Saturday, December 24, 2011

'Twas the Night Before a Genealogist's Christmas

I received this parody of Clement Moore's masterpiece via email back in the mid-1990's, the author is unknown to me. Kimberly Powell at the About Genealogy page also has it on her site.

'Twas the night before Christmas
When all through the house
Not a creature was stirring,
Not even my spouse.
The dining room table with clutter was spread
With pedigree charts and with letters which said...
"Too bad about the data for which you wrote;
Sank in a storm on an ill-fated boat."
Stacks of old copies of wills and such
Were proof that my work had become too much.
Our children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.
And I at my table was ready to drop
From work on my album with photos to crop.
Christmas was here, and such was my lot
That presents and goodies and toys I'd forgot.
Had I not been busy with grandparents' wills,
I'd not have forgotten to shop for such thrills,
While others bought gifts to bring Christmas cheers,
I'd spent time researching those birth dates and years.
While I was thus musing about my sad plight,
A strange noise on the lawn gave me such a great fright.
Away to the window I flew in a flash,
Tore open the drapes and yanked up the sash.
When what with my wondering eyes should appear,
But an overstuffed sleigh and eight small reindeer.
Up to the house top the reindeer they flew,
With a sleigh full of toys and 'ole Santa Claus, too.
And then in a twinkle, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of thirty-two hoofs.
As I drew in my head, and bumped it on the sash,
Down the cold chimney fell Santa--KER-RASH!
"Dear" Santa had come from the roof in a wreck,
And tracked soot on the carpet, (I could wring his short neck!)
Spotting my face, good 'ole Santa could see
I had no Christmas spirit you'd have to agree.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work
And filled all the stockings, (I felt like a jerk).
Here was Santa, who'd brought us such gladness and joy:
When I'd been too busy for even one toy.
He spied my research on the table all spread
"A genealogist!" He cried! (My face was all red!)
"Tonight I've met many like you," Santa grinned,
As he pulled from his sack a large book he had penned.
I gazed with amusement--the cover it read
Genealogy Lines for Which You Have Plead.
"I know what it's like as a genealogy bug."He said
as he gave me a great Santa hug.
"While the elves make the sleighful of toys I now carry,
I do some research in the North Pole Library!
A special treat I am thus able to bring,
To genealogy folk who can't find a thing."
"Now off you go to your bed for a rest,
I'll clean up the house from this genealogy mess."
As I climbed up the stairs full of gladness and glee,
I looked back at Santa who'd brought much to me.
While settling in bed, I heard Santa's clear whistle,
To his team, which then rose like the down of a thistle.
And I heard him exclaim as he flew out of sight,
"Family history is Fun! Merry Christmas! Goodnight!"
--Author Unknown

To all, I wish a very Merry Christmas, and I hope Santa brings you a special gift for your family history.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Being Santa Claus

It's Christmas Eve, but it's also Saturday Night - time for more Genealogy Fun!  Unless you're too busy being Santa Claus, or waiting for Santa Claus.

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

1)  Tell us your favorite memory of "being Santa Claus."  Have you ever put on the red suit?  Were you Santa Claus to your children or grandchildren?  Did you bring gifts to people out of the love in your heart?

2)  Tell us in a comment to this blog post, in your own blog post, in a Facebook status or a Google Plus stream post.

Here's mine:

Ho Ho Ho!!!  I've been acting like Santa Claus for 42 years - ever since Linda and I were married. 

The best years were when our daughters were young, from age 2 to about age 10, and they still believed in the wonder and mystery of Santa Claus.  I have fond (?) memories of putting hot wheels, tricycles, bicycles, toy stoves, and the like together on Christmas Eve after they had gone to bed with sugar plums dancing in their heads (well, they were excited).  Some of these sessions lasted until 1 or 2 a.m. out in the cold garage.  And then being awakened early on Christmas morning by scampering feet, excited whispers and then shouts and kids jumping on my bed all excited about what Santa Claus had brought them.  It was always worth it!

I'm enjoying seeing the same thing with my four grandchildren.  My grandkids parents are doing a great job of being Santa Claus.

My latest attempt at "being Santa Claus" happened about two weeks ago.  The phone rang, and my daughter said "Hi Santa.  Lauren has been very naughty, and I want you to talk to her about what she wants for Christmas." 

I practiced a "Ho Ho Ho" and said: "OK, let me speak with Lauren."  My daughter said "Lauren, Santa Claus wants to speak to you."

Lauren came on the phone with a very tentative "Hi Santa."

Santa said:  "Lauren, I want you to have a wonderful Christmas.  Your mommy told me that you have been naughty.  You know that naughty girls don't get nice gifts like a new bicycle for Christmas from Santa, they get lumps of coal in their stockings and that's all.  If you promise mommy and Santa that you'll be a good girl, Santa will be happy to bring you some nice gifts.  Will you promise mommy and Santa to be a good girl?"

A very timid Lauren: "Yes, yes I will promise."

Santa:  "Well, I need to go feed my reindeer and check on the elves and make sure they have your gifts on the list, Please leave the cookies and milk out for me by your tree.  Bye Lauren - Ho Ho Ho."

