Saturday, November 27, 2010

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - The Games People Play

Calling all Genea-philes - it's Saturday Night - time for more Genealogy Fun!

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

1)  Think about the games that your whole family would play when you were a child. 

2)  Tell us about one (or more) of them - what was it called, what were the rules (as you remember them), who played the game, where did you play the game, who usually won?

3)  Write your own blog post, or write a comment on this post, or write a Facebook comment or note.

Here's mine:

The game was called GHOST.  I don't know why!  You went around the table spelling English words one letter at a time, with a minimum of four letters.  If you spelled a complete valid word, then you got a point.  The winner of the game was the one with the fewest points at the end of the game (which was usually when my father wanted to stop to do some work at his desk).  A player could challenge the spelling of the previous player, who had to pronounce and spell the complete word s/he was thinking of.  If they could, then the challenger got the point.  If they couldn't, then the one challenged got the point. 

We (my family of four) played GHOST almost every night after dinner at the dinner table for several years when I was aged 12 to 15 (and my brother was aged 9 to 12).  This was a great game to help us with spelling and it got us reading the dictionary for hours searching for interesting words.  It also gave us some family time in the late 1950s before we all were addicted to the evening television shows. 

My strategy was to find unique words in the dictionary that I could "hang" on one of the other family members.  for instance, if someone started a new word with "b" then I would say "d" and the family had to spell "bdellium."  If they started with "m" then I would say "n" and the word had to be "mnemonic." 

Eventually, we got around to finding and spelling "antidisestablishmentarianism," "pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis" (I remembered the first parts, but had to look it up!) and other long words, but we had to be careful not to spell a complete word within the longer word - like "antidisestablishment."  We experimented in later years with being able to add two letters in order to avoid spelling a valid word.  I loved to try to get my father to spell the valid word, and he would usually try to bluff his way through.  I tried to avoid getting my mother, but didn't mind getting my brother. 

Challenging had a strategy too - if I knew I was going to get hung with a word ending, I would try to bluff everyone by confidently saying a letter and hoping that I wouldn't be challenged.  Of course, this usually broke down into arguments satisfied only by the one challenged looking the word up in the dictionary. 

I searched for the GHOST game and found this Wikipedia entry, which describes the basic game and several variants.

Surname Saturday - PEIRCE (England > MA)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I am up to number 135, who is Abigail Peirce (1750-1776), one of my 5th-great-grandmothers. [Note: The 5th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts]

My ancestral line back through six generations of PEIRCE families is:

1. Randall J. Seaver

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

4. Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942)
5. Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962)

8. Frank Walton Seaver (1852-1922)
9. Hattie Louise Hildreth (1857-1920)

16. Isaac Seaver (1823-1901)
17. Lucretia Townsend Smith (1827-1884)

32. Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825)
33. Abigail Gates (1797-1869)

66. Nathan Gates (1767-1830)
67. Abigail Knowlton (1774-1855)

134. Jeremiah Knowlton, born 03 Mar 1744/45 in Concord, Middlesex, MA; died after 1783 in probably Concord, Middlesex, MA. He was the son of 268. Jeremiah Knowlton and 269. Sarah Allen. He married 04 Apr 1771 in Waltham, Middlesex, MA.

135.  Abigail Peirce, born 12 Apr 1750 in Waltham, Middlesex, MA; died 02 Feb 1776 in Lincoln, Middlesex, MA.
Children of Jeremiah Knowlton and Abigail Peirce are:  Lydia Knowlton (1771-????); Abigail Knowlton (1774-1855).

270. Samuel Peirce, born 03 Jul 1712 in Watertown, Middlesex, MA; died 30 Mar 1772 in Waltham, Middlesex, MA.  He married  03 Jun 1739 in Watertown, Middlesex, MA.
271. Abigail Stearns, born before 01 Jan 1715/16 in Lexington, Middlesex, MA; died 25 Jul 1798 in Watertown, Middlesex, MA. She was the daughter of 542. George Stearns and 543. Hannah Sanderson.

Children of Samuel Peirce and Abigail Stearns are:  Abigail Peirce (1740-1747); Samuel Peirce (1741-1806); Elizabeth Peirce (1743-1808); Daniel Peirce (1746-1747); Nathaniel Peirce (1748-1749); Abigail Peirce (1750-1776); Judith Peirce (1753-1805); Ezra Peirce (1755-1795); Beulah Peirce (1764-????).
540. John Peirce, born 27 May 1673 in Watertown, Middlesex, MA; died before 21 May 1744 in Waltham, Middlesex, MA.  He married  05 Nov 1702 in Watertown, Middlesex, MA.
541. Elizabeth Smith, born 15 Jan 1672/73 in Watertown, Middlesex, MA; died 20 Sep 1747 in Watertown, Middlesex, MA. She was the daughter of 1082. Daniel Smith and 1083. Mary Grant.

Children of John Peirce and Elizabeth Smith are: John Peirce (1703-1774); Jonas Peirce (1705-1776); Ezekiel Peirce (1709-????); Samuel Peirce (1712-1772); Elizabeth Peirce (1716-1743); Daniel Peirce (1719-????); Jonathan Peirce (1724-????).

