Saturday, June 5, 2010

Using Branches Genealogy Software - Post 4: Using the Help Function

This is the fourth post in the series about using genealogy software named Branches. Previous posts in the series include:

* The first post demonstrated navigating around a database uploaded from a GEDCOM file.

* The second post demonstrated adding an unrelated person to the database (similar to starting a brand new database).

* The third post demonstrated adding a spouse and parents to a person, but complained that adding children was way too difficult.

In this post, I am going to show the Help screen, and how to add a child to a family and then explore other "Family Options."

Some readers helped me out in comments to find the "Family Options" and the "Add source to Event" and other options - of course, if I'd read the Branches Help screen, I would have not embarrassed myself by whining about it when it was in plain sight.

The Help function is in the top menu row of the Branches screen. It appears to be full featured, typical of most genealogy software programs. Here is the Help Introduction screen:

If I had read the Help screen before Post 3, I would have known that any vertical line on the Branches Screen represented a Family. If you run your mouse over a vertical line, as I did in the screen below, a green message appears at the bottom of the screen that says "Cursor is over Family. click the right mouse button for options:"

When I right-clicked the green vertical line, the "FAMILY OPTIONS" dropdown menu opens:

The "FAMILY OPTIONS" menu includes:

* ADD children
* ADD Event to marriage
* DELETE Family
* REORDER Children
* LINK this family to an existing child
* PRINT reports

I clicked on "Add children" and entered the child's name and gender to the fields:

After clicking "Save and Exit," I saw that the child had been added to the family (see screen below).

At this point, I could go through the tasks of adding a birth event, a death event, a spouse and marriage data, etc. for the child. There appears to be no easy way to do these tasks quickly and easily - you have to click through the sequence. And you have to do this task sequence for every child you want to add to the family.

One of my other complaints was that there appeared to be no way to connect a source to an event, only to a person. I was wrong again. If you right-click on any Event (say a birth date and place) on the Branches Screen, you get an EVENT OPTIONS dropdown menu, as shown below:

The EVENT OPTIONS include:

* ADD Source citation to event
* ADD Multimedia to Event
* EDIT Event
* SHOW Event place on Google Maps
* DELETE Event

When I clicked on "ADD Source citation to Event" I received the same source menu fields that I showed in Post 2. I clicked on the "ADD Multimedia to event" and the Windows Explorer box opened to identify the multimedia item in my computer files, and then this "Add Multimedia Object" box opened for editing:

Lastly, I clicked on the "SHOW Event place in Google Maps" and my Internet browser opened and found the event location easily:

So some of my problems could have been easily solved if I'd just read the manual, er, Help function. I seem to learn by experimenting and doing, and then complaining without reading the manual. I need to change my ways!

The next post will deal with creating and printing reports. Then I'll be done with this series because my 30-day free trial has only two days left on it!

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Feeling Lucky?

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

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

1) Go to and enter a search term and click on the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button.

2) Try your name, your local society, favorite genealogy terms, whatever you want. Do at least three, and as many as you want if you have time. Be creative! Have fun!

3) What did you learn from this exercise?

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

Here's mine (search terms in brackets [ ]):

* [randy seaver] = (my website)

* [chula vista] = (city website)

* [chula vista genealogy] = (local society website)

* [chula vista cemetery] = (National City cemetery website, not in Chula Vista, but nearby)

* [genealogy] = (not unexpected)

* [geneology] = (huh?)

* [genealogy free] = (interesting)

* [free genealogy] = (interesting - word order makes a difference!)

* [genealogy fun] = (how disappointing!)

* [geneaholic] = (yes!)

* [professional genealogy] = (expected result)

* [genealogy software] =

* [lucky genealogist] =

* [sexy genealogist] =

* [genealogy success] =

* [genealogy failure] = (excellent article by Michael Hait!)

What did I learn?

* The more times you put your name, or key search terms, online, the better chances of having your site come up on the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button

* Word order in a search can make a difference

* I need to work more words like "success," "best," "fantastic," "sexy," "expert," and "learned" into my blog posts near the words "genealogy" or "genealogist," even if they don't refer to me!

Surname Saturday - WHITNEY (England > MA)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I'm up to number 65, who is Martha Whitney (1764-1832). This starts my listings of my 4th great-grandparents.

My ancestral line back through six generations of WHITNEYs is:

1. Randall J. Seaver

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

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

8. Frank W. Seaver (1852-1922)
9. Harriet Hildreth (1857-1920)

16. Isaac Seaver (1823-1901)
17. Lucretia Townsend Smith (1827-1884)

32. Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825)
33. Abigail Gates (1797-1867)

64. Benjamin Seaver, born 21 April 1757 in Sudbury, Middlesex County, MA, and died 24 June 1816 in Westminster, Worcester County, MA. He was the son of Norman Seaver and Sarah Read. He married 19 August 1783 in Leominster, Worcester County, MA.
65. Martha Whitney, born 18 September 1764 in Westminster, Worcester County, MA; died 02 September 1832 in Westminster, Worcester County, MA.

Children of Benjamin Seaver and Martha Whitney are: Achsah Whitney Seaver (1784-1865); Abigail Seaver (1786-1817); Job Seaver (1789-1869); Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825); Susannah Whitney Seaver (1794-1879); Martha Seaver (1797-1837); Silas Whitney Seaver (1799-????); Isaac Seaver (1802-1870); Rozilla Seaver (1806-1825); Mary Jane Seaver (1812-1892).

130. Samuel Whitney, born 23 May 1719 in Weston, Middlesex, MA; died 01 January 1782 in Westminster, Worcester, MA. He married 20 October 1741 in Weston, Middlesex, MA.
131. Abigail Fletcher, born 02 July 1720 in Concord, Middlesex, MA. She was the daughter of 262. John Fletcher and 263. Mary Goble.

