Saturday, August 7, 2010

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Make Your Own Gravestone

Calling all Genea-Musings readers -- it's Saturday Night, time for more Genealogy Fun!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, and I hope that you do, is to:

1) Think about how you want your gravestone to look. What do you want on it as a genealogist? As a child, sibling, parent, spouse, friend? Maybe some sort of witty saying?

2) Tell us about it in text, or create your own gravestone using the online services of companies like Headstones and Memorials. Remember that you have only a limited space to work with and that the bigger they are, the more costly they are.

3) Show us your stone, or what you would put on the stone, in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook status or comment.

Here's mine:

As a genealogist, I want our names to be complete (with Linda's maiden name), and with full birth and death dates. I want a short sentimental statement about each of us, and one about both of us. I also don't want it to break the bank, or to be very ostentatious (I think an in-ground grave marker or wall inurnment works well).

I used the Headstones and Memorials site to create this in dark granite:

This was very easy to do online - you choose a format, a marker material, what you want on it, the border design, press a button and voila! you can see what you created.

Come on now, I showed you mine - now show me yours! It's not too hard, and it may save your children and grandchildren a lot of heartache!

How did I capture the image above? By taking a screenshot (using the Print Screen button on my keyboard), pasting it into a document, saving the screenshot image, and cropping the image in my photo program. Easy once you get the hang of it!

Surname Saturday - HAZARD (England > RI)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I am up to number 93, who is Mary Hazard (1772-????), one of my 4th-great-grandparents.

My ancestral line back through six generations of HAZARD 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)

46. Jonathan Oatley (1790-1872)
47. Amy Champlin (1798-1865)

92. Joseph Oatley, born 17 July 1756 in South Kingstown, Washington County, RI, and died 29 November 1815 in South Kingston, Washington County, RI. He was the son of 184. Benedict Oatley and 185. Elizabeth/Betsy Ladd. He married 29 January 1781 in South Kingstown, Washington County, RI.
93. Mary Hazard, born about 1764 in Newport, Newport County, RI; died 20 May 1857 in South Kingstown, Washington County, RI. She was the daughter of 2. Stephen Hazard and 3. Elizabeth Carpenter.

Joseph Oatley and Mary Hazard had children: Polly Oatley (1781-1796); Hannah Oatley (1783-????); Betsy Oatley (1786-????); Nancy Oatley (1788-1874); Jonathan Oatley (1790-1872); Joseph Oatley (1793-1883); Stephen Oatley (1796-????); Mary Oatley (1798-????); Benedict Oatley (1800-1811); Susan Oatley (1803-1895); Rouse Oatley (1806-1812).

186. Stephen Hazard, born about 1730 in North Kingstown, Washington County, RI; died 24 October 1804 in North Kingstown, Washington County, RI. He married about 1760 in RI.
187. Elizabeth Carpenter, born 02 October 1741 in South Kingstown, Washington County, RI. She was the daughter of 374. Daniel Carpenter and 375. Renewed Smith.

Children of Stephen Hazard and Elizabeth Carpenter are: Thomas Hazard (1760-????); Mary Hazard (1764-1857); Martha Hazard (1767-????); Rouse Hazard (1770-????); Sarah Hazard (1775-????); Elizabeth Hazard (1783-????).

372. Thomas Hazard, born 28 July 1707 in North Kingstown, Washington County, RI; died 1741 in South Kingstown, Washington County, RI. He married 22 February 1726/27 in South Kingstown, Washington County, RI.
373. Hannah Slocum, born 05 April 1710 in Jamestown, Newport County, RI; died 24 January 1736/37 in North Kingstown, Washington County, RI. She was the daughter of 746. Samuel Slocum and 747. Hannah Carr.

Child of Thomas Hazard and Hannah Slocum is: Stephen Hazard (1730-1804).

744. Stephen Hazard, born about 1665 in Portsmouth, Newport County, RI; died 29 September 1727 in South Kingstown, Washington County, RI. He married before 1695 in North Kingstown, Washington County, RI.
745. Elizabeth Helme, born 1677 in Kingstown, Washington County, RI; died 1727 in RI. She was the daughter of 1490. Rouse Helme and 1491. Mary Eldred.

Children of Stephen Hazard and Elizabeth Helme are: Mary Hazard (1695-????); Hannah Hazard (1697-????); Susannah Hazard (1699-????); Stephen Hazard (1700-????); Robert Hazard (1702-????); Samuel Hazard (1705-????); Thomas Hazard (1707-1741); Elizabeth Hazard (1709-????); Sarah Hazard (1711-????).

1488. Robert Hazard, born about 1628 in ENGLAND; died 1710 in Portsmouth, Newport County, RI. He married about 1659 in Portsmouth, Newport County, RI.
1489. Mary Brownell, born April 1639 in probably Braintree, Norfolk County, MA; died 12 January 1739/40 in South Kingstown, Washington County, RI. She was the daughter of 2978. Thomas Brownell and 2979. Ann Bourne.

Children of Robert Hazard and Mary Brownell are: Thomas Hazard (1660-1746); George Hazard (1663-1743); Stephen Hazard (1665-1727); Mary Hazard (1666-1698); Martha Hazard (1668-1753); Robert Hazard (1670-1718); Jeremiah Hazard (1675-1768); Hannah Hazard (1677-1713).

2976. Thomas Hazard, born about 1610 in ENGLAND; died after 06 August 1677 in Portsmouth, Newport County, RI. He married before 1628 in ENGLAND.
2977. Martha, born about 1610 in ENGLAND; died before 29 May 1675 in Portsmouth, Newport County, RI.

