Saturday, December 11, 2010

Be Careful with the Publish button...

Genea-bloggers need to be aware that if you hit the Publish button on your blog writer (for me,, that Google Reader is really quick on the draw.  No sooner did I hit the Publish button this afternoon that I realized I meant to delete the post rather than publish it.  I quickly went to the "Edit posts" list and deleted the post.  It existed on the Internet for all of 30 seconds. 

But wait - here is what I saw in my Google Reader a few minutes ago:

When I clicked on the title, my computer said that the link didn't exist. 

But when I click on Genea-Musings in my Google Reader, it is still there!  I wrote the post because I was struggling in FTM 2011 to delete a duplicate Fact - and the Delete button didn't do it.  I read the Help section, and noticed that I can delete a Fact by highlighting it and then hitting the X button...d'oh!

So how long will the post that was published for 30 seconds last?  I don't know.  What I do like is that Google Reader finds the updated version of posts.  I can't go edit the offensive post because I deleted it!  Oh well!  I wonder if a Google search for the post will bring up a cached version?  I would guess not, but will test it to see!  Nope, not yet! 

The lesson learned:  Think twice before you hit Publish, and then think twice about deleting the entire post.  If I had edited the post title and content rather than deleted the entire post, I could have hidden the mistake easily.  I didn't, and it's out there for all Google Readers to see!

Is it in your blog reader, or did it get sent via RSS feed to your email?

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Contribute to GeneaLeaks!

Come on geneaphiles - it's Saturday Night - time to have more Genealogy Fun! 

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

1)  You've probably heard about WikiLeaks - the web site that has been exposing United States government secret documents to the world.  Well, Travis LeMaster on his TJLGenes blog posted GeneaLeaks this week - please read his post.  I had to make this a SNGF topic...

2)  For SNGF, please answer one or more of these questions:

*  What GeneaLeak do you want to expose to the world from your own research or experience?  Do it!

*  What GeneaLeak about your own family history research would you like exposed to help you in your genealogy pursuit?

*  What GeneaLeak about genealogy websites, collection providers, genealogy software or genealogy bloggers, writers, or colleagues would you like to see exposed?

Be creative, but not mean, please! 

3)  Share your GeneaLeaks list on your own blog, as a comment to this blog post, or in a note or comment on Facebook. 

Here's mine:

*  My own GeneaLeak:  I have a new first cousin, three times removed!  My first cousin's granddaughter, Megan, had a baby in September named Griffin.  I saw his picture on Facebook.  You know you're getting old when you have a cousin three generations later than yourself.

*  The GeneaLeak I need:  The birthdate, birthplace and parents names of Thomas J. Newton (1795?- after 1834), who married Sophia (Buck) Brigham in about 1833 and had two children, including my great-great-grandmother, Sophia (Newton) Hildreth (1834-1923).

*  The GeneaLeak I want to see:  The discussion, decision making and paper trail at developing the most sophisticated genealogy search engine in existence (with all of the default/exact options, wild card options, old/new search algorithms, unique search boxes for different collections, etc.).  These are very creative people and I'm alternately confused and awed by the product. 

Thank you, Travis, for the great SNGF idea!

Surname Saturday - GUILD (England > Dedham/Medfield MA)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I am up to number 139, who is Mary GUILD (1735-1800), one of my 5th-great-grandmothers. [Note: The 5th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts]

My ancestral line back through five generations of GUILD 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)

138. Amos Plimpton, born before 16 Jun 1735 in Medfield, Norfolk County, MA; died 20 Aug 1808 in Medfield, Norfolk County, MA. He was the son of 276. John Plimpton and 277. Abigail Fisher. He married 1756 in Norfolk County, MA.
139. Mary Guild, born 1735 in Walpole, Norfolk, MA; died 20 Mar 1800 in Medfield, Norfolk County, MA.

Children of Amos Plimpton and Mary Guild are: Molly Plimpton (1758-1813); Elizabeth Plimpton (1761-1766); John Plimpton (1763-1765); Amos Plimpton (1770-1800); Mercy Plimpton (1772-1850).

278. Nathaniel Guild, born 20 Mar 1711/12 in Dedham, Norfolk, MA; died 10 Sep 1796 in Walpole, Norfolk, MA. . He married 12 Jun 1733 in Dedham, Norfolk, MA.
279. Mary Boyden, born 09 Feb 1707/08 in Wrentham, Norfolk, MA. She was the daughter of 558. Thomas Boyden and 559. Deborah Wight.

Children of Nathaniel Guild and Mary Boyden are: Mary Guild (1735-1800); Nathaniel Guild (1741-1793); Samuel Guild (1746-1816); Mercy Guild (1748-????); Susan Guild (1750-1822); Mehitable Guild (1752-1816).

556. Nathaniel Guild, born 12 Jan 1678/79 in Dedham, Norfolk County, MA; died 28 Jan 1774 in Dedham, Norfolk County, MA. He married before 1708 in probably Dedham, Norfolk, MA.
557. Mehitable Farrington, born 20 Jul 1693 in Dedham, Norfolk County, MA; died 10 Feb 1771 in Dedham, Norfolk County, MA. She was the daughter of 1114. John Farrington and 1115. Mary Janes.

Children of Nathaniel Guild and Mehitable Farrington are: Mehitable Guild (1708-1798); Mary Guild (1709-1762); Nathaniel Guild (1712-1796); Susanna Guild (1713-1714); Susanna Guild (1717-1742); Samuel guild (1719-1743); Rebecca Guild (1721-1793); Sarah Guild (1723-????); Moses Guild (1725-????); Aaron Guild, (1728-1818).

1112. Samuel Guild, born 07 Nov 1647 in Dedham, Norfolk County, MA; died 01 Jan 1729/30 in Dedham, Norfolk County, MA. He married 29 Nov 1676 in Dedham, Norfolk County, MA.
1113. Mary Woodcock, born 1654 in Roxbury, Suffolk County, MA; died before 1703 in Dedham, Norfolk County, MA. She was the daughter of 2226. John Woodcock and 2227. Sarah.

Children of Samuel Guild and Mary Woodcock are: Samuel Guild (1677-1750); Nathaniel Guild (1679-1774); Mary Guild (1681-1768); John Guild (1683-1684); Deborah Guild (1685-1773); John Guild (1687-1767); Israel Guild (1690-1766); Ebenezer Guild (1692-1774); Joseph Guild (1694-1751); Elizabeth Guild (1697-????).

2224. John Guild, born about 1616 in ENGLAND; died 06 Oct 1682 in Dedham, Norfolk, MA. He married 24 Jun 1645 in Dedham, Norfolk, MA.
2225. Elizabeth Crooke, born about 1618 in ENGLAND; died 31 Aug 1669 in Dedham, Norfolk, MA.

Children of John Guild and Elizabeth Crooke are: John Guild (1646-????); Samuel Guild (1647-1730); John Guild (1649-1723); Eliezer Guild (1653-1655); Ebenezer Guild (1657-1661); Elizabeth Guild (1661-1740); Benjamin Guild (1664-1682).

Nearly all of the information that I have on the GUILD family is from the town vital record books and the family history book:

Charles Burleigh, The Genealogy and History of the Guild, Guile and Gile Family, published by Brown Thurston & Company, 1887.

Advent Calendar - 11 December: Other Traditions

This is the 11th in a series of 24 posts for the 2010 Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

On the 14th Day of Christmas
I tried to share ethnic traditions
but we are plain old Protestant Christians!

1) Did your family or friends also celebrate other traditions during the holidays such as Hanukkah or Kwanzaa?

The short answer is "no."  When I was growing up, I knew no people of the Jewish faith and Kwanzaa had not been invented yet. 

2) Did your immigrant ancestors have holiday traditions from their native country which they retained or perhaps abandoned?

I don't know, because my latest immigrants were from England in the 1850's. Linda's latest immigrants were from Norway in the 1850's.

The holiday traditions we have observed are pretty much the modern American Protestant Christmas expressions with caroling, gift-giving, prayers and family gatherings.  And Santa Claus.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Free Family Forest Ancestral eBook

I received an email from Kristine Harrison at FamilyForest about their offer for a free eBook.  The email said:

"For a limited time your readers can receive a free Family Forest® Ancestral eBook of their choice at see  for details.

"Kristine Harrison
Millisecond Publishing Company, Inc.
Co-Founder of the Family Forest® Project
A People-Centered Approach To History®"

I followed up to see how the process worked, and Kristine added this information:

"All someone needs to do is to e-mail a short thoughtful answer to any one of the ten questions (, along with the title of whatever eBook they would like, to

"Then I will send them a link to the free download via It's that simple, and no hidden fees."

This is, of course, a pretty nice way to introduce the FamilyForest products to a set of savvy genealogists that might be interested in it.  I appreciate Kristine's offer.  I ordered the eBook about descendants of Edward III since I have (I think) at least one descendant from him.  There were several others that interested me - Richard Warren, William White, Henry Adams and John Prescott.

Please check out what offers.

Disclosure:  I am not an employee, contractor, affiliate or agent for FamilyForest.  I have received no remuneration for writing this post, but I am taking advantage of the free eBook offer. Quirk in 1930 US Census fixed!

I complained in June 2009, in Quirk - 1930 Census Index, that the 1930 U.S. Census database on had some serious search problems, including:

*  Birthplace indexed for only head of household or persons of a different surname in the household (i.e., birthplace of spouse and children not indexed)

*  Father's birthplace was not indexed

*  Mother's birthplace was not indexed

*  A commenter noted that Race was indexed only for the Head of Household.

Those created serious search problems for me, and others, who had used those search fields in the 1920 and earlier census records.

The current 1930 U.S. Census Basic Search box (in New Search) looks like this:

It includes First Name, Last Name, Birth Year and Birth Place, Lived In, Any Event, Family Members, Keywords and Race.  However, the search results using the Basic form are all using Default Search Settings.

I prefer the Advanced Search form, which looks like this (two screens below):

The search fields now include First Name, Last Name,  Birth Year an d Birth Place, Lived In, Any Event, Family Member, Keyword, Relation to Head of Household, Race/Ethnicity, Father's Birthplace and Mother's Birthplace. 

The key to narrowing the search is to judiciously use the different search settings.  If you use the "Default Setting" for everything, you will get thousands of matches, although your target will usually be in the first few matches if the names were enumerated correctly.  I usually change the "Default Settings" to "Restrict to Exact" for the names, the lived in, and several other fields.

I tried this out, using the Advanced Search form, putting the following in the Search firm:

*  First Name = "betty" (restricted to exact)

*  Birth Year - "1919 plus/minus 2 years"

*  Lived in - "San Diego County, California, USA" (selected from the dropdown list)

*  Father's Name = "Lyle" (restricted to exact)

*  Mother's birthplace = "Illinois, USA" (selected from the dropdown list)

With those search fields only, I received this match:

The right one.  I tried this in June 2009 and got no matches.

I'm glad that has added more indexed fields to the 1930 census.  It will relieve some frustration with the census searches, especially for those who don't understand the nuances of doing searches on Ancestry.

Disclosure:  I am not an employee, contractor or affiliate of  I have accepted travel, hotel, meals and incidental expense from at certain times.  I have a fully paid U.S. Deluxe subscription.  I was not remunerated for writing this article.

Advent Calendar - December 10: Christmas Gifts

This is the 10th  in a series of 24 posts for the 2010 Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

On the 15th day of Christmas,
my true love gave to me
The greatest gift of all - her love.

1) What were your favorite gifts, both to give and to receive?

I'm guessing at the date, but on about this date in 1969 I realized just how much Linda loved me and that I really loved her also. We had known each other for almost two years, but had been seriously dating only four months. As we made plans for Christmas with our respective families (mine in San Diego, hers in San Francisco), we talked openly about how much we meant to each other. I don't remember the physical gift we gave to each other at Christmas 1969, but I do know we gave each other a gift of commitment and happiness. The proposal was yet to come on Valentine's Day in 1970 (see, I was Mr. Romantic before I started doing genealogy), but this was the happiest Christmas of my life even though we were apart on December 25.

As a child, the best Christmas of all was 1954, when my brother Stan and I got our Davy Crockett coonskin caps and our Daisy BB guns for Christmas. Next best was 1955, when we got our Flexible Flyers, and the next best was 1956 when we got new bicycles. With the Flexies and bikes, we could roam all over San Diego and deliver our paper route on wheels - they meant freedom. We had had older bikes before this, but these were new with balloon tires and better brakes (still braking with the pedals, though).

Nowadays, I can count on receiving something electronic (I'm hoping for a laser pointer) and photographs of the grandchildren from my daughters and their families, some Hawaiian shirts and HP ink cartridges from Linda, and I usually treat myself to some genealogy books after the holiday. I usually get Linda some clothing - usually colorful (aqua, green, blue, red, purple) tops, gift certificates and perhaps a promise of a cruise or vacation.

My daughters provide hints for gifts for the grandchildren which makes it pretty easy to shop online for them.

2) Are there specific gift-giving traditions among your family or ancestors?

I don't recall any gift-giving traditions for my family, nor do I know anything about traditions from the ancestors, and we don't have any for our daughters and their families.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Standardizing Place Names - Using FTM 2011 to Fix Non-standard Place Names

In my post yesterday, Standardizing Place Names - Using FTM 2011 to Merge Place Names, I demonstrated how easy it was to pick standardized place names from the standard place list in Family tree Maker 2011.  I noted that some of the place names in my database were still non-standard - i.e., not in the FTM 2011 list of standard place names, and that I needed to resolve them by hand.

In this post, I want to demonstrate the process of standardizing place names, and getting the geotag coordinates of the place, in Family Tree Maker 2011.

I'm going to use Delhi, in Norfolk county, Ontario, Canada as the example.  Unfortunately, the standard place list in FTM 2011 for ALL Canadian towns or cities do not include the county that the town is in, and so all of them are going to have to be fixed in this process.