Children of Samuel Whitney and Abigail Fletcher are: Abigail Whitney (1742-????); Mary Whitney (1744-????); Samuel Whitney (1746-1812); Abner Whitney (1748-1811); Achsah Whitney (1750-1772); Silas Whitney (1752-1798); Martha Whitney (1755-1755); Elisha Whitney (1757-????); Alpheus Whitney (1759-1821); Phinehas Whitney (1761-????); Hananiah Whitney (1762-1835); Martha Whitney (1764-1832); Susannah Whitney (1767-????).

260. William Whitney, born 06 May 1683 in Watertown, Middlesex, MA; died 24 June 1720 in Weston, Middlesex, MA. He married 17 May 1706 in Lexington, Middlesex, MA.
261. Martha Peirce, born 24 December 1681 in Watertown, Middlesex, MA; died 15 September 1759 in Weston, Middlesex, MA. She was the daughter of 522. Joseph Peirce and 523. Martha.

Children of William Whitney and Martha Peirce are: William Whitney (1707-1789); Judith Whitney (1708-????); Amity Whitney (1712-????); Martha Whitney (1716-????); Samuel Whitney (1719-1782).

520. Nathaniel Whitney, born 01 February 1646/47 in Watertown, Middlesex, MA; died 07 January 1732/33 in Weston, Middlesex, MA. He married 12 March 1673/74 in Watertown, Middlesex, MA.
521. Sarah Hagar, born 01 September 1651 in Watertown, Middlesex, MA; died 29 July 1722 in Weston, Middlesex, MA. She was the daughter of 1042. William Hagar and 1043. Mary Bemis.

Children of Nathaniel Whitney and Sarah Hagar are: Nathaniel Whitney (1676-1730); Sarah Whitney (1679-????); William Whitney (1683-1720); Samuel Whitney (1687-1753); Hannah Whitney (1689-????); Elizabeth Whitney (1692-????); Grace Whitney (1700-1720); Mercy Whitney (1700-????).

1040. John Whitney, born before 14 September 1621 in Isleworth, Middlesex, ENGLAND; died 12 October 1692 in Watertown, Middlesex, MA. He married 1642 in probably Boston, Suffolk, MA.
1041. Ruth Reynolds, born 1623 of Aylesford, Kent, ENGLAND; died before 1706 in Watertown, Middlesex, MA. She was the daughter of 2082. Robert Reynolds and 2083. Mary Pulleyne.

Children of John Whitney and Ruth Reynolds are: John Whitney (1643-1727); Ruth Whitney (1645-1718); Nathaniel Whitney (1647-1733); Samuel Whitney (1648-1731); Mary Whitney (1650-1693); Joseph Whitney (1652-1702); Sarah Whitney (1654-1720); Hannah Whitney (1658-????); Benjamin Whitney (1660-1736); Elizabeth Whitney (1656-1712).

2080. John Whitney, born 1592 in St. Margarets, Westminster, ENGLAND; died 01 June 1673 in Watertown, Middlesex, MA. He married before 1619 in ENGLAND.
2081. Elinor, born about 1599 in ENGLAND; died 11 May 1659 in Watertown, Middlesex, MA.

Children of John Whitney and Elinor are: Mary Whitney (1619-1627); John Whitney (1621-1692); Richard Whitney (1624-1719); Nathaniel Whitney (1627-1635); Thomas Whitney (1627-1719); Mary Whitney (1629-1635); Jonathan Whitney (1635-1703); Joshua Whitney (1635-1719); Caleb Whitney (1640-1640); Benjamin Whitney (1643-1723).

I know that there is recently published scholarly material about John Whitney's parentage, but I haven't entered the information into my database yet. The Whitney Research Group wiki has an excellent entry about John Whitney's English Parentage by Robert L. Ward.

If any readers are Whitney cousins, please let me know via a comment or email to Tell me yourl ine so we can determine our cousin number.

Friday, June 4, 2010

FamilySearch Beta Library Search - Works!

I whined one month ago, in FamilySearch Beta Library Search - FAIL, that the LDS Family History Library Catalog (FHLC) posted on the FamilySearch Beta site did not provide the book call number, or microfilm or microfiche numbers of the catalog items, and was therefore fairly useless, as then designed, to most researchers.

Dan Lawyer, of FamilySearch Labs, quickly responded, saying "The shortcomings you've identified are in the plan but just not finished yet."

I am very happy to report that the book call numbers and the microfilm and microfiche numbers are now listed in the Library Catalog on the FamilySearch Beta site. Let's walk through some of the screens to get there:

1) On the main FamilySearch Beta site (, there are links to Home, Learn, Library, Indexing and Blog in the top menu, and links to Historical Records, Trees, Library Catalog and All collections in the menu below "Discover Your Ancestors" in the screen below:

2) I clicked on "Library Catalog" and saw this search form:

In the form above, I chose "Last Name" from the dropdown list for "Search," and put "Seaver" in the search field.

3. The search results looked like this:

There were 423 matches for the search term. I didn't check all of them, but it looks like the matches cover alternate spellings, perhaps via a Soundex match and plurals. There is an "Exact match" box in the Search area if you want only exact matches.

There is a list of Topics, Languages and Availability on the left sidebar in the screen above, which shows how many matches are in each topic, language and availability (e.g., Digital Images, Family History Centers, Family History Library).

4. I clicked on the third item on the search match list above, and saw (two screens):

The entry for this particular resource includes information about the item, including the title, publication information, notes, subject, film notes and about this record. The Microfiche number of this resource is included.

5. What about place searches? I did a place search for "Jefferson, New York" and received 168 matches:

That was too many to search through screen-by-screen, so I clicked on the "Court, Land, Wills and Financial" category, which had only 24 entries.

5. One of those entries was of particular interest, the Estate papers, 1805-1945, so I clicked on it and saw (two screens):

This record was quite long, because there were 278 microfilm reels listed. Again, the microfilm numbers are listed, exactly the same as on the "classic" Family History Library Catalog entries.

6. I wanted to print out some of this record. When I went to File > Print Preview, I received 12 pages to print. The first page looked like this:

When I printed out this page, the print was very small (maybe font 6 or 8?) and relatively faint. This is a far cry from the text printout on the "classic" FHL Catalog page which is a larger font, darker print, and without spaces between entries. Many researchers print these out at home and take them to the FHC to order films, or take them to the FHL to find films in the drawers.

