Saturday, November 19, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Thanksgiving Edition

Hey genea-philes ... it's SATURDAY NIGHT again - time for more GENEALOGY FUN!!!

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

1)  Think about the answers to these questions:

a.  Which ancestor are you most thankful for, and why?

b.  Which author (book, periodical, website, etc.) are you most thankful for, and why?

c.  Which historical record set (paper or website) are you most thankful for, and why?

2)  Tell us about it in a blog post of your own; in a comment to this blog post; in a Facebook status line or a Google Plus stream post.

Here's mine:

a.  The ancestor that I'm most thankful for my great-grandmother, Della (Smith) Carringer (1862-1944) because she saved all of the Smith and Carringer papers and photographs for several generations, including her own scrapbook with wonderful playbills, articles, calling cards, etc.  My grandfather, Lyle L. Carringer, and my mother, Betty (Carringer) Seaver, kept them also, but Della is the one who created many of them and kept them through travels across the country to San Diego.

b.  The author that I'm most thankful for is Elizabeth Shown Mills, who has not only written and edited "Bibles" and periodicals of the genealogy industry, makes wonderful presentations, and  encourages and educates many researchers through email and mailing lists. 

c.  The historical record set that I am most thankful for is the Revolutionary War Pension Files (National Archives files, images on because they provide significant detail about several ancestral families and the soldier's service; many of the facts would not be known without these files. 

Surname Saturday - FLETCHER (England > Massachusetts)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I am up to number 293, who is Elizabeth FLETCHER (1698-1775), one of my 6th-great-grandparents. [Note: The 6th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts]

My ancestral line back through four generations of FLETCHER  families (ancestors in blue) 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)

18. Edward Hildreth (1831-1899)
19. Sophia Newton (1834-1923)

36. Zachariah Hildreth (1783-1857)
37. Hannah Sawtell (1789-1857)

72. Zachariah Hildreth (1754-1828)
73. Elizabeth Keyes (1759-1793)

146.  Jonathan Keyes (1722-1781)
147.  Elizabeth Fletcher (1720-1761)

292.  Joseph Keyes, born 01 May 1698 in Chelmsford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 11 July 1744 in Westford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 584. Joseph Keyes and 585. Joanna Cleaveland.  He married 28 February 1720 in Chelmsford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
293.  Elizabeth Fletcher, born 10 June 1698 in Chelmsford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 03 September 1775 in Westford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States. 

Children of Joseph Keyes and Elizabeth Fletcher are: Elizabeth Keyes (1720-????); Jonathan Keyes (1722-1781); Sarah Keyes (1723-????); Lydia Keyes (1724-????); David Keyes (1726-????).

 586.  Joshua Fletcher, born 10 March 1644 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 21 November 1713 in Chelmsford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.   He married 18 July 1682 in Chelmsford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
 587.  Sarah Woolley, born before 08 May 1650 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States. She was the daughter of 1174. Christopher Woolley and 1175. Ursula Wodell.

Children of Joshua Fletcher and Sarah Woolley are:  Rachel Fletcher (1683-1743); Timothy Fletcher (1685-1705); John Fletcher (1687-1760); Joseph Fletcher (1689-1772); Sarah Fletcher (1691-1737);  Jonathan Fletcher (1693-????); Jonas Fletcher (1694-1777); Elizabeth Fletcher (1698-1775).

 1172.  William Fletcher, born about 1622 in England; died 06 November 1677 in Chelmsford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He married before 1643 in probably Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
 1173.  Rachel, died before 1645 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.

Child of William Fletcher and Rachel is: Joshua Fletcher (1644-1713).

2344.  Robert Fletcher, born about 1592 in England; died 03 April 1677 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He married before 1618 in England.
2345.  Sarah
Children of Robert Fletcher and Sarah are:  Grissel Fletcher (1618-1699); Francis Fletcher (1620-1704); William Fletcher (1622-1677); Luke Fletcher (1625-1655); Samuel Fletcher (1632-1697).

The family and biography of Robert Fletcher has been extensively researched by:

* Winifred Lovering Holman, Robert Fletcher of Concord, Mass. Bay, 1637 (the author, 1930), accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,015,506 Item 11.

*  Edward H. Fletcher, The Descendants of Robert Fletcher of Concord, Mass. (Boston, Mass.: Rand, Avery & Co., 1881).

*  Joan S. Guilford, The Ancestry of Dr. J.P. Guilford (Sheridan Psychological Services, Inc., 1990), Volume 1, page 284. (One line)

*  Dean Crawford Smith, The Ancestry of Eva Belle Kempton (1878-1908); Part IV: The Ancestry of Linda Anna Powers (1839-1879) (Boston, Mass.: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2000)  (One line).

Friday, November 18, 2011

Follow-Up Friday - Free-form sources in Family Tree Maker 2012

In Follow-up Friday posts, I like to highlight comments from readers that pertain to previous blog posts that clarify or expand knowledge about issues raised in the original blog post.

Reader Jason emailed me, saying:

"I have been reading with great interest your blog postings regarding source citations in FTM 2012. I saw a mention of the fact that FTM 2012 has no true "free form" citation template. I don't think this is entirely true. Couldn't you just forgo the entire template / title system and simply type your full custom source citation into the "citation detail" box? This appears to work when trying to use Mills' EE citation formats. Am I missing something? What are your thoughts on this?"

My email response to Jason was:

"My thoughts are that you are correct!  I tried it, and that's exactly what I could do.  It is not [called] a 'free-form template' of course, just a 'Source Title' that works like a free-form template.

"The field in the template that the 'free-form source' you create appears in is 'Source Title.'  That field would have the author, title, and publication information for a book.  The page number in the book would go in the 'citation detail' field on the template.  Since almost all of mine came across through GEDCOM and were 'free-form' in RootsMagic, they all are in the 'Source Title' field.

"I don't see any drawbacks in using this free-form method in FTM 2012 - other than it's hard to find the source again when you want to use it later, as I
wrote about today.  With 700 sources, I struggle to find the one I want.  But it's hard with a lot of sources created from templates too."

Jason also asked me:

"What about FTM2011 vs. 2012? Is there any functionality difference aside from the sync feature? Are most of the source and source citation functions the same as far as you know?"

My response was:

"The only real addition [of consequence] to FTM 2011 was the sync feature.  There were a few other [additions] listed, but they aren't overly significant IMHO."

Further comments:

I believe that the source creation and source citation features were not significantly changed from FTM 2011. 

The list of changes from FTM 2011 in FTM 2012 are in What’s new in Family Tree Maker 2012.

Thank you, Jason, for reading and for the comments, and helping me understand that there is a way to create "free-form" source citatins in FTM 2012.

My Interview with The Passionate Genealogist

One of the really fun times at the 2011 Federation of Genealogy Societies Conference in Springfield, Illinois (see The Seaver Family History Mystery Tour Compendium for daily accounts) was meeting many more genealogy bloggers in person and talking with them.

Ruth Blair, who writes The Passionate Genealogist blog, asked if she could do an audio interview with me, and we sat down in the Blogger Lounge, on the comfortable couches provided by FamilySearch, and she asked me a series of questions about my genealogy journey.  The 16 minute interview can be heard on Ruth's blog post, Interview with Randy Seaver, posted today.

The questions posed by Ruth included:

1)  When did you first start recording your Family History?

2)  What was the catalyst that got you started?

3)  What countries are your ancestors from?

4)  What is your favorite part of family history research?

5)  What was the most surprising discovery in your family history?

6)  What is your most frustrating research problem?

7)  What is the most satisfying research problem?

8)  How do you organize your family data and ephemera?

9)  What would be your best tip for someone starting out in genealogy?

Please listen to the interview to hear my answers!!  Ruth did an excellent job of keeping the ball rolling here, and I was my typical prolix self genea-babbling away.

Thank you to Ruth Blair for taking the time to sit with me, ask interesting questions and for posting the interview.  I enjoyed meeting Ruth and her colleague, Louise St. Denis at their National Institute of Genealogical Studies booth at the FGS Conference.

Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 26: Doing a Web Search - Case 1 - Attaching an Image

See all posts in this series at Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 Compendium.

I have not done many Web Searches from within genealogy management program software, mainly because I am past "family trees" and "census records" for most of my research, and have sourced the records myself and captured the images to my computer files (but not attached them to persons or Facts in my database).

A user can do a Web Search from within FTM 2012 in (and and and add the Fact, Source and Media for a record to their FTM 2012 database. 

In Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 25: Doing a Web Search -Case 1, I started a Web Search , but because I used the default information from my database (name, birth date and place, death date and place, and spouse's name) without changing it, I obtained only Ancestry Member Tree matches. 

In this post, I'm going to change the search criteria, and see if I can find some records for my William Knapp (1775-1856).  If I do, I'll add the record information, source and image to my database.

1)  With William Knapp my subject, in the "Web Search" Workspace, I edited the search fields to include only the name, the birth date (with a +/- 2 year range), and the birthplace (New York USA); I made them all "exact matches:"

2)  I scrolled down in the upper panel to find the orange "Search" button (why can't they put it at the top of the panel?) and clicked on it.  I received 36 matches:

There were two Census matches (1850), one vital Record match (New Jersey Deaths), 1 Private Member Story, 25 Public Member Trees and 5 Private Member Trees entries, and 2 records from a Family Data Collection database. 

3)  I clicked on the 1850 U.S. Census item in the Match list, and saw:

The William Knapp in Newton, New Jersey is highlighted in the screen above, and the information for William Knapp is added to the right-hand area of the lower panel above.

4)  That's certainly my guy, so I clicked on the "View Record" link and the summary page for William Knapp appeared:

There are four persons in this family residing in Newton, Sussex, New Jersey - William Knapp (age 75, born NY), Sarah Knapp (age 66, born NJ), Catherine Knapp (age 40, born NJ), and Elsey Knapp (age 19, born NJ).  If I view the record image, I can obtain more information, including the Fact that William is a Shoemaker.

5)  I want to capture this census Fact, Source and Image, so I clicked on the "Merge" button in the "Search result detail" (right side of the lower panel), and saw the "Web Merge Wizard" window:

The screen above lists three items for this record - the Name, the Birth information (calculated year and place), and the Residence information.  It shows these for the information in My Tree and in the selected  Search record.  I can choose which one I want to be the "Preferred" Fact, can make one or the other an "Alternate" Fact, or I can "Discard" the Web Search Fact (dropdown menus).  I can also cancel the Merge if this is not a Match.

6)  I kept my data "Preferred" but I want to capture the Source and Image, so I kept the check box for "Keep Sources" below each Web Search Fact.  I clicked on the "Next" button and saw the "Summary" window in the "Web Search Wizard:"

The Summary window tells me what will be added to my Tree, and includes only the Alternate Information, the Media Item (the census page image) and the Source citation information.  I can Rename the Media item here instead of using the FTM created Media file name.

7)  At this point I clicked the "Merge Now" button and a small window popped up that said "Success" and "Merge complete." 

8)  I clicked "OK" on that small window, and I was back to the William Knapp Person page in the "People" Workspace:

The "Residence" Fact for 1850 was added to the Fact List and the Media item was added to the "Media" tab in the right-hand panel with the "Residence" Fact highlighted.  The Media item is attached to the "Residence" Fact.  The Media item was captioned as "William Knapp - 1850 United States Federal Census."  The Source Citation created by for this Fact reads:

", 1850 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Operations, Inc., 2009),, Database online. Year: 1850; Census Place: Newton, Sussex, New Jersey; Roll: M432_464; Page: 137B; Image:."

We've discussed source citations created by previously, so I won't comment further on it. 

The "Merging" of historical records on with an FTM 2012 database works very well as long as the user creates a useful Search by editing the search fields and selects Default settings or Exact Matches.  The lessons learned for me in this exercise include:

*  When you start the Web Search for a Person, the Facts for that person (Name, Birth year and place, Death year and place, and Spouse's Name) are automatically put into the Search fields.  This limits the Matches, usually only to Ancestry Member Trees.

*  The user has to edit the Search fields to do an effective web search for historical records.  I recommend adding a year range to the Birth Year, changing the Birthplace to only a State or Country (rather than a City or County), eliminating the Death year and place, and eliminating the spouse's and parents names.  That will reflect a typical search for a person on  If the user decides on the "Default Settings" for the name, birth year and birth place, they will get many more matches than if they "Restrict to Exact" the name, birth year and birth place. 

*  For a census record, the Media item is attached to the "Residence" Fact, and the Fact has a date and place from the historical record.  The Fact also has the Source Citation attached to it.

*  The Media files are named by FTM 2012 in a sequential order of some sort, and is stored in the Media file folder for the specific FTM 2012 database. The user can change the file name before completing the Merge.  The Media items are captioned with the name of the person and the historical collection name.

*  This system is very easy to use, and a researcher can quickly add historical records to their FTM 2012 database.   It is also very seductive, so be careful what you merge!

Note:  Russ Worthington has been doing similar searches for my William Knapp on his FTMUser blog (  He is an expert user of Family Tree Maker, and knows many "best practices" and shortcuts for doing all of these tasks I've been struggling with - read his blog regularly!  I greatly appreciate Russ's efforts to help me understand this program.

Follow Friday - More Weekend Genealogy Fun

Yes, you should have some Genealogy Fun this weekend. I recommend:

1) Listen to Geneabloggers Radio tonight (Friday night, 9 p.m. ET, 8 p.m. CT, 7 p.m. MT and 6 p.m. PT) hosted by Thomas MacEntee. This week's topic is "Celebrate Your Family in Film."  The special guests include:

* David Adelman, founder of Reel Tributes and Rebecca Whitman Koford, Director of Genealogy at Reel Tributes, who will tell us how their company can help you create a documentary film starring your family!
Lorine McGinnis Schulze of the Olive Tree Genealogy website will discuss her recent project involving conversion of old home movies and videos to digital formats.
*  Paula Hinkel of the Southern California Genealogical Society will give us a “sneak preview” of the SCGS Jamboree in June 2012 with the theme “Lights, Cameras, Ancestors!

2) Listen to the FGS Radio - My Society show on Saturday (2 p.m. ET, 1 p.m. CT, 12 noon MT, 11 a.m. PT) hosted by Thomas MacEntee.  This radio show is on hiatus until 3 December.  You can tune in and hear past shows from the Archives.

3) Check out the recent FREE Webinars on: 

*  Creating a Shareable CD with Legacy and Passage Express software, by Jefferson Shupe (Legacy Family Tree)
* It Is Well With My Soul: Finding Ancestors Amid the Rubble of Disaster and Misfortune, by Thomas MacEntee (Legacy Family Tree, free until 21 November)
* FamilyRoots Organizer System, by Mary Hill (Legacy Family Tree, free until 14 November 2011)
* Exploring and by their founder, Paul Allen. (Legacy Family Tree)
* "Newspapers for Genealogists: Using to document every day of your ancestors' lives" with Tom Kemp. (Legacy Family Tree)
* "Organizng for Success" with Karen Clifford (Legacy Family Tree)
* "The Power of DNA in Unlocking Family Relationships," with Ugo Perugo (Legacy Family Tree)

* RootsMagic Webinars (all free) available at

* National Genealogical Society (NGS) Videos (some are free to view) at

* Thomas MacEntee's Explorinars, including:

** Easy Website Creation (free to view).
** Evernote - Easy Note Taking UPDATED (free to view)
** Facebook Pages vs. Facebook Groups (free to view)

*'s YouTube Channel has 110 items on it now, including (free to view):

** LIVE: Search with Ancestry Anne with Anne Mitchell
** LIVE: One Question with the Barefoot Genealogist with Crista Cowan
** LIVE: Lorraine's 5 Tips for Online Grave Digging with Lorraine Bourne
** LIVE: How do I use newspapers on to find out more about my ancestors? with Crista Cowan
** LIVE: How Do I Find My Ancestors Before 1850? with Crista Cowan.
** LIVE: How to dress up your family tree ...for the holidays!  with Anne Mitchell.
** LIVE: How to Find Your Civil War Roots on  with Anne Mitchell.
** Emigration & Immigration Records Online with Crista Cowan @ Ancestry Day San Francisco
** Find Them Fast: Secrets to Searching with Laura Dansbury @ Ancestry Day San Francisco
** Five Tips for Digging Up Answers at with Jeanie Croasmun @ Ancestry Day San Francisco

4) Respond to my Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge, posted on soon after 12 noon Pacific time (that's 1900 GMT for those who understand time zones).

5) Go to a local genealogical society program. I'm going to the Computer Genealogiy Society of San Diego meeting on Saturday featuring "Memories of Gettysburg." You might want to check out what's offered in your area.

6) Go to a local or close repository with genealogy and family history material. Do some research in traditional resources or order FamilySearch microfilms online with original source records.

7) Do some online research in the latest record collections at:

* FamilySearch (free,,
* Ancestry ($$,,
* Fold3 ($$,,
* WorldVitalRecords ($$,,
* American Ancestors ($$,,
* GenealogyBank ($$,,
* Archives ($$,

8) Add content (names, dates, places, notes, images, sources, etc.) to your genealogy software program. I still have two inches of paper collected from my vacation, and more from before that, and will try to enter some of it into my database this weekend.

9) Spend time with your family doing fun things. My wife's on vacation in Cabo San Lucas, the grandkids are busy with their parents, and I have to spend the weekend doing genealogy. Your turn!

10) Go to a local cemetery and clean stones, take gravestone pictures, or transcribe epitaphs for your local society, for Find-a-Grave, or a similar online service.
11)  Participate in Miriam Robbins' Scanfest on Sunday (2 p.m. EST, 11 a.m. PST) on the Ancestories: The Stories of My Ancestors blog.  I plan to be there for part of that, scanning more documents and chatting online with other participants.

Whatever you decide, please tell us about your genealogy endeavors on a social network or in a blog post. You never know when your experiences may stimulate or encourage others to do useful genealogy work.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 25: Doing a Web Search -Case 1

See all posts in this series at Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 Compendium.

I have not done many Web Searches from within genealogy management program software, mainly because I'm past "family trees" and "census records" for most of my research.  A user can do a Web Search from within FTM 2012 in and add the Fact, Source and Media for a record to their FTM 2012 database. 

I'm going to do several posts about this feature, using persons in my FTM 2012 database. 

For Case 1, I'm going to pick one of my "brick wall ancestors."  William Knapp (born 1775 in Dutchess County NY, died 1856 in Newton, Sussex, NJ), who married Sarah Cutter in about 1804 and had 11 children.

With William Knapp (1775-1856) highlighted in the "People" Workspace, I clicked on the "Web Search" Workspace button in the top menu on the FTM 2012 screen:

On the screen above, there is a list of six web sites to use in a Web Search in the left-hand panel (,,,, and is the default choice the first time a user clicks on Web Search.

In the screen above, the top panel has the information for William Knapp (1775-1856) from my database already entered into the fields, including (with all fields checked Exact):

Name:  William Knapp
Birth:  1775 +/- 0 years, Dutchess, New York, United States
Death: 1856 +/- 0 years, Newton, Sussex, New Jersey, United States
Spouse:  Sarah Cutter
Gender:  Male

The bottom panel has two sections - the one on the left with my information for William Knapp, and the one on the right is blank.

I didn't edit any of the entries in the search fields in the top panel, and scrolled down and clicked on the "Search" button:

The screen shows only two databases with matches for the specified information:

*  Public Member Trees (3)
*  Private Member Trees (1)

I clicked on the "Public Member Trees" link and saw:

With one of the matches selected, the right-hand side of the bottom panel shows the information in the matched record for comparison to my information in the left-hand side of the bottom panel.  The information for William Knapp is the same for the name, birth year, birth place, death year, death place, spouse, and 11 children (the match lists one more child).  However, the match provides parents names of Shubel Knapp and Rebecca Mead.  These parents are listed in the book Nicholas Knapp Genealogy by Alfred Averill Knapp, but the book says their son was born in 1786.  I have not accepted those parents as the parents of my William Knapp because all other records say he was born in about 1775.  The Ancestry Member Tree with the matched record has used those parents in his tree. 

There are two other matches from this Web search - one is my own AMT, and the other is an Ancestry Private Tree with the same information as above.

Are those the only records available on for my William Knapp?

I don't think so, so I went back and edited the search fields to widen the search for records.  I eliminated the Death Year and Death Place, and also the spouse's name.  Here's the Search screen:

Note that the last Search results are in the right-hand side of the bottom panel.  I scrolled down and clicked on the "Search" button:

There are matches from the Public Member Tree (6) and the Private Member Tree (1).  Here is the list of matches for the "Public Member Tree" database:

This search found more trees, including three that didn't have a death place listed.  Two of those listed in the "Public Member Trees" matches say that the data is Private.  Why are they in the Public Member Trees?

Now I could have dona a Non-Exact Match search for everything and probably would have received many more matches.  I unchecked the "Exact Matches" box and there were 299,095 matches for the "automatic" filled in fields (with Default settings).  With only the Name (exact), Birth Year (exact, +- 2 years) and "New York" as a Birthplace (exact), there were 47 matches, which is manageable.

I'll investigate that search in the next post, and determine how to Merge Facts, Sources and Media into the FTM 2012 database.

Treasure Chest Thursday - Hattie (Hildreth) Seaver's Death Certificate

It's Treasure Chest Thursday - time to look in my digital image files to see what treasures I can find for my family history and genealogy musings.

The treasure today is
Hattie (Hildreth) Seaver's (1857-1920) death certificate in Leominster, Worcester County, Massachusetts....

I obtained this death certificate by mail from the Town Clerk's office in Leominster, Massachusetts.

Here is the transcription of the death certificate (typed parts in italics, form lines underlined):

Commonwealth of Massachusetts
From the Records of Deaths in the City of Leominster,

Massachusetts, U.S.A.
1. Date of Death: November 29, 1920
2. Name:  Hattie L. Seaver
Maiden Name: Hildreth
3. Sex, and whether Single, Female
Married or widowed: Married
4. Age: 63 Years 0 Months  1 Days
5. Color: White
6. Disease or Cause of Death: Carcinoma of Bladder
7. Residence: Leomnster, Ma
8. Occupation:  At home
9. Place of Death: 149 Lancaster Street, Leominster, MA
10. Place of Birth: Notrhboro, Ma
11. Name of Husband or Wife: Frank W. Seaver
12. Name of Father:  Edward Hildreth
13. Maiden Name of Mother:  Sophia Newton
14. Birthplace of Father:  Townsend, Ma
15. Birthplace of Mother: Cambridge, Vt.
16. Place of Interment: Evergreen Cem., Leominster, MA
I, AUDREY J. JOHNSON, depose and say that I hold the office of City Clerk of the City of Leominster, County of Worcester and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, that the records of Births, Marriages and Deaths required by law to be kept in said City are in my custody, and that the above is a true extract from the records of Deaths in said City, as certified by me.

