Saturday, September 11, 2010

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Your Sports Teams

It's Saturday Night -- time for more Genealogy Fun for readers of Genea-Musings.

I almost did a 9/11 SNGF theme but realized that that isn't fun, it's real life.

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

1) Recall your favorite sports heroes and teams of your childhood, and how you supported them.

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

Here's mine:

The San Diego Padres were my favorite baseball team (AAA Pacific Coast League 1936-1967) when I was a boy. I listened to the radio for almost every game (sometimes beneath the covers!) from 1949 to 1960 or so. We occasionally took the bus downtown to go to games at Lane Field at the harbor, and then to Westgate Park in Mission Valley. The Pads were the farm team for the Cleveland Indians in the 1950's, and we saw Herb Score, Rocky Colavito, Bob Lemon, Luke Easter, Bob Elliott, Earl Rapp, Max West, Jack Graham and other players on their way up or on their way down. The Pads won the PCL pennant in 1954 which was real exciting.

The Major League franchise in San Diego started in 1969 with an expansion team that didn't have a winning season until 1978. We have attended games every year, and have had a 20-game season ticket plan since 2003. Padre heroes over the years were Nate Colbert, Randy Jones, Dave Winfield, Ozzie Smith, Tony Gwynn, Tim Flannery, Steve Garvey, Ken Caminiti, Steve Finley, Jake Peavy, Adrian Gonzales and many more. The Padres won the National League pennant in 1984 (lost the World Series to the Tigers) and 1998 (lost the World Series to the Yankees). We're due! My Padres are tied for first place right now...and we'll be at the game when this post appears on the blog.

The Chargers came to town in 1961 and they became my favorite football team. They won the AFL championship in 1963 and were a playoff team in 1961, 1964, 1965 and 1966. I worked for them in training camp in 1963 and have always considered myself the "lucky charm" for their only league championship. The Don Coryell years (1978-1985) and Bobby Ross years (1993-1998) were the most enjoyable because of the exciting offense and decent defense. The 1994 team went to the Super Bowl and lost to the 49ers. The Chargers have made the playoffs the last few years but have faltered getting to the Super Bowl. Maybe this year! Linda and I had season tickets in the early 1970s but the team was so bad, and the tickets became so expensive, and the crowds were so unruly, that we now watch them on TV.

Still Remembering 9/11 and looking ahead

Thomas MacEntee has encouraged geneabloggers to post their memories and thoughts about 11 September 2001, so here is mine:

I wrote Remembering 9/11 - and looking ahead three years ago, and reading it this morning I wouldn't change a word of what I wrote, so I won't waste bandwidth regurgitating it here.

The situation really hasn't changed much since 2007. The USA is leaving Iraq, but Iraq is not yet a viable country. The USA military performed extremely well in Iraq given the political constraints placed on them by the media and Congress. War is hell, and you cannot expect a perfect war. The war in Afghanistan continues, and will end only when one side wins decisively, or the country is partitioned. A loss in Afghanistan emboldens the Islamists everywhere. Iran and Syria are still threatening Israel, and by extension, the USA. The USA still depends on Mideast oil, and needs to develop alternative energy sources - natural gas, nuclear and solar.

We have had pinprick attacks on the homeland, and thankfully some of them have failed. Only some of them were prevented - we need to do a better job of Homeland Security. There will be more attempts and attacks until we have better control of our borders and ports, and account for all of our residents. There may be a massive attack on the USA once Iran and other bad actors have missiles that can deliver atomic or EMP weapons to the homeland. Only a fool would cut back on ballistic missile and cyder-attack defense measures. I fear that we have fools running the country. Non illegitmus carborundum.

That's enough philosophizing - you know where I'm coming from. Let the slings loose the arrows...oh wait, that's so 16th century, eh?

Surname Saturday - PALMER (Somerset, England)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I am up to number 105 - who is the unknown paternal grandmother of Devier J. Lamphier Smith; next on the list is number 107, who is the unknown maternal grandmother of Devier J. Lamphier Smith; next on the list is #109 - Mary Palmer (ca 1788 - ca 1840), one of my 4th-great-grandparents.

My ancestral line back through one generation of PALMER families is:

1. Randall J. Seaver

2. Frederick Walton Seaver (1911-1983)
3. Betty Virginia Carringer (1919-2002)

6. Lyle Lawrence Carringer (1891-1976)
7. Emily Kemp Auble (1899-1977)

12. Henry Austin Carringer (1853-1946)
13. Abbie Ardell "Della" Smith (1862-1944)

26. Devier J. Smith (1839-1894)
27. Abigail Vaux (1844-1931)

54. Samuel Vaux (1816- after 1880)
55. Mary Ann Underhill (1815 - after 1880)

108. James Vaux, born before 20 December 1787 in South Petherton, Somerset, ENGLAND; died before 23 July 1839 in South Petherton, Somerset, ENGLAND. He was the son of 216. John Vaux and 217. Joan Laver. He married 13 December 1808 in Martock, Somerset, ENGLAND.
109. Mary Palmer, born about 1788 in probably Martock, Somerset, ENGLAND; died after 1840 in Aurora, Erie County, NY, USA.

