Saturday, January 7, 2012

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Your Very Best 2011 Research Adventure

It's Saturday Night again -- time for some Genealogy Fun (what else is there to do on Saturday Night?)!!

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

1) Decide which of your (many?) genealogy research adventures in 2011 was your "very best" (your definition).

2) Tell us about it in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blog post, in a Status report or comment on Facebook, or in a Stream note on Google Plus.
Here's mine:

I'm going to mention two, because they are so different.

1)  The "Research Adventure" that will really advance my family tree research was finding the link between Elizabeth Horton (Dill) Smith (1794?-1869) and a (probable?) brother James H. Dill (1792-1862 ).  For background, see:

Amanuensis Monday - Insolvency Sale of Land of Alpheus B. Smith (17 January 2011)
James H. Dill in the Vital and Census Records (17 January 2011)
James H. Dill in Newspaper, Cemetery and Book Records (18 January 2011)
Amanuensis Monday - Alpheus B. Smith Probate Papers - Post 2 (24 January 2011)
Amanuensis Monday - James H. Dill's Inquiry in Thomas Dill's Revolutionary War Pension File (4 July 2011)

Reviewing these posts, I can state that I have significant circumstantial evidence that James H. Dill was the brother of Elizabeth Horton Dill, and that they were children of Thomas and Hannah (Horton) Dill of Eastham, Massachusetts.  However, I don't have direct evidence yet of these relationships - there is no document found to date that says "James H. Dill, brother of Elizabeth (Dill) Smith" or "Elizabeth (Dill) Smith was the daughter of Thomas and Hannah (Horton) Dill."  I do have a death record that says she is the daughter of Thomas Dill and Mary Horton (see Elizabeth Horton Dill: A Very Elusive Ancestor).

I will be finding and copying the rest of the Alpheus Smith probate papers, and any land deeds in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, for Alpheus and/or Elizabeth (Dill) Smith, and any other Dill in Norfolk County, on my visit to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City in early February.

If, as I am fairly certain, that Elizabeth (Dill) Smith was the daughter of Thomas and Hannah (Horton) Dill of Eastham, then this opens up a significant branch of my family tree for further research.  I've already done quite a bit of research on these families, but I need to do more.

2)  The true "genealogy adventure" was the two week trip to the Midwest in September, which I compiled in The Seaver Family History Mystery Tour Compendium.  Attending the FGS Conference, visiting the Allen County Public Library, meeting Jasia and her husband, visiting Dodge County and Dane County, Wisconsin, and seeing the Ranslow Smith "Four-Mile Inn" at Old World Wisconsin was a definite adventure that will always be remembered.

The URL for this post is:

copyright (c) Randall J. Seaver 2012.

Top 100 Most Popular Genealogy Websites - Genea-Musings is #90!

GenealogyInTime Magazine has published a listing of the Top 100 Genealogy Websites as of January 2012 (based on the website traffic rankings). 

There are some genealogy blogs on the list:

19.  Dick Eeastman's  Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

57.  John D. Reid's Anglo-Celtic Connections

81.  Leland Meitzler's Genealogy Blog

83.  Thomas MacEntee's Geneabloggers

87.  Chris Paton's British GENES

90.  Randy Seaver's Genea-Musings

Here is a screen capture of the bottom of the list:

My understanding of these website traffic statistics is that they are based on visits and page views to the website.  I am unclear if RSS feeds "count" toward the statistics.  If not, then blogs are penalized, and have higher traffic/readers than this list indicates.

GenealogyInTime has categorized Family Tree sites (e.g., Geni, Mundia, WikiTree, WeRelate) as "genealogy forum" sites, lumped in with true forums or message boards (like Genealogy Wise). 

I'm confused by the relatively high ranking of #11 FamilyLink, and its category of "search engine."  Who visits the site, and why?  A search engine for what?

A typo at #39 - it's "Interment" not "Internment."  Many writers do this and spell check doesn't catch it.

At #40, Genealogy Today is mainly an "ancestral records" site rather than a "genealogy magazine."

At #78, Distant Cousins is listed as a "search engine" but I think it is really an "ancestral records" site.

The only websites that I had never heard of were the sysoon and Locate Grave sites.

I'm happy to see that Genea-Musings cracked the Top 100!

The URL for this post is:

copyright (c) Randall J. Seaver, 2012.

Surname Saturday - THURSTON (England > Rhode Island > Massachusetts)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I am skipping numbers 319 to 351 because I don't have names or information about them.  I am now up to number 353, who is Abigail Thurston (1700-????), 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 THURSTON 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)

10. Thomas Richmond (1848-1917)
11. Julia White (1848-1913)

22. Henry Arnold White ((1824-1885)
23. Amy Frances Oatley (1826-before 1870)

44. Jonathan White (1806-1850)
45. Miranda Wade (1806-1850)

88. Humphrey White (1758-1814)
89. Sybil Kirby (1764-1848)

176.  Jonathan White (1732-1804)
177. Abigail Wing (1734-1806)

 352.  William White, born about 1708 in probably Dartmouth, Bristol, Massachusetts, United States; died before 03 October 1780 in Dartmouth, Bristol, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 470. William White and 705. Elizabeth Cadman.  He married  02 October 1729 in Little Compton, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.
 353.  Abigail Thurston, born 07 May 1700 in Little Compton, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.

Children of William White and Abigail Thurston are:  Sarah White (1730-????); Hannah White (1731-1819); Jonathan White (1732-1806); Elizabeth White (1734-????); Abigail White (1736-????).

