Saturday, May 29, 2010

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun- your Relationship Calculator

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

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (come on, don't be a party pooper...) is:

1) Open up the genealogy software program of your choice.

2) Think about two special people in your family tree (your parents? your spouse? a famous person? a distant cousin? yourself?).

3) Use the Relationship Calculator in the software to determine the relationship between the two special people. If you don't know where to find the Relationship Calculator, go to the Help button and find out. Follow the directions!

4) Tell us about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a comment to this post on my blog, or in a Note or comment on Facebook.

Have fun!!

Here's mine:

I used RootsMagic 4 for this exercise. The Relationship Calculator is in the Tools menu.

1) I have a whole lot of Seaver persons in my database, so I chose myself and Tom Seaver, the Hall of Fame pitcher. "Cousin Tom" and I are tenth cousins - our most recent common ancestors are Robert Seaver (1608-1683) and Elizabeth Ballard (????-1657).

2) My parents, Frederick W. Seaver (1911-1983) and Betty Virginia Carringer (1919-2002): There are 11 matches listed. They include:

* 7th cousins, most recent common ancestors (MRCA) are Timothy Hamant and Melatish Clark
* 8th cousins once removed, MRCA are Joseph Clarke and Alice Fenn
* 9th cousins, MRCA are Joseph Holloway and Rose Allen
* 10th cousin once removed, MRCA are Rev. Stephen Bachiler and Anne

I knew about the Hamant/Clark and Holloway/Allen cousinships, but I'm wondering about the others, especially the Bachiler/Anne match. I need to check that out.

Is there another tool hiding in the software that permits me to print out the descent from the common ancestors to the two persons? In RootsMagic, there is the Relationship Chart where you can input two persons and see the line of descent from the Common Ancestor. That worked fine for my parents - but it only gave me the Timothy Hamant/Melatiah Clark line. I had to input my parents, and Stephen Bachiler to see the two descents - I couldn't get a relationship report for my parents and Bachiler/Anne as the MRCA.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Surname Saturday - PUTMAN (Holland > NY > NJ > NY > ONT)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I'm up to number 63, who is Eliza Putman (1820-1895). This completes my listings of my 3rd great-grandparents. I'll start in on the next generation next week!

My ancestral line back through nine generations of PUTMANs is:

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)

14. Charles Auble (1848-1916)
15. Georgianna Kemp (1868-1952)

30. James Abram Kemp (1831-1902)
31. Mary Jane Sovereen (1840-1874)

62. Alexander Sovereign, born 22 December 1814 in Middleton, Norfolk County, Upper Canada, and died 15 August 1907 in Windham, Norfolk County, Ontario, CANADA. He was the son of 124. Frederick Sovereign and 125. Mary Jane Hutchison. He married 03 March 1840 in Norfolk County, Upper Canada.
63. Eliza Putman, born 01 January 1820 in Wayne, Steuben County, NY; died 17 March 1895 in Delhi, Norfolk County, Ontario, CANADA.

126. John Putman, born before 27 September 1785 in Walpack, Sussex County, NJ; died 10 May 1863 in Delhi, Norfolk County, Ontario, Canada. He married about 1810 in probably Seneca County, NY.
127. Sarah Martin, born 07 March 1792 in Woodbridge, Middlesex, NJ; died 21 December 1860 in Delhi, Norfolk County, Ontario, Canada. She was the daughter of 254. Mulford Martin and 255. Betsey Rolfe.

Children of John Putman and Sarah Martin are: Peter Putman (1812-1882); Martin Mulford Putman (1816-1892); Isaac Kinnan Putman (1819-????); Eliza Putman (1820-1895); Rebecca Putman (1822-1852); Mary Putman (1825-1912); Martha Putman (1829-????); William C. Putman (1834-????)

252. Peter Victorse Putman, born about 1760 in probably Sussex County, NJ; died 03 October 1835 in Barrington, Yates County, NY. He married 20 March 1780 in Wantage, Sussex County, NJ.
253. Sarah Mary Kinnan, born June 1761 in Wantage, Sussex County, NJ; died 22 November 1841 in Springwater, Livingston County, NY. She was the daughter of 506. John Kinnan and 507. Mary Sutton.

Children of Peter Putman and Sarah Kinnan are: Victor Putman (1782-1845); John Putman (1785-1863); Peter Putman (1788-1855); David Putman (1790-????); Isaac Kinnan Putman (1797-????)

504. Victor Davidse Putman, born before 09 April 1721 in Marlborough, Monmouth County, NJ; died in Sussex County, NJ. He married about 1745 in NJ.
505. Margaret Wieser. She was the daughter of 1010. Nicholas Wieser.

Children of Victor Putman and Margaret Wieser are: Maria Putman (1749-????); Elizabeth Putman (1751-????); Sarah Putman (1753-????); David Putman (1755-????); John Putman (1757-1798); Peter Victorse Putman (1760-1835).