Date of Recording: 1920

WITNESS my hand and seal of said City, on the 28th day of August 19 91.
/s/ Audrey J. Johnson,

City Clerk.

I don't see any errors in this death certificate, based on my research.  There is a conflict between the Mother's birth place (Cambridge, Vt.) on this certificate and the birthplace listed on her mother's death certificate in 1923 (Springfield, Vt.).  Sophia (Newton) Hildreth was still alive when Hattie died in 1920, and may have been consulted by the informant on Hattie's death record.

I checked the age at death (63-0-1) to check the birth date, and came up with 28 November 1857. Hattie's birth date from the Northborough, Massachusetts record book and birth certificate is 8 November 1857.

The form does not indicate the informant of this information. It  most likely her husband, Frank W. Seaver but it may have been her mother, Sophia (Newton) Hildreth.  They all lived in the same house at 149 Lancaster Street in Leominster. is NARA Partner to Host 1940 U.S. Census Images

... announced today that they will be the partner of the National Archives (NARA) to host the 1940 U.S. Census images.  Genea-Musings readers will recall previous posts about the NARA Request for Proposal to host the census images.

The announcement is on the blog, titled Partners with the National Archives to Unveil the 1940 Census. CEO Matthew Monahan said:

"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in this historic moment and demonstrate our ongoing commitment to the advancement of online genealogy research. Access to 1940 Census records will allow researchers to discover new family members and previously unknown connections to the past. We're happy to have the opportunity to facilitate the discovery of these records, which document over 130 million U.S. residents, more than any previous U.S. Census."

More details:

"The 1940 Census will be available to the public April 2, 2012 at 9:00 AM (Eastern Daylight Time) on a new website created in collaboration between and the National Archives. The collection will consist of 3.8 million images that the National Archives scanned from over four thousand rolls of microfilm. Public access to the images will not require payment or registration, and will be available to any person with internet access. The name and web address of the website will be announced at a later date.

"Chief Digital Access Strategist for the National Archives Pamela Wright notes, 'The importance of the 1940 Census cannot be underestimated. At the National Archives, we have been preparing for the launch of these records for years. We are working closely with Inflection to ensure researchers will be able to search the 1940 Census when it opens next year.' At launch, researchers will be able to search the 1940 Census by address, Enumeration District (ED), and geographic location. Researchers will be able to browse images by ED number directly, or use address or geographic information to locate the appropriate census schedule." has an information page about the 1940 U.S. Census posted at

Readers should understand that this announcement addresses only the free access of the public to the 1940 U.S. Census images.  There will NOT be an every name index available on 2 April 1940.  Several organizations, presumably including, FamilySearch,, and perhaps other organizations, will create an every-name index after the census images are available. 

According to the email I received, Julie Hill of is the Project Manager for their company for this effort.  Congratulations to Julie and for this significant addition to the genealogy research world!

The Steve Morse One-Step site has a utility called "How to Access the 1940 Census in One Step" at at:   Researchers can use this access tool, and then search the census images on the website (or other sites with the images), for the specific census page with their family of interest.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dear Randy: What are you going to do with your "Genealogy Stuff?"

CeCe Warren, a devoted Genea-Musings reader, writes:

"I am wondering what will happen to all your years of hard work and all the paperwork with it that you have amassed?  At my age, it has been a great concern to me.  I have Ancestry and FTM2012 and tons of digitized pictures in my picture file on line besides those in my family trees.  Plus I have 4" binders separated first separated in 4 binders by my grandparents surnames and then broken down to all us cousins with all paper work, pictures & documents I have ordered in acid free sleeves individually.  The families originated from Norway & England.  The main part of my families were amassed in S.W. Iowa & S.E. South Dakota, but now the cousins are all over the place. None of my family, nor my nieces and nephews, seem to have any interest in all this.  Is all my work for naught?
... I do not think I have any repositories for all this except for maybe Sioux Falls or Yankton, South Dakota where they do have areas I have visited that have some ancestry history."

That's an interesting and challenging question for each of us.  Here is my response:

I will define my "genealogy stuff" (genea-stuff) and what I want to happen to it when I pass from this sphere:

1)  I have a collection of genealogy books and periodicals.  I want them to go to a "good home" in a local library or to a local genealogical society whose members can use them (perhaps through a book auction or sale).

2)  I have a collection (yea verily, about 40 linear feet of them) of notebooks with photocopies and handwritten notes in them from 23 years of genealogical research.  I sincerely doubt that a library or genealogical society will want any of that...they are for specific family lines, most of it is available in libraries around the country or in online book and periodical digital archives, and some of it is under copyright protection and should not be digitized.  My plan has been to enter the pertinent information from these notebooks into my genealogy management system (software) program with appropriate notes and sourcing, and thereby render the paper collection superfluous.  I am not scanning every page into my computer files, only those that are unique and cannot be found in any other repository.

3)  There are some unique "family papers" and "official certificate"documents in those notebooks which should be saved for the family.  I need to break those items away from the notebooks and put them in a "Save This Stuff" file.  I am in the process of scanning these items into my computer file folders, and labelling them with name, date, and place information.

4)  I have a bookcase, several boxes, and a file cabinet, full of family pictures, ephemera (scrapbooks, photo albums, family letters, papers, etc.) and artifacts.  I am trying to scan as many of the useful photographs as possible, and posting many of them on my blog.  I will designate these as "Save This Stuff."