I really appreciate that the FHL Catalog on the FamilySearch Beta now provides the card catalog number and the microfilm/microfiche numbers for the entries. This makes the FHL Catalog on the FamilySearch Beta site almost as useful as the classic FHL Catalog site. Perhaps the printing issue will be addressed at some point in the future.

Live Genealogy Gems Podcast at SCGS Jamboree

There will be a live Genealogy Gems podcast at the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree on Saturday, 12 June at 1 p.m. in the Pavilion area, hosted by Lisa Louise Cooke (my favorite genea-podcast and genea-video maven).

Lisa has some great guests lined up:

* Maureen Taylor, the Photo Detective

* Suzanne Russo Adams, Ancestry talking about her research on Who Do You Think You Are?

* Chris Haley

Lisa put together a 2 minute video that she hopes will generate some excitement at

Lisa will be giving away lots of very cool prizes throughout the show too! (Watch the video to see the prizes!)

Thank you, Lisa, for this news! I'm going to be there, will you? I hope so. Let's fill the Pavilion and enjoy the show.

"The DNA Detective" article in MORE Magazine

Colleen Fitzpatrick is the subject of an excellent article in MORE Magazine by Lynn Rosellini titled "The DNA Detective." It is on five web pages. The top of the first page is shown below:

The lead to the article says:

"A former nuclear physicist, Colleen Fitzpatrick once designed equipment for NASA to send to Jupiter. Now she scours the earth for missing persons, dead or alive"

In this article, there are details of some of Colleen's research, especially the Frozen Arm saga. There are also highlights of Colleen's education and career as a scientist, and even some glimpses of her personal life (she feeds her bird M&Ms).

I really enjoyed this article, and encourage all of my readers to read it. And to visit and participate in her Forensic Genealogy mystery photo contest on a regular basis too.

Using Branches genealogy software - Post 3: Adding a Spouse and Parents

This is the third post in the series about using genealogy software named Branches. Previous posts in the series include:

* The first post demonstrated navigating around a database uploaded from a GEDCOM file.

* The second post demonstrated adding an unrelated person to the database (similar to starting a brand new database).

In this post, I am going to work through adding a spouse, children and parents to a person in the database.

In the last post, I added an unrelated person to the database, added birth and death information, and created a source citation for the 1930 census. From the family tree screen, I right-clicked on the person's name to obtain the "Individual Options" menu box, and selected "Add a Spouse:"

The "Add Spouse" menu box opened, and I added the spouse's name, the marriage date and marriage place:

Note that there is no capability to add a Source citation to this marriage event. I clicked on "Save and Exit" and was back to the main screen. Note that the spouse has been added to the screen below. Now I want to add parents for Herkimer Seaver, so I right-click on his name and select the "Add Parents" option:

The "Add Parents" menu box opened, and I added the names of Herkimer's parents and their marriage date and place:

Note that in the marriage place field that the type-ahead feature added the place name after I typed several letters.

I clicked on "Save and Exit" and was back to the main screen that showed Herkimer Seaver with his spouse and his parents:

At this point, I wanted to add children to the family of Johnson and Lucretia (Jones) Seaver - Herkimer's brothers and sisters. This was a large family of seven children. How can I add these other six children and their birth, death and marriage information?

I right-clicked on the name of Johnson Seaver and saw no way to accomplish this task in the "Individual Options" menu box. Surely there must be a way to add a child to a family, but Branches does not offer an easy method at this point in the program development. One work-around would be to:

* For each child, create an unrelated person (using a right-click on the white space background of the main screen) and his/her birth, death, spouse, marriage information.
* Then right-click on each new unrelated person's name and select "Link to a Person as a child to an existing family" from the "Individual Options" menu box.

I didn't do this because it is simply too complex a task. Other genealogy software programs have very easy and intuitive methods to add children and their birth and death information - all on one screen with easy navigation from child-to-child.

A similar task would be to connect Johnson Seaver, who in the entries above is not connected to a set of parents, to an existing set of parents in my large database. I right-clicked on the name of Johnson Seaver, and selected "Link to a Person as a child to an existing family" as shown below:

When I tried to do this, a little "stick-man" icon showed on the screen and nothing happened. After several minutes, I finally clicked on the "stick-man" icon and canceled the action.

I think that this is related to my computer RAM problem where my computer cannot load the large database into memory in order to use it. At one point, earlier, while using the large database, Branches was using over 350 megabytes of memory. That seems like a lot - even Family Tree Maker 2010 uses "only" 191 megabytes for this same database, and RootsMagic and Legacy Family Tree use much less RAM.

The last two posts have shown that Branches software has serious flaws that, if not fixed, will make it fairly useless for use by seasoned genealogists. These flaws include the complexity of adding vital records and other event data to a person, adding children to a family, and attaching source citations to a person instead of an event. In other software programs, these tasks are handled simply, quickly and intuitively. My opinion is that Branches can greatly improve these tasks by modifying their "Individual Options" menu items.

The large RAM usage is a problem for researchers like myself with a medium sized family tree database using an older Windows computer system with limited RAM. My guess is that the main screen zoom and navigation capabilities, which are the main differentiators between Branches and other genealogy software, is why there is so much RAM usage. A researcher with a small database may not have these problems.

In the next post, I will investigate the Report Options offered by Branches.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

May 2010 Issue of "Shades of the Departed" Magazine

Our geneablogging diva footnoteMaven has published the May 2010 issue of the wonderful online Shades of the Departed Magazine. You can access it here on the Shades of the Departed blog.