Children of James Vaux and Mary Palmer are:
i. John Palmer Vaux, born befpre 15 July 1810 in Martock, Somerset, ENGLAND; died 06 June 1874 in Aurora, Erie, NY; married (1) Angeline King about 23 April 1833 in Aurora, Erie, NY; born 1813 in New York, USA; died 07 August 1852 in Aurora, Erie, NY; married (2) Alfreda A. Conklin after 1852 in Prob. Aurora, Erie, PA; born about 1812 in NY; died 27 December 1887 in Aurora, Erie, NY.
ii. James Edward Vaux, born before 28 February 1812 in Martock, Somerset, ENGLAND; died 30 November 1871 in Bedford, Taylor County, IA; married Harriet Taylor 31 March 1834 in East Coker, Somerset, ENGLAND; born before 23 April 1814 in West Coker, Somerset, ENGLAND; died 21 January 1870 in Bedford, Taylor County, IA.
iii. Anne Vaux, born before 07 July 1814 in South Petherton, Somerset, ENGLAND; married John Taylor 12 August 1835 in Aurora, Erie, NY; born in NY; died after 1870 in probably Waupun, Fond du Lac, WI.
iv. Samuel Vaux, born before 11 February 1816 in South Petherton, Somerset, ENGLAND; died after 1880 in probably Marshall County, KS; married Mary Ann Underhill before 1839 in Aurora, Erie County, NY.
v. William Vaux, born before 25 May 1819 in South Petherton, Somerset, ENGLAND.
vi. George Vaux, born before 07 July 1820 in South Petherton, Somerset, ENGLAND; died before 1880 in probably Pepin County, Wisconsin; married Elizabeth Jarrett 11 February 1841 in Buffalo, Erie County, NY; born about 1824 in ENGLAND.
vii. Josiah Vaux, born before 01 October 1822 in South Petherton, Somerset, ENGLAND; died in WI; married (1) Emilia; born about 1846 in PRUSSIA; married (2) Mary Ann Fiske 28 August 1852 in Aurora, Erie County, NY; born about 1832 in NY; died 1857 in Waupun, Dodge County, WI.
viii. Joseph Vaux, born before 01 October 1823 in South Petherton, Somerset, ENGLAND.
ix. Cyrus Vaux, born 1825 in South Petherton, Somerset, ENGLAND.
x. Mary Vaux, born before 22 February 1826 in South Petherton, Somerset, ENGLAND; died 1828 in Somerset, ENGLAND.
xi. Ernest Vaux, born 30 January 1831 in South Petherton, Somerset, ENGLAND; died 25 March 1916 in Faribault, Rice County, MN; married (1) Jane Nash before 07 December 1858 in Prob. Faribault, Rice, MN; born about 1840; died 07 December 1858 in Faribault, Rice, MN; married (2) Caroline Anderson Johnson 14 January 1862 in Sargeant, MN; born 26 October 1844 in Marion, IN; died 25 April 1907 in Faribault, Rice County, MN.

I have done no original research in Somerset. My hope is to visit South Petherton and vicinity on our next trip to England and to meet some of my Vaux and Palmer cousins.

A team of Vaux researchers have worked through the Somerset parish records over many years trying to find the parents of Mary Palmer, because she is the mother of several Vaux immigrants to the United States. They have not had success in finding the parents of Mary Palmer (unless they've been found very recently, and word hasn't reached me yet).

If there are Palmer family researchers in Somerset with more information about Mary's ancestry, the descendants of Mary Palmer would love to know about it!

Friday, September 10, 2010

What's coming from the World Archives Project? has an active indexing project running called the World Archives Project. Many volunteers are indexing records from datasets imaged by at archives and repositories, and by volunteers at genealogical and historical societies.

The Dashboard for the World Archives Project is updated periodically. It lists databases in four categories:

* Available Projects - The "Available" project list means that a project is available for download for keying or arbitration.

* Not Available Projects - The "Unavailable" project list contains projects that aren’t available for keying or arbitration because all of the image sets have been checked out. Projects on this list may re-appear on the Available list as image sets are rejected or expire without being keyed.

* In Processing Projects - contains projects that have completed keying and arbitration by the community. These projects are now being worked on by the Ancestry team to prepare the indexes and images to go live on the site as searchable, indexed databases.

* Live Projects -- The "Live" project list contains links to all projects keyed by the World Archives contributors that are live and searchable on the site.

The important one for researchers anxious for new databases is the In Processing list of projects. The ones on the list today include:

* Australia Historical Postcards
* California Biographical Collection - Burial Records
* California Library Motion Picture Studio Directories
* California, San Diego County Burial Permits, 1913-1919
* California, San Diego Mortuary Records, 1914-1921
* Canada Historical Postcards (Les Cartes Postales du Canada )
* Cartoline storiche d'Italia (Italy Historical Postcards)
* Chalmers' Biographical Dictionary
* Fife, Scotland, Voters Lists, 1832-1894
* Gamla vykort å Sverige (Sweden Historical Postcards)

* Historic Postcards - US (Batch 5)
* Historic Postcards - US (Batch 6)
* London, England, Land Tax Valuations, 1910
* Lorain County, Ohio, City Directories, 1903-1960
* Lübeck Volkszählung 1845 (Lübeck Census 1845)
* Lübeck Volkszählung 1851 (Lübeck Census 1851)
* Lübeck Volkszählung 1857 (Lübeck Census 1857)
* Michigan Passenger and Crew Lists, 1902-1954
* New South Wales, Australia, Depasturing Licences, 1837-1851
* New South Wales, Australia, Entrance Books for the Vernon and the Sobraon, 1867-1911

