Saturday, December 4, 2010

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - What are your d'Aboville Numbers?

Hello Genea-Musings-philes and SNGF-philes - it's Saturday Night, time for lots more Genealogy Fun!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is another genealogy software challenge - are you up to it?

1)  Do you know what a d'Aboville numbering system is?  A clear description of it is in the Encyclopedia of Genealogy here, and on Wikipedia here.  Pretty neat numbering system, isn't it? 

2)  What are your own d'Aboville numbers for your four lines of your grandparents (starting with the first known person in the paternal line)?  Your genealogy software program may be able to help you with this [Family tree Maker 2011, RootsMagic 4 and Legacy Family Tree 7 can, but Family Tree Maker 16 and earlier cannot].

3)  Tell us your own d'Aboville numbers for your four grandparent paternal lines in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a status line, note or comment on Facebook.

4)  for extra credit, tell us how you figured out your d'Aboville numbers - which program, and the process.

Here's mine:

From Robert Seaver (1608-1683):

From John Richman (1788-1867):

From Martin Carringer (1758-1835):

From Andreas Able (????-1751):

How I did it in Legacy Family Tree 7:

*  Opened Legacy, and clicked on the Help button and searched for "d'aboville number."  Read the information.

*  Chose my ancestor for the calculation from the index (or by stepping back on my paternal line)

*  Clicked on the "Reports" and chose the "Descendant" tab.

*  Clicked the generations to an umber that will include me.  Selected d'Aboville in the Numbering system choices.

*  Clicked "Preview" and saw the report (Robert Seaver's report was 203 pages).  Scroll down to your name and copy off your number.

Easy, eh?  Now all I have to do is remember it so I can say I'm number in the Robert Seaver descendants.

Surname Saturday - HAMANT (England > Massachusetts)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I am up to number 137, who is Patience Hamant (1735-????), one of my 5th-great-grandmothers. [Note: The 5th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts]

My ancestral line back through four generations of HAMANT 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)

34.  Alpheus B. Smith (1802-1840)
35.  Elizabeth Horton Dill (1784-1869)

68.  Aaron Smith (1765-1841)
69.  Mercy Plimpton (1772-1850)

136. Moses Smith, born 02 Apr 1732 in Medfield, Norfolk County, MA. He was the son of 272. Henry Smith and 273. Ruth Barber. He married  23 Sep 1762 in Medfield, Norfolk County, MA.

137. Patience Hamant, born 06 Apr 1735 in Medfield, Norfolk County, MA.
Children of Moses Smith and Patience Hamant are:  Aaron Smith (1765-1841); Luther Smith (1766-????); Calvin Smith (1768-????); Timothy Smith (1773-????).

272. Timothy Hamant, born 25 Mar 1699 in Medfield, Norfolk County, MA; died 06 Jun 1774 in Medfield, Norfolk County, MA. He married 19 Oct 1727 in Boston, Suffolk County, MA.
273. Hepzibah Clark, born 02 Feb 1698/99 in Medfield, Norfolk County, MA; died Aug 1791 in Medfield, Norfolk County, MA. She was the daughter of 546. Joseph Clark and 547. Mary Wight.

Children of Timothy Hamant and Hepzibah Clark are:  Mehitable Hamant (1728-1814); Elias Hamant (1730-1730); Timothy Hamant (1731-1731); Seth Hamant (1733-1771); Patience Hamant (1735-????); Timothy Hamant (1736-????); Basmath Hamant (1738-????); Dinah Hamant (1739-1813); Francis Hamant (1741-1808).
544.  Timothy Hamant, born 01 Nov 1667 in Medfield, Norfolk County, MA; died 1718 in Arrowsick, Norfolk County, MA.  He married  19 Jan 1695/96 in Boston, Suffolk County, MA.
545. Melatiah Clark, born 04 Aug 1674 in Medfield, Norfolk County, MA; died 23 Nov 1747 in Medfield, Norfolk County, MA. She was the daughter of 1090. Ephraim Clark and 1091. Mary Bullen.

Children of Timothy Hamant and Melatiah Clark are:  Timothy Hamant (1699-1774); Samuel Hamant (1701-1755); Melatiah Hamant (1704-1751); Mehitable Hamant (1706-1727); Abiel Hamant (1708-????).

1088. Francis Hamant, born about 1625 in ENGLAND; died 27 Jul 1692 in Medfield, Norfolk County, MA. He married about 1651.
1089. Sarah, died 29 Sep 1708 in Medfield, Norfolk County, MA.

Children of Francis Hamant and Sarah are:  John Hamant (1651-1708); Mary Hamant (1653-1738); Sarah Hamant (1655-????); Elizabeth Hamant (1659-1733); Hannah Hamant (1660-????); Samuel Hamant (1663-????); Timothy Hamant (1667-1718); Abigail Hamant (1669-1741).

My references for this family are all older resources, including:

1.  Frederick Stam Hammond, History and Genealogies of the Hammond Families in America, published Oneida, NY, Ryan & Burkhart, Printers, 1902, pages 420 and following.

2.  William S. Tilden (editor), History of the Town of Medfield, Massachusetts, 1650-1886, published Boston, Mass., Geo. H. Ellis, 1887.

3.  Town vital record books of Medfield, Walpole, and other "tan books" published in the`1900 to 1930 time frame.

I actually have two lines from Francis Hamant.  Melatiah Hamant, daughter of Timothy and Melatiah (Clark) Hamant, married Michael Metcalf (1706-????) in 1728 in Medway MA.  This line is in my mother's ancestry, while my ancestry from Patience Hamant is in my father's ancestry, so this makes my mother and my father 7th cousins. 

Advent Calendar - December 4: Christmas Cards

This post is number 4 in a series of 24 for the 2010 Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

On the 21st day of Christmas,
my true friends sent to me
Christmas Cards from their family.

1) Did your family send them?