I didn't even have to disguise my voice (which I couldn't if I tried).  My daughter said that she was so wide-eyed and concerned that she was a different girl for, oh, the next hour or two. 

I love being Santa Claus.  I've been working on my beard and my belly!

Surname Saturday - BOWDEN (England > Massachusetts)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I am up to number 315, who is Mary BOWDEN (1705-????), one of my 6th-great-grandparents. [Note: The 6th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts].

My ancestral line back through three generations of BOWDEN 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)

38. Thomas J. Newton (????-????)
39. Sophia Buck (1797-1882)

78. Isaac Buck (1757-1846)
79. Martha Phillips (1757-????)

156. Isaac Buck (ca 1732-????)
157. Mary Richards (1733-????)

 314.  Joseph Richards, born about 1703 in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts, United States; died 04 June 1748 in Southborough, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 628. Crispus Richards and 629. Sarah Collins.  He married 05 May 1726 in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.
315.  Mary Bowden, born 19 July 1705 in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.

Children of Joseph Richards and Mary Bowden are:  William Richards (1730-1794); Joseph Richards (1731-????); Mary Richards (1733-????); Ebenezer Richards (1738-1807); Martha Richards (1740-????); John Richards (1742-1840); Hannah Richards (1744-1841); Esther Richards (1746-1847).

 630.  Michael Bowden, born 1673 in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts, United States; died before 12 October 1741 in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.   He married 20 November 1697 in Danvers, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.
 631.  Sarah Davis, born 01 February 1676 in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts, United States; died 01 September 1754 in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.  She was the daughter of 1262. John Davis and 1263. Sarah Kirtland.

Children of Michael Bowden and Sarah Davis are:  Susanna Bowden (1699-????); Francis Bowden (1701-????); Sarah Bowden (1702-????); Mary Bowden (1705-????); Martha Bowden (1705-????); Hannah Bowden (1707-????); John Bowden (1709-????); Lydia Bowden (1712-????); Michael Bowden (1714-????); Ebenezer Bowden (1716-????); Susanna Bowden (1717-????); Benjamin Bowden (1721-????).

1260.  Michael Bowden, born about 1651 in Massachusetts, United States; died 26 June 1740 in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.  He married  15 December 1669 in Topsfield, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.
1261.  Sarah Nurse, born 1648 in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.  She was the daughter of 2522. Francis Nurse and 2523. Rebecca Towne.

Children of Michael Bowden and Sarah Nurse are:  Susannah Bowden (1670-????); Michael Bowden (1673-1741); Samuel Bowden (1676-1737); Francis Bowden (1678-1759).

The resources used to define these families include:

(1) William Hammond Bowden, "Michael Bowden and Some of his Descendants," on FHL microfilm 1,321,045 Item 12.

(2) The website "Stanley History Project" has a page devoted to the Michael Bowden family at

The latter source indicates that Michael Bowden (1651-1740) was probably the son of Samuel Bowden of Gloucester, Massachusetts. 

Advent Calendar - December 24: Christmas Eve

This is the 24th of 24 posts for the 2011 Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories, a Geneablogger tradition.

On the first day before Christmas,
Anticipation was high
For Santa Claus was nigh!

1) How did you and your family spend Christmas Eve?

As a child, we always (that I recall) spent Christmas Eve at my grandparents house in Point Loma because they had a chimney. At a young age, I was always trying to figure out how Santa Claus could visit us in our apartment flat - and my parents tried to prevent questions by doing this. I'm sure my grandparents loved this, since my brother and I were their only grandchildren.

It was also a handy place to store toys and gifts for us before the holidays. We used to look everywhere in our house for them.Then one frosty Christmas Eve, (um, well, wrong adjective, but what the hey) my brother and I were exploring my grandparents' garage - and found two bicycles. Aha - if we get these tomorrow from Santa, then we will know for sure that Santa is really our parents. Sure enough, there they were on Christmas morning - marked from Santa!

But, being smart little boys, we just smiled at each other, and kept the secret for another year or so. After all, we now had a new little brother to watch over and have fun with.Christmas Eve day also included shopping - at least for me (covered on Day 6).

In my married life, when we were scheduled to fly to San Francisco on Christmas Day, we often had our Seaver family Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve with my parents, grandparents, cousin Dorothy and my brothers. This was always Christmas dinner, gift exchange, and family talk.

When we were in town, we went to church on Christmas Eve - when the kids were young, we usually went to the early service at 6 or 7 PM, and saw the Christmas Story, sang hymns, and had our candle light march (as I explained on Day 5).

In years when we travel to see our girls and their families, we usually leave several days before Christmas, spend two nights in Victorville, then arrive Christmas Eve day in Santa Cruz. This year, we are in Santa Cruz visiting our daughter and our two grandsons.

When the daughters and grandkids are here, there is the setting up and setting out of gifts on Christmas Eve while sugar plums dance in their heads, plus putting cookies and milk out for Santa, his elves and the reindeer.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Names in the Census Records

Here's an oldie but a goodie for my devoted readers --

I was devastated when the post came out several years ago about the Christmas characters that Dan Lynch posted on his web site, I had worked on most of those names for two weeks and was waiting for the "season" to post them.