In the "Places" workspace, I highlighted "Delhi, Norfolk, Ontario, CANADA" on my list of places.  I clicked on "Place" in the menu, and then "Resolve Place Name" to get the dropdown box.  You can see that it lists "Delhi, , Ontario, Canada as the standard place name.  Here is the Place list before I did any standardizing:

In the Place list on the left, I have three items for Delhi Cemetery in Delhi (when I clicked on the first one, the map of Delhi, India came up) and six items for the town of Delhi in various forms.  I want to merge all of them into one for the cemetery and one for the town, and geotag them in the process.

I chose the one above because it showed the right place on the map, and edited the place name in the upper right-hand corner.  It now reads "Delhi, Norfolk, Ontario, Canada."  I clicked on the pushpin below the location name on the "Location" line, and saw:

The red band at the top of the page says to "Click the exact location on the map for Delhi, Norfolk, Ontario, Canada."  I clicked on the name of the town, Delhi, on the map, and the geotag for the place appeared in the "Location" field in the upper right-hand corner of the screen:

Delhi is at 42.8521° N, 80.4903° W. 

I did an Edit -- Copy on my standard name of "Delhi, Norfolk, Ontario, Canada" so that I could use the same place name consistently, and fixed the other five non-standard place names on my list.  I edited the Delhi Cemetery name to read "Delhi Cemetery, Delhi, Norfolk, Ontario, Canada" and fixed those three entries also.  Now my updated list of the nine Delhi entries is only two, and they have been geotagged, as shown below:

While they are still listed as non-standard places in the FTM 2011 place name list, they are geotagged and the map will come up when the place name is clicked on.  That's the best I can do at the moment.  hopefully, Family Tree Maker will add counties to their official list of standard place names in Canada.  I hope that they will greatly expand their list of place names in England too - it is pretty sparse.

I'm still in the process of working through the Place names in my database standardizing them as shown in my last post.  The next task will be to geotag as many of my non-standard place names as possible.

I tested this process in RootsMagic 4 and Legacy Family Tree 7 and thought that the FTM 2011 process was the easiest for me to use.  I liked that the process for changing the place name to a standardized version and geotagging that place was easy to use, and was all on one screen.

What I don't know is if a geotag of a place name in FTM 2011 will transfer across through a GEDCOM file to another program like RootsMagic or Legacy.  I would hate to have to do all of this again at some time.  I guess I better find out sooner rather than later.  I'll let you know...

Disclosure:  I received a gratis copy of Family Tree Maker 2011 from  I purchased previous versions of family Tree Maker myself, but also received gratis copies of some versions from (which I donated to a local genealogical society).  I try very hard to be objective in my comments about Family Tree Maker software. 

Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension File: General Affidavit #2

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 Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Pension Declaration, Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension File: Widow's First Declaration, and Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension File: General Affidavit #1 in past weeks.

Another General Affidavit was filed on 29 April 1901 by two women who knew Isaac Seaver for 58 years and knew the name of Isaac's first wife.

The transcription is (handwritten words underlined and in italics):

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 29 day of April, A.D. 1901, personally
appeared before me a Notary Public in and for the afore-
said County, duly authorized to administer oaths Lucinda C. Tisdale,

aged 74 years, a resident of Leominster, in the County
of Worcester, and State of Massachusetts
whose Post-office address is #175 Union Street, Leominster, Mass.
Lucy A. Tisdale, aged 67 years, a resident of Leominster
_________________, in the County of Worcester
and State of Massachusetts, whose Post-office address is ________
#15 Main Street, Leominster, Mass.
well known to be reputable and entitled to credit, and who, being duly sworn, declared in relation to aforesaid
case as follows:  that we were well and personally
acquainted with the above named Isaac
Seaver, 3d, having known him more than
fifty-eight years.  We have know that he was
never married but three times and the
first time was when he married with
Juliett Glazier.  The above are facts de-
rived from our long personal acquain-
tance with said Isaac Seaver 3d.
[blank lines]
"Soldier married three times" [written diagonally and underlined, probably by a pension official]
We further declare that we have no interest in said case and are
not concerned in its prosecution.
Lucy A. Tisdale
Lucinda E. Tisdale
(Signatures of Affiants)
There is a U.S. Pension Office stamp dated May 3, 1901.
One interpretation of this affidavit is that the widow Alvina Seaver needed someone to vouch for the name of his first wife.  Alvina gave Juliett's name, and her death date, in her General Affidavit filed on 20 April 1901.
This is the first notice I've taken of Lucinda C. Tisdale and Lucy A. Tisdale.  These are two different women with essentially the same name.  They claim to have known Isaac Seaver for 58 years - that would make their first acquaintance in 1843, when Isaac was age 20, Lucinda was age 16, and Lucy was age 9.  Were they relatives, neighbors, or childhood friends?  If so, are they single, married or widowed?  Interesting puzzle.  Maybe I'll check it out this next week.

Advent Calendar - December 9: Christmas Weather

This post is number 9 in a series of 24 for the 2010 Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

On the 16th day of Christmas,
I want everybody to know
That it doesn't snow (much) in San Diego.

This is the first "Christmas Grab Bag" edition of the Advent Calendar, which I really appreciate!

Jasia asked three years ago "Did you ever see snow on Christmas" in a comment to my December 1 post.

The short answer is "Yes -- on television - on the weather report, the national news and the football games. Not outside our window ever."

Our weather in San Diego at sea level on Christmas Day is typically partly cloudy, with a high in the low 60's and a low in the high 40's. We have had sunny and warm (highs in the 80s) Christmas Days before, and have had rain all day on occasion. We don't usually have real cold (for us - temps in the 30s) weather in December - it usually happens in January.

The record low temperature in San Diego is 25 F, which happened in 1923 - the water froze in the fountain at the downtown Plaza. The temperatures on the coast are always warmer than inland - if you go 10 miles inland, the low temps are always 5 to 10 degrees colder than the San Diego city temperature.

The Laguna, Cuyamaca and Palomar Mountains to our east and north (all are over 6,000 feet high) get snow occasionally, even at Christmas time. The TV stations always show folks parked on the sides of the roads, sliding down hills and throwing snowballs. Every 5 years or so, we get a snow fall down to 2,000 feet elevation but rarely at sea level.

'It has snowed several times in my lifetime in San Diego. At sea level. In January 1949 (I think), it snowed while I was walking to school (I was in kindergarten and it made a big impression on me). In December 1967, it snowed on my way to work. This time, the snow stuck for most of the day in the suburbs, and many San Diego kids (including the 25 year-old Randy) had a lot of fun. It snowed again in late December 1987 in San Diego, but we were on the way home from San Francisco and missed it. In every case, it snows at sea level early in the morning when a fast-moving cold front follows a clear and cold night.

In all the years that we went to San Francisco at Christmas time, it never snowed on us there, much to my disappointment. In 1987, it did snow on us at King City (south of Salinas) on Highway 101 and we stopped and had a wonderful snow ball fight. In 1985, we went to Yosemite after visiting San Francisco, and stayed several nights in that icy wonderland. We marveled at the frozen ponds, the waterfalls shedding ice, and had a glorious day sledding and snowballing at Glacier Point, a ski resort.

