Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Write a Limerick!!

Is everyone of Irish heritage today?  Well, it's Saturday Night and time for some Genealogy Fun!  

So put on your drin, er, thinking cap, and write a genealogy limerick in honor of St. Patrick's Day, or just for good fun and laughs.  Here's your challenge:

1)  Make up a limerick about genealogy - it should be A-A-B-B-A in rhyme (don't worry about iambic pentameter and all that).

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

Have fun!  Be creative!  Recite it to your family!  Type it in GREEN!

Here's three of mine:

There was a family named Lamphear
with an unwanted son Devier.
He was adopted by a Smith,
I don't think it was a myth,
his parents identity I would cheer!

(c) Randall J. Seaver, 2012


"Where oh where has my Smith family gone?
Della, Devier, Ranslow and maybe John;
Where oh where can the parents be?
I traced them back to upstate New York,
but they disappeared - woe is me."

Copyright (c) - Randall J. Seaver 


"There once was a genealogist named Tuck,

Who searched for his family named Puck.

He traced them to fair Ireland so green,
And went there with enthusiasm so keen,
But soon found that the records there suck."

Copyright (c) Randall J. Seaver, 2012

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Surname Saturday - SLOCUM (England > Rhode Island)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week.  I am now up to number 373, who is Hannah SLOCUM (1710-1737), one of my 6th-great-grandparents. [Note: The 6th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts] 

My ancestral line back through four generations of SLOCUM ancestors 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)

46.  Jonathan Oatley (1790-1872)

47.  Amy Champlin (1798-1865)

92.  Joseph Oatley (1755-1815)

93.  Mary Hazard (1765-1857)

186.  Stephen Hazard (1730-1804)
187. Elizabeth Carpenter (1741-????)

372.  Thomas Hazard, born 28 July 1707 in North Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island, United States; died after 1745 in South Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island, United States.  He was the son of 744. Stephen Hazard and 745. Elizabeth Helme.  He married 22 February 1727 in South Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island, United States.
373.  Hannah Slocum, born 05 April 1710 in Jamestown, Newport, Rhode Island, United States; died 24 January 1737 in North Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island, United States.  
Child of Thomas Hazard and Hannah Slocum is:  Stephen Hazard (1730-1804)

746.  Samuel Slocum, born 02 March 1685 in Jamestown, Newport, Rhode Island, United States; died before 04 November 1741 in North Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island, United States.  He married  January 1708 in Jamestown, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.
747.  Hannah Carr, born 13 January 1691 in Jamestown, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.  She was the daughter of 1494. Edward Carr and 1495. Hannah Stanton.
Children of Samuel Slocum and Hannah Carr are:  Mary Slocum (1708-1708); Hannah Slocum (1710-1737); Samuel Slocum (1711-????); Ebenezer Slocum (1714-1714); Ebenezer Slocum (1716-????); Edward Slocum (1718-????);

1492.  Ebenezer Slocum, born 25 March 1650 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island, United States; died 13 February 1715 in Jamestown, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.   He married  about 1676 in probably Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.
1493.  Mary Thurston, born February 1657 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island, United States; died 16 November 1732 in Jamestown, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.  She was the daughter of 2986. Edward Thurston and 2987. Elizabeth Mott.
Children of Ebenezer Slocum and Mary Thurston are:  Elizabeth Slocum (1678-????); Mary Slocum (1679-????); Johanna Slocum (1680-????); Rebecca Slocum (1682-????); Mercy Slocum (1683-????);  Samuel Slocum (1685-1741); Ebenezer Slocum (1686-1715); Desire Slocum (1688-????); Deliverance Slocum (1691-????); Giles Slocum (1696-????); Joseph Slocum (1697-????); Abigail Slocum (1697-????).

2984.  Giles Slocum, born before 28 September 1623 in Old Cleeve, Somerset, England; died 12 March 1683 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.  He was the son of 5968. Philip Slocombe and 5969. Charity Bickham.  He married about 1640 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.
2985.  Joan, born about 1620 in England; died 31 August 1679 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.
Children of Giles Slocum and Joan are:  Joanna Slocum (1642-1728); John Slocum (1645-1702); Giles Slocum (1647-????); Ebenezer Slocum (1650-1715); Nathaniel Slocum (1652-1702); Peleg Slocum (1654-1733); Samuel Slocum (1657-ca1700); Mary Slocum (1660-1689); Eliezer Slocum (1664-1727).

My resources for these families are fairly thin:

1)  The English ancestry of Giles Slocum was defined in The American Genealogist, Volume 20, Number 2, Page 115, October 1943.

2)  The family of Giles Slocum was defined by Charles E. Slocum, in the article "The Slocum Genealogy," New England Historic Genealogical Register, Volume 34, Number 4 (October 1880), 395.

3)  Significant biographical information was obtained from the internet web site

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Census Whacking on St. Patrick's Day

Here's an oldie but a goodie from 17 March 2007 on Genea-Musings (with additions over the years):

I browsed through the 1920 census on  looking for funny or strange names to help celebrate St. Patrick's Day and Irish names.There is a rich selection:

* Patrick Ireland resided in Matagorda County TX (born in Texas - who knew?)

* St. Lester Patrick resided in Hillsborough county NH (born in Canada)

* Patrick Patrick resided in Macon County AL (born AL)

* Patrick Fitz Patrick resided in Queens County NY (born in Ireland)

* Paddy Green resided in Lucas County OH (born Ireland)

* Green Kelley resided in Hudson County NJ (born Ireland)

* There are 64 males named Patrick Green born in Ireland.

* Daniel Boy resided in Cuyahoga County OH (born in Russia)

* Daniel Erin Ireland resided in Wyandotte County KS (born in KS)

* Patrick Luck resided in Kings County NY (born in Ireland)

*  Erin Ireland resided in Logan County, CO (born in Nebraska)

* There are 87 females named Rose Ireland - but only one was born in Ireland.

*  There are 1,889 persons with the surname Clover, but only 6 were born in Ireland.

*  There are 222 persons with the surname Shamrock, and 6 with the first name of Shamrock, but none were born in Ireland.

*  There are 9 Kate Irelands in the census, but none were born in Ireland

*  There are 91 persons with surname Ireland that were born in Ireland.

*  There are 606 persons with the surname Limerick, but only 5 were born in Ireland.

*  There are 5,372 with the surname Cork, but only 39 were born in Irreland.

*  There are 102 persons with the surname Fairy, but only 2 were born in Ireland.

*  There are 3,861 persons with surname Irish, but only 22 were born in Ireland.

*  There are 26,144 persons with the first name starting with "Kat" and 41,434 with starting with "Cat" born in Ireland

*  There are 22,043 persons with the surname Shannon, but only 880 were born in Ireland.

*  There are 52,560 persons with the first name starting with "Pat" and 49 starting with "Pad" born in Ireland

*  There are 1,060,061 persons in the 1920 census that were born in Ireland.

*  There are 3,888,662 persons whose father was born in Ireland.

There were no people in the census with the surname of Leprechaun or Banshee.  Not being Irish, or having known Irish ancestry, or much experience researching in Ireland - I don't know all of the legends and songs that might provide more names to search.  What other names should I look for next year? 

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Friday, March 16, 2012

Follow-Up Friday - Helpful Reader Comments

I like to catch up on helpful and interesting reader comments on Fridays - here are some from blog and email comments from the last week:

1)  On Mining the SSDI - Finding Married Females in my RootsMagic Database:

a)  Reader bgwiehle commented:  "Beulah's obit wasn't indexed (will need the date to search manually), but here's her husband's,5006519&dq=beulah+seaver+pttisburgh&hl=en 
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Jan 20, 1999
Paul Revere Seaver obituary"

My comment:  Thank you!  I added the text and source to my database.  Genea-blogging works again!

a)  Reader Roger wrote in email:  "You can list females under their married names in FTM 2012 by going to "Tools"; "Options"; "Names/Dates/Places" and checking "Use Married Names for Females". Wouldn't that be easier?"

My comment:  Yes, it would be, but I was using RootsMagic 5 which apparently cannot do that.  Thanks for the tip - I hope other FTM 2012 users can use it.

2)  On Ten Reasons Why I Use a Genealogy Software Program: 

a)  Martin commented:  "In this whole debate of genealogical software, I haven't seen anyone discuss the issue of sharing v. not sharing. It is one thing to have an evidence-based input methodology rather than a conclusion-based input so long as you keep that information to yourself. It is another entirely when you upload that information to a public site. (That is your reason #5).

"You run the risk that you are passing on bad information because it is evidence-based and not conclusion-based. Because these family trees are not vetted, they can't be trusted. They probably hurt more than help. 

"So, I think for your own private consumption, you can (and should) enter evidence into a genealogical software as you go, but only share, upload and publish, a conclusion-based genealogy. At the very least you need to warn people about how you've come to the conclusions you have and that they should do they own research."

b)  Keith Riggle commented:  "Randy, I agree with all your reasons, even #5, which bothers Martin. I believe our genealogical information should be shared, not only as repayment for all the help we've received from others over the years, but also to open up more opportunities for collaboration. If you enter your data correctly, using alternative facts and events, and cite everything properly, then people can go back to your sources and evaluate them for themselves. You can also spell out your conclusions in your notes. My heartburn with most family tree websites is that they usually show only preferred facts and events, and some of them, like Ancestry, keep notes private except for people invited to your tree. Personally, I would like people to see my notes so they know my thinking about the evidence.

"By the way, there have been discussions on other blogs about sharing vs. not sharing. See for example 

My comments:  Thank you both for the comments.  I agree with Martin that you run the risk of passing on bad information whenever you publish something.  However, I don't see how publishing evidenced-based information as opposed to conclusion-based information is a bad thing.  The body of evidence is important to support a conclusion of an Event, and listing each assertion can be useful, especially if you can also post a discussion of the body of evidence and the analysis that leads you to a conclusion; or not!  Unfortunately, some online family trees only permit listings of the Facts/assertions and don't permit posting of the analysis, proof summary or argument in the form of research, person or fact notes.  

Experienced researchers know that everything we see on the Internet should be treated as finding aids;  inexperienced researchers don't always understand that.

3)  OTuesday's Tip - Pennsylvania Death Index, 1906 to 1961 now online:

a)  Unknown commented:  "Be careful to read the application form carefully. You need to submit a SASE for each certificate you order. You may order a number of certificates at one time with one check or money order, but you need to send a SASE for each certificate."

My comment:  Excellent advice - thank you!

4)  on Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - How Many Surnames?:

a)  Carole asked:  "What is GMP?"

My response:  GMP = "Genealogy Management Program" - a fancy way of saying "genealogy database software."  Sorry for the confusion!

5)  On  My Search Engine Shoot-Out:

a)  Anonymous commented:  "You may be interested in "Search Engine Showdown" which is the work of Greg Notess, a reference librarian--""

My comment:  Thanks for the link.  Interesting! 

6)  My Software Wish List - A Historical Place Name Jurisdiction Catalog (HPJNC):

a)  Anonymous commented:  "I am curious about your choice of "British America" as the top level location for early Massachusetts. Technically, I believe that Great Britain did not come into existence until England and Scotland united in 1707. So, wouldn't "New England" or "Colonial America" or some other designation be correct?"

My comment:  I take your point...but "British America" is what RootsMagic 5 "wants" to use if you have the "County Check" feature turned on for dates before 1776.  This refers, of course, to the standard of using historical place names and jurisdictions for the place where an Event occurred.  I have not done that in my database yet.  I'm waiting for the "magic wand" feature where all of the place names can be changed with one flick of a switch in the GMP.  

I don't think that using "New England" or "Colonial America" works.  The English colonies were part of the English Empire, so perhaps "English America" makes sense until Great Britain came into existence, and then use "British America."  That distinguishes them from French America colonies, Spanish America colonies, etc.  

That's enough for this weekly trip through the wisdom of my readers - thank you all for participating and helping me out here.  There were a few comments that ask questions that I will address in a specific post, perhaps next week if I can get my act together.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

How Can I Find Out Where My Folks Lived in 1940?

We should all be asking this question as we prepare for the release of the 1940 United States Census on 2 April 2012.  The reason for asking the question is that there will not be an every-name index for the census until later in 2012.  If we want to find our folks in the census, we need to know their location.  Having an address in urban areas will really help.

What resources might provide clues to their address?

*  Ask family members and relatives if they know.

*  Find family papers, letters and envelopes sent by postal mail to or from your family members.

*  Diaries and scrapbooks may provide clues.

*  Family photographs might be dated and place-named from that period of time.

*  Vital records of family members may provide an address.

*  Newspaper articles or obituaries of relatives may provide the place of residence.

*  School records of family members

*  Church records (baptisms, confirmations, marriages, funerals, etc.)

*  Land deeds of family members executed around 1940.

*  Cemetery records, including gravestone inscriptions, may provide clues.

*  Passports of family members obtained or stamped around 1940.

*  Naturalization records obtained around 1940

*  United States Alien registration around 1940.

*  Passenger lists for family members who traveled abroad around 1940.

*  Military records from World War II, including World War II draft registration forms ad enlistment forms.

*  Social Security Applications (if you have them) for persons born around 1940, or for persons who signed up around 1940, might provide an address.

*  The 1930 U.S. Census will provide the address ten years before - you can start there!  But people moved a lot, especially from the Midwest states to the West.

*  Voter Registration records provide an address for registered voters.

*  City Directories will provide an address, and are probably the best resource.  Local libraries should have nearly complete runs of them in each city or town.  Some are online on from the 1940 time period.

What other record sets do you recommend for finding addresses of your folks in the 1940 U.S. Census?

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Follow Friday - This Weekend's Genealogy TV and Radio Shows

There is one television show about genealogy and there are two genealogy-related radio shows on Blog Talk Radio ( this weekend.  They are:

1)  Who Do You Think You Are? (NBC, 8 p.m. EST, PST, 7 p.m. CST, MST) -- This week the celebrity is Martin Sheen (it is a re-run from Week 1).  

You can watch past episodes at

2)  GeneaBloggers Radio Episode 59 -Thomas MacEntee hosts the show this week with co-host 
Jennifer Geraghty-Gorman of the ‘On a flesh and bone foundation’: An Irish History blog.  The show is  titled   Tracing Your Irish Roots.   This show is on:

Friday, March 16, 2012
*  9 pm-10:30 pm Eastern US
*  8-9:30 pm Central US
*  7-8:30 pm Mountain US
*  6-7:30 pm Pacific US
*  2 am London UK

*  1pm Saturday Sydney AUS  

The show guests are:

   Donna Moughty, aprofessional genealogist who specializes in Irish research who will tell us about her upcoming research to Dublin, Ireland in October 2012; 

*  Mary Ellen Grogan, also a professional genealogist who has been researching in Ireland since 1983 and is the proud holder of Reader’s Ticket No. 151 for the National Library of Ireland; 
*  Ed Zapletal, co-owner and publisher of Moorshead Magazines Ltd., and Editor of Internet Genealogy, Family Chronicle and History Magazine will be discussing the new book Tracing Your Irish Ancestors (2012 Edition). 

You can read more information about the guests at 
Tracing Your Irish Roots."

Don’t forget that there is a chat room where all the “cool kids” hang out on Friday night! Sign in to BlogTalkRadio with your Facebook account or set up a free BlogTalkRadio account to join in the fun.

3)  FGS Radio - My Society, an Internet radio show on Blog Talk Radio presented by the Federation of Genealogical Societies.  This week's show is "
The 1940 US Census - How Your Genealogy Society Can Get Involved."    It will be hosted by Thomas MacEntee.  The show airs at:

Saturday, March 17, 2012
*  2-3 pm Eastern US
*  1-2 pm Central US
*  12-1 pm Mountain US
*  11 am-12pm Pacific US 

The special guests and features include:

Jim Ericson, of FamilySearch which is one of the sponsors of the1940 U.S. Census Community Project. Jim will discuss how your genealogy society and your members can get involved with indexing the 1940 US Census images when they are released on April 2, 2012. 

*  In addition, we’ll be featuring FGS member society, Wisconsin State Genealogical Society, in our weekly Society Spotlight feature. Tune in to FGS Radio – My Society each week to learn more about genealogy societies and join in a discussion of the issues impacting the genealogical community. 

Tune in to FGS Radio – My Society each week to learn more about genealogy societies and join in a discussion of the issues impacting the genealogical community. 

You can also listen to the archived shows on Blog Talk Radio by going to the two show sites:

*  Geneabloggers Radio:

*  FGS Radio - MySociety:   

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) Randall J. Seaver, 2012.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

CGSSD Meeting on 17 March - Apps for Genealogists

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

The next meeting will be held on 17 MARCH 2012 from 9:00 am to noon. Here are the details:

9:00 - User groups: FTM software; SIG: DNA Genealogy
Note: The MAC software group, previously scheduled for March, has been moved to April.

10:00 - Break, refreshments.

10:20 - Announcements followed by program:

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

FEEFHS Conference Registration Open

The Federation of East European History Societies (FEEFHS) has just opened online registration for their annual workshop that will be held from 12 to 14 July in Salt Lake City, Utah. This particular workshop has much to appeal to both beginners and advanced Eastern European researchers alike.

Here is the information graphic about the Conference:

If you have ancestry in Eastern Europe, this conference may help you with your research challenges.

Mining the SSDI - Finding Married Females in my RootsMagic Database

I mentioned in Are You Prepared to Research Without the SSDI? that I was going to "mine" the Social Security Death Index for persons in my RootsMagic database.  The "targets" are my ancestral family members (mostly siblings of my ancestors) and persons in my One-Name Study collections - Seaver, Carringer, Auble, Vaux, Dill and Buck.

I'm using the collection for now because it permits me to easily search by birth year.  The useful information in the SSDI are birth year, death year and last residence (assuming that they actually died there - it's a lead, of course).

I can search, person-by-person, in my database for the person listed in the SSDI list.  That is easily done using the person index in RootsMagic 5 for males.  The problem is that a female who married a Seaver, say, is in my RootsMagic database with her maiden name, or perhaps no surname at all.

So how can I find the right Ann, Mary, Sally or Beulah in the RootsMagic database?  I picked a person from the SSDI database, Beulah Seaver (born 5 Dec 1907, died Aug 1986, last residence: Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania) as my target).  Here's my process:

1)  In RootsMagic 5, click on the "Search" menu item and select the "Person list."

2)  That opens up the Person list in the "RootsMagic Explorer" window, and you can click on "NameFind" button to open the "Name Find" window.  I typed in the first name "Beulah" and last name "Seaver."  Note that it will find both birth and married last names.  There is also an "Allow close matches" checkbox (I didn't check it):

3)  After clicking OK, the search began and I eventually found Beulah McClain in my database, who married Paul Revere Seaver, with a matching birth date.  If the first person found isn't the right one, then you can click the "Next" button to find the next match.

Is this the right Beulah?  I think it is, mainly because Paul Revere Seaver's SSDI entry indicates that his last residence was Pittsburgh also.

The task becomes more difficult if I don't have an exact birth date, or if the given name is more common.  But it's manageable.

4)  From the screen above, I clicked on the "Select" button (lower right-hand corner of the window), and the Paul Seaver family view opened in RootsMagic. I clicked on Beulah and added a "Death" Fact to the list of facts with the SSDI information.  I then clicked on the "Sources" button and then "Cite existing source" and selected the SSDI from my list of master sources.  I added the citation detail to the entry, as seen below:

5) The SSDI entry also provides the birth date, so I wanted to use the same source citation for that Fact.  I clicked on "OK" on the screen above, and the "Death sources for Beulah McClain" window appeared, and I clicked on the "Memorize" button to save the source citation:

6)  I went to the Birth Fact for Beulah, clicked on the "Sources" button, and clicked on "Paste" in the "Birth sources for Beulah McClain."  The added birth source shows up in the Sources list:

The process took about one minute to work through for this particular entry.  A search for a common first name often takes longer.

It would be helpful if another search criteria was available to use on the "Name Find" menu, like a birth year or birth place.  I think that I can do a "Custom Report" in RootsMagic to find all persons named Beulah who were born in 1907 and married a Seaver, but I think that the process above finds them much more quickly.

In my SSDI mining effort for the Seaver surname, I started with birth years before 1870 and have worked my way up to 1907.  I was finding about 50% of the Seaver entries in the 1870's, but in the early 1900s I'm finding only about 10% or so in my database.  That's because I have not found records naming the spouses of Seaver males, or of Seaver females, past the 1930 U.S. Census.  The 1940 U.S. Census will really help me with this, but I'll need the index to make it work well.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Treasure Chest Thursday - the Housewarming in 1905

It's Treasure Chest Thursday - a time to reveal another gem in my treasure chest of family history.  

This week, it's another newspaper article, this time from the San Diego Evening Tribune dated 23 December 1905 (page 6, accessed on GenealogyBank): 

This article reads:

"On Saturday evening, Mr. and Mrs. H.A, Carringer opened their beautiful new cottage on Horton and Thirtieth streets to their Brooklyn Heights friends with a good, old-fashioned house warming.  Over fifty people participated in the pleasures of the evening, some dancing, others engaged in whist while a few enjoyed a social chat.

"Capt. Edwards tuned his violin with the same vigor he did fifty years ago, and Mr. Jacobs with guitar and graphophone made music to entice both old and young to 'join hands and circle 'round.'

"Cