Saturday, July 24, 2010

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - your dream research trip

Greetings, genealogy dreamers! It's Saturday Night - time for more Genealogy Fun!

Have you been following Becky Wiseman on her kinexxions blog as she travels around the USA? Now, she's going into western Canada and north to Alaska. It's her dream trip, although she is not doing a lot of genealogy research along the way. Her trip inspired this SNGF challenge.

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

1) Think hard about the genealogy research trip that you would take if money were no object. Where would you go, how long would you stay, what research would you do? What is your "dream research trip?"

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

Here's mine:

I would like to trace the life places of my second great-grandfather, Devier James Lamphier Smith. From his birth in Jefferson County, NY as a Lamphier(?), to his adoption by Ranslow and Mary (Bell) Smith of Henderson in Jefferson County, NY. There are records in Jefferson County that I need to search for the Lamphier family, and hopefully I could find a lead on his birth parents. The Ranslow Smith house in Henderson is still there, and I would like to visit it.

Then there is the Smith family's migration in 1843 to Dodge County, WI. It might be interesting to take the boat route they did through the Great Lakes. I'm sure that there are many records of this family to find in Dodge County WI. A side trip to the Wisconsin Historical Society might also be in order to see if they have any files concerning Devier's official name change from Lamphier to Smith in 1866. I would visit Old World Wisconsin in Eagle WI also - the Ranslow Smith Four-Mile House was moved there years ago and it would be interesting to see what it was like.

The growing Devier Smith family moved to Taylor County, Iowa in about 1867. And then to Andrew County, Missouri for a year in the early 1870's. Ranslow Smith died in 1875 there. I need land records and any other records from these two places.

Devier Smith moved his family to Cloud County, KS before 1875, and stayed there until 1885. There must be some land records, newspaper records and other records for his stay there. I don't know exactly where he lived, but perhaps some records are available to help me find their residence(s).

Then it was up the Republican River to McCook, Red Willow County, NE in early 1885 to start a livery business there, and still further up the river to Wano in Cheyenne County, KS where he bought land in 1885. Wano is apparently a ghost town now, but it was a thriving little town in the late 1880s. Devier died in 1894 in McCook, and there may be a probate record for him in the courthouse files. I hope so! I wonder if his livery stable is still standing?

That's my dream trip. I thought about saying that I'd like to travel as the family did - by boat, wagon and foot, and perhaps by train, but that might take too long. I'd probably have to experience a NY, WI, IA, MO, KS or NE winter too (or more than one!).

Looking back on what I wrote, it seems so very mundane, doesn't it? How exciting would that trip be? Probably not very exciting, but who knows! If I found Devier's birth parents in Jefferson County, I might just stay there for awhile and gather as many records as possible.

Hmmm, I see that I posted another SNGF back in February along these lines. Oh well, Ive written this up and we'll go with it today. Maybe some other readers will have some neat dream research trip ideas!

Surname Saturday - KIRBY (England > MA)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I'm passing on numbers 81 to 87, who are the unknown mothers of #40 John Richman, #41 Ann Marshman, #42 John Rich, and #43 Rebecca Hill, all in Hilperton, Wiltshire, England. So I am up to number 89, who is Sybil Kirby (1764-1848), one of my 4th-great-grandparents.

My ancestral line back through six generations of KIRBY families 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)

10. Thomas Richmond (1848-1917)
11. Julia White (1848-1913)

22. Henry Arnold White (1824-1885)
23. Amy Frances Oatley (1826-before 1870)

44. Jonathan White (1806-1850)
45. Miranda Wade (1804-1850)

88. Humphrey White, born about 1758 in prob. Westport, Bristol County, MA, and died 15 January 1814 in Glocester, Providence County, RI. He was the son of 176. Jonathan White and 177. Abigail Wing. He married 11 February 1788 in Dartmouth, Bristol County, MA.
89. Sybil Kirby, born 08 January 1764 in Dartmouth, Bristol County, MA; died before 11 March 1848 in Glocester, Providence County, RI. She was the daughter of 2. David Kirby and 3. Martha Soule.

Children of Humphrey White and Sybil Kirby were: Meribah White (1789-????); Benjamin White (1789-1863); David White (bef. 1797-????); Elizabeth White (bef. 1797-????); Humphrey White (bef. 1797-????); Nancy White (bef. 1797-????); Martha White (1797-1841); Jonathan White (1806-1850); Rhoda White (bef. 1807-????); William White (aft. 1807-1866).

178. David Kirby, born 16 August 1740 in Dartmouth, Bristol County, MA; died before 01 May 1832 in Westport, Bristol County, MA. He married 21 April 1763 in Tiverton, Newport County, RI.
179. Martha Soule, born 01 October 1743 in Dartmouth, Bristol County, MA; died 26 May 1828 in Dartmouth, Bristol County, MA. She was the daughter of 358. Benjamin Soule and 359. Meribah Waite.

Children of David Kirby and Martha Soule are: Sybil Kirby (1764-1848); Ichabod Kirby (1782-????)

356. Ichabod Kirby, born About 1710 in Dartmouth, Bristol County, MA; died about 1794 in Dartmouth, Bristol County, MA. He married 21 February 1732/33 in Dartmouth, Bristol County, MA.
357. Rachel Allen, born 11 July 1708 in Dartmouth, Bristol County, MA. She was the daughter of 714. Joseph Allen and 715. Rachel.

Children of Ichabod Kirby and Rachel Allen are: John Kirby (1734-1809); Ruhamah Kirby (1737-????); David Kirby (1740-1832); Rachel Kirby (1747-1818)

712. Robert Kirby, born 10 March 1672/73 in Dartmouth, Bristol County, MA; died before 10 March 1757 in Dartmouth, Bristol County, MA. He married before 1701 in probably Dartmouth, Bristol County, MA.
713. Rebecca Potter, born about 1681 in Dartmouth, Bristol County, MA; died 10 October 1773 in Dartmouth, Bristol County, MA. She was the daughter of 1426. Nathaniel Potter and 1427. Elizabeth Stokes.

Children of Robert Kirby and Rebecca Potter are: Patience Kirby (1700-1755); Nathaniel Kirby (1708-1748); Ichabod Kirby (1710-1794); Recompence Kirby (1712-1771); Silas Kirby (1714-1785); Robert Kirby (1717-1802)

1424. Richard Kirby, born about 1640 in probably Sandwich, Barnstable, County, MA; died before 04 April 1720 in Dartmouth, Bristol County, MA. He married 09 October 1665 in Sandwich, Barnstable County, MA.
1425. Patience Gifford, born about 1644 in Sandwich, Barnstable County, MA; died 1673 in Dartmouth, Bristol County, MA. She was the daughter of 2850. William Gifford and 2851. unknown.

Children of Richard Kirby and Patience Gifford are: Sarah Kirby (1667-1733); Experience Kirby (1670-1745); Temperance Kirby (1670-1761); John Kirby (1672-1730); Robert Kirby (1673-1757).

2848. Richard Kirby, born about 1610 in ENGLAND; died 21 July 1688 in Dartmouth, Bristol County, MA. He married before 1636 in probably ENGLAND.
2849. Jane, born about 1608 in ENGLAND; died 23 March 1649/50 in Sandwich, Barnstable County, MA.

Children of Richard Kirby and Jane are: Jane Kirby (1636-1707); Sarah Kirby (1638-1711); Ruhamah Kirby (1640-1707); Richard Kirby (1640-1720); Recompense Kirby (1643-1720); Abigail Kirby (1650-1650); Increase Kirby (1650-1650).

I do not know the parents of Richard Kirby that married Jane --?-- and settled in Sandwich and Dartmouth in Plymouth Colony.

Are there any cousins reading this that have this Kirby line, or some of the families in this line?

Friday, July 23, 2010

FamilySearch's England Jurisdictions 1851

If you have English ancestry, especially if your ancestral families were in England before 1851, then you need to know about the FamilySearch site titled English Jurisdictions 1851.

At this site, you can see the boundaries of every English parish, plus much more information. For example, I put the name of "Hilperton" in the search field and saw:

Hilperton is a parish in the county of Wiltshire. Zooming in on Hilperton, I can see the outline of the parish, the neighboring parishes, and an information box:

This information box tells me that Parish Registers for Hilperton started in 1694, and that there are Bishop's Transcripts from 1622. That is really useful information for a researcher. The box also tells me that there were non-Church of England in Hilperton for the Particular Baptist and Wesleyan Methodist churches, but it doesn't provide any years that they were active.

Clicking on the "Jurisdictions" tab shows me:

The Jurisdictions listed include:

* Place: Hilperton
* County: Wiltshire
* Civil Registration District: Melksham
* Probate Court: Court of the Archdeaconry of Sudbury
* Diocese: Salisbury
* Rural Deanery: Potterne
* Poor Law Union: Melksham
* Hundred: Melksham
* Province: Canterbury

Each item on that list may lead to genealogical records if the researcher knows the definitions of the terms and the records that may be found in the appropriate repositories.