The Table of Contents includes:

page 3 - From My Keyboard; letter from the editor

page 4 - The Exchange; your comments

page 6 - Penelope Dreadful column; A Dreadful Scheme, by Denise Levenick

page 12 - Let's Use Our Family Photographs; Project ideas, by footnoteMaven

page 26 - in2Genealogy column; Discovering a Wildcatter, by Caroline Pointer

page 40 - Appealing Subject column; The Many Migrant Mothers of Dorothea Lange, by Craig Manson

page 54 - The Year Was... column; The Year Was 1919, by Sheri Fenley

page 62 - Saving Face column; A Rare Book is Not a Manuscript, by Rebecca Fenning

page 65 - Smile For The Camera; The Ties That Bind, by Terri Kallio

page 66 - The Future of Memories column; Grandpa's Letters, by Denise Olson

back cover - The Last Picture Show

I really enjoyed every article in this month's Shades magazine. What a work of scholarship, beauty and art.

I encourage all of my readers to read this magazine at your leisure (meaning, spend some time reading it - don't hurry through).

Thank you, footnoteMaven and columnists. Excellent work!

Using Branches Genealogy software - Post 2: Adding Unrelated Person

This is the second post in the series about using genealogy software named Branches. The first post demonstrated navigating around a database uploaded from a GEDCOM file.

In this post, I am going to work through adding an unrelated person to the database. This could demonstrate how to start a new database to Branches with the first person in the database.

Here is the screen with my 39,000 person database. To Add an Unrelated Person, the user clicks in the "White Space" between persons in the tree. A small box opens:

The options in the small box include:

* Return to Home Menu
* Events On
* Sources Off
* Add Individual
* Print Reports

I clicked on the "Add Individual" link and the "Add an Individual" box opened and I added the name of my person - "Herkimer Seaver" and his gender "M":

The options after adding the name are to:

* Save and Add Another
* Save and Exit
* Cancel

I chose to "Save and Exit" and was back to my screen with the big family tree. I want to add information to the person I added, but where can I find Herkimer Seaver? Ah, he's at the bottom of the list of the list of "loose persons" in the tree database. I clicked on the "Tree List" menu item (in the top menu on the screen) and scrolled down and there was Herkimer Seaver:

I clicked on Herkimer Seaver in thel ist above, and the screen split into two parts - with the large tree above and Herkimer Seaver all by himself in the bottom part. I closed the large tree and Herkimer Seaver's tree filled the screen:

I want to add Birth and Death and other Event information to Herkimer Seaver. I right-clicked on the name "Herkimer Seaver" and saw the "Individual Options" menu:

I chose the "Add Event for Individual" item on the list above, and chose "Birth" from the list of Events. I filled in the birth date and birth place for Herkimer Seaver. I chose the place name from the dropdown list that appeared once I started typing "Fitchburg, Worcester, MA" (which was in the place name index in the entire database):

I could have added a Note about the birth record, but I didn't. There is no observable place to enter a Source for this Event.

I did the same process to add a Death Event - date and place, as shown below:

Now I have a birth event and a death event for Herkimer Seaver. But I had to do a lot of clicking around to do it. It would be much easier for a user to open an "Edit Individual Data" box and be able to see some fixed Events like Birth, Baptism, Death and Burial, and the option to add additional Events from the list, all in one Individual Data box. That would ease the data input process.

Herkimer Seaver was in the 1930 US Census as a husband of Susan, so I added that Event also. I wanted to add a Source for the 1930 census, and clicked on the "Add a Source" in the "Individual Options" box. In the "Add Individual Source Citation" box, I chose the 1930 US Census master source from the existing sources (all from the entire database), and added the source citation details (the heading says "Film/Volume/Page Number") to the box in the upper left. I added the "Date Record was Made" and extracted the information about Herkimer Seaver in the "Actual Text" box. I didn't add a Comment or Repository to the available boxes. My previously entered data appeared in the grayed areas on the right - the Title, Author, Call Number, Publisher, etc. The screen below shows the filled in Source information:

Note that the Source Option buttons, in the screen above, are "New," "Edit," "Delete" and "Merge" sources. Those are self-explanatory. The "New" source form looksl ike the box above, but without the existing source list.

There appear to be no variations in this "Add Individual Source Citation" box - the box appears to be identical for each type of Event. And each Source is attached to the Individual and not to the Event. This is unlike most of the other modern genealogy programs, which connect sources to Events rather than Persons.

In the next post, I will add a Spouse and Parents for Herkimer Seaver, and try to connect his father to the larger family tree.

Treasure Chest Thursday - 50th Wedding Anniversary Article

It's Treasure Chest Thursday - time to find one of those "family history jewels" that illuminates the lives and times of our ancestors.

Today is a newspaper article from the San Diego Union newspaper dated 11 September 1937. The subject is the 50th Wedding anniversary of my great-grandparents, Henry Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer.


Page 2 has the headline:

" 'Germany Never Will be Conquered' Fuehrer Tells Nazis"

and the picture at the top of the page is headlined:

"True Vowers View Letters on Golden Wedding Day."

Below the picture, the caption says:

"Mr. and Mrs. Henry A. Carringer, who came to San Diego on their honeymoon 49 years and 11 months ago, are looking over letters at their mailbox. Today is their Golden Wedding anniversary."

There is a long column article to the right of the picture, which reads:

by Forrest Warren

Mr. and Mrs. Henry A. Carringer, 2115 Thirtieth st., are fine examples of True Vowers, who have worked together side by side for 50 years. Today they celebrate their Golden Wedding anniversary.

The romance of Mr. and Mrs. Carringer began, when they met in Boulder, Colo. She was Della Smith then and her home was in Concordia, Kan.

After three years of courtship, during which time they each proved up on claims in Cheyenne county, Kan., hey sold their holdings, were united in marriage, and came to San Diego one month later.

Mr. and Mrs. Carringer came to San Diego on their honeymoon and are just one month short of having been here 50 years. Mr. Carringer recalled yesterday that he had $20 in his pocket when they landed here.

39 years at One Address

"We have lived here on this corner 39 years," said Mrs. Carringer. "We built this house. On our lot we have planted and grown most every kind of fruit and vegetable that grows in California. Flowers have always been my hobby."

After his working hours as a cabinet maker, Mr. Carringer did all the finishing on their home and also built some of their beautiful furniture.