1080. Joseph Peirce, born about 1647 in Watertown, Middlesex, MA; died before 22 Dec 1713 in Watertown, Middlesex, MA.  He married about 1667 in Watertown, Middlesex, MA.
1081. Martha, born about 1647 in MA; died before 15 Jun 1698 in Watertown, Middlesex, MA.

Children of Joseph Peirce and Martha are:  Joseph Peirce (1669-1753); Francis Peirce (1671-1728); John Peirce (1673-1744); Mary Peirce (1674-????); Benjamin Peirce (1677-????); Jacob Peirce (1678-1740); Martha Peirce (1681-1759); Stephen Peirce (1683-????); Israel Peirce (1685-????); Elizabeth Peirce (1687-????).

2160. Anthony Peirce, born before 28 Apr 1611 in Norwich, Norfolk, ENGLAND; died 09 May 1678 in Watertown, Middlesex, MA.  He married  about 1633 in England.
2161. Anne, born in ENGLAND; died 20 Jan 1682/83 in Watertown, Middlesex, MA.

Children of Anthony Peirce and Anne are: Mary Peirce (1633-1633); Mary Peirce (1636-1701); Jacob Peirce (1637-1688); Daniel Peirce (1640-1723); Martha Peirce (1641-????); Joseph Peirce (1647-1713); Benjamin Peirce (1649-????); Judith Peirce (1650-1723);

4320. John Pers, born 1588 in Norwich, Norfolk, ENGLAND; died 19 Aug 1661 in Watertown, Middlesex, MA. He married before 1609 in ENGLAND.
4321. Elizabeth, born about 1588 in ENGLAND; died 12 Mar 1666/67 in Watertown, Middlesex, MA.

Children of John Pers and Elizabeth are:  Anthony Peirce (1611-1678); Esther Peirce (1613-1636); Mary Peirce (1614-1705); Elizabeth Peirce (1615-1665); John Peirce (1617-????); Barbre Peirce (1620-????); Judith Peirce (1623-1650);

The biography and family data of John Pers (or Peirce) and others in my Peirce line are presented in two works:

*  Frederick Clifton Peirce, Peirce Genealogy, Worcester, 1880

*  John B. Pierce, "The Identity of John Pers of Watertown", New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Voume 111, page 158, April 1957.

The name spelling of Peirce and Pierce seem interchangeable in the records. 

Did you notice the run of the given name Abigail in my direct line - Stearns to Peirce to Knowlton to Gates, although it was in almost every generation of my Peirce line. 

I don't know the maiden name of 1081. Martha (wife of Joseph Peirce), 2161. Anne (wife of Anthony Peirce) or 4321. Elizabeth (wife of John Pers).   Does anyone? 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe Servings

I also author most of the posts on the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe blog, which covers Chula Vista Genealogical Society events.  Here are the posts for the last month:

Genealogy Days in Chula Vista - November 2010, posted 1 November

Saturday Workshop on 6 November - "Research Trip Planning", posted 7 November has Military Collections FREE from 11-14 November 2010, posted 10 November
November 2010 CVGS Newsletter is Available, posted 11 November 
Research Group Summary - 10 November 2010, posted 12 November 
New or Updated Databases on, posted 15 November 
New or Updated Databases at , posted 17 November

*  CVGS Program on Wednesday, 24 November - "Heirloom Discovery Day" with Georgie Stillman, ASA, posted 21 November

2011-2012 CVGS Officers Elected, posted 24 November

*   CVGS Program Summary - Georgie Stillman and "Heirloom Discovery Day," posted 26 November

The Day After... Thanksgiving

I'm staying home today and ... playing!  And blogging.  And working in my database.

Thursday was not only Thanksgiving, but also "set up the new computer day."  It went pretty well.  My son-in-law, the IT director and expert on all things computer, was here to supervise and advise. Some highlights:

*  Cleared off the desktop - more piles!  Disconnected the old computer, put it in the living room for the day.  Kept only the modem, router, and external drive (loaded with files from Wednesday).  Dusted the desktop (whew!)

*  Moved the new computer box (Dell Inspiron 560, 4 gb RAM, 500 gb hard drive, running Windows 7), monitor (Dell 19 inch), speakers (Logitech) and printer (Lexmark 305) to the desktop.  Plugged it in, turned everything on, everything worked.  My biggest problem is the keyboard has the Home, End, Insert, Delete, Page Up, Page Down keys in a different order - will have to train my fingers again.  Set up the printer as a wireless device, but had problems and used the USB cable in the end.

*  Downloaded Microsoft Security Essentials (but McAfee was pre-loaded with a free six-month subscription, so I'm using that for now).

*  Downloaded OpenOffice 3.2 and associated MSOffice file types with the OO.

*  Opened Gmail, and changed all of my email addresses to Gmail.  Copied Linda's contacts and my contacts into Gmail accounts.  The "groups" did not transfer, so had to create Gmail groups for both of us and added contacts to them.  Major PITA!  I'm not sure we're going to like Gmail for all of our email - Outlook Express was much easier to use (buttons for major tasks), create contact groups (a list to pick from), create folders and use them (drag and drop), etc. 

