Saturday, October 23, 2010

SNGF - People in my database born on 23 October

The Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge this week is to:

1) Is there a person in your genealogy database that has the same birth date that you do? If so, tell us about him or her - what do you know, and how is s/he related to you?

2) For bonus points, how did you determine this? What feature or process did you use in your software to work this problem out? I think the Calendar feature probably does it, but perhaps you have a trick to make this work outside of the calendar function.

Here's my response:
1)  No one in my database has my exact birth date of 23 October 1943, besides myself.  I expected that.
There are 40 persons in my database with a birth day of 23 October, but none of them are an ancestor of mine.  That really surprised me.  I have 39,500 persons in my database, and of those about 2,100 are direct-line ancestors of mine.  The odds are that 6 or 7 would be born on any specific day of the year.  I have only one - me!
Of the 40 with the same birth day, there are only 15 born after 1800, and only one in the 20th century.  Tracey was born 23 October 1979, and is a fifth cousin once removed.
2)  How did I do this?  I used Family Tree Maker 16, RootsMagic 4, and Legacy Family Tree 7 to try to figure this out.
a)  In Family Tree Maker 16, the only way I could do this was to:
*  Create a Custom Report in Reports; then Custom Report; then Contents; then Items to Include (= Name, Birth Date, Death Date); then Individuals to Include (=All).  The report created was 692 pages long.
*  Save the report as an RTF file:  Go to File; then Export Report; then To Word Processor (RTF)
*  Open my word processor, and go to Edit; then Find and enter "23 October"
*  Write down the name and year, click on Next, etc.
b)  In RootsMagic 4, the easiest way for me to do this was to:
*  Go to Reports; then Lists; then Birthday and Anniversary List;  then Create Report
*  Select "Birthdays" and "Everyone" in the database, click on Generate Report.  The report created was in date order, and was 361 pages long.
*  Scroll down the report to 23 October, note the names and years, print out two pages.
3)  In Legacy Family Tree 7, the easiest way for me to do this was to:
*  Go to Reports, then Calendar List Report
*  In the Include tab, select "All Individuals, Living or Dead;"  in the Options tab, select "Surname, given Name" and "Birthdays" and "Birth date;" In the Months tab, select "October";  click on "Preview"
*  I received a 30 page report for October listed by day of the month, and scrolling down to 23 October resulted in the same individuals as found in the other two programs.
I'll leave it to someone else to do Family Tree Maker 2010 and other programs.
There may be easier, or faster, ways to do this task, but these were the ones I figured out first!

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Same birthday as yours?

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

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

1)  Is there a person in your genealogy database that has the same birth date that you do?  If so, tell us about him or her - what do you know, and how is s/he related to you?

2)  For bonus points, how did you determine this?  What feature or process did you use in your software to work this problem out?  I think the Calendar feature probably does it, but perhaps you have a trick to make this work outside of the calendar function.

That's it - go for it - use your Genealogy Jedi lightsword to cut through your genealogy database to solve this task!  May the genea-force be with you!

I will post mine on Saturday evening after I return from Salt Lake City.

Surname Saturday - Hutchison/Hutchinson (NJ > NB > ONT)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I am up to number 123, who is the unknown mother of #61 Sarah Sephrona Fletcher;  the next number is #125, who is Mary Jane Hutchison (ca 1792-1868), one of my 4th-great-grandparents.

My ancestral line back through two generations of HUTCHISON (and variants) 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)

14. Charles Auble (1849-1916)
15. Georgianna Kemp (1868-1952)

30. James Abraham Kemp (1831-1902)
31. Mary Jane Sovereen (1840-1874)

62.  Alexander Sovereign (1814-1907)
63.  Eliza Putman (1820-1895)

124.  Frederick Sovereign, born 14 February 1786 in Schooley's Mountain, Warren County, NJ; died 14 June 1875 in Middleton, Norfolk County, ONTARIO, CANADA. He was the son of 248. Jacob Sovereign and 249. Elizabeth Pickle. He married  17 May 1810 in London District, Upper Canada.

125. Mary Jane Hutchison, born 22 January 1792 in Pleasant Valley, New Brunswick, CANADA; died 16 April 1868 in Delhi, Norfolk County, Ontario, CANADA.
Children of Frederick Sovereign and Mary Hutchison are: William Lewis sovereign (1811-1892); Mary Catherine Sovereign (1813-????); Alexander Sovereign (1814-1907); Jacob Sovereign (1817-1909).

250. William Hutchinson, born 1745 in of Knowlton, Sussex, New Jersey, USA; died 20 March 1826 in Walsingham, Norfolk County, Ontario, Canada. He married  03 August 1784 in Parr, New Brunswick, Canada.
251. Catherine Lewis, born 22 March 1759 in Richmond County, New York; died 15 August 1845 in Walsingham, Norfolk County, Ontario, Canada. She was the daughter of 502. Jonathan Lewis and 503. Marie La Tourette.

Children of William Hutchinson and Catherine Lewis are:  James Hutchison (1788-1858); Mary Jane Hutchison (1792-1868); Elizabeth Hutchison (1794-1871); Catherine Hutchison (1796-1840); David Hutchison (1798-1865); George Hutchison (1799-1888); Joseph P. Hutchison (1801-1889).

I have done no original research on this surname.  I tried to summarize what I knew about William Hutchi(n)son in William Hutchi(n)son (1745-1826) Family History - Post 1  and Post 2. 