Children of Thomas Hazard and Martha are: Robert Hazard (1628-1710); Elizabeth Hazard (1631-1711); Hannah Hazard (1637-1685); Martha Hazard (1641-1680).

This is a fine old Rhode Island family, which was chronicled in the book The Hazard Family of Rhode Island, 1635 - 1894, by Caroline E. Robinson, published in 1895. The best information about the Thomas Hazard's life (the immigrant) is in the book by Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration, 1634-1635, Volume 3, G-H, published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society in 2003.

Are there any Hazard cousins reading out in genea-blog reader land? If so, let's share information on our common families - email me at

Friday, August 6, 2010

Family Tree Maker 2011 Announced

I received an email from that Family Tree Maker 2011 is available for pre-orders - the link is here. The price is $39.95 with free shipping, with pre-orders ending 18 August.

Why should someone order and use Family Tree Maker 2011? The email listed a list of additions to the program, including:

o Smart Stories – a narrative tool. Ready to start on an ancestor's story? The Smart Story™ editor makes it easy to drag and drop text and photos from your tree into story pages that will update automatically when you make changes to your tree.

o New and improved charts. Enjoy four new fan chart styles. Enhance charts with backgrounds, borders and embellishments. And use fonts you can change based on fact type.

o Enhanced reports. We've enhanced ancestor and descendant reports, added a surname report and allowed you to sort custom reports, plus you can now save and reuse report settings.

o New media management tools. Drag and drop, cut and paste, and even categorize multiple items at the same time. You'll also find a new tool that will help you locate missing media files.

o More complete and relevant timelines. Find and add more events to your ancestors' lives. Add, edit and delete your own historical events. And apply historical events by time and geography.

o Improved integration with has millions of members all over the world. And now you can find out if any of them are searching for your ancestors by viewing MemberConnect activity on your home page, plus links to related message boards and new messages in your inbox. You'll also enjoy faster uploading and downloading of your tree.

The order page has more information about "What's New," "features you've come to rely on," the interaction between FTM 2011 and, etc.

The order page indicates that this is still a Windows only piece of software at this time. Minimum and recommended computer requirements are also listed. I'm not sure I have enough computer power now. has released a new version of Family Tree Maker every year since 2008, amid much fanfare and complaints from users, and each time users have been asked to pay for the yearly upgrade, which is usually followed by a Service Pack download with improvements for the specific software package.

The email doesn't say "since you're such a valued and repeat customer, we're offering you a deal to upgrade to FTM 2011." Not yet, anyway. Will they? Acquires ProGenealogists, Inc.

I received an email announcement from today about their acquisition of ProGenealogists, Inc., as did many other bloggers. I see that Thomas MacEntee on Geneabloggers and Leland Meitzler on GenealogyBlog have posted it in full, so I won't waste the bandwidth. There may be others that I haven't seen yet.

What does it mean for customers, ProGenealogists customers, the ProGenealogists company and employees, and for the genealogy industry?

Leland commented that ProGenealogists have a fine reputation in genealogy circles for having excellent genealogists on staff, a fine website, efficient management, and for being a profitable company.

Some thoughts and questions of mine:

* How large a company is ProGenealogists, Inc.? I don't know, but their About Us web page lists 33 credentialed and professional genealogists, many of whom are very well-known and recognized in the profession. There may be other employees or contractors that work on a full-time or part-time basis.

* benefits by having more professional researchers that can perform quality research as required. Does want to have more professional research done in order to promote their products? Has been unable to find researchers for some geographic areas or research topic expertise in their group of ExpertConnect researchers?

* ProGenealogists, Inc. benefits from the acquisition by having a broader, more reliable and more consistent customer base. Perhaps will use ProGenealogists employees to help with ExpertConnect research requests. Perhaps they will use ProGenealogists employees at research consultant tables at conferences and seminars.

* Will the ProGenealogists management team be left intact? Or will it be replaced, or something in between? Will some of the senior employees at ProGenealogists be retiring?

* I don't think that this will impact individual genealogists, other than it may be an employment opportunity. The percentage of researchers that use professionals is relatively small, I think, but if this enhances the ExpertConnect feature on, it may induce more use of that service.

* Will this impact the current group of ExpertConnect researchers working with In many cases, having researchers in local areas is the only way to work some genealogy challenges.

Disclosure: I am not an employee, contractor or affiliate of either or ProGenealogists. I am an admirer of both companies, and have a fully paid US Deluxe subscription to

Searching the Wiki - Post 2

In Post 1 of this series, I demonstrated how easy it was to search the inter-connected online family tree website for a specific person, and the information that might be found for a specific person.

In this post, we'll explore some of the links to other people, to places and to articles.

First, starting from the previous screen in Post 1, I can click on one of the parents, a sibling, a spouse or a child of George Soule, the Mayflower Pilgrim. All names that go to a Person Page are linked. I clicked on Nathaniel Soule, son of George and Mary (Bucket) Soule, and saw his Person Page:

A user can quickly navigate from one person to another, up a tree, down a tree, sideways in a tree to siblings, etc. This works very quickly and efficiently. I ran up the online tree from Nathaniel Soule to my great-grandmother, Julia White (1848-1913), and then back down her White line to William White, the Mayflower Pilgrim just to see if there were any other researchers that had submitted information about these specific families. Usually, only the first two or three generations from the immigrants have submittals from other researchers.