"My wife designed some of the furniture and many a time I worked while she held a lamp for me to see," said Mr. Carringer.

The tables and chairs in their home are made from several varieties of rare woods and are quite attractive in their design.

Mrs. Carringer's artistic ability is evidenced by her paintings. When asked if she had done any painting in the last few years she replied, "No, I have been too busy to paint." The Carringers have several apartments they rent and they spend most of their time looking after their property.

Still Busy at 84

Mr. Carringer, although near 85, showed a visitor his activity around the home by keeping busy with a wheelbarrow that was loaded with trimmings he had cut from trees.

Life as a skilled mechanic started at 64 for Mr. Carringer, when he took a job as airplane repair man at Rockwell field.

He saw the airplane develop from its primitive state to its present high efficiency. When he began work in the repair of airplanes, the wood propeller was used. On the piano in the Carringer home is a propeller, highly polished, that he made. It was used for experimental purposes. This propeller is more than eight feet long.

For ten years Mr. Carringer was foreman in the wood and fabric section of the plane repair shop at Rockwell field. After 15 years of service, and on his 79th birthday, Mr. Carringer was retired with high honors. The superintendent, E.G. Lupton, together with 114 employees, signed a letter of appreciation and presented him with a big, easy chair.

Have Neighborly Philosophy

"It's a nice chair, but up to now I've been too busy to use it much," said the veteran mechanic.

Their son, Lyle Carringer, "grew up" in the Marston store, being employed there when he was 14. He is in the business offices of the store. The son, with his wife and daughter, Betty, live at 2130 Fern st., which adjoins the Carringer home. Miss Betty is in her second year at State college.

When asked about their philosophy of life, Mrs. Carringer said: "We have worked hard as partners and tried always to be kind and helpful to others. After all, we are of the opinion that this is the best religion to make a happy and successful life.

Rode in Surrey to Street Car

When the Carringers began building their present home, the nearest street car was at Sixteenth and Broadway. They had an old horsedrawn surrey they used in transporting themselves and neighbors to the Broadway car. "Our old surrey would be crammed full of men, women and children," said Mrs. Carringer.

The collection of photographs, showing scenes around their home are interesting. Some of their old time neighbors who have lived in the Brooklyn Heights district will felicitate Mr. and Mrs. Carringer today.

The Carringers will hold a family dinner and will proudly wear their blue and gold True Vow Keeper buttons presented to them yesterday.

There are many items of family and historical interest in this article, and this is the only record I have about them. For instance, I did not know where they met, or when; I did not know that they had land in Cheyenne county, Kansas; I did not know how long Austin worked at Rockwell Field (which is now North Island Naval Air Station in Coronado), or when he retired; I didn't know about the horsedrawn surrey - that's a great story.

I sure wish that the family still had the eight-foot long propeller and some of the handmade furniture. My brother has the melodion (not mentioned above) and several of the Victorian style chairs. I would love to visit the family home again and see the inside of the rooms again (the last time I was there was probably about 1980 and I didn't pay attention to the details).

Fortunately, the index to the San Diego Union newspaper covers these years, and I was able to easily find this article on microfilm at the San Diego Public Library.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Using Branches Genealogy Software - Post 1: Navigating an Existing Tree

I finally got a chance to use the Branches genealogy software program tonight. After my first post - First Look at Branches - Genealogy Software - which ended in my 39,000 person GEDCOM (created from Family Tree Maker 16) unsuccessfully loading into the program, I received an email from Mike Miller stating that they had fixed some bugs relatred to imports from FTM, and he asked me to try it again. So I tried again tonight, and the file uploaded in about five minutes.

The Branches program download can be obtained at for a 30-day free trial. After 30 days, the program costs $39.95 retail. Has anyone else blogged about this software yet? [Reader Finn noted that Dick Eastman reviewed it in osme detail in Branches - A Major New Windows Genealogy Program.]

I have not read the Help screens or the FAQs for this program, so I'm going to explore it as a new user. I may consult the Help screens later.

In this post, I will discuss Navigation and investigate the Individual editing options.

The program took about 20 seconds to open my 39,000 person database, and opened to a screen with a list of 376 different unconnected "trees" in my database (I guess that's how many "loose ends" I have!). I clicked on the biggest one, and worked my way to myself in the tree and made myself the "Root Person."

Navigation in the tree is by holding down the left mouse button and moving the cursor. Zooming in and out is performed using the mouse wheel. This is very easy to perform and becomes natural very quickly.

As the "Root person," I show up on the screen on the left, with my ancestors to the right, and my descendants to the left of me, as shown below:

In the screen above, siblings of my ancestors show up to the left of the vertical line connecting parents. If a person has more than one spouse, then all spouses and their children show up on the screen. The screen above shows ten generations of ancestors.

I scrolled back to my great-grandfather, Frank Walton Seaver and zoomed in on him a bit - you can see the tree below, including the inset box which shows the portion of the tree outlined in green:

To add content to a person in the tree, you right mouse click the person's name. In the screen below, I clicked on Frank Walton Seaver and saw:

The "Individual Options" box has the following capabilities:

* Add Parents
* Add Spouse
* Add Event to individual
* Add Source citation to individual
* Add Note to individual
* Add Address to individual
* Add Multimedia item to individual
* Edit Individual
* DELETE Individual
* Unlink this person from parents
* Unlink this person from spouse
* Reorder Parents
* Reorder Spouses
* Reorder Events
* Merge Individuals
* Link this person as a child to an existing family
* Link this person as a spouse to an existing person
* Change this person to the permanent Root Person
* Change this person to a temporary Root Person with Descendants
* Change this person to a temporary Root Person without Descendants
* Print Records

That list looked fairly complete until I started doing some of the actions and trying to do others. Since I uploaded a GEDCOM file, the names, dates, places and events were all uploaded into the tree. I clicked on the "Edit Individual" link in the box above:

I fully expected that the box above would show me the Name, Birth date and location, and Death date and location, with source options, plus the notes for the person. It only showed the Name, Gender, Title and the Notes. The Notes can be edited in the box above (or in the "Add Notes" option), but there are no word processing capabilities - it's strictly plain text.