5)  My genealogy database contains the vital records (names, dates, places), relationship conclusions, life events, research notes, and sources that are the collected fruits of my genealogical labors.  It is imperfect and incomplete (well, I'm not "done" yet!) and yearns for an accomplice collaborator to carry on the task.  I don't have many of my document images or photographs included in my genealogy database yet.  I put an updated copy of the entire database on an Ancestry Member Tree occasionally, and have strewn various versions on many other online family tree sites as "cousin bait."  The Ancestry tree serves as a "backup file" just in case something bad happens at home.  I need to make copies of the database (both in native format and GEDCOM format), and the "Ancestral Files" (digitized papers, documents, photos), and put them on DVDs and pass them to my daughters once in awhile (ah, a Christmas present!).  I'm hoping that one of my daughters, or sons-in-law, will get the "genealogy pox" when their lives are not as busy, or that a grandchild will show interest and carry on the ancestral search quest. 

6)  I have authored two self-published books about my ancestry, have a set of memoirs about my life, and have written 23 years of an annual "Seaver-Richmond Family Journal" that is sent to my brothers, my children and my cousins.  These need to go on the DVD also and in the "Save This Stuff" also! 

7)  I have a wealth of material on my Genea-Musings blog, and in case of my passing it should remain there until blogger dies or dormant blogs on blogger are deleted. 

8)  I have written a "genealogical directive" and placed it with the important family papers.  I need to update it.  Basically, I directed that the "genea-stuff" be given to an interested relative, the books and periodicals be given to a genealogy society or library, that the database should be submitted to a number of online family tree websites, and that books be published based on the information in my database and donated to a number of genealogical libraries (e.g., the FHL, NEHGS, SCGS, Chula Vista, Carlsbad, San Diego, Sutro, Allen County, etc.).  I need to update that directive, and perhaps make a portion of the daughter's inheritance dependent on satisfying my wishes.

I'm sure that I've left something out in the above litany of "genea-stuff" and I'm sure my readers will have more questions and comments to help set me on a better path.  If you have ideas, please make a comment!

Thank you, CeCe, for the concern about my "genea-stuff," and I hope that you, and all of my readers, will think about their own situation with regard to this issue.

CGSSD Meeting on Saturday Features "Memories of Gettysburg"

The Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego (CGSSD) meets on the third Saturday of each month (except December) from 9:00 a.m. to noon on the campus of UCSD, University of California, San Diego. See our map page for directions.

The next meeting will be held on Saturday, 19 November 2011 from 9:00 am to noon. Here are the details:

9:00 - User groups: Legacy and RootsMagic; No SIG this month

10:15 - Break, refreshments.

10:30 - Annual Meeting and elections, followed by:

“Memories of Gettysburg”

Join us for Memories of Gettysburg, one woman’s story of the Battle of Gettysburg and its aftermath. Just what does happens in a town when suddenly faced with thousands of casualties? Annette Hubbell’s portrayal of Miss Hattie Elizabeth Turner’s eyewitness account to the Battle of Gettysburg reveals the strength, courage, and fortitude of our American forefathers. 

Ms. Hubbell gives her 55-minute presentation based on the diary of Hattie Elizabeth Unangst and her additional research on the Civil War era. Taking a first-person, eyewitness perspective, she explains what life was like back then, describes the battle, its aftermath (including a description of medical care) and impact on the town in the months until Lincoln’s address.

We meet at the Robinson Auditorium complex on the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) campus in La Jolla. From North Torrey Pines Road, turn at Pangea Drive into UCSD. Free parking is available in the parking garage on the left; use any space other than those specifically reserved for UCSD vehicles. Signs will mark directions to our meeting room. Please refer to our website; or the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies website for driving directions and a map.

NEHGS Survey on Blog Reading

I received The Weekly Genealogist newsletter from the New England Historic Genealogical Society this morning, and was interested in the results of their survey:

Last week’s survey asked how many genealogical blogs you follow. The results are:
  • 60%, I follow no blogs.
  • 24%, I follow 1–2 blogs.
  • 10%, I follow 3–5 blogs.
  • 2%, I follow 6–10 blogs.
  • 3%, I follow over ten blogs.

The survey respondents (who are those who receive the email newsletter) are, I think, fairly well "tuned-in" to the genealogy world, and yet 60% of them do not read any blogs!  And only 3% of them follow over ten blogs.  The good news is that 36% follow at least one genealogy blog, and 12% follow more than two blogs.

This matches, to some extent, my own experience with my local genealogical society members - perhaps 20% of them read any blog, and maybe 10% of them read my blog, even though I've been touting it for over five years.

Even with magazine articles about "The Top 40" genealogy bloggers and the conference "Official bloggers," the penetration of genealogy blogs into the consciousness of the average "tuned-in" genealogy consumer (defined as one who joins societies, subscribes to magazines and websites, etc.) is really pretty limited. 

How can genealogy bloggers gain more readers and more exposure?  I think that can happen only by publishing informational, helpful and humorous content on a regular basis.  It helps to get exposure from websites and publications, but for genealogy blogging I think that "Quality Content is King."

It seems to me that only Dick Eastman has a significant following among non-blogging genealogists.  His online readership (about 60,000 people monthly according to rivals that of some of the published magazines and subscription websites.  In comparison, DearMyrtle is visited by about 9,000 people monthly, and GeneaMusings is visited by about 4,000 people monthly.  I doubt that those statistics include email subscriptions, but they may include RSS Reader subscriptions.

What say you, my readers? 
  • How many genealogy blogs do you read? 
  •  How do you read them? 
  • What kind of "Quality Content" do you like best? 
  • What types of posts do you like least?

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 179: The Voss, Norway Church

I'm finished with photographs from our Midwestern vacation. I scanned some photographs from our 1999 trip to Scandinavia, including a visit to Oslo and Voss in Norway. I am posting some of these photos.