* Ohio State Directories, 1902-1933
* Österreichische Historische Postkarten (Austria Historical Postcards)
* Slave Ads and Abstracts from a Natchez, MS newspaper, 1823-1849
* Slave Manifests Filed at New Orleans, Louisiana, 1807-1860
* Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves, 1936-1938
* Tarjetas Postales Antiguas de Mexico (Mexico Historical Postcards)
* Testing - 31054TST
* TESTING Indentures of Apprenticeship, DC, 1801-1811
* TESTING Jacksonville, Florida Area City Directories
* TESTING Pennsylvania, U.S. Naturalization Records - Original Documents, 1795-1972

* U.S. Naturalization Originals - MD and VA, 1906-1930
* UK, Prison Hulk Registers and Letter Books, 1802-1849
* United Kingdom & Ireland Historical Postcards
* Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, Piemonte, Italia: Registri di Matrimonio e Morte, 1866-1937 (Italy: Marriage and Death Records)

The links for these databases go to an Wiki page describing the dataset being indexed and available for searching.

Keeping track of the databases that are on these lists can help researchers determine what may be coming in future weeks or months on Of course, these projects don't reflect databases that are being imaged and indexed by with paid employees or archivists.

New "Digging for Answers" Column in Graveyard Rabbit Online Journal

The Graveyard Rabbit Online Journal has my latest "Digging for Answers" column posted. The question asked by Jeffrey was:

"My local genealogical society wants to do more than a "walk the gravestones and transcribe and index them" survey of our local cemetery. How could we make a really wonderful cemetery book and/or web page that would honor our ancestors buried there and also be a service to our members, local visitors and the genealogical community?"

See the column for my answer.

The latest issue of the Graveyard Rabbit Online Journal has these entries:

* Digging For Answers by Randy Seaver

* A Rabbit's Review by LisaMary Wichowski "The American Resting Place: Four Hundred Years of History Through Our Cemeteries and Burial Grounds"

* The International Rabbit "People's Cemetery" by Janet Iles

* A Rabbit's Tale 8/19/2010 "Developing a Cemetery Walk" by Sandy Peavey

* Photo Monument 8/12/2010 "What Do You Want On Your Tombstone?" by Gale Wall

* Tech T.I.P. 8/5/2010 "The HTML Revolution" by Denise Barrett Olson

* History Hare Has Pneumonia by footnoteMaven

* Graveyard Guru 7/22/2010 "The Burial Mound of the Mississippians" by Stephanie Lincecum

Gale Wall edits and posts the Graveyard Rabbit Online Journal and is looking for more columnists for 2011. Contact her at

Jane's Birth Record, and more...

I posted I Found Rachel in the 1852 California Census yesterday, and noted that I now knew where in Australia that Jane Whittle (1847-1921), my wife's great-grandmother, was born. The 1852 California State Census included children Elizabeth (age 13), Joseph (age 9) and Jane (age 5) were in San Francisco with their mother Rachel Wadle (age 32).

From Jane's death certificate, I "knew" that her parents were Joseph and Rachel (Moore) Whittle, both born in England, and who came to San Francisco in about 1850 from Australia, so this is the right family in the 1852 Census.

Reader Rod Van Cooten kindly offered the website (the New South Wales Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages) to check for the Births in New South Wales.

I did check - here is the Births page, where I put in Last Name = Whittle and years 1838 to 1850:

And here are the results:

There is Jane Whittle's birth entry in 1847, Registration number V1847523 32A/1847. And her brother Joseph Whittle's entry as Registration Number V18432393 27A/1843. The mother's name is Rachael (or Rachal) and the father's name is Alexander.

Huh? Alexander? That is a new name for me. The only information we had about Jane Whittle's father's name was from Jane (Whittle) McKnew's death certificate - and that said "Joseph Whittle."

Not only that, but the New South Wales Birth Register reveals three other children of Alexander and Rachel Whittle - William in 1842, John in 1845, and Margaret in 1849. So now I know that there were at least six children born to Alexander and Rachel Whittle. What about Deaths? The NSW Death Index lists infant William A. Whittle in 1842, so that accounts for him. Since John and Margaret are not in the 1852 California Census with their mother, it seems that they likely died in Australia, on the trip to the USA, or in California before the 1852 Census.

This is actually good news for me - I haven't found much on the elder Joseph Whittle in California, but now I know that I've been looking for the wrong Whittle. I don't know for sure if Alexander Whittle came with his family to California, or if he died in Australia or on the voyage to California. He is not in the NSW Death Index. In the England Parish Register and Civil Registration databases, I haven't found a marriage of Joseph and Rachel, I'll have to look for alexander and Rachel.. Of course, the FreeReg Indexes and the LDS IGI don't have records from every parish.

Following the "Buy Now" link on the Birth Index page indicates that I could purchase a copy of Jane Whittle's birth certificate for $29 (Australian).

My thanks to Rod Van Cooten for guiding me to the NSW BMD page. Obtaining help like this from readers and other genea-bloggers is one of the very best examples of the real value of blogging about genealogy.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I Found Rachel in the 1852 California Census

Like many of my fellow genealogists, I regularly check the list of Recently Posted and Updated Databases (hmm, you do check this regularly, right?). I did this morning.