1008. David Janse Putman, born November 1684 in Schenectady, Schenectady County, NY; died 28 October 1761 in Pluckemin, Hunterdon County, NJ. He married about 1710 in probably Monmouth County, NJ.
1009. Helena --?--

Children of David Putman and Helena --?-- are: Cornelia Davidse Putman (1711-1800); Fykje Davidse Putman (1712-????); Johannes Davidse Putman (1714-????); Victor Davidse Putman (1721-????).

2016. Jan Victorse Pootman, born before 28 February 1644/45 in Aalburg, North Brabant, Holland; died 08 February 1689/90 in Schenectady, Schenectady County, NY. He married before 1675 in probably Albany, Albany County, NY.
2017. Cornelia Arentse Bradt, born 1655 in Rensselaerwyck, NY; died 08 February 1689/90 in Schenectady, Schenectady County, NY. She was the daughter of 4034. Arent Andries Bradt and 4035. Catalyntje De Vos.

Children of Jan Pootman and Cornelia Bradt are: Arent Janse Putman (1675-1754); Marietje Janse Putman (1678-1715); Victor Janse Putman (1680-1756); David Janse Putman (1684-1761); Cornelis Janse Putman (1685-????); Catalyntje Janse Putman (1689-????)

4032. Victor Pootman, born near Aalburg, North Brabants, Holland. He married before 1642 in HOLLAND.
4033. Marie Davids, born in Holland.

Children of Victor Pootman and Marie Davids are: Geuntjen Pootman (1643-????); Jan Victorse Pootman (1645-1690); David Pootman (1647-????); Marija Pootman (1648-????).

8064. Johannes Putman, born 1566 in Lipstadt, Westphalia; died 1658 in Goor, Holland. He married
8065. Matilda Meyer She was the daughter of 16130. Jan Meyer.

Children of Johannes Putman and Matilda Meyer are: Victor Pootman (????-????); Abraham Putman (1600-1674).

16128. Rutgerus Putman, born 1510 in Hamm, Westphalia; died 1575 in Lipstadt, Westphalia. He married
16129. Agnez Bosch, born About 1510 in Westphalia; died 1588 in Lipstadt, Westphalia.

Children of Rutgerus Putman and Agnez Bosch are: Johannes Putman (1566-1658); Abraham Putman (1567-1650).

I have done no original research on this family line. Mark Putman of Michigan has done wonderful work finding all of the Putmans in many different locations, and has recently been able to extend the line back several generations in Europe.

If you have a connection to this line of Putmans and would like to share data with Mark and myself, please email me at

Dear Randy: Where do I find "the good stuff?"

One of my readers, who is trying to learn genealogy research using online resources, sent an email last week asking for advice. She wrote:

" I have finally been able to find my way around a little more with all the basics. Family, births, deaths, Census and all that jazz and now I am ready for the good stuff but just do not know quite how to do it. Other than going to court houses back in home towns, just HOW do I find stuff on line about probate & wills and also property ownership. I do not have a clue as to where and how to start looking this kind of information up. Most of the US stuff for my families did not start until the mid 1880s when they immigrated over here from Norway and England so that is the time period I need to start with."

The basic question there is "how do I find stuff on line about probate and wills and property ownership."

The short answer is - you won't find much online about them, other than articles about "how to" search for them in repositories, and catalogs to help you find them in repositories. There are some counties with deed indexes and probate indexes online, and there are some books and pewriodicals with transcribed or abstracted deeds and probate records, but the online coverage is really spotty.

You are very wise to say you want to "find the good stuff" - land and probate records are golden opportunities to define residences, family property and family relationships. Here are my recommendations:

1) Learn more about these record types. Go to these sites and find online articles about land, property and probate records:

* The FamilySearch ResearchWiki at, and search for "land records" and "probate records." The United States Land and Property Portal has links to information about survey methods, to each state, and many more topics. Likewise, the United States Probate Records page has basic information and links to each state.

* The Learning Center has many articles that describe research in land and probate records. Go to the Article Archives page and search for "land records" and/or "probate records." Read some of the articles to gain information about how to do research both on site at courthouses and using the LDS Family History Library Catalog.

2) Consider purchasing these books for your genealogy library, or find them and read them at a genealogical library:

* E. Wade Hone, Land & Property Research in the United States (Salt Lake City, Utah, Ancestry Incorporated, 1997).

* Christine Rose, Courthouse Research for Family Historians: Your Guide to Genealogical Treasures (San Jose, California, CR Publications, 2004).

3) Learn to use the LDS Family History Library Catalog and find out if the FHL has land and probate records on microfilm that you could borrow at a Family History Center in your area. Each film rental costs about $6, but that is usually cheaper than travelling to and enjoying a week's stay at the Library in Salt Lake City (although the trip to the FHL should be a pilgrimage every genealogist should make).

* Go to the Place Search category, and input the county and state that you wish to research.

* You will receive a list of subjects that the FHL has available either on the shelf or on microfilm/microfiche. Check the Land Records subject and review their holdings. Check the Probate Records subject and review their holdings.

* The FHLC has microfilms for many counties for land records indexes and the actual land records. Order the Grantee (one who buys or receives land) and Grantor (one who sells or gives land) indexes. Find your surnames, or family members, on these indexes and note the names of the grantors and grantees, plus the volume and page number of the records. Next, order the films for the specific volumes and find the land records for those persons you wrote down. This may be a fairly long process if your people were active in land transactions in that county over many years. Also, don't stop at the death year of your ancestors - many deeds were not recorded until years after a person passed away - even up to a hundred years!

* The FHLC has microfilms for many counties for probate record indexes and the actual probate records. Order the Index and find your surnames, or family members, on the indexes and note the volume and page number(s) of the records. Then, order the films for the specific volumes and find the probate records for those persons you wrote down. This too may be a fairly long process if your people had contentious estate dealings.

* Note that most land and probate records in the FHLC microfilms end in the early 1900s.

4) For land and probate records after those covered in the FHLC microfilms, you will have to contact the local courthouses and either go to those counties or hire a local person to search the records for you.

* Obtain information for your counties of interest by using the site - obtain courthouse and other repository location, their open hours, and access limitations to records.

* You might put queries on the Rootsweb and GenForum message boards for the counties asking about "how to access" land and probate records on site. Local researchers will probably know more about the procedures and records availability than the owners of the USGenWeb county sites (many of them do not reside in the county oi interest).

* For more recent land and probate records, your counties of interest may have online access to indexes for these records, and perhaps the records themselves. They may permit you to obtain them for a fee payable over the Internet.

As you might guess, searching in offline genealogy resources takes a bit more time and out-of-pocket cost than online searches, but until the Family History Library gets all of these records digitized and indexed, the above process is how it has been performed in the past, and will be for the foreseeable future. If you can wait ten to twenty years for FamilySearch Indexing to work its magic so you can find these records online, then sit back and wait!

Good luck with your searches! I hope that this article has been helpful to you and other readers. My own experience with land and probate records is that they are valuable records to define property holdings and family relationships. They are original sources with primary information at the time of the events. They are often significant records that help prove relationships, and they provide avenues for further research because of the names of relatives, friends, associates and neighbors that are included in the records.

UPDATED: 5 p.m. Edited this a bit for clarity.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - Austin's Mason Certificate

It's Treasure Chest Thursday, and I dug around in my photo archives and came up with a Mason's certificate for my great-grandfather's (Henry Austin Carringer).

The date on this says 4th day of August A.L. 5906. What does A.L. mean? I Googled a bit and found the ANNO LUCIS web site which indicates that A.L. = Anno Lucis (Year of Light), the current year plus 4,000 years, which approximates the Biblical account of the creation of the Earth.

So A.L. 5906 would be 1906.

It looks like Henry Austin Carringer didn't sign his certificate as he was supposed to do. I really don't know if he joined the group or not now.

I learned something today!

UPDATED 5 p.m.: Reader Jeanne asked if this certificate was in my family collection. Yes - it was, handed down over 100 years and found in one of the boxes that I received from my mother. I have not followed up on this lodge here in San Diego.

Reader Terri thought the certificate indicated that this lodge was giving him this certificate becuae he requested it, perhaps to join another lodge. As far as I know, from about 1895, Austin Carringer lived in San Diego until his death in 1946. Now,m he may have changed lodges to one closer to his home, or one that had friends from work or some other group.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Military Records on FREE from 27 May to 1 June

Gena Philibert Ortega sent this press release along:

------------------------ Invites Family Historians to Honor Their Veteran Ancestors by Researching Military Records

To help families discover their ancestors WorldVitalRecords provides free access to U.S. Military Databases

PROVO, UT, May 26, 2010–, an online family history resource, today announced free public access to all of its United States Military databases from May 27, 2010 through June 1, 2010 in honor of Memorial Day.

“Providing free access to our U.S. Military Records allows the public a chance to find their ancestors and remember their sacrifices,” said Gena Philibert Ortega, Genealogy Community Director for FamilyLink. “Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day and was a day to honor those who died in the Civil War. Since then it has become a day to honor all of our soldiers who have died during war time.”

Featured free U.S. Military records include:

o World War II Army Enlistment -- This collection includes the names of over 8 million people who enlisted in the army during World War II (1938-1946). Information in this database includes an enlistee’s birthdate and birthplace, marital status, education level, occupation and more. Researchers can use this information to order military records for their ancestor from the National Personnel Records Center.

o Air Force Register Extracts -- Over 1.65 million names of Air Force solider who were promoted to the rank of officers are listed in this database from the Uniform Officer Records published by the Department of the Air Force.

o Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps -- This database includes names and information about Navy and Marine officers from 1864 to 1973.

o Revolutionary War Collection -- This new collection of digitized books chronicles the names of the men who fought in the American Revolutionary War as well as the events. Nine states are represented in this collection: Rhode Island, New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

o Vietnam Memorial Index -- Dedicated in November 1982, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial honors members of the United States military who died in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War or were still categorized as missing in action (MIA) at the time the monument was built. Its black granite walls are engraved with nearly 60,000 names. The Vietnam Memorial Index pinpoints the panel and line numbers needed to locate a veteran’s name upon the walls of the shrine.

o U.S. Korean Causalities 1950-1957 -- This database contains selected descriptive data about U.S. military personnel who died by hostile means (i.e. battle deaths) as a result of combat duty in the Korean War. The data were usually extracted from Department of Defense Form 1300 (Report of Casualty) as well as from each of the four military services of the Department of Defense. The variables available from each casualty record may include: Name, Military Service Branch, File Reference Number, Service Number, Military Grade or Rank, Pay Grade, Date of Casualty, Service Component, Home of Record (place and state), Birth Date, Cause of Casualty, Aircraft Involvement(air/non-air casualty), Race and Citizenship.

o Service Records of Confederate Soldiers -- This index includes records from the Confederate government and the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. The records are card abstracts of original muster roles, returns, rosters, payrolls, appointment books, hospital registers, Union prison registers and rolls, parole rolls, inspection reports, etc. A given soldier may have multiple documents.

o World War II Reserve Corps Records -- Documenting the period 1938 – 1946, this series contains records of approximately nine million men and women who enlisted in the United States Army, including the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. In general, the records contain the serial number, name, state and county of residence, place of enlistment, date of enlistment, grade, Army branch, term of enlistment, longevity, nativity (place of birth), year of birth, race, education, civilian occupation, marital status, height and weight (before 1943) and military occupational specialty (1945 and later).

“All of these military records and more can be found at,” added Ortega. “What better way to honor our ancestors than taking some time to research those who have served in the military.”


This is a good thing for WorldVitalRecords to do. I encourage readers who do not subscribe to WorldVitalRecords to check out these databases during this period of free access.

Disclosure: I am a fully paid subscriber of and have not received any remuneration for providing this information.

NGS Members receive 3-month FREE subscription to

I just received this email from the National Genealogical Society (NGS):


Dear Member, we've got some great news!

As part of a special partnership between the National Genealogical Society and, all NGS members will receive a complementary three-month membership to ($20 retail value). You don't even need to enter your credit card, and the membership will not renew without your expressed permission. is a relatively new family history website, but they’ve already managed to compile over 1.2 billion records, online family tree tools, a community forum, and lots of other resources – all of which are available at no cost to you as part of your complimentary membership. Your membership includes unlimited viewing of millions of original census and vital records. However, some services and documents provided by other companies to such as contact information reports, on-site court record retrieval and Footnote images are not free. You can obtain this information on a fee per document basis. NGS has a number of new members who are just beginning family history research and this gives them an opportunity to search the indexes for free and become familiar with various record groups.

So, why would donate over $170,000 worth of membership resources to NGS and its members? Three primary reasons:

1. Give Back - Our mission at is to make family history simple and affordable. The National Genealogical Society and other non-profit groups provide valuable resources and information to the family history community, and we’re committed to supporting these efforts.

2. Get The Word Out - launched in July of 2009, and has quickly become one of the most frequently visited family history websites in the US. Despite that, many people still don't know about us!

3. We Need Your Feedback - It's VERY important to us!

The truth is, we're just getting started in building our product. We’ve added a lot of records and built some useful resources, but we’re most excited about the innovative tools and additional record collections we can add to help make family history simple and affordable. As you use our product, please give us your feedback - good or bad. The more specific, the better!

The main feedback is of course: "get more data" - and we're doing just that. Already this year, we've added over 300,000,000 records, including broad access to UK Census and Vital indexes and original images.

What do you want us to add next? What other changes would you like us to make? What do you like the most? The least?

We've set up a special feedback email just for you, and we're eagerly looking forward to hearing your thoughts and suggestions:

How to use your complimentary account:

Below is your username and password for your membership

(Note: Your email was not shared with, so you will need to update the email address in your account in order to get updates about the product, alerts when we find new records, etc.)

Username: [private info]

Password: ********
Login Page:

If you have trouble logging on to the, please contact

We look forward to helping you explore your family history!


Joe & Julie
Product Managers

With a very successful conference in Salt Lake City completed, NGS is pleased to be announcing the first of several new affiliate relationships this year that will provide additional benefits or discounts to NGS members. Archives' mission is to make family history records more accessible and affordable and NGS is excited to work with them towards this shared goal. We all benefit from the recent increased interest in family history and we hope this three-month complimentary membership will facilitate your research.

Jan Alpert, President
National Genealogical Society


This works - I signed in with my username and password and changed them to my own name, email address and password, and I was quickly logged in.

There is one correction to be made to the above email - a yearly subscription to is available for $39.95 retail, and a three months period would be $9.99 pro-rated, rather than a $20 value.

I reviewed about one month ago, and will review more of it in future posts now that I can use it freely.

This is an excellent promotional move by and gives NGS members access to a database provider free for three months.

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 104: Lyle Dressed Up

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 my grandfather, Lyle L. Carringer, taken in July 1896 (per the handwriting on the back of the card) at the Excelsior Studio in San Diego, California. Lyle is almost five years old in this photograph.