So, here are the rest of my "character" findings (originally posted in 2006) with some recent additions:

1) Ebenezer Scroggs (1850, Harrison County OH) is as close to Ebenezer Scrooge as I can get.

2) Robert Crachet (1880, Scott County AR). Another Robert Crachet flew into New York City from Paris on Air France on 2 August 1956 - maybe to perform in a play on Broadway?

3) Three Grinch brothers (Charles, John and Lenwards) came into New York City on 6 September 1875 aboard the "Egypt." There is no word if they came to steal Christmas. Obviously, if they did, they failed.

4) There is a Jasper Magi and Baldermo Magi (1930, Fairfield County CT) but no Melchior; there are Gaspar Wiseman (1930, Queens County NY) and Melvin Wiseman (1930, Muskegon county MI), but no Balthasar or similar.

5) There are 18 Harold Angel persons in the 1930 census. No Hark Angel, however.

6) Sila Knight (1870, Randolph County, AL) is the closest to Silent Night I could find. Lots of Silas Knight people.

7) There are 3 Noel Noel persons in the 1930 census.

8) Angel Angel (1930, Maricopa County AZ) is one of the repeating angels.

9) There are two Merry Christmas girls in the 1930 census (there are lots of Mary Christmas females too).

10) Holly Bush (1930, Roanoke County VA) sticks out.

11) Christ Tree (1930, LaPorte County IN) probably extended his branches

12) Jessie Manger (1930, Polk County IA) parents were not Joseph and Mary

13) Then there are Santa's reindeer: Were they:

Cupid Wiseman
Melvin Dancer
Hugo Blitzen
Chris Donder
Rudolf Dasher
Dasher Berry
Prancer Saner
Vixen Locke
Theodore Comet

Just wondering!!

You know, if Bah Morgan (1900, Stephenson IL) had married Cecil Humbug (1900, Delaware County PA) we would have had more Humbugs than we would know what to do with.

I'm wondering if Alvin Monk (1930, Schoharie County NY), Simon Monk (1930, Lonoke AR) and Theodore Monk (1930, Cotton County OK) really got together in 1958 to sing The Chipmunk Song. Maybe they weren't a figment of Ross Bagdasarian's imagination.

OK, I'm done! I hope you enjoyed this little prance down Santa Claus lane.

What other Christmas related names are there? C'mon, lay them on me.

Follow Friday - Genealogy Fun on Christmas Weekend

Christmas weekend is here, and many of us will  be really busy with family and friends.  If you have some free time (yeah, right!), I recommend:

1) Listen to the Geneabloggers Radio show 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 The Festivus Show!

This week our show is entitled The Festivus Show. Get your metal pole out from the crawl space and gather around the radio as we honor the traditions of Festivus! Listeners are encouraged to call in at (213) 286-6709 and join in the fun. Tell us what really “grinds your gears” about genealogy (airing of grievances) as well as show off your genealogy super-powers and accomplishments (feats of strength). And we’ll have a special discussion about giving back to the genealogy community (the Human Fund). This will truly be a Festivus for the rest of us!

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 show is on hiatus until 3 January 2012.  Please check the Archives for past radio shows.

3) Check out the recent FREE Webinars on:

* LegacyFamilyTree:

*** "Is My Pet Frog Part of My Family?" Children and Genealogy in the Classroom, by Maureen Taylor (free until 26 December)
*** Tracing Immigrant Ancestors, by Lisa Alzo (free until 19 December)
*** A Closer Look at Google+, by Dan Lynch (free until 12 December)
*** New Genealogy Technology: Flip-Pal™ Mobile Scanner, by Gordon Nuttall (free)
*** Celebrate the Holidays and Share Family History with Heritage Collector software, by Kathleen Bitter
*** Creating a Shareable CD with Legacy and Passage Express software, by Jefferson Shupe *** Exploring and by their founder, Paul Allen.
*** "Newspapers for Genealogists: Using to document every day of your ancestors' lives" with Tom Kemp.
*** "Organizng for Success" with Karen Clifford
*** "The Power of DNA in Unlocking Family Relationships," with Ugo Perugo

* RootsMagic Webinars (all free) available at Recently added:

*** What's New in RootsMagic 5
*** Fun Family Gifts with RootsMagic, Personal Historian, and Family Atlas

* 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 over 128 items on it now, including (free to view):

*** LIVE: Using Online Trees to Help with Pre-1850 Relatives  with Anne Mitchell.
*** LIVE: Reading Handwritten Historical Documents with Anne Mitchell
*** Live: How to Control Your Results with Anne Mitchell
*** LIVE: How to Use the World War II Draft Registration Cards with Juliana Smith
*** LIVE: How do I find the maiden names of women in my family tree? by Crista Cowan
*** LIVE: I believe my ancestor was Native American/Indian, How do I prove that? by Crista Cowan
*** LIVE: Unlock the Secrets of the 1790 - 1840 US Census Records with Anne Mitchell
*** 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. Is any society doing anything this weekend? Check for seminars in 2012 and sign up for them!

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

* 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. We are with our daughter and her family in Santa Cruz this weekend to celebrate Christmas.  We'll be making family history and memories.

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) GO SHOPPING for genealogical products or services, or for technology products, for yourself, or for a gift for that special genealogy friend. Online or in a store - go for it!

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.

Advent Calendar - December 23: Christmas and Sweetheart Memories

This is the 23rd of 24 posts for the 2011 Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories, a Geneablogger tradition.

On the 2nd day before Christmas
My true love spoils me
With so many Christmas gifts.

1) Do you have a special memory of a first Christmas present from a sweetheart?

I have no clue what the first Christmas present from Linda was in 1969. I do know that we made a commitment to each other about that time, and that was the greatest gift I could have received. We married in March 1970.

2) How did you spend your first Christmas together?

We didn't in 1969, even though that was our first year "together." Linda flew up to San Francisco to be with her parents, brother and other relatives for Christmas. I probably took her to the airport on the 23rd or 24th, and I'm sure that I welcomed her back several days after Christmas.

In the literal sense, our first Christmas together (1970) was spent in San Francisco at her parents house on 47th Avenue in the Sunset District. I had been there several times before. It was one of those row houses ("little boxes on the hillside") that was essentially 24' by 24' with two stories - living above, garage below. They had added a room (again probably 24' by 24') on both stories - the upper room was her parents' bedroom, the lower room was the party room.

When we visited, we got to sleep in the second bedroom with a foldout bed. A terrible bed - had a plywood board under the two-inch thick mattress. Christmas there was different - with several elderly family members coming to dinner and close neighbors dropping by.

The atmosphere was celebratory, everyone seemed happy to see everyone else, liquor flowed freely, and the gifts were forgettable. But the family feeling was always there. The most special person was Linda's grandmother - called "Oo Hoo" (yep - you guessed it, when Linda was a child, when they arrived at the door, her aunt would call out "Yoo hoo" and "Oo Hoo" would come to greet everybody. The name stuck - everybody used it). In 1970, she was age 86 and had attended our wedding and just beamed when her granddaughter married this nice young engineer man from San Diego with some hair. Paul and I would go fetch the elderly aunts, another elderly distant cousin and her husband would come also, and a widow from down the street who was her parents good friend also attended.

As the years went on, we alternated celebrating Christmas in San Francisco and San Diego. When the girls came along, we kept this tradition well into the 1980's.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Checking Out the Mocavo Tree Connections

I received an email from the other day saying:

"Thank you for uploading your family tree to Your connections are now ready to be viewed! 

"Our vision of sending your family tree matches by email has expanded, and now you're able to see all of them in one place, right on While we'll still be sending you notifications of new connections via email, you can see yours right now by logging into and clicking on "My Connections" in the top navigation bar on the home page.

"From here, you'll be able to explore all current and past connections that we've found for you. Additionally, in the upcoming weeks & months, we'll be making many improvements, including the ability to track what pages you've looked at already and to rate our connections for future reference."
That sounded promising, so I went to and signed in to their Mocavo Plus service.
Here is the Home Page screen:

The top menu row has links to "Search," "Company," "Blog," "Contact," "FAQ," and "My Connections."

The large buttons on the top right of the screen are for "Home," "Advanced Search," "Upload," and "Contact."

A user can now Upload a GEDCOM file to Mocavo using the "Upload" button.  Here is the Upload screen:

This screen says:

"Get the best results from Mocavo and the open web by uploading your family tree today. Mocavo will begin sending out fully-automated search results and will publish family trees in to the search index to help out the community. Make sure you have a GEDCOM file ready with all of your family tree data."

A user can browse for their GEDCOM file in their computer file folders, name their tree, describe their tree, and check the box if they want their tree results to be found by the Mocavo search engine.  I do, so I checked the box.

I did this back in June, so now I am ready to go exploring in my own tree.  I clicked on the "My Connections" link and saw:

The title of my Family Tree is at the top of the page, below the Mocavo banner.  On the left is a little information box that says:

"Here are advanced search results for people in your family tree. We add more results as they become available."

On the right is a "Family Tree Connections" list of all of the people in my Mocavo Family Tree with advanced search results found by Mocavo for each person in my tree.  I scrolled down a bit further, and clicked on one of the search results for Peter Adams (1621-1690).  A screen for a Peter Adams entry in another Family Tree appeared:

As an aside, I love that the Western Michigan Genealogical Society has put the family trees of many of their members into a "The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding" database and made it available on their website.
Back to my Mocavo family tree... back on the "My Connections" page, I clicked on the link for the "Family Tree Profile" for Hannah Adams, and saw (two screens):

This Person screen has the person's name, birth information, death information, father's name, mother's name, spouse's name, and children's name(s).  The father, mother, spouse(s) and children names are buttons that can be used to navigate from one person to another in the Mocavo tree.
I noted that there are no Notes or Sources for these Persons.  There are placeholders for pictures of the Persons, although they are not active links yet.  
As best I can tell, the purpose of the Mocavo Family Connection feature is to enable searchers to find your information in a Search and not as a family tree pedigree chart, family group sheet or narrative report generator.
I went to the "Advanced Search" button and entered the name of Amos Plimpton (1735-1808) into the Search fields:

He is in my Mocavo Tree, so he should be found in the Search if the Trees are searched by Mocavo. 

Here are the search results.

There are seven matches for my search terms, but none of them are the Amos Plimpton in my Mocavo Family Tree.  It appears that the Search feature for the Mocavo Trees is not working yet, or at least it hasn't added my Persons to the Search list yet.
I will report further when the Mocavo Search finds the people in my Mocavo Family Tree.
Disclosure:  I was given a Mocavo Plus account by Mocavo so that I could test their Search and Tree system.  That did not affect the descriptions and opinions expressed in this blog post.

The Twelve Days of a Genealogist's Christmas

A genealogy oriented version of the Twelve Days of Christmas is available on the Internet - see Kimberly Powell's site at

I decided I would do my own based on using computer genealogy, my own needs and my own research:

On the 12th day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me --

Twelve Revolutionary War pension files with the Family Bible -pages included (12)

Eleven passenger lists clearly written (22)

Ten WorldConnect entries of elusive ancestors (30)

Nine message board postings from distant cousins (36)

Eight probate files (40)

Seven census pages (42)

Six deed abstracts (42)

Five newspaper obituaries (40)

Four marriage records (36)

Three family Bibles (30)

Two draft registration images (22)

And a new name in my family tree. (12)

I've put the total number in parenthesis of each item - if you sing the song all the way through, going one number at a time.

My true love is a busy girl, isn't she?

But, but, but ... that would take all the fun out of the ancestor search, wouldn't it?

All-in-One 1940 U.S. Census Utility Available

I received this from Joel Weintraub and Steve Morse this morning:


Last week a new 1940 Census tool was added to the Census section of the One-Step website (  It's called the Unified 1940 Census ED Finder (  Here's some background so that you can appreciate why this tool is necessary and what it does.

As you know, the 1940 census when released on April 2 will not have a name index, and probably won't have a complete one for at least six months.  In the interim, the only way to access the census is by ED.  That means that researchers will have to determine the EDs for their locations.  And the largest collection of tools for doing such is on the One-Step website.

The One-Step 1940 ED tools consists of the Large City ED Finder, the ED Street Finder,  the ED Definitions tool, the 1930/1940 ED converter, the ED Map tool, and the Census Tracts tool.  That's a daunting number of tools so, to make life simpler, a Tutorial Quiz was recently introduced (yes, another tool) that guides the user through a series of questions and recommends the appropriate tool based on his answers.

But the Tutorial Quiz takes time and understanding, and most researchers would like to just jump in and find their ED.  That's what the Unified ED Finder allows them to do.  They simply enter on the form as much of their location as they know.  The tool then makes the decision as to which of the most popular One-Step tools is most appropriate, and takes the user directly to that tool with the desired ED (or perhaps a small number of possible EDs) displayed.  And each ED so displayed contains a link to the census images for that ED, although the links will not be operational until April 2.

Treasure Chest Thursday - a Hildreth + Sawtell Marriage Certificate


It's Treasure Chest Thursday - time to share an artifact or a document image from my collection of ancestral stuff.

The treasure today is the marriage certificate for Zachariah Hildreth and Hannah Sawtell in 1810 in Townsend, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, obtained by postal mail from the Townsend Town Clerk's office in 1995:

The information on this "CERTIFICATE of DEATH" includes:

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

from the records of marriages in the town of Townsend Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Name:  Zachariah Hildreth Jr
Residence:  Townsend
Age:  ----  Years
Occupation:  -----
Place of Birth:  ------
Name of Father:  -----
Name of Mother:  -----
No. of Marriage:  -----

Name:  Hannah Sawtell
Residence: Townsend
Age: ---- Years
Occupation: -----
Place of Birth: ------
Name of Father: -----
Name of Mother: -----
No. of Marriage: -----

Place and Date of Marriage:  Townsend  October 21, 1810
By Whom Married:  Rev. David Palmer

I, Marilyn C. MacEachern depose and say that I hold the office of Town Clerk of the Town of Townsend, county of Middlesex, and Commonwealth of Massachusetts; that the records of Births, Marriages and Deaths required by law to be kept in said Town are in my custody, and that the above is a true copy from the records of Marriages in said Town, as certified by me.

WITNESS my hand and the Seal of said Town, on the 12th day of January 19 95.
Marilyn C. MacEachern
Town Clerk

Unfortunately, the Townsend town records do not include the ages, occupations, parents names or birthplace of both Zachariah and Hannah. 

Advent Calendar - December 22: Christmas and Deceased Relatives

This is the 22nd of 24 posts for the 2011 Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories, a Geneablogger tradition.

On the 3rd Day before  Christmas
My true love said "I'm sad,
Let's go see your mom and dad."

1) Did your family visit the cemetery at Christmas?

I have specific memories of, as a boy, going with my mother and her parents to put flowers on the wall to honor Georgia Auble, and Austin and Della Carringer, at the Cypress View mausoleum. I think it was at Christmas. My grandparents were very close to their parents, having lived with them, or next door to them, nearly all their lives. I think I took my mother (since she didn't drive) to Cypress View after her parents died for several years at Christmas.

I don't recall going to my father's grave at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery at Christmas time, although we went occasionally when we had Seaver family visitors.