*  Added Favorites to Internet Express, and organized them.  At some point in the day, I had to restart the computer and neglected to exit from IE and lost all of the changes.  Did it again, and reorganized them (why don't the Favorites come across in some logical order, like alphabetical?  Had to move every one of them, it seemed). 

*  Copied saved files from the External Drive to the new hard drive.  The transfer seems a lot faster on the new computer than on the old computer.

*  Time out for Thanksgiving dinner at 3, lovingly prepared by Linda and Tami.  Carved the turkey,  gave thanks for the turkey and our family, had turkey (white meat and one leg), mashed potatoes and corn on the cob (only veggie that the grandgirls will eat), and peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream.  Full!  Did the dishes.

*  Said goodbye to Tami and her family, watched the end of the Saints/Cowboys game, and took out all of the trash, including computer boxes. 

*  Set up the old computer in the bedroom so I can check the Contact group lists (the old computer is not hooked to the Internet now).  I had missed some, so added them. 

*  Loaded FTM 16, RootsMagic 4, Legacy Family Tree 7.4 and FTM 2011 onto the new computer (FTM 2010 hung up on install).  Opened each program and loaded the current database (FTM 2011 opens a bit faster on the new computer than FTM 2010 did on the old).  I'm still using FTM 16 to edit my places, add sources, find errors, etc. 

*  I caught up on my reading but didn't blog anything on Thursday.  The two Thanksgiving posts were pre-written and posted on schedule.

All in all, the setup and installation went easily and I didn't waste a lot of time making mistakes. 

I'm going to keep the old computer setup for awhile and will probably use it to print high volume reports (the Christmas letter, the Family Journal, etc.).  It may be that I choose to hook up the old printer with the new computer, and the old monitor (22 inch) with the new computer after awhile.  I think that my old HP 6350 (only one year old) may be more capable than the new Lexmark 305. 

I still need to test the scanner on the printer and figure out the best way to edit images.  I need to connect the cameras and make sure that I can capture photos. I'm leery of using Windows Live Photo Gallery after JL's experiences with it screwing up all of her image properties.  I have Paint but no other Photo program that I know of.  I had Microsoft Photo Editor 2006 on the old computer and liked it, and wonder if it is available for Windows 7.  I didn't like Picasa that much and didn't use it.  Or I'll use some other free program (I'm big on free!). 

I welcome comments and suggestions.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I Am So Thankful...

--- for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

--- for my wonderful loving wife, Angel Linda, who makes every day special.

--- for my two beautiful and smart daughters, and their husbands, who work so hard to do so well in order to live securely and happily.

--- for my four precious grandchildren, so innocent and with so much potential, and so much fun to be with.

--- for my enthusiastic father, who provided a large New England ancestry to research, and passed on an undying love for the game of baseball.

--- for my loving mother, so patient, supportive and kind, who saved so much and whose ancestry provides such fascinating research challenges.

--- for my brothers, their wives and children, who are interested in the family history and remember more than I do about our growing up years.

--- for my grandparents and earlier ancestors, who worked hard, played by the rules, raised healthy families, and provided a firm foundation for their children.

--- for my aunts, uncles and cousins, who opened their homes and their hearts and shared their memories.

--- for the brave passengers on the Mayflower and other early ships who colonized New England, and instilled a republican form of government based on personal freedom and responsibility.

--- for the immigrants that populated our country, diversified our culture, worked hard to succeed, and are woven into the country's fabric.

--- for the courageous citizens who revolted to secure our freedoms, and created the institutions that are the foundations of the USA.

--- for the soldiers, sailors and pilots, of every historical time, who have defended our country and kept us safe and free.

--- for the entire Constitution and Bill of Rights - especially the freedoms of speech, religion and assembly. I am awestruck that the Founders wrote such a magnificent set of documents that have stood the test of time.

--- for educational opportunities, whereby every and any person in this country can be the best that they can be, but they have to really make an effort.

--- for the free market and free enterprise economic system that encourages and rewards work and innovation, and has allowed me and my family to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

--- for the marvels of science and engineering, that drive our health, transportation, communication and entertainment industries.

--- for the wonders of nature that beautify our world, inspire us and occasionally overwhelm us.

--- for my genealogy society colleagues, genea-bloggers and blog readers who challenge, educate, encourage and appreciate me.

--- for,, and other genealogy companies that provide online databases to explore into the wee hours of the night.

--- for genealogy software that organizes our family structures and provides incredible reports and charts to share with our families

--- for repositories that collect, preserve and provide papers, photographs, books, manuscripts and artifacts to expand our research.

--- for genealogy conferences, magazines, books and newsletters that inform and educate us.

This year, I am really thankful for good health and the joys of being with our daughters and grandchildren.

What are you thankful for on this Thanksgiving holiday?