The References at the end of each sketch, if listed, may be linked to a Source Page. Here is the Source Page for the Robert Charles Anderson book, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633:

On each Person Page, each place listed for Facts and Events are linked to a Place Page. Here is the Place Page for Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts:

Using the "Search" tab in the menu line, a user can search for articles about people, places, topics, events, users and anything else that might have been submitted. I searched for a number of surnames. One of the articles that came up was this one for William Bassett (1595?-1667) that was submitted:

Note that the article above was not submitted as information into the Person Page for William Bassett, but was submitted as an article. It does link to the Person Page for William Bassett, the Person Pages for others mentioned in the article, the Place Page for Plymouth Colony, etc.

The wiki is a place that a user can submit almost anything related to genealogy - persons, places, topics, etc., and it will be accepted and used. They encourage member submissions. This can be a wonderful website for family information, genealogy education, genealogy projects, etc., but people have to use it and contribute to it. Right now, I think that it's a "hidden gem."

Go explore the Community Portal to see what has been added with a focus on a specific area or time frame. The introduction to the Community Portal says:

"Welcome to your community portal. This is where you can find out what's happening at WeRelate, read and participate in ongoing discussions, join a WeRelate project, make announcements, invite collaborators, ask questions, and learn what tasks need to be done."

There is so much more to the wiki - I will try to explore more features in the next few posts in this series.

I'm curious - has any reader used, or decided not to use it? I would appreciate comments as to why (or why not) readers have used it. What are the problems with it? How could it be improved? Readers could also provide feedback on the website - I'm sure that Dallan Quass and his team would appreciate that.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Searching the Wiki - Post 1

I haven't posted much about the genealogy wiki recently, although I did a "Wikis for Genealogy" presentation that included WeRelate in May 2010. At that time, I uploaded a second GEDCOM file with my White ancestors that included many colonial Rhode Island and Plymouth Colony ancestral families.

One of the comments in my presentation was that WeRelate is a bit difficult to navigate because information about each family (husband and wife) was on one web page and information about each person was on a separate Person page. In June, modified their page design and really improved navigation - it's much easier and user-friendly now ( had nothing to do with the change!). is an online family tree system in a wiki format. It is an inter-connected family tree, meaning that it is one big tree where each person has a page - there are not supposed to be separate pages for the same person in two or more trees. Researchers like you and me can submit a GEDCOM file to WeRelate, but we have to match any persons in our database with persons already in the WeRelate database. This is done person by person, and can take awhile if we submit a large GEDCOM file.

To submit data to, you need to register as a user. The data that is added to the family tree is what you submit. However, if more than one person submits conflicting data for the same person, the wiki feature permits all submitters to collaborate and discuss the differences with each other. For some historical persons for which there are many submitters, the content is "semi-protected" based on a consensus reached by the moderators on the system.

All of the data on the system is available to view and search for free. To see how the system works, the home page has some tutorial videos that guide a new user through the website and system. These are well done and very helpful.

I want to demonstrate the Search process in the screens below and they will show some of the breadth of the system. Here is the Home Page screen:

I clicked on the "Search" link in the menu row and it shows six choices - All, Articles, People, Images, Sources and Places. I wanted to search for a person, so I clicked on the "People" link and saw the search fields:

I chose Given Name = "george" and Surname = "soule" and added Spouse given = "mary" in the screen above, and saw:

The search field with the match results are shown above. I picked the first name on the list, George Soule, husband of Mary Buckett. George was a Mayflower passenger, and is one of my ancestors. The George Soule "Person Page" came up (four screens below) with:

On the first screen above, the "Facts and Events" information about George, the name of his spouse and the places are listed in blue - these are links to other Person pages or Place pages. On the left sidebar are the wiki-style links to Edit, History, Rename, Unwatch, Trees, etc. Below those links is a list of the registered members that have submitted or are watching the specific person. I'm on that list.

On the right sidebar are the list(s) of Parents with Siblings and further down are "Spouse(s) and Children. all of the names have links to Person Pages.

Further down the Person Page, there are sections for Origins and Will of George Soule. For persons that have a lot of information posted, the submitted information has been broken up into sections.

At the bottom of the Person Page is a list of References that include any footnote numbers in the "Facts and Events" area (but not the notes area), plus whatever additional references were added.

For the case of George Soule, a significant portion of the text added came from the Wikipedia article for George Soule.

For some of the persons in, the Facts and Events, the Research Notes and the References have been "vetted" by knowledgeable persons with access to "authoritative" references. For George Soule, those "authoritative" references include Wikipedia, the website, a Massachusetts town vital record book, and several town history books. In many cases, the information from Robert Charles Anderson's compendium "The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633 has been summarized and used.

While the website has only about 1.8 million Person Pages in the system, there may be information on those pages that is helpful to researchers. I encourage my readers to at least search for their ancestral families, and if you like the system to register and contribute to the system.

I really like the wiki concept and think that it has been implemented well. The site is still in beta test, but has matured well and is useful as a resource and an inter-connected family tree site.

I will write more about navigating on the website, about some of the other features, plus my experiences in submitting GEDCOM data to the site.

Treasure Chest Thursday - Charles Auble Obituaries

It's Treasure Chest Thursday - time to "show and tell" a document or artifact about my ancestral families.

Newspaper obituaries are often the only "window" to every day events in a person's life, other than vital records, military records, land records, probate records, etc.

My great-grandfather, Charles Auble (1849-1916) left no personal papers and my grandmother and mother didn't talk about him much, other than to say that he was a painter and a drunk who died months after falling down the stairs.

These two newspaper articles, probably from the San Diego Union newspaper (they are undated), provide some glimpses into Charlie's professional life:

This article reads:

" Charles Auble, Old Time Painter, Dead

"Departed Brother Leaves Widow and Daughter to Mourn Departure -- Funeral Will Be Saturday Afternoon

"Charles Auble, an old time member of the Painter's Union, died Thursday night at his home, 767 Fourteenth street. He leaves a widow, Georgia, one daughter, Emily, to mourn his departure.

"Brother Auble has been a member of the Painter's union for many years, coming to San Diego from Chicago about five years ago, and immediately affiliating with local No. 333 in San Diego.

"Funeral services will be held at the Bradley & Woolman chapel at 2 o'clock Saturday afternoon, interment being in Greenwood cemetery. All members of Painter's union and friends are requested to be present."

This article may have been clipped from the labor newspaper, The Labor Leader, in San Diego, or from the San Diego Union. It reads:

"Honor the Memory of Departed Brother
"Painters' Union No. 333, Adopt Resolutions of Condolence in Memory of Charles Aubell -- Was Old and Honored Member
"A committee of Painters' Union No. 333 submitted the following resolutions in honor of the memory of Charles Aubell, one of the old and honored members of the Painters' union, who died March 23, and were adopted at the meeting of the Painters' union Monday night.
" 'To the Officers and Members Local Union No. 333
" 'Your committee on resolutions of condolence on the death of our late brother, Charles Aubell, beg leave to submit the following:
" 'Whereas, Nature's law requires that we, each and every one of us, sooner or later, go into transition, commonly known as and called death, thereby relieving us of all earthly cares and burdens we might have been carrying, leaving family and friends to mourn our passing, in accordance with the degree in which we were environed, and
" 'Whereas, In accordance with that inexorable law, the Brotherhood of Painters, Decorators and Paperhangers of America have suffered a loss from their ranks and our late honored and esteemed Brother Aubell is no more. While we feel a very keen sadness at our loss, we can but realize that the pain is but a disappointment compared to the real sorrow that must necessarily accompany the great void in the hearts of his helpmate and family in the vicissitude of life, caused by the removal from their midst of the husband and father. Therefore, be it
" 'Resolved, By Local No. 333 of the B. of P., D. and P. of A., that we extend to the bereft family of our late brother, Charles Aubell, an expression of that sincere sympathy which we each and every one feel in this their seemingly darkest hour and sorrow of their lives, with an assurance of our best offices in every way possible in alleviating the pain, and be it further
" 'Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be furnished the family of the deceased, that they be published in The Labor Leader, and be made a part of our minutes.
" ' G.W. Myers
Arthur H. Dutton
H.M. Hubbard
" 'San Diego, Cal., April 3, 1916' "

I learned several things from these articles - that Charlie was a member of the local Painters' Union in San Diego, that he came from Chicago to San Diego five years before his death, the address of their home in San Diego, the funeral home that managed the funeral, and the planned place of his burial. While the obituary says he was to be buried at Greenwood Cemetery, he is actually buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in San Diego, and his plot does not have a gravestone.
There is nothing in the articles about the cause of death, or anything about Charlie's work as a painter. There are no great words of praise for his character, intellect or contributions to society so often found in printed tributes in newspapers.
The Painters' Union couldn't even get the spelling of his last name right! He really wasn't that old - age 66 at death, and how "honored" could he be after only five years of living in San Diego?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Help me improve the CVGS Member Survey

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society (CVGS) surveys their members every two years, before the next Board is seated, in an effort to understand the capabilities and needs of their members.

The society is planning to improve the survey, and I thought it might be a good idea to ask my readers for their help. The survey questions are listed below.

Which ones should be deleted from the survey (and why)? What questions should be added to the survey (and why)? The survey is limited to one page in length, so there are only 26 questions in the available space. The survey is oriented to San Diego County because that is where CVGS is located.

Here is the late 2008 survey question list:

1. How many years have you been pursuing genealogy research? How many years have you been a member of CVGS?

2. What caused you to start doing genealogy research?

3. How often do you do some genealogy research activity? (e.g., daily, weekly, monthly?)

4. In what areas of the USA do you have ancestry? Have you been to these areas to perform research?

5. In what foreign countries do you have ancestry? Have you been to these countries to perform research?

6. Have you done research at the San Diego Family History Center? If so, how often do you go there? (weekly, monthly, yearly?)

7. Have you done research at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City? If so, how often have you been there?

8. At what San Diego County libraries have you done genealogy research? (CVPL, SDPL, SDGS, Carlsbad, others?)

9. Do you have and use a computer system? Is it a Windows system, or a Macintosh system? Do you have a laptop computer?

10. How would you describe your Internet skills? Are they non-existent, poor, fair, good, great, expert?

11. How often do you go on the Internet to pursue genealogy research? (e.g., daily, weekly, monthly?)

12. Have you posted your genealogy research on a family tree or social network web site? If so, which site(s)?

13. Have you used the LDS web site? If so, how often do you use it?

14. Have you used the web site? If so, how often do you use it?

15. Do you subscribe to If so, how often do you use it?

16. Have you used Google ( to find genealogy data? If so, how often do you use it?

17. How often do you go to the CVGS web site? Do you read the CVGS newsletter at the CVGS web site, or download it to read?

18. How often do you read the Chula Vista Genealogy Café blog ( (Daily, weekly, monthly)

19. Have you posted messages on either the Rootsweb/Ancestry or Genforum message boards (surname or locality)?

20. Do you subscribe to any Rootsweb email lists for surnames or localities? If so, how many?

21. What other genealogy societies do you belong to?

22. What genealogy magazines or periodicals do you subscribe to?

23. What genealogy database software do you use? Do you need more training in using the software?

24. Have you attended the monthly CVGS Research Group? If so, how often?

25. Have you attended the monthly CVGS Computer Group? If so, how often?

26. What suggestions do you have for ways that CVGS can better serve you, or help you pursue genealogy research?

Note: CVGS also sends out a program survey every two years to determine the topics that members are interested in learning about.

Does your local society do a membership survey of this nature? I would greatly appreciate a copy of your society survey if you want to share it with me (

Thank you for your help! I look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions.

Working in the Text Archives

When I Google the names of an ancestral couple to see if there are other researchers, or resources, available for the couple, the website often appears.

When I click on the link, the text version of the document appears. Because the web page opened at the top of the document, I had to use the Search box to find what I wanted in the text created by Optical Character Recognition (OCR). Often, my Internet browser would lock up and I would have to close down and restart Internet Explorer. This lead to much frustration on my part.

I found a better way to read and search documents on the site.

Here is the web page after I Googled ["daniel spangler" "elizabeth king"] - the text version of the book Genealogical Records of George Small appeared:

Notice the red button in the upper left-hand corner - it says "See other formats." When I click on that button, I see:

Here I have choices to "Read Online," "PDF," "PDF (B/W)," "EPUB," "Kindle," "Daisy," "Full text," and "DIVu." The PDF files are pretty large. There is also information about the book and its digitization.

If I choose to read it online, I see:

Here are the images of the book pages. In the right-hand column, I can enter a search term. I entered "spangler" in the search field on the screen above, and saw:

There are links to each search match in the right-hand column. I clicked on one of the matches and saw:

The search term is highlighted on the page. I could search each of the search matches or modify my search term.

Turning the page is easy - you click on the page and you see the page turned to the next page. The user can zoom in or out, can choose one page or two to display, etc., using icons up in the menu bar.

The user can print individual pages using a mouse right-click and Print Picture. Or the user can save the entire book by downloading the PDF file or the Full Text file.

For some books, the text on the book pages can be highlighted with the mouse and copied and pasted into another computer file. The result is usually better than the OCR text file. However, for the George Small book above, I could not highlight, copy and paste the text.

I'm very happy that my frustration with the OCR version on is relieved and that I can use the efficiently and effectively.

While Google Books has many online surname and locality books, they don't have all of them. The and BYU Family History Archive should be consulted for published books about our ancestral families.

(not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 114: Another early 1900s San Diego View

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:

I posted a photograph taken from the upper floor of the Carringer house at 2105 30th Street in San Diego looking to the southwest last week.

The photograph above was probably taken at the same time, in the decade of the 1900s, but is looking toward the northwest. 30th Street runs from bottom left to middle right, and the cross street shown is Ivy Street west of 30th Street. The streetcar is shown running on 30th Street, and you can see the power poles installed every 50 feet or so. The house built by D.J. and Rebecca Carringer before 1900 is shown on the northwest corner of 30th and Ivy Streets. The building in the right foreground is on the Carringer property, and now I know about several other pictures of that building, since it is fairly distinctive.

This is essentially the same view we had from our living room at 2119 30th Street when my family lived in the upstairs apartment from 1947 to 1968. Of course, the street was paved, and the blocks were totally filled with houses, and several houses in the picture above were torn down for apartment houses (including the DJ Carringer house and the house on the southwest corner of 30th and Ivy Streets).

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

More NGS Genealogy Videos are online

The National Genealogical Society (NGS) has been interviewing notable persons in the genealogy profession, and has made some videos available to any viewer on their web site, and more videos available only to NGS members.

1) The non-member videos are at and they include:

* Paths to Your Past. Want your own personal copy of Paths to Your Past on DVD? Click here to buy today.

* American Genealogy: Home Study Course (17.3MB)

* NGS Conferences-What to Expect

* Interviews with Thomas Adams, 2009 Rubincam Youth Award Winner

** The Award (23.8MB) Genealogy puts history into personal perspective for high school student Thomas Adams, recipient of the Rubincam Youth Award.
** My Research (11.9MB) Young family history sleuth Thomas Adams talks about his "Eureka!" moment.
** Inspiring Others (14.8MB) Thomas' discoveries encourage his friends to follow their own roots.

* Interviews with Helen F.M. Leary, CG (emeritus), FASG, FNGS (Sponsored by Jan A. Alpert)

** How I Became a Genealogist
** Jefferson Hemings Research
** My Family
** On Genealogy
** Stories from My Research

2) Behind the NGS subscription wall, there are more videos for members to screen at, including:

* Interviews with Willis White, CG

** My Family (24.3MB)
** Letters from My Ancestors (47.2MB)
** How Geology Made Me a Better Genealogist (31.9MB)

* Interviews with Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA

** Genealogy Is History, Up Close and Personal (43.8 MB)
** The Importance of NGS (48.9 MB)
** Family Traditions: My Choctaw Princess (23 MB)
** We Are All Cousins (43.1 MB)
** The Search (38.8 MB)

Interviews with David Rencher, AG, CG, FIGRS, FUGA

** My Family (51.5MB) -- A surprising and delightful story about how the search for family history revealed the present
** My Life in Genealogy (40.9MB) -- How David became a genealogist, his own research and his career
** FamilySearch & the Family History Library (43.3MB)-- A bit of the history of FamilySearch and the library and the importance of genealogy in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
** On NGS (21.25MB) -- David’s view of the importance of NGS

There are videos coming of Thomas H. Jones, Leslie Anderson, NARA and Laura DeGrazia.

Each of these videos are relatively short - no more than five minutes for most of them. A researcher can spend several delightful hours watching and learning from these masters of the art of genealogical research.

I wonder why NGS chose to put the newest videos behind the firewall? To me, it's like preaching to the choir. Shouldn't the marketing effort of NGS be to those researchers who are not members? tries to help me. And you too!