2) How did your family honor deceased family members at Christmas?

We have never had shrines or anything like that for our deceased relatives. There are pictures on the walls of them. At the Christmas Day dinner, I usually lead a family prayer and specifically mention those that have gone before, and name them by name (I only go back to my grandparents! It would be a really long prayer otherwise).

I had hoped to gather thumb sized face photos of as many ancestors as possible from my collection of photographs and get them put onto Christmas tree ornaments but that project was put on hold. If I did that, then I could put the photos in my online Family Trees too.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Historical Records of a Real Santa Claus

A person named "Santa Clause" (born April 1887 in MO) was the son of William Clause (born Feb 1857 in MO) and Henrietta Clause (born May 1861 in MO) in the 1900 census, with siblings Emma B. Clause (born Jan 1881 in MO), William E. Clause (born Nov 1882 in MO), Earler (?) Clause (born Dec 1885 in MO), Nellie Claus (born Nov 1889) and Earl Clause (born Dec 1894 in MO). The family resided in Liberty township, Saline County, MO (NARA T623, Roll 902, ED 129, Page 3A).

In the 1910 census, "Sante Claus" was age 23, single, a farm laborer, living as a hired man in the household of David Fleshman in Liberty township, Saline County, MO (NARA T624, Roll 823, ED 172, Page 4A).

In the 1920 census, "Santy Clause" (age 31, single, a boarder) resided with his brother Earl Clause in Blackwater township, Pettis County, MO (NARA T625, Roll 939, ED 125, Page 4B).

In the 1930 census, "Santa Claus" (age 42, married, first at age 24, born in MO, a laborer, works in river construction) resided in Marshall township, Saline County, MO with his wife Mabel Claus (age 36, married, first at age 18 in MO), son William Claus (age 15, born MO), son Raymond Claus (age 12, born CO), son Fred Claus (age 9, born MO), son Joseph Claus (age 6, born MO), son James Claus (age 3, born MO) and daughter Dorthy Claus (age 0, born MO) (NARA T626, Roll 1246, ED 20, Page 12A).

Notice that son Raymond Claus was born in Colorado, not Missouri. And also note that Santa was in Missouri in the 1920 census listed as single, but he obviously had a wife and children in 1920 if the 1930 census records are correct.

There is more:

Santy Clause married Minnie Mabel Hill on 9 June 1912 in Marshall, Saline County, Missouri. Their marriage record is in the Missouri Marriage License database on, but it only says that he was from Marshall and over age 21, and she was from Marshall and over age 18.

"Santy Clause" registered for the World War I draft on 5 June 1917 in Prowers County, Colorado. He was age 29, born 4 April 1888 in Marshall MO, a natural born US citizen, Caucasian, married with two children. He was a farmer, and resided in Lamar, Route A, Prowers County, Colorado. He was medium height, medium build, blue eyes, light brown hair, and no disabilities, and had no previous military service.

I was unable to find Mabel Claus or the two children, William and Raymond, in the 1920 census - perhaps someone else would like to try! My best guess is that they may be in Colorado then, or back in Saline County MO.

One last bit of data: Members of the Clause family are buried in Blue Lick Union Church Cemetery in Saline County, Missouri. The list includes:

Donna Clause (died 3 Oct 1942, age 0-4-24)
Earl Clause (1894-1940)
Helen F. Clause (1919-1955)
Henrietta S. Clause (18__-1915)
Minnie Mabel Clause ("mother," 1894-1944)
Raymond E. Clause (1917-1971)
Santa Clause ("Father," 1888-1957)Silvina Clause (1877-1964)
William Clause (1856-1917)

So, to summarize:

"Santa Claus" was born 4 April 1887 or 1888 in Marshall, Saline County, MO, the son of William and Henrietta (--?--) Claus. He married Minnie Mabel Hill in 1912 and they had at least 6 children.  He was a laborer in river construction in 1930. He died in 1957 and is buried in Saline County, Missouri.

This Santa Claus is, unfortunately, not coming to town soon - he's dead and buried in Missouri. It doesn't appear that he could possibly be the jolly purveyor of toys and good cheer with a big belly and long white beard who lives with his unnamed wife and elves and 9 reindeer at the North Pole, does it?

Don't tell the kids.

Isn't it amazing what you can find on the Internet with lots of spare time on your hands?

I posted this originally on 27 November 2006 and had two comments from granddaughters of Santa Claus, one from a cousin several times removed, and one from a lady whose parents were married by Santa Claus..

MyHeritage Releases new feature-packed Family Tree Builder 6.0

Daniel Horowitz of sent this press release via email today:


MyHeritage releases new feature-packed Family Tree Builder 6.0

Updated version of world’s most popular free family history software adds new blend of historical content and technological innovation to highlight the depth and diversity in every family’s heritage

PROVO, Utah & LONDON & TEL AVIV, Israel – December 21, 2011:, the largest family network on the web, today announced the release of Family Tree Builder 6.0, the most comprehensive free software for family history fans around the world. With the addition of automatic research in historical records and new features for presenting family memories, Family Tree Builder 6.0 makes researching family history more engaging and rewarding than ever.

