Saturday, June 12, 2010

My Saturday at SCGS Jamboree

I had many good intentions to not schmooze as much and to be a good genealogy student and attend every session! 4 out of 7...but they were a good four, and I had fun the rest of the day.

Hurried down at 7:45 a.m. for breakfast in the bloggers lounge, then hustled to Michael John Neill's talk at 8:30 a.m. about tracking migrants in different records and with some unique methods. Michael's specific case was migration from New Jersey to Ohio, but he used several other examples too. The best tip I got was to find migrants from one area to another by putting birth place (county/state) and death place (county/state) to find people who may have migrated together. Michael used Rootsweb WorldConnect for his main example, but Ancestry Member Trees could be used too.

Then it was off to the Blogger Summit I which started at 10 a.m. I was on the panel with Thomas MacEntee as moderator, Steve Danko, Elyse Doerflinger, and Miriam Midkiff. We talked for an hour about the whys and wherefores and how-tos of blogging, but it seemed like 20 minutes. The room was packed (maybe 130 to 140?), and there were probably 35 to 40 bloggers in attendance. I tweeted throughout from up on the dais (as did Miriam), and there were another 10 or so tweeters keying furiously. We took a picture afterwards with 25 genea-bloggers smiling and laughing.

I rushed over to the lunch area and got a hot dog and some cookies for lunch, then hustled back to get a seat in the back rows where I could run my laptop power cord to the wall. The Blogger Summit II featured Thomas MacEntee as moderator, Craig Manson, Schelly Dardashti, Lisa Louise Cooke and Kathryn Doyle. They discussed other aspects of blogging. I tweeted more furiously during this session since I wasn't on the panel.

Then it was off to the Pavilion to watch the live Genealogy Gems podcast hosted by Lisa Louise Cooke, with special guests Suzanne Russo Adams of, Maureen Taylor, the Photo Detective, and Chris Haley who was the banquet speaker the night before. I tweeted this right up until the end when the hotel wireless died for awhile.

I went back to the bloggers lounge, and hooked up the laptop to read my email and blogs. As bloggers came by, we took many pictures which are already on Miriam Midkiff's Facebook albums. I finally went into the Exhibit Hall later and met Michael John Neill, and talked to several other genea-bloggers and exhibitors. I missed Jean Hibben's concert from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. somehow - but many of my colleagues didn't. I'm sorry we missed it.

Linda and I had dinner at the hotel restaurant. Just after we ordered, Cheryl and Becky walked in and they joined us for a fun dinner - lots of talk about family, trips and genealogy bloggers. Then it was up to the room to get the laptop and put Linda to bed, and then down to the blogger lounge to write my SNGF post and see Facebook pictures. Finally, I wrote this post while about 15 folks talked loudly in the background with much laughter. Elyse is pretty loud and really fun - Thomas gave her an Easily Excited badge ribbon for good reason!

Geneabloggers met today include (adding to my list from last night):

Elyse Doerflinger
Katherine Borges
John D. Reid
Jo Arnspiger
Donna Peterson
Liz Morgan
Denise Levenick, Michael John Neill
Adam Hansen
Dean Richardson

I know that I met several more today, but can't remember right now!

Just a reminder - there will be no Best of the Genea-Blogs on Sunday from me this week.

SNGF - My Three Things

In Saturday Night Genealogy Fun tonight, the mission was to:

1) Tell us about Three Things that you learned today about genealogy research in general, or from your own ancestral research.

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

Here's mine:

1) Michael John Neill had a wonderful idea in his talk on finding migration paths - he said to use Rootsweb WorldConnect or a census to identify groups of migrants from one place to another. In his example, he used Hunterdon county NJ and Hancock County IL to identify possible cohorts of his family members. The same thing can be done for states in Germany to a county in the US, perhaps with an immigration date (with some range). This was done with no names and no birth or death dates, just places.

2) I sat with Katherine Borges in the bloggers lounge at SCGS this morning and she showed me quite a bit about autosomal DNA and some of the test results that she has found with her distant cousins.

3) I saw some highlights from Maureen Taylor's new book, The Last Muster, about pictures of Revolutionary War veterans and their families. She said she is working on a second book, and has 35 photographs already. She wants more, and if you have one to contact her.

Those are my three - it will be interesting to see what other geneabloggers learned at Jamboree or in their own research today.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Three Things

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

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

1) Tell us about Three Things that you learned today about genealogy research in general, or from your own ancestral research.

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

I will write mine after Saturday's events at the SCGS Jamboree. I'm going to try to capture three main points from each session I attend at the Jamboree and will share them with my readers.

Surname Saturday - KNOWLTON (England > MA)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I'm up to number 67, who is Abigail Knowlton (1774-1855), one of my 4th-great-grandparents.

My ancestral line back through nine generations of KNOWLTONs 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)

66. Nathan Gates, born 23 February 1767 in Stow, Middlesex County, MA, and died April 1830 in Gardner, Worcester, MA. He was the son of Simon Gates and Susannah Reed. He married 17 June 1790 in Westminster, Worcester County, MA.
67. Abigail Knowlton, born 21 January 1774 in Lincoln, Middlesex County, MA; died 28 January 1855 in Gardner, Worcester County, MA.

Children of Nathan Gates and Abigail Knowlton: Nathan Gates (1791-1865); Jeremiah Gates (1792-1801); Abel Gates (1793-1870); Asaph Gates (1794-1859); Luke Gates (1796-1796); Abigail Gates (1797-1867); Luther Gates (1797-1847); Amos Gates (1799-????); Susannah Gates (1801-????); infant Gates (1803-1803); Lucinda Gates (1805-????); Clarissa Gates (1806-1868); Jeremiah Knowlton Gates (1808-1845); James Eliot Gates (1810-????); Benjamin Adderson Gates (1813-????).

134. Jeremiah Knowlton, born 03 March 1744/45 in Concord, Middlesex, MA. He married 04 April 1771 in Waltham, Middlesex, MA.
135. Abigail Peirce, born 12 April 1750 in Waltham, Middlesex, MA; died 02 February 1776 in Lincoln, Middlesex, MA. She was the daughter of 270. Samuel Peirce and 271. Abigail Stearns.