My parents sent Christmas cards to family and friends all of their lives. My mother made them for many years (I know I have several in my boxes of stuff...somewhere) - usually a fairly simple madonna or angel theme with a "Merry Christmas" and "from the Seaver family" or something similar. I remember a single color (red or green) stencil on card stock folded into a card, with writing on the inside.

2) Did your family display the ones they received?

In my childhood home, I don't remember having a mantle or shelf space that had displayed cards. I'm sure that my mother displayed them somewhere - perhaps on a bulletin board in the entry way. I'll have to ask my brothers. I wish I could remember more about this time of my life.

We received cards from my father's mother and siblings in New England which often had family letters in them. These were prized because this family never made long distance phone calls and rarely wrote letters, so this was our only contact each year with the family 2,500 miles away.

3) Do you still send Christmas cards?

Oh yes! That's what the post-Thanksgiving hecticity (is that a word?) is all about. "We have to get this done so we can do this and this next ..." Angel Linda is a taskmaster. This solemn process includes:

* finding the boxes of cards bought during the year at thrift shops or 99 cent stores. Or going out and buying more. We only get angel cards, naturally.

* Randy prints off the Christmas card address list and Linda updates it. The list is then printed on peel-off labels.

* Linda affixes the labels on envelopes, puts the return address labels (hopefully, Christmas motif) on the envelopes, and puts stamps on the envelopes.

* Randy writes the two-page Christmas letter (more on this in a later post), Linda edits it, and Randy creates 120 copies of it (this takes about four days to finish).

* Linda writes messages on the cards, since Randy thinks that the Christmas letter covers everything that could be said. Linda's handwriting is much better, too! Randy and Linda stuff the letters in the envelopes and seal the envelopes.

* We typically send these out in early December - soon!

This process takes about ten days from start to finish, but it's now a tradition and we have a proven process for it. I also send the Christmas letter to email correspondents, but I don't want to post it online because it has some personal details not appropriate for the world to see. If you want one, please send me an email address (if I don't already have one - at

Originally published on 4 December 2007.

Friday, December 3, 2010

American Ancestors Magazine Table of Contents - Fall 2010 Issue

The Fall 2010 issue (Volume 11, Number 4) of American Ancestors magazine, published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, has these items in the Table of Contents:


page 17 -- Climbing Your Family Tree on A New National Resource for NEHGS Members; by Ryan J. Woods

page 23 -- The Francophone Exodus in the United States, 1840 to 1930; by Felix Lafrance

page 27 -- Tracing the Origins of Joseph Hebert; by Elizabeth Hebert

page  29 -- Bringing a Photograph to Life: The Story of Joseph L. Miner; by Megan Myrback

page 32 -- The Genealogy Services at Library and Archives Canada, with an Emphasis on French-Canadian Resources; by Nicole Watier and Sylvie Tremblay

page 34 -- Undiscovered Mayflower Lineages; by Caleb H. Johnson

page 38 -- When a Sioux Chief Met Our Grandmother: An Intersection of Two Worlds; by Cindy Haas Griffeth and Bill Haas

page 41 -- Chance Bradstreet (1762-1810), Servant of Abraham Dodge of Ipswich, Massachusetts; by Christopher Challender Child


page 44 -- Genetics and Genealogy: The Gray Family of Plymouth, Massachusetts, and Clues to the Origin of Jabez Warren of Lebanon, Connecticut and Brimfield, Massachusetts; by George Edward Gray

page 47 -- Manuscripts at NEHGS:  Recently Acquired Genealogical Charts: Depictions of the Cooper, Folger, and fox fa milies; by Timothy G.X. Salls, Jr. and Thomas R. Wilcox, Jr.

page 49 -- Diaries at NEHGS:  A Selection from the Diary of Robert Allen Hayden; by Robert Shaw

page 51 -- Tales from the Courthouse:  Freeing Joan Jackson: The Precarious Status of a New London house; by Diane Rapaport

page 53 -- Focus on New York:  Serendipity in New York Genealogy: My Personal Experiences; by John L. Scherer

NEHGS members can view or download this issue by clicking here.

Advent Calendar - December 3: Christmas Tree Ornaments

This post is number 3 in a series of 24 for the 2010 Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

On the twenty-second day of Christmas,

My super-wifey says to me
It's time to decorate the beautiful Tree!

Did your family have heirloom or cherished ornaments? Did you ever string popcorn and cranberries? Did your family make ornaments?

I really don't remember many heirloom or cherished ornaments from my childhood. Almost all of the ornaments were small or medium sized round glass balls of varied colors. We usually applied a lot of tinsel to the tree branches.

As school children, we brought home paper chains for the tree. Sometimes we had a popcorn string, but never cranberries. I don't think we made ornaments - we were boys! We did have some of Dorothy's home-made ornaments on our trees.

When we had children, my mother made Christmas ornaments for each of her grandchildren. Each was unique and incorporated angels into the design. They were kiln-fired enamels on flat copper plate. Each had the child's name and the year on it. These were given featured places on our family Christmas trees as my kids grew up. After my mother died, and as my daughters started their families, we gave them to our daughters as a Christmas gift. Each has chosen to display them year round in a case on the wall rather than put them on their Christmas trees.