Happy Thanksgiving!


by Edgar Albert Guest (c) 1917

Gettin' together to smile an' rejoice,
An' eatin' an' laughin' with folks of your choice;
An' kissin' the girls an' declarin' that they
Are growin' more beautiful day after day;

Chattin' an' braggin' a bit with the men,
Buildin' the old family circle again;
Livin' the wholesome an' old-fashioned cheer,
Just for awhile at the end of the year.

Greetings fly fast as we crowd through the door
And under the old roof we gather once more
Just as we did when the youngsters were small;
Mother's a little bit grayer, that's all.

Father's a little bit older, but still
Ready to romp an' to laugh with a will.
Here we are back at the table again
Tellin' our stories as women an' men.

Bowed are our heads for a moment in prayer;
Oh, but we're grateful an' glad to be there.
Home from the east land an' home from the west,
Home with the folks that are dearest an' best.

Out of the sham of the cities afar
We've come for a time to be just what we are.
Here we can talk of ourselves an' be frank,
Forgettin' position an' station an' rank.

Give me the end of the year an' its fun
When most of the plannin' an' toilin' is done;
Bring all the wanderers home to the nest,
Let me sit down with the ones I love best,

Hear the old voices still ringin' with song,
See the old faces unblemished by wrong,
See the old table with all of its chairs
An' I'll put soul in my Thanksgivin' prayers.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Method in my Madness...

Did anyone wonder where I've been all day?  I posted my Not So Wordless Wednesday blog this morning, went to the library for the CVGS Heirloom Discovery Day program and was home by 3.  My son-in-law was here, so we got the new computer out of the box to make sure it worked.  It does, but it needs the Internet to work better (like download the Microsoft Live Essentials, Open Office, Microsoft Security suite, etc.).  That's Thursday task.

We will take the old desktop offline in the morning, hook up the new computer, get it working, transfer the Cox mail accounts to Gmail, get the router and printer working, load the genealogy software programs, copy the files from the external drive, and we should be ready to do some serious eating in the afternoon. 

I've backed up my files to the external drive, collected my email address books in one place, and my IE favorites, and saved some of the important email files to HTML files and captured the attachments.  I will set up the old desktop in the extra bedroom and use it to print stuff on the older printer until I've used up all of the ink.  I will probably save more emails to documents and transfer them into the new computer files in the future.

That's the plan, anyway, that should keep James and I out of the kitchen for most of the day, although I know that we'll have to manage the grandgirls for  most of the day. 

I've prepared my two "regular" Thanksgiving Day posts and will get back to my regular blogging duties on Friday.  Assuming everything goes OK on the new system, of course!

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 130: The D.J. Carringer house in San Diego

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 family collection handed down by my mother in the 1988 to 2002 time period:

The handwriting above the image says "D.J. Carringer. Cor. 30th & Ivy St" in Della (Smith) Carringer's handwriting.  I believe that my great-great-grandparents (David Jackson (DJ) and Rebecca (Spangler) Carringer) resided in this house on the northwestern corner of what is now 30th Street and Ivy Street in San Diego for several years before their deaths in 1901 and 1902.  They are enumerated on 30th Street in the 1900 US Census.

The persons in this picture that I can identify are:

*  Harvey Edgar Carringer (1852-1946) is the balding man on the left sitting on the porch.

*  Lyle Lawrence Carringer (1891-1976) is the young boy sitting on the porch stairs (my grandfather).

*  David Jackson Carringer (1828-1902) is the man with the white beard standing on the porch just to the right of Lyle (my great-great-grandfather).

*  Rebecca (Spangler) Carringer (1832-1901) is the woman standing on the porch to the left of DJ Carringer (my great-great-grandmother).

*  Henry Austin Carringer (1853-1946) is the man standing on the ground to the right of the house (my great-grandfather, son of DJ and Rebecca, father of Lyle).

*  Della (Smith) Carringer (1864-1944) is the woman with the hat standing on the ground to the right of Henry (my great-grandmother, wife of Henry Austin, and mother of Lyle).

This was the complete three-generation Carringer family in San Diego in 1900.  The Henry Austin Carringer family lived one block south on the northeast corner of what is now 30th and Hawthorn Streets.

This picture was found pasted into a county history book in the Carringer collection.  I cut the page from the book in order to obtain a scan of the picture. 

This house does not exist any longer, at least on this site.  I believe that it was torn down and replaced in the 1920s.  I have not explored land records in San Diego yet for the Carringer, Smith and Auble families - I really should!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Enhanced Member Tree Viewer announced an enhanced Ancestry Member Tree viewer last week in Jen Hodnett's post Member Trees: A New Way to View Your Member Tree on the Blog.  See Jen's post for all of the enhancements and improvements.

I had to try this out, since it sounded pretty useful to me, at least for navigation within the Tree.  Here is the pedigree chart in my tree:

The blue background text above the chart says "Coming soon! Improved Pedigree View, Family View and More! Check out a preview of what's new and let us know what you think."

I couldn't help myself - I clicked on the link and saw:

There are three text boxes to the right of the "see What's New!" box at the top left, for "Easier Navigation," "See More of Your Tree" and "Improved controls."  The screen above shows the popup boxes that show when I ran my mouse over the "Easier Navigation" box.  See Jen's post for a full description of the new features.