I don't know (and nobody else does either, apparently) the parents or siblings of William Hutchi(n)son. He supposedly was born in about 1745 and resided in Knowlton, Sussex County (now in Warren County) NJ in the 1773-4 time frame.  According to one of the family stories, he had a family by his first wife and all but son Alexander died before he migrated to New Brunswick, where he married Catherine Lewis. 
Any Hutchinson or Hutchison cousins reading this?  If you have more information about William H, please email me at

Friday, October 22, 2010

Full Day Research at the FHL

I've had a fairly full day doing research at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City today.

I've accomplished these feats of genealogical research wizardry (or not...) today:

*  Found marriage record in 1840 for Alexander Whittle and Rachel Morley in Bolton-le-Moors Parish Registers on microfilm.

*  Found baptism record for Elizabeth Morley, illegitimate daughter of Jane Morley, in 1839 in Bolton-le-Moors Parish Register.

*  Found burial record for Jane (Haslam) (Bury) Morley in 1834 in Bolton-le-Moors parish register.

*  Found marriage record for Jane Haslam to Robert Bury in 1801 and to Thomas Morley in 1806 in Bolton-le-Moors parish register.

* Did not find burial record for Alexander Whittle in 1855, or Margaret Whittle in 1854, in Chorley Parish Register.  They are listed in Civil Registration as dying in Chorley but there is no parish record.

*  Checked out the Bolton-le-Moors Churchwarden's accounts, but didn't see anything relating to Morley's or Whittles. 

* Found and copied British damage claims to the William Cutter family and Samuel fitz Randolph family in New Jersey after Revolutionary War.

*  Searched for, and did not find, an estate case file for Samuel or Mary Ann Vaux in Marshall County, Kansas in 1880 to 1890 time period.  Wonder if there is one in another nearby county?

*  Searched for, and did not find, a listing for Samuel Vaux in the Blue Rapids, Marshall County, Kansas abstracts of town lots, 1870-1995. Samuel was in Blue Rapids in the 1880 US Census.

*  Searched for, and did not find, Donna P's Jan Pater in an obscure Polish village birth records (she gave me the film number, and told me what to look for, and I did it).

*  Managed to get tens of feet of microfilm on the floor and desktop when I mounted a film the wrong way in the microfilm scanner machine.  Claire came by at that moment to say hello, and I said "help."  I stopped the machine by closing out the program, and the staff helped me rewind the film, mount it correctly, and give me instructions on how to correctly obtain the image and scan it to my flash drive.  Embarrassing. 

For lunch, I went over to the Joseph Smith Building and met Michael and Jimmy for lunch, and a short meeting - thank you, guys!  That was fun.

For dinner, I went to JB's on the corner and had a quick Yankee Pot Roast dinner in the corner by myself.  It was great to sit quietly and think. 

I'm back in the library at 7 PM and ready to go hunt Whittles in the California Gold Country. 

Wifi-less in Salt Lake City

Well, not really, if I want to pay for it.  Rather than invest $12.95 for one day at the hotel, or even worse, 49 cents a minute in the hotel business center, I decided to forgo blogging last night at the hotel when I returned from the Blogger Day at FamilySearch.  I figured "I'll read my email, read my blogs and post something on Friday morning at the Family History Library."  So that's where I am, bright and early at 8 a.m. and now it's 9 a.m. after grabbing a Danish for breakfast, reading my email and blogs, and now what should I post about?

Ah, the last two days!

I flew from San Diego to Salt Lake City on Wednesday, arriving at 1 p.m. and in the Marriott Hotel by 1:45.  After unloading my stuff in the room, it was off to the Family History Library about one block away.  In my hurry, I forgot my flash drives were in the other case - no problem - I'll do the things I want to do in the books.  I found a good Lewis book that provided significant family history information about the John Lewis of Westerly RI line that ended up in Staten Island, New york.  It even mentioned Katherine Lewis, daughter of Jonathan and Marie (LaTourette) Lewis, but did not list a husband for her.  Is she the Catherine Lewis that married William Hutchinson in New Brunswick?  I don't know...but if she is, then I have some useful Lewis family history information.

I walked over to the Plaza Hotel at 5:30 p.m. and sat in the lobby until James Tanner, author of the Genealogy's Star blog, came in and we walked to the Joseph Smith Building for dinner at the Nauvoo Cafe on the first floor.  We enjoyed our carved sandwiches and boysenberry pie, and shared about our lives and interests.  When genea-bloggers meet, we seem to eat and talk and the time flies!  After dinner, we walked through Temple Square, and James gave me a guided tour of several of the buildings and then we visited the FamilySearch Center in the Joseph Smith Building.  It would be really cool to work in this building - a FamilySearch Center in the basement!

The Bloggers Day at FamilySearch was on Thursday, starting with breakfast at 7:30 a.m. We met in the Joseph Smith Building and were in the FamilySearch offices there.  After a buffet breakfast, the 9-hour program started promptly at 8 a.m. with a welcome from Paul Nauta, introductions by Shipley Munson and a briefing by FamilySearch President Jay Verkler.  Then a number of FamilySearch product managers described their work until 5 p.m.  We broke for lunch at 12 noon and enjoyed food from the Garden Restaurant in the building. 

The Blogger Day agenda was listed here.

I tweeted on throughout the day, and you can see all tweets by myself, Thomas MacEntee, Kimberly Powell and DearMYRTLE by using the hashtag #FSBlogDay on Twitter.  Other bloggers in attendance have written posts about their experiences and learning - you can see them all on Geneabloggers in Latest News from the Family Search Bloggers Day.  Diane Haddad has written a summary on The Genealogy Insider blog, and James Tanner blogged continuously during the event on Genealogy's Star blog.  I may collect my Twitter notes after I return home and psot them - my guess is that I had over 200 tweets in 9 hours!