Originally published on 1 December 2007.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

New or Updated Collections at FamilySearch Beta

As of today, there are 499 Historical Record Collections on the FamilySearch Beta site. Those added or updated since my last list on 11 November include:

Brazil, Catholic Church Records (browse 1,496,553 images only, updated 16 Nov 2010)

England, Lancashire – Cheshire – Yorkshire Parish Registers, 1603-1992, (browse 157,240 images only, updated 22 Nov 2010)

Germany, Hessen, Darmstadt City Records (browse 55,528 images only, updated 18 Nov 2010)

*  Guatemala Civil Registration, 1877-1934 (22,448 records, updated 15 Nov 2010)

 *  Illinois, Diocese of Belleville, Catholic Parish Records, 1729-1956 (browse 34,135 images only, updated 13 Nov 2010)

Maryland, Register of Wills Books, 1792-1983 (browse 62,763 images only, updated 25 Nov 2010)

Minnesota Territorial Census, 1857 (browse 3,983 images only, updated 22 Nov 2010)

Netherlands, Zuid-Holland Province, Civil Registration, 1811-1942 (browse 1,342,833 images, updated 18 Nov 2010)

Quebec, Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1900 (browse 1,361,289 images only, updated 22 Nov 2010)

South Africa, Orange Free State, Estate Files, 1951-1973 (15,879 records, updated 22 Nov 2010)
United States Census, 1920 (now 30,396,415 records, updated 13 Nov 2010)
United States, Index to General Correspondence of the Pension Office, 1889-1904 (browse 853,464 images, updated 19 Nov 2010)
United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 (browse images only, updated 13 Nov 2010)
Virginia, Fluvanna County Colbert Funeral Home Records, 1929-1976 (1,866 records, updated 13 November 2010)
That's 14 collections added or updated, but only 5 of them are newly added (there were 494 collections on 11 November). It would be really useful to many researchers if FamilySearch denoted brand new collections added.   The "* Recently added or updated" indicator seems to cover only the past two weeks (there are six currently with a *, and it's not clear if they are new or updated).

Researchers interested in any of these record collections should click on the "Learn More" link on each collection page to determine the extent, the source and the use of the records in the collection.

All FamilySearch Beta record collections can be accessed at

Please note that this list is the actual record collections currently available for searching on the FamilySearch Beta site, not the records that are on the FamilySearch Update list released today for New Projects, Completed Projects, and Current Indexing Projects. The projects on the semi-weekly FamilySearch Update list will eventually be added to the FamilySearch Beta site.

Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension File: General Affidavit #1

For Treasure Chest Thursday, I am presenting and transcribing papers from the Civil War Pension File of my Second Great-Grandfather, Isaac Seaver (1823-1901). I presented Isaac's Declaration for Invalid Pension and Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension File: Widow's First Declaration in past weeks.

Alvina M. (Bradley) (Lewis) Seaver filed an affidavit at the same time as she filed the Widow's Declaration after Isaac Seaver's death. 

The transcription of this document is (handwritten information in italics and underlined):

State of Massachusetts, County of Worcester, SS:
In the matter of Widow's original pension claim No. 738,086 Alvina M. Seaver,
widow of Isaac Seaver, 3d - Co. H 4th Regt Mass Vol H A
ON THIS 20 day of April, A.D. 1901, personally
appeared before me -- a Special Commissioner -- in and for the afore-
said county, duly authorized to administer oaths -- Alvina M. Seaver --
aged 51 years, a resident of Leominster, in the County
of Worcester, and State of Massachusetts
whose Post-office address is #7 Cedar Street - Leominster, Mass.
_______________, aged _____ years, a resident of ___________
________________, in the County of ______________________
and State of _________________, whose Post office address is ___________
well known to be reputable and entitled to credit, and who, being duly sworn, declared in relation to aforesaid
case as follows:  that I had been married once and the
soldier twice prior to our marriage with each other
My first husband, Joseph P. Lewis, died Jan. 5, 1882.
The first wife of the soldier, Juliett (Glazier) Seaver
died Sept. 25, 1847, and his second wife, Lucretia
T. (Smith) Seaver died Mar. 24, 1884.
That my property consists of one small dwelling house
and the lot upon which it stands, located in Leom-
ister, Mass., cash value $1700.00.  this is my home, no
part of it is rented.  I do not have any boarders and no
income derived from my property.  There is no in-
cumbrance upon it.  The annual expenses which
I pay out for said property is $35.75 for taxes,
$11.00 for water rates, $3.60 for insurance, and $50.00
for repairs.
I also have $700.00 in Fitchburg Savings Bank, $700.00
in Worcester North Savings Institution, both located in
Fitchburg, Mass., $909.32 in Clinton, Mass. Savings Bank,
$500.00 in Worcester Co. Institution for Savings, $500.00 in
Peoples Savings Bank, $500.00 in Worcester Mechanics Sav-
I further declare that I have no interest in said case and I am
not concerned in its prosecution.

_____________________    Alvina M. Seaver

[Pension Office seal dated May 3, 1901] 

The death dates of the former spouses are useful information, as is Alvina's "wealth" in the banks.  I summarized the probate records of Isaac Seaver in Amanuensis Monday - Probate Records of Isaac Seaver (1823-1901).  The real estate was sold before 21 June 1901 and the heirs received their portions on 21 June 1901.  Alvina received a total of $1,500 from her husband's estate.  She may have had her own bank accounts that were not impacted by the death of her husband.  However, she now needed a place to live.

Was Alvina too rich for the Pension Office's taste?  Stay tuned for future installments of Isaac Seaver's pension file.

Advent Calendar - December 2: Christmas Food

This post is number 2 in a series of 24 for the 2010 Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

On the 23rd Day of Christmas,

My Angel Linda gives to me
Turkey, mashed potatoes, and peas.

1) Did your family have any traditional dishes for the holidays?

Our Christmas dinner (sometimes on Christmas Eve, sometimes on Christmas Day) in San Diego was always turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, peas, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and mince pie. I doubt that I had anything else when I was a child and young adult, at least at my parents or grandparents homes.

After I was married and we visited San Francisco, Linda's parents had one more item - creamed onions (but I didn't like them).

When my family has Christmas dinner now (us,  our kids and grandkids), we have - guess what - turkey, mashed potatoes, peas, dressing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. It rarely changes!

2) Was there one dish that you thought was unusual?

For me, it was the creamed onions in San Francisco.

3) Not on Thomas's question list, but ... I just have to share it, because it was associated so closely with the dinner.

The absolute highlight of the Christmas dinner was the family competition that followed the meal, but before the dessert. The game was "toss the pea into the glass." In the beginning, it was just my dad and the three boys. There were always leftover peas, so one of us would commandeer the pea bowl and pass peas to the other contestants. Then we would spread out around the table and set up our water glass at equal distances from each other.