My problem is this: if I wanted to edit or delete the birth date or location (or death date or location) there is no means to do that. I don't believe that I can delete those items individually, but I could Add a new Event like a birth or death. My preference would be to Edit the Birth and Death information for a person in the Edit Individual screen.

I tested most of the available options and they worked. I have not tried to add a family to the database by hand yet, but will soon.

To Add an Event, I clicked on the "Add Event" link in the Individual Options box, and selected "Burial" from the long list of possible Events. I inserted the date, then clicked on the "Select" button which opened a dropdown menu for the place names. I selected Leominster, Worcester County, MA, as shown in the screen below and clicked "OK:"

That added a burial location as an Event to Frank Walton Seaver's list of Events.
[I know that I have those crazy green lines in the screen above, but just ignore them for now. We'll get to them in a later post.]

My initial impression is that the program works fairly quickly with my medium sized database with many "loose ends." The navigation is simple to understand and use, although much different from all of the other available genealogy software.

However, more work needs to be done with the "Edit Individual" information - namely to add the ability to edit the birth date, birth location, death date and death location.

I thought that perhaps the editing of birth and death information could be done by clicking on the "Add Event" and it would show the Event information, but it does not.

While trying to do all of the above, I managed to mess up the database somehow and now it will open to one of the one person trees in the database, even though it lists all 376 trees in the database. When I select the tree I want, it gives me an error message (System:OutOfMemoryException) - I show that BranchesCE.exe is using 209,948 K of memory and I have only 179,000 K available. I will have to open it again after I reboot tonight.

In the next post, I will try to add persons by hand and then try to connect that "loose tree" to the larger database. Wish me luck!

UPDATED 10 p.m. Added note and link to Dick Eastman's review.

What is the Best Place to leave "Cousin Bait?"

Greta Koehl used the term "Cousin Bait" last month in her post Online Trees about the purpose of posting online family tree data. At least, that was the first use of the term I've seen published - an excellent term! Her point was that putting a family tree online in a database or on a web page may help induce distant cousins, who share your ancestry, into contacting you and perhaps provide more information about the common ancestral families.

There has been an interesting thread the past two weeks on the Transitional Genealogists Forum mailing list titled Publishing Online: What Do You Do and Why?. Connie Sheets started the thread, and it has about 40 responses to date. Daniela Moneta did a study of Googling a name and location known to be on many websites, and found that:

"Using a simple search on Google, the method most people use, didn't come up with all of her sites and no WorldConnect. Using the simple search on Google, WeRelate came up as the first two hits, came up third, then, and then her freepages on I used as my test search 'Richard Taylor genealogy Yarmouth' (without quotes)."

Daniela also noted that while the "advanced search" features of Google can be used to refine searches, the average person using Google is probably unaware of those advanced search features. I think that's probably right.

I decided to try my own search results.

I have parts of my genealogy database on Ancestry Member Trees, the wiki, the MyHeritage site,,,,,, a users web page, an ancestral name list on the CVGS web page, some online message boards and mailing list posts, plus all of my blog posts (and probably several other online trees). I do not have a database on Rootsweb WorldConnect, but I will choose a person that is on WorldConnect (I checked!).

I chose to search for this string:

humphrey white genealogy glocester (no quotes)

The results show 28,400 matches, including in the top 10:

* #1, #2 and #3 are from Genea-Musings
* #4 is from a web page by Mary A. Sorenson
* #5 and #6 is for the Wing Family of America site
* #7 is from a web page by Randy Seaver
* #8 is a genealogy page from - not specifically Humphrey White
* #9 is a family list of Convicts to Australia - not specifically Humphrey White
* #10 is a name index created by PAF - not specifically Humphrey White

If I search for:

"humphrey white" genealogy glocester (with quotes)

The results show only 54 matches (only 19 shown), including in the top 20:

* #1 to 7 are the same as above
* #8 is my database from
* #9 is an repost of one of my Genea-Musings posts (hmm, this site reposts all of my Genea-Musings posts - polite request to be sent soon, nasty letter to follow?)
* #10 is from an text - not specifically Humphrey White
* #11 is a article about Glocester RI that excerpted some of my Humphrey White data
* #12 is a page on that is the specific Humphrey White
* #13 is another page from Mary A. Sorenson's web page
* #14 is a page on Martha Soule from
* #15 is Ancestors of Seaver from the Chula VFista Genealogical Society web page (my data)
* #16 is a page that captured some of my Humphrey White data
* #17 is a page for Arnold White that captured some of my Humphrey White data
* #18 is a page that captured some of my Humphrey White data
* #19 is from an text - not specifically Humphrey White

That's all - no WorldConnect data, and none of my other online databases, including (although I posted that only about three weeks ago).

What if I did a last name first search for:

"white humphrey" genealogy glocester (with quotes)

There were 6 results - and only one new site:

* #6 was a listing with the correct Humphrey White, but not quoting my site.

I could do another search for Humphrey White and his wife Sybil Kirby, as in:

"humphrey white" "sybil kirby" glocester (with quotes)

There were 56 matches (only 13 listed), including:

* #1 #2 and #3 were my Genea-Musings posts
* #4 and #5 were from the Wing Family In America pages
* #6 was the Mary A. Sorenson page on
* #7 was a page for a Humphrey White (all data private, not this one)
* #8 and #9 were two Rootsweb WorldConnect pages for the correct Humphrey and Sybil
* #10 was the page for Martha Soule
* #11 was the page for Arnold White
* #12 was the Ancestors of Seaver page on the CVGS site (my data)
* #13 was the page that captured some of my data.

In retrospect, I don't think that I have posted about this couple on the message boards or mailing lists. My experience is that message board and mailing list posts do show up on Google searches for names and places.