I have been in snow on occasion on trips to Portland in 1968, Boston in 1968, Cincinnati in the 1990's, and Topeka in 1987 and 1996. Each time, I am filled with wonder. Others (the natives) laugh at me - my lack of preparation (no hat, no gloves, no boots), my giddiness, my sliding on ice (unaware of the dangers).

For me, snow is really special - a treat.Our daughters live in areas that have snow occasionally, but we haven't been there when it has snowed. At least my grandchildren will have some memories of playing in the snow as children. We travel to their homes at Christmas time every other year - we might get lucky and really have a fun snow time with the little ones.

As a kid, I was very jealous that we did not have snow, at least on occasion, just so I could enjoy what other kids all over the country enjoyed. We didn't even have snow clothes, and still don't. We got Flexible Flyers (sleds with wheels) for Christmas, not snow sleds. When there was snow in the mountains, my folks never took us because of the crowds. I did go several times with the church youth group when I was 10 to 12 years old - it was cool! Wet. Cold. Fun.

We don't have snow tires, or own chains, or ice scrapers. We try to avoid driving where it is snowy and icy. We didn't take the kids to the snow when they were young because of our lack of proper equipment. The kids did go with their youth group several times, so they weren't totally deprived.

These days, I look forward to the absolutely clear days that follow a storm that dumps snow on the mountains. We can see Mount Cuyamaca (an Indian name, pronounced "kwee-ah-mack-ah") from all over San Diego County, and it occasionally has a snow mantle down to 4,000 feet. It is majestic and beautiful -

The San Diego Union-Tribune published an article on 6 December 2007 -- "The day it snowed in San Diego" describing December 13, 1967 - the day I remembered in my post above. There is also a list of other San Diego snow days - including January 11, 1949 and December 24, 1987. I saved it to my hard drive. The opening paragraphs:

“ 'This is something you tell to people who are from out of the area. They have a hard time believing it,' said Ken Ayers, a county native who was a dazzled 7-year-old on that wondrous day. 'It's the California Christmas dream.'

"The dream came true 40 years ago this morning, when gale-force winds blew a Canadian cold front far, far off course. Across San Diego County, residents woke up to see the air shimmering with something cold, white and unfamiliar."

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Standardizing Place Names - Using FTM 2011 to Merge Place Names

In my post Standardizing Place Names in my Genealogy Database two weeks ago, I mused the pros and cons of doing it, and what the best process was. I've been through all place names in my database and removed most of the extraneous data (like "VR 424:123," or "will proved" or "young.").  I missed some but those now stand out clearly! 

Now I often have 5 to 10 (or more) different versions of names for the same place, like "Westminster, Worcester, MA," "Westminster, Worcester County, MA," "Westminster, Worcester, Massachusetts," etc.  Of course, virtually none of my place names meet the standard of "Westminster, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA." 

I checked into the process of doing this in Family Tree Maker 2011, Legacy Family Tree 7.4, and RootsMagic 4.  Because I have so many place names to merge into standard place names, I thought that Family Tree Maker 2011 did the job well and fairly easily.  Here is the process I've started:

in FTM 2011, I wanted to change all of my different Westminster MA place names to the standard "Westminster, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA."  I chose the Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825) family to illustrate the process and the results.

Here is the "People" workspace screen of the Benjamin Seaver family.  Note that the place names are "Westmnster, Worcester County, MA."

I clicked on the "Places" workspace in the top menu, and scrolled down the list of over 6,000 place names to Westminster:

The Place list is on the left, the map for the highlighted place is in the middle panel, and the 106 persons and their events associated with the highlighted place name are on the right.  There are six different Westminster place names on the list.  I clicked on the "Resolve All" link at the top of the Place list to get to the screen that enables me to do the merging:

There are four columns in this menu - "Unrecognized Place Name," "Suggested Place Name," "Desc. (move unrecognized name to description field)", "Ignore (stop marking this place as unrecognized)" and "Other (search for another spelling of the place name)."

In order to standardize the Westminster place names, I clicked on five of the place names on the list:

After clicking OK, the place names for those five different names were standardized.  Here's the proof:

The entry for "Westminster, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA" has no unrecognized mark beside it in the Place name list above, and there are now 222 people associated with this place name. 

Here is the "People" workspace page for the Benjamin Seaver family.  All of the place names say "Westminster, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA."

Because I knew how to do that, it took me about 10 seconds to change those place names to the standard format. 

Now, I have one Westminster place name that I didn't change because it reads "Westminister."  I can check the "Other" column, see a list of suggested place names, and clicked on the right one.  Again, about two seconds to fix it.

I'm still in the process of standardizing my place names, and it will be some time before all of my errors are fixed and all places standardized.  I don't have to standardize every place name.  I can leave them non-standard if I want to.  I've found that there are many English parishes that are not in the FTM 2011 standard place names.  I've found that Canadian counties are not included in the standard place names.  I'm sure that I'll find many more problems, but my database is gradually being standardized and made more accurate.

What about the historical place names?  Well, I generally did not use them anyway, so I haven't lost any accuracy by doing this process.  I can add information to the description of place names to account for the historical name.

Disclosure:  I received a gratis copy of Family Tree Maker 2011 from  I purchased previous versions of Family Tree Maker myself, but also received gratis copies of some versions from (which I donated to a local genealogical society).  I try very hard to be objective in my comments about Family Tree Maker software. 

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 132: Emily and Betty in the Woods

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:

This picture shows Emily (Auble) Carringer holding her daughter, Betty Virginia Carringer in a rustic setting, perhaps someone's house in Alpine or Descanso where the family occasionally visited friends.  Betty looks like she is about one year old, so this photograph was taken in about 1920, probably by Lyle Carringer.  Betty is my mother, and Lyle and Emily are my grandparents.

I really like this picture because Betty seems to be smiling broadly and Emily has a smile on her face.  I have very few pictures with both of them smiling or laughing!

Advent Calendar - December 8: Christmas Cookies

This post is number 8 in a series of 24 for the 2010 Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

On the 17th day of Christmas,
my angel honey presented me
a whole plate of sugar cookies.

1) Did your family make Christmas Cookies?

My mother, my grandmother, my wife and my daughters all made or make Christmas cookies. They all had or have a set of the classic cookie cutters - a snowman, a Santa, a tree, a sleigh, etc. In olden times (pre-1990 or so), they would make the dough somehow (always a mystery to me), roll it out with a rolling pin (who has one these days?), and try to get as many cookies out of the flat dough as possible. Then they would take the scraps and mash them together, roll it out again and cut out more. Pop them in the oven and then sprinkle them with colored sugar crystals, or cover them with colored frosting and maybe M&Ms or red-hots, when they come out.

Now, the cookies seem to be packaged - you put a blob of dough on the cookie sheet and put it in the oven, bake it and mark it with R (hmmm, wrong song), and dress it up if necessary.