The game was to see who could toss the most peas in the water glass opposite them. Of course, the misses weren't contained on top of the table. And the misses were greeted by howls of laughter and derision. Those who put their pea in the glass, shouted out the number of peas they had made so far.

My mother, my wife and the other adult females would withdraw and not watch, but often commented about "boys being boys." My mother really didn't like this game, and I think she intentionally made fewer peas each year.

To try to assuage her anger and keep family peace, the game has devolved to throwing wadded up paper napkins into the glass or cup. My competitive daughters, and now my sons-in-law (and I'm sure it won't be long before the grandchildren) all participate in the Betty Seaver Memorial Pea Toss - but using napkins in deference to her wishes.

This post was originally published on 3 December 2007.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Advent Calendar - December 1: The Christmas Tree

This post is number 1 in a series of 24 for the 2010 Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

On the 24th Day of Christmas,
I'm supposed to talk about the Christmas Tree.

Did you have a real tree, or was it artificial? How big was the tree? Who decorated the tree?

When I was a kid ... we always had a real tree, but a dead one. My folks would get it from a tree lot somewhere. The tree was usually 6 to 7 feet tall, and was almost always a Douglas Fir. I think we had several flocked trees over the years.

The tree was set up in the "cubby-hole" at 2119 30th Street in San Diego - the upstairs flat. It was visible from the street. I think my dad attached the tree stand, and strung the lights - they were multi-colored bulb lights on a continuous string - if one went out, they all went out. My mom would put most of the ornaments on the tree, especially the "nice" ones that were up at the top where little boys couldn't touch them. Then she had a gauzy white covering to put over the tree stand.

The "cubby-hole" was out of the traffic areas of the living room, but it was highly visible to anybody in the living room. If one of we boys were caught shaking, feeling up or opening the wrapped gift boxes, there were threats made about taking them back to the store.

There were other Christmas trees in my life as a kid. My grandparents always set up a tall Douglas Fir in their living room - in the corner by the window looking out toward the Bay. We went there for Christmas Eve because they had a fireplace (made sense - Santa could visit us much better - although he never neglected us at 2119).

The other Christmas Tree was at cousin Dorothy's house in Kensington. Dorothy was my dad's first cousin - her mother Emily (Richmond) Taylor was my father's mother's sister. Dorothy was an artist, and always had a non-traditional tree. Not an evergreen - usually a manzanita bush without leaves, or some other hand-cut bush or tree. She decorated this tree with hand-made ornaments of her own design. My mother always loved the originality, to we boys (including my dad), this wasn't really a Christmas Tree.

A side note: I'm going to concentrate in these posts on my childhood, rather than on my married family times, or the current post-children years. My goal in writing these is to be able to provide a nice collection of memories so that my children and grandchildren can read them if they are interested.

Note: This post was originally written on 30 November 2007. It has been edited slightly.

Making Family Tree Builder Reports - Post 1: Ancestor Report

The official press release from MyHeritage about Family Tree Builder 5.0 was distributed to genealogy bloggers today - you can read it at Geneabloggers here.  The MyHeritage Blog has more images here.  I posted MyHeritage Announces new (free) Family Tree Builder5.0 Software on Monday after receiving a press release (I thought) that had no warning not to post it on it.  My apologies to the MyHeritage team for jumping the gun on this.

I am always curious to see what kind of charts and reports that a genealogy software program offers.  I posted about the new genealogy charts offered by MyHeritage two weeks ago, and they are included in Family Tree Builder 5.0 also, in Checking out the new MyHeritage Charts.

What about reports?  Here are some screens for the MyHeritage Reports, and in this first post, specifically the Ancestor Report.  This is the report that I create the most often.  With the program open to my database, I navigated to Norman Seaver, then clicked on the Reports button on the menu row and saw this drop down menu:

The menu options are Book Report, Family Group Sheet, Relationships, Ancestors, Descendants, Timeline, Descendant Summary, Addresses, and Export Custom Report (new).  I clicked on Ancestors to get a report for the Ancestors of Norman Seaver.

A report was created, but I wanted more information in the report.  So I clicked the "Options" button at the top left of the screen, and saw an Options menu:

There are three tabs in the Options menu:

*  General (Include patrilineage, include notes at end of report, Only include facts in report language, Show ID numbers of people, Show all generations, Limit number of generations to:).  I chose 5 generations for the report.

*  Fonts (Report elements, Font properties, and Preview)

*  Sources (Include sources, Use short sources).  I chose to not use short sources, and to use sources as footnotes (the other options were as endnotes or Do not include sources).

The top of the first page of the report looked like this:

For each ancestral person, only the ancestral person's vital Facts are shown, plus "other events (like christening and burial, and) the person's parents are identified.  No children are shown, or other spouses.

The bottom of the first page looks like this:

At the bottom of each page are the sources corresponding to the sourced Facts. 

Even though I requested that the Notes for each person be printed, they do not reside in the report with the person.  They are printed in the report after the list of the ancestral persons.

I found Norman Seaver's Notes printed on page 12 of 32 (after his parents, but before his parent's ancestors):

I noted that in the entire report, the females were denoted by Givenname Marriedname [Maidenname] rather than the American and English convention of Givenname (Maidenname) Lastname. 

I wondered if they had used the right Ancestor Numbers (some call them Ahnentafel Numbers, or Sosa-Stradonitz numbers) in earlier generations, so I added two more generations, and the software does not use the Sosa-Stradonitz numbering system!  For instance, Robert Seaver (1608-1683) is the second great-grandfather of Norman Seaver and is number 16 in the report and on a pedigree chart, and since I don't know his parents names, the number3 32 and 33 in an Ancestor Numbered report should be blank.  However, the report assigns #32 to Isaac Wilson, the father of #18 Nathaniel Wilson.  This problem (well, I have a problem with it!) has existed all through the Family Tree Builder software reports since they started using the My Complete Genealogy Reporter system.