One new database was added yesterday - the 1852 California State Census. So I got to thinking "who in my ancestry was in California in 1852?" Nobody... but wait, Linda's great-grandmother Jane (Whittle) McKnew was age 5 and in San Francisco then. All I know about Jane is that she was born in Australia in 1947 to parents Joseph Whittle and Rachel Moore, both born in England; this information was from Jane's 1921 death certificate, so the information is secondary and suspect.

Let's see if we can find her in the 1852 California Census. I knew that Jane's mother was Rachel Whittle, and figured that Rachel was a less common given name than Jane, so I looked for:

* First Name = rac*; Last Name = whi*; Birthplace = England

* First Name = rac*; Last Name = blank; Birthplace = England; Residence = San Francisco County

Bingo - Rachel Wadle! Here's the page:

The information for this family includes:

* Name = Rachel Wadle, Age = 32, Birthplace = England, Last Residence = Manchester (?)
* Name = Eliz Wadle, Age = 13, Birthplace = England, Last Residence = Manchester
* Name = Jos Wadle, Age = 9, Birthplace = NSW
* Name = Jane Wadle, Age = 5, Birthplace = NSW

Rachel's husband and father of her children, Joseph Whittle, is not found on this census in any California County. I wonder if he was out to sea, or missed up in the gold fields?

There is so much useful information contained in this census record that provides leads to the identity of Joseph and Rachel (Moore) Whittle. Here is what I've thought of so far:

* Rachel was born about 1820, so her baptism may be in an English parish register entry (and may be in the LDS IGI) for her.

* Elizabeth Whittle (a new person for me!) was born about 1839 in England, so there may be an English parish register entry and an English Civil Registration record for her.

* Joseph Whittle was born about 1843 in New South Wales, which means Joseph and Rachel may have migrated there from England in the 1840 to 1843 time frame. That narrows the search. There may be a birth record for Joseph Whittle in Australia.

* Jane Whittle was born about 1847 in New South Wales, which matches her death certificate information. There may be a birth record for Jane Whittle in Australia.

* The last residence for Rachel and Elizabeth is Manchester. Is that Manchester in Lancashire in England, or is there a Manchester in Australia? Did Joseph Whittle take, or send, his family from Australia back to England after Jane's birth?

* The marriage of Joseph Whittle and Rahel Moore probably occurred in the 1837 to 1839 time period in England. There may be an English Parish Register entry and an English civil Registration marriage record for them that might provide more information about their birth dates, birth places and parents.

* There may be an 1841 English Census record for the family if they are still living in England. If so, that would narrow the date for migration to Australia a bit further. If not, it may indicate that the migrated before 1841.

The Source Citation for this page is (created by "California State Library; Sacramento, California; 1852 California State Census; Roll #: 4; Repository Collection #: C144:4; Page: 524; Line: 7.
Source Information: California State Census, 1852 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: California State Census of 1952. (microfilm, M/F 144, 6 rolls). Sacramento, California: California State Library)."

The source citation above is not Evidence Explained! style, but it has most of the elements. For my own practice, here is an Evidence Explained! style source citation:

"1852 California State Census, San Francisco County, California, Page 524 [penned, upper right-hand corner], line 7. Rachel Wadle: digital image, ( : accessed 9 September 2010), citing California State Library microfilm M/F 144, roll 4."

I wanted a print of this, so I clicked on Print and chose the Enhanced Custom Print option, shown below:

I printed this off for the records. The Source citation says only:

"Source Information: Database: California State Census, 1852."

I'm speechless. How hard is it to add all of the source citation information already attached to the page image and in the system? Yeah, it would take more space, but it would be a good benefit for researchers who have to carefully write out all of the pertinent information on the printed page in order to have a useful source citation.

My guess is that this is the same citation that would appear in my Ancestry Member Tree if I attached it to these persons in my tree.

As in several other census databases, if the user selects "San Francisco, San Francisco County, California" from the Location dropdown menu, you get NO MATCHES. You get matches if you select "San Francisco County, California." User, beware!

Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Will

It's Treasure Chest Thursday - time to share a document or artifact that pertains to my family history.

Today's document is the will of Isaac Seaver (1823-1901), my second great-grandfather. He wrote it on 28 February 1901, died on 12 March 1901, and it was proved on 22 March 1901. It was included in Worcester County (MA) Probate Records, Probate Packet B-27905, accessed at the Worcester County Courthouse in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1991.

I will include a transcription of this will, and the rest of the probate packet, on Amanuensis Monday next week.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Update on Census Records on FamilySearch

I summarized the status of United States Federal census records on the FamilySearch Record Search Pilot site back in June in U.S. Census Records on .

One of my complaints, at the time, with the census records on the Pilot site was about those that did not have images (1880, 1910 and 1920). The results of a search provided information about the person, but not about the household that the person was a member of, nor about the households on the same census page.

With the addition of all of the Record Search Pilot databases to the Family Search Beta site, at least part of the problem has been addressed and remedied.

When you go to the FamilySearch Beta site, and click on the "All Collections" link in the menu, you go to the list of available databases. Here is a screen shot for all of the U.S. Census databases currently available, along with the number of records in each database:

I clicked on the 1880 Census and searched for one of my Carringer's, and saw:

Below the information indexed for the person is a list of the individuals in the household on the census page. The name, relationship to the head, gender and age are listed of each household member are listed. The names of the other household members are active - you can click on them and see the indexed information for that person.

The 1900 U.S. Census record looks like this:

The name, relationship and gender, but not the age, of household members are provided, and the names are clickable.

