Saturday, June 25, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Number #1 Songs

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

Tonight, we're going to go down memory lane a bit.

1)  What was the #1 song on the day you were born?  Or on your birthday when you were 15?  Or when you married?  Or some other important date in your life.

2)  Go to and enter the date and select from UK, US or Australia record lists.  Note:  the first date available is 1 January 1946. 

Alternatively, go to and enter the month and date and see a list of songs for each year since 1940. 

3)  Tell us what your results are (If you are sensitive about your age, don't list the date or year... ) on a blog post of your own, a comment to this post, or in a Facebook status line or note. 

Here's mine:

*  Birth date 23 October 1943:

From the site, #1 on that date was "Sunday, Monday or Always" by Bing Crosby (lyrics only, couldn't find a video or recording online)

*  Age 15 on 23 October 1958:

From the, #1 was "It's All in the Game" by Tommy Edwards (YouTube video)

*  Married on 21 March 1970:

From the site, #1 was "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon & Garfunkel (YouTube video)

*  During the time that I was really "into" popular music (1956-1970), the #1 hits on my birthday were:

**  1956. Don't Be Cruel/Hound Dog -- Elvis Presley
**  1957.  Jailhouse Rock/Treat Me Nice -- Elvis Presley
**  1958.  It's All in the Game -- Tommy Edwards
**  1959.  Mack the Knife -- Bobby Darin
**  1960.  I Want to be Wanted -- Brenda Lee

**  1961.  Runaround Sue -- Dion
**  1962.  Monster Mash -- Bobby Boris Pickett & the Crypt Kickers
**  1963.  Sugar Shack -- Jimmy Gilmer & the Fireballs
**  1964.  Do Wah Diddy -- Manfred Mann
**  1965.  Yesterday -- The Beatles

**  1966.  96 Tears -- ?? & the Mysterians
**  1967.  To Sir, with Love -- Lulu
**  1968.  Hey Jude -- The Beatles
**  1969.  I Can't Next to You -- The Temptations
**  1970.  I'll Be There -- The Jackson Five

*  I had never heard of the Bing Crosby song - here are the lyrics:

Sunday, Monday or Tuesday
Wednesday, Thursday or Friday
I want you near
Every day in the year

Oh, won't you tell me when
We will meet again
Sunday, Monday or always

If you're satisfied
I'll be at your side
Sunday, Monday or always

No need to tell me now
What makes the world go 'round
When at the sight of you
My heart begins to pound and pound

And what am I to do
Can't I be with you
Sunday, Monday or always

Always and forever I must be with you
Beginning Sunday and Monday and then forever

Oh, won't you tell me when
We will meet again
Sunday, Monday or always

If you're satisfied
I'll be at your side
Sunday, Monday or always

No need to tell me now
What makes the world go 'round
When at the sight of you
My heart begins to pound, pound, pound

What am I to do
Can't I be with you
Sunday, Monday or always

I wonder if my parents sang this?

Thank you to Brenda Leyndyke for the inspiration of her Journey to the Past post today - Diana by Paul Anka - 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History.

Surname Saturday - LEWIS (England > RI > NY > Canada)


It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I am up to number 251, who is Catherine LEWIS (1759-1845), another of my 5th-great-grandmothers. [Note: The 5th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts].

My ancestral line back to Catherine Lewis and to the first known Lewis ancestor is:

1. Randall Jeffrey Seaver (1943-....)

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

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

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

30. James Abram Kemp (1831-1902)
31. Mary Jane Sovereen (1841-1874)

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

124.  Frederick Sovereign (1786-1875)
125. Mary Jane Hutchison (1792-1868)

250. William Hutchinson, born 1745 in of Knowlton, Sussex, New Jersey, United States; died 20 March 1826 in Walsingham, Norfolk, Ontario, Canada. He married 03 August 1784 in Parr, New Brunswick, Canada.
251. Catherine Lewis, born 22 March 1759 in Richmond, New York, United States; died 15 August 1845 in Walsingham, Norfolk, Ontario, Canada. 

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

502. Jonathan Lewis, born about 1715 in probably Southold, Suffolk, New York, United States; died 1785 in Richmond, New York, United States.  He married before 1756 in Richmond, New York, United States.
503. Marie La Tourette, born before 01 September 1734 in Staten Island, Richmond, New York, United States; died in Richmond, New York, United States. She was the daughter of 1006. David La Tourette and 1007. Catherine Poillon.

Children of Jonathan Lewis and Marie La Tourette are: David Lewis (1757-????); Catherine Lewis (1759-1845); James Lewis (1761-1845); Mary Lewis (1763-????); Francis Lewis (1765-????); Elizabeth Lewis (1767-????); Israel Lewis (1769-????); Phoebe Lewis (1772-????); Joseph Lewis (1775-????).

1004. Jonathan Lewis, born 01 May 1688 in Huntington, Suffolk, New York, United States; died 11 May 1764 in Richmond, New York, United States.  He married about 1708 in Suffolk, New York, United States.
1005. Abigail, born before 1692 in Suffolk, New York, United States; died before 1753 in Richmond, New York, United States.

Children of Jonathan Lewis and Abigail are:  Phebe Lewis (1712-1780); Jonathan Lewis (1715-1785); Elizabeth Lewis (1716-1785); Bathsheba Lewis (1718-1764); Mary Lewis (1720-????); Sarah Lewis (1722-1762).

2008. Jonathan Lewis, born 1658 in Westerly, Washington, Rhode Island, United States; died 08 August 1708 in Huntington, Suffolk, New York, United States.  He married 31 December 1683 in Oyster Bay, Nassau, New York, United States.
2009. Jemima Whitehead, born 1655 in Jamaica, Queens, New York, United States; died 1694 in Huntington, Suffolk, New York, United States. She was the daughter of 4018. Daniel Whitehead and 4019. Jeanne Skidmore.