So, to summarize, the Ancestors Report in Family Tree Builder 5.0 has these "flaws" in my opinion:

*  The Notes for the ancestral persons in the report should be included with the Facts for each ancestral person rather than in a separate section.

*  There should be an option to include information about the children of each ancestral couple, and also information about other spouses of each ancestral person.

*  The numbering system in the report should conform to classic pedigree chart and Ancestor Numbering Systems (e.g., Sosa-Stradonitz).

These issues may not bother some researchers.  However, for me, the program does not follow standard genealogy conventions with the numbering system and ancestral report information sequence, and the report, as generated, is pretty useless to me.  No other genealogy software I've seen produces an Ancestors report like this.

We'll look at some of the other reports in later posts.

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 131: Lyle and the Morgan Girls

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:

I can identify only one person in this photograph positively right now - my grandfather, Lyle Lawrence Carringer (1891-1976) in his US Marines uniform.  Based on that, I can date the photograph as 1917-8 and the setting is in front of one of the buildings on the Carringer home at 2105 30th Street in San Diego.

The back of the photo has six more names - Matie, Martha and Susie Morgan, and girls Maud, Nellie and Marian (possibly with the Morgan surname).  Matie is, I think, the lady in the white nurses uniform to Lyle's left.  If this is her, this is the only picture I have of Matie (Mary Ann) (Smith) (Chenery) Cramer (who married a Morrill after this photo was taken); Matie is the sister of Lyle's mother, Della (Smith) Carringer, and therefore Lyle's Aunt. 

I added the names to the front of this picture many years ago.  I need to find the picture in the box, rescan it and save it without the names on it.

The Morgans are a different challenge - who are they, and how are they related (if at all) to Lyle?  Or are they friends of the family, perhaps of Matie, and are on a husband hunting trip for the young ladies?

In the 1920 census, there is a household in Orange, Orange county, California that I think is three of these females (1920 US Census, population schedule, Orange township, Orange County, California, ED 72, Page 6B, Dwelling #165, Family #187, accessed on, citing National Archives Microfilm Series T625, Roll 123):

*  Susie E. Morgan - head, owns home, with a mortgage, female, white, age 53, widow, born Kansas, parents born Illinois/Kentucky, a grader, works in Orange county packing house
*  Nellie J. Morgan - daughter, female, white, age 25, single, born Colorado, parents born Iowa/Kansas, a spinster, works at telephone company
*  Marian T. Morgan - daughter, female, white, age 18, single, born Colorado, parents born Iowa/Kansas, no occupation.

There are enough clues there to go back to the 1910 and earlier census records and fill out the family.  The family in 1910 was found in Salt Lake City, Utah (1910 US Census, population schedule, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, ED 109, Page 6A, Dwelling #117, Family #123), accessed on, citing National Archives Microfilm Series T624, Roll 1606):

*  Nelson Morgan - head, male, white, age 49, first marriage, married 25 years, born Iowa, parents born Illinois/Iowa, a carpenter, works on house, rents home.
*  Susie E. Morgan - wife, female, white, age 44, first marriage, married 25 years, 7 children born, 6 living, born  Kansas, parents born Illinois/Kentucky, no occupation
*  Maud L. Morgan - daughter, female, white, age 24, single, born Kansas, parents born Iowa/Kansas, a teacher, works in school
*  Nellie J. Morgan - daughter, female, white, age 17, single, born Colorado, parents born Iowa/Kansas, no occupation
*  Martha N. Morgan - daughter, female, white, age 14, single, born Colorado, parents born Iowa/Kansas, no occupation
*  Marian B. Morgan - daughter, female, white, age 8, single, born Colorado, parents born Iowa/Kansas, no occupation.

There's the five females from the picture above - the approximate ages in the 1917 picture are: Susie  (age 51), Maud (age 31), Nellie (age 24), Martha (age 21), Marian (age 15).

I will try to determine if these Morgan persons are related to Lyle in a later post, and, if they are, perhaps try to find the next generation of descendants.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Standardizing Place Names in my Genealogy Database

I'm almost to the point of trying to standardize all of the place names in my genealogy database.  I wrote about this three years ago in Place Names in Your Genealogy Database, with questions and examples.

Why do I want to do this?

*  Because most genealogy software programs have a standard place name list associated with geo-coding and provide location maps with stick-pins. 

*  Because standardized locations are, well, standard.  They eliminate confusion.  Hopefully.

*  Because the FamilySearch Family Tree uses them (using Standard Finder; will they change a non-standard place name entry?).

*  Because I have a hodgepodge of name formats in my database for many places, and I need to merge them into one place name for each place.

*  Because I want to have a well-sourced and well-placed database online and in my files.  Something to be proud of.

Why do I not want to do this?

*  Because it's not real productive to my genealogy research; it's cosmetic.

*  Because there are over 7,800 place names in my database (over 39,000 persons) - it will be a lot of work.

*  Because it may obliterate historical place names that are no longer in existence, or existing places are in jurisdictions that have changed.

James Tanner wrote about standardized place names last year in his posts  The problem with standardized place names and Revisiting standardized geographic names on his Genealogy's Star blog.

Researchers are advised by the experts to keep historical place names and jurisdictions in our database so that the place identifications at the time of the records are maintained.  Some software programs deal with this by providing a "Description" box wherein a historical name, an address, a hospital name, a cemetery name, or a note about record jurisdiction, could be placed.  An alternative is to put the historical location in a person's note or in a place note, record, or to put the historical location in the source citation detail or note.

What is the best way to perform this task?  I have Family Tree Maker 2011, RootsMagic 4 and Legacy Family Tree 7 to work with.  I want to do this task once in a complete and efficient way.  Each program seems to do the job, but the process is different for each of them.  I don't know which program will do the job efficiently and easily.

I would appreciate comments from readers who have done a standardization of their place names, why they did it, and the process they used.  Or, from those that have not done it, and why.