Children of Jeremiah Knowlton and Abigail Peirce are: Lydia Knowlton (1771-????); Abigail Knowlton (1774-1855).

268. Jeremiah Knowlton, born before 02 August 1713 in Ipswich, Essex, MA; died 1752 in Concord, Middlesex, MA. He married 24 July 1735 in Sudbury, Middlesex, MA.
269. Sarah Allen, born 04 May 1717 in Sudbury, Middlesex County, MA; died 10 May 1796 in Concord, Middlesex County, MA. She was the daughter of 538. Thomas Allen and 539. Sarah Grande.

Children of Jeremiah Knowlton and Sarah Allen are: John Knowlton (1736-????); Abigail Knowlton (1739-????); Nathaniel Knowlton (1741-????); Benjamin Knowlton (1743-????); Jeremiah Knowlton (1745-????)

536. Nathaniel Knowlton, born 03 May 1683 in Ipswich, Essex, MA; died Aft. February 1760 in Ipswich, Essex, MA. He married 21 April 1703 in Ipswich, Essex, MA.
537. Mary Bennett, born 03 March 1685/86 in Ipswich, Essex County, MA; died About 1717 in Ipswich, Essex County, MA. She was the daughter of 1074. Henry Bennett and 1075. Frances Barr.

Children of Nathaniel Knowlton and Mary Bennett are: Mary Knowlton (1704-1797); William Knowlton (1706-1753); Nathaniel Knowlton (1708-1753); Jeremiah Knowlton (1712-1713);
Jeremiah Knowlton (1713-1752).

1072. Nathaniel Knowlton, born 29 January 1657/58 in Ipswich, Essex, MA; died 18 September 1726 in Ipswich, Essex, MA. He married 03 May 1682 in Ipswich, Essex, MA.
1073. Deborah Jewett, born 03 December 1664 in Rowley, Essex, MA; died 25 April 1743 in Ipswich, Essex, MA. She was the daughter of 2146. Abraham Jewett and 2147. Ann Allen.

Children of Nathaniel Knowlton and Deborah Jewett are: Nathaniel Knowlton (1683-1760); John Knowlton (1685-1760); Joseph Knowlton (1687-????); Thomas Knowlton (1692-1718); Abraham Knowlton (1699-1751); Elizabeth Knowlton (1702-1776); David Knowlton (1707-1737).

2144. John Knowlton, born 1633 in probably Kent, ENGLAND; died 08 October 1684 in Wenham, Essex County, MA. He married about 1656 in probable Ipswich, Essex, MA.
2145. Deborah Grant, born 1637 in Ipswich, Essex, MA; died after 10 September 1666 in Ipswich, Essex, MA.

Children of John Knowlton and Deborah Grant are: John Knowlton (1656-1719); Nathaniel Knowlton (1658-1726); Elizabewth Knowlton (1660-1738); Thomas Knowlton (1662-1749); Abraham Knowlton (1664-????); Catherine Knowlton (1668-????)

4288. John Knowlton, born about 1610 in Kent, ENGLAND; died before 28 March 1654 in Ipswich, Essex County, MA. He married about 1629 in probably Kent, ENGLAND.
4289. Marjery, born in ENGLAND; died before 28 March 1654 in Ipswich, Essex County, MA.

Children of John Knowlton and Marjery are: John Knowlton (1633-1684); Abraham Knowlton (1635-1688); Elizabeth Knowlton (1639-1681)

8576. William Knowlton, born 1584 in Canterbury, Kent, ENGLAND; died about 1639 in at sea, or in Nova Scotia. He married before 1610 in ENGLAND.
8577. Ann Elizabeth Smith, born in ENGLAND; died 08 October 1675 in Hingham, Plymouth County, MA.

Children of William Knowlton and Ann Smith are: John Knowlton (1610-1654); Samuel Knowlton (1612-1655); Robert Knowlton (1613-????); William Knowlton (1615-1655); Mary Knowlton (1617-????); Thomas Knowlton (1622-1692); Susanna Knowlton (1624-????)

17152. Richard Knowlton, born 1553 in Kent, ENGLAND. He married 17 July 1577 in St. Dunstan's, Canterbury, Kent, ENGLAND.
17153. Elizabeth Cantize, born before 17 April 1550 in Birchington, Isle of Thanet, Kent, ENGLAND. She was the daughter of Valentine Cantize and Johana Holton.

Children of Richard Knowlton and Elizabeth Cantize are: George Knowlton (1578-????); Stephen Knowlton (1580-????); Thomas Knowlton (1582-????); William Knowlton (1584-1639).

Are there any Knowlton cousin readers that have myl ine, or connect to my line? Please tell me in Comments!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Day 1 at SCGS Jamboree

The "educational" part of the SCGS Genealogy Jamboree started at 1:30 p.m. with the first round of presentations - there were 8 choices in each time slot, and there were three time slots today.

At the 1:30 p.m. slot, I chose to hear Megan Smolenyak present "Cases That Really Made My Brain Hurt." I completely understand why she named her talk - these were seemingly difficult cases that most researchers would not attempt. They included finding next of kin for an mtDNA test of a soldier killed in Korea in 1950; trying to find NBC-TV's Hoda Kotb's ancestry in Egypt; finding the owner of a photograph left in a car in a junkyard in Albuquerque. tracing Barack Obama's Irish roots; trying to find if there were any persons alive in the 21st century who met someone alive in the 18th century. Amazingly, she solved all of these through skill, guile and some luck.

I walked through the exhibit hall, and talked to several exhibitors about their offerings. Then it was to the bloggers lounge where I talked with IMiriam, Becky and several others. We talked so much that I missed the next round of presentations at 3 p.m. Went up to the room and got my business cards and address labels to start entering the contests and giveaways in the exhibit hall. Went back to the blgogers lounge, but was determined to attend a 4:30 p.m. presentation.

It was a difficult choice, but I went to hear Lisa Louise Cooke present "Google Earth for Genealogists." Lisa is an enthusiastic presenter, and very knowledgeable about all things Google. There were oohs and aahs in the crowd as she demonstrated using Google Earth to find address locations on historical maps, to find BLM patent land on current maps (using, and to create your own historical maps. Since this was a substitute presentation, Lisa's syllabus material was not in the syllabus book, so has it posted at

Linda joined me, and we walked through the convention center reception area and then the exhibit hall. The ProGen folks at the Jamboree met at 6 p.m. for a group picture, and then about 15 of us (mostly geneabloggers) walked across the street to the Greek food place, and found Dick Eastman already there. We had a good time sharing our genealogy and life experiences!

After I post this, I'm going to go down to the blogger lounge and see if anybody is still awake.

I'm going to keep a running account of geneabloggers that I've met so far each night (if I can remember them all). If I met you today, but don't have you on my list, please let me know (I have to rely on my memory here!) in no particular order:

Thomas MacEntee
Amy Coffin
AC Ivory
Holly Hansen
Becky Wiseman

Craig Manson
Gini Webb
Cheryl Palmer
Kathryn Doyle

Gwynn Socolich
Gena Ortega
Shelly Dardashti
Jean Hibben
Madaleine Laird

Miriam Midkiff
Joan Miller
Nancy Fermazin
Ruth Himan
Susi Pentico

Tami Glatz
Daniel Horowitz
Jeanie Croasmun
Megan Smolenyak
Maureen Taylor

Janet Hovorka
Anne Mitchell
Bruce Buzbee
Steve Danko
George Morgan

Drew Smith
Dick Eastman
Leland Meitzler
Lisa Cooke
Susan Kitchens

That's 35. I know that there are more here! More for the list on Saturday!

Checked in at SCGS Jamboree

The train trip was very relaxing from San Diego to Burbank - but the 4:30 a.m. wakeup call wasn't much fun. My thanks to Gary for picking us up and driving us to the train station. About 15 SDGS members took the train, and Ruth and Nancy (from GSNOCC) got on in Fullerton and met up with us.

After arriving at the hotel, I checked in at the Speaker's table and got my "swag bag" from SCGS, and then we went to the hotel lounge and found the Geneabloggers there. Thomas, Amy, Holly and AC were on laptops/netbooks, and Becky, Gini, footnoteMaven, Cheryl, Denise and Craig were hanging out. It is so much fun to see these folks again (and to meet Becky in person for the first time). The Geneablogger swag bags are chock full of goodies - thank you, sponsors! And thank you Thomas, Amy, Denise and everyone else that contributed to them. Thomas handed out the beads and several badge ribbons - I got a "Big Cheese" ribbon for some reason :). Amy had a ribbon for me for the ProGen group, and a "Rock Star" ribbon for geneabloggers. I found out that the flash on my camera is not working well, so pictures may be darker than usual. I'll try to post some pictures later in the weekend.

Linda and I grabbed a bite to eat at the outdoor deli next to the Convention Center, and when registration opened at 12 noon, I obtained my printed syllabus. Then I wandered through the exhibit hall. I met many more bloggers and exhibitors and enjoyed seeing my genea-friends again. I look forward to meeting many more readers and exhibitors and society colleagues.

The Tech Zone this year is in Room 129 opposite the Scanning Station. It is very convenient, and the systems work well (I'm typing in the Tech Zone). These computers have many online subscription and free websites available for attendees to use.

The first conference presentations are at 1:30 p.m. I think that I'm going to hear Megan Smolenyak talk on "Cases That Made My Brain Hurt." I haven't seen that one before. In the second session, I may see Michael John Neill's talk on "Restacking the Blocks: Organizing Your Information" or Kenny Freestone on "Simplifying Online Research with Family Trees."

I will try to post another update tonight. I'm not lugging the laptop around the convention center, and I don't have an iPhone or other mobile device, so therefore I can't tweet or blog directly from the presentations or exhibit hall.

This is already a LOT of genealogy fun!

Follow Friday - Kinexxions blog

It's Follow Friday - time to reveal a genealogy blog that I follow for every post written - and today it is Becky Wiseman's kinexxions blog.

Becky used to write a lot about genealogy research, but for the past six months or so she has been on a tour of the United States and their National Parks. It has been an amazing ride, and Becky has taken her readers along for the ride. Of course, we aren't driving the highways, braving the weather and the critters, or hiking up and down some of the most challenging and prettiest spots in the USA. I, and many other readers, have been enjoying Becky's travels and experiences. I hope that Becky is considering writing a picture book with her photographs and experiences - it would be a wonderful Christmas gift.

I look forward to meeting Becky in person at the SCGS Jamboree this weekend. I'm thinking that she'll be sleeping in a hotel bed instead of the camper shell or the tent!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Checking out's Civil War Collection

After reading the announcement about their Civil War Collection (FREE for all through the month of June), I wanted to explore the collection to see what they have about my one Civil War ancestral veteran - Isaac Seaver (1823-1901) of Massachusetts.

Here is the leading page of the Civil War Collection:

There are links for Records, Photos, Maps and Lincoln across the top of the screen. I clicked on Records, and saw:

This screen has a list of record types on the left, and when you click on one of them, the graphic in the main panel changes. Each panel has a search box for a name. In the screen above for Soldier Service Records, I added "isaac seaver" to the Search box. I pressed "Search" and got:

No results? That's strange, I know that he served - I have his civil War Pension File. Was it misspelled? I went back and input "Seaver" in the search field, and found that there were 164 matches:

But no Isaac. so I clicked inside the "Title or Collection" field and the dropdown menu showed that there are records for only nine states - seven Confederate and two Union (Kentucky and Missouri). Not Massachusetts. That's too bad - I expected that this database would be complete, and it isn't. Not nearly complete. It needs records from another 30 states or so! You would think that Footnote would have noted this somewhere before I was unpleasantly surprised.