Last week, I was able to identify Lyle's suit that he wore for the photograph in 1894 as a Little Lord Fauntleroy suit. Does anyone know what this type of suit worn in the photograph above was called?

I just realized how much Lyle in this photograph looks like my grandson, Lucas. Lucas has long, curly hair and I've wondered where how he inherited the hair. Perhaps from his great-grandfather.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

NEHGS Building Collection of Digitized and Searchable Periodicals

One of the great sources of genealogy scholarship and information are genealogical periodicals and journals - those published by local, regional and national genealogical societies. Some of these periodicals and journals have been digitized and indexed, and are searchable for names, locations and events.

Perhaps the best collection of digitized and indexed genealogical journals resides on the New Engalnd Ancestors website (, published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) in Boston, Massachusetts. Note that this is a website that requires an NEHGS membership to access the databases, including the periodicals.

The digitized, indexed and searchable periodicals on this site include:

* New England Historical and Genealogical Register (1847-2009) -- Published quarterly since 1847, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register is the flagship journal of American genealogy and the oldest journal in the field. The Register has featured articles on a wide variety of topics since its inception, including vital records, church records, tax records, land and probate records, cemetery transcriptions, obituaries, and historical essays. Authoritative compiled genealogies have been the centerpiece of the Register for more than 150 years. Thousands of New England families have been treated in the pages of the journal and many more are referenced in incidental ways throughout. These articles may range from short pieces correcting errors in print or solving unusual problems to larger treatments that reveal family origins or present multiple generations of a family.

* New England Ancestors (2000-2005) -- A 64-page magazine published by NEHGS since 2000, New England Ancestors contains a wealth of information for family historians. New England Ancestors features a wide range of article topics and styles, and is designed to appeal to family historians of all levels. Topics include coverage of a particular region or group of people; case studies; descriptions of particular record sets; “how-to” articles; compelling historic accounts that illuminate the past; research strategies and methodology; and accounts of migration and immigrant groups. Over time, regular columns have included Jeremy Bangs’ “Pilgrim Life”; Diane Rapaport’s “Tales from the Courthouse”; David Lambert’s “Online Genealogist”; Rhonda McClure’s “Computer Genealogist”; and “Genetics and Genealogy,” as well as columns featuring Bible records, diaries, and other items from the NEHGS manuscript collection. The magazine’s “Family Focus” column features announcements of genealogies in progress, recently published books, family association news, and DNA studies in progress.

* American Ancestors Journal (2009) -- provides readers genealogical content of national scope, with an emphasis on New York State and out migrations from New England. This first issue is thirty-six pages, and future issues may be longer. The editors are Henry B. Hoff and Helen Schatvet Ullmann, who are also the editor and associate editor of the Register, respectively.

* The Essex Antiquarian (1897-1909)-- an "illustrated ... magazine devoted to the biography, genealogy, history, and antiquities of Essex County, Massachusetts," was published and edited by Sidney Perley between 1897 and 1909. The journal was published monthly from January 1897 to June 1901 and then quarterly from July 1901 to October 1909. Each yearly volume contains 200-220 pages consisting of genealogical articles and a variety of photographs, maps, illustrations, gravestone inscriptions, all pertaining to Essex County, Massachusetts.

* The American Genealogist (1933-1967) -- The American Genealogist (TAG) has been published quarterly since 1923, and represents an important body of scholarly research covering the breadth of the United States (with an early preference for New England). NEHGS is pleased to offer it as a fully searchable online database. The current TAG database covers volumes 9–43. Additional sets of five volumes are scheduled to be added periodically throughout 2009 and 2010. Volumes 1–8, covering the years 1923–1932, are already available online under the name “Families of Ancient New Haven.”

* Connecticut Nutmegger (1968-2008) -- The Connecticut Nutmegger has served as the “journal of record” for the Connecticut Society of Genealogists, Inc. (CSG) for forty years. During this time it has captured a wealth of information for genealogists. Vital records, probate records, bible records, headstone records, memorials and other useful records have been published and made readily accessible for genealogical research. Well-documented family histories and genealogical articles, covering hundreds of families – mainly with Connecticut ties - have been presented. Published articles include commentary on and corrections to previously published family lines, vital records and town histories. Book reviews, research tips, queries and other valuable tools for genealogists have been presented.

* New Netherland Connections (1996-2007) -- Begun in 1996 and continuing, New Netherland Connections is a genealogical quarterly that aims to help people trying to identify and document their New Netherland ancestors and their descendants. It focuses on the Dutch colonial period (1624-1664) In New York and New Jersey. Each issue has feature articles, replies to queries, items of Dutch colonial interest, and queries (of any length) and runs to about 28 pages.

* The Virginia Genealogist (1957-1996) -- Edited and published by John Fredrick Dorman from 1957 to 2006, The Virginia Genealogist has a reputation for quality research and genealogical information not available elsewhere. Topics include compiled genealogies, personal property tax lists (which serve as useful substitutes for non-existent census records), and other local record abstracts, including court orders, deeds, wills, marriage registers, and other county sources. Also included are a wide variety of transcriptions and abstracts of Bible, church, military, and mercantile records.