Children of Jonathan Lewis and Jemima Whitehead are:  Sybil Lewis (1685-1738); Jonathan Lewis (1688-1764); John Lewis (1690-1754); Daniel Lewis (1692-1748).

4016. John Lewis, born about 1630 in Wales; died 1690 in Westerly, Washington, Rhode Island, United States. He married before 1658 in probably Rhode Island, United States.
4019. Mary, died in Westerly, Washington, Rhode Island, United States.

Children of John Lewis and Mary are:  Jonathan Lewis (1658-1708); John Lewis (1660-1735); James Lewis (1664-1745); David Lewis (1667-1718); Daniel Lewis (1668-1718); Israel Lewis (1669-1719); Samuel Lewis (1672-1739); Dorcas Lewis (1672-????).

Information about the Rhode Island and New York families were obtained from:

*  Mary ????, "Lewis, Riddell, Cook, Harvey & Affiliated Families," online database, Rootsweb WorldConnect (, updated 24 October 2007 [no longer online, apparently.  There are several other databases with this information]; much of which was gleaned from:

*  Michael L. Cook, Pioneer Lewis Families (Evansville, Indiana: Cook Publications, Inc., 1978).

*  Herbert Furman Seversmith, Colonial Families of Long Island, New York and Connecticut: being the ancestry & kindred of Herbert Furman Seversmith ... (Washington DC: 1939-1958)

Information connecting the Catherine Lewis who married William Hutchinson to the Staten Island Lewis families was obtained from:

*  Bev Franks, "Turrill Family Tree (including part of Fran Johnson & William Terrill's info)," online database, Rootsweb WorldConnect (, updated 23 February 2010.

The key connecting information is the will of Jonathan Lewis (1715-1785, dated 28 October 1785, which mentions "... to my daughter Catherine Hutchinson one sixteenth,..."  The transcribed will can be found here.  It is on my to-do list of items to find at the FHC or FHL!

The URL of this post is:

(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant. If you are reading this on any other genealogy website (other than through an RSS feed), then they have stolen my work.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Genealogy Database Statistics Galore in MyHeritage

I admit that I'm a statistics and numbers nut - I love to see charts, graphs, spreadsheets, etc. 

One of the tasks that seems to do really well, and quickly, is to provide statistics about a family tree on their site.  I don't think that I've seen any other online family tree or genealogy software provide this much information in a useful and displayable form.

On the user home page on, the "Go to family stats" graph is right in the center of the screen - you can't miss it!

I captured some screens showing some of the statistics from my MyHeritage tree with 39,903 persons in it.

1)  The Overview page has information about Gender, Living vs. Deceased, Relationship Status, Common last names, common first names - Male, and Common first names - Female:

Unfortunately, the Common name charts provide only a relative font size - my preference would be a Top 20 list.  The names are links, and clicking on them results in a list of all of the persons with that name.   My top 15 surnames are Seaver (4,099), Buck (668), Smith (614), Vaux (516), Fitz Randolph (498), Dill (444), Richman (351), Newton (307), Champlin (306), Culver (287), Bresee (248), Sever (203), McKnew (179), Hebditch (177), and Carringer (168).  I have 5,543 different last names in my database.

2)  The second page is Places of birth, death and residence (not shown below):

I was surprised to see that, out of 27,373 known places of birth (hm, lots of work to do there!), only 76% were in the USA, 16% were in the UK, 3% in Canada, and 3% in Norway.  Of my 14,073 known places of death, 84% are in the US, 10% in the UK, 3% in Canada and 3% in Norway.

3)  The third page shows Ages - Age distribution, Oldest living people, Youngest people, Average life expectancy, Lived the most, and Lived the least.

The "Average life expectancy" chart is an "age at death" chart, and shows, out of the 11,023 people with a birth and death date in my database, that 4% of males and 6% of females lived to be at least 90 years old, and that 41% of males lived past age 70, and 43% of females lived past the age of 70.  Average life expectancy (age at death) was 57 for males, and 56 for females. 

The "Age distribution" chart is confusing to me - it says that it is for 2,043 living persons, and the largest group is for persons over age 90 (17%; that may reflect that I don't have death dates for some persons). 

MyHeritage creates more statistics charts - we'll look at them in another post.

Interestingly, I couldn't find any comparable statistics in the Family Tree Builder 5.1 software program provided by MyHeritage free of charge.

Disclosure:  I received a complimentary MyHeritage PremiumPlus account from MyHeritage at the SCGS Jamboree as part of the Geneabloggers gift bag.  I received no remuneration for this blog post.

The URL of this post is:

(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant. If you are reading this on any other genealogy website (other than through an RSS feed), then they have stolen my work.

1940 U.S. Census RFI Q&A

I posted NARA is Looking for a Host and Search Engine for the 1940 U.S. Census on 1 June, and now the Federal business Opportunities webpage for the RFI for the census has been updated, and now includes:

Notice Details - with the RFI

Packages - includes the Questions and Answers submitted by prospective vendors

Interested Vendors List - only 6 listed, none of them the expected "players"

The Questions asked by the vendors and the Answers provided by NARA shed additional light on the requirements that NARA has for the 1940 census.  See Answers to 1940 Census RFI Questions.docx  for the complete set.

I found these questions and answers to be of major interest:

Question 10. Will the government allow us to set-up a membership based fee for access to the documents and pictures?

Answer 10. No. NARA’s intent is to provide free access to the 1940 Census records.