I stayed in the room and chatted with Paul Nauta and Jim Ericson for awhile, and read some of my email before we left for the 6 p.m. dinner hosted by FamilySearch in The Roof Restaurant at the top of the Joseph Smith Building.  I enjoyed the conversation at the table with Paul Nauta, Ann Harrison, and The Ancestry Insider.  After dinner, I wandered back to the hotel pretty much spent and watched the end of the baseball game.

I asked several of the questions submitted by email from my readers, and will respond with emails to the senders when I return home on Saturday.  I will also write blog posts abut some of them for everybody's edification.

Needless to say, Thursday was enlightening and fun.  I especially enjoyed meeting more of the FamilySearch personnel, and hearing about their product status, future plans, and visions for FamilySearch.  It is very much a work in progress. 

So, here I am at the Family History Library ready to go read some microfilms about the Whittle/Morley folks in England.  Wish me luck!

Disclosure: FamilySearch paid for my airfare, hotel lodging and incidental expenses in order for me to attend this event.  I appreciate their generosity and outreach.  I have tried, and will continue to try, to be objective in my writings about FamilySearch products.

Source Citation Mangling through GEDCOMs - Post 1

I complained last week, in Why I use several software programs that :

"I recently imported my FTM 16 file into FTM 2010, RootsMagic and Legacy.  The names, dates, places, notes all imported well, but I found that some of the source  information (which I'm working really hard on) did not come across completely."

The circumstances are this:

*  I'm doing all of my database correction work (duplicate names, unconnected persons, source citations, place name cleanups, date errors, etc.) in Family Tree Maker 16 because I find it much easier and faster to navigate.  Part of that is my twelve years working in the program, but also the relative simplicity (navigation, fewer clicks, etc.) of the program.

*  I tried to create a GEDCOM file after compacting the file, and FTM 16 said that I had data errors that prevented the file creation. 

*  Smart fellow that I think I am, I figured I could read it directly into Family Tree Maker 2010, save it, create a GEDCOM file there, and read it back into FTM 16. 

*  This worked well, and I was soon adding, deleting, and editing data in my revised FTM 16 database. 

*  big mistake!  I made it so easily!  I didn't even check the Master Source details.  Because FTM 2010 does not read the FTM 16 file accurately and put the right information in the right place, at least in source citations.

I've re-created the event using one Master Source citation to demonstrate the problem.  In the instances below, each program put the citation detail or note in the correct place.  I didn't have any source notes or comments in the fields, so cannot evaluate that aspect.

1)  Here is the screen from Family Tree Maker 16 for my source citation for the birth of Peregrine White (I've cleaned it up by editing this one citation to be, well, almost perfect (I sure hope ESM doesn't read this!)):

The FTM 16 source citation elements include:

*  Title of source:  Mayflower Families Through Five Generations; Volume 13: Family of William White
*  Author/Originator: Robert S. Wakefield (editor)
*  Publication facts: Boston, Mass.: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1997
*  Source location: Carlsbad Public Library, Carlsbad, CA
*  Source medium:  Book
*  source quality: Derivative but authoritative
*  Citation page: page 6

The Footnote created from this source citation is:

Robert S. Wakefield (editor), Mayflower Families Through Five Generations; Volume 13: Family of William White,  (Boston, Mass.: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1997), page 6.

2)  I created a GEDCOM file and imported it into Family Tree Maker 2010.  Here is the screen shot for the same source citation in FTM 2010 for the same person:

The FTM 2010 source citation elements include:

* Source template: [blank]
* Title: Mayflower Families Through Five Generations; Volume 13: Family of William White
* Author: Robert S. Wakefield (editor)
* Publication name: Boston, Mass.: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1997
* Publisher location: Carlsbad Public Library, Carlsbad, CA
* Publish date: [blank]
* Source repository: [none]
* Comments: Source medium: Book; Derivative but authoritative
* Citation detail: page 6

The Footnote created from this source citation is:

Robert S. Wakefield (editor), Mayflower Families Through Five Generations; Volume 13: Family of William White, (Boston, Mass.: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1997), page 6.

3) I imported the same GEDCOM file into RootsMagic 4. Here is the screen shot for the same source citation in RootsMagic 4 for the same person:

The RootsMagic 4 source citation elements include:

* Title: Mayflower Families Through Five Generations; Volume 13: Family of William White
* Author: Robert S. Wakefield (editor)
* Publication data: Boston, Mass.: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1997
* Repository tab: [none listed]
* Quality tab: [none listed]
*  Source Details: Page Number: page 6

The Footnote created from this source citation is:

Robert S. Wakefield (editor), Mayflower Families Through Five Generations; Volume 13: Family of William White (Boston, Mass.: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1997), page 6.

4) I imported the same GEDCOM file into Legacy Family Tree 7.4. Here is the screen shot for the same source citation in Legacy Family Tree 7.4 for the same person:

The Legacy Family Tree 7.4 source citation elements include:

*  Source List Name:  Mayflower Families Through Five Generations; Volume 13: Family of William White
*  Author: Robert S. Wakefield (editor)
*  Title:  Mayflower Families Through Five Generations; Volume 13: Family of William White
*  Publication facts: Boston, Mass.: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1997
*  Repository tab:  Location: Not given (see Notes).  Notes: Carlsbad Public Library, Carlsbad CA
*  Comments tab:  Derivative but authoritative
*  Source Detail: page 6

The Footnote/End Note created from this source citation is:

Robert S. Wakefield (editor), Mayflower Families Through Five Generations; Volume 13: Family of William White (Boston, Mass.: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1997), page 6.