2) How did you help?

I was, and am, a champion cookie eater. I made every female in my life feel good about their culinary skills by devouring their baked goodies. It contributes mightily to my "look like Santa" thing. I did help my mother when I was a kid by being creative with the cookie cutters, and by lavishing extra frosting and sugar on the baked cookies.

3) Did you have a favorite cookie?

I think my favorite Christmas cookie is a Christmas Tree sugar cookie with green sugar crystals on them. Close behind is a Santa cookie with red sugar crystals. Third is a Snowman cookie with white sugar crystals. I don't count chocolate chip cookies with red and green M&Ms in them, or Oreos with red or green filling (why hasn't Oreo come up with a red and green cookie?). I like those too, of course, but they aren't my favorite at Christmas - just the rest of the year? Yummy.

I haven't had any Christmas cookies yet - my first taste will probably be next Wednesday at the CVGS holiday luncheon (see, there is some genealogy in this series!).

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

First Look at Google eBooks

Google has announced their eBooks service where persons can buy and/or read electronic books online.  The Google eBookstore is at

There is a search box in the upper right corner - I put "seaver genealogy" in the box:

The results for my search terms looks like this:

The "Any" screen shows books that match my search terms that can be purchased.  For books that are still under copyright protection, the prices are shown below the thumbnail image of the book cover. 

I was interested in the Free books so I clicked the "Free only" link (just below "Any" in the upper left corner), and saw:

The list of freely available and readable books shows a thumbnail picture of the book cover and a truncated title.  If you run your mouse over the thumbnail image you get a more complete description of the book, as seen above for the first book listed.

I clicked on the thumbnail image and saw a fuller description of the book (note that I could have clicked on "Read now" and skipped this step):

The big blue "Read Now" button on the right takes me to this page:

There is a list of pages in the book that match my search terms.  The book page image, in this case, is of the only page in the book with my search term "seaver genealogy."  If there was more than one search result, I could click on the item in the list on the left to see the pages on the right.  The search terms are highlighted in yellow on the page image.  The user can advance the pages forward or backward by using the arrows on either side of the page image.

Note that I could have searched for another search term, perhaps "seaver" in this particular book, and might have seen more pages (in this case, there were three matches for "seaver").

 There are some icons on the left margin above, for the Table of Contents, Zooming, Information, and Help.

Since my computer screen is in a landscape configuration, I can't see all of the page.  The user can scroll up or down to see the other part of the page.  Obviously, it is tailored to the Portrait display on some portable eReaders (which I don't have).

The text on these pages cannot be copied and the individual pages cannot be saved.   The system saves the  eBook in the user's Google "My eBook Library"  without any action by the user.  If you look at a free book, it's in your "My eBook Library." 

My guess is that most of these free eBooks are also available for free in Google Books.  However, the eBook reader seems to work faster than Google Books, but you have to advance the pages manually rather than in a continuous scroll on Google Books.

I'm going to do a bit more searching for some of my surnames and also for out-of-copyright genealogy books. 

If you find some goodies, please let us know in your own blog post or in a comment on this blog post.

Tombstone Tuesday - Julian Cemetery

It's Tombstone Tuesday and I actually visited a cemetery last Friday and took pictures.  Alert readers know that I have exhausted my collection of ancestral tombstones, and am occasionally posting photos of interesting stones.

My wife and I spent the weekend in Julian, a small mountain town in San Diego County famous for its apples, gold mines and drug store, founded in 1869.  It is a town with many second homes of Southern California people in the surrounding hills, but is susceptible to fires and earthquakes. 

I responded to a query about two years ago from a fellow in Ontario (Canada) requesting information about his Potter ancestry.  I found that his grandparents and great-grandparents were early residents of Julian (before 1875), and had a retail store there.  In my research, I uncovered census records, city directory records and an obituary that defined many of his family relationships.  I gave him the mailing addresses for the historical society and Pioneer Museum so he could inquire about more information.  I promised him that the next time I visited Julian that I would walk the cemetery and see if I could find the Potter stones there. 

Last Friday, I spent an hour at Pioneer Cemetery in Julian, climbing Boot Hill from Farmer Road (up about 100 steps, whew, remind me not to go mountain climbing!) and wandering around the cemetery.  There is a circular road that encompasses Pioneer Circle and the Potter/Bush family plot is within that circle.

Here is the entrance on Farmer Road;  Pioneer Circle is at the top of the steps:

The Potter/Bush stones are shown below:

The area is lined with small stones,and the locked fenced area to the left has a stone at the entrance that says "Potter."  Some of the Potter stones have a small copper plate with just the name of the deceased person, which were probably placed by the family long after the persons died.  Others, including the Potter grandparents and great-grandparents, have standing gravestones with names and dates on them.

The Julian Library had a recently published book by David Lewis, titled Last Known Address, The History of the Julian Cemetery (published by Headstone Publishing, Julian CA, 2008).  The book had historical information about the cemetery and biographical sketches about some of the pioneer families, including the Potters.  One of the trustees of the cemetery is a Potter descended from the pioneers.  My correspondent will be happy to hear about this!  I will forward close up pictures of the stones and the area to my correspondent in Ontario.

The names of persons buried in Pioneer Cemetery in Julian are listed at

I was a good Graveyard Rabbit last weekend!

Advent Calendar - December 7: Christmas Parties

This post is number 7 in a series of 24 for the 2010 Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

On the 18th day of Christmas,
my relatives acted hearty
at a family Christmas party.

1) Did your family throw a holiday party each year?

When I was a kid, we didn't have a separate holiday party that I recall - just celebrations with my grandparents and my cousin Dorothy's family.

After we were married, my parents, my brothers and us would have a Christmas party either on the weekend before Christmas, on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day with the traditional dinner. As the children grew, these became great fun watching the little ones open gifts, show off for grandma and grandpa, and play out in the yard.

Our family would fly (on Christmas Day) or drive (several days before Christmas) to San Francisco to celebrate the holiday with Linda's parents and brother. They would invite their living aunts and uncles to dinner and Paul (Linda's brother) and I would often go pick them up and take them home. Sometimes, we would go down the peninsula to visit the aunts, uncles and cousins. There was always lots of laughs, sharing of memories, interesting gifts and lots of good food at these events.

2) Do you remember attending any holiday parties?

Besides the family parties, there were Christmas parties at church and with colleagues at work. The church couples group adopted a New Year's Eve "progressive dinner" party, with white elephant gift giving, rather than a pre-Christmas party. This was done because everybody had a busy schedule with their kids and family, needed a sober New Year's event to attend, and we could get rid of useless but valuable gifts at the New Year's party. We also attended a pre-Christmas party with our Marriage Encounter board couples with a white elephant gift exchange. If we didn't like the gift we got here, we took it to the New Year's party. Fruitcake, especially!

For many years, my work group got together for an evening pot luck party with much drinking and telling stories about people who didn't attend. These were always at someone's house, and it was a good way to meet the spouses of your colleagues, stand under the mistletoe and be spurned, and to see how they lived. I don't have many specific memories of these, of course, except that Linda had to pour me into bed more than once.