For the 1910 census, a person's page looks like this:

The household information includes name, relationship, gender and age.

For the 1920 U.S. Census, the person page looks like this:

Again, the household members are listed, with name, relationship, gender and age.

The addition of the Household information is a significant improvement over the previous information and capability for these databases. Of course, they are not perfect yet (perfect would be indexing more fields, with images available, and the ability to navigate to other pages in the census), but at least these databases are now more useful.

San Diego Genealogical Society Meeting on Saturday, 11 September

The September meeting of the San Diego Genealogical Society (SDGS) is on 11 September at the St. Andrews Lutheran Church (8350 Lake Murray Blvd, at Jackson Drive) in the San Carlos area of San Diego, starting at 10 a.m.

The day's schedule includes:

10 a.m. - Roots Magic User Group
10 a.m. - Basic Genealogy Class - Vital Records

12 noon - Announcements, and one of the programs

1 p.m. - refreshment break

1:15 p.m. - Announcements, drawings, and the second program.

There are two program speakers for this meeting:

1) Peggy Rossi - "I Wish I Had Asked..."

Every genealogist says this at one time or another. We wish we had asked questions and preserved the memories of family members no longer with us. Ordinary lives hold extraordinary memories. Creating an oral history is not difficult if you follow a few simple steps.

This presentation will discuss how to prepare for and conduct an oral history interview and evaluate options for what type of preservation is right for your needs and skills.

2) Everett Ireland - "Courthouse Records"

The information contained in the files of thousands of courthouses and county repositories throughout the United States are the mainstays of genealogical research. We rely on the information our ancestors left behind in their daily life in the community in which they lived. These records are the more common ones we all use - probate/wills, civil actions, assessments, tax, voting, land records, and vital records. In addition, there are town and municipal court records, and them ore modern records such as building permits, animal licenses, and traffic court records.

This lecture will provide information on finding aids for some of the more unusual courthouse records as well as how to track down and interpret earlier 18th and 19th century records.

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 119: Cousins near the Bush

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 have scanned hundreds of family photographs over the past few years, and have converted the scanned TIF files to smaller JPGs, cropped and rotated as best I can.

Here is a photograph from the Carringer family collection handed down by my mother in the 1988 to 2002 time period:

I believe that this picture was taken in the 1915 to 1920 time frame in or near San Diego, California. It may be in the garden of Austin and Della Carringer, but I don't have other photos that show this large bush or tree and the buildings in the background. Likewise, I don't know enough about horticulture to identify the large bush (I think) that dominates this picture.

The persons in the photograph are known:
* On the left is Della (Smith) Carringer (1862-1944), wife of Henry Austin Carringer and mother of my grandfather, Lyle Lawrence Carringer
* In the middle is Abigail A. (Vaux) Smith (1844-1931), mother of Della (Smith) Carringer
* On the right is Hattie (Vaux) Loucks (1849-1924), a first cousin to Abigail (Vaux) Smith, and wife of Matthias Loucks. Hattie visited the Smith/Carringer family in San Diego quite often.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Book Review: Shaking the Family Tree by Buzzy Jackson

I knew that I was going to like Buzzy Jackson's book when I read the title, Shaking the Family Tree: Blue Bloods, Black Sheep, and Other Obsessions of an Accidental Genealogist. Then I read the back cover, which noted:

"In Shaking the Family Tree, Jackson dives headfirst into her family gene pool: flying cross-country to locate an ancient family graveyard, embarking on a weeklong genealogy Caribbean cruise, and even submitting her DNA for testing to try to find her Jacksons. And in the process of researching her own family lore (Who was Bullwhip Jackson?) she meets legions of other genealogy buffs who are as interesting as they are driven -- from the boy who saved his allowance so he could order his great-grandfather's death certificate to the woman who spends her free time documenting the cemeteries of Colorado ghost towns."

Buzzy has created a short video to describe her adventure into genealogy research - you can see it below (or by clicking here):

This book should be read by beginning genealogists who want some idea of how to go about starting research and finding family and historical records, and by experienced genealogists for the joy of reading about an excellent genealogical adventure.

In her book, Buzzy (real name Sarah) starts her excellent adventure by taking a genealogy class at a Boulder, Colorado library, joins the local genealogical society, gets lots of advice and help with her research, takes several trips to ancestral family localities, finds distant cousins online who help her out with research and records, takes a genealogy cruise to hear the speakers (right on - that's why I went!), visits the Family History Library, takes a DNA test, and much more. It is the classical genealogical education roots experience, and the reader gets to fly, ride, sail, sit and research right along with her. In about one year. To be fair, she researched only her Jackson surname.

Buzzy tells her stories with humor, enthusiasm and irreverence. The best part of the book - for me - was that she captured the spirit of all of the genealogists she met along the way - from the local society folks, the repository staffs, the family members (Cousin Mooner?), and some of the most respected professionals in genealogy. The helpful, kind, fair-minded, excited, and sentimental attitudes that most genealogists exhibit shines through in all of her chapters.

Her description of the Caribbean cruise in October 2008 was especially intriguing to me, since my wife and I were on this cruise and I experienced some of Buzzy's experiences first-hand (well, not drinking the night away with John Grenham... drat!). She attended the lectures and managed to interview Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, Elizabeth Shown Mills, Cyndi Howells, and David Allen Lambert among others.