Tuesday's Tip - Find Online U.S. Vital Records Data at Joe Beine's sites

This week's Tuesday Tip is to look for online vital records using Joe Beine's websites that provide links to free, subscription and state office websites.  Joe's sites include: - Joe's professional research site, with links to all of his web pages. - A collection of links for each state relating to death records and obituaries, including some big city guides. 

***  A list of the available Social Security Death Index sites is at

***  Online obituary indexes, death notices and finding aids are at

***  Online cemetery indexes and burial records are provided at

* - A collection of links for each state relating to birth, marriage and divorce records. 

The links on these sites often lead to commercial sites like and the State vital records offices, or services that can obtain vital records from state vital records offices.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Applying the FAN Club Principle - Bernie Gracy Videos

The FAN Club principle in genealogy means to consider how your ancestral families interacted with Friends, Associates and Neighbors in family, social and economic relationships. 

Professor Dru Pair (on the Find Your Folks blog) posted Breaking Down Brick Walls with Location Based Genealogy today with three embedded videos created by Bernie Gracy and placed on YouTube.  The three videos are about 40 minutes total, and summarize Bernie's presentation given at several recent Family History Expos. 

If you are interested in how location-based genealogy works, then I encourage you to take the time to watch these videos.  Please do it from Dru's site since she took the time to find them and post them.

Bernie Gracy has other videos on the Internet, including two segments from his interview with Lisa Louise Cooke on the Genealogy Gems TV Channel - see for Part 1 and for Part 2.  The most recent video is called Location Based Data Quality - see YouTube.  There is also a video of Bernie from the Loveland Family History Expo at

Bernie Gracy has the Ancestral Hunt subscription website (in beta) and at least two blogs - for which there is, apparently, no RSS feed (which shows up in my Google Reader but not when I click the URL)

I really appreciate original thinking and practical application of technology tools to genealogical research methodology, and I think that Bernie's video and article archives in his Education Center contribute to the FAN Club principle.

Thank you to Professor Dru for the pointer.  I enjoyed the last hour of watching Bernie's videos and reading his material.  This was really "genealogy fun" and educational too!

MyHeritage Announces new (free) Family Tree Builder5.0 Software

This press release was received today from Gilad Japhet of MyHeritage:

We've just released a brand new version of Family Tree Builder, and I thought you should be among the first to know.

Before I describe everything that's new in this version, here's some more great news:

For the upcoming holidays, and to celebrate the release of Family Tree Builder 5.0, we're announcing today a limited-time, huge 30% discount on all MyHeritage subscriptions! If you've ever considered a subscription, now is the best time to get one, before this offer expires. More details on this discount are found further below.

Download Family Tree Builder 5.0 (FREE)

Family Tree Builder is the software that millions of people around the world rely on for building their family trees. The new version 5.0 released today brings significant new features and improvements, and we've been working hard in the past year to make its release a joy for lovers of family history. All the new and improved features of Family Tree Builder 5.0 are free.

Important note: if you're already using a previous version of Family Tree Builder, you can simply download and install version 5.0 on top of your current version with no problems. This will not affect your family tree data and is strongly recommended and free. If you're not using Family Tree Builder yet, the new version 5.0 is an excellent start. If you're using some other product, you can move over any existing family tree to Family Tree Builder using GEDCOM import.

What's new in version 5.0?

• Family tree charts: Family Tree Builder 5.0 features a completely overhauled chart module that generates beautiful charts, completely for free. 18 new chart styles are now available. Two new chart formats have been added: Bowtie and Hourglass. A new chart wizard makes it easier to create charts. There are great-looking new visual enhancements: title decorations, backgrounds, frames and borders to choose from. You can create as many charts as you like, save them to PDF or JPEG, print them or share them. Create your own favorite chart styles and save them for later reuse. There are more enhancements in the charts than we can possibly list here.

• Family tree posters: any chart can now be ordered as a printed poster from This makes a great gift for a loved family member for the holidays – Christmas, Hanukkah and others, or for a birthday, wedding or family reunion. This is especially useful for large charts that are difficult to print at home, and you can choose from a variety of high quality materials including vinyl and canvas. The posters will delight you and your family, so get one or more ordered today and receive them before the holidays!

• Tree consistency checker: we've invested a lot of thought in this new, free module; it will check your family tree and detect possible mistakes of approx. 40 different types, to help you make your tree better. For example, if you have entered dates inside place fields, or tagged someone in a photo dated before that person's birth, this module will catch such mistakes, and many other ones, and show you exactly how to fix them.

• Better privacy controls: users who publish their tree to a family site on, now have better privacy controls at their fingertips, allowing them to configure with much precision which information will be posted online. For example, it is now easy to avoid publishing information about specific individuals, or to remove certain fields, such as addresses, for all people. See all info that is marked private at a glance and easily make sure that private information stays private.

• To-do lists: use this great new feature to organize your work. Enter tasks that need to be done and associate them with people in your tree and with locations; organize the next steps you need to do in your research and prioritize them. Find all tasks associated with a certain person or location and conduct your genealogy research more effectively.

• Easy restore: Family Tree Builder 5.0 can now easily restore any tree you've published online, and also recover the photos included in it. You can even download trees that you've created online on, and use Family Tree Builder to continue to grow them.

• Search & replace: search and replace text in almost every field in the family tree, with multiple configuration options, like matching case, matching an entire word, or any part of the text, etc. You can even select which fields will participate in the operation.

• Dozens of other improvements and bug fixes: incorporating feedback from our users, many aspects of the program have been improved or fixed. You can now add photographs and other media items for sources, to better document your research. DNA test results can now be entered for further reference. A new wizard has been added to locate duplicate people in our tree, and you will receive a warning before adding a new person to the tree, if it may be a duplicate. Better handling of names is provided, and married names for men are now supported too. You can now mark a person as "research complete" and easily locate the people whose research is still incomplete. New graphics have been added, and several problems in the program have become a thing of the past. A list of all enhancements is found here.