On the Pedigree Chart, I clicked on the right arrow next to Isaac Seaver in the upper-right corner of the chart, and the tree expanded by another four generations:

Note that the tree can be expanded for only one selected person in the right-most generation.  This is good, but being able to expand more than one would be nice!

There is a Zoom slider control in the Tool Bar on the left of the chart.  If I zoom out, I can see the whole chart (at least along the one line I choose) on my screen:

All of the above is in the "Pedigree View."  There is a "Family View" button in the top left of the chart.  Clicking the "Family View" you can see the generations including the siblings of your direct ancestors.  If you have thumbnail pictures attached to the persons in your tree, they will show on the chart:

These enhancements are useful, I think.  Navigation to a person in the extended family tree is improved considerably - you don't have to click one person  at a time. 

Perhaps the best enhancement of all if that the Print function for the Pedigree Chart and the Family Chart is significantly improved.  The Print icon is at the bottom of the Tool bar.  Here is a screen image of the 5-generation Pedigree Chart that can be printed out:

If there are more than five generations, then there are succeeding pages.
This is much better than doing a File: Print on the chart that I complained about before.  There is another Print option - to create the charts on the screen in a MyCanvas printout, which takes some time (a minute?) to create and print.  The controls are at the top of the Print screen above (not shown) - the user can choose to print a Book, Poster or a Calendar.

Disclosure:  I am not an employee, contractor or affiliate of, and have not been remunerated for this post.  I am a paid subscriber of, but have accepted gratuities from in the past.

Tuesday's Tip - Find Research Ideas in's FREE Article Archives

Today's Tuesday's Tip is to find how-to and informational articles about genealogical and family history research in the FREE Article Archives on their Learning Center.

The Learning Center has information about how to build a Family Tree on, how to search for records, how to understand records, how to collaborate with others on, how to create and display a family history book, view Webinars, how to use the Ancestry Family History Wiki, and the Article Archive.  These helps are in the form of videos and text articles. 

The Article Archives has a wealth of information.  You can search by subject, author or date on the Ancestry Archive page (a small "Keyword" search box in the lower left hand corner of the page).  There is also an Advanced Search page here.  Articles in the Archive come from the Ancestry Weekly Discovery newsletter, the Ancestry Monthly Update newsletter, Ancestry Magazine (now defunct), the Article Archive and Webinars.

Unfortunately, the search engine is not very sophisticated, so the reader often has to add keywords or add a date range or author's name to find a specific article.

Quite often, a respected genealogy author will have written something on a genealogical research topic that explains a record type or research methodology in a helpful way.  I use it frequently.

Monday, November 22, 2010

State Research Outlines Available in PDF Form Through FamilySearch Research Wiki

Many researchers have used the LDS Research Outlines over the years, either in paper format (purchased at the FHL or a local FHC) or have read or downloaded them from the classic LDS website ( 

I was reading through the Vermont page on the FamilySearch Research Wiki, and noted that there is a link to the BYU Vermont Research Outline, in PDF format, which largely duplicates the Research Wiki pages. 

I did not find a list of the different State Research Guides on the BYU website, so you will have to go to each one through the FamilySearch Research Wiki page for the state of interest, or you could edit the URL and replace "Vermont" with your state of interest. 

My guess is that this is how FamilySearch Labs populated the Research Wiki pages for the different states and the research topics in each state.

I checked several other states in the Research Wiki, and there are links for every state to a BYU [State] Research Outline.  There may be links for a number of countries also, I didn't check that out. 

These are very useful research outlines that a researcher could collect on his/her hard drive and have available wherever their computer and hard drive might be.

UPDATED 10 p.m.:  Reader Darlene commented that "...the entire list of BYU research outlines is at  Great tip, thank you, Darlene!

Using the FAN Club Principle - Thomas J. Newton Problem - Post 2: Which Repositories?

In my post Target the FAN Club to tackle "Elusive Ancestors" problems, I described Elizabeth Shown Mills "Bullseye" concept to help researchers solve elusive ancestor problems using the "FAN Club Principle."

The research problem I chose to start with is Thomas J. Newton. I wrote about my research and the information I've collected in Mystery Monday - Thomas J. Newton of Maine (19th century).

In the post Using the FAN Club Principle - Thomas J. Newton, Father of Sophia Newton (1834-1923) - Post 1 last week, I outlined what I think I know about Thomas J. Newton. 

The search for records concerning Thomas J. Newton, his known relatives, others of the surname, and his (and theirs) friends, associates and neighbors covers at least three states - Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts (and perhaps New Hampshire too). 

How should I proceed?  What repositories should I access online, via microfilm rental (at a repository or at the FHL/FHC) and in-person?  Here is my starting list:

1)  Online record access record databases and family trees record databases record databases record databases record databases (including Historical Newspapers) record databases record databases historical collections, research wiki, research outline, family trees and library catalog record databases and family trees  Message Board Archives Mailing List Archives state and county pages record databases and
*  Record databases listed on and

Where else?