706.  Jonathan Thurston, born 04 January 1659 in Newport, Newport, Rhode Island, United States; died 15 April 1740 in Taunton, Bristol, Massachusetts, United States.   He married before 1678 in Rhode Island, United States.
707.  Sarah, born about 1659.

Children of Jonathan Thurston and Sarah are:  Edward Thurston (1679-1739); Elizabeth Thurston (1682-1717); Mary Thurston (1685-????); Jonathan Thurston (1687-????); Rebecca Thurston (1689-1735); Content Thurston (1691-????); Sarah Thurston (1693-????); John Thurston (1695-1735); Eleanor Thurston (1696-????); Hope Thurston (1698-1716); Abigail Thurston (1700-????); Patience Thurston (1702-????); Amey Thurston (1705-????); Peleg Thurston (1706-????); Jeremiah Thurston (1710-????); Susannah Thurston (1712-????). Joseph Thurston (1714-????); Job Thurston (1717-1780).

1412.  Edward Thurston, born about 1618 in England; died 01 March 1707 in Newport, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.  He married  June 1647 in Newport, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.
1413.  Elizabeth Mott, born about 1629 in Saffron Walden, Essex, England; died 02 September 1694 in Newport, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.  She was the daughter of 2826. Adam Mott and 2827. Elizabeth Creed.

Children of Edward Thurston and Elizabeth Mott are:  Sarah Thurston (1648-????); Elizabeth Thurston (1650-????); Edward Thurston (1652-1690); Ellen Thurston (1655-????); Mary Thurston (1657-1732);  Jonathan Thurston (1659-1740); Daniel Thurston (1661-????); Rebecca Thurston (1662-1737); John Thurston (1664-1690); Content Thurston (1667-????); Samuel Thurston (1669-1747); Thomas Thurston (1671-1730).

The most authoritative reference I have for the Thurston families is:

Carl Boyer 3rd, "The Biography of Edward Thurston," Ancestral Lines, Third Edition ( Santa Clarita, Calif.: the author, 1998). 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Follow-Up Friday - You Comment, I Respond

Trying to keep up with email with comments about blog posts, and with the relatively few comments I receive on this blog, can be a challenge.  Here are some of the recent comments and my responses:

1)  On Finding Census Records on - Last Name Variations (4 January 2012), reader bgwiehle asked:

"Were the index entries of the censuses different from those at ancestry or familysearch? You need quality indexing, especially when there is no flexibility in surname search. 'Creatively' entered and indexed entries require creative search processes."

My response:  I am certain that does not use for their indexes or images.  I believe, but am not 100% sure, that they use FamilySearch's indexes.  However, the number of matches is slightly different, and the order of the matches is definitely different.  for instance, a search for "Last Name" = "Seaver" (exact) in the 1930 U.S. Census for Massachusetts, there are 363 matches on and 364 on  For comparison, there are 316 entries in's indexes for this search.  I wonder why that is so different? The order is alphabetical by first name on  On FamilySearch, the order seems to be by Roll Number, then ED number, then Sheet number, then Line number (although there are some not in this order).

I'm glad that someone was reading my posts about the collections - I was wondering!

2)  Reader Cathy Champion commented on I'm Mitt Romney's (Distant) Cousin (28 December 2011):

"...I've had several people get very upset when my meandering relates me to their fairly common trees; they say I'm straying too much. What would you say to them?"

Reader Unknown suggested:

"I don't even understand the complaint! It's your genealogy, your tree, you can meander however you want!"

My response:  I'm with Unknown on this one!  I'm confused a bit by Cathy's comment about "meandering relates me to their fairly common trees" - does she mean that they are upset because she is related to them and to several U.S. Presidents?

3)  Louis Kessler commented on GenSoftReviews 2011 User Choice Awards Announced (posted 2 January 2012):

"Other notables missing include:
Family Tree Builder, which won in 2009 and 2010 but only achieved 3.71 this year.
The Master Genealogist which only achieved 3.61.
Gramps which won in 2009 but only achieved 3.21 this year.
MacFamilyTree at 2.89.
and Geni got demolished with just a 1.71 rating.
The users spoke!"

My response:  Yes, they have, and the news isn't good for some programs.  Thanks, Louis!

4)  Reader J. Paul Hawthorne asked on Ancestry Member Trees, Family Tree Maker 2012, and the iPhone Ancestry App - Post 2 (posted 20 December 2011):

"Why do you have both census and residence facts for David Auble? I think I know why. Because you can't use the mapping feature if you use Ward 4, etc. in the same line as the city. If that's the case I like how you get around this, But what I do is put "Ward 4" in the "description", that way it only takes up one line."

My response:  Good question!  Most of the "Residence" facts come directly from the Ancestry Member Tree source/image download on this particular tree (because I attached the census page image to a person in my Ancestry Member Tree).  I try not to have any source/image downloads from the AMT in my master database (it's another file) because of how and/or FTM 2012 have crafted these sources.  My "Census" Facts are my own source citations crafted using Evidence! Explained models.  I also add "Residence" Facts in my master database for street addresses and street names from sources.  Note that the "Residence" Facts created by the AMT for the document source/image don't capture the actual address on the U.S. census pages. 

I hadn't thought about the mapping feature issue.  When I enter the "Census" Fact, I include the street address and/or the Ward number to the "Description" field also.  Unfortunately, those don't always transfer into another program through a GEDCOM upload.

5)  Thank you to all of my readers, and especially those who take the time to comment on my posts.

While working with my iPhone and the My Feeds (Google Reader) app, I noticed that there is no way to get to the blog post and make a comment.  I'm going to start putting the blog post URL at the bottom of my post so that readers using smart phones can comment.

The URL for this blog post is:  Please comment if you wish!

Copyright (c) 2012 by Randall J. Seaver.

"Beginning Genealogy" Presentations

Connie Sheets posted an interesting question on the Transitional Genealogists Forum mailing list yesterday, saying:

"I would like to hear from those experienced in making presentations along the lines of "introduction to genealogy" to community groups (e.g., at a local library), primarily in terms of what can reasonably be covered in one hour."

There have been a number of responses in the thread - I suggest that you read each post in the thread.   Perhaps the most interesting one is this summary by Thomas W. Jones:

"If I had just "one shot" to influence beginning genealogists, I would emphasize oral history, DNA, and networking (including society membership). I also would touch on indexing activities (another very useful legacy), and all this before introducing documentary research and what it can yield."

Like many genealogists, I do some speaking to "Beginning Genealogy" audiences.  I've developed three presentations for different audiences:

*  A 30-minute talk for small groups (fraternal, church, civic groups) - with or without a presentation mode

*  A 50-minute presentation suitable for heritage groups (e.g., DAR) and genealogy/historical societies

*  A 90-minute presentation suitable for libraries or organizations with more time to use (e.g., OASIS sponsors these talks at local libraries and at their facility)

I gave the 50-minute presentation yesterday to the Linares Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in San Diego to about 40 attendees, including a number who are in San Diego area genealogical societies.  I was worried that the talk was too basic for experienced genealogists, but was assured afterwards by many of the experienced attendees that they were informed by the talk and appreciated the two page handout of genealogy resources.

The 50-minute talk has these main segments:

*  An introduction of "what is genealogy," "how many ancestors do we have," "who's in my tree (bragging)," and "why do I do it."

*  An overview of several of my ancestors, including collected documents and family photographs.  For the DAR, I added documents from a Revolutionary War Pension file and a DAR descendants list from the DAR Patriot Index. 

*  A 12-step program of "how to do genealogy research" that includes some collected documents and photographs as examples, but no screen shots of websites.

*  A warning that "not everything is on the Internet" and a reading of "How Green Was My Valley."

For the 90-minute program, I add more document/photograph/screen shot examples to the 12-Step program. 

The two-page handout provides a list of my "12 Steps," San Diego area societies and repositories, genealogy software, and a list, by subject area, of traditional repositories and online resources.

Do you have a "Beginning Genealogist" presentation?  What do you include in it?

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) Randall J. Seaver, 2012

RootsTech 2012 Speaker Schedule is Available

The program speaker schedule for RootsTech 2012 is now available at .  There are Tabs for each day - Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  You can click on the title of each presentation and see the short description.

A quick look at it reveals four or five sessions in each time block that I want to attend.  I'll post my "want to attend" sessions in future posts.

Disclosure:  I am an Official blogger for RootsTech 2012, and have had my registration fee covered by RootsTech.

Update:  In a comment, Geoff Rasmussen noted:

"Randy - Kathy Warburton wrote to me this morning that she will have the "final" schedule submitted and published early next week. There've been a few changes, such as my RootsTech Genealogy Idol class - it has been moved to 1:45 - immediately after lunch on Thursday."

Follow Friday - Have Genealogy Fun This Weekend

The weekend is here!  If you have some free time for genealogy fun, 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, with co-host Lisa Alzo. This week's topic is  Genealogy New Year’s Resolutions for 2012.  The special guests will include:

*  DearMYRTLE of who will have tips and handy information on how to keep your genealogy data and materials organized;
Amy Coffin, of the We Tree genealogy blog will discuss setting genealogy goals and resolutions for 2012.
*  Jan Meisels Allen, Vice President of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) and a member of the Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC) with important information on how you can get involved with the preservation and access of vital records, especially the Social Security Death Index.

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 D. Joshua Taylor.  This week's topic will be New Year, New Board Members.  The guests include:

Polly FitzGerald Kimmitt, president of the Massachusetts Genealogical Council (MGC) and editor of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Voice Newsletter.
*  In addition, we’ll be highlighting FGS member society, Clallam County Genealogical Society (Washington) in our weekly Society Spotlight feature.

3) Check out the recent FREE Webinars on:

*** Digital Books and Sites for Genealogists. by James Tanner (free until 16 January 2012)
*** "Is My Pet Frog Part of My Family?" Children and Genealogy in the Classroom, by Maureen Taylor (free until 26 December)
*** New Genealogy Technology: Flip-Pal™ Mobile Scanner, by Gordon Nuttall (free)

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

*** What's New in RootsMagic 5

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

*** LIVE: Exploring the 1930 US Federal Census  with Juliana Smith
*** LIVE: Genealogy New Years Resolutions for 2012  with Anne Mitchell
*** Common Surnames: Strategies to Finding Your Ancestor in the Crowd  with Juliana Smith
*** 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

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 one of your local societies having a program this weekend?  Go, learn and share with other attendees.  My local societies are not meeting this weekend, so i'm going to watch some webinars that I missed.

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.  Not this weekend...but I am going to transfer phots from Christmas into my desktop computer. 

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.

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, January 5, 2012

Finding U.K. Census Records on

Continuing my series of finding census records on the subscription website,  I want to look at United Kingdom census records today.  I could find no information about the United Kingdom census record collections available on - does it include every year from 1841 to 1911, and all counties, which are available on other subscription sites?

My target today was one of my ancestors - Ann Richman, born in about 1784 in Wiltshire.  I know that she is in the 1841 and 1851 UK Census records in Hilperton.  Here is my search process:

1)  The UK Census search screen is:

I added "First Name" = "Ann" and "Last Name" = "Richman" to the Search fields, with the "Exact" boxes unchecked, and clicked on the blue "Search" button.  This screen came up:

The red bar at the top says "Please double check the information of the fields marked in red."  Okay...the one marked in red in the screen above is the "Birth Year" field where it says "Must be from 1841 to 1901."  Huh?  There are records available only for persons born between 1841 and 1901?  What about all of the older people listed in the census records?  That makes absolutely no sense to me - it must be an error in the search capability.

2)  I put a "Birth year" = "1841" and a year range of "+/- 10 years" just to get some results. 

The search told me that there were no matches, in all of England, for a person named Ann Richman (without the exact box checked).  How can that be possible?

Perhaps there are not any persons named "Ann Richman" born between 1831 and 1851 in the UK census records.  I checked the FamilySearch collection for the 1851 UK Census and found that there were none found in that search, but searching for "Ann Richman" without any birth years revealed 22 matches, but the search results show no birth years (were the Birth Years indexed and are they searchable on FamilySearch?).  In the 1861 UK Census, FamilySearch shows 4 matches for an "exact" "Ann richman" born between 1831 and 1851. 

Therefore, if the collection includes the 1861 UK Census, then it isn't showing matches for "Ann Richman" for some reason.

3) Knowing that there must be UK Census records on the site, I decided to search for "First Name" = "John" (not exact) and "Last Name" = "Smith" (not exact) and "Birth Year" = "1850" with a range of "+/- 5 years." That worked, and gave me 136 matches (the ones I saw were only from the 1851 census). I get a lot of "time outs" on the site for some reason.

Here is the first page of matches:

I clicked on one of the matches (the person's name, although clicking on "View Original image" and "View Full Record" go to the same screen) and saw:

The screen above has a link for "View Digitized Record" that takes me to the specific record (it says that the image is from

The image above is a PDF file for the specific image.  There appear to be no navigation tools so that the user can go to the previous or next image in the collection.  It appears that the user has to go back to the Search page and search for another name. 

4)  Lessons Learned:

*  The UK Census Records on are available for at least the 1851 UK Census.  If this is wrong, please tell me!

*  The Search field for Birth Year requires an input of 1841 to 1901.  This makes it impossible to make a search for someone born before 1841 in the UK Census records.

*  There appear to be no navigation tools to go from one census page to a previous page or a next page in the collection. 

*  Searching this collection is almost unusable in its present form.

5)  Suggestions for

*  Tell us which UK census years are available, and if they are for all counties.  Making us guess causes frustration and time wasting.

*  Remove the requirement for a Birth Year entry on the Search form.  This is totally unreasonably IMHO.

*  Add navigation tools so that the user can advance to other pages without going back to the Search screen.

Disclosure: provided a free subscription to their collection at the SCGS 2011 Jamboree which I appreciate. This did not influence my statements in this blog post, but it did enable them to be made!

Treasure Chest Thursday - Death Record of Mary Jane Kemp (1841-1874)

It's Treasure Chest Thursday - time to show another digital image of a treasured document in my collection.

This week it is the Death Record of Mary Jane (Sovereen) Kemp of Middleton, Norfolk County, Ontario, one of my second great-grandmothers.

Mary Jane Kemp's death record is on the right-hand page in the top left position ("Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947," online database, (, citing Archives of Ontario. Registrations of Deaths, 1869-1938. MS 935, reels 1-615. Archives of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 1874, Volume B, page 103, No. 4105, Mary Jane Kemp entry):

The information on this record is:

*  Name and Surname of Deceased:  Mary Jane Kemp
*  When Died:  20th May 1874
*  Sex -- Male of Female:  F
*  Age:  33 years
*  Rank or Profession:  Wife of James Kemp; Farmer, Middleton
*  Where Born:  Windham County Norfolk Canada
*  Certified cause of Death, and duration of Illness:  Typhoid Fever ill Three weeks
*  Name of Physician, if any:  A W Sovereen M.D.
*  Signature, description and residence of informant:  A. W. Sovereen M.D. Delhi
*  When Registered:  29th May 1874
*  Religious Denomination:  Baptist
*  Signature of Registrar:  J.C.H. Herron
*  Remarks:  004105 [stamped]

I obtained this record image by using the collections at the San Diego Family History Center.  I used the FamilySearch collection entry for this record to determine the microfilm number (1,846,471) and then looked in the Family History Library Catalog to figure out the Volume for the specific registration number in 1874 (see the record description here). 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Finding Census Records on - Last Name Variations

In my post Finding Census Records on - General Search yesterday, I noted that First Name searches using partial names acts like a wild card (e.g., "jos" finds "joseph"but not "joe"), but the user has to use the "Exact" search box.

What about the Last Name variations - can a user use a wild card or a partial name?  Here is what I found:

1)  On the U.S. Census search form, the Last Name is a "Required" search term. 

I entered "Seaver" in the "Last Name" field, left the "Exact" box unchecked, chose "Massachusetts" in the "Location" field, and chose the "!930" in the "Census Year" field.

Here is the list of 363 Search results:

Even though I left the "Last Name" "Exact" box unchecked, the search returned only results for the surname "Seaver" - there were no variations of the surname in the 363 matches.

2)  To prove this, I checked the "Exact" box for the "Last Name" and saw 363 matches:

The search with the "Exact" box checked worked as I expected - it found matches for the exact surname.

3)  Someone might say, "well, were there any other last name variations on 'Seaver'  in the 1930 Census for Massachusettts?  One of the major spelling variations for "Seaver" is "Sever" - it has the same consonants and the same Soundex code.  Here is a search for "Sever" with the "Exact" box checked:

There are 15 matches for "Sever" with the "Exact" box checked or unchecked.  My conclusion here is that the "Exact" check box is currently useless as a way to restrict searches, and that the not "Exact" search does not use any sort of spelling variation tool for the last name.