My comment:  wow!  The documents and pictures (maps?) will be free to access.  Totally free.  A surprise to me - it doesn't say "within NARA facilities" - it implies from anywhere! 

Question 22. Will there be any SSL traffic where users will need a username and password?

Answer 22. NARA does not expect usernames and passwords to be used.

My comment:  Same as above. 

Question 16. Beside developing a search engine and search display interface what are the other requirements for website development?

Answer 16. NARA’s other requirements include the ability to browse, zoom/pan, and download, scale to accommodate additional concurrent users, etc. These are all included in the Requirements section of the RFI.

My comment:  Could the vendor require a username and password, and charge for use of the search engine?  I'm unclear. 

Question 4. What are the expectations for the size of the downloaded image file? Is it the full 4 MB file size provided by NARA or a compressed file size?

Answer 4. To achieve the best text detail for viewing and printing, NARA expects the vendor to provide the full 4 MB image file size (as provided by NARA) for download.
My comment:  A 4 mb image size is manageable on relatively modern computers.

Question 7. What is the intent in supporting the download of all images from a given Enumeration District at once? What use cases are envisioned to be supported by this functionality?

Answer 7. NARA anticipates that users will want the ability to download the images associated with a particular enumeration district.

The following use case describes this functionality: A researcher searches by an Enumeration District Number (e.g. ‘1940 Census New Haven 5-269’). Assuming there are 50 census schedule images associated with this enumeration district, NARA would like to provide users the ability to download a single, multiple or 'All Images' from a particular search to their computing device.

My comment:  If each image is about 4 mb, then 50 images in a typical ED will be 200 mb. This will make downloading a lot of census pages pretty easy, I think. The file sizes are large, but it will be necessary to do this for a full ED before there are search engines.

Question 1. Can you please explain “no-cost contract”? Does this mean Firm Fixed Price?
Answer 1. NARA is seeking a solution which will be provided at no cost to the government or to individuals seeking access to the 1940 Census data. This does not mean Firm Fixed Price.
My comment:  Actually, it means the equivalent of a $ 0 contract Firm Fixed Price, doesn't it?

Based on the Q&A offered so far, it seems to me that NARA wants someone to host the images, provide a capable viewer for the images, create and provide a search engine, and provide a search display feature to NARA's taste.  For no cost to NARA, and with no ability to charge users for the services.

My question is:  Who besides the major players in the genealogy industry - I'm thinking,,,, etc.) - can afford to provide this for free?

A better question is:  Who can afford NOT TO provide it for free?

The URL of this post is:

(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant. If you are reading this on any other genealogy website (other than through an RSS feed), then they have stolen my work.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Remember to Register for FGS 2011 before 1 July

I finally remembered to register for the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) 2011 Conference, which will be held at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield, Illinois from September 7 to 10, 2011. Complete information about the conference is available at

Airline, rental car, hotel, conference, dinner, classes -- done! 

Then I received an email from Thomas MacEntee reminding me to tell you:

*  Early bird registration ends on July 1, 2011.  Register before the deadline in order to save $50.

*  There are new articles and a fact sheet ( at the FGS 2011 Media Center (

*  The Official Bloggers page is now up at the FGS 2011 conference website:

*  Check out this neat banner ad created by FGS:

Disclosure:  I am an Official Blogger for FGS 2011, and will receive several benefits from FGS, including free conference registration and CD syllabus, admission to the Old Fashioned Prairie Social, recognition in FGS publicity, media credcentials and use of media hub space. 

(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant. If you are reading this on any other genealogy website (other than through an RSS feed), then they have stolen my work.

Connecting to Other Researchers through

I wrote about using the website to find other researchers with my ancestors in their family trees yesterday in Finding Common Ancestors in the MyHeritage Family Tree.   That post concentrated on using the trees of other researchers to add to my tree.

There is another way to collaborate with other researchers - you can invite other researchers, or family members, to join your tree, and you can request to join the tree of other researchers. 

On my MyHeritage home page:

Below the "Home" tab, there are four links:

1)  What's New (the screen above) - provides links to your family tree, to your family photos, to family statistics, and much more. 

2)  Invite more family (screen below) - provides list of family members, with relationship, a field to insert an email address, and an "Invite" button. 

At the bottom of the screen above, MyHeritage has figured that 5,003 people in my tree may be interested in joining my tree (perhaps they are "living" people?).

3)  Site Members (screen below) - several persons have requested to be a member of my site over the past three years.  At present only one other person, besides myself, is a member:

4)  Find Your Family (screen below) - there is an opportunity to invite persons to your tree using an email address book (e.g., Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc.).

Before I do any of these things, I need to understand just what "being a member of my tree" really means.  There is a helpful "What does this mean" link at the bottom of each of these pages that says, when clicked:

"When you invite someone to be a member of your family site, they are allowed to add content to your site such as photos, videos, documents, news articles, comments, etc.

"If you edit your family tree online, members will also be able to add people to the tree and invite other people to be members of your site.

"The "What’s New" section on your homepage shows you when one of your members adds content to the site or adds to the family tree."

The MyHeritage site sounds very collaborative to me, perhaps too much so.  My thoughts:

*  Adding family members (children, siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.) to add content
makes a lot of sense - they may be able to contribute unique material to the tree.  Relatives back to third and fourth cousins even make real good sense because they will share a significant portion of my family tree.

*  Adding distant cousins (persons with one or several ancestral families in common) to add content doesn't make as much sense to me.  I can see what they have in their tree through the Smart Matches, and they can see mine.  If I allow them access to my tree, then they can see all of my information (including living persons, research notes, attached documents, etc.).  I risk having my tree corrupted by them if they add wrong information, or delete my information, etc.  Perhaps it's a risk I should take in order to receive the benefit of their research and to share my research in a collaborative spirit.