That's enough for now - here are my takeaways from this study:

* Putting specific family information (names, dates, places, etc) on blogs and web pages creates good "cousin bait"
* Putting specific family information in online family tree databases does not return many matches, and those matches are usually not near the top of the list
* Using quote marks about names really narrows the search well. As a researcher, I will spend some time searching 19 matches, but usually won't go past 40 or 50 matches.

Of course, people can search for specific persons in online family trees effectively - this study was only to see what the Google search engine would find. Your results may be different!

What lessons did you learn from this little study?

Have you done your own study like this? If so, please tell us about it!

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 105: Betty and her Dolly

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 photograph features my mother, Betty Virginia Carringer, as a young child - probably two or three years old, so it is 1921 or 1922. The setting is probably the berry patch on the south end of the block between 30th Street and Fern Street along Hawthorn Street in San Diego. Betty has her Mary Jane shoes on, and a big bow in her hair - perhaps this is Easter time or her birthday.

The doll looks brand new, I wonder if it was a popular type of doll in the early 1920s? I have no clue, but maybe some readers do! Help me out if you know what type of doll this is.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June/July 2010 Issue of Internet Genealogy Available

One of the genealogy magazines that I receive via an online subscription is Internet Genealogy, published by Moorshead, Magazines, Ltd. The June-July 2010 issue came today. Here is the Table of Contents for this issue:

page 6 -- NET NOTES

page 8 -- 130 BEST GENEALOGY WEBSITES! Internet Genealogy’s authors tell us their favorite family history websites!

page 24 -- GENEALOGY SOCIETY ANNOUNCEMENTS. A collection of upcoming genealogy-related events that may be of interest

page 26 -- GOING BACK TO HER ROOTS: ELEANOR ROBERTSON SMITH. Elizabeth Lapointe has a chat with one of Canada’s leading genealogists

page 28 -- CIVIL WAR UNIT HISTORIES. According to David A. Norris, don’t just rely on
your ancestors’ Civil War records

page 33 -- BROWSING FOR CLUES . As Marianne Booms Szabo discovered, sometimes
you need to browse, not just search

page 34 -- FAMILY TREE BUILDER 4: A REVIEW . Tony Bandy looks at the newest version of a comprehensive genealogy program

page 39 -- “BURYED IN WOOLLEN” . David A. Norris looks at the impact two acts of
Parliament had on burial records

page 40 -- CONSULAR POST RECORDS AND YOUR GENEALOGY . Melody Amsel-Arieli looks at a unique and unusual source of genealogy information

page 43 -- MORE THAN JUST THE CENSUS: FIND MY PAST . Diane L. Richard gets the inside scoop on the popular UK research site

page 46 -- CITY LIFE: EUROPEAN CHURCH INDEXES. Smiljka Kitanovic looks at parish indexes for your ancestral city

page 49 -- LONG DISTANCE RESEARCH: GENLIGHTEN . Diane L. Richard examines a new online lookup service

page 52 -- AHOY! THE AMERICAN MERCHANT MARINE AT WAR WEBSITE . Tony Bandy chronicles an informative online resource

page 54 -- GOING COLONIAL ONLINE . Tony Bandy looks at the virtual world of Colonial

One of the reasons I post these Tables of Contents is so that I can collect them into a computer file and then can search them for specific subjects. I also print out a number of articles and file them by subjects. Sometimes, I take them to my CVGS Research Group as examples of articles that can help other researchers. In this issue, the 130 Best Genealogy Websites is one I've printed out to save and share.

I also renewed for another year at a bargain rate of $19.95.

Disclosure: I was not remunerated in any way for writing this post. I subscribe to Internet Genealogy magazine and have for several years now.

Daniel Horowitz is coming to town

Our genea-blogging colleague and friend, Daniel Horowitz, who is the Genealogy and Translation Manager of is coming to the West Coast for most of the months of June and July. He is speaking at a number of genealogy societies, but would like more "dates" if he can arrange them. Does your society need a speaker for these months? Here is his schedule and contact information (please contact him directly, not through this blog):


My last trip to the US was really exhausting: 16 days, 12 lectures, 9 planes, 5 cities and a lot of very nice people ( - but I would gladly do it again.

In fact, I AM doing it again and I'm ready to start on June 08. This time I will stay longer and will visit more cities:

* June 08: Antelope Valley Genealogical Society, CA.
How to Preserve Memories in a Digital Era

* June 11 - 13: Southern California Genealogy Jamboree, Burbank, CA.
MyHeritage Genealogy Super Search Engine
Family Tree Builder
Face Recognition and Photo Tagging for Genealogy Research

* June 17: Napa Valley Biographical & Genealogical Society, CA.
MyHeritage Genealogy Super Search Engine

* June 19: Computer Genealogical Society San Diego, CA.
MyHeritage SmartMatching Technology - Find relative without searching

* June 20: Jewish Genealogy Society San Diego, CA.
Face Recognition and Photo Tagging for Genealogy Research

* June 27: Jewish Genealogy Society Conejo Valley & Ventura, CA.
Genealogical Resources in Latin America
MyHeritage Genealogy SuperSearch Engine

* July 01: Jewish Genealogy Society of Oregon, Portland, OR.
Lecture TBA

July 04 - 07: Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) Convention, Seattle,WA.
Technology and Museums - A success story to retrieve information

* July 08: Eastside Genealogical Society, Seattle, WA.
Face Recognition and Photo Tagging for Genealogy Research

* July 11 - 16: 30th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, Los Angeles, CA.
Technology and Museums - A success story to retrieve information
How to make your database searchable
MyHeritage Genealogy Super Search Engine
How we share and preserve memories on a digital era

* July 16: San Fernando Valley Genealogical Society, CA.
Planting a Family Tree on-line with

* July 17: Santa Barbara Genealogical Society, CA.
Face Recognition and Photo Tagging for Genealogy Research

Come to the closest venue, learn the latest technology developments in genealogy and receive a FREE copy of the software "Family Tree Builder"

You can still contact me to schedule a lecture for your group at I will really appreciate if you can help me promote these series of lectures by posting something in your blog or print a copy of the schedule (you can download it from and place it at your society, library, or any other place you can think. You never know who can be interested.