Okay, what about the Civil War Pension Index? Back on the Records screen, I chose "Civil War Pension Index" from the list on the left, and entered "isaac seaver" in the search field, as shown below:

After clicking "Search," I had one match:

Yep, that's my Isaac Seaver; he served in Company H, Regiment 4 of the Massachusetts Heavy Artillery. I clicked on the "View Image" link and saw the image of Isaac Seaver's pension file card:

This image provides the date of filing, the application number and the certificate number of his Invalid pension file, and the application and certificate number of his widow's pension file.

The source information for this database and the specific image are in the left-hand panel.

I created a Footnote Page for Isaac Seaver a year ago, so I wanted to add this image to Isaac's Page. I clicked on the "Connect" link to try to add the image to the Footnote Page. I saved the image to My Gallery, and then opened up "Pages" (the Footnote Pages I've created), and it was added to the Footnote Page for Isaac Seaver (1823-1901), a Civil War soldier, as shown below:

I went back to the Civil War Records page, and checked to see if the Widow's Pension File included Isaac Seaver's widow's application, and it did not. Oh well, hope springs eternal in the online genealogist's breast!
As a remionder, the Civil War Pension Files are NOT available online yet. is digitizing the Widow's applications gradually, but is only about 1% complete on this task. Digitizing of the Invalid applications have not been started. You can order the complete application files from the National Archives for a fee. The National Archives Civil War Records web page says:
"Paper copies of Civil War pension records can be requested online or requested by mail using an NATF Form 85 for each soldier (Volunteer Army or Regular Army, Union Navy or Marine Corps). You can obtain the NATF Form 85 by providing your name and mailing address to Be sure to specify the correct form number and the number of forms you need."

Treasure Chest Thursday - Hannah Richmond's obituary

It's Thursday - time to find a family history gem in the Treasure Chest of artifacts, papers and memories.

My cousin, Laura, sent a number of newspaper clippings two years ago after we found each other (her great-grandmother is Grace Richmond, and my grandmother is Alma Bessie Richmond, both daughters of Thomas and Julia (White) Richmond). One of the clippings was the obituary of Hannah (Rich) Richmond (1824-1911), who died 7 August 1911 in Putnam, Windham County, Connecticut. Hannah was the wife of James Richman/Richmond (1821-1912), and the mother of Thomas Richmond and eight other children.

The obituary reads:


"Mrs. Hannah Richmond, wife of James Richmond, died at her home on the Pomfret road Monday evening. Mrs. Richmond had lived in Putnam over forty years and was well-known throughout this vicinity. She was born in Wiltshire, England, in April, 1825, the daughter of John and Rebecca Rich and came to this country in 1856, coming to Pascoag, R.I. For the past 36 years, however, she has lived with her husband on the farm homestead where she died, known as the Richmond farm. She was married to Mr. Richmond 66 years ago, before coming to this country. She was always of a quiet disposition and was content to make a happy home for the large family which she reared.

"Besides her husband, who is known as 'Father' Richmond in the Methodist church, she leaves seven children, Thomas of Putnam, James of Stroudburg, Pa., Louisa living on the home farm, Mrs. Elizabeth Prentice of Danielson, Mrs. Emma Fitts of Pomfret, John, living on the home farm, Charles of Manchester, besides a large number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She also leaves one brother, William Rich, of Putnam, who is the only surviving member of eight.

"The funeral will be at the Methodist church, of which the deceased was a member, Thursday afternoon at 1 o'clock. Rev. Mr. Belcher will officiate and burial will be in Grove street cemetery."
The obituary doesn't mention two other children - Ann who died in Wiltshire as a child, and Hannah (Richmond) Smith, who may have died in Connecticut before her mother.

This obituary is the only record I have that describes the life of Hannah (Rich) Richmond, especially her demeanor and religion. It also provides a list of her living children and their residence at the time of her death, which could be helpful in tracking them down. Civil War Collection FREE through June

I received this press release from today:


June 10, 2010 – Lindon, UT – Today announced that its U.S. Civil War Collection will be made free to the public through the month of June. has worked with the U.S. National Archives over the past three years to create the largest repository of Civil War documents on the web featuring over 30 million documents, photos and maps.

“Our strong partnership with the National Archives has allowed us to build an extremely valuable resource for researchers, historians and genealogists,” explains Russell Wilding, CEO of “Now more people than ever have access to records relating to one of the most prolific events in our history.”

The original documents found in this collection provide a different perspective on the “war between the states.” Major events as well as accounts from individuals are brought to life on Visitors to will find:

o Union and Confederate Soldier Service Records
o Widow’s Pension Files
o Emancipation Documents and Slave Records
o Confederate Amnesty Papers and Citizens Files
o Lincoln Assassination Investigation and Trial Papers
o U.S. Civil War Photos and Maps

More than just a repository, incorporates community contributions and interactions to enhance these records. “When documents and member contributions come together, a more powerful side of history is revealed,” says Justin Schroepfer Director of Marketing at “Our members have added comments, insights and information that significantly increase our understanding of these events and the people involved.”
On members can also create their own pages to highlight their discoveries and research. Members have created Footnote Pages relating to the U.S. Civil War that cover topics such as:

o Female Civil War Soldiers & Spies
o Papers of Robert E. Lee
o Union African Americans in the U.S. Civil War
o Confederate Soldiers Graves

To see how is changing the way we view U.S. Civil War history, visit


If you are not a subscriber, this would be a really good time to check the Civil War resources available on the web site. Good luck!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Family Association Wikis - Whitney

Readers of Genea-Musings will recall that I made a "Wikis for Genealogy" presentation on 15 May to the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego (CGSSD). Very few of the attendees had ever used a genealogy wiki before.

One of the categories I had in my presentation for genealogy wikis was "Family Associations." This seems like an excellent use for a wiki - if the family association has a dedicated group of family researchers. One of the examples for this type of genealogy wiki was the Whitney Research Group, which focuses on the different Whitney family groups in the USA. Here is the home page for the Whitney Research Group wiki:

My interest in the Whitney surname is the ancestry of Martha Whitney (1764-1832), who married Benjamin Seaver (1757-1816) - they are my 4th great-grandparents. Martha is descended from John-1, John-2, Nathaniel-3, William-4, and Samuel-5.