You can readily see that the GEDCOM created by Family Tree Maker 16 results in an identical source citations in the other three programs.  However, the details within the Master Source detail fields are mangled.  RootsMagic 4 would probably be the easiest one to fix - I would need to add the Repository and quality data. 

This probably occurs because of the intricacies in the GEDCOM code - I've read that Family Tree Maker 16 (and earlier) used non-standard fields for some database entries, and the other programs are not set up to read them and put them in the similar field. 

Because of my error in judgment described at the top of this post, I'm stuck with somewhat faulty entries in my Family Tree Maker 16 database.  I have over 600 Master Sources to fix after reading back the GEDCOM from FTM 2010.  If I correct the files in FTM 16, and then export the corrected database to FTM 2010, RootsMagic 4, or Legacy Family Tree 7, then the Master Source details will get mangled again. 

If I edit the Master Sources in, say, RootsMagic 4, and then GEDCOM the file back into one of the other programs, will the Master Source details be mangled?  I don't know, but I'll check that out and report on it in the next post.

One solution might be to have only the Author, Title and Publication details in the Master Sources.  The other detail fields won't come across in a GEDCOM file.

Now I'm wondering what these sources will look like when I GEDCOM them into the Ancestry Member Tree.  Or some other family tree system. 

Oh, what a tangled web I've woven...

Any bright ideas from my readers? 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

FamilySearch Blogger Day Tweets

I've been posting on Twitter throughout the Blogger Day event at FamilySearch in Salt Lake City.

Check out my tweets at

Check out all tweets using the #FSBlogDay hashtag at

More to come!!

Treasure Chest Thursday - Frederick Seaver's Baptism Certificates

It's Treasure Chest Thursday - time to show-and-tell another document or artifact that defines some of my family history.

Today's treasures are two different records that document my father's baptism in Massachusetts.  Frederick Walton Seaver was born 15 October 1911 in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.  He was baptized on Easter Even, 1912, in St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Leominster, Massachusetts, as evidenced by the first two baptism records found in the treasure box:

1)  The "official" Episcopal Church Diocese of Western Massachusetts certificate:

2)  The St. Mark's Episcopal Church baptismal record:

The information on these two documents is the same - the parents are named as Frederick W. Seaver and Alma B. [Seaver], and the witnesses are Everett G. Richmond (brother of Alma B. (Richmond) Seaver) and Eleanor M. Coleman (a close family friend).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Review: Quicksheet. Genealogical Problem Analysis: A Strategis Plan

The latest publication in Elizabeth Shown Mills' series of laminated research aids is the Quicksheet. Genealogical Problem Analysis: A Strategic Plan

This QuickSheet is a two-sided laminated designed for heavy use, like the first two Quicksheets in this series (Citing Online Historical Resources and Citing Databases & Images).

The front side of this Quicksheet is a summary of the basic premises and basic appraisal elements to solve genealogical research problems using the Genealogical Proof Standard.  This side also has a "10 Steps to a Solution" list intended to help researchers work step-by-step through problem definition, file organization,  source appriasal, existing analysis, and research planning using a series of Worksheets (which are not provided, but are described so a researcher can easily create them in a word processing document - which can then be updated continuously for every research problem in work).

The second side has a "Life Stages Worksheet" which is a form that can be filled in that covers most life events from birth to death through six specific stages of life.  There are 38 record categories listed on this worksheet.  A researcher can review this single page at a glance to determine which records might be found for their research target. 

This QuickSheet sells for $5.95 plus postage and handling (ISBN 978-0-8063-1868-4).  It is available from:

Genealogical Publishing Company
3600 Clipper Mill Road, Suite 260
Baltimore, MD 21211-1953
(410) 837-8271

Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of this QuickSheet for purposes of reviewing it from Genealogical Publishing Company.  I am not an employee or affiliate of GPC, and have received no remuneration for this review. 

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 125: Samuel Crouch

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.

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

This is a picture of Samuel Crouch (1840-1931) who resided in Long Beach, California from before 1910 until his death.  Samuel was born in September 1840 in England.  He married Elizabeth Vaux (1850-1931) on 19 October 1871 in Andrew County, Missouri.  They resided in Platte township, Andrew County, Missouri in 1880 and in Beaver township, Boone County, Nebraska in 1900.  Samuel died 19 May 1931 in Long Beach, and Elizabeth died 10 May 1931 in Long Beach.  They had three children - Myrtle Crouch (1872-1963), who married Benjamin Milbank; William Samuel Crouch (1874-1940) who married Elizabeth Riley;  Ralph Crouch (1880-????), who probably died young. 

Elizabeth (Vaux) Crouch was a sister of my great-great-grandmother, Abbie (Vaux) Smith (1844-1931) married Devier J. Smith in Wisconsin, lived in Taylor County, Iowa, Andrew County, Missouri, Concordia, Cloud county, Kansas, McCook, Red Willow County, Nebraska and San Diego County, California.  The two families exchanged frequent letters and visited occasionally. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I'm off to Salt Lake City for Blogger Day at FamilySearch, and more!

Several other genea-bloggers have mentioned that they are attending the Blogger Day at FamilySearch in Salt Lake City on Thursday.  I leave on Wednesday morning and will get there after noon.  I hope to spend some time in the Family History Library on Wednesday afternoon before meeting friends for dinner.