*  It seems to me that a site like this would be ideal for a Family Surname Association or surname project to permit data to be added by many researchers over a period of time.  It would "take care of itself" as long as the yearly membership fee was paid.

I have some questions that I need answered before I permit access to my tree (unfortunately, I'm not a member of another person's tree, so I can't figure it out myself):

1)  Can a member of my site add, edit, or delete my data, notes, images, etc. that are in my tree?

2)  Can a member of my site upload a GEDCOM file to my site?

3)  Can a member of my site download my original GEDCOM file, or a GEDCOM file of the current site?

4)  If significant content was added to my site by other researchers, can I download the information via GEDCOM to my desktop software program?

5)  If other researchers add content to my site, will the Family Tree Builder desktop program capture it through the automatic or "on demand" synchronization feature?

6)  Can I remove a site member from site access and privileges if I decide to do that?  How much control do I have?

Hopefully, the MyHeritage team will supply answers to my questions.

 Hmm, I finally found the "Help" link at the bottom of the MyHeritage pages in small print - all of these questions can be answered on the Help page ( I imagine.  I guess I should do it myself, but in case a MyHeritage expert wants to answer my questions, I welcome it, and will share the answers with my readers.

The URL of this post is:

(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant. If you are reading this on any other genealogy website (other than through an RSS feed), then they have stolen my work.

Treasure Chest Thursday - Georgianna (Kemp) Auble's Death Certificate

It's Treasure Chest Thursday - time to find another artifact or document in my ancestral image collection and try to learn more from it.

This week, it's the death certificate for my great-grandmother, Georgianna (Kemp) Auble (1868-1952), wife of Charles Auble (1849-1916).

The information on this death certificate (a Certificate of Death, the official record of the State of California, Department of Health Services, obtained from the San Diego County Recorder's office on 16 March 1992):

*  Decendent Personal Data:

1a. Name of Deceased =  Georgia Kemp Auble
2a.  Date of Death = November 8, 1952, 7:45 a.m.
3. Sex = Female;
4.  Race = White
5.  Marital status = Widowed
6.  Date of Birth: Aug. 4, 1868;
7.  Age = 84
8a.  Usual Occupation = Housewife;
8b.  Kind of Business = Home
9.   Birthplace = Canada;
10. Citizen of what country = U.S.A.
11. Name/birthplace of Father = James A. Kemp, Canada;
12.  Maiden Name/birthplace of Mother = Melissa Wilson, Canada;
13. Name of Present Spouse = Widowed.
14.  Was Deceased in Armed Forces? = No;
15.  Social Security Number = None;
16.  Informant = Emily K. Carringer

*  Place of Death: 

17a.  County = San Diego;
17b. City or town = San Diego;
17c. Length of Stay = 41 years;
17d.  Full Name of Hospital or Institution = San Diego County Hospital;
17e. Address = No. Front Street

*  Last Place of Residence: 

18a. State = Calif.;
18b. County = San Diego;
18c. City or Town = San Diego;
18d. Street Address = 825 Harbor View Place

*  Physician's or Coroner's Certification: 

19a. Coroner = Autopsy;
19b. Signature:  A.E. Gallagher, Coroner;
19c. Address: Land Title Bldg.;
19d. Date Signed = 11/12/52

*  Funeral Director and Registrar: 

20a. Cremation or Burial = Cremation;
20b.  Date = 11/12/52;
20c.  Cemetery or Crematory = Cypress View Crematory;
21.  Signature of Embalmer = William R. Scott; License Number = 4085;
22.  Funeral Director = Benbough Mortuary;
23.  Date Received by Local Registrar = Nov 12 1952;
24.  Signature of Local Registrar = J.B. Askew, M.D.

*  Cause of Death:

25.  Disease or Condition Directly Leading to Death = Pathology Pending; Antecedent Causes, Due To = Acute myocardial failure, Generalized arteriosclerosis

*  Other Significant Conditions:

26.  Conditions contributing to the Death but not Related to the Disease or condition Causing Death = Fracture of right hip non-contributory to the death

*  Operations:

27a.  Date of Operation =
27b.  Major Findings of Operation =
28.  Autopsy = Yes

*  Death due to External Violence:

29a.  Type of Violence = Accident
29b.  Place of Injury = Home
29c.  Location = 825 Harbor View Place, San Diego, Cal.
29d.  Time of Injury = 10-28-52, 7:30 p.m. not while at home
29e.  How did injury occur? = Fell on rug.

They sure packed a lot of information into that death certificate, didn't they?  It is an absolute boon to genealogy researchers! 

The only errors that I noted were her own given name and her mother's maiden name.  Georgia's first name was Georgianna according to family records, and her mother's maiden name was Mary Jane Sovereen, who died in 1874.  Melissa Wilson was the second wife of James A. Kemp. and raised Georgianna after her mother's death.

The URL for this post is:

 (c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant. If you are reading this on any other genealogy website, then they have stolen my work.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Finding Common Ancestors in the MyHeritage Family Tree

I blogged yesterday about Smart Matching in MyHeritage.  I wondered, in that post, whether the Smart Matches connect my Tree to the trees of other persons, and have figured out that the answer is NO - the trees are kept separate.

So what is the advantage of the Smart Matches?  I see two distinct advantages:

1)  It is "cousin bait" for other researchers to find my research, and possible contact me, invite me into their trees, or offer to share information with me.