Several of these periodicals still have issues to digitize and index, but this is a really strong collection of very useful scholarly publications.

Of course, there are many more scholarly publications that are not digitized and indexed, although the published issues and cumulative indexes are available for many of them in genealogical libraries.

It would be helpful to have a cumulative list of genealogical periodicals that are digitized and indexed so that researchers could determine which societies they might want to visit or join to obtain records and information about their ancestral families.

Disclosure: I am a paying member of NEHGS (since 1991), and enjoy my membership immensely. I was not offered any remuneration to write this post.

Tombstone Tuesday -- Heck

It's Tombstone Tuesday, and I've run out of my own photographs of gravestones and markers, so I'm going through my collection of "different" gravestone photos collected over the years via email and web surfing.

Today it is the Heck stone. A nice looking stone with only the name "HGeck" and a beautiful "H" at the top of the stone.

I have no idea where this gravestone is, and don't know the names of the persons that it memorializes. My guess is that there are names on the other side of the stone.

A search for the surname "Heck" on shows 2,981 matches, of which three have no given names. There are no pictures for two of them so it's not possible to determine if they refer to the above stone.

Does anyone know where this stone is located, and the persons that it memorializes?

Note: I do not have this family or surname in my ancestry, to my knowledge.

Monday, May 24, 2010

"A Marrying Parson"

When I posted Treasure Chest Thursday - Auble/Kemp Marriage Record, I had no idea who Reverend C.P. Masden, the minister that married my great-grandparents, Charles and Georgia (Kemp) Auble, was, and I didn't really care much.

But the name of Rev. Masden showed up in Linda's Google Search notices and she commented on my post that she had an article about Reverend C.P. Masden's career as a "Gretna Green" parson. Linda kindly sent a copy of the article to me, and I've since found it online on the website (an excellent resource for any Wyoming ancestral families). The article appeared in the Wyoming Derrick newspaper in Casper, Wyoming on 24 November 1898:

The transcript of the article reads:


Rev. C.P. Masden of Milwaukee, Wisconsin

His Parsonage Is Near the Steamboats and Docks and He Gets All the "Trade" -- A Brilliant Career in the Ministry

Rev. C.P. Masden, who succeeded Rev. Mr. Hunsberger as the "marrying parson" of Milwaukee, is the pastor of the Grand Avenue M.E. Church and will be returned to his charge by the conference this fall. Rev. Masden fell heir to the office of the "marrying parson" all because of the proximity of the parsonage to the railway depots and steamboat landings to which loving couples go when they arrive in Wisconsin's Gretna Green. Mr. Masden accepts his work with equanimity, but always tries to be sure that the young people are qualified for marriage before tying the knot. In this way he has managed to steer clear of no end of trouble. The Grand Avenue church's pastor has had a brilliant career in the ministry, having begun preaching when he was a young man of 17. While still young he succeeded Dr. Talmage in Philadelphia, when the latter left that city for Brooklyn. Later Mr. Masden went to New York and was for many years pastor of the Madison Avenue M.E. Church. He then went to St. Louis to one of the largest churches there, putting in sixteen years of work in the two cities. He was for a time at Wheeling, W.Va. and then transferred to Colorado springs, but the high altitude of that region necessitated his leaving that climate. Since his coming to Milwaukee he has been very successful in his work and has made a name as a pulpit orator, in this respect taking the lead of all the clergymen of that denomination in the city. His return will be unanimously asked by his congregation and the request will without doubt be acceded to when the conference meets.

I wondered what became of Rev. Masden, so I Googled his name and came up dry. I checked the Stories and Publications and found one interesting article (there were others not as interesting!):

On 19 October 1898, the Oshkosh (WI) Daily Northwestern newspaper reported that "Rev. C.P. Masden of Milwaukee was calledo ut of bed at 1 a.m. to wed a Chicago couple who could not wait."

In the 1900 U.S. Census, the Charles P. Masden family resided at 145 Fifth Street in Milwaukee. The household included Charles P. (age 52, born Apr 1848 in DE, a minister), wife Laura (age 57, born Nov 1842 in MD, married 32 years, 6 children born and living), son Charles P. (age 26, born Aug 1873 in PA), daughter Laura (age 27, born May 1873 in PA), son Wilson (age 20, born June 1879 in PA) and daughter Ella (age 21, born Aug 1878 in PA).

In the 1910 U.S. Census, Chas. P. Masten (age 67, born DE, clergyman) and his wife Laura E. Masten (age 65, born MD) reside at 2033 Virginia Street in Berkeley, Alameda, California with their son-in-law Roland Harris and his wife Laura Harris.

In the 1920 U.S. Census, Charles Madsen (age 77, born DE, a retired clergyman) and wife Laura Madsen(age 81, born MD) resided at 5594 College Avenue in Oakland, Alameda, California.