The beauty of this book is that it is a real genealogical adventure - it actually happened - the research performed and the family visits are realistic, frustrating and productive. She even found a long-lost cemetery that helped her connect to her 17th century Jackson families and enabled her to fill out a DAR application.

You can order Shaking the Family Tree at Buzzy Jackson's website, at your favorite bookstore, or online at Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, etc.

Jackson, Buzzy.

Shaking the Family Tree : blue bloods, black sheep, and other obsessions of an accidental genealogist.
New York, Simon & Schuster, 2010.
Paperback, 256 pages.

Disclosure: I received a free review copy of the book from the publisher in mid-August 2010, and agreed to write an objective review of the book and post it on my blog.

Tombstone Tuesday - Effie E. Carringer (1858-1874)

For Tombstone Tuesday, I found a photograph of the gravestone for my great-grandaunt Effie E. Carringer (1858-1874) in Columbia Cemetery in Boulder, Boulder County, Colorado:

The stone inscription says:

daughter of
D.J. & Rebecca
Died at Caribou
June 8, 1874
15 years
6 months
12 days"

The photograph and summary of the records available for Effie Carringer are on the Columbia Cemetery Index created by the Boulder Genealogical Society - see Effie's page here.

The top of Effie's stone has been broken off, and it has settled into the ground a bit and is a little cockeyed.

Effie Carringer was the sister of my great-grandfather, Henry Austin Carringer. She was memorialized in an obituary that was in my family papers (source unknown, probably the Boulder newspaper), which read:

"The deeply afflicted family have the sincerest sympathy of all the community. The form of their loved one fades from earth 'but a fair maiden in the Father's mansion, clothed with celestial grace, and beautiful will all the soul's expansion, shall they behold her face.' "

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Occupations of my Ancestors

Work has always been a necessary part of our lives, and the lives of our ancestors. Over thousands of years, the principle has been for individuals and groups to work in order to survive - whether it is working for our self, working for others, or working for a government entity. From work, we receive remuneration in the form of cash, credit or products in order to nurture and support our families.

I knew about my work life, and that of my parents, and my grandparents, and in general about my ancestors back into the 18th century and beyond, thanks to family papers, my own research, or published materials. I wrote about my work life here. It is completely different from that of most of my ancestors. I sat at a desk for many years doing analysis and testing. Almost all of my 19th century ancestors did physical labor inside and outside as farmers, tradesmen or craftsmen.

Here's a list back six generations (males only) in ancestor list order, with residences listed by county:

1. Randall J. Seaver -- aerospace engineer/manager, genealogist (San Diego County CA)

2. Frederick W. Seaver (1911-1983) -- insurance agent (Worcester County MA, San diego County CA)

4. Frederick W. Seaver (1876-1940) -- superintendent of a comb shop (Worcester County MA)

6. Lyle L. Carringer (1891-1977) -- auditor, accountant (San Diego County CA)

8. Frank W. Seaver (1852-1922) -- teamster, comb shop worker/superintendent (Worcester County MA)

10. Thomas Richmond (1848-1917) -- carder, overseer of wool mill (Wiltshire, England, Windham County CT, Worcester County MA)

12. Henry Austin Carringer (1853-1946) -- carpenter, aviation mechanic (Louisa County IA, Boulder County CO, San Diego County CA)

14. Charles Auble (1849-1916) -- painter (Vigo County IN, Cook County IL, San Diego County CA)

16. Isaac Seaver (1823-1901) -- blacksmith (Worcester County MA)

18. Edward Hildreth (1831-1899) -- combmaker, machinist (Worcester County MA)

20. James Richman (1821-1912) -- coal laborer, farm laborer, woolen mill worker, farmer (Wiltshire, England, Providence County RI, Windham County CT)

22. Henry White (1824-1885) -- weaver, worker in cotton mill, carpenter (Providence County RI, Windham County CT)

24. David Jackson Carringer (1828-1902) -- carpenter, farmer (Mercer County PA, Louisa County IA, Boulder County CO)

26. Devier J. Smith (1839-1894) -- livery/feed stable worker/owner, farmer, speculator, inventor (Dodge County WI, Taylor County IA, Andrew County MO, Cloud County KS, Red Willow County NE)

28. David Auble (1817-1894) -- boot and shoe worker, boot and shoemaker (Sussex County NJ, Vigo County IN)

30. James Abram Kemp (1831-1902) -- carpenter, innkeeper (Norfolk County, Ontario)

32. Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825) -- farmer (Worcester County MA)

34. Alpheus B. Smith (1791-1840) -- farmer (Norfolk County MA)

36. Zachariah Hildreth (1784-1857) -- farmer, cooper (Middlesex County MA)

38. Thomas J. Newton (????-????) -- ???? (Maine?)

40. John Richman (1788-1867) -- coal hauler, butcher (Wiltshire, England)

42. John Rich (1793-1868) -- weaver (Wiltshire, England)

44. Jonathan White (1806-1850) -- farmer (Providence County RI, Windham County CT)

46. Jonathan Oatley (1793-1872) -- preacher, stone cutter, mason (Washington County RI, Windham County CT)

48. Henry Carringer (1800-1881) -- farmer (Mercer County PA, Louisa County IA)

50. John Daniel Spangler (1781-1851) -- farmer (York County PA, Mercer County PA)

54. Samuel Vaux (1814-1880) -- farmer (Somerset, England, Erie County NY, Dodge County WI, Andrew County MO, Marshall County KS)

56. Johannes Able (1780-1831) -- farmer (Sussex County NJ)

58. William Knapp (1775-1856) -- shoemaker (Dutchess County NY, Middlesex County NJ, Sussex County NJ)

60. Abraham James Kemp (1795-1881) -- farmer (Prince Edward County, Ontario, Norfolk county, Ontario)

62. Alexander Sovereen (1814-1907) -- farmer (Norfolk County, Ontario)

Not a president, captain of industry, or man of higher learning among them. But they all worked for a living and did all right for themselves and their families. I appreciate each one of them.