2)  It is "Randy bait" for me to find other researchers that might have more information, or more accurate information, than I have in my Tree.  I'm humble enough to know that I may have missed research that other persons have performed, or that other persons have a different line from a common ancestor and may have more useful information to help fill out some of the leaves on my tree. 

In yesterday's post, I found that some Smart Matches that came to my email inbox because the other researchers took the time to confirm a Smart Match that was provided to them by MyHeritage.  The other 198,000-odd Smart Matches were found by MyHeritage by matching persons in my Tree with persons in over 18,000 other Trees on the MyHeritage system.  That's one of the great benefits of placing a Tree in MyHeritage - it has a significant user base and a method to find potentially common ancestors.

How can I capitalize on it?  Well, in my MyHeritage Family Tree, there is a small, green round icon in the upper left-hand corner of a person in my tree with an identified smart Match in the Tree of another researcher.  Here's an example from my Tree:

I maneuvered in my Tree to Martin Carringer (1758-1835), one of end-of-the-line ancestors in my mother's surname line.  He is highlighted in a broad outline in the tree image above, and his information from my Tree about Martin is shown in the left-hand panel.  There is a small, green circle in the upper left-hand corner of his Tree entry.  When I run my mouse over this green circle, the popup box says "Click to view Smart Matches to people in other family trees."

I clicked the green circle, and saw:

There are two other family trees on MyHeritage with Martin Carringer (1758-1835).  The Facts shown look the same.  I could (and eventually did) click on "YES - confirm all 2 matches." I was curious if the other trees had parents of Martin listed, so I found a "View family tree" link for one of the other trees and saw:

This researcher has parents listed for Martin Carringer as Henry Carringer and his wife Mary.  The tree above shows only one of Martin's children - it is evident that the tree's owner descends through one of Martin's daughters.   That information may help add information for one of my collateral Carringer lines. if I decide to accept it.

What does this other tree say about Martin Carringer (1758-1835)?  Here is the Person page for Martin in the other tree:

There are three tabs for this Person page - an "Info" tab, an "Events" tab and a "Timeline" tab.  The "Events" shown above provides a chronological list of Events for Martin Carringer, plus a small map of the places in the Events list, with stickpins keyed to the Events. 

While this particular information for Martin Carringer didn't add any new information to my own database, it could have.  If the other Tree owner had much more information about a person or a family, I could have added a comment about my own research, or a question about his research, and a collaborative effort could start and, perhaps, flourish.

I think that MyHeritage has a very good family tree schema, and an excellent method to connect possible cousins, or researchers with a mutual interest, together.

The little green "Smart Matches" icon to indicate that there are matches in other family trees on the MyHeritage system is not unique. has a similar "Match" indicator with their little green shaky leaves, which denote both potential historical records and family tree matches for the selected person.  I think that also has a similar tree matching system, but I haven't used it yet.

The URL of this post is:

(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant. If you are reading this on any other genealogy website (other than through an RSS feed), then they have stolen my work.

More Thoughts on "Scientific" and "Traditional" Genealogy

I expressed my opinion on this issue in Thoughts on Classical and Scientific Genealogy, and then published Tamura Jones guest post in Tamura Jones Guest Post: Scientific and Traditional Genealogy, both of which generated some interesting comments from readers.

Tamura sent me a list of his related blog articles about this subject, including:

I was happy to see that Michael Hait, on his excellent Planting the Seeds blog, had written about the topic of Scientific and Traditional genealogy today. 

Michael has two posts published so far:

Traditional vs. Scientific Genealogy? (with 11 comments, including one of my own)
Traditional vs. Scientific Genealogy, round two

*  The Minnesota Family Historian blog author has this post:  Scientific vs. Traditional Genealogy

*  Denise Spurloc on Reflecting on Genealogy has this post:  Scientific vs. Traditional Genealogy

I hope that other geneabloggers will offer thoughts and opinions about this issue.  If they do, I will try to add their blog posts to this post.  Please email me ( or make a comment to this post so that I can add your blog post to this list.

Last updated:  22 June, 8:45 p.m.

Dear Randy: How Best to Download Images to RootsMagic?

Reader Lee asked me this question several days ago, and I thought his question and my response might help other readers.

Lee's question:

" I've decided to use RootsMagic 4 as my genealogy program (i.e. no longer use FTM) and just renewed my US membership for one more year.  I continue to find source info from and store images (census, vital records, etc) on both and my laptop.  I'm considering just continuing to add images to and copying them to my laptop for RM4 every few months.  Do you know of any way to minimize my labor in doing this?  It's very tedious to download one image at a time then attach it to RM4.  I'd like to work smarter, not harder, on family history source (including media) management.  Any opinions are greatly appreciated!"

My response:

There is no automatic web image merge into a RootsMagic person file, according to the RootsMagic Tech Support page for it (   Apparently, you have to save the image to your hard drive, then import it into RootsMagic for the person involved.

There are two ways to do this:

1)  The way you said - Save the image in to your hard drive, name the file, and then import it to RootsMagic at your convenience.  You can do this one image at a time, or could add one to many images in one computer session.

2)  Use the WebSearch feature on RootsMagic (it's a View, just like Pedigree, Family, Descendants, and People).  Select from the list of Search providers, do your search, drill down to the image you want, click the orange Save button (upper right corner) within the Ancestry panel, click to save on your computer, name the file on your computer, then go to the Person page for that person, click on the Fact you want it attached to, and click on the Media button for that Fact.  If you use this method, then you can go back to the WebSearch View for the same person to get another image from

 In either case, don't forget to copy the source citation from the Ancestry screen and paste it into the Source item for the Fact.