This is the list of scheduled topics and presenters for Thursday's event to be held in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building:
  • 7:30 a.m. -- Continental breakfast
  • 8:00 a.m. -- Welcome - Paul Nauta
  • 8:05 a.m. -- Introductions: Meet fellow bloggers and FamilySearch Leadership, Colleagues - Shipley Munson
  • 8:20 a.m. -- Who is FamilySearch? How to think about us - Jay Verkler
  • 9:00 a.m. -- RootsTech: A very different kind of genealogy conference - Anne Roach, Ann Harrison
  • 9:40 a.m. -- Volunteer Indexing: Unlocking the world’s records one name at a time - Jim Ericson
  • 10 a.m. - Break
  • 10:15 a.m. -- Family History Library/FamilySearch Centers: Real discoveries and grass roots learning - Don Anderson
  • 10:35 a.m. -- FamilySearch Online Research Courses: Bringing the teacher to you - Travis Jordan
  • 10:55 a.m. -- Q&A Discussion
  • 11:15 a.m. -- Wiki: Community knowledge, by the community, for the community, 24/7 - Diane Loosle.
  • 11:45 a.m. -- Forums: Reference consultants you can “take home” - Anne Roach
  • 12 noon -- Working Lunch/Discussion/Q&A/Networking (eating and talking fast!)
  • 12:30 p.m. -- FamilySearch Software Community: Collaborating technology to increase the frequency of patron successes - Gordon Clarke
  • 12:50 p.m. -- Digitally preserving personal family histories - Gary Wright
  • 1:10 p.m. -- Discussion/Q and A
  • 1:30 p.m. -- FamilySearch Family Tree: On the horizon - Ron Tanner
  • 2:15 p.m. -- Break/Discussion
  • 2:45 p.m. -- FamilySearch Records Access: Upcoming Collections: Millions weekly and climbing - Stephen Valentine
  • 3:15 p.m. -- The Next Generation - Dan Lawyer
  • 4 p.m. -- FamilySearch Catalog 2.0 - Dan Lawyer
  • 4:15 p.m. -- Open Discussion, Q and A
  • 5 pm. -- Free time
  • 6 p.m. -- Hosted dinner.
Whew - that is going to be a mental and physical challenge to cover and recall, even with notes!  Thank goodness for several breaks. 

Some genea-bloggers may tweet some or all of the conference (with FamilySearch's permission, which is wonderful), so interested genealogists may be able to follow some of the conversations.  Look for a hashtag on tweets of genea-bloggers in attendance - it may be #FSBlogDay if we can remember it!

If I survive that challenge, then I will spend Friday at the Family History Library and do some research.  I listed some of my research targets in my post Off to Salt Lake City next week - what should I do?

I will have my laptop with me, and will try to blog and tweet as best I can, considering the time challenges. 

There look like there are plenty of time slots for questions and answers - what questions would you like asked at the FamilySearch Bloggers Day?  Email me before Wednesday night ( with questions and tell me which category they fit into.  I will try to ask them and report back the answers.

I appreciate FamilySearch's efforts to reach out to the genea-bloggers community, and honored to be included in this august group.  I look forward to interacting with the FamilySearch personnel, few of whom I have met previously. 

Disclosure:  FamilySearch is paying for my airline travel, hotel accommodations for three nights, incidental expenses and several meals on Thursday.  I will make every effort to be objective about what I hear and learn and write about during and after the event.

More thoughts about Person View

In my post Ancestry Labs and Person View - a first look! yesterday, I lamented the apparent fact that no Web Records were showing up for my searches.  In Comments on the Blog post We're launching Labs -- and we'd love your feedback, Tony Macklin replied to me that:

"...web search is currently live, however, this is a prototype, and it looks like your search for Frederick Seaver may have uncovered an intermittent data issue. We’re working on this now (for a view on how this works with other records, do a search for a Morgan Bell Edwards, born in 1885, with web records only checked)."

For me, it's a constant data issue - for every person I've checked, including persons not in my Ancestry Member Tree (e.g., Barack Obama, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington), I get no Web Record results.  The one Web Record for Morgan Bell Edwards, suggested above by Tony, is from the Western States Marriage Collection. 

Tony's point is valid - the Person View is a prototype - meaning that it is still being developed.  So it will be awhile until the Web Records catches up to the part of the Person View.

Several commenters on Tony's post hoped that Ancestry Member Trees would not be used to find matches to the target person, because so many assertions in the trees are unsourced or wrong.  Frankly, it looks to me that the whole Person View system depends on the Ancestry Member Tree, and on records linked to one or more Ancestry Member Trees.  That is why it works so fast - the system does not search the databases, it searches the Member Trees and finds any records attached to the person in those trees.  Without Ancestry Member Trees, I think that Person View doesn't work.

The obvious (to me, at least) Web Records that should be accessed by the Person View include:

*  Rootsweb Message Board ( posts (within domain)

*  Rootsweb Mailing List ( posts (within domain)

*  Rootsweb WorldConnect Family Trees ( (within domain - I know, it's copied in's Ancestry World Tree, but that is, apparently, not searched in Person View, and WorldConnect is easier and free to access).

*  Rootsweb Free Pages ( - web pages with user-provided genealogy data (within domain)

*  GenForum Message Boards ( (owned by

* User pages ( - web pages with user-provided genealogy data (owned by

*  Footnote Pages ( (owned by

*  Find-A-Grave cemetery listings ( cemetery listings

*  USGenWeb Archives (

*  Family Tree Legends ( databases

*  Genealogy blog posts

There are many other online freely available databases on websites like the National Archives, State Archives, public libraries, genealogical and historical societies. 