I clicked on the link for the John Whitney Family of Watertown, Massachusetts in the screen above, and saw:

There are sections for Primary Resources, John and Elinor Whitney Databases (currently not functional) and Miscellaneous databases.

I clicked on the Family Group Record for John and Elinor (-----) Whitney and saw research notes for the family. Here is the top of the page:

Further down the page are notes from one of the major scholarly resources used in constructing the wiki:

And further down the page are the list of children of John and Elinor (-----) Whitney, and the start of the References section:

A user can click on any of the children with an active link and go to the wiki page for that person's family.

The Reference 3 item is for "John Whetny, widower, d. 1 Jun 1673 aged about 84 yeares," according to Watertown Records, Comprising the First and Second Book of Town Proceedings, with the Land Grants and Possessions. Also, the Proprietors' Book, and the First Book of and Supplement of Births, Deaths, and Marriages, Watertown, MA: Historical Society, 1894, p. 36.

I clicked on the active link for the reference, and saw:

For this reference, the items that pertain to the Whitney family were transcribed on this reference page.

I compared the information that I have for my own Whitney line against the information on the wiki pages, and found no significant vital records errors on my part, assuming the Whitney Research Group data is error-proof (it's a pretty good assumption, I think). Using the information from the Reference 3 above, I was able to add more source citation data to my database entries.

I do have research note information that will add to the information on some of my families, so I will join the Whitney Research Group and make my contributions to the wiki effort.

I could not see the Comments for the any of the Person Pages because I am not yet a member of the Group. However, I could check out the Source and History pages of the wiki.

I really like how the Whitney Research Group has implemented the wiki concept, and populated the pages, on this website.

My opinion is that Person Pages similar to these Whitney pages are the future of collaborative and scholarly genealogy. It may be that Family Association webpages will proliferate and association members will populate the family surname wiki. Or it may be that an family tree wiki like will proliferate and many researchers will populate the family tree wiki.

Unfortunately, very few people are aware of these online family tree wikis, and even fewer are collaborating with others and contributing to them.

What other family tree or family association wikis are available online? Have you contributed to them? I would be especially interested in information about the collaboration aspect of working with a family wiki.

Randy's Talk is NOT on 12 June

My presentation on "Using Effectively" will NOT be presented on Saturday, 12 June at the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library. This date appeared on the calendar (since corrected) and on the printed list of San Diego area genealogy events. The error was not the CGSSD editor's fault.

I will present "Using Effectively" at 2 p.m. on Sunday, 27 June at the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library Auditorium. There will be an announcement on this blog, and on the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe blog, during the week before the presentation.

These Sunday afternoon "Weekender" programs are part of the commitment of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society commitment to serve genealogists who are students or working, and cannot attend the monthly Wednesday noon-time meetings. There are over 200 persons that are registered users in the San Diego South Bay area, and more than 75% of them are not CVGS members.

SDGS Meeting on Saturday, 12 June

The next San Diego Genealogical Society (SDGS) meeting is Saturday, 12 June at 12 noon at St. Andrews Lutheran Church (8375 Lake Murray Blvd, near Jackson Drive).

The featured speaker for the two sessions is Robert Brenner, who will present “Sailing to America” and “Castle Garden (1855-1890)”

In his presentation “Sailing to America,” Professor Brenner will describe what caused families to leave their homeland to seek a new life in America. Learn how immigrants sailed across the Atlantic under wind and steam power, how they determined location, direction, speed, and the typical number of passengers and crew on board. In his presentation, Brenner will identify primary departure/arrival ports and explain how emigrants traveled from inland villages and farms to the sea ports. Brenner will discuss voyage costs, what they brought with them, how they endured shipboard life, what they ate, where they slept, how long a voyage took, and what happened to them once entering the new land. Photos and drawings will show shipboard life.

In the “Castle Garden 1855-1890” presentation, Professor Brenner will explain the immigration process at Castle Garden, New York and follow new arrivals as they disembarked, registered and were accepted as Americans. See the new world as they saw it in 1855 through 1890. Learn how new arrivals entered and moved through the different stations at Castle Garden and went on to their new homes in America. Numerous photos and drawings show the Castle Garden Immigration Center through the eyes of the emigrants. Experience through sight and sound the greatest trans-Atlantic emigration movement in history.

Robert Brenner is an engineer, consultant, college professor, historical genealogist, and professional speaker with experience in research and information publishing. As a genealogical
researcher, he located and visited the Brenner home in Trochtelfingen, Bavaria. He has been a guest speaker at national conferences and symposiums and is a consultant on pricing and desktop service.

He is the author of 51 books and written over 275 articles on business and computer applications/technical manuals, user manuals, and product line literature. He has taught at the high school, community college, university, and graduate school levels. A futurist, he enjoys the challenge of research and is currently sharing his work on German and Irish immigration to America in the mid 1800s. Professor Brenner can be reached at

This sounds like a really interesting program. I look forward to hearing from colleagues about it (since I will be at the SCGS Jamboree this weekend).

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 106: Carringer and Kemp families in 1920?

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:

There is no writing on the back of this photograph. Based on the ages of the known people, and the presence of a baby, my conclusion is that this may be a photograph taken by my grandfather, Lyle L. Carringer, in the 1920 time frame.

The persons in the photograph are (left to right):

* Della (Smith) Carringer, wife of Austin Carringer, mother of Lyle Carringer and grandmother of Betty Carringer
* Emily (Auble) Carringer, wife of Lyle Carringer, mother of Betty Carringer, and daughter of Georgia Auble
* unknown female
* Austin Carringer (holding baby), husband of Della Carringer, father of Lyle Carringer, grandfather of Betty Carringer
* Betty Virginia Carringer (held by Austin Carringer), daughter of Lyle and Emily (Auble) Carringer
* Georgia (Kemp) Auble, mother of Emily (Auble) Carringer, grandmother of Betty Carringer
* unknown female
* unknown male

The male on the far right may be Franklin Kemp (1880-1953, birth name Alfred Francis Edward Kemp), the half-brother of Georgia (Kemp) Auble. According to family lore, Franklin owned or worked on a ranch in Ramona during the 1910 to 1930 time period, although I haven't found any record of this. In the 1920 US Census, Franklin and wife Ellen (Elliott) Kemp resided in Los Angeles at 2957 Brighton Avenue. They had no children. If the man on the right is Franklin Kemp, then one of the two unknown females is his wife.