While trying to find records for H.A. Knapp last night, I got frustrated by's effort to "help me" fill in the blanks on their search form. It seemed that every time I input his first name in the form and then clicked quickly down to the birth year I got this entry in the form:

Hiram Beemer? That is not the name I wanted - Ancestry kindly filled in the blanks for me because Hiram Beemer was in the dropdown list that appeared just as I clicked into the birth year field. In other words, I clicked too quickly. If I had tabbed into the field rather than click into the field, this would not have happened. But it did happen several times as I worked in several census databases using only a given name search (since I couldn't find him using first name and last name for some years).

The key to avoiding frustration of this event - after all, is trying to help me by letting me pick a name from my online Member Tree - is to wait for the list of names that match the first name to appear and then either pick one or tab over to the next field, and the list of names disappears.

This feature on, when used properly, could be helpful. Or not, depending on how much information you have in your online Member Tree.

When I input "Hiram" in the First Name field, a list of persons named "Hiram" appeared below the field:

I chose "Hiram Abiathur Knapp" from the list and filled in some of the blanks for me:

When I clicked on the "Search" button, I received many matches in many databases:

Why are there so many matches? Because I had specified name filters of "Restrict to exact, similar & initials" for the first name and "Restrict to exact and similar" for the last name, and a place filter of "Use default settings" for the birth place. Those filter choices expanded the search a bit. I noted that my state name of "VT" for the birthplace worked in the search.

When I limited the last name filter to "exact" and the birthplace to "exact" I received 88 matches.

When I input the last name first, and then the first name, the same "helpful" name list appears. I would have thought that the "helpful" name list in this case would be restricted only to the first name and last name input, but that doesn't seem to be the way it works.

If I enter the first name and then tab quickly to the last name field and enter the last name, the "helpful" name list doesn't appear.

My frustration noted above happened only when I entered the first name and quickly clicked into the birth year field. If I had waited another split second, I would not have had a problem. If I had tabbed out of the first name field, I would not have had the problem.

I understand why offers this "helpful" name list, and now I know how to prevent my frustration with it!

Do you like this "helpful" name list? If so, why? If not, why? Do you wish that they had a check box of some sort to "opt out" of the "helpful" name list?

Tombstone Tuesday - Lawrence L. Cook

It's Tuesday - time for another gravestone photograph. I ran out of photographs of graves of my ancestors and family, so I'm posting photos from my collection of interesting gravestones (as you can imagine, some of them cannot be posted in polite company).

This gravestone caught my eye:

I guess that Mr. Cook is now world famous for his swimming exploits.

Where is this stone? lists it in Union Cemetery in Fort Edward, Washington County, New York.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Searching Collections on FamilySearch Beta and Record Search - they're different!

I've been working quite a bit in the FamilySearch Record Search Pilot over the past few months, and then have been epxloring the Family Search Beta site recently.

Some things puzzle me a lot. For instance, here is the same search done in the same database on the two sites:

1) On the FamilySearch Beta site, the list of "All Collections" looks like this:

There are 289 record collections listed on the FamilySearch Beta site.

I chose the California San Francisco Area Funeral Home Records, 1835-1931 collection to search from the list above. The site noted that there were 43,407 records in that collection.

I clicked on the database, and put "Smith" in the Last Name field (of the Advanced Search box):

The result was 412 matches:

There appear to be no way to filter the matches by gender, first name alphabetized, etc. A searcher could put a first name in the search field on the left sidebar and search again.

2) On the FamilySearch Record Search Pilot screen, there is a list of 430 record collections as of today, with the latest updates or new databases denoted by a red star (which I like!):

I scrolled down to the California San Francisco Area Funeral Homes, 1835-1931 database and clicked on it. I selected the "Advanced Search" box and entered "Smith" in the Last Name field and selected "Exact and close match" in the field next to the "Search" button:

Here are the Search results:

For this search, there were 409 matches. I could refine my search using one of the filters provided (Place, Date, Gender, Last Names, First Names, Role and Event Type), or I could Refine my Search by clicking on the "Refine your search" link.

I wondered why the FamilySearch Beta search had 412 matches, while the Record Search Pilot had only 409. I wondered if there were more if I chose "Exact, close and partial matches" in the RecordSearch Pilot - and I got the same 409 matches. Are there a different number of records in the two collections - that really makes no sense to me. While the difference is small, it does approach 1%, about the same as an indexing error rate in many databases.

What about the order of the matches? You can see by comparing the first list of matches for each search that they list different persons. The organization of the lists is not obvious - they don't seem to be alphabetical on first name, or last name, first name, or on birth year, or on death year. The matches seem to be provided in random order on both sites, but in a different random order! Apparently, there are two different search algorithms.

To recap, the FamilySearch Beta record collection, and the FamilySearch Record Search Pilot record collection have these differences, at least today:

* FamilySearch Beta has 289 collections, while the Record Search Pilot collection has 430. It's not clear if all of the 289 are in the 430 collections in the Record Search Pilot collection, or if FamilySearch Beta has some unique collections not in Record Search Pilot. If I were real energetic, I would compare them, but I'll leave it to others.

* The Search algorithms for the two sites seem to be different, They come up with a different number of matches for a given surname, at least in this selected database (I don't have the patience or time to check several others).

* The order of the presented search matches are also different, and have no apparent logical order.

* The FamilySearch Beta Advanced Search does not have any filters available, while the Record Search Pilot has filters (and they are pretty useful).

