Arnold White, Albert White and Harriet White. Henry Arnold White is one of my second great-grandfathers, who married Amy Frances Oatley.

Jonathan White died 19 April 1850 in Killingly CT at age 47 of lung fever. He was white, a farmer, resided Killingly, born Glocester RI (Killingly CT Births, Marriages, Deaths, Volume 2, 1849-1881, page 466).

Jonathan White died testate, and his will dated 18 April 1850 was presented to the Killingly CT Probate Court on 27 April 1850. The inventory of his goods and estate totalled $1,227.55 (including real estate valued at $900.00), and was accepted by the Probate Court on 28 May 1850 (Killingly (Connecticut) Probate Records, Volume 1 (1849-1854), Page 181, accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,004,655). Jonathan White's will was presented to the Killingly Probate Court on 27 April 1850 by the executor, Samson B. Covill. The will reads:

"In the name of God Amen. I Jonathan White of Killingly in the State of Connecticut being sane in mind though weak and debilitated in body in view of approaching dissolution do make this my last will and testament in manner following, that is to say,

"1st I give and devise to my beloved wife Maranda White the improvement of all my lands in the State of Connecticut during her natural life to manage as she sees fit, also my household furniture to dispose of as she sees fit, thinks just and right in any manner she chooses.

"2nd I give and bequeath to my sons Henry White and Albert White all my lands in the state of Rhode Island to dispose of in any way they choose, share and share alike to them, their heirs and assigns forever.

"3rd I give and devise to my said sons, after the decease of their said Mother Miranda all the lands and improvements thereon that I own in the State of Connecticut to them their heirs and assigns forever, providing they pay to their sister Harriet White two hundred dollars within one year from her said Mother's decease.

"4th I give and bequeath to my two sons all the residue of my estate both real and personal, wherever it may be found, and said Henry & Albert are to pay all my just debts and funeral expenses in order to make this my will valid on their part as aforesaid.

""5th my said wife is to suffer my daughter Harriet White to live and board with her until she is married free of expense, also her clothing if she stays at home.

"Lastly, I hereby nominate and appoint Deacon Samson B. Covill of Killingly in the State of Connecticut hereby sole Executor of this my last will and testament hereby revoking and annulling all other and former wills by me made, and establishing this and this only as my last will and testament. In testimony whereof I do hereunto set my hand and seal this 18th day of April AD 1850."
.............................................................. his

............................................... Jonathan X White
............................................................. mark

This is the only record I have that explicitly names all of the children of Jonathan and Miranda (Wade) White. I have not found all of the land records yet in Killingly CT or Glocester, RI that are referred to in the will.

Jonathan wrote this will the day before he died of "lung fever" - probably pneumonia. His wife, Miranda, died four months later, leaving three children behind.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Barbara Renick presentations at SDGS on Saturday

Barbara Renick used case studies to effectively demonstrate “Finding Newspapers Online” and “The Five C’s for Success in Genealogy Today” to an audience of over 160 at the April 10th meeting.

In “Finding Newspapers Online,” she explained the “shotgun approach” and the “rifle approach” to finding newspaper resources. In the “shotgun approach,” a user searches online newspaper web sites and takes what they can get for the names and keywords used in the search fields. She showed results from NewspaperARCHIVE ($), Ancestry ($), GenealogyBank ($), Google News Archive,, ProQuest Historical Newspapers, Chronicling America, and several other sites.

In the “rifle approach,” the searcher uses online resources to determine what newspapers existed in the places and times that your ancestors lived, and then attempts to access copies of the newspapers through a web site, on microfilm, inter-library loan, a hired researcher, or visiting the repository yourself.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) sponsored the U.S. Newspaper Program (USNP) to locate, catalog and preserve newspapers published from the 18th century to the present. This effort resulted in catalog entries in the Online Computer Library Center’s WorldCat meta-catalog ( The follow-on National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) is a partnership with the Library of Congress to digitize and provide access to significant historic newspapers from across the USA.

You can read Barbara’s syllabus for this talk at

At the start of the “The Five C’s for Success in Genealogy Today” talk, Barbara noted that only 5% of all records currently are online, and that there is no one right way to do genealogy research.