I can visualize links in Web Records to records on,,,,, etc., assuming that the online record holders agree to the linkage (and why wouldn't they agree?  It will mean more hits, and possible subscriptions.). 

What other freely available sites should the Person View search for Web Records?  I know that my readers can come up with free records that currently are not available on

In my opinion, the critical factor for acceptance of Person View will be if persons without an Ancestry Member Tree can use it and obtain accurate and consistent results.  If that almost always happens, then it will be very successful. 

However, I wonder "How many persons that lived in the 19th and 20th century are in Ancestry Member Trees?"  How many people lived in those centuries in the USA (maybe 500 million?), or in English-speaking countries (maybe 1.0 billion?), or in the whole world (maybe 10 billion?)?   That's a really big task, isn't it? has about 1.5 billion names in their Member Trees, but many of these are duplicates, and range back to medieval times).  My best guess is that Member Trees have perhaps 5% to 10% of the persons who lived in English-speaking countries in the 19th and 20th century (just a SWAG on my part...).  Obviously, searchers will be looking for their great-grandparents and grandparents first, so the numbers to choose from will be somewhat less - perhaps half of my guesses above - still big numbers!

This Person View idea is not a new idea - the MyHeritage Genealogy Research site has a search capability for thousands of web sites, including  The Live Roots site searches selected databases, including Ancestry and Footnote.   The difference here is one of scale - has over 1 million subscribers, 1.5 billion names in Ancestry Member Trees, and almost 30,000 databases. 

What do you think?  Tell me, tell via their Feedback link on the Person View page.

Tuesday's Tip - Use Message Boards to Find Distant Cousins

I was met with looks of amazement on Monday teaching my Beginning Computer Genealogy class when I introduced the segment on using Genealogy Message Boards and Mailing Lists as ways to find information about ancestral families.  The reaction was that AOL-type message boards are long gone, and that snail mail takes so long and is expensive.

I explained that Genealogy Message Boards:

*  are an online collection of queries from genealogists and family historians, and responses to them from other genealogists. 

*  are websites that registered users can freely participate in.

*  there are Surname, Locality and Topic boards available online.  Thousands of them.

*  are searchable in the whole collection, or on specific boards, or in a search engine like google.

*  are an excellent way to find distant cousins that may have more data than you do, or you may be able to help them.

*  the user can contact the submitter by email (assuming the email address is still valid).

The two largest Genealogy Message Boards systems are found at:

1)  Rootsweb/Ancestry Message Boards --  There are over 161,000 message boards on this system with over 17 million messages.  There is an online tutorial of how to use this message board system at

2)  Genforum Message Boards --  I don't have a count of message boards for this system, but there are over 37 million messages.

There are several smaller Message Board systems, such as:

*  Cousin Connect --  There is no count of boards and messages here.

*  GenQueries --  There is only one large board and no count of queries.

*  The site had message boards attached to many county and state web pages.  Some of them are still available to browse and search. 

The point is that many other researchers may have plowed the same ancestral ground that you are scratching around in, and you may be able to find useful information, and distant cousins, by searching on Message Boards for your surnames and localities.

I make it a point every January to go into both large Message Board systems and check for posts from the past year (you can select the time frame using the Advanced Search link). 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ancestry Labs and Person View - a first look!

The Blog announced the public unveiling of Ancestry Labs website and the Person View project in Ancestry Labs.  Ancestry Labs is at

There are two projects within Ancestry Labs at present - the Person View project and the Ancestry Wiki.  Here is the opening screen for Person View:

There is a short demonstration video of how Person view works at

The screen above has search fields and an explanation of what Person View is about.  Person View is intended to permit a searcher for a specific person to find records and trees which exposes the relationships between records, and that finds records on the Internet that match the query (from outside of’s collections), and then link you directly to them. 
The Search fields include First Name, Last Name, Gender, one or more events (only Birth or Death), Relative (Father, Mother, Spouse or Child) and check boxes for Ancestry Records, Family Trees and Web Records.

I entered my grandfather, Frederick Seaver, added born 1876 in Massachusetts, and clicked on "Search:"

I received a list of ten records that thinks matches my search request.  The first result is my grandfather, and it tells me that there are 8 Family Trees and 4 Ancestry Records for him.  The result shows the birth date/place, death date/place, and family members (parents, spouse(s), and children), presumably obtained from the Family Trees.  The search criteria used is probably the Default settings (meaning Soundex, plus initials and similar names from the Name catalog on Ancestry) with matches on the Event contributing to the ranking.  The other matches on the results page are close, but not exact.  Notice that I input "Frederick" "Seaver" in the search field, and it found "Fred" "Seaver."  Down the list are other spellings for both names, including initials for the first name.

I clicked on my grandfather's name and saw (three screens below):

The first screen above shows 5 birth records (from Family Trees, 1900 census, 1920 census, 1930 census and World War I Draft registration.  It did not find the 1910 census because he was indexed as "Seaner" in that census and I haven't added that change yet.  There is a small map for the first three events on the top right of the first screen.

In the second screen are more facts - 4 Residence facts, a Marriage fact and a Death fact;  in the third screen are 2 more Death facts and one more Residence fact, all from the sources noted above.  At the bottom of the third screen above, there is a list of the relatives - parents, spouse and children found in the Family Tree search.  The user can navigate from child to parent or sibling using these links.