2)  Via microfilm usage or rental (at local repositories, the FHL or local FHC)

*  State vital record databases
*  State Bible, church, genealogical, military, etc. record collections
*  State newspaper collections
*  State manuscript collections

*  County probate records
*  County land records
*  County tax records
* County biographical and genealogical records (including manuscripts and vertical files)

*  Town public and vital  records
*  Town cemetery records
*  Town church records

What else?

3)  In-person

*  New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston
*  State Archives
*  State Library
*  State Historical or Genealogical Society
*  County or Local Historical or Genealogical Society
*  County and/or/town Library
*  County or town Courthouse
*  County cemeteries

What else?

The known localities for Thomas J. Newton include:

1)  Maine

*  Oxford County, Maine
*  Dixfield, Oxford, Maine
*  Andover, Oxford, Maine
*  Another town or county?

2)  Vermont

*  Lamoille county, Vermont
*  Windsor county, Vermont
*  Cambridge, Lamoille, Vermont
*  Springfield, Windsor, Vermont
*  Another town or county?

3)  Massachusetts

*  Worcester County, MA
*  Southborough, Worcester, MA
*  Sutton, Worcester, MA
*  Sterling, Worcester, MA
*  Leominster, Worcester, MA
*  Marlborough, Middlesex, MA
*  Another town or county?

That is a long list required to check with some consistency and organization.  How can I check into  everything within my lifetime?  I know, I'll make a form for each locality.  More later!

The problem is, of course, that the "low hanging fruit" - the census, vital, military and other online records - has already been plucked over the last 20 years.  I'm looking for the "needle in the haystack" records that are probably not indexed or digitized that are hiding in original source records in a repository or on microfilm.
I ask that my readers, especially those in or near these localities, to make suggestions and additions to my list above.  What experience do you have at the repositories mentioned?  Are there "secret" collections in these localities?  How can I determine the resources most that I'm most likely to succeed with?

Amanuensis Monday - Ebenezer Phillips (1695-1746) Will

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 Ebenezer Phillips (1695-1746) of Southborough, Worcester County, Massachusetts, one of my 6th great-grandfathers. Ebenezer Phillips, son of Andrew and Sarah (Smith) Phillips of Charlestown, married Mary Smith (1698-????) in 1719 in Malden, and they had six children: Mary (1719-????), Ebenezer (1721-????), John (1722-????), Samuel (1726-1810), Joanna (1729-1788), and Ruth (1733-????).

Ebenezer Phillips of Southborough died testate (with probate papers in Probate Packet #46,400) having written a will on 20 November 1745. The will reads (transcribed from Worcester County (MA) Probate Records, Volume 2, page 511-513, on FHL Microfilm 0,856,273):

"In the Name of God Amen The Twentieth of Nov-r 1745. I Eben-r Philips of Southboro In ye County of worcester & ye province of the Massachussetts Bay in new England yeoman, being very sick & weak in Body but of perfect mind & memory Thanks be Given to God. Therefor Calling to mind ye mortality of my Body & Knowing that it is appointed for all men once to dy Do make & ordain this my Last will & Testament that is to say principally And first of all I Give & Recommed my soul Into ye hands of God that Gave it & my Body I Recomend to ye Earth to be buried in Decent Christian Burial at ye Discretion of my Executors, Nothing doubting but at ye General Resurrection I shall Receive ye same by ye mighty power of God and Touching such Worldly Estate wherewith it hath pleased God to Bless me In this Life, I Give Dismiss & Dispose of ye same in the following manner & form.

"Imprimis I Give & bequeath to Mary my well beloved wife all my moveables within Doors Except one feather Bed partly filled, Likewise three Cows & one mare. Likewise one third of all the Improvements given by me To my son Sam-ll Hereafter mentioned. I give to Mary my Wife all the East part of my now Dwelling House with a Celler Under ye same Dureing her Natural Life & no Longer.

"Item I Give to my son Ebenezer So much land as it will Take to shorten a Line yt runs between my house & where the Gate now is and to westward to a stake Down by the Swamp and from thence to a Ditch in the meadow & then Runing Northward to his Former Bound. I also Give & Bequeath to my Ebenezer one acre of ??? Swamp Lying before Eben-r Duntons house as he & my son Samuel shall see cause to Lay it out & the Reason why I Give him no more now is because I have Given him his portion before by Deed of sale.