4)  What about a partial name for the "Last Name" field?  I put "Seav" in the "Last Name" field and the "Exact" box checked (this worked with the "First Name" field!), and saw:

It says "Sorry, no results found for Seav in MA (census year: 1930)."

When I unchecked the "Exact" box for the last name, I got the same results. 

4)  A general search for all census years and all states said "Showing 2,000 most relevant Census Records for Seaver."  I'm not sure what that means - are there more than 2,000 matches?  If so, how many?  How do I find the others?  I did not scroll through these, at even 50 matches at a time, to see what was missing.

5)  The Lessons Learned here are:

* The "Exact" search results for last names are the same as the not "Exact" search matches.

*  A user has to enter a specific last name in order to obtain matches in a Census search.  A user will have to enter spelling variations if they don't find their target family.

*  There are no "wild cards," or "sounds like" matches for a last name even with the "Exact" box unchecked.

*  A user should search in a specific census year to avoid obtaining too many matches for almost any last name.

*  A user should limit their search to a specific state (or even county) for a common last name.

6)  My suggestions for are to:

*  Make a non-Exact search just that - make it at least a Soundex search so that spelling variations of a last name are provided by the search matches.

*  Implement a "wild card" system similar to that on so that spelling variations of a last name can be easily found.

*  For general searches (all years, all states) on a surname, create a list of the years and states so that users can narrow their search. 

Disclosure: provided a free subscription to their collection at the SCGS 2011 Jamboree which I appreciate. This did not influence my statements in this blog post, but it did enable them to be made!

ICAPGEN Mentoring Classes on Video

Reading my blog list today, I noted that Renee Zamora and Angela McGhie had posted about the ICAPGEN Mentoring Classes that are now freely available on video on the ICAPGEN website at  The videos show the Powerpoint presentation and the speaker (in a format similar to the FamilySearch Research Courses).  Each video is 15 to 40 minutes in length.

The Mentoring Classes available on video include:

* Mentoring Class: Introduction to ICAPGen
* Mentoring Class: Application Forms
* Mentoring Class: Choosing a Four-Generation Project / Methodology
* Mentoring Class: Research Binder
* Mentoring Class: Working with Documents
* Mentoring Class: Citing Sources
* Mentoring Class: History, Geography, and Timelines
* Mentoring Class: Evidence Analysis, Part 1
* Mentoring Class: Evidence Analysis, Part 2
* Mentoring Class: Writing a Quality Research Report* Mentoring Class: Pedigree Analysis
Mentoring Class: Written Exam and Oral Review

I reviewed the Citing Sources and Evidence Analysis class videos.  The "Evidence Analysis" classes are excellent, discussing the Genealogical Proof Standard and providing real world examples for evaluating evidence.  The "Citing Sources" presentation reviews the types of source citations, briefly describes several different standards, and provides some examples of typical source citations (but some of them do not follow the Evidence! Explained standards). 

These videos can be useful for genealogists wanting to be accredited by ICAPGEN or wanting more information about these subjects.

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 186: James Richmond

 I am posting photographs from my family collections for (Not So) Wordless Wednesday (you know me, I can't go wordless!).

This is a photograph of James Richmond (1821-1912), one of my second great-grandfathers.  I think it was taken between 1900 and 1912, since he appears elderly. 

The actual photograph was in the possession of Thomas Russell Richmond of Putnam, Connecticut in 1990, who allowed me to make a xerox copy of the actual photograph in 1990.

Russell Richmond is now deceased, and I don't know if the photograph is still extant. Perhaps, one of the Richmond family members will see this post and inform me of the location of the Richmond family photograph collection that Russell Richmond once possessed.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Finding Census Records on - General Search

As most genealogy researchers know, the United States Census records are available on the subscription site,

I described the information available by census year in has 1790 to 1930 U.S. Census Records, and did a general search in the census records in Searching Census Records on 

In the latter post, I noted that:

"A user cannot use wild cards for any name - the acceptable characters are letters, spaces and dashes. The user can select either "All" or a specific state for the Residence and Birth State fields. The user can add a birth year range of plus/minus 0, 1, 2, 5, or 10 years. An "Exact" check box produces only an Exact Match."

Julie Hill of commented about my note that there are no wild card searches:

"Randy, thanks so much for your feedback. Wild card searches are an enhancement we’d like to add in the future – as we know this can be very useful. In the meantime, our search engine has several capabilities built in that are helpful. When users run a search, built in logic will look for name variants (like if you enter “Jo” we also return names like “Joe” “Joseph” etc), alternate names, and misspellings. We look forward to adding the rest of the census images, along with search functionality enhancements, in the coming months. Thanks!"

I wondered if they had added the wild card search capability, so I revisited the Census search.  There is not a wild card search capability at this time.  However, the search that Julie described, wherein a user can use any number of letters for a partial first name works fine.  For example:

1)  Here is the general search screen for "Fre" (not exact) "Seaver" (exact) with no other field entries:

There is a "?" next to the "Exact" box, which says:

"What is the "Exact" Option?
To help you find more results, we automatically adjust your search criteria for certain queries (for example, if you search for "John Doe born in 1950 in Nebraska" we may include results for "Jerry Doe born in 1950" or "John Doe born in 1950 in Kansas").
If you check the "Exact" box we will add extra weight to this criteria, but may still show other close matches to account for estimated dates, nicknames, and transcription errors. We recommend you use this feature when you are confident in the information you are entering."