* The user can choose "Exact," "Exact and close" or "Exact, close and partial" matches in RecordSearch Pilot, while it is unknown what the search parameters are for FamilySearch Beta.

The gossip on the Internet is that a big change is coming soon to FamilySearch's main website. The speculation is that it will look like the FamilySearch Beta site. Or not. Who knows? Only the FamilySearch Labs folks, I guess.

Whatever it looks like, I sure hope that the site provides the Record Search Pilot filters and search criteria.

Can you tell that I'm confused by all of this? Why are there differences in the search algorithm, the number of matches, etc.? improves Searching by Location

... announced several weeks ago that they had added to and improved their "Search" page to include more maps, links to place pages, a list of recent searches and a list of recently viewed collections. The announcement was made on 13 July 2010 in Updated new search homepage, place pages, recent searches & recently viewed collections on the blog.

I finally was able to shake loose from several presentations (including one on on 12 July!), blogging and updating my database to check out the updated site.

Here is the "new" Search" page - available only for "New Search" users (two screens below):

The new "recent searches" box is just below the Search fields and above the map. The new "recently viewed collections" box is at the top of the right sidebar, above the "Historical Records" list.

As you can see, there is a map of the USA on the "Search" page with links to each state (either by clicking on the state in the map, or by clicking on the state name below the map).

The map above shows the USA tab - there are also tabs for UK & Ireland, Europe, Canada and Australia.

I clicked on "Wisconsin" in the map above and saw the Wisconsin "Collections" page (note the tab):

This page provides a list of statewide collections by category. In the right sidebar is a list of the counties of the state. I wanted to see what was available for Dodge County, Wisconsin, so I scrolled down the county list and clicked on "Dodge":

There are a number of databases for Dodge County, Wisconsin, and most of them are newspapers. It seems like it is much easier to search for a specific county for a specific person rather than use a general search for a specific person in all databases.

There are two other tabs available for Wisconsin (and every state). The "History" tab looks like this:

The page above provides a thumbnail history of Wisconsin, including demographic information, some interesting facts, featured data collections, famous people, and help/advice. There are with links to "more help" on the right sidebar for a map of the state, Wisconsin message boards, Wisconsin member directory, and pages for understanding records and handwriting help.

Note that there are these "History" pages only for the states, not for the counties.

The third tab is for "Resources" which leads to links to other websites with information about the specific state:

Information about state research notes, research resources, vital records, statewide resources, and regional research are provided.

These "Place Pages" are very useful because has almost 30,000 databases in their collection, and it is very hard to find records for a specific state or county, especially in newspaper records.

I thought that the country and state Place pages would form the skeleton for the Family History Wiki, but the Wiki pages are somewhat different - see Wisconsin here (from the Red Book), Wisconsin County Resources here, the list of Wisconsin Counties here, and Dodge County here. Most of the County Pages on the Family History Wiki are stubs, waiting for knowledgeable researchers to add content to them.
Disclosure: I am not an employee, contractor, affiliate or shareholder of I do have a fully paid US Deluxe subscription, and have received no remuneration for this blog post.

Amanuensis Monday - the will of Elizabeth (Prescott) Hildreth (1734-1812)

Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the excellent TransylvanianDutch blog) started his own Monday blog theme many months ago called Amanuensis Monday. What does "amanuensis" mean? John offers this definition:

"A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another."

My subject today is the will of Elizabeth (Prescott) Hildreth (1734-1812), widow of Zachariah Hildreth (1728-1784), whose will we posted last week. Elizabeth married Zachariah Hildreth on 12 April 1753 in Westford, Middlesex County, Massachusetts and died 1 May 1812 in Westford, 28 years after her husband died. They had 12 children, but not all lived to adulthood.

Elizabeth Hildreth of Westford, widow of Zachariah Hildreth, died testate, and her probate records are in Middlesex County [MA] Probate Records, Packet #11,315 (on FHL Microfilm 0,397,093). The will reads:

"In the name of GOD amen. I Elizabeth Hildreth of Westford in the County of Middlesex and Commonwealth of Massachusetts widow of sound and perfect mind and memory do make and publish this my last will and testament in manner and form following to wit; first I order my executor herein after named to pay all my just debts and the expenses of my decent burial after my decease.

"Second I give and bequeathe to my daughters to wit, Hannah Hildreth, Esther Brown, Lucy Whiting, Ruthy Hildreth, Ede Hildreth and Hitty Adams all my wearing apparrel equally to be divided among them. I further give and bequeath to my daughter Ede Hildreth two cows, two beds and bedding and all my household furniture.

"Third I give and devise to William Whiting my son in Law four acres of wood land more or less situate in the northerly part of said Westford called tar kiln hill, to have and to hold the said land to the said Whiting his heirs and assigns forever in fee simple.

"Fourth I order my executors hereinafter named to give up to my son Timothy Hildreth a note which I hold against him being for twenty one dollars on interest and also to give up to the children of Jonas Hildreth deceased a note which I hold Signed by the said Jonas for one hundred and sixty seven dollars on interest.

"Fifth I give and bequeathe to my sons Zachariah Hildreth and John Hildreth one dollar each, to be paid to them by my executors after my decease.

"And lastly as to all the residue of my estate of every kind, after the payment of all legacies and charges herein appointed to be paid, I give and bequeathe to my said daughter Ede Hildreth.

"I hereby appoint the aforenamed William Whiting sole executor of this my last will and testament hereby revoking all former wills by me made.

"In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand seal the first day of August in the year of our Lord one thousand eighty hundred and eight.