This is a lot more cumbersome than Family Tree Maker 2011.  Using FTM 2011, the image can be attached directly to the Person in the database, and the source citation (such as it is) is brought across too.

Eventually, there will probably be a Sync program for RootsMagic to and vice versa.  That would be a great feature for RootsMagic 5 when it comes out.  We're getting the first Sync program for FTM 2012 and Ancestry in the fall.  AncestorSync is developing a sync of RootsMagic, Legacy, and other desktop software programs with online family trees like, newFamilySearch and others. 

I hear you on doing things smarter, faster and easier.  Better minds than mine are working on it! 

The URL for this post is:

(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant. If you are reading this on any other genealogy website (other than through an RSS feed), then they have stolen my work.

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 158: Rockwell Field Aircraft Shops in 1932

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

This picture, according to the caption on the back of the photograph, is the aircraft maintenance shop for the U.S. Army Aviation Station at Rockwell Field (now North Island Naval Air Station, on the Coronado peninsula).  The caption is in the hand of my grandfather, Lyle Lawrence Carringer (1891-1976).

Lyle's father, Henry Austin Carringer (1853-1946) worked at Rockwell Field for many years (approximately 1917 to 1932) as an aviation mechanic.  He was the foreman in the wood and fabric section of the airplane repair shop for ten years, and retired on his 79th birthday with 15 years of service in 1932. 

My grandfather always said that his father worked in the "dope shop" at North Island.  What did that mean?  You can see the construction of the wings in the photograph above.  There are spars (lengthwise) and ribs (perpendicular to the spars, they create the shape of the wing) and the skins (they cover the ribs to create the shapes).  The skins were made of fabric in the years before World War II.  The fabric was painted with "aircraft dope" - essentially "lacquer" to stiffen the skins were applied to the wing. 

The URL for this post is:

(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant. If you are reading this on any other genealogy website (other than through an RSS feed), then they have stolen my work.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Smart Matching in MyHeritage

Yo, MyHeritage...198,729 Smart Matches to my data?  Yikes!!  Who knew?  How did this happen?  Now what do I do with them?

I no sooner uploaded my 39,904 person tree to the MyHeritage online family tree website ( and the Smart Matvches came into my mailbox - I have had about 15 emails listing over 230 Smart Matches found by other researchers in my tree since Sunday afternoon when I uploaded my tree.

I decided that I'd better check out what this was all about, so I logged into my MyHeritage account (thank you, MyHeritage!) and saw this when I clicked on the "Family Tree" tab:

The page indicates that I have 198,729 Smart Matches from 18,168 family trees on MyHeritage!  In the olive-colored background box above that notice states that there are 156 Smart Matches already confirmed by other researchers waiting for my confirmation.  Let's look at those first.

I clicked on the "Review and confirm" link and saw:

The screen above lists three MyHeritage trees that contain the Smart Matches, and then it lists them in order of number of to-be-confirmed matches.  The first family tree owner, Thomas Smith, has 144 Smart Matches pending my confirmation, but only 20 are listed on the page. 

How do I check this out?  Let's look at the first one on the list.  We share Mercy Bangs (1651-????, daughter of Edward and Rebecca (Hobart) Bangs).  There is a 91% certainty of a match in the "Quality" column, according to the five-star system on the left margin.  The "Status" column shows a green check mark, which apparently means someone has confirmed the match.  The information in the "In my Family Tree" column shows my data, and the column "In matching fmaily tree" shows his data, and the "Actions" column has links to "Review tree," "Confirm," "Reject" or "More actions."

I decided to "Review tree" and clicked on the link:

The screen above shows the "Overview" tab with vital record information from my tree, and information from the matching tree.  If I wanted to compare more information, I cvould click on the "Compare trees" tab and see the parents and children of this person.

The olive-green box above the Overview tab information provides two choices - "Yes - confirm this match" and "No - reject this match."  After an extensive review of all of the available data, performed in about three seconds, I decided that this was a match and clicked on the "Yes - confirm this match" button.

A popup window appeared and wanted me to confirm the match, and showed check boxes to send the owner of the other tree an email telling him that I have confirmed the match, and/or to send the owner an email inviting him to be a member of my family tree site. 

I clicked on "Confirm match" and the screen below told me:

Now there are two green check marks on the screen that show that we have both confirmed the match.  I could add a comment at the bottom of the page to congratulate the other tree owner on his accurate data and invite him to meet me the next time I'm in his neighborhood. 

Cool.  Now, how do I get back to thel ist of matches to do the next one?  And the 198,000 odd ones after that?  Aha - on the line with the two tabs ("Overview" and "Compare trees" are links to "Print," "Prevous Match" and "Next Match."

Now I'm curious - is this the end?  Does the other tree somehow get hooked onto my tree, or is my tree still separate from the other tree?  If it is the former, then my tree on MyHeritage just got larger (theoretically), and if it's the latter, then how can I use the information? 

I'll end here because I have lots more to do.  This is not overly exciting work - until you find a submitter who is a close cousin to yourself.  Then it may be very rewarding.  That hasn't happened yet in my little excursion into the MyHeritage family tree system.

Frankly, I'm not sure how far I should go with this.  My purpose in putting my tree on a website like MyHeritage is to serve as "cousin bait" - to enable other researchers to find me.  I will probably not confirm many of these Smart Matches because of the time and effort it takes to do so, but I need to review them to determine if there are close cousins who are also on MyHeritage who may have information about my ancestral families. 

Disclosure:  I have a PremiumPlus account on MyHeritage that was a gift from MyHeritage to Geneabloggers at the SCGS Jamboree. 

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(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant. If you are reading this on any other genealogy website, then they have stolen my work.