If you click on the link for any of the Family Trees, Ancestry Records, or Web Records you will see a pop-up window.  Here is the pop-up window for the first Birth fact, which was obtained from the Barnes Family Tree:

The pop-up window for the second Birth fact, which was the 1900 U.S. Census:

On these pop-up windows, the user can click on the link for "View this record at" and be taken to the Family Tree person profile or the record summary (which then links to the actual image, if available).  The user can also "Save this record to" a person in their own tree or to their shoebox (Ancestry Records only). 

At the time of this writing, access to Web Records was not enabled on the site.

Some comments about this Person View after working with it for a short period of time:
  • This seems to work well - it finds the right person - if the user puts in a first name, last name, an event and an event place.  It will work well for a common name (like John Smith) with all of those and also  a spouse name and/or child's name.
  • The response time is much faster (at least on my 6-year old computer) than working in Ancestry Member Trees or Ancestry Records. 
  • If the records for the target person are not indexed closely, then those records will not be included in the matches.
  • It looks like only Historical Records are included in the Ancestry Records at this time (i.e., no newspaper, book, maps, directories, etc. are included - anything found by Online Character Recognition).  I chose my grandfather because I know that he is in some of those records. 
  • This Person View is much, much easier to use to search to find and navigate within an Ancestry Member Tree.
I've watched my adult education students try to search for the first time, and it's not pretty.  They usually add too much information (first name, middle name, surname, birth year without a range, birth place, death date, death place, spouse's name), and then are very frustrated when there are no matches.  This Person View system, will, I think, greatly solve that problem!

I'm sure that we will have much more to say about this in the weeks to come.

The WikiTree is Growing

I received this press release from Elyse Doerflinger:

WikiTree About to Reach 500,000 Profiles
Oct. 18, 2010,

WikiTree announced today that the website is about to reach 500,000 profiles. WikiTree has recently experienced explosive growth. With 497,732 profiles for people, places, and family heirlooms as of this morning, the site is expected to cross over to 500,000 profiles by Friday. Who will create profile number 500,000?

Access to each individual profile is determined by the user who created it. WikiTree's unique Trusted List system gives the user the power to protect sensitive information while still collaborating on a worldwide family tree. Try WikiTree today - you could be creating profile number 500,000!

About WikiTree: WikiTree's mission is to create a rich worldwide family tree resource by striking the perfect balance between collaboration and privacy. It gives families a free and easy way to privately share information and organize their facts, memories, and photos. At the same time, it enables distant relatives and strangers to grow a worldwide family tree and create a valuable resource for future historians. WikiTree was started in 2008 by Chris Whitten, the creator of WikiAnswers - one of the top 50 websites in the US. Content on WikiTree is owned and edited by its contributors. Join the free community at

Chris Whitten, Webmaster

Elyse Doerflinger, WikiTree Evangelist

Amanuensis Monday - Will of Crispus Richards (1681-1763) of Lynn, Massachusetts

 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 Crispus Richards (1681-1763) of Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts, one of my 7th great-grandfathers.

The will of Crispus Richards (1681-1763) is included in Essex County (Massachusetts) Probate Court docket #23,539. It was written on 10 April 1756, and proved by the Court at Salem on 11 July 1763. The will reads (transcribed from Essex County Probate Records, Volume 340, pages 399-400, on FHL Microfilm 0,875,026):

"In the Name of God Amen, The tenth day of April anno Domini 1756 I Crispus Richards of Lynn in the County of Essex in the Province of ye Massachusetts Bay in New England yeoman, being decaying in body but of sound mind calling to Mind ye Mortality of body knowing it is appointed for all men once to die, do make & Ordain in this my last Will and Testament, that is to say principally and first of all I recommend my Soul into the hands of God that gave it, and my body I recommend to ye Earth to be buried in christian and decent Manner at the discretion of my Execetutor hereafter named and as touching my worldly Estate I give demise and dispose of as follows: And my will is that all my just Debts and funeral Charges be duly and honestly paid by my Executor out of my Estate.

"Imprimis I give and bequeath to my beloved Wife Sarah all my indoor moveable estate to be at her own Disposal and also the Improvement of the one half of my real estate during.

"Item I give and bequeath to yt several Children of my Son Joseph Richards dec-d (Viz) to William Richards, Joseph Richard, Mary Richards, Ebenezer Richards, Hannah Richards, Esther Richards, John Richards & Martha Richards to each of them the Sum of one Shilling lawfull Money to be paid by my Executor within two years after my decease & wifes and that to be their Portion out of my Estate having given their father his portion in his life Time.

"Item I give and bequeath to my daughter Esther Estess one pound six shillings and eight pence to be paid by my Executor out of my Estate within one year after my decease and wifes & that with what I have heretofore done for her to be her portion out of my Estate.

"Item I give to my daughter Sarah Ingulls one pound six shillings & eight pence to be paid by my Executor out of my Estate within two years after I & my Wife shall decease & that with what I have already done for her to be her Portion out of my Estate.

"Item I give & bequeath to my grand Daughter Thankfull Stocker one pound six shillings and eight pence to be paid by my Executor out of my Estate within two years after my & wifes decease & that to be her portion Out of my Estate.

"Item I give & bequeath to my daughter Mary Richards ye Sum of four Pounds per year annually each and every year so long as she shall remain unmarried & in Case she marries then to have one Pound six shillings & eight pence to be paid by my Executor out of my Estate.

"Item I give to my daughter Deborah Richards ten pounds to be paid by my Executor within one year after my decease & Wife's & that to be her portion out of my Estate with ye Priviledge of my west Chamber till married & no longer.

"Item I give devise & bequeath to my son John Richards (whom I likewise constitute make and ordain sole Executor of this my last Will & Testament) all & singular my Housing & Lands Messuages & Tenements in Lynn and elsewhere to him my sd son his heirs and Assigns forever & also all my outdoor moveable Estate of what Name & Nature soever to be to them & his Heirs forever and I do hereby ratify & Confirm this & no other to be my last Will & Testament. In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal,

"Signed, sealed, published, pronounced & declared by the sd ................................ his
Crispus Richards as his last Will & Testament in ........................................ Crispus x Richards
Presence of we ye Subscribers    ............................................................................. Mark
William Collins, Theophilus Burrill & William Watts."

The will was presented to the Court at Salem on 11 July 1763, with Theophilus Burrill and William Watts making oath that they were present when Crispus Richards late of Lynn deceased signed, sealed, heard him publish and declare this to be his last will and testament, and that he was of sound disposing mind and memory to the best of their discerning and that they, together with William Collins, affixed their hands at the same time in his presence as witnesses. The Executor appeared and accepted that trust. The will was proved, approved and allowed by the Judge of Probate, the Honorable John Choate Esquire.
The given name Crispus is very rare in New England.  In this case, Crispus Richards was named after his maternal grandfather, Crispus Brewer (1626-1707), who was married to Mary, and had Mary Brewer (1653-1706), who married John Richards (1644-1713) and was the mother of Crispus Richards.
In this will, Crispus Richards names the children of his deceased first son, Joseph Richards (1703-1748), his son John Richards, and his daughters, including their married surnames.  Daughter Hannah Richards (1711-1740) married John Stocker and had one child, Thankful Stocker, who is mentioned in the will.  Wife Sarah (Collins) Richards died in June 1757 after the will was written.  Daughter Mary Richards died in 1758 after this will was written.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Served up at the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe

The following posts have been posted on the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe (the blog of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society) this past month:

The post Genealogy Days in Chula Vista - October 2010  provides a list of all of the events scheduled for October.  If you are in the San Diego area, please drop by and enjoy our meetings.

Best of the Genea-blogs - 10-16 October 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:

The BLM Government Land Office Beta Website by Gayle Gresham on the Colorado Reflections blog.  Gayle found that the BLM site had added more content and the ability to see the land location right on the site.  Excellent find, Gayle!

John Colletta "Rocked It" at Genealogy Conference by Susan Petersen on the Long  Lost blog.  Susan summarizes Colletta's talks at the Lincoln-Lancaster Genealogical Society conference last week.

Prove Genealogy Backward, Read History Forward by Marian Pierre-Louis on the Roots and Rambles blog.  Marian describes her aha! moment while listening to a lecture on history on a CD.  This makes a lot of sense! Acquisition by the writer of The Ancestry Insider blog.  Mr. AI has some interesting comments about this inside-genealogy deal.

Docu-Challenge WinnWilliam Warner Player baptism record by Pat Richley-Erickson on the DearMyrtle's Genealogy Blog.   Myrt challenged readers to analyze a baptismal record and answer four questions about it.  The readers did a great job!

Tuesday Tales: Visiting iBrat in Illinois by Mary Mettler on the  blog.  Mary's back with another research tale - she helped a beginner out last year and now the lady has adopted Mary as her iMom, and Daylene is Mary's iBrat. 

A Bundle of Genealogical Joy from PerSI by Kris Hocker on the /genealogy blog.  Kris's post is a reminder that ordering those hard-to-find periodical articles is just a click away at Allen County Public Library.  She ordered 87 pages worth of articles for $25.

Just Who were the Scots-Irish? by Carolyn L. Barkley on the blog.  Carolyn provides a great history lesson and a summary of Irish genealogy print resources.

California Family History Expo - Blogger Re-cap by Holly Hansen on the blog.  14 genea-bloggers wrote one or more posts about their experiences at this Expo last weekend.  Well done, faithful genea-scribes!  Great pictures too!

The Violin Story by Leah on The Internet Genealogist blog.  What a fascinating story about a family heirloom - and all because Leah went to the California Family History Expo and received a book.

It is Not His Fault by Joan Miller on the Luxegen Genealogy and Family History Blog.  Joan took three speakers touring in the Alberta mountains and has fantastic pictures of everywhere they went.  She even got them back safely for the Alberta Family History Society event on Saturday!

Why Seeing It is With Your Own Eyes is a Good Idea by Karen on the Ancestor Soup blog.  Karen had a haunting feeling about stopping at the cemetery on their day out, and was richly surprised and rewarded.

Other weekly "Best of..." genealogy blog posts include:

* Follow Friday: 15 October 2010 by Greta Koehl on the Greta's Genealogy Bog blog. Greta's weekly reader picks are often different from mine, and she highlights new blogs (for her) also. 

John Newmark announced that he would no longer be doing a weekly pick on his TransylvanianDutch blog. I will miss his list, which included lists of other genea-bloggers.

I encourage you to go to the blogs listed above and read their articles, and add their blog to your Favorites, Google Reader, RSS 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 680 genealogy bloggers using Google Reader, but I still miss quite a few it seems.

Read past Best of the Genea-Blogs posts here

NOTE:  I will probably not be able to write a Best of the Genea-Blogs next Sunday due to my trip to Salt Lake City.  Greta - please do your usual wonderful job!