"Signed Sealed published and declared by the above
named Elizabeth Hildreth to be her last will and ................. her
testament in the presence of us, who at her request Elizabeth + Hildreth (seal)
and in her presence have hereunto subscribed our ............. mark
names as witnesses to the same.
John Abbot
Wm Nichols, Jr
Ezra Prescott"

The will of Elizabeth Hildreth, late of Westford, was presented to the Judge of Probate by William Whiting on 26 May 1812, 30 days after her decease. He refused to accept or take on the trust of executor.

There are no other papers in the probate packet. It is not known who, if any person, was appointed administrator of this estate, or if the estate was distributed according to the will.

From this will, we learn that nine of Elizabeth Hildreth's children are living when she wrote it on 1 August 1808, and that her son Jonas Hildreth was deceased and left children (Jonas died 14 January 1808 in Westford, and this may be why Elizabeth wrote a will). The nine living children are (in order mentioned in the will):

* Hannah Hildreth (1758-1838), wife of Timothy Hildreth
* Esther Brown (1760-????), wife of Thomas Brown
* Lucy Whiting (1764-1845), wife of William Whiting
* Ruthy Hildreth (1768-1929), wife of Abel Hildreth
* Edy Hildreth (1771-1819), died unmarried.
* Hitty Hildreth (1775-1819), wife of Joseph Adams
* Timothy Hildreth - it is unclear if this is her son Timothy (1760-????), or Timothy Hildreth, the husband of her daughter Hannah Hildreth. I think it's the latter, but have no further information.
* Zachariah Hildreth (1754-1828), married Elizabeth Keyes in 1777.
* John Hildreth - there is no John Hildreth in the list of the children of Zachariah and Elizabeth (Prescott) Hildreth, but there is a Jesse Hildreth (1773-1840) still living in 1808. Jesse married Olive Fletcher in 1801.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Iowa State Picnic is Saturday, 14 August in Long Beach CA

Liz Stookesberry Myers of the Questing Heirs Genealogical Society in Long Beach, California, sent this along and I promised her that I wouldp ost it for interested persons:

"The 110th Annual Iowa State Picnic is being held on Saturday, August 14th from 9:30 to 2:30 at the Long Beach Lawn Bowling Club, 1109 Federation Drive, Long Beach, CA 90804. At about 11:30 the potluck will start. Bring a dish to share, your own beverage, and your own eating utensils. Let us know if you are coming by calling 562/421-0726 or E-mailing:

"The Lawn Bowling Club has several picnic tables, is handicapped accessible with plenty of parking.. However, extra chairs may be needed. Take East Anaheim Street West, Left on Park Avenue, and left on Federation Drive. Or the 22 Freeway-West turns into 7th Street. Take 7th Street West, and Right on Federation Drive."

This announcement, and a map, are shown here.

Best of the Genea-Blogs - 25-31 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:

* Insane by Debra Osborne Spindle on the All My Ancestors blog. Tex found an interesting ancestral record - and needs to do more research because she is asking "why." Good thinking.

* FamilySearch Pilot and Beta – Manna from Heaven by Lee R. Drew on the FamHist blog. Lee sings the praises of FamilySearch - I'm humming along.

* Genealogy Trip to Hawaii, Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four, and Day Five by Heather Wilkinson Rojo on the Nutfield Genealogy blog. Heather has had a wonderful time mixing her vacation with genealogy research in Hawaii - read all of these, enjoy the photographs, and wish that you were along on the trip.

* The Pros and Cons of Choosing a Public Family Tree vs. a Private Family Tree by Lynn Palermo on The Armchair Genealogist blog. Lynn debates with herself on this issue - good discussion!

* The Online Family Tree Conundrum & A Lesson in Genealogy Research: A Two-for-One Special by Julie Cahill Tarr on the GenBlog blog. Julie bares it all (her previous online family tree practices, that is) along with her lessons learned and current practices.

* Are there limits to genealogical research? by James Tanner on the Genealogy's Star blog. This post examines reasons why researchers have brick walls, including the only real good one - that there aren't any more records to find

* A Review of Family Tree DNA’s Family Finder – Part I by Blaine Bettinger on The Genetic Genealogist blog. Part 1 of a comprehensive review of everything you wanted to know about the FT DNA autosomal DNA test. A keeper!

* Too Many Ancestors! by Lorine McGinnis Schulze on the Olive Tree Genealogy Blog. Lorine's problem is one we all want, but it is very real, and difficult to fix. She's still working on it, and got a lot of sympathy in comments.

* Who Do You Think You Are? by Martin Hollick on The Slovak Yankee blog. Martin links to an Armstrong and Miller video spoofing the English TV show - funny!

* Midwest Family History Expo Underway, Early classes and exhibits visited on Friday, More Exhibitors at the Midwest Family History Expo in KC, Good Classes at Midwest Family History Expo in KC, and A few more exhibitor photos at Midwest Family History Expo in KC by Dr. Bill Smith on the Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories blog. Excellent reports and photos from the Midwest Family History Expo conference in Kansas City this past week.

* Midwest Family History Expo - We're Here! , Midwest Family History Expo - Day 1, Midwest Family History Expo - Beacon of Bloggers , Midwest Family History Expo - Focus on the National Archives in Kansas City and Midwest Family History Expo - Blogger Paparazzi! by Susan Petersen on the blog. Susan enjoyed the Midwest Family History Expos - more excellent reports and photos.

* The Genealogical Dark Ages - Yeah, right. by John Newmakr on the TransylvanianDutch blog. John provides a list of the posts on the Curt Witcher talk, and his own cogent thoughts.

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

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

* Follow Friday: 30 July 2010 by Greta Koehl on Greta's Genealogy Bog. Greta's picks are often different from my own.

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.