In the 1930 U.S. Census, Charles P. Masden (age 87, widowed, born DE, no occupation) was a boarder on Jackson Street in Oakland, with DeWitt Masden (age 45, widowed, born NY, a salesman) listed just above him.

Laura E. Masden died 5 December 1928 at age 91 in Oakland, Alameda County, California, according to the California Death Index on

I could not find a death record for Charles Masden after 1940, and the 1930 to 1939 records are not freely available on
This was a fun exercise! Thank you to Linda for providing the news article about the "Marrying Parson."

Amanuensis Monday - the Will of Martha Seaver (1764-1832)

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

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."

My subject today is the will and probate records of Martha (Whitney) Seaver, daughter of Samuel and Abigail (Fletcher) Whitney, and the widow of Benjamin Seaver (1757-1816) of Westminster, Worcester County, Massachusetts.

Martha Seaver died testate on 2 September 1832, and her probate papers are in Worcester County Probate Records, Probate Packet 52,908.

The will of Martha Sever (Worcester County Probate Records 72.468, LDS Microfilm 0,856,339), was written 21 July 1832, was filed 7 September 1832 and proved 16 October 1832 (Worcester County Probate Records 72.469, LDS Microfilm 0,856,339). It reads:

"Be it remembered that I Martha Sever of Westminster in the County of Worcester & Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Widow, do on this twenty first day of July in the year of our Lord, One thousand eight hundred and thirty two, make and publish this my last Will and Testament, in manner and form following, viz:

"In the first place, I give to my Daughter Achsah Mosman, One Dollar.

"2ndly. I give to the Children of my Daughter Abigail Fairbank, deceased, One Dollar to be equally divided between them.

"3rdly. I give to the Children of my Son Benjamin Sever deceased the sum of One Dollar to be equally divided between them.

"4thly. I give to my Daughter Martha Leland One Dollar.

"5thly. I give to my Son Silas Sever One Dollar.

"6thly. I give to my son Isaac Sever One Dollar.

"The aforesaid legacies to be paid by my Executor within one year after my decease.

"7thly. I give to my Daughters Susannah & Mary J. Sever the use of the Westerly room in my House with the chamber over the same with a privilege to pass through the entry, also a privilege in the cellar, also to each of them one third of the Household Furniture that I may die seized and possessed of for their own use so long as they shall remain single, but they shall have no right to sale or let their right in the House to any other person, and if they shall out live my son Job Sever, then they shall have the whole of the Household Furniture, but if my son Job Sever shall out live them, or either of them, then he shall have their shares.

"8thly, I give to my son Job Sever all the rest, residue and remainder of all my estate both Real, Personal or seized.

"9thly, I do hereby appoint Edward Kendall Esqr of Westminster my sole Executor of this my Last Will and Testament.

"In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal, the day and year above written.
"Signed, sealed and published by the said Marthy Sever, declaring this to be her last Will and Testament, in presence of us, who at her request were called as Witnesses to the same, and in her presence did hereto subscribe our names."

"Merari Spaulding ................................. her
Sewall Barnes ............................ Martha x Sever S.S.
Nathan Howard ................................... mark"

The Widow's dower (both real and personal property), which she received at the death of Benjamin Seaver, was divided among the children. The real estate was appraised at $1,154. It was set off to Asah Mosman (who was to pay Isaac Seaver $5.11); Mary Jane Seaver (who was to pay Isaac Seaver $3.34); Susannah W. Seaver (who was to pay Isaac Seaver $3.34); Job W. Seaver (who was to pay Martha Leland $124.88 and the heirs of Jabez Fairbank $124.88); and Isaac Seaver (who was to pay the Heirs of Benjamin Seaver $124.88) on 4 January 1833. All payments were accepted by those noted (Worcester County Probate Records, 69.387, LDS Microfilm 0,856,338).

The inventory of her estate was taken by Merari Spaulding, Simeon Sanderson and Asa Bigelow on 18 September 1832. The inventory showed Real estate appraised at $750 (the homestead containing 12 and one half acres with the buildings), and Personal estate appraised at $743.24 (Worcester County Probate Records, 71.615, LDS Microfilm 0,856,339).

The administrator's account, dated 15 October 1833, and accepted the same day, shows that the legacies were paid to the children, the debts were paid, and Job Sever received the balance of the estate. Job Sever deposed that he was satisfied with the account (Worcester County Probate Records, 73.323, LDS Microfilm 0,856,340).

This will shows the complications that occur when a husband dies intestate, and the administrator parcels off land and personal property to his children, along with a 1/3 dower right to his wife that includes both real and personal property.

The widow, in this case, bequeaths her own personal property to her children as she desires, being careful to name each child. The real property given as her dower by her husband in his will was distributed to five of their children, and they paid money to the other heirs (I haven't figured out why $124.88 was such a magic number - there were nine children living or with heirs when Martha died). Job Seaver was the eldest son, but was unmarried. Daughter Susannah Seaver was also unmarried, and lived with Job on the homestead until their deaths.