Millions of family history enthusiasts and genealogists worldwide use MyHeritage’s Family Tree Builder software to explore, document and showcase their roots. The newly improved Family Tree Builder 6.0 will enable them to access historical content for the first time, view their family history in several innovative and stylish new ways and help celebrate family events - past and present.

“Combining cutting edge technology with ease-of-use, Family Tree Builder is the ideal companion for taking an exciting journey to the past, sharing memories in the present and documenting them for future generations”, said MyHeritage Founder and CEO Gilad Japhet. “Packed with exciting new features, Family Tree Builder adds color and depth to family history research for professionals and beginners alike. We’re proud to have developed the industry’s most comprehensive and feature-rich software, and, true to our mission of bringing family history to the masses, we’ll continue to keep it free for all to use.”

Automatic search for historical content

Following the recent acquisition of World Vital Records by MyHeritage, Family Tree Builder 6.0 adds historical content to its suite of features for the first time. The software automatically searches for relevant historical records amongst billions of birth, marriage, death and census records, plus newspapers and yearbooks - whenever information in the family tree is added or edited. Relevant historical records for any person in the tree can then be viewed in just one click.

New ways to view and present your family history

Family Tree Builder users can synchronize their data with a private online family site on, an ideal platform for sharing their heritage and staying in touch with their family. This also enables family members to view their family tree and share photos on-the-go using MyHeritage's recently released free mobile apps for iPad, iPhone and Android. Improved integration with family sites seamlessly merges some of the most popular web-based features on MyHeritage with the software, such as:

Family Statistics: MyHeritage analyzes the family tree and produces 45 beautiful, enlightening statistics like average lifespan and most commonly used first names. Many unique stats not available anywhere else are displayed. For example, the geographical distribution of countries of birth and residence, the top families where the gap between the age of husband and wife is highest, the average age difference between youngest and oldest child in all families, and much more.

Profile pages: Profile Pages present the depth and diversity of family history person by person. Profiles beautifully display information about individuals in the tree and include photos, close family relatives, events, citations and much more.

• Family Timeline: Family events and photos are arranged in an attractive, fun-to-use timeline. Zoom in from a century to a single day and compare any family member’s timeline with relevant historical events.

• Family Timebook: The Timebook is a beautiful digital book of family photos and biographies of close relatives. Timebooks are generated using clever algorithms that resemble the way people create scrapbooks with tender loving care, but do so automatically.

• Family Memory Game: This unique online game automatically generates personalized picture cards of close relatives and ancestors - based on a user’s family tree. It can be played in competition mode or against the clock. The game is ideal for educating younger generations about their ancestors and introducing them to the fascinating hobby of genealogy.

Celebrate family events

• Family Events: Important family events are listed and displayed on convenient monthly or yearly calendars – making it easy to remember special family occasions and send greetings.

The above new features complement the vast range of existing features in Family Tree Builder 6.0, which include Smart Matches™, stunning family tree charts, facial recognition technology, interactive maps, photo albums and slideshows, book reports, family tree consistency checker, to-do lists and much more.

The new Family Tree Builder 6.0 is available in 37 languages and can be downloaded for free from

About MyHeritage
MyHeritage is the most popular family network on the web. Millions of families around the world enjoy having a private and free place for their families to keep in touch and to showcase their roots. MyHeritage’s Smart Matching™ technology empowers users with an exciting and innovative way to find relatives and explore their family history. With all family information stored in a secure site, MyHeritage is the ideal place to share family photos and preserve special family moments. Available in 38 languages, MyHeritage has more than 60 million registered users and is home to more than 900 million profiles and 21 million family trees. The company is backed by Accel Partners and Index Ventures, the investors of Facebook and Skype. For more information visit

For more information contact:
Daniel Horowitz                        Schelly Talalay Dardashti                   Mark Olsen
Chief Genealogist                     US Genealogy Advisor                       Affiliate Manager                                                 (505) 994.1554                                          (801) 687.0599

Ancestry Member Trees, Family Tree Maker 2012, and the iPhone Ancestry App - Post 3

The previous posts in this series are:

Ancestry Member Trees, Family Tree Maker 2012, and the iPhone Ancestry App in which I noted that the Media items that I had attached to my Ancestry Member Tree using my iPhone had not been added to the Family Tree Maker 2012 tree that I had synchronized to the Ancestry Member Tree. 

Ancestry Member Trees, Family Tree Maker 2012, and the iPhone Ancestry App - Post 2 in which I started over after my FTM 2012 database would not sync with the Ancestry Member Tree for some reason.  I unlinked the Ancestry Member Tree from the Family Tree Maker 2012 database, then created a new Family Tree Maker 2012 database from the Ancestry Member Tree.  This worked with no sync errors.

Last night, I added more links to historical records on to my Ancestry Member Tree using my iPhone - and I did this only for persons in the Tree that I had not added links to records previously.  Let's see how we did:

1)  Before I tried to Sync the FTM 2012 database to the modified Ancestry Member Tree, I took this screen shot of the Plan workspace:

The screen told me that I was not in Sync with the Ancestry Member Tree, and that a Sync was needed.  So I clicked on the Sync Now button and waited while the FTM 2012 database synced to the ancestry Member Tree.