Tuesday's Tip - Use the Google News Archive Search

This week's Tuesday's Tip is:  Use the Google News Archive Search (  feature to find newspaper articles to enhance your family history research. 

The Google News Archive searches some (but not all!) historical and current newspapers for your search query terms.  There are several types of content:

*   Content that is accessible to all users (such as BBC News, Time Magazine and Guardian)
*  Content that requires a fee (such as Washington Post Archives, Newspaper Archive, and New York Times Archives).
*  Content from newspapers in the Google  News Archive Partner Program.

See the Google News Archive Help page at for more information.

One of the key features is the "Timeline" that appears at the top of the search results:

The user can see the time periods for search results of the search query terms.  The user can click on a decade in the timeline to narrow the search to that time period. 

There is an Advanced Search query form that permits narrowing the search to specific words and phrases, a date range, a language, a specific source, etc. 

The biggest benefit to my research has been finding free newspaper content in recently published newspapers and in historical newspapers (e.g., the New York Times before 1923). 

Many of the websites that require payment offer a snippet of information from the article.  Those articles are helpful - they tell me that there is an article of interest, and that I can obtain it by paying for it online or by visiting a repository that holds the newspaper/magazine in question (for instance, my local library has the New York Times on microfilm). 

The Google News Archive is just one of many newspaper resources available to the family history researcher.  Some are freely available, and some require a subscription to access the articles.  Some subscription sites are available at a local library (some are online with a library card).

The URL for this post is

(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant. If you are reading this on any other genealogy website, then they have stolen my work.

Tamura Jones Guest Post: Scientific and Traditional Genealogy

I received this article by Tamura Jones, via email, in response to my post Thoughts on Classical and Scientific Genealogy (and comments to that post).  I have published it in its entirety here (with minor editorial changes):


First of all, I thank Randy for allowing me a brief guest post on his blog. I am not going to try and explain and what scientific genealogy is, I've done about a dozen articles on my own blog already - and still haven't quite succeeded. I'll merely try to address some concerns and misconceptions.

Scientific genealogy does not require that you sneak into cemeteries to dig up "your ancestors;" it merely requires a scientific approach to genealogy. That includes accepting the fact that you do not know who your ancestors are until you've proven who they are. That isn't branding anyone a liar, that is accepting that there is a difference between facts and proven facts; and proving your biological ancestry normally starts with proving the first generation.

Traditional genealogists treat official records as "proof" of "their genealogy". That is wrong; official records do not prove biological relationships at all. That is a simple truth, and there is nothing wrong about acknowledging that truth. You still know who your official ancestors are. You still know who your legal ancestors are. Most importantly, you still know which family you are from, which family your legal parents are from, etcetera; you still know who your ancestral families are. You still know who you call mum or dad, and you are not going to stop doing that just because you became a scientific genealogist and do not have proof yet.

Scientific genealogy does not ask you to throw away the records you've collected. On the contrary, these records remain very useful; you need them for your official and legal genealogies. Scientific genealogy does ask you to accept that you have more than one genealogy, that your biological, official and legal genealogies are not the same. Three genealogies instead of one; that is triple the genealogy fun!

Family historians benefit immensely from this improvement; the known family history is practically sure to make more sense once you know where the differences between the genealogies are.

It is an exciting time to be a genealogist. We have a scientific basis for genealogy that enables us to leave traditional genealogy behind. It is possible to research your biological ancestry, and the prices for DNA tests continue to drop. We can not only work towards creating a real genealogy proof standard, we can also make sure that our descendants do not just suspect and believe, but know that we are their ancestors.

With sufficient data on tested generations, we may even be able to infer biological relationships for earlier generations, but if we do not manage to do so, then we may very well become the first generations of known ancestors. We have the chance to be the generations of Most Recent Known Ancestors for our descendants - for mankind. We have the chance to be the solidly documented primogenitors of the world's biological ancestry. That is an exciting genealogical thought.

"Copyright © Tamura Jones. All Rights reserved."

The text above is the original work of Tamura Jones of Leiden, Holland and is published with his encouragement and permission. 

I encourage interested readers to read Tamura's website - (Internet Explorer 8 and earlier IE versions don't work, IE9 does, Firefox or Chrome work).  Some of his articles are:

* (18 August 2010)
* (29 August 2010)
* (14 June 2011)

Your thoughts and comments are welcome here or in email (  Please be respectful of all persons involved.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Thoughts on Classical and Scientific Genealogy

In comments to my post Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Who is Your Most Recent Unknown Ancestor? reader Tamura Jones said:

"I am disappointed that neither Randy nor any of his respondent gave the correct answer.
It is so hard to leave the dogmas and misconceptions of traditional genealogy behind and become a scientific genealogist?

"The scientific genealogy truth is simple: for most of you, your most recent unknown ancestors are your parents.

"Neither family stories nor vital records constitute any proof of a biological relationship.  Only if a DNA test confirmed who your biological parents are, does the MRU status move from your parents to your grandparents, etc.  It may be hard to face that fact, it may be an unpopular truth, but it is not less true because of that..."

A followup comment by reader Martin noted that:

"So in order to be a scientific genealogist, one needs to dig up (literally not figuratively) one's ancestors and submit them to DNA tests? [not to mention that you just called all of our parents liars]"

For background reading, an interested person should read some of Tamura's posts on his website (Internet Explorer 8 and earlier IE versions don't work, IE9 does, Firefox or Chrome work), including:

 (18 August 2010)
 (29 August 2010)
 (14 June 2011)
*  and related articles (see the list at the end of each article)

1)  My opinion is that Tamura is technically correct:  If we have not obtained DNA samples, and performed the requisite DNA tests on them, then we have not identified our ancestors beyond any doubt whatsoever - only a DNA match can conclusively and exclusively prove that a person is genetically related to a specific father and a specific mother. 