This is a photograph of the entrance to the church in downtown Voss, Norway:

Voss is one of the 33 principalities in Hordaland in western Norway, and is the parish (prestegjeld in Norwegian) where Linda's Leland ancestors came from.  It extends over a fairly large area, and apparently had two other churches, one to the west in Evanger and one to the north in Vinje.  The church records for Voss were the primary source for most of the records I have for the vital records of the persons in Linda's Voss ancestry.

Svein Ulvund's website (  has over ten years of daily photographs from the area in and around Voss.  I found his site in 1999 before our trip to Scandinavia and met him when we visited in August of 1999.  Unfortunately, the days we were in Voss had cloudy and rainy weather, so my pictures are nowhere near the quality of Svein's photographs.

Svein has an informational page about Voss at but the Family Genealogy link doesn't work at this time.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 24: Adding a Media Item

See all posts in this series at Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 Compendium.

One of my major criteria for selecting a "preferred" genealogy management program is the ease in adding media items (images, audio, video) to persons and events. I want to demonstrate the media addition creation process in Family Tree Maker 2012, both for my own education and, hopefully, to help others navigate this process.

For this demonstration, I'm going to attach the 1850 U.S. census record to Isaac Seaver (1823-1901), my second great-grandfather.  I already have a source citation for this Fact, and have the image of the census page in my computer files.  Here is the process I went through:

1)  Starting from Isaac's Person page in the "People" workspace, I highlighted the Census Fact for 1850:

2)  I made a mistake here out of ignorance - I clicked on the "Media" tab in the right-hand panel rather than on the Source citation in the "Source" tab.  In the "Media" tab, I clicked on the "New" button down arrow and saw a menu that included "Add New Media," "Link to Existing Media," "Create New Smart Story" or "Scan Media."

3)   I chose "Add New Media" and the "Select media item" window opened to my computer files and I navigated to where I had stored the image:

 4)  I selected the 1850 Census file for Isaac Seaver from the list, and clicked on "OK."  A small window opened as shown below:

The "Copy to Media Folder" window above wanted me to pick between "Copy the file to the Media folder for this tree and link to it there" or "Link to this file where it is (without copying it)."  I chose the "Copy the file to the Media folder for this tree..." There are a number of Media Categories offered for the user to check - I chose "Census."  Lastly, I checked the box at the bottom of the window to "Always use this selection without prompting me."

5)  I clicked "OK" and was back to Isaac Seaver's Person page

In the screen above, the Media item is shown in the "Media" tab in the right-hand panel.  When I clicked on the "Source" tab to see if the media item was linked to the Fact (it was) and to the Source Citation (it was not!).  That is because I linked it to the Census Fact using the "Media" tab, but not to the Source Citation for the Fact. 

6)  In order to link the image to the Source Citation, I clicked on the "Source" tab, and double clicked on the Source Citation (I could have used the "Edit" icon also), and the "Edit Source citation for ..." window opened.  I clicked on the "Media" tab and was given the choice to "Add New Media" or "Link to Existing Media" on the right-hand side of the window. I chose "Link to Existing Media" and the media gallery of images opened, and I chose the 1850 Census image I had just entered:

7)  I clicked "OK" and returned to the Person page.  When I clicked on the "Sources" tab, the Media icon showed that Media was attached to the Source Citation on the list.  When I clicked on the "Media" tab in the right-hand panel, two Media items (for the 1850 census) appeared:

Why are there two?  Because I added the image to both the Fact (without the source) and the Fact Source.  From now on, I think that I will add the image only to the Fact Source.

8)  I clicked on the "Media" Workspace button (top of the screen) and on the "Media Collection" tab, which included the 1850 Census image.  I highlighted the 1850 Census image, and the image name and file folder link to the image appeared in the lower right-hand corner:

9)  When I click on the "Detail" tab in the "Media" Workspace, with the 1850 Census image highlighted, I see the image and in the lower panel, I see that the image is attached to both the Fact Source (but it does not list the Person or the Fact summary) and the Fact (it lists the Person and the Fact summary, but not the Fact Source):

Note that the image attached to the Fact or the Fact Source is not attached to the Person (if I highlight the person's name on the Person screen). 

10)  So while I made a mistake above by not just linking it to the Fact Source, I learned something about adding Media to Persons and Facts. 

I'm not sure which is the better way - attach it to the specific Fact Source (and not have it listed in the "Media" workspace as attached to a person and person's Fact) or attach it to the Fact (and have it listed in the "Media" workspace as attached to the person and the person's Fact).  What do other researchers recommend?  I'm pretty sure that I don't need to attach it to both!

The other issue for me was to choose between keeping the image in my computer file folder system or adding it to the Family Tree Maker Media Folder.  I chose the latter because that way I don't have to chase it down in my computer file folders; however, it does create a copy which uses more computer hard drive space.  I have recently re-organized my file folder system again, and if I did that again the link to the image would have been broken.  What do other researchers recommend? 

This task was relatively easy to perform, was not very complex, and worked quickly.

Richard Sandler Wins a FREE RootsTech 2012 Registration!

Richard Sandler of Corvallis, Oregon is the winner of the Win a FREE Registration to RootsTech (2-4 February 2012) contest on Genea-Musings.  Congratulations to Richard! 

The winner was selected by using a random number generator on  I put in the number of entries (there were 12) and it picked number 2, which was Rich's number in the list of entrants.

Rich answered the two entry questions this way:

1) I want to see Kathleen Murray & Tara Carlisle present on Mining Newspaper Archives. I think using old newspapers is a big hole in my research repertory.

2) I hope to see there as a vendor.  Very interesting idea and I need to learn more!

Thank you to all of the people who took the time to answer my questions and enter my contest!  I appreciate your effort.