Amanuensis Monday - Probate Record of Samuel Gray (1681-1712) of Little Compton RI

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."

The subject today is the probate file of Samuel Gray (1681-1712) of Little Compton, Bristol county, Massachusetts (presently in Rhode Island but in Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1712). He married Deborah Church (1676-1772) in 1699 and they had seven children, five of them minors when he died in 1712 (two others died before 1712).

Samuel Gray died testate, having written a will dated 20 March 1712, which was proved 2 April 1712. The will reads (transcribed from Bristol County (Massachusetts) Probate Records, Volume 3, Pages 88-90, accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,461,882):

"In the Name of God Amen The twentyeth day of March in the year of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred & twelve I Samuel Grey of Little compton in the County of Bristoll in her Majesties Province of Massachusetts Bay in New England, yeoman, being very sick and weak in body but of perfect mind & memory Thanks be given to God therefore Calling to mind the Mortallity of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to dye Do make & ordain this my Last will and Testament That is to say Principally and first of all I give & recomend my soule into the hands of God that gave it & my body I Recommend unto Earth to be buried in Decent & Christian mann-r at ye Discresion of my Exect-r, Nothing doubting but at the general Resurection I shall Receive the same by the Almighty power of God. And as Touching my worldly Estate wherew-th it has pleased God to bless me in this life I give & Devise & Dispose of the same in the following maner and form.

"Imp-s. I give and bequeath unto Deborah Grey my Dearly Beloved wife the Improvem-t of my whole Estate both Real and personall for her own and her Childrens maintenance so long as she haves my name or Remaines my widow and do allso Constitute make & ordain Her and my beloved brother Thomas Grey Joynt Executors of this my last will & Testament. Item my will is yt if my wife after my decease do see cause to Marry again that then she shall have one hundred pounds Currant money of this Province payd to her out of my Estate and shall quit her Right, tithe, interest & ronrom [?] to & with any of the rest of my Estate.

"Item. My will is that after my wives Marrying or Deceaseing the whole of my Estate Excepting the one Hundred pounds given unto her be divided among my Children in man-r and form following , viz. I give to my Eldest & beloved son Samuel Gray three Hundred pounds.

"Item I give to my Beloved son Simeon Grey one Hundred pounds.

"Item I give to my Beloved son Ignatius Grey one Hundred pounds.

"I give to my Beloved Daughter Dorothy one Hundred pounds.

"Item I give to my Beloved Daughter Lidiah one Hundred pounds.

"Item My will is that if my Estate be found worth more than Eight Hundred pounds after all my lawfull debts and funerall charges are payd that the Residue be equally divided between my two youngest son Simeon & Ignatius.

"Item My will is that my Execut-rs may when they see cause make sale of my Estate Either Reall or personall for money provided the principall be well served for my Children.

"Item I do Constitute and appoint my Loveing friends Mr William Pabodie Cap-t John Palmer & my Brother John Church to be Overseers of this my last will & Testament and do hereby oblige my Executors (if they sell my lands) to take the Advice & Consent of my overseers in Secureing & Improveing of the money. And I do hereby Disallow, Revoke & Disannull all & every other former Testaments wills Legacies bequests & Executors by me in any wayes before named willed or bequeathed Rattifying & Confirming this and no other to be my Last will and Testament. In Witness whereof I have set to my hand and seal the day and year above written.
"Signed sealed published & declared by the said Samuel Gray as his last will & Testament ..............................................Samuel Grey (seal)
in the presence of us the
Edward Grey
Jonathan Hood
Richard Billings"

The inventory of the estate of Samuel Grey of Little Compton was taken by John Palmer, John Church and William Pabodie on 2 April 1712. The inventory ran two pages and totalled 1,138 pounds, 9 shillings, 7 pence, including real estate of:

* farm and buildings, orchard, fencing (850 pounds)
* 25 acres of outlands (26 pounds)

The personal estate included:

* wearing apparel (11 pounds, 10 shillings)
* feather beds, linen,
* Chest, Table, Chairs and other furniture
* 2 Iron pots, 2 small brass kettles, 2 pewter plates, pots, beakers, plates, 3 porringers, etc.
* 1 pair of worsted combs, 3 pair old cards, 1 woolen wheel, 2 common wheel,
* 1 churn, 1 cradle, 1 cheese press, 1 warming pan
* a chamber pot, 8 glass bottles
* a plow, iron chains, iron bars, five hoes, 2 axes, cart wheels pitch forks, etc
* a Negro man (18 pounds)
* Silver money (12 pounds, 4 shillings, 7 pence), paper money (28 pounds, 10 shillings)
* money due (5 pounds, 10 shillings)
* 25 bushels of Indian corn, a barrel and a half of beef
* 3 mares, 14 cows, 1 heifer, 5 two year old, 3 yearlings, 5 calves, 1 pair oxen, etc.