I should have posted Benjamin Seaver's probate records first so that the chain of real and personal property was clear - oh well, next week!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

CVGS Program on 26 May - "Where in the World is Acadia?"

The 26 May 2010 program meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society (CVGS) will be at 12 noon at the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street in Chula Vista) in the Auditorium.

The program speaker will be CVGS member Bobbie Lane, who will present "Where in the World is Acadia?"

Bobbie (Titus) Lane began her family research in 2004 after she had retired and began to write her memoirs about growing up on a farm in Illinois. It was then she realized that she had very little information about her ancestral roots.In researching her paternal side of the Titus family, Bobbie discovered the location of her great-great grandparents’ graves. This information was incomplete and incorrect in her hometown, genealogy library, so Bobbie brought it to the attention of the president of the local Lake County (Illinois) Genealogical Society, of which she is a member. The president of the society invited Bobbie to write an article about her findings in the society’s quarterly newsletter, which she did for the fall issue of 2007. Bobbie has also been invited to donate a copy of her memoir, Growing Up On A Farm, to their library.She was a member of the recent San Diego German Research Group, at which she gave a presentation on her successes in researching her German ancestry. She is a current member of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society and the San Diego Genealogical Society.

Bobbie alternates most of her research time between her father’s German heritage and her maternal grandmother’s French Canadian lineage. She has ancestors, who came from France to the Quebec Province in the early 1600’s. That entitles her to apply for membership in the Society of the Daughters of the King and Soldiers of Carignan. Bobbie has a special place in her heart for her other French-Canadian ancestors, who lived in a place once called Acadia, which she visited in the fall of 2009.

She will discuss the history of Acadia, her ancestors in the area, and some of her resources.

All persons interested in genealogy and family history are invited to attend all CVGS programs, which are offered free of charge.

Please enter the auditorium through the Conference Room door so that you can register your attendance, pick up the program and the speaker's handout, buy an opportunity ticket, and have a snack.

For more information about this, and all other CVGS programs, please contact Barbara by email ( or telephone (619-477-4140).

Best of the Genea-Blogs - May 16-22, 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:

* Who owns the genealogy companies? Part Two and Part Three by James Tanner on the Genealogy's Star blog. James continues his series with analyses of FamilyLink (including WorldVitalRecords) and

* My Favorite Genealogy Websites, Free Geni Programs and Online Trees by Regina De Leon on the Kinfolk News blog. I love to read other bloggers lists of their favorite sites, and often find a new site from the lists. Thanks, Regina!

* Madness Monday - The Melting Pot by TexicanWife (Cyndi Beane Henry) on the Mountain Genealogist blog. Cyndi has definite opinions about online family trees, and some excellent examples and comments in this post.

* Primary v. Secondary v. Derivative Sources by Martin Hollick on The Slovak Yankee blog. Martin discusses the source terminology issue and thinks that citing a reliable printed (albeit derivative) source is "good enough" for almost all scholarly and heritage research.

* Even God Laughed by Donna Pointkouski on the What's Past is Prologue blog. Donna's Memory Monday post shows the human condition at its finest - thank you, Donna, for sharing!

* Our Trip to the N.S.C.A.R. National Convention by Elizabeth O'Neal on the Little Bytes of Life blog. Elizabeth provides a terrific photo essay of her daughter's trip to the NSCAR convention in Washington DC. Is there a cuter genea-blogger's daughter than Elizabeth's "kid?"

* Evidence Management in the Wild by the writer of The Ancestry Insider blog. Mr. AI analyzes the source features and citation templates for Ancestry, FamilySearch and Footnote.

* Religion and Genealogy by John Newmark on the TransylvanianDutch blog. John's thoughtful piece starts with a discussion of defenestration, and proceeds from there. Excellent! (You do know what defenestration means, don't you? :)

* Five Steps to Funding a Family History Book by Lynn Palermo on The Armchair Genealogist blog. Lynn has outstanding advice for family history writers about how to fund your book.

* Reflections and Goals by Elyse Doerflinger on Elyse's Genealogy Blog. Elyse's life circumstances have changed, and she provides a wonderful example of adapting her genealogy work to them.

* Why care about all this ‘social networking’ nonsense? by Elizabeth on the Genealogy Geek blog. Elizabeth has an excellent take on this subject!

* Ontario Genealogical Society Conference 2010 and Ontario Genealogical Society Conference, Part 2 by Ian Hadden on Ian Hadden's Family History blog. Ian shares his experiences at OGS with detailed notes about Lisa Cooke's and Maureen Taylor's presentations.

* Tricking a Database Into giving Me What I Want by Amy Crow on the Amy's Genealogy, etc. Blog. Pretty neat trick by Amy here - a fine example of not giving up when you think the record is in a database but you cannot find it.

* Follow Friday: Little Bytes of Life by Greta Koehl on Greta's Genealogy Bog blog. Greta highlights her favorite blog posts from the past week, plus her Follow Friday pick (a good one!).

* Weekly Genealogy Picks by John Newmark on the TransylvanianDutch blog. John highlights his favorite readings and finds of the week past.

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.