Linda's teaching colleagues also had a pre-Christmas party at someone's house, which was similar to my work colleague party, except it was more interesting because the families were in different income brackets. The group was much more diverse and the people more interesting. There was a designated gift giving at these parties - each teacher drew a name at school to give a gift to.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Book Announcement: Atlas of East and Coastal Georgia Watercourses and Military Districts

Reader Paul Graham sent the announcement of his new book last week:

Paul K. Graham., ATLAS OF EAST AND COASTAL GEORGIA WATERCOURSES AND MILITIA DISTRICTS,  The Genealogy Company, 2010. 80 pgs, paperback, black-and-white interior, $14.95 plus shipping.

The description of the book is:

This atlas contains 50 individual county maps encompassing the east and coastal areas of Georgia granted under the headright land system.  It is designed to help genealogists locate ancestors using historical records that identify streams and militia districts, such as deeds, tax digests, and census enumerations. Each map shows watercourses, militia districts (boundaries, numbers, and names), and current incorporated areas.

Each county is presented on a single page, giving researchers a quick reference that can easily be copied and used for note taking. Three indexes help researchers find militia districts by number, militia districts by name, and watercourses by county.

Land descriptions in Georgia’s headright area refer to watercourses and adjoining land owners to identify boundaries. Tax, census, and other government records are arranged by militia district. Many tax digests also include references to watercourses. Because of their use in legal documents, watercourses and militia districts are the two most important features for locating land and the places people lived in the headright area of Georgia. This book is meant to provide a map reference to those features.

For more information, visit the author's website at or the book's page on (

The atlas was recently reviewed in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper (

The Introduction to the book, with links to references and a map of the treated area, is posted at

This appears to be a very useful book for researchers with Georgia ancestry.  If location-location-location is one of the mantras of location-based genealogy, then this is book is probably indispensable for family history in eastern and coastal Georgia.

Disclosure: I was not offered any remuneration for this announcement. 

Amanuensis Monday - the Probate Records of Daniel Smith (1642-1681) of Watertown, Massachusetts

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

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

The subject today is the probate file of Daniel Smith (1642-1681) of Watertown in Massachusetts Bay Colony.  He married Mary Grant (1647-????) on 22 February 1667/8 in Watertown.  They had seven children, Daniel Smith (1669-1718); Grace Smith (1671-1714); John Smith (1672-1739); Elizabeth Smith (1673-1747); Sarah Smith (1675-????); Abigail Smith (1678-????); Joseph Smith (1680-1742).

Daniel Smith of Watertown died testate. His will reads (as transcribed by Randy Seaver from Middlesex County Probate Records, volume 5, pages 415-416, accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,521,762):

"I Daniel Smith of Watertown in the Count. of Middlesex, being very sick & weak in my body & dayly looking when my change shall be yet through the mercy & goodwill of God I am in understanding & memory sound, & do declare this to be my last will & testament as followeth:

"I returne my spirit unto God yt gave it & my body to the Earth from whence it was taken to be decently buried at the discretion of my executor, hoping at the last day to have a glorious resurrection, both of body & soul through ye mercies of the Lord Jesus Christ. I give unto my deare & loveing wife my whole estate both housing & lands & moveables for her comfort & maintenance & the bringing up of my children so long as shee shall continue a widdow after my decease, but if she shall see reason to marry again, then my will is she shall enjoy ye thirds of the yearly income of my lands & yt only.

"I give unto my two eldest sons namely Daniel Smith & Jno Smith after my wife's decease or marriage my houseing both dwelling house & barn with all my lands both meadow & upland equally to them as is after expressed, & if either of them dye before they have attaind to the age of one & twenty years yn my will is if my third son named Joseph Smith shall enjoy yt part & proportion of him yt dyed as before; & if all my three sons do live yn my will is yt my son Joseph abovesd shall have an equall proportion with his eldest brethren to be paid him out of my houses & lands but not in house & land. I give unto my eldest son Daniel Smith abovesd my horse & reins & furniture for the horse with all my wearing cloaths both linnen & woollen. My will is yt all my moveable estate after my wife's decease or marriage be equally divided among all my daughters: & as to my [... 3 words...] was to bestow upon any of my daughters my will is yt it shall be performed without any alteration.

"And I do nominate & appoint my deare & loveing wife to be sole Executrix to this my last will & testament & to earnestly desire my good friends John Bisco & William Bond senr to be overseers of this my last will to be helpfull to my wife in her desolate condition in the performance of this my will & in looking after my children. & as a confirmation of this my will I have sett my hand this one & thirtieth of May Six hundred eighty & one.

"As witnesseth,
John Bisco   .......................................................  Daniel Smith
Will. Bond"

Sworn by the witnesses on 20 June 1681 as attested by Jonathan Remington, Clerk of the Court.

The inventory of the estate of Daniel Smith of Watertown, who died 7 June 1681, was apprized by John Bisco, Henry Spring and William Bond, on 17 June 1681. The real estate included:

*   his dwelling house and barn with five acres of upland (60 pounds),
*  two acres of meadow land near the dwelling house on the south side of the highway (16 pounds),
*  5 acres of salt marsh adjoining to Dorchester field (50 pounds),
*  four acres of meadow above Mr. samuells farm (8 pounds)
*  3 acres of upland about the Fresh Pond (3 pounds)
*  50 acres of divident land (10 pounds).

The total estate was apprized at about 154 pounds, including livestock, supplies, clothing, household goods, furniture, etc. The inventory was presented by the executrix and accepted by the Court on 21 4th month 1681. (Middlesex County Probate Records, volume 5, page 416-418, accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,521,762).

All of Daniel Smith's children were minors when he died, and he was relying on his wife to bring them to maturity.  He named his three sons, but not his daughters.  I don't know if Mary (Grant) Smith lived out her life as a widow or if she married again.  My ancestor is their daughter. Elizabeth Smith, who married John Peirce (1673-1744) of Watertown in 1702.

This Daniel Smith and his future wife, Mary Grant, have several mentions in Roger Thompson's book, Sex in Middlesex; Popular Mores in a Massachusetts County, 1649-1699, for their premarital escapades in the barn.

The 100th Carnival of Genealogy is Here!

The queen of the Carnival of Genealogy has done the near impossible - assembled 111 submissions into an organized Carnival of Genealogy.

There are four post for all of the submissions, separated into categories:

1)  Carnival of Genealogy, 100th Edition, There's One in Every Family (Special People 1)

2) Carnival of Genealogy, 100th Edition, There's One in Every Family (Special People 2)

3) Carnival of Genealogy, 100th Edition, There's One in Every Family (Special Places and Things)

4)  Carnival of Genealogy, 100th Edition, There's One in Every Family (Miscellaneous)

There are several hours of excellent genealogy reading in those lists!  Grab a favorite beverage and enjoy them.