2)  It finished, and the Sync Change Log appeared:

The Sync Change Log told me that these items had changed:

*  30 People had Changes
*  2 Sources had been added
*  74 Citations had been added

3)  The Plan workspace screen showed:

The FTM 2012 database and the Ancestry Member Tree are now in Sync.

Note that the "Media processing" ribbon is only partially green, so I have to wait until that finishes.

4)  After the "Media processing" ribbon finished, I clicked on the "Media" workspace tab and saw:

There are now 89 images in the Media workspace, up from 67 yesterday.  So while I added 74 new Citations, only 22 new images were added to the database.  this is because more than one person were linked to the images, but citations were added for each Fact added to each Person. 

5)  What about the Person screens for these added citations?  Here is the screen for Severt Oliver Leland:

There are now seven Birth Facts for Severt Leland, and six of them have images attached to them.  I checked the other persons with Facts and links to record images added last night, and they all appear to be there.

6)  Summary:

*  All of the Facts added and the images attached using the iPhone to an Ancestry Member Tree were added to the Ancestry tree, and then synced to the Family Tree Maker 2012 database.

*  The origin of this Tree started as an Ancestry Member Tree, not as a Family Tree Maker 2012 tree.  So the iPhone to Ancestry to FTM2012 works fine when the starting tree is an Ancestry Member Tree.

*  Russ Worthington had me add Facts and links to images using the iPhone to a shared Ancestry Member Tree, created originally from an FTM 2012 database, and then he synced that to the FTM 2012 database.  That worked.  He reported on it in his  Ancestry Member Trees, Family Tree Maker 2012, and the iPad Ancestry App post yesterday.

*  Why did I have a problem with my iPhone to Ancestry to FTM2012 in my Post 1?  And why wouldn't it Sync for me?  I don't know. 

*  My conclusions here are: 

*** Be very careful how you add Facts and links to historical record images using any of these tools.  *** Keep your FTM 2012 database in Sync with your Ancestry Member Tree. 
*** Don't add content to them separately - use them one at a time, and Sync afterwards.  That way the last one you worked on can be used to create a new database for the other. 
*** If you add content with an iPhone or iPad or another mobile device, be sure to check the Ancestry Member Tree that the content was added, and then Sync the information to the FTM 2012 database. 
*** If you discover that some Media did not download to FTM2012, then try the Ctrl-F5 key combination to add missing media. 

*  The major problem I see for users working with these tools is that if a Shared Tree has added content, and an FTM 2012 database won't Sync with it, any changes made in the FTM 2012 database will be lost to the Shared Tree.  Deleting a Shared Tree, and uploading a new FTM 2012 database,  will result in having to invite the other tree editors and guests again to the new shared Ancestry Member Tree.

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 184: Randy and Santa Claus

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 photograph was probably taken at Marston's Department Store in downtown San Diego where my grandfather worked for 55 years. This photo was probably taken in the 1947 to 1950 time frame. My guess is that my grandfather, Lyle Carringer, took this picture, although my mother may have taken it.

It looks like Santa has a good hold on me - an arm around my waist and a hand holding down my left arm. I was never scared of Santa Claus, so my smile is genuine and anticipatory. Either that, or someone made a funny face at me when the picture was snapped.

Advent Calendar - December 21: Christmas Music

This is the 21st of 24 posts for the 2011 Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories, a Geneablogger tradition.

On the 4th Day before Christmas
My true love sang to me,
"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"
(in J-sharp, but with spirit!)

1) What songs did your family listen to during Christmas?

When I was a boy, we sang the traditional carols at school - Joy to the World, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Silent Night, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Away in a Manger, Deck the Halls, The First Noel, Oh Come All Ye Faithful come to mind. So, as a child, I knew the tunes and the first stanza of each. These came in handy on Christmas Eve when we stayed at my grandparents house - she would come into the bedroom (no doubt my parents and grandfather were putting stuff together in the garage or living room) and we would sing together for quite a while before going to bed hoping that sugar plums would dance in our heads (a sugar plum? I'm sure I hoped for dreams of toys and fun things). I don't remember my parents singing Christmas carols, or popular Christmas songs, in the home.

After we were married and the girls came along, our house was filled with Christmas carols because they were always practicing for the King's Kids performances in church. We would often sing some carols and popular songs just before bed with them.

2) Did you ever go caroling?

As a boy, I never went caroling. Sing in public, who, me? Mr. J-sharp? Nope.

As a parent, we went several times with our kids as part of the church couples group. We usually got a list of shut-in families from the church office and would go around singing to them. Now, there is a yearly Christmas Carol event on a Sunday before Christmas.

3) Did you have a favorite song?

I think my favorite traditional Christmas carols are "Silent Night" and "Joy to the World." Of the newer carols, I love "Angels We Have Heard on High."

Of the popular Christmas songs, my tastes range from Bing Crosby's "White Christmas," "Winter Wonderland" and "Silver Bells" to Brenda Lee's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" and Elmo's "Grandma Got Run over By a Reindeer."

I like the "12 Days of Christmas" parodies too - see and hear them here (I've been waiting to slip that in somewhere).