The male on the far right may also be James Alexander Kemp (1872-1934), a brother of Georgia (Kemp) Auble. One of the females may be his wife, Bertha (Fuller) Kemp (1874-1951). They resided in Los Angeles in the 1920 time frame. They had three children, Myrtle (born 1893), LeRoy (born 1896) and Edith (born 1903).

One of the unknown females may be Myrtle Kemp (1893-1970) or Edith Kemp (1903-1980), daughter of James and Bertha (Fuller) Kemp. Unfortunately, I don't have any identified family photos of Myrtle or Edith Kemp to compare to.

I do not recognize the setting for this photograph from the known San Diego area homes. It may be the Ramona ranch, or it may be one of the Los Angeles area homes.

One of my tasks today will be to look for more census records for the California Kemp families.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Finding Massachusetts Death Records on FamilySearch Record Search

In my post Massachusetts Vital Record collections on FamilySearch Pilot, I noted that some of the Massachusetts Vital Records (1841-1915) were available on the LDS FamilySearch Record Search site for free access.

Back in the day when I was busily "collecting" all Seaver information, these databases were on microfilm, and I found information by ordering microfilms for the alphabetical Index to the births, marriages and deaths, noting the specific volume and page number for each entry of interest (this was before spreadsheets!), then by ordering the specific volume on microfilm and abstracting the information, and then entering the information into my genealogy database. I also spent some time at NEHGS checking the alphabetical index books and then scrolling through microfilms of the records.

Later, by perhaps 2003 or so, the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) put images of the Massachusetts birth, marriage and death records (1841-1915) online at (a subscription site) with a search capability. I've used this since it came online.

Now that FamilySearch has put these records online, I will use their search capability. As I noted before, there are two separate sets of death records available on the Record Search site. They are:

1) Massachusetts Deaths and Burials, 1795-1910 -- Name index to death and burial records from the state of Massachusetts. Microfilm copies of these records are available at the Family History Library and Family History Centers. This set contains 3,690,196 records. This record set is complete.

The dataset search fields look like this. I searched for the death of my second great-grandfather, Isaac Seaver:

There were 16 matches, and my Isaac was number 1 on the list:

I clicked on his name, and saw the record summary for the entry:

This dataset has no images of the records, so I'm stuck with the record summary. The summary does list volume number, page number and FHL microfilm number for the record. However, this is a derivative record - these lists and indexes were obtained from copies of the town record books compiled by the state each year. For an original source document, I should go to the Massachusetts town that created the record.

2. Massachusetts Deaths, 1841-1915
-- Name index and images of Massachusetts statewide death registers and certificates. Currently, the collection includes only years 1906 to 1915. When deaths were recorded on register forms, the second page of the form is on the next image. This dataset is only 58% complete at this time.

I had not seen my uncle's death record previously, so I entered Stanley Seaver in the search fields:

There were 3 matches, the first two were for my uncle:

From the record summary page (similar to the one above), I clicked on the "Image" icon in the right margin. Here is the image for the first record, from the town of Leominster:

The second record is from the town of Fitchburg, where the Fred Seaver family was residing in 1910:

The two entries have somewhat different information. The residence on the Leominster entry is wrong, and there is more information about the cause of death in the Fitchburg entry. It pays to find every record available!

The images in the second dataset are original source documents - this is how deaths were recorded in 1910. I'm not sure how the state collected these records - did the towns send duplicate originals to the state, or did the state collect the original record? My guess is that the state obtained a duplicate original because the towns still have ledger records, and perhaps the original record, for this time frame.

Book Review: Wanted! U.S. Criminal Records by Ron Arons

Ron Arons' book, Wanted! U.S. Criminal Records - Sources & Research Methodology fills a tremendous void and provides a wonderful compendium of records that may help genealogists and family historians track down their "black sheep" ancestors in American records.

The book provides information about several criminal record types, including

* Prison Records
* Court Records
* Parole Records
* Pardon Records
* Execution Information
* Investigative Reports
* Police Reports.

The front section material provides information about sources and research methodology, and a guide to how to use the book effectively. The latter section notes that most of the records listed in the book are NOT online, but are available at federal, state or local repositories. You will have to travel to find them and obtain them. Some institutions have access restrictions, and some records have privacy restrictions on them, so it's recommended that you contact the repository for restrictions and availability.

The balance of the book consists of a chapter for each State, plus the District of Columbia and the Federal Government. Each chapter lists repositories where documents can be obtained. For each repository, the physical address, website URL and email address are provided (if available). For each repository, there is a listing of the records available. Different record types have a unique symbol. Some of the chapters end with documents from Ron Arons' files, found during a dozen years of researching his own criminal ancestor - and many others.

As an example, for California, these repositories are listed:

* California State Archives -- Department of Corrections; Department of the Governor's Office: Prison Papers
* California Executions
* Los Angeles County Archives - Criminal Case Files
* Los Angeles Superior Court
* San Francisco Superior Court
* Pamphlets for Sale (from
* Federal Criminal Court Records at the National Archives & Records Administration (NARA) - NARA Pacific Region (Laguna Niguel; address and contact information is outdated now)
* Federal Criminal Court Records at the National Archives & Records Administration (NARA) - NARA Pacific Region (San Bruno)

Each state has different repository types and record types.

This book represents a tremendous research effort on the part of Ron Arons, and provides a needed compendium of criminal records that may help researchers find out information about one or more of their family members.