The third tab is for "Options":

The Options offered are:

* List contiguous parishes
* Radius search (provides list of parishes within N miles - your choice!)
* Search the Family History Library Catalog
* Search the Family History Research Wiki
* Remove selection

I chose the Family History Library Catalog, and received:

By following the link for Hilperton, I can see what records are available on the shelf at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and the microfilms that are available for rent at a local Family History Center.

There are two tabs on the left side of the screen - all of the above was performed using the "Search" tab. I clicked on the "Layers" tab and selected all of the boxes in order to superimpose all of the jurisdictional Layers on the map:

The different jurisdictions are outlined and labeled in different colors. This map uses the "EJ1851" base map (as shown in the lower left-hand corner). To see a Google street map of the area, I selected "Google Street Map" in the Base Map area, and saw:

I could have chosen the "Google Satellite Map" also. I wanted to zoom in on the streets around Hilperton, so I unclicked most of the jurisdictions and used the Zoom scale to see:

This is a pretty cool scheme to see English Jurisdictions in 1851. Using this site, I can see what records are available, which parishes are nearby, and how to get there in the modern day.

The URL for this web site is . There is no special "English 1851" labels in this URL, at least not yet. What other maps might FamilySearch be adding to the Maps section when the FamilySearch Beta site is completed and the new is released? Will there be maps from all over the world, with similar features, especially links to the FHL Catalog and the Research Wiki? I hope so!

I really do love maps!

"Granite Mountain Records Vault" Videos Online

One of the highlights of the National Genealogical Society keynote address by Jay Verkler in Salt Lake City on 28 April was a video showing the Granite Mountain Records Vault - where the master microform copies are stored, duplicate microfilms are made, microfilm images are converted to digital images, and the digital images are preserved.

FamilySearch has put two videos online in the blog post Granite Mountain Records Vault Videos Online by Jim Ericson - each video is about five minutes long.


Genealogy Message Board Searcher

Are you frustrated by the large number of matches that you receive when you us a search engine with an ancestor's name?

Many genealogy researchers do this to discover web pages, message board posts and family tree entries that might help us discover more information about our ancestral families, or to find distant cousins researching the same ancestral families. We are essentially mining the internet to find ancestral nuggets, aren't we?

One of the most "fertile" mines for finding distant cousins are the genealogy message board systems at and There are thousands of message boards, and millions of messages - they are the largest repository of genealogy messages online.

Back in 2007, someone (was it Chris Dunham?) created a "New Genealogy Message Searcher" that uses Google's "specific web site search" to display matches on those two sets of message boards.

For example, here is a search I made for "martin carringer" that resulted in some message board posts that I either missed or forgot about...

I used Google's main search engine to find matches for "martin carringer" (in quotes), and received 521 matches, with some message board posts on the first screen. I don't want to scroll through all of those matches to find each message board post. With the "New Genealogy Message Searcher" I can capture all of them in one search - including those on surname or locality or topic message boards.

The "New Genealogy Message Searcher" with "martin carringer" (in quotes) looks like this:

A click of "Search" and I was rewarded by a list of 5 message board posts:

Clicking on one of them takes me right to the message itself:

There are, of course, ways to search all of the message board posts for a specific name on the Rootsweb message board system, but not on the Genforum message board system. However, this "New Genealogy Message Searcher" is much easier to use and find all of the message board posts on both systems quickly.

The beauty of this system is that it finds other researchers that are interested in the same ancestral families that you are. In many cases, there are links to web pages that also contain information about your ancestral families.

The only complaint I have about this "New Genealogy Message Searcher" system is that it doesn't tell you how many total matches there are.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

FDA regulation and our genetic information

The US government's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held a two-day conference on 19-20 July in Washington DC - see FDA's public meeting regarding Oversight of Laboratory Developed Tests (LDTs) for background and details.

Katherine Borges is the Director of ISOGG, the International Society of Genetic Genealogy, a non-profit organization of over 7,000 members spread throughout the U.S. and 60 other countries. She spoke at the FDA conference against refulation of genetic testing for ancestral and family history purposes.

The text of Katherine's talk is on Megan Smolenyak's Huffington Post article titled Don't "Protect" Us From Our Own Genetic Information .

Katherine's recommendations were:

"The great majority of our ISOGG membership feels strongly that any expansion of FDA regulatory authority that would have the effect of preventing consumers from ordering DTC tests would be unwise and unnecessary. At a minimum, no action of that sort should be taken without credible, compelling scientific data to support such a move. Relevant studies of this nature and quality are currently being conducted."