For the next Carnival of Genealogy, Jasia has created an online survey (on her Creative Gene blog in the top left corner, active until 13 December).  The four choices are

*  New Year's Resolutions

*  Genealogy Research/Writing Plan for 2011

*  Winter, the Season of Light

*  Best Genealogy Gift I Got This Year

Please vote in this poll!

Thank you, Jasia, for the hard work that goes into creating the Carnival of Genealogy posts (I know how hard this is!), and thank you, contributors, for the excellent posts!

Advent Calendar - December 6: Santa Claus

This post is number 6 in a series of 24 for the 2010 Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

On the 19th day of Christmas,
I have many happy memories
of visiting and being Santa Claus.

1) Did you ever send a letter to Santa Claus?

I don't think I ever did send a letter.

2) Did you ever visit Santa and "make a list?"

We visited Santa Claus every year down at the Marston's Department Store in downtown San Diego where my grandfather worked for 55 years. I think we "made a list" sometimes, especially as we got older and the wanted gifts became more complex. My recollection of visiting Santa is one of awe - this really big fat person in a red suit with a long white beard who flies around in a sleigh who goes down chimneys to leave gifts for children - I didn't question this for a long time (being a pretty smart kid, I guess).

3) Do you still believe in Santa Claus?

They say that in the first part of your life, you BELIEVE IN Santa Claus. In the second part of your life, you DON'T BELIEVE IN in Santa Claus. In the third part of your life, you ARE Santa Claus, and in the last part of your life, you LOOK LIKE Santa Claus. In my case, I have all four of these attributes ... still.

The magic of Santa Claus in a child's eyes is priceless. Everybody FIGURES OUT that SC is a figment of imagination - why do we fool our children like that? I love giving gifts to my wife, children and grandchildren. I've had a beard for 32 years, been practicing my "ho-ho-ho's" forever, but am working on reducing the belly. I still believe ... irrational, isn't it? I love going to the shopping center, and sitting on a bench near Santa's little hut and watching the little ones go up and talk to Santa. He waved at me on the escalator the other day - he knew! I've thought about being a "store Santa," but doubt if I ever will.

4) When did you find out "the truth" about Santa Claus?

We lived on the second story of a two-story house at 2119 30th Street in San Diego from the time I was 4 until I left home in 1968 at age 24. The house did not have a fireplace, so my brother Stan and I could never figure out how Santa Claus could bring the presents under the tree. Did he come in the window? Did dad leave a key or leave the door unlocked?

My maternal grandparents, Lyle and Emily Carringer (“Gram and Gramps”), built a beautiful home on Point Loma in 1951, and Christmas Eves were spent there for many years – and it had a fireplace! Our stockings were hung there in hopes that Saint Nick would fill them to the brim. Before bedtime, my grandmother would lead us in Christmas carols while we lay in bed – it was a wonderful way to fall asleep, and is one of my most cherished memories of her (my eyes tear up every time I think of this!).

Santa was always good to us, probably because, in retrospect, we were usually good boys – mischievous but not criminal, loud but not abusive, whirlwinds but not destructive. We usually received toys that were all the rage of the day, plus the usual boring clothes, and fruit, candy and small toys in our stockings. The most memorable gifts were the "good" toys, of course. BB guns and Davy Crockett coonskin caps in 1954, Flexible Flyers (sleds on wheels) in 1955, bicycles in 1956.

Of course, Santa Claus isn’t mysterious forever. The Point Loma house had a two car garage that my grandfather had filled with generations of stuff – it was a wonderful place to hide, explore and search. We found the bicycles in the garage before Christmas in 1956, but didn’t tell anybody else. Sure enough, on Christmas morning they appeared by the fireplace and Christmas tree marked “from Santa Claus.” Aha! So, we knew, but being rather smart astronauts we didn’t tell the folks – why kill the golden goose?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Best of the Genea-Blogs - 28 November to 4 December 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:

Book Review: Genealogical Standards of Evidence by John D. Reid on the Anglo-Celtic Connections blog.  John reviews Brenda Dougall Merriman's recent book, and notes "This is the book if you're looking for a short guide to help you in adhering to the American professional genealogy canon as taught (and perhaps applied) in Canada. It will find a place in my personal library."

A Headstone Before It's Time - Tombstone Tuesday by Apple on the Apple's Tree blog.  Apple tackled finding a burial place and a headstone for her still-living mother well - read this and admire the work.

The Story of Today's Shades Old Photo On Twitter by footnoteMaven on the Shades of the Departed blog.  fM is an expert photo analyzer and shares her knowledge and insights about an interesting baby photograph.

Melungeon Frequently Asked Questions And Factual Resources by History Chasers on the Melungeon Studies blog.  I thought that this revised FAQ might be of interest to my readers - it was for me! 

Arsenic: It's not Just for Rats in the 19th Century  by Gena Ortega on Gena's Genealogy Blog.  Who knew that arsenic had uses other than killing rats or people?  Now we all do.

Treasure Chest Thursday: Thanks to, Another Cousin, Found!  by Dionne Ford on the Finding Josephine blog.  Dionne keeps finding cousins to share her heritage with...interesting stories here in a challenging search.

“Remember the Maine!” Researching Spanish American War Soldiers by Carolyn L. Barkley on the blog.  An excellent summary of the records and finding aids to research Spanish-American War soldiers.

Review-Tpstry and Interview - Matt Johnson of Tpstry by Thomas MacEntee on the Geneabloggers blog.  I wish all new genealogy websites were reviewed and their developers were interviewed like Thomas did for Tpstry.  Well done.  It looks interesting.

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

* Follow Friday: Around the Blogosphere - December 3 by Susan Petersen on the Long Lost blog.

* Best Bytes for the Week of December 3, 2010 by Elizabeth O'Neal on the Little Bytes of Life blog.

* Friday Newsletter and Follow News: 3 December 2010 by Greta Koehl on Greta's Genealogy Bog blog.

Donna's Picks - December 3, 2010 by Donna Pointkouski on the What's Past is Prologue 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 740 genealogy bloggers using Google Reader, but I still miss quite a few it seems (and the number of genea-blogs seems to be increasing by 30 or 40 every week).

Read past Best of the Genea-Blogs posts here.

Best of the Genea-blogs will arrive later in the day...

Never fear, the Best of the Genea-blogs will be online later this afternoon.

We spent the weekend in Julian celebrating Linda's birthday in one of our favorite hideaway spots, and will get home just in time for the Charger/Raiders game.  Then there's the post-game celebration and highlights, and dinner time... so maybe after 7 p.m. Pacific time.  Or not!  If not, I'll amend this post.

Were the Morgan Girls Related to Lyle Carringer?

In (Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 131: Lyle and the Morgan Girls, I speculated that the Morgan family may have been related to my grandfather, Lyle Lawrence Carringer.  Alternatively, were they just friends of the Devier Smith family? 

In my post, I found the Morgan family in the 1910 and 1920 census records, but didn't go any further back to find their ancestral families, nor did I go forward to see if I could find the next generation - after all, there were four young ladies in the picture of marriageable age.  There is, of course, the possibility that a descendant of the Morgans reads this post and finds a great picture of their great-grandmother and her sisters, and their mother.