Book information: Ron Arons, Wanted! U.S. Criminal Records - Sources & Research Methodology; 2009; 8.5×11; Soft Cover; 385 pp; ISBN: 978-1-935125-64-8; $49.99 plus $5 postage; Available from: Criminal Research Press, 4012 Whittle Ave., Oakland, CA 94602; 510-530-3975;

Disclosure: Ron Arons provided a free review copy of this book back in early 2010. My apologies to Ron for not writing this in a more timely manner. I loaned it to a society colleague who needed it and recently got it back. I will donate this book to the Chula Vista Public Library for inclusion in the Family Research section of the library, which is supported by the Chula Viata Genealogical Society. I saw Ron Arons at the NGS Conference in Salt Lake City in late April and promised to write this review before the SCGS Jamboree. Hopefully, Ron will be at the Jamboree and will sell copies of his books.

Getting Ready for SCGS Jamboree

Are you going to the Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS) Jamboree this coming weekend? I am, and I hope to see many of my readers and genea-blogging colleagues there.

The Genealogy Jamboree is at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel from Friday, 11 June to Sunday, 13 June. The updated conference program schedule is here.

I'm trying to get ready for it - listing things to pack and to bring. Some of the genea-bloggers have posted helpful suggestions in recent months, including:

* George G. Morgan hosted a Webinar titled "Getting the Most out of a Genealogy Conference" and it is on It is also on the SCGS website -- see for all SCGS videos.

* Sue Maxwell wrote Prepare Before Attending a Genealogy Conference on her Granite Genealogy blog.

* Amy Coffin wrote Pre-Conference Prep and The Rock Star's Guide to Genealogy Conferences on her We Tree blog.

* Elyse Doerflinger wrote Preparing For A Genealogy Research Trip on Elyse's Genealogy Blog.

* Michael John Neill wrote an article about Preparing for a Genealogical Conference.

* Thomas MacEntee listed the known genea-bloggers coming to Jamboree in Who’ll Be At #scgs10 Jamboree? on the Geneabloggers blog.

Linda and I are taking the Amtrak train from San Diego to Burbank on Friday morning - it leaves San Diego at 6:10 a.m. and gets there at 9:30 a.m. On Sunday, we will catch the 4:25 p.m. train at Burbank and be in San Diego at 7:50 p.m. The San Diego Genealogical Society arranged the trip and handled all of our reservations. There are at least 25 San Diego area genealogists going on the train, and more are driving up.

So what am I going to pack for the conference (besides the train tickets, money, some clothes and bathroom stuff)? I asked on Facebook what I should take, and here is the list so far (many of these were covered by the articles above):

* conference program schedule
* business cards (with surnames on the back, useful for drawing pots)
* address labels (useful for raffle tickets)
* laptop (useful for blogging...)
* USB flash drives with GEDCOM files (for transferring data)
* digital camera (and batteries), plus camera USB cable
* Flip video camera for brief vignettes (want to be a Facebook star?)
* Hawaiian shirt for Sunday
* Genealogy T-shirts (the Geneaholic, the Einstein genealogy, the Genealogy is like sex...)
* Notepad and pens for conference sessions (there are conference sessions?)

I am scheduled to be part of the GeneaBlogger Blogger Summit 1 panel from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday morning, along with Elyse Doerflinger, Miriam Midkiff, Thomas MacEntee, and perhaps a replacement for DearMYRTLE.

I'm ready, I'm stoked, I look forward to seeing my genea-friends in the lounge, in the exhibits, at the meetings and dinners. I also look forward to make new friends - if you see me, please stop and say hello. Now where did I put my big bag of M&Ms?

By the way, if you have other suggestions for things to take with me, please make a comment!

Monday, June 7, 2010

New FamilySearch Videos Online

I was clicking through the "classic" last night, and noted that more videos have been added to the "Research Classes Online" page. A lot more!

The "Research Classes Online" page notes that there are three new series:

* Reading Handwriting Records Series (18 videos, 11 languages)
* Research Principles and Tools (10 lessons/videos)
* U.S. Research (15 videos)

This is in addition to the previous classes that cover:

* England Basic Research (5 videos, plus class handout)
* Ireland Research (5 videos)
* Italy Research (1 video)
* Russia Research (2 videos)
* Principios básicos para la investigación genealógica en Hispanoamérica (México) (3 videos)

Here is a screen shot of the "Research Classes Online" page:

There are a number of really interesting videos on this list. Here is the opening screen of Thomas Jones presentation on "Inferential Genealogy:"

Anna Roach's presentation on "U.S. Courthouse Records Overview." On this screen, the presenter speaking shows on the small video screen on the left of the screen:

A presentation (I couldn't understand the speaker's name here) on "U.S. Military Records: Civil War:"

Mary Penner's presentation is on "The Bachelor: Reconstructing a Solitary Life:"

I watched a portion of each of the above videos, and the quality is fairly good. You do need a high-speed Internet connection.

If you are a beginning researcher who wants to learn about any of these subjects, this website is an excellent place to start!

Amanuensis Monday - the Will of Isaac Read of Sudbury

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 Isaac Read (1704-1780) of Sudbury, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. He married Experience Willis (1709-1787) in 1730, and they had eleven children.

The will of Isaac Read of Sudbury was written 15 May 1780, and proved on 14 June 1780. The will reads (from Middlesex County [MA] Probate Court, packet 18,507, on FHL Microfilm 0,421,500):

"In the Name of God, Amen. I, Isaac Read of Sudbury in the County of Middlesex in the State of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, yeoman, being of sound disposing mind, though infirm in body, sensible of my own frailty and mortality, do make and ordain this my last will and testament. Firstly committing my soul into the hands of God, hoping for salvation through Jesus Christ the only Saviour of Men, and my body to be decently buried, at the discretion of my executor, hereafter named, in hopes of a Reformation to a blessed immortality --- and as to the temporal estate which God has given me, I dispose of that in manner following ---

"Item. I give unto my beloved Wife Experience the use, improvement and the disposal of all my moveable estate within Doors, and if not disposed of by her, in her life time, my will is that it be equally divided among my five daughters, my clock excepted, which I mean shall remain in my house and be considered as the property of my son Jacob, after my wife's decease. I also give my sd wife, the improvement of the third part of my dwelling house and barn and one third part of all my lands, which will remain after the lands shall be taken off which I give to my daughter Lois Hill and to my grandson Nathan Read, hereafter mentioned, and also one third part of my stock of cattle, and one third part of my husbandry utensils, these to be for her life and improvement, during her natural life.