Download Family Tree Builder 5.0 (FREE)

HOLIDAY SPECIAL OFFER: for the next two weeks you can purchase our Premium subscription with a massive 30% discount. You'll get:

• All Premium features of Family Tree Builder 5.0 (current and future). These include Smart Research results, Smart Match merging, all-in-one charts and interactive maps.
• Up to 2500 names and 500MB of storage for photos and documents in your family site.
• Enhanced Smart Matches.
• Priority support.

To take advantage of this offer before it expires, click "Upgrade to Premium" in the Tools menu of Family Tree Builder.

If your site is already Premium or PremiumPlus, you can enjoy this discount to extend your subscription: visit your family site for more details.

What's next?

Download Family Tree Builder 5.0 (FREE)

See what users think about Family Tree Builder.

Gilad Japhet
Founder and CEO

I reviewed version 4.0 of Family Tree Builder one year ago - see Family Tree Builder 4.0 - Summary of Posts.

The software installs relatively fast and performs most functions efficiently, and the presentation is excellent.  However, the user needs to be careful during the installation - the default installation puts a toolbar on your browser and makes MyHeritage the home page.  I uploaded a GEDCOM and worked with the program a bit, looking at some of the new features.  The new Chart capabilities are included, but the Narrative Report function is useless to any serious genealogist.  I'll comment more on that in another post.

The major benefit of this software is that it is full featured and free to download and use as a stand-alone program on your computer.

Disclosure:  I have a free account at MyHeritage, and have not been remunerated for publishing this press release.

Amanuensis Monday - Will of Samuel Peirce (1712-1772) of Waltham MA

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

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

The subject today is the probate file of Samuel Peirce (1712-1772) of Waltham, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, one of my 6th great-grandfathers. Samuel Peirce, son of John and Elizabeth (Smith) Peirce of Waltham, married Abigail Stearns (1716-1798) in 1739 in Watertown, and they had nine children: Abigail (1740-1747); Samuel (1741-1806); Elizabeth (1743-1808); Daniel (1746-1747); Nathaniel (1748-1749); Abigail (1750-1776); Judith (1753-1805); Ezra (1755-1795); Beulah (1764-????).
Samuel Peirce died testate, and his probate records are in Middlesex County [Massachusetts] Probate Records, Packet #17,559 (accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,421,491). The will reads (transcribed by Randy Seaver, paragraph breaks added for readability):

"In the Name of God Amen. I Samuel Peirce of Waltham in the County of Middlesex and Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England yeoman being weak and sick as to my bodily Health but of sound mind and memory (blessed be God therefor) do this twenty sixth Day of March in the twelfth year of the Reign of the Lord & King George the third & in the year of our Lord one thousan seven Hundred & Seventy two make and publish this my last Will and Testament in Manner and Form following Viz.

"Imprimis I commend my Soul to God who gave it me and my Body to the Earth from whence it came in hopes of a joyful Resurrection thro' Jesus Christ, and as for that worldly estate wherewith God has blessed me I dispose thereof as follows.

"First I will and bequeath to my loving wife Abigail all my Personal Estate forever likewise the Improvement of my lands and tenements where I now dwell during her continuing my widow.

"Item At the decease of my wife Abigail aforesaid or at a Marriage I will and bequeath to my beloved son Samuel my Lands tenements aforesaid he paying my just Debts and funeral Charges and Legacies hereafter named viz.

To my beloved Daughter Elizabeth Flagg Wife of Timothy Flagg the Sum of Six Pounds thirteen shillings and four Pence. I likewise will and bequeath to my Daughter Elizabeth Flagg afores-d the House and Land adjoining thereto where she now lives, the Mony to be paid at my wife's decease.

"Item To my beloved Daughter Abigail Knowlton Wife of Jeremiah Knowlton the Sum of six pounds thirteen shillings & four Pence to be paid at my wifes decease.

"Item To my beloved Daughter Judith Thirteen Pounds Six Shillings & eight Pence and a good Cow to be paid and delivered to her when she arrives at twenty five years of Age or at her Marriage if she marries under that age and the further Sum of Thirteen Pounds Six Shillings and eight Pence at my wifes decease.

"Item To my beloved Son Ezra Forty Pounds to be paid when he arrives at the age of twenty two years.

"Item To my beloved Daughter Beulah thirteen Pounds Six Shillings & eight Pence and a good Cow to be paid and delivered when she arrives at the age of twenty five years or at her Marriage if she marries under that age and the further Sum of Thirteen pounds Six Shillings and eight Pence to be paid at my Wifes Decease.

"And I do hereby revoke all former Wills whatever or wherever heretofore made and publish-d by me and I make constitute and ordain my son Samuel Peirce Executor of this my last Will and Testament. In Witness whereof I the said Samuel Peirce have hereunto set my Hand Seal this twenty sixth Day of March in the twelfth year of his Majesties Reign Anno Domini one thousand seven Hundred & Seventy two.

"Signed Sealed published and declared ................................ Sam-ll
by the sd Testators as and for his last .................................. his P mark
will & testament in the presence ..........................................  Peirce
of us who at his Request and in his presence
and in presence of one another have sub-
scribed our Names as Witnesses hereto
Isaac Child
Samuel Nutting
Leonard Williams"

The will was submitted to the Court at Cambridge by the Executor, Samuel Peirce, on 5 May 1772, with Isaac Child and Leonard Williams making oath that they saw Samuel Peirce sign, seal and declare it to be his last will and testament. The Court proved, approved and allowed the will of Samuel Peirce of Waltham, yeoman. A bond of 400 pounds was posted by Samuel Peirce, husbandman, Leonard Williams, Esquire and Isaac Child, husbandman, all of Waltham on 5 May 1772.

An inventory was not included in the probate packet, nor was any indication that the legacies were paid to the heirs.  A review of land records may reveal what happened to the lands bequeathed to the son, Samuel Peirce.