"Item I Give to my son John Philips thirty five acres of Land be it more or Less being ye Southeast part of my farm bounded Easterly by David Johnson till it comes to a corner of an old Hedge w-ch corner is to be yt Northeast Corner of ye said Land I Give & Bequeath to my son John & then Turning Westerly to a stake & stones & so Runing westerly till it Comes to a Dead Bodied White Oak and from there Westerly to a Large ??? White Oak from thence to another White oak now standing by ye old Field ??? it being yt Northwest Corner of ye said Land I Give & Bequeath to my son John & from thence Runing Southerly as ye Feild Fence Run to ye End of ye feild & now Turning Easterly to a mark Tree so Running Easterly till it comes to ye first mentioned bound this south Line bounds partly upon Comon Land & partly upon John Goulds Land & partly upon Isaac Newtons Land To Have and to hold ye said premises with all ye appurtenances priviledges * Comodities to ye same belonging or in any wise appertaining to him ye sd John Phillips his Heirs & assigns For Ever. To his & their proper use Benefit & behoof forever Also I Give & bequeath unto my son John one peice of meadow Containing about three acres be it more or less Bounded as follows Easterly up on my Land by a Maple stump & a pole & then Turning to ye Ditch & Runing as the Ditch Runs Till it comes to ye North shore bounded Northerly upon upland & Westerly upon Common swampland & Southerly upon my own land with Liberty to pass & Repass with a Team from his own place to ye meadow for Carting of Hay, also two acre & an half more of Land Bounding Westerly upon Ebenezer Dunton Land & ye North Line is to Extend four Rods north from a stump that is a Mark between said Duntons Land & my own this Line is to Extend Southerly Twenty five rods & yn Turning & Runing Easterly sixteen rods & then Turning & Runing Westerly Sixteen rods which Land I Give & Bequeath unto my son John only Reserving half the mine therein. Also I Give & Bequeath unto my son John a strip six rods in Wedth from ye oak that stands by ye old Feild Bares to ye last mentioned Land only Reserving Liberty to pass & Repassover it to my Feild.

"Item I Give & bequeath unto my son Samuel my house & Barn & plough Land mowing Ground & pasture Land and Orcharding also all my Woodland To him his heirs & Assigns for Ever to have & to hold the said premises with all ye appur-s & Comodities to ye same belonging or in and Appertaineing to him ye said Sam-ll Philips His Heirs & Assigns forEver. The Last mentioned Land w-ch I Give & Bequeath to my son Samuel is Bounded as Follows yt is Easterly upon David Johnsons Northerly upon Eben-r Philips Jun-r Westerly upon Isaac Amsden Land partly & partly upon Eben-r Duntons Land Southerly upon John Philips Land Likewise another peice of Land lying South of John Philips Land Bounded Northerly upon Jno Philips & Westerly upon Eben-r Duntons & Southerly by Moses Johnson & Easterly by other Lands. Also I Give & bequeath unto my son Samuel one yoke of Oxen & one Cow & two Calves also I Do Give unto Sam-l almy moveables without Doors as oxen Plough Chains hoes Except half my small Cart w-ch I Give Eben-r.

"Item I Ordain & appoint that my son Samuel shall pay to his sister Mary Nichols one hundred & twenty pounds old Tenor Bills of Credit & Two Cows one half thereof to be paid & one Cow to be Delivered when he Takes possession of ye Lands I have Given him & the other part to be paid at his Mothers Death & ye other Cow to be ?? at ye same Time also I Do give and bequeath to my Daughter Mary one heifer.

"Item I Give unto my well beloved Daughter Joannah Phillips one Hundred & Twenty pounds old Tenor Bills of Credit to be Raised & paid by Sam-ll Phillips my son & Two cows to be Delivered unto her by him. I Do will that he shall pay one Half thereof unto his sister Joannah when he takes possession of what I have Given & bequeath unto him & one Cow to be Delivered unto her at ye same Time & ye other Half to be paid at yer Death of his Mother & ye second Cow to be Deliv-d unto her at the same Time.

"Item I Give & bequeath to my Daughter Joannah one heifer.

"Item I Do give & bequeath unto my son Sam-ll & My Dearly Beloved wife Mary these Two whom I Do Constitute make & ordain my sole Executor & Executrix of this my Last will & Testament all ye Debts that are due from several persons unto me & that is Due for keeping Ambrous & also that will be Due for keeping Ambrous also I Do Giveto ym full powers to act as to paying out money & Receiving of money & to pursue to final judgement & I Do hereby Utterly disallow Revoke & Disanull all & Every other former Testament will Legacies & Bequest & Executors by me in any way before named Willed * Bequeathed Ratifying & Confirming this & no other to be my Last Will & Testament. In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal the Day & year above Written

.................................................................... Ebenizer Phillips seal.

"Signed Sealed & published pronounced & Declared by me ye said Ebenezer Philips as my Last Will & Testament In ye presence of us ye Subscribers
Jonathan Ward,
Nath. Webb,
John Lyscom."

The will was proved at a Court in Worcester on 21 August 1746, with Jonathan Ward and John Lyscom appearing and making oath that they saw Ebenezer Phillips sign, seal and heard him publish, pronounce and declare it to be his last will and testament, and that he was of sound and disposing mind and memory.

These were the only two records included in the Probate Packet according to the Probate Packet files on microfilm.

When Ebenezer Phillips died, his oldest child, Mary, was only 27 years old, and his youngest son, Samuel, was only 20 years old.  It is probable that daughter Ruth was dead in 1745 since she is not named in the will.  Apparently, son Ebenezer had already been given, probably by deed, a portion of Ebenezer's homestead, and he split the remainder between the three sons, with the youngest son Samuel receiving the farm house.  The widow, Mary, was given part of the house for her use during her life (note that it didn't say "if she does not marry again"). 