"Item. I give and bequeath to my son Jacob Reed, the remainder of all my estate, both real and personal, including my Bonds and Notes of hand (excepting the lands, herein after named, which I give to my daughter Hill, and to my grandson Nathan Read); to him and to his heirs and assigns, that is the remainder of my dwelling house and barn and lands with all their appurtenances, he paying all the debts, dower and legacies, ordered in this my will, and twelve thousand pounds lawful money, to be equally divided between my four daughters Experience, Sarah, Mary and Ruth.

"Item. I give to my Daughter Lois Hill my house and barn, with all my lands, lying in Framingham, where now they dwell, with all the appurtenances thereof; also about four acres of meadow adjoining said farm, though lying in Sudbury. The east side of Sd meadow lies on the River, the North and west sides thereof lie against other of my land. I also give her another piece of meadow near Capt. Moses Stone's, containing by estimation about two acres, the south side of which lies on the River, the north side bounded by a woodland side hill belonging to me, and ye westerly side by lands which I improved as a pasture; but out of what I thus give to my daughter Hill, my will is that there be paid one thousand pounds, to be equally divided among my other four daughters, which with what my son Jacob is to pay them, and what they have already received, is each of their full portions of my estate.

"Item. I give unto my grandson Nathan Reed, in addition to what I had before given to his father Isaac Reed deceased, a piece of land known by the name of the Clay Pitts, which is now inclosed by itself with a fence; also four acres of west meadow, so called, lying in East Sudbury, and on the side which joins to and of Silas Goodenow, running from Lannum Brook, so called, to the shore. Also a piece of woodland lying near Mr. Jonathan Graves, containing about three acres, be the same more or less - also ten acres of woodland, lying in what is called the new Grant in Sudbury bounded upon the highway and running from the lands of Uriah Hayden to the lands of Mr. Osborn - which together with the money he has already had with other favors, is to be considered as his full portion, and as a consideration for my use of his place.

"And my will is that the money which is to be paid by my son Jacob, and also that which is to be paid out of what I have given to my daughter Lois Hill, shall be paid in the same proportion, according as money shall depreciate or appreciate from this present day; and that it be all paid within two years next after my decease.

"And I do hereby constitute and appoint my son Jacob sole executor to this my last will and testament in full power and trust, ratifying and confirming this my last will and testament, revoking and disannulling all others, this fifteenth day of May Anno Domini, one thousand seven hundred and eighty."

"Signed, sealed and declared to be the last will and testament,
Jonathan Robinson .................................. his

Aaron Haynes .................................. Isaac + Read
Joseph Read ............................................ mark"

Jacob Read and Nathan Read apparently disagreed on some aspects of the estate, prompting the following:

"At a Court of Probate held at Concord within and for the county of Middlesex on Wednesday the 14th day of June 1780, by the Honorable Oliver Prescott Esquire, Judge of said Court -- Came into court on one part Jacob Read executor to the last will and testament of Isaac Read late of Sudbury in the said County, yeoman deceased, and on the other part Nathan Read one of the legatees therein named, and agreed to submit all matters of difference between them respecting ye deceased's estate to Jonas Dix of Waltham, Esqr and Ephraim Wood Jr and Joseph Hosmer both of Concord Esquires and that the determination of them by the said judge, all three being first notified and all parties warned of the time and place of meeting. And they are to report to the Judge as soon as conveniently may be.

"By the order of the Judge ............................... James Winthrop Regr"

A month later it was reported:

"Middlesex ye July 15th 1780 -- to the Honorable Oliver Prescott Esqr Judge of Probate -- in observance of the within commission we attended the service and after spending ????? days reasoning with the parties upon the premises we prevailed upon them to agree in such manner as both rejoiced therein -- all which is humbly submitted,
Jonas Dix
Ephraim Wood Jr
Joseph Hosmer"

There is no inventory mentioned or shown, nor a distribution of the estate included, in the probate packet. It is not known whether the legatees received the sizable inheritance from their father.

Trying to interpret the probate process in this will and the two other legal papers is difficult. My best guess is that:

* Son and Executor Jacob Read objected to the provision to pay four of his sisters 3,000 pounds each within two years of his father's death. The estate may not have been worth that much, but it is impossible to know the value of the estate without an inventory of the real and personal property.

* Grandson Nathan Read may have objected that he didn't receive a large sum of money like the four daughters of Isaac Read.

* Daughter Lois Hill did not complain in court, but was on the hook for paying 1,000 pounds to her four sisters. Perhaps Lois (Read) Hill, who resided in nearby Framingham, was unaware of the probate proceedings until after the agreement.

* Unfortunately, there is no distribution in the probate packet that might explain the actual size of the estate, and the names and residence of the legatees.

* The persons named in the will are wife Experience (Willis) Read, son Jacob Read, grandson Nathan Read (son of son Isaac Read, who died in 1759), daughter Lois (Read) Hill (wife of Jonathan Hill of Framingham), and daughters Experience, Sarah, Mary and Ruth (listed without married names).

* Assuming that the list of children above are those living in 1780, it is apparent that children Isaac Read, Samuel Read, Samuel Read, Eunice Read and Asahel Read were deceased before the will was written. The only ones that I have a death date for are Isaac Read (1731-1759) and Asahel Read (1753-1775), who died as a result of the fight at Lexington and Concord on 19 April 1775.

* My interest in this is the daughter, Sarah Read (1736-1809), who married in 1755 to Norman Seaver (1734-1787), and resided in Westminster, Massachusetts in 1780. Norman and Sarah (Read) Seaver named a son Asahel Read Seaver, born 22 October 1775.