There are still these RootsTech Official Blogger contests open to enter:

1)  Geniaus by Jill Ball ( closes at Midnight GMT (Greenwich Mean Time, that's 7 p.m. Tuesday, 15 November (today))

2) Gathering Stories by Nancy (closes at midnight CST on Friday, 18 November)

3)  GenBlog by Julie Cahill Tarr (closes at 8 p.m. CST on Friday, 18 November)

4)  Renee's Genealogy Blog by Renee Zamora (closes at 11:59 MST on Friday, 25 November)

5)  Granite Genealogy by Sue Maxwell (closes at midnight, Sunday, 20 November)

6)  Genealogy Gems Podcast by Lisa Louise Cooke (closes 11:59 PM PST on Wednesday, 23 November)

There may be other Official Blogger Contests coming also. 

If you didn't win this contest, and don't win any of the others, you can still register at the Early Bird Rates of $129 up until November 29 at

I look forward to meeting Rich Sandler at RootsTech 2012.  I hope he finds me in the Blogger Cave so that we can talk and get a picture together.

Thank you to the RootsTech conference organization for offering this free registration opportunity  through the Official Bloggers.

Disclosure:  This contest was offered as part of my association with Rootstech as an Official Rootstech Blogger. The winner receives one free registration to the conference. 

Tuesday's Tip - Check Out the Penny Postcards on USGenWeb Archives

This week's Tuesday's Tip is to:  Check out the Penny Postcards collection on the US Genealogy Web Archives website ( 

The Penny Postcards collection were submitted by collectors to the US GenWeb Archives.  The  postcards cost 1¢ to mail. Postage was temporarily raised to 2¢ from 1917 to 1919 to cover the cost of World War I and from 1925 to 1928 (not sure the reason for the latter).  If you wish to contribute cards that you own, check the Submissions page.

I was interested to see what postcards they had for San Diego County, so I clicked on "California" in the screen above, and saw links for all of the counties in California:

On the "San Diego" County page, there are several groups by general subject or location:

There are 119 images on the San Diego County page.  One of interest to me is the place I was born:

Yep, I was born in a Sanitarium in National City! 

You never know what you're going to find on the Internet, eh?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Using the Massachusetts Vital Records 1841-1915 Databases - Then and Now

At my OASIS (senior Adult Education) class on "Beginning Computer Genealogy" today, one of my nine students asked about finding Massachusetts Vital Records in the 1850 to 1930 time period. 

She had only a 1930 Census entry from with her ancestor's name (Joseph), age (31) and birthplace (Mass.), and she knew the name of two siblings (Charles and John) and Joseph's birth date (4 December 1897).  We couldn't find him in the 1920 census, but we found him in the 1910 Census on with the two siblings, other siblings and parents.

From  the available information, we weren't sure that we had the right family.  I immediately thought of the New England Historic Genealogical Society site at, which I knew had the Massachusetts Vital Records, so we searched there for the birth of her Joseph using my subscription.  We found him easily with the right birth date, and the parents were the ones in the 1910 Census record.

From there, we found the marriage record of the parents in 1885, which gave their ages and  birthplaces and the names of their parents and parents birthplaces.  The students thought all of that was pretty cool!  Just search a database and get two new generations ... but is a subscription website.

From this jump start, my student should be able to go back several more generations in these records, and should be able to find the children of each family by carefully searching these records and comparing the information with information from other records (for example, the census).

When I got home, I realized that these records are also available for FREE on the FamilySearch historical collections site (  The search capabilities on FamilySearch are better than on the American Ancestors site IMHO (e.g., wild cards, spouse names, parents names, etc.). 

I told my students how we used to do this in the "old days" - meaning before what, 2004?  The process in San Diego, 2,500 miles from Boston, was:

*  Check the Family History Library Catalog (FHLC), and order the microfilms for the Birth, Marriage and Death indexes for the surname letters of interest.  for instance, for Seaver, the "S" films.  Wait two or three weeks for them to arrive.
*  Review the microfilms, print out the index pages of interest, note the index entries that might be the persons of interest in the Births, Marriages and Deaths, and record the Volumes/Pages for the entries..
*  Check the FHLC for the different Volumes/Pages, and order the microfilms for the specific Volumes/Pages of interest.  Since each year was on different films (and Birth, Marriage and Death records were on different film series), this required a number of films to be ordered and reviewed.  Wait two or three weeks for each microfilm order batch.
*  Review the microfilms, print out  the pages of interest, or extract the information on the pages, and determine if the index entries were the right ones, etc. 
*  Do it all over again...

For just one entry in these records, it would take five to six weeks to obtain the record!

Between 1994 and 2000, I spent many Saturdays at the Family History Center ordering, reviewing and extracting information for ALL of the Seaver/Sever entries (there were hundreds of them) in these indexes and records, plus records for selected other ancestral families.  I don't know how many films I ordered, but I'm sure it was in the hundreds!  At only $3 each in those days.  I was happy to support the local FHC and the FHL!  This was typical of Genealogy in the late 20th Century.

I was ecstatic when the NEHGS put these indexes and records online - they are a priceless resource for researchers with roots in Massachusetts.  As an NEHGS member, I have used them extensively while filling out related families, and in my Seaver, Dill and Buck one-name studies.

Now these records are available online for FREE at FamilySearch in:

Massachusetts Births, 1841-1915

Massachusetts Marriages, 1841-1915

Massachusetts, Deaths, 1841-1915

It took me all of five minutes to find my student's ancestor's birth record and the parents marriage record.  While the class watched.  That's Genealogy in the 21st Century in spades!

I told my students several times in the four class sessions that the Internet is wonderful for genealogy research - but that not every record is indexed or digitized, and that you still have to double check against all known information, and then again when more information is available later, in order to assure that you have the right persons and relationships. 

My students were happy to be working on their genealogy and family history, and they received a 50 page syllabus for their continuing education.  It was a fun day at OASIS, plus I got paid to do it.