I went back in time fairly quickly.  Here's the 1900 US census entry:

I n the 1900 US Census, the Nelson Morgan family resided in Ouray, Ouray County, Colorado (1900 US Census, population schedule, Ouray township, Ouray County, Colorado, ED 83, Page 19B, Dwelling #548, Family #549, accessed on, citing National Archives Microfilm Series T623, Roll 127).  The household included:

*  Nelson Morgan - head, white, male, born Apr 1861, age 39, married, for 15 years, born IA, parents born IL/OH, a carpenter, rents a home.
*  Susie Morgan - wife, white, female, born Mar 1866, age 34, married, for 15 years, 6 children born, 5 living, born KS, parents born IL/KY
*  Maud Morgan - daughter, white, female, born Jan 1886, age 14, single, born KS, parents born IA/KS, at school
*  Clyde Morgan - son, white, male, born Dec 1887, age 12, single, born KS, parents born IA/KS, at school
*  Park Morgan - son, white, male, born May 1891, age 9, single, born CO, parents born IA/KS, at school
*  Nellie Morgan - daughter, white, female, born Feb 1893, age 7, single, born CO, parents born IA/KS, at school
*  Martha Morgan - daughter, white, female, born Mar 1896, age 4, single, born CO, parents born IA/KS.

This census provides the name of the husband and two sons of Susie Morgan.  Thar enables us to look further in earlier census and other records.

If the 1890 US Census was available, we might be able to identify the child from this family that was probably born in 1889 and was deceased by the 1900 census.

In the 1880 US Census, the probable family of Nelson Morgan was found:

In the 1880 US Census, the William Morgan family resided in Sibley township, Cloud County, Kansas (1880 US Census, population schedule, Sibley township, Cloud County, Kansas, ED 36, Page 171A, Dwelling #211, Family #214, accessed on, citing National Archives Microfilm Series T9, Roll 376). The household included:

*  William Morgan - white, male, age 51, married, farming, born IL, parents born OH/OH
*  Nancy Morgan - white, female, age 42, wife, married, keeping house, born OH/parents born NY/OH
*  Mary Morgan - white, female, age 23, daughter, single, at home, born IA, parents born IL/OH
*  Lucy Morgan - white, female, age 21, daughter, single, at home, born IA, parents born IL/OH
*  Nelson Morgan - white, male, age 19, son, single, at home, born IA, parents born IL/OH
*  Lizzie Morgan - white, female, age 16, daughter, single, at home, born IA, parents born IL/OH
*  Minnie Morgan - white, female, age 11, daughter, single, at school, born IA, parents born IL/OH
*  Katie Morgan - white, female, age 7, daughter, single, at school, born IA, parents born IL/OH

I did not know Susie's maiden name, so since Nelson Morgan was in Cloud County, Kansas in 1880, I figured that Susie and her family might also be there.  So I searched for a FirstName = "Sus*" and BirthYear = "1866 plus/minus 2 years" and BirthPlace = "Illinois, USA" - marking all of them as exact, and then selecting ResidedIn = "Cloud County, Kansas, USA."

With the search above, there was only one match.  I found this family that I am fairly certain is Susie's birth family:

In the 1880 US Census, the Noah H. Eaves family resided in Concordia, Cloud County, Kansas (1880 US Census, population schedule, Concordia, Cloud County, Kansas, ED 40, Page 216B, Dwelling #261, Family #261, accessed on, citing National Archives Microfilm Series T9, Roll 376). The household included:

*  Noah H. Eaves - white, male, age 59, married, a carpenter, born IL, parents born ME/PA
*  Jane Eaves - white, female, age 50, wife, married, keeping house, born KY, parents born KY/KY
*  Herbert Eaves - white, male, age 21, son, single, grocery, born IL, parents born IL/KY
*  Susan Eaves - white, female, age 14, daughter, single, grocery, born IL, parents born IL/KY
*  William T. Eaves - white, male, age 8, son, single, grocery, born IL, parents born IL/KY
*  William Morgan - white, male, age 52, boarder, married, laborer, born IL, parents born IL/IL.

Well, lookee there.  Is the boarder William Morgan in the Eaves household the William Morgan who is the father of Nelson Morgan?  The age and parents birthplaces are inconsistent, but this cannot be a coincidence, right?  I'm almost positive that it is, and that cinches a connection between Susan Eaves and Nelson Morgan, the son of William Morgan, the boarder.

I haven't gone back further to try to identify where in Iowa and Illinois these Morgan and Eaves families were from, but I don't recall that Devier Smith. Abigail (Vaux) Smith, David Jackson Carringer, or Rebecca (Spangler) Carringer having a sibling named Nancy (born in Ohio) or Jane (born in Kentucky).

I think it is most likely that Susie (Eaves) Morgan was a schoolmate of either Della (Smith) Carringer or more likely, her sister  Matie (Smith) (Chenery) (Cramer) Morrill, in Concordia, Cloud County, Kansas.  My Devier Smith family resided in Concordia until 1885 when they moved to McCook, Nebraska.  I have Della's scrapbook and an autograph book, and will have to look for a picture or signature of Susie Eaves.

There may be a family tree online that will provide more information to researchers about these families.

I'll work on the Morgan family after 1920 in another post.

Advent Calendar - December 5: Outdoor Lights

This post is number 5 in a series of 24 for the 2010 Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

On the 20th day of Christmas,

My neighbors gave me a treat,
they lighted up the whole darn street!

1) Did people in your neighborhood decorate with lights?

When I was a kid (1950s and 60s), there were few lights outside the homes, if any, in San Diego. We had no lights outside the house, mainly because we lived on the second floor and with the lighted Christmas tree in the cubby-hole, it was visible to passers-by on the street.

Starting in about 1970 (when we married), I noticed that some neighbors would string lights around their roof eaves or on a bush or tree in the yard. We put strings of lights on our roof eaves all across the front of the house and garage and in the entry-way starting in about 1975 until about 1995. We haven't done it since, mainly due to safety reasons (I'm not confident on the roof any more!).

With our daughters away from home, we were often not home at Christmas time.

In recent years, several of our neighbors on our cul-de-sac have the mesh-lights on their eaves, and several have blow-up displays or lighted figures in their front yard.

2) Did some people really go "all out" when decorating?

Oh yes. And they still do, even more. One of the Christmas traditions for our little family in the 1975 to 1985 period was to drive around "Candy Cane Lane" and "Christmas Tree Circle" in Chula Vista to see the outdoor displays - lights, scenes, music, etc. One of our family traditions for awhile was to go to a pizza place with family friends, then drive by the lighted streets, and then have a gift exchange at our house with the friends. Unfortunately, they moved away, and we haven't done it since.

"Candy Cane Lane" is gone, but "Christmas Tree Circle" still exists in Chula Vista. There are many more of these neighborhood displays now all over the San Diego area. I saw a map in a local magazine yesterday of the biggest and best displays. Someone could drive around to about 20 sites using the map.

Originally published on 4 December 2007.