Daniel has several excellent talks in the list above, what would your local society members like to hear?

Monday, May 31, 2010

Amanuensis Monday - the Probate of Benjamin Seaver's (1757-1816) Estate

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 probate records of Benjamin Seaver (1757-1816) of Westminster, worcester County, Massachusetts. He married Martha Whitney (1764-1832), daughter of Samuel and Abigail (Fletcher) Whitney. The paragraphs below are narratives, not transcriptions, based on extractions from the Probate Packet for Benjamin Seaver.

The estate of Benjamin Seaver is in Worcester County Probate Records, Probate Packet 52,865. His widow, Martha, was appointed administratrix on 16 July 1816 (Worcester County (MA) Probate Records, 202.253, LDS Microfilm 0,860,638). Bond for $1,000 was granted to William Penniman and Merari Spaulding, sureties on the same date (Worcester County (MA) Probate Records, 172:259, LDS Microfilm 0,860,624). A warrant of appraisal was also provided on that date (Worcester County Probate Records, 622.524).

On 1 October 1816, the inventory was appraised to be Real estate $4,626, and personal property of $1,082.78 (Worcester County (MA) Probate Records, 47:197, entry for Benjamin Seaver, FHL Microfilm 0,856,326). The inventory of the real estate included:

* the Home farm of 194 acres 38 rods ................ $ 2,321
* the Stearns farm of 86 acres and 75 rods .......... $ 1,515
* the Willington pasture of 63 acres 22 rods ......... $ 660
* the Hubbardston lot of 26 acres and 56 rods ...... $ 100
* the Pew in meeting house .................................... $ 30

A petition for partition of the estate was received on 9 April 1817. A warrant was issued to William Penniman, Merari Spaulding and Horatio G. Buttrick, who filed their report, which was allowed on May 22, 1817 (Worcester County (MA) Probate Records 48:493, entry for Benjamin Seaver, FHL Microfilm 0,856,327). The real estate was apprised at $4,560, and partitioned 1/3 to the widow ($1,520), and 1/10 shares to each child ($304) of the remaining 2/3, divided as follows:

* Widow Martha Sever received 72 acres of the Stearns lot, 26 acres of the Willington pasture, plus portions of the home lot for her use for a year, and the meeting house pew.

* Eldest son Job Sever received the remaining 13 acres of the Stearns farm, the Hubbardston lot, and he paying to his sisters Achsah Mosman $15 and Susannah Seaver $40.

* Son Benjamin Sever and daughter Abigail Fairbanks received 51 acres and 132 rods of the home farm, and equally paying the minor children $28 each.

* Daughter Achsah Mosman received 38 acres of the home farm plus $15 from Job Sever.

* Daughter Susannah Sever received 34 acres and 134 rods of the Willington pasture plus $40 from Job Sever.

* Minor children Martha, Silas, Isaac, Rozilla and Mary Jane Sever received 104 acres of the home farm with all the buildings thereon, and to receive from brother Benjamin Seaver and Jabez Fairbank $14 each.

The partition was agreed to and signed by Martha Seaver, Job Seaver, Benjamin Seaver, Achsah Mosman, Jabez Fairbank, Susanna Sever and Heman Ray (as guardian of Martha, Silas, Isaac, Rozilla and Mary Jane Sever) (Worcester County (MA) Probate Records, 48:493, FHL Microfilm 0,856,327).

Martha Seaver filed her account on 2 December 1817 with a balance of $43.26, which was allowed and awarded to her on 6 January 1818 (Worcester County (MA) Probate Records, 49:265, FHL Microfilm 0,856,327).

Heman Ray of Westminster was appointed guardian of children Martha, Silas, Isaac, Rozilla, and Mary Jane Sever. Heman Ray sold at auction the land in Westminster which was the minor children's portion to be used to secure the children for their benefit. Ethan Sever of Gardner was the highest bidder, but he refused to take the deed and give security. Heman Ray bargained with Benjamin Seaver, brother of the children, who agreed to buy the land for $1,480 on 14 January 1818 (Worcester County (MA) Deeds 246:50, recorded 5 July 1825, FHL Microfilm 0,845,760). A similar bargain was struck for $32 for the one and a half acre parcel purchased by Benjamin Seaver from Josiah Kendall, with Samuel Whitney being the highest bidder and refusing to take the deed and give security, dated 14 January 1818 (Worcester County (MA) Deeds 246:48, recorded 5 July 1825, FHL Microfilm 0,845,760).

There are several interesting items in this probate packet. First, you can see that the widow was allotted her one third of the real estate but had a portion of the "home lot" for her own use for only one year. Since the minor children received a significant portion of the home lot, my assumption is that Martha continued to reside there with her son Benjamin Seaver and his family and all of the minor children.

Second, the distribution included a series of money transactions in order to make the distribution to each child equal.

Third, Heman Ray, as guardian of the minor children, sold at auction their portion of the home lot to Ethan Sever, who refused to take the deed or give security. I'm confused by this. I think it may be a transaction with a person not part of the probate process (but a brother to the deceased Benjamin Seaver, and an uncle of the children) so as to establish a value of the property on the open market. Heman Ray then bargained with son Benjamin Seaver to purchase the minor children's portion of the home lot. The same thing happened with the small lot purchased from Josiah Kendall (which was not in the real estate inventory list) - the Samuel Whitney was probably a nephew of widow Martha (Whitney) Seaver.

When analyzing a probate packet such as this, with several land parcels being divided up, it is helpful to have the land records available. The genealogist cannot completely understand the probate records without also having the land records available in summary form. I have many land records for Benjamin Seaver and his children, but there are still some "missing" records - such as what happened to the portions of the Benjamin Seaver home lot that was distributed to Abigail (Seaver) Fairbank and Achsah (Seaver) Mosman? They may have retained their interest in the home lot, and perhaps lived there.

Read Amanuensis Monday - the Will of Martha Seaver (1764-1832) to see what happened to the widow's portion of the estate.