The “Five C’s” that should be used to solve thorny research problems were: Classic and Computer resources; Collaborating with cousins; Citing sources consistently; and doing Comprehensive Searching The key word was “propinquity” – which means proximity, closeness, kinship, etc. In her first example, when Martha Gray married Edmond Gross in 1800 in Washington County, VA, they must have lived fairly near each other. When they moved to Campbell County, TN after their marriage, they may have lived near their relatives. The challenge was to find their parents by following the Five C’s.

Barbara used census records, tax lists, church records, family sources, vital records, maps, land records, probate records and common sense to find classic and computer resources to identify candidate families, and to trace siblings and cousins forward and backward in time. She emphasized finding original sources and not compiled sources, and comparing records from different years (for example, 1818 and 1823 tax lists with the 1820 census) to define family groups. Citing sources clearly, consistently and completely helps the researcher understand what has been reviewed and used. She recommended using the mantra Find > Cite > Search > Copy for every resource found (with or without positive results) in your research.

These presentations demonstrated practical research techniques while illustrating how difficult some “real life” research problems are. Breaking down brick walls is difficult, but researchers can do it by following Barbara’s recommendations.

I always learn something from Barbara's talks. The case studies she used here are very complicated, but they are "real" genealogy research problems that she is working on or has solved.

What I really appreciate is the emphasis on ALL record types, especially the "classic" resources in books, microfilm and paper. That message came through loud and clear in her talks!

Best of the Genea-Blogs - Week of April 4-10, 2010

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:

* More Updates: The "Mystery Photo" by Patti Browning on the Consanguinity blog. Patti publishes the analysis of her mystery photo by Brett Payne of Photo-Sleuth . What an interesting challenge, and excellent analysis by Brett.

* Accuracy versus Precision by Ruth Himan on the Genealogy is Ruthless Without Me blog. Ruth suggests that the genealogy community adopt a standard for data quality, based on her life experiences and the state of online family trees.

* Your Ancestor in the Kitchen by Gena Ortega on the WorldVitalRecords Blog. Gena notes that food is a wonderful part of our family histories, and has suggestions for cookbooks, recipes and menus from yesteryear.

* Brick Walls As A Product of Dysfunction by Martin Hollick on The Slovak Yankee blog. Martin uses two of his ancestral families to discuss this thesis. Interesting thoughts here.

* What I have learned from genealogy blogs by James Tanner on the Genealogy's Star blog. James writes what many genea-bloggers feel - excellent post and very true! Especially the knowledge base and time balance parts!

* Easter, 2010 by Michael Cassara on the Michael Cassara blog. Michael's walk in the cemetery turned up a startling find - read about his genea-gasm. A pretty good first post for a new blog!

* Tombstone Tuesday and The Power of Genealogical Crowdsourcing by Dean Richardson on the Genloghten Blog - Genealogy Documented blog. Dean refers to Michael Cassara’s post as a lead-in to discussion of crowd-sourcing ( a new term for me...).

* UK: Genealogists are 'creepy, boring' by Schelly Talalay Dardashti on Tracing the Tribe: The Jewish Genealogy Blog. Schelly analyzes the latest newspaper article by an, um, non-genealogy fan, and summarizes other responses.

* Homemade Music/Homemade Instruments by Jean Hibben on the Circlemending blog. I am awed by Jean's musical knowledge and prowess - and this article is a how-to masterpiece about home-made musical instruments.

* People are talking about Genealogy….. by Heather Rojo on the Nutfield Genealogy blog. Heather talks about genealogy everywhere, especially after WDYTYA? started, and found a great "starter" article in a local newspaper too.

* FamilyLink is (or soon will be) for genealogists by Paul Allen on the Paul Allen (the lesser) blog. Good news from Paul about the website - and thanks for the shout-out!

* Cluster Genealogy Research by Gus Marsh on Gus's Genealogy Blog. Gus summarizes the topic nicely with excellent advice for researchers.

* Weekly Genealogy Picks by John Newmark on the TransylvanianDutch blog. John's picks often complement my own - read all of the lists that John provides too!

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

Read past Best of the Genea-Blogs posts here.

Marvin in the graveyard...

I couldn't resist posting this - thank you, email friend!