"The general view of ISOGG's members is that regulatory agencies should not stand between a consumer who wishes to collect data on their own genome, and labs that can provide that service. The genome of an individual consists fundamentally of information, and every individual in a free society has an absolute right to information about their own genome from a source of their choosing."

Please read the whole article. It is important to all of us in the genealogy and family history community.

There is a petition online for consumers to express their opinion about this issue. It reads:

"We, the undersigned, as makers, citizen scientists, and people with a spirit of curiosity:
o Demand unrestricted access to our genetic information
o Believe individuals have the right to seek out, purchase, and interpret their own genetic information
o Don't want to be required to consult a doctor or genetic counselor before accessing our genetic information
o Believe that people can make informed decisions about the usefulness, quality and actionability of genetic information
o Think Direct-to-Consumer genetic testing companies are taking the first steps in getting relevant genetic information to a wide audience, and that burdensome regulation will stifle innovation in this field
o Support legislation to ensure privacy and prevent discrimination based on genetic information"

The Personal Access to Genetic Information petition is here. If you agree with the petition, please take the time to click on the link above and sign it.

My thanks to Megan for publishing Katherine's talk, and to Katherine for speaking out effectively and forcefully on this issue.

"Using Old and New" Program at CVGS on Sunday, 25 July

The next Chula Vista Genealogical Society Weekender Program is on Sunday, 25 July at 2 p.m. in the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library Auditorium (365 F Street in downtown Chula Vista).

The topic this month is "Using the Old and New Website" by Randy Seaver. The description of the presentation is:

"The classic LDS FamilySearch offerings have been online for many years, and are still useful to genealogy researchers. Digitizing of microfilm images by FamilySearch, and indexing by volunteers, has brought many new databases online for FREE use by researchers. In addition, the FamilySearch Research Wiki will replace the Research Guides, and the Family History Library Catalog will be improved. Lastly, a new FamilySearch Family Tree, currently being populated by LDS church members, will become available to all researchers by early 2011.

"In this presentation, Randy Seaver will cover the available record databases, the Research Wiki, the Family History Library Catalog, the Family Tree, and more. He will discuss the collaboration feature coming to FamilySearch as it creates an interconnected Family Tree."

This program is free for all attendees. Guests and visitors are welcome at all CVGS events. For more information, please contact Randy at

Treasure Chest Thursday - 1870 Map of Leominster MA

It's Treasure Chest Thursday - time to find a nugget of information in my musty boxes or computer file corners.

I found this 1870 map of Leominster, Worcester County, Massachusetts in my computer files recently. I don't recall where I found it, perhaps I scanned it from a book or found it on a now-defunct website.

This image is the right half of a larger image - and shows the northern part of the town (in the image below, North is approximately off to the right):

I knew right where to look to see if my Edward Hildreth and Isaac Seaver families were on this map, and they are - in the lower left-hand corner. I cropped the larger image, and enlarged the left-hand quarter of the map, as seen below:

The names "E. Hildreth" and "I. Seaver" are very clear on either side of Lancaster Street. The Isaac Seaver house became 7 Cedar Street by the 1900 Census, and the Edward Hildreth house was 146 Lancaster Street in the 1900 census.

Frank Walton Seaver (1852-1922), son of Isaac and Lucretia (Smith) Seaver, married Hattie Sophia Hildreth (1857-1920), daughter of Edward and Sophia (Newton) Hildreth, in 1874. I wonder how they met? I think I know - they lived right across the street from each other!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

War of 1812 Final Payment Vouchers on

One of the databases recently updated on is the War of 1812 Final Payment Vouchers Index for Military Pensions, 1818-1864. There are 65,770 entries in this index, which is 95% complete. The database description says:

"Pension payment records are not typically found in pension application files. These cards were created as an index for the final payments made to either the veteran or his widow. They provide additional details on where a family may have moved in the early- to mid-19th century, death dates of veterans, widows, or dependent children, and sometimes the maiden name of a widow."

The page for this database looks like this:

I put "Seaver" in the search field and received 8 matches. One of them is for Obed Seaver of Rhode Island (not my ancestor, but a distant cousin!). His card is:

As you can see, it lists his date of death as 13 November 1843.

I looked for cards for my known War of 1812 soldier, Amos Underhill, and didn't find him. Oh well.

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 112: Brother and Sister?

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 information on the front or back of this photograph. I do not know who these children are, where this photo was taken, or when it was taken. It was in the Smith-Carringer-Auble photo collection, so it could be from the 1870 to 1910 time period in Cloud County, Kansas (Smith), Red Willow County, Nebraska (Smith), Boulder County, Colorado (Carringer) or Cook County, Illinois (Auble).

There is a small studio logo in the lower right-hand corner of this photo, but I don't have the "tools" to bring it up clearly.

These children are probably brother and sister, with an older girl (perhaps age 10-15) and a younger boy (perhaps age 8 to 12).

I looked at other photos in my collection, and the girl's face and hair is similar to that of Carlie Brown-Smith in Post 89 of this series.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Over 2,000 School Yearbooks on

Doing my weekly due diligence on subscription websites, I noted that the site has added school yearbooks from over 2,000 schools, universities and naval ships. They are from the collection. The list of yearbooks is currently on the list of recently added databases here, but may age off in the next month or so.

In most cases, there are only two or three years for each school or ship in this collection, but if they are the "right" years, then you may find a "genealogy jewel" about your parents, siblings, friends, or even yourself.

The San Diego area yearbooks I noted included:

* Bonita High School - 1976, 1978

* Coronado High School - 1940,1942,1944 - 1945,1950,1952

* Point Loma High School - 1950

* San Diego High School - 1924, 1929

* San Diego Junior College - 1955

* San Diego State College - 1933, 1946, 1949

When you think that some of these schools have published decades worth of yearbooks, the overall collection (every year) is humongous.

Unfortunately, I didn't find any yearbooks for the years when my grandfather, my mother, myself, my wife, my children or my siblings attended these schools.

Have you checked out Genlighten's services recently?

One of the most intriguing genealogy success stories (at least in my view) is Genlighten, the brainchild of Dean Richardson (who also writes the Genlighten blog).

Genlighten is a commercial genealogy research service (and there are others). Dean has enlisted many genealogy researchers to perform lookups or research in specific repositories or for specific records. The process is described in the FAQ page here. Genlighten receives a portion of the fees for connecting the client with the provider.

Occasionally, Dean highlights one of the providers in a blog post. Today, that person is Michael Hait from the Washington DC area. As part of the interview with Michael, he lists the specific research services that Michael provides. It's an impressive list:

* Maryland Death Certificates, 1875-1982
* Colonial Maryland probate records, 1635-1777
* Search of Maryland County Deed Indexes, 1635-present
* 1867 Texas Voter Registration List (all counties), 1867
* Prince George’s County, Maryland, Wills, 1696-1963

* Maryland Land Patents, 1637-2000
* Prince George’s County, Maryland Marriage Licenses/Records, 1777-1886
* 1783 Maryland Tax Assessment, 1783
* 1776 Maryland State Census, 1776
* Civil War pension files - Union, 1865-1950

Some of those really intrigued me, because my wife has Maryland and DC ancestry (McKnew, Pickrell, Prather, others).

For instance, a lookup in the Prince George's County Wills costs $5 if the index search is unsuccessful, and $15 if the records are found and provided.

What about the Union Civil War pension files? Michael charges $6 for an unsuccessful index search, and $50 for obtaining and providing the complete pension file. That's a real bargain - it costs at least $75 to obtain the file from NARA by mail.

What research needs do you have? Have you checked the Genlighten provider list, and the genealogy services and documents they can provide for a reasonable cost to you?

The list of services and providers is here. Is there something on this list that you need? You can select a specific country and see the services offered for that country. The Genlighten Overview for Lookup Clients is here.

Do you want to be a Genlighten lookup provider? You can be - the Genlighten Lookup Provider FAQ is here.

I'm tempted! I need to check for records in Dodge County, Wisconsin and Hillsborough County, NH, Mercer County, PA, and Jefferson County, NY.

Disclosure: I am not an employee, contractor or affiliate of Genlighten, and have received no remuneration for writing this blog post. I do know and enjoy the company of Dean Richardson, and appreciate his efforts to bring affordable research services to the genealogy world.

Tombstone Tuesday - Happy

It's Tombstone Tuesday, and because I ran out of my own gravestone photographs several months ago, I'm posting photos of "interesting" and "different" tombstones gathered over the years.

Today's photograph is of two tombstones with only the name "Happy" on one side of them (I don't know what's on the other side!).

I cannot find out where these gravestones are located. I checked all of the photographs for the "Happy" surname on and Googled a number of search terms without success. There were 180 entries for the surname Happy on Find-A-Grave, but not all of them had photographs.

Does any reader know where these stones are located, and who they commemorate?

I am glad that these two persons are Happy together in death. I hope that they were happy together in life also.

Monday, July 19, 2010

England Beginning Research Series on

A friend asked me "how can I learn about genealogy records and doing research in England?" I told her that the LDS FamilySearch "Online Classes" site had a number of easy-to-use informational and educational videos available.

They are on - you can get to them by clicking on "Research Helps" and selecting "Online Classes." There is also a "Free Online Classes" link on the home page.

The page looks like this:

There are quite a few video series now available on this site. The five English classes include:

Lesson 1: Research Overview (30 minutes) - Video ; Class outline (pdf)

Lesson 2: Census Records (25 minutes) - Video ; Class outline (pdf)

Lesson 3: Civil Registration (35 minutes) - Video ; Class outline (pdf)

Lesson 4: Church Records (25 minutes) - Video ; Class outline (pdf)

Lesson 5: Find Your Ancestors (35 minutes) - Video ; Class outline (pdf)

There are also class handouts that cover the entire series - see Finding Records of Your Ancestors England (pdf) and England Beginning Research Series Web Sites (pdf)

I found the videos and class outlines to be pretty basic, but that's what is needed for beginning researchers. I found an easy way to watch the videos and see the larger class outline simultaneously - open two windows. This does require changing the slides manually, but it kept me focused:

Or, if you don't want to listen to the speaker, you can just page through the class outline and read the information that she talks about on the slides.

If you are looking for a good beginning course on England, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Russia or US genealogy research, Reading Handwritten Records (in a number of languages), or Research Principles and Tools, these free online classes are pretty good.

They provide an excellent balance between offline research and online research methods and tools.

Randy's Speaking in the OC on Wednesday, 21 July

I am making a presentation titled "Finding Your Elusive Ancestors: Doing a Reasonably Exhaustive Search" at the Genealogical Society of North Orange County, California (GSNOCC) on Wednesday, 21 July at 7 p.m. in Yorba Linda, California. The meeting is at the Yorba Linda Community Center (4501 Casa Loma Avenue, near Imperial Highway (see map here).

A program announcement is provided on the GSNOCC Musings blog titled July Program - Randy Seaver. The program description says:

"The first element of the Genealogical Proof Standard [GPS] is 'to do a reasonably exhaustive search.' In this presentation, Randy Seaver will explain the GPS, take us on a whirlwind tour through traditional and online resources that should be included in a search, discuss his favorite search strategies and techniques, and introduce several case studies of his still elusive ancestors."

And to top it off, this is the Ice Cream Social evening for GSNOCC. I'm really looking forward to the evening.

If you have a free evening in the Los Angeles and Orange County area, please come to this meeting and enjoy a genealogical talk (really interesting?) and ice cream (really good!).

Amanuensis Monday - Josiah Sawtell 1804 NH Deed

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 a land deed found last week by Martin Hollick, and sent to me via email in an intentional act of genealogical kindness! Martin writes the excellent The Slovak Yankee blog.

In the deed, Josiah "Sawtel" of "Townshend" in Middlesex County, Massachusetts sold a plot of 20 acres of land in Brookline in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire to Samuel Hale of Pepperrell (in Middlesex County, Massachusetts) for the sum of $160.86 on 20 February 1804. The deed was recorded on 21 Februaryu 1804, and is in the Hillsborough County [New Hampshire] Deed Records, Volume 61, Page 114-115. The deed reads:

"Sawtel to Hale [in margin]

"Know all men by these presents that I Josiah Sawtel of Townshend in the county of Middlesex and commonwealth of Massachusetts husbandman that for the consideration of one hundred and sixty dollars and eighty six cents to me in hand paid by Samuel Hale of Pepperill in county and commonwealth aforesaid merchant The receipt whereof I do hereby acknowledge do hereby give grant sell and convey to the said Samuel a certain piece of land situated in the southwesterly part of Brookline in the county of Hillsborough and state of New hampshire containing about twenty acres be the same more or less bounded as follows (viz.) beginning at the northwesterly corner of the premises at the south west corner of Samuel Russels land in the east line of the corner of Mason thence southerly on said Mason Line about fifty three rods to land of Nathaniel Patten thence easterly by said Pattens land about fifty rods to the road thence northerly by said road to said Russels land thence west about fourty rods to said Russels land to the place of beginning

"To have and to hold the same with all the privileges and appurtenances thereto belonging to him the said Samuel his heirs and assigns forever and I the said Josiah Sawtell do for myself my heirs executors and administrators covenant with the said Samuel his heirs executors and administrators that I am lawfully seized of the above granted premises in fee simple and that the[y] are free of all incumbrances and that I have good right to sell and convey the same to the said Samuel in manner aforesaid and that [I] and my heirs executors and administrators will warrant and defend the same to the said Samuel his heirs and assigns against the lawful claims and demands of all persons forever. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal together with my wife as a token of her relinquishing her right of Dower and power of thirds in the premises this twentieth day of February in the year of our Lord Eighteen hundred and Four Signed sealed and delivered in presence of
Shobal C. Allen .............................................. Josiah Sawtel {seal}
Jno. Barnard ................................................ Hannah Sawtel {seal}
Middlesex Ss Feb'y 20th 1804.