My interest in this will is the explicit naming of the husband of daughter Abigail as wife of Jeremiah Knowlton.  However, daughter Abigail (Peirce) Knowlton died in 1776, 22 years before her mother Abigail (Stearns) Peirce died in 1798, so I doubt that her heirs received anything from their grandfather's estate.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Nominations are still open for Top 40 Genealogy blogs

The 2011 Family Tree Magazine Top 40 genealogy blogs will be featured in the July 2011 issue of the magazine.  You can nominate your favorite genealogy blogs using an online form now through Tuesday, Nov. 30.

When you nominate a blog, be sure to submit the blog title and URL, and why you’re nominating it, and put it into one of these eight categories (a few have changed from last year’s Family Tree 40):

*  Local/regional history and genealogy: blogs focusing on research in a specific county, state or region. Most library and archive blogs, as well as many local historical and genealogical society blogs, would go here.

*  Heritage groups: Blogs focusing on the family history of a specific ethnic, religious or national background (such as African-American, Jewish, Polish, etc.)

*  Research advice and how-to: Blogs that primarily explain how to research, analyze photos or perform various family history tasks. The blogger offers tips, strategies and examples; explains genealogical concepts; and writes about how to use new resources.

*  Cemeteries: These blogs feature content primarily about cemetery research and visiting cemeteries. Many feature tombstone photos and transcriptions, with information about those interred.

*  “My Family History”: Blogs about the blogger’s own roots, including accounts of personal research, their own family photos and heirlooms, stories, recipes, etc.

*  “Everything” blogs: Blogs that cover it all—genealogy news, research advice, opinions, local history, family stories, etc.—go here.

*  New blogs: Was the blog you’re nominating launched during the past year? Categorize it here, even if it would also fit into another category.

*  Technology: Blogs focusing on genealogy websites, software, DNA testing or other aspects of technology as it relates to genealogy.

There are four Family Tree 40 panelists—Genealogy Gems blogger Lisa Louise Cooke, Genea-Musings blogger Randy Seaver, Myrt of the DearMyrtle blog and Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers—who will help Family Tree Magazine select the winners.  Family Tree Magazine editors and Family Tree 40 panelists will winnow out any blogs that aren’t qualified (see below) and, if necessary depending how many blogs are nominated, narrow the list of nominees based on the quality of the blogs’ content.

From December 13 to 20, you all will vote on those finalists for the final Family Tree 40 blogs. The Family Tree 40 blogs, featuring five winners per category, will be revealed in the July 2011 Family Tree Magazine.

Qualifying blogs must:

*  be primarily about genealogy.

*  have original content (aggregators featuring posts from other blogs will be disqualified).

*  belong to a private individual or individuals, not to a business (a change from last year’s Family Tree 40). They may not exist primarily to market products.

*  be active, having at least four posts per month for the past three months (or, for blogs newer than three months, four posts per month since the blog has been in existence).

*  contain or link to information about the blogger(s), such as an “About Me” page.

*  not be hosted by a Family Tree 40 panelist or by Family Tree Magazine.

Look for reminders and updates on Facebook; on Twitter (we'll use hashtag #FT40), in the Family Tree Magazine free, weekly e-mail newsletter, and, of course, here on the Genealogy Insider blog.

Nominate a Family Tree 40 blog here.

Best of the Genea-Blogs - Week of 21-27 November 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:

Gasbagging About Genealogy by the Jill Ball on the Geniaus blog.  Jill gave several presentations in Sydney last week, and enjoyed the experience.  Read her links too - interesting commentary.

Some of the many things I don't understand about genealogy by James Tanner on the Genealogy's Star blog.  James's musings strike a chord with many of his readers - "no one ever died from an overdose of genealogy" - brilliant!

We Want Tech: Stitching Folio Size Documents by the writer of The Ancestry Insider blog.  Mr. AI finds some photo stitching software that worked for him...I had this problem two weeks ago.

THE SECOND GREAT AMERICAN LOCAL POEM AND SONG GENEALOGY CHALLENGE IS HERE! by Bill West on the West in New England blog.  Entries to Bill's challenge make interesting reading.

Errors: Not only on historical records by Schelly Talalay Dardashti on the Tracing the Tribe: The Jewish genealogy Blog.  Schelly gets the run-around because her husband's birthdate doesn't match on all records, but they discovered a nice restaurant near the SSA office in their new hometown.

There and back by Audrey Collins on The Family Recorder blog.  Audrey's "hit and hope"  search reveals much more than she expected!

Suffer the Little Children… Orphan Trains in America by Carolyn Barkley on the blog.  This is a nice article about the effort to place homeless children in homes in the Midwest in the last half of the 19th century.

It Was a Geek-Girl's Dream come True by Sheri Fenley on The Educated Genealogist blog.  Sheri channels her inner geek while touring the NARA San Bruno facility, and shares her day with pictures too.  They got to touch the actual records! 

Fun With 87 Year Old Auntie & Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner by Lorine McGinnis Schulze on the Olive Tree Genealogy Blog.  Lorine had too much fun the other day scanning her aunt's photo albums and interviewing her too!  A Double Dose of genealogy fun!

The Story of Thomas "Moses" McElroy - A Arkansas Tale of Civility in the Civil War  by Angela Y. Walton-Raji on the My Ancestor's Name blog.  What a fascinating real-life history story and Angela does some genealogy research to back it up! 

The Thanksgiving Tree by Leslie Albrecht Huber on The Journey-Takers Blog.  Leslie shares some family pictures and a family Thanksgiving tradition - a great idea for families with small children, especially.

The Dead Horse Investigation – Update by Colleen Fitzpatrick on the Identifinders Blog.  Colleen has narrowed the date of the famous Dead Horse photograph event.  It's still a fascinating forensic genealogy story!

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

* Follow Friday: Around the Blogosphere - November 26 by Susan Petersen on the Long Lost blog.

* Best Bytes for the Week of November 26th by Elizabeth O'Neal on the Little Bytes of Life blog.

* Friday Newsletter and Follow News: 26 November 2010 by Great Koehl on Greta's Genealogy Bog 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 710 genealogy bloggers using Google Reader, but I still miss quite a few it seems.

Read past Best of the Genea-Blogs posts here.