So how many DNA samples of your ancestors do you have?  I don't have any!  I have only a Y-chromosome DNA test and a mitochondrial DNA test for myself - with a limited number of markers.  If I had an autosomal DNA test performed on myself, and on my brothers, and on my father's siblings children or grandchildren, I might be able to construct a DNA proof study that supported an assertion that myself and my brothers were sired by our purported father and mother, that my father and his siblings were sired by the same man and born of the same mother, and that my mother was sired by her purported father and mother (this would be difficult since my mother and both of her parents were only children!). 

A Y-chromosome DNA test could provide clear and convincing evidence if two persons with a known patrilineal line have a common male ancestor in their line, and can provide clear and convincing evidence that the claimed patrilineal lines descend from that most recent common ancestor (MRCA).  However, it would not provide absolute proof that a specific male fathered the specific child - it could have been a brother, uncle or cousin with a patrilineal line back to the MRCA.

Likewise, a mitochondrial DNA test could provide clear and convincing evidence if two persons with a known matrilineal line have a common female ancestor in their line.

The above assertions are why many genealogists are interested in tracing family lines from X-great-grandparents to living distant cousins - they can be used to provide evidence of relationships and corroborate "traditional," "official" and "legal" genealogical research (to use Tamura's terms).

If, as Tamura suggests, DNA tests to determine genetic traits are performed on every person born, and also on their parents, then the "scientific genealogy" aspect could be vigorously pursued.  I doubt that such testing will be done routinely in the near future.

2)  My opinion is that Martin is also technically correct.  Since few genealogy researchers have had extensive DNA tests done on their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. back in time, then we cannot pursue "scientific genealogy" even several generations back.  Even "digging up our ancestors" (if that's possible in every case) won't help much - my layman understanding is that Y-DNA is not available from cadavers, and no DNA is likely available from cremated remains. 

The vast majority of the "official" records we use to determine relationships between parents and children are correct to the best of the knowledge of the information providers (usually parents or close relatives) and the information receivers (clerks, courts, etc.).  Our "classical genealogy" research has to use this information because it is what we have.  Aside from the limited DNA test results, it is what we have to work with for deceased persons. 

Not every source is based on original source material, and therefore each information source must be evaluated as to its quality as it pertains to the assertion under consideration. We also know that original and derivative sources do not contain absolutely correct information due to lies, bias or errors.  

The "official" records that we search for, collect and use, along with the "unofficial" records (newspaper articles, family notes and Bibles, gravestones, etc.), form a body of evidence which we analyze and evaluate, infer from and, possibly, draw conclusions from about names, dates, places, relationships, and events. 

From this evidence, we have proof that is imperfect - perhaps only to the clear and convincing level at best.   This is why the "Genealogical Proof Standard" is important and should be used to gather evidence, analyze and draw conclusions for events pertaining to our ancestors and their families. 

3)  The bottom line for each of us is to:

*  Use all of the research methods we have available to us in homes, businesses, government offices, repositories, and websites to obtain records.  Those records should be as close to the original source as possible, should provide primary information about the assertion, and that provides direct evidence of the event. 

*  Use DNA tests to determine patrilineal and matrilineal lines as best we can, and monitor the technology to determine if autosomal DNA tests will provide more helpful information.  
4)  I think that every experienced genealogy researcher has a basic understanding of the "classical" vs. "scientific" debate, and accepts the fact that we cannot prove, to a level of "without any doubt," the names, dates, places, events and relationships of our ancestral families.  We do the best we can with the information we have, and are open to acceptance of new, or more authoritative, information. 

5)  Thank you to Tamura and Martin for their opinions.  I welcome more comments to this post, and request that those comments be respectful and contribute to the discussion.

The URL for this post is

(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant. If you are reading this on any other genealogy website, then they have stolen my work.

SNGF Most Recent Unknown Ancestor Compendium

The Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Who is Your Most Recent Unknown Ancestor? post for 18 June resulted in these entries:

Parents of Thomas J. Newton (ca 1795-after 1834) by Randy Seaver on the Genea-Musings blog.

*   Parents of James Adelbert (1872-1948) by Daniel Dillman on the Indiana Dillmans blog.

Parents of Maria Nicoletta Riccia(??) (????-????) by Leah on the Leah's Family Tree blog.

Parents of Frank J. Zalewski (????-????) by Brian Zalewski on the Zalewski Family Genealogy blog. 

Father of Ransom Spurlock (1807-1896) by Denise Spurlock on the Denise's Life in the Past Lane blog.

Parents of Robert Hunter (ca1816-1888) by Jen A. Smart on the Jen's Genealogy Pages blog.

Parents of  John Vanderpool (1805-????) and Nancy Campbell (1796-????) by Charles Hansen on the Mikkel's Hus blog.

John R. Petty's mother by Linda McCauley on the Documenting the Details blog.

Walter Albert Brothers (1876-1964) father by Rosemary on the Climbing The Family Rosebush blog. 

Several readers responded in comments to my post Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Who is Your Most Recent Unknown Ancestor? with their MRUA:

*  Catherine Armstrong (1853-????) by Celia.

*  Amanda Augusta Richardson (1847-????) by Owlhart.

Thank you, Genea-funsters for your contributions.  I hope that someone reads your post and can help you in your research. 

If you responded to this Saturday Night Genealogy Fun post, and I missed your post, please let me know in email ( or in comments to this post.

The URL for this post is

(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant. If you are reading this on any other genealogy website, then they have stolen my work.