"Personally appeared the within named Josiah Sawtell and acknowledged the within instrument by him subscribed to be his fee act and deed before me -- Daniel Adams Just peace

"Rec.d & recorded 21 Feb'y 45 min. past 6 O'Clock A.M. 1804 & exam.d by Isaac Brooks, Reg.r"

Josiah must have been in a hurry to sell this land - the deed was written on 20 February 1804 and he appeared at 6:45 AM the next morning to register the deed with the Clerk.

This plot of land was right up against the town line of Mason, which is just to the west of Brookline town. So now I have a location, and need to check for additional deeds for Josiah Sawtell - both in the Grantor and Grantee indexes - in hopes that they will shed more light on the records of Josiah and Hannah (Smith) Sawtell.

These land records are also available on microfilm through the LDS Family History Library Catalog. Volume 61 of the Hillsborough County Deed Records (1771-1901) is on FHL Microfilm 0,015,961. I could check the Deed Index for Sawtell and Smith in the Grantee Index, S-Z 1771-1849 (FHL Microfilm 0,015,926) and Grantor Index S-Z 1771-1849 (FHL Microfilm 0,015,917).

Since the deed register starts in 1771, there may be earlier deeds for the Hillsborough County area in records for New Hampshire Colony, since Hillsborough County was created in 1771 from Colonial lands.

Martin apparently saw my Surname Saturday post about my SMITH family of New Hampshire from 11 July, and tried to help me find records for the family. He noted that he looked in the microfilms at NEHGS in hopes that Josiah Sawtell sold land that was formerly the property of Hannah (Smith) Sawtell's parents. It wasn't, but that's the breaks, as they say. Thank you, Martin Hollick!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

CGSSD Meeting Summary - Steve Morse Presentations

Dr. Stephen P. Morse, PhD, provided three hours of lecture and presentation on the Steve Morse One-Step Webpages at the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego meeting on Saturday, 17 July. There were over 90 in attendance. Steve's biography and curriculum vitae are provided in the meeting announcement here.

Steve's first talk, two hours, was titled "A Potpourri of Genealogical Search Tools" and the second, one hour, talk was titled "A Hodgepodge of Lesser-Known Gems." There were two four-page handouts that covered many of the topics presented.

The Steve Morse One-Step Webpages site is Don't go to In the presentations, he demonstrated how to use many of his web pages, especially those used for genealogy research. Steve usually used a well-known historical person to illustrate how to navigate the different search tools, and the graphics were often very funny. You can read much of the first presentation in his webpage A One-Step Portal for On-Line Genealogy.

Some of the Search Tool categories demonstrated were, for example:

* Ellis Island Search Forms and Ship Arrivals
* Castle Garden years (1855-1891) plus other New York Arrivals
* Other Ports of Immigration
* US Census and Soundex (1790-1940)
* Canadian and British Census
* Births, Deaths, and other Vital Records
* Calendar, Sunrise/Sunset, Maps
* Dealing with Characters in Foreign Alphabets
* Creating your own Search Applications
* Last-Minute Bidding and Bid History on eBay.

Within each category above, there are a number of different search tools that can be used to search databases with Steve's tools. His search results often find matches faster and with less confusion than using the specialized websites like,, and many others. If the specialized website is a subscription site, then the user has to have a subscription. Users at a library or FHC can use Ancestry Library Edition or Ancestry Institution.

Some of the things I learned and will pursue using the One-Step Webpages include:

* Many of the One-Step Webpages searches can use first and last names with options of: "starts with," "is exactly," "contains" or "sounds like." This is very useful on the free Ellis Island and Castle Garden sites, and is similar to what uses on their Old Search pages for immigration and census records.

* There are some ships manifests that are not complete, or have bad links from the index to the record, on some of the sites. There are ways to work around that - see Ship Lists and Missing Manifests on the A One-Step Portal for On-Line Genealogy page.

* The Census ED Finder and using the 1930 Census to find the ED for the 1920 and 1940 census is very useful if you know where your family lived in those years, but cannot find them in the census records. You can use the Census ED Finder to determine the ED and then use that information to browse the census page by page.