The inventory was presented to the Probate Court on 7 April 1712 and was approved on that day, and recorded on 28 April 1712.

On 3 June 1713, Deborah Throope, the late wife of Samuel Grey of Little Compton deceased, but the now wife of Danl Throope of Bristol stated that she had received the 100 pounds due her by the will of Samuel Grey, and that she quits her rights, titles, and interests in the estate of Samuel Grey (Bristol County (Massachusetts) Probate Records, Volume 3, Page 180, on FHL Microfilm 0,461,882). It was recorded on 3 November 1713 by the Court.

The Accounts of Deborah Thrope (formerly Deborah Grey) and Thomas Grey, the executors of the estate of Samuel Grey, were presented to the Probate Court on 3 November 1713.
Additional debts were received, and a long list of small debts were paid out (Bristol County (Massachusetts) Probate Records, Volume 3, Pages 177-179, on FHL Microfilm 0,461,882).

No accounting was recorded in the Court of the legacies to the children of Samuel and Deborah Gray, who were all under age when Samuel Gray made his will and died.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

All RecordSearch Databases are on FamilySearch Beta Site

A little birdie told me that all of the FamilySearch Record Search Pilot databases had been copied over to the NEW FamilySearch Beta site (, used to be

A screen shot of the Beta site shows a little different top menu and a new background image (kind of a teal landscape with clouds) - which is on all of the Beta pages I checked.

Clicking on "All Collections" on the home page takes me to the list of historical record collections shown below:

This page shows that there are now 454 collections on this site, listed in alphabetical order. The user can scroll down or can use the category and year range filters on the left-hand sidebar.

There are still 454 record collections on the Record Search Pilot site at as of tonight.

This is probably the first step in transferring most of the FamilySearch record databases from the Record Search Pilot site, and will probably be followed by transferring the older databases over also (the Ancestral File is in the "Trees" tab on the Beta site, and some of the IGI datasets for states or countries are already in the Record Search databases).

Okay, what's next? Hopefully, a better Search interface on the Beta site (the current search capability is fairly limited) and some indication of which databases are new during the previous month (Record Search has had this and it's valuable to bean counters like me).

Best of the Genea-Blogs - 29 August to 4 September 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:

* There's Always One by Donna Pointkouski on the What's Past is Prologue blog. Donna is perhaps the best genea-humorist writing today - read this and laugh! Where does she get these pictures?

* Salt Lake Family History Expo 2010 - Day 2 by Renee Zamora on Renee's Genealogy Blog. Renee recaps her second day the the Family History Expo in Sandy, Utah.

* Connecting the Genealogist to the Research -- an online conundrum by James Tanner on the Genealogy's Star blog. James continues the discussion started by Martin Hollick on "Shepardizing Your Genealogy" about having a standard list of authoritative sources for ancestral families, genealogical judges, and more.

* The People Differences in Virginia: a Checklist of Characteristics by Arlene Eakle on Arlene Eakle's Virginia Genealogy Blog. Arlene provides an interesting list of characteristics for different groups that settled in or resided in Virginia.

* Zero to Search Success in Sixty Seconds by the writer of The Ancestry Insider blog. Mr. AI recounts Anastasia Harman's presentation about the five different types of searches on

* GYRabbit Carnival - September 2010 by footnoteMaven on The Graveyard Rabbit blog. The theme for this Carnival, with five entries, is A Local Celebrity in our Mist.

* Names: How do you say that? by Schelly Talalay Dardashti on the MyHeritage Genealogy Blog. Schelly should know about the problems with pronouncing names, and she gives some good examples on how to deal with the problem. I always wonder if I'm spelling her name correctly, and found out that I've been pronouncing Talalay incorrectly (and she never chided me about it - thanks Schelly!).

* Is Genealogy a Hobby? by Lorine McGinnis Schulze on the Olive Tree Genealogy Blog. Is it only a hobby? Lorine and her readers discuss the issue using terms like avocation, obsession and sacred trust.

* Defining the Genealogical Pursuit by John Newmark on the TransylvanianDutch blog. John comments on Lorine's post, and picks words like labor of love, quest, pursuit, adventure and compulsion.

* DNA Rule-Out for Cold Case, Australia, 1970 - Part I and Part II by Colleen Fitzpatrick on the Identifinders blog. This series gives readers a good idea of how hard it is to find mitochondrial matches of a living or dead person. A fascinating DNA/genealogy detective story.

* Treasure Chest Thursday: Genealogy in the 1940s by the writer of the Nolichucky Roots blog. Here's a glimpse of how several people pursued their avocation back in the 1940s. Interesting.

* Carnival of Genealogy, 97th Edition by Jasia on the Creative Gene blog. There were nine entries in this Carnival with the theme of Research From Scratch! . Dorene Paul's piece on Learning More about Joseph Willmann posted at Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Bay was the featured post.

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

* Follow Friday: 3 September 2010 by Greta Koehl on Greta's Genealogy Bog. Greta picks her faves too, and they are all good.

* Weekly Genealogy Picks by John Newmark on the TransylvanianDutch blog. John highlights blog posts, carnivals, press releases and more, plus he links to several other weekly pick posts.

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 670 genealogy bloggers using Bloglines, but I still miss quite a few it seems.

Read past Best of the Genea-Blogs posts here.