Clicking the "Search" button provided 558 matches in all of the U.S. Census years.  The first entries were:

Since I left the "Exact" box unchecked, the first name list starts with name variants starting with the "F" initial, and eventually gets through many names that start with "F" like Fannie, Florence, Frank, Fred, etc.  While the first names seem to be in nearly alphabetical order by specific census years, but the years are not listed separately.  It is very difficult to find a specific person in a specific year with a general search.  I could select a specific census year and obtain all matches for that year.

2)  What if I check the "Exact" box for the first name?  Here is the search screen with "Fre" (exact)  "seaver" (exact) and no other search field entries:

There are only 116 matches for this general search in all of the census years:

The search above found only first names starting with "Fre" like "Fred," "Freda," "Freddie," "Frederick," "Fredrick," etc.  If a user is going to do a general search in all census years, then making the partial first name "exact" works well.

3)  What does the search match look like, and how can a user navigate it?  On the screen above, I clicked on the first match and saw:

The census "record" for this person lists his name, age, gender, race, residence, other family members, NARA microfilm, roll and page number, etc.  For the 1850, 1870, and 1900 through 1930 U.S. Census records, the page image is available, courtesy of

4)  When I click on the "View image" or "View the original image" links, The census page appears:

In the lower right-hand corner, the portion of the census image in the window is shown.  The census image pages open as shown above, with most of the page shown at the minimum magnification.

5)  The magnification can be increased using the Zoom slider control on the left-hand side of the line below the census title.  I magnified to about 50% and saw:

The image takes a second or two to refine the resolution and then shows the image.  The user can navigate around the page by using the "magic hand."  The image brightness and image contrast can be changed using slider controls.  The image can also be inverted using the "Invert colors" check box on the line below the census title. 

6)  On the top line with the Archives logo, the user can navigate to the "Prev Image" or "Next Image" or can "Print" the image, "Download" the image, or "Save to Tree" the image (that's the online family tree on 

The user can go back to the Record summary screen by clicking on the blue "Back to Record" button in the census title line.  On the Record Summary screen, the user can change any or all of the search criteria.

7)  Lessons learned: 

1)  It is advised to search in specific U.S. Census year databases rather than do a General search in all U.S. Census years.

2)  Using a partial first name without the "Exact" box checked results in many matches for names that don't match the letters provided.

3)  Using a partial first name with the "Exact" box checked results in matches that start with the partial letters. 

Disclosure: provided a free subscription to their collection at the SCGS 2011 Jamboree which I appreciate. This did not influence my statements in this blog post, but it did enable them to be made!

SDGS Seminar on Saturday, 14 January Features Thomas W. Jones

The San Diego Genealogical Society (SDGS) Family History Seminar on Saturday, 14 January 2012 features Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS.

The seminar is at The Handlery Hotel and Resort, 950 Hotel Circle North, San Diego, CA 92108. The seminar starts at 9 a.m. and will end at 3 p.m. The seminar cost is $40 per person for SDGS members or $45 per person for non-members. Registration includes a seated luncheon. The Handlery Hotel and Resort charges $3 for all day parking with event validation. The registration deadline is 7 January 2012. You can download the registration form here.

Thomas W. Jones will make the following presentations:

* Five Proven Technologies for Finding European Origins

* Finding "Un-findable" Ancestors

* The Jones Jinx: Tracing Common Surnames

* Planning a "Reasonably Exhaustive" Research

Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS, works full-time as a genealogical author, editor, educator, and researcher. A past president and former trustee of the Board for Certification for Genealogists, he has co-edited the National Genealogical Society Quarterly since 2002. Tom teaches "Evidence and Documentation" in Boston University's online and classroom-based genealogy certificate programs, "Advanced Genealogical Methods" at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy," and "Writing and Publishing for Genealogists" at Samford University's Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research.

I will be attending this seminar, and I encourage all San Diego area genealogists to attend it - Tom Jones is one of the top researchers, teachers and speakers in the United States at this time.

Tuesday's Tip - City Directories on

This week's Tuesday's Tip is to:  Search and browse the "large city" City Directories on the Fold3 subscription site ( 

In my opinion, City Directories are one of the least used resources in genealogical research.  Names, relatives, neighbors, addresses, occupations, and places of business can be determined by tracing a person year by year in City Directories. 

One of the largest collections of City Directories is on the subscription website (formerly  The key feature of this collection is that there are long year to year runs of the directories, often from the first year up to about 1923, when copyright protection kicks in. currently offers these City Directory collections (not every year, but most years):

*  California: Los Angeles (1873-1924)
*  California: San Francisco (1861-1923)
*  Colorado:  Denver (1862-1923)
*  District of Columbia: Washington (1822-1923)
*  Illinois: Chicago (1843-1923)

*  Indiana: Fort Wayne (1861-1923)
*  Indiana: Indianapolis (1857-1923)
*  Iowa: Des Moines (1866-1913)
*  Kentucky: Louisville (1861-1923)
*  Louisiana: New Orleans (1861-1923)

*  Maryland: Baltimore (1863-1923)
*  Massachusetts: Boston (1789-1926)
*  Michigan: Detroit (1861-1923)
*  Minnesota: Minneapolis (1865-1923)
*  Minnesota: St. Paul (1863-1924)

*  Missouri: Kansas City (1865-1923)
*  Missouri: St. Louis (1863-1923)
*  New Jersey: Newark (1861-1923)
*  New York: Brooklyn (1862-1913)
*  New York: Buffalo (1828, 1861-1923)

*  New York: New York (1786-1922)
*  New York: Rochester (1861-1889)
*  Ohio: Cincinnati (1861-1923)
*  Ohio: Cleveland (1861-1923)
*  Ohio: Toledo (1864-1923)

*  Pennsylvania: Philadelphia (1785-1922)
*  Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh (1861-1923)
*  Rhode Island: Providence (1861-1924)
*  Texas: Dallas (1878-1923)
*  Wisconsin: Milwaukee (1861-1891)

*  Miscellaneous City Directories - There are also a few miscellaneous years for some New England towns

You can see which cities have published, microfilmed and online City Directories at

Miriam Robbins has listed many Online Historical Directories at

Monday, January 2, 2012

Top 25 Posts in 2011 on Genea-Musings

Like many other genea-bloggers, I'm curious about which posts on Genea-Musings are "popular" - and why they might be.

Here are the Top 25 blog posts that had the most page views in 2011 (from statistics on Google Analytics). Of course, with almost six years and over 5,400 posts, they were not all written in 2011:

1) World records for number of children (posted 21 July 2006) - 7,007 views (it was #1 in 2010, 2009 and 2008 also)

2)  Family Tree Maker 2012 is in a Public Beta Test (posted 1 August 2011) - 4,429 views

3)  Family Tree Maker 2012 News (posted 13 May 2011) - 3,459 views

4) John Tyler's Grandson is still alive! (posted 20 February 2007) - 1,970 views (it was #3 last year)

5) How rare is your personality type? (posted 20 June 2007) - 1,694 views (it was #4 last year)

6)  Social Security Death Index Gone from (posted 12 December 2011) - 1,585

7)  Exporting a Tree from (posted 9 July 2009) - 1,565 views  (it was #12 last year)

8)  Merry Christmas to All! (posted 25 December 2011) - 1,319 views

9)  The Genealogy Crystal Ball for 2011 (posted 2 January 2011) - 1,193 views

10)  Want a genealogy job? FamilyLink is hiring! (posted 15 April 2009) - 1,019  views  (it was #6 last year)

11)  Tombstone Tuesday - Nathaniel Grigsby (posted 19 May 2009 ) - 773 views  (it was #5 last year)

12)  The "Where I'm From" Poem (for SNGF) Compendium (posted 25 July 2011) - 742 views

13)  Genealogy Source Citation Templates (posted 17 November 2008) - 723 views

14)  Family Tree Maker 2012 Pre-Sale (posted 22 September 2011) - 721 views

15)  The Seaver Source Citation Saga Compendium (posted 16 February 2011) - 710 views

16) Family Tree Maker 2011 Announced (posted on 6 August 2010) - 709 views

17)  "Geni Pro Just got a Whole Lot Better." But what about Geni Free? (posted 1 August 2011) - 701 views

18)  Tuesday's Tip - find Online Historical Newspapers (posted 4 January 2011) - 698 views

19)  Family Tree Wallpaper (posted 17 September 2008) - 695 views

20)  Was Daniel Boone an Ancestor of Pat Boone? (posted 31 August 2007) - 687  views  (it was #13 last year)

21)  My mtDNA is in the K Haplogroup (posted 30 September 2008) - 680  views  (it was #14 last year)

22)  Using Google Earth to find land location in the Public Land Survey System States (posted 14 September 2009) - 668 views

23)  First Look at Mocavo - A New Genealogy Search Engine (posted 16 March 2011) - 649 views

24)  More Genealogy-related songs (posted 9 November 2007) - 641 views

25)  Obtaining my dad's WWII service record (posted 4 August 2006) - 632 views

Fourteen of these top 25 posts are "oldies but goodies" - posts that people find by using a search engine, and the traffic is fairly steady for them. The others are more recent posts, and the traffic for most of them peaks right after they are posted and dies down quickly. 

Of course, all of my blog posts are viewed by many more readers - those who read on the Genea-Musings home page, those that read them in an RSS reader, on a mobile device, and those that receive them via email.

Another measure of popularity or readership might be in the number of comments generated by each post.  I don't think that is a reliable measure of popularity because of the proliferation of RSS reader usage, email usage, and mobile device usage, each of which require one or more click throughs to get to the comment box.

It certainly seems like readers search for pop culture topics or for genealogy software topics and find my blog posts.

Previous "most popular" posts on Genea-Musings are:

*  2010:  Genea-Musings Top 20 Hits for 2010
* 2009: Genea-Musings Statistics for 2009 - Post 2
* 2008: Genea-Musings top posts - by page views

GenSoftReviews 2011 User Choice Awards Announced

I received this press release from Louis Kessler yesterday:


GenSoftReviews 2011 User Choice Awards Announced

GenSoftReviews, the site where genealogists go to rate and review their programs, announces their 2011 award winners.


December 31, 2011

In the three years that the
GenSoftReviews website has been in operation, genealogists have posted over 1000 reviews and ratings of the genealogy software they use. Each year, GenSoftReviews tabulates the highest rated programs, and awards any program achieving a score of 4.00 or more out of 5, a Users Choice Award.

The programs winning a GenSoftReviews Users Choice Award for 2011 include:

Ancestral Quest - 4.89 out of 5
Family Historian - 4.63 out of 5
My Great Big Family - 4.62 out of 5
Personal Ancestral File - 4.61 out of 5
Ultimate Family Tree - 4.59 out of 5
GenSmarts - 4.52 out of 5
WikiTree - 4.48 out of 5
Genbox Family History - 4.47 out of 5
The Next Generation - 4.45 out of 5
RootsMagic - 4.45 out of 5
Brother's Keeper - 4.42 out ot 5
Reunion - 4.36 out of 5
Family Tree Maker - Up to Version 16 - 4.18 out of 5
Legacy - 4.06 out of 5

Congratulations go to all the 2011 winners.


About Louis Kessler

Louis Kessler has been a genealogist and a programmer for over 30 years. He developed and maintains the GenSoftReviews site. He is also the author of his own genealogy program known as Behold that can be found at


Congratulations to the developers of all of the programs listed above.

The program that is conspicuously missing is Family Tree Maker (2008 and after), which is rated at 2.51 overall,  2.53 for 2011 and 2.49 before 2011. 

I have worked with Family Historian, WikiTree, RootsMagic, Family Tree Maker (up to version 16) and Legacy Family Tree on the list above.

Have you visited the GenSoftReviews website recently?  Have you added your opinions about genealogy software and online family trees to the site? 

Goals and Objectives for 2012

At the risk of sounding like a broken record (by using the same template as I did in 2011), here are my stated goals and objectives for 2012:

1) Genealogy Research

* Go to the local FamilySearch Center and local/regional libraries more often in order to pursue ancestral information.
* Go to at least one major genealogy repository (e.g., FHL, ACPL, NEHGS) and do research over several days.
* Keep up-to-date to-do lists for research challenges and up-to-date research logs for significant research tasks.
* Focus on brickwall ancestors, especially the Elizabeth Horton (Dill) Smith line, the William Knapp line, the Thomas J. Newton line, and the Benjamin Pickrell line.
*  Continue to find family history information for known ancestors of myself and my wife in traditional and online resources.
*  Mine the 1940 U.S. Census for my ancestral families of interest.

2) Data Organization

* Complete the conversion of digital records to couple-based file folders, including photographs and documents, using systematic file naming protocols.
* Continue weeding out extraneous paper from bookcase binders, and enter useful sourced data into genealogy database.
*  Create more surname notebooks for ancestral families containing pedigree charts, family group sheets, narrative reports, vital record certificates, published material, and correspondence.
*  File all of the "to be filed" papers into the bookcase binders and/or surname notebooks.
* Sort the Carringer/Auble/Smith and Seaver/Richmond paper photograph collections into useful and accessible albums, determine if photos have been scanned and blogged, and scan the ones that haven't been scanned before or were poorly scanned previously.

3) Genealogy Database

* Update the Seaver/Leland family database using recently added/updated data collections on Ancestry, FamilySearch, Fold3, Archives, GenealogyBank, etc.
* Continue adding source citations for unsourced information in my database (with author, title, publisher, date, page, comments, etc.).
* Add specific page numbers to existing source citations without citation details.
* Critically evaluate genealogy facts for ancestral families relative to authoritative published material.
*  Modify text notes to summarize rather than parrot copyrighted material.
*  Add Research Log information to the database for selected ancestors to help me, or other researchers, understand the work performed to date.
*  Invite daughters, siblings and cousins to add to the online Ancestry Member Tree and to add the free app to their mobile devices.

4) Education

* Attend at least three genealogy conferences (or cruises) in 2012. I'm hoping for RootsTech in Salt Lake City in February, SCGS Jamboree in Burbank, California in June and the Legacy Cruise in May.  I'm not sure about the NGS and FGS Conferences.
* Participate in more webinars.
* Obtain or borrow genealogy resource and how-to books of interest.

5) Society Activities

* Attend CVGS, CGSSD and SDGS society programs and seminars.
* Lead CVGS research group effectively.
* Be an outstanding editor of monthly Chula Vista Genealogical Society Newsletter.
* Keep the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe blog full of news and information helpful to CVGS members.
* Contribute articles to SDGS and CGSSD newsletters.
* Respond to research queries received by CVGS and CV library.
* Help society colleagues and friends with their research if requested.

6) Speaking and Teaching

* Speak to at least ten different local and regional genealogical societies in 2012
* Teach three adult education "Beginning Computer Genealogy" classes for OASIS (4 sessions each, 8 hours total each class)
* Teach at least one "Genealogy 101" beginners class (4 sessions, 8 hours total) for CVGS
* Speak at local libraries and service groups about genealogy and family history.

7) Writing

* Blog a bit... on Genea-Musings, The Geneaholic, the South San Diego County Graveyard Rabbit, and the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe blogs. 
*  Move Genea-Musings from "old Blogger" to "new Blogger" or even a Wordpress platform.
* Produce four "Genealogy 2.0" columns for the Federation of Genealogical Societies FORUM magazine.
* Produce four "Digging for Answers" columns for the Online Graveyard Rabbit Journal.
* Publish Volume 25 of the Seaver-Richmond Family Journal (16 pages) in December for the extended family.
*  Try out self-publishing a family history book.

8) Real Life

* Take my wife on at least one long vacation trip - perhaps the Legacy cruise, or another cruise, or to New England in late summer to visit cousins and research at NEHGS.
* Visit our daughters and grandchildren, our brothers and their families, and our cousins and their families, more often in order to make more family history and spread the joy of genealogy research around [yeah, right... they might even read the yearly Family Journal].
* Exercise more! Lose weight! Eat fewer goodies! Dream on...
* Limit genealogy activities to no more than 10 hours a day... [who put that in? Linda, do you know how to edit this? At least it doesn't say 3 hours]

More of the same, eh? It's a full plate. Who knows what life will bring in 2012. Stuff happens. I'll adapt. Or not...

The beauty of goals and objectives is that they can be changed at a moment's notice. I am not chained by these goals - they are only guidelines. You can be sure that if I have a major, unplanned breakthrough through hard work, serendipity or the kindness of others that I'll follow that path.

I look forward to 2012 - to celebrating my sixth year of genea-blogging, to meeting many more Genea-Musings readers and geneablogging colleagues, to talking with representatives of genealogy companies, and sharing my knowledge and expertise with the genealogy community.