* The demonstration of how to find a living person's birth date was interesting -- the process is in the Vital Records section of the A One-Step Portal for On-Line Genealogy page.

* The Relationship Calculator looks very useful - its also on the A One-Step Portal for On-Line Genealogy page.

* The Where's Grandpa link is classic - some attendees thought that it was a real site. Steve's user's email comments to him were classic - he only showed the clean ones, I think.

This was a fantastic presentation by Steve Morse - I enjoyed every minute of it. I tried to guess who most of his historical figures were before he revealed them, and was right about most of them. The descriptions I heard most when I talked to colleagues was "fantastic" and "overwhelming."

I've used Steve's Webpages only occasionally (mainly because I don't search for immigration records very often, and am fairly adept at searching, but will try some of these tools out - especially the living people tool, the date translation tool and the geographical tools.

If you ever have a chance to hear Steve speak in person, I encourage you to attend and take good notes.

UPDATED 7/19: Removed links for categories - they didn't work. The categories are broad, with many topics in them, so go to and click on individual search tool links.

Best of the Genea-Blogs - 11-17 July 2010

Hundreds of genealogy and family history bloggers write thousands of posts every week about their research, their families, and their interests. I appreciate each one of them and their efforts.

My criteria for "Best of ..." are pretty simple - I pick posts that advance knowledge about genealogy and family history, address current genealogy issues, provide personal family history, are funny or are poignant. I don't list posts destined for the genealogy carnivals, or other meme submissions (but I do include summaries of them), or my own posts.

Here are my picks for great reads from the genealogy blogs for this past week:

* Doc, transcription & analysis in sheet protectors by Pat Richley on the DearMYRTLE's Genealogy Blog. Pat recaps her recent activities, and has suggestions for preserving documents, transcriptions and photos.

* The Holy Grail: New Genealogists by Marian Pierre-Louis on the Roots & Rambles blog. Marian analyzed recent NEHGS survey results, and came up with advice on how to attract new genealogists - for bloggers, societies, conferences, vendors, publishers, etc.

* IGI on FamilySearch beta/pilot Websites by the writer of The Ancestry Insider blog. Mr. AI answered a recent question of mine - thanks! It's what I thought - they aren't all there, yet.

* Twice Told Tuesday - Men's Under-Clothing by footnoteMaven on he Shades of the Departed blog. fM has a fascinating piece this week - men's underwear and shoes. I can hardly wait for the followup on women's underclothing!

* IAJGS 2010: Sunday, July 11 Opening, IAJGS 2010: Breakfast with the bloggers, IAJGS 2010: Persian Jewish genetic disorders by Schelly Talalay Dardashti on the Tracing the Tribe: The Jewish Genealogy Blog. Schelly shared her experiences at the IAJGS conference in Los Angeles last week. Neat picture of Thomas, Schelly and Lisa too!

* Preserving Your Research For Posterity by Linda McCauley on the Documenting the Details blog. Linda ponders how to preserve her research, and raises issues that we all need to think through.

* We did it! Reuniting a MIA American soldier's dog tags with family by Lorine McGinnis Schulze on the Olive Tree Genealogy Blog. Another wonderful story of reuniting a family with the dog tags of their World War II loved one - great work, Lorine!

* The GeneaTweets: 16/07/2010 by Robert on the MyHeritage Blog. Robert collects funny, weird and intriguing tweets from Twitter with a genealogy, ancestry or relatives theme. Some are really funny!

* A Festival of Postcards (8th Ed.) - GEO by Evelyn Yvonne Theriault on the A Canadian Family blog. This postcard carnival has over 30 entries on the theme of geography. A fascinating collection!

* Sojourn in Slovakia: Day 4 (Part 2) and Sojourn in Slovakia: Day 4 (Part 3) by Lisa A. Alzo on The Accidental Genealogist blog. Lisa's Slovakia trip summaries continue, with many family and food highlights!

Other "Best of..." weekly pick posts are here:

* Weekly Genealogy Picks by John Newmark on the TransylvanianDutch blog. John also links to other weekly pick posts.

* Follow Friday - 16 July 2010 by Greta Koehl on Greta's Genealogy Bog.

I encourage you to go to the blogs listed above and read their articles, and add their blog to your Favorites, Bloglines, reader, feed or email if you like what you read. Please make a comment to them also - all bloggers appreciate feedback on what they write.

Did I miss a great genealogy blog post? Tell me! I am currently reading posts from over 650 genealogy bloggers using Bloglines, but I still miss quite a few it seems.

Read past Best of the Genea-Blogs posts here.