Land records would probably show the approximate location of the homestead relative to geographic features and neighboring families.

My connection to Ebenezer Phillips is by his son, John Phillips, who later lived in Shrewsbury and Sterling in Worcester County.  He married (1) Hannah Brown in 1749 in Southborough and (2) Mary Richards in 1774 in Southborough.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

CVGS Program on Wednesday, 24 November - "Heirloom Discovery Day" with Georgie Stillman, ASA

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society program meeting on Wednesday 24 November (12 Noon at the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library, (365 F Street, Chula Vista) Auditorium) will feature Georgie Stillman, ASA, who will present an “Heirloom Discovery Day.”

Georgie will evaluate, provide some historical background and estimate a value of family heirlooms brought in by CVGS members. Her expertise is in evaluating and appraising silver, China, glass ware, furniture, artworks,quilts and samplers.

Georgie Stillman ( has worked as a professional appraiser in London, England, Phoenix, AZ and San Diego since 1971. She served as president of the American Society of Appraisers (ASA), vice president of the San Diego chapter, and was founding director of the International Society of Appraisers. She has received numerous awards for her outstanding service, including Appraiser of the Year.

Besides being a professional instructor at various colleges, she has made many radio/TV guest appearances and written articles for many publications, teaching audiences about antiques and art.

If you would like your item evaluated by Georgie, please contact Barbara I (619-477-4140, or email to get on the evaluation list -- there are a limited number of spaces on the list. Barbara has a form for you to complete and return by November 19th.

Please enter through the Conference Room door on the East hallway in order to register your attendance, pick up a program, buy a drawing ticket and have a snack before going into the Auditorium.

There will be a short business meeting before the program, including election the 2011 slate of officers.

Best of the Genea-Blogs - Week of 14-20 November 2010

Best of the Genea-Blogs returns after three weeks - did you miss it?  Grandfather duties, vacations, computer problems, Charger football, real life - they may cause BOGB breakdowns again in the future.

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:

Saving Compiled Genealogies for Future Generatrions by Pat Richley on DearMYRTLE's Genealogy Blog.  Ol'MYRT is one of the most modern and up-to-date genealogists I know, and she shares her thoughts on genealogy software, databases, collaboration, kinship and more. 

Nominate a Genealogy Blog for the 2011 Family Tree 40 by Diane Haddad on The Genealogy Insider blog.  Please do!  I am honored to be on the Family Tree 40 panel with Lisa, Pat and Thomas.

Saftey Rule #2 for the Genealogy Internet Playground and Saftey Rule #3 for the Genealogy Internet Playground by Janet Hovorka on The Chart Chick blog.  Janet has great advice for working on genealogy on the Internet.  For reference, here's Rule #1 from last week.

I Am Thankful for - 17 November 2010 by A.C. Ivory on the Find My Ancestor blog.  A.C. has his own living history resource - his grandparents.  I loved this post!

*  Indexing Errors: Test, Check the Boxes by the write of The Ancestry Insider blog.  Mr. AI comments about Indexing Errors and provides a fun test.  His post Answers to Indexing Illustration provides the test answers.  I had guessed them all once I knew the context.  Read the comments for both posts.

Saturday Evening Post: Interviewing Family During Holidays by Susan Kitchens on the Family Oral History Using Digital Tools blog.  Susan is quoted in the magazine, and she has observations about asking "why" in interviews.

Atlanta Family History Expo Recap by Amy coffin on the Family History Expos blog.  Amy provides a list of the bloggers and their blog posts from last weekends conference. 

* Research Challenge: Join in a quick group consultation/research plan exercise by Marian Pierre-Louis on the Roots and Rambles blog.  Marian posted an intriguing and baffling research problem from a friend - can you help solve this puzzle?

News Flash! 1852 New Year's Resolutions Solve Genealogical Mysteries! by Dee Burris on the Shakin' the Family Tree blog.   I bet you've always wondered why some families are elusive - here's some of the answers!

Ten Commandments of Genealogy by Dick Eastman on the Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter blog.  Dick's observations ring true (although his terminology is a bit outdated).  Some commenters have ideas of their own.

Review: The Women Who Came in the Mayflower by Susan Petersen on the Long Lost blog.  Here's a free genealogy eBook for your Kindle.  I wish it was on Scribd or another online site too.

My First FHL Film -- Score! by Tonia Kendrick on the Tonia's Roots blog.  I love it when researchers discover a useful resource!  Tonia discovered the joy of finding information on FHL microfilms, and will order more!

Several other genea-bloggers wrote weekly pick posts this week, including:

* Follow Friday: Around the Blogosphere - November 19 by Susan Petersen on the Long Lost blog.

* Best Bytes for the Week of November 19th by Elizabeth O'Neal on the Little Bytes of Life blog.

* Friday Newsletter and Follow News: 19 November 2010 by Great Koehl on Greta's Genealogy Bog blog.

Genealogy News Corral: Nov. 15-19 by Diane Haddad on The Genealogy Insider blog.

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 700 genealogy bloggers using Google Reader, but I still miss quite a few it seems.

Read past Best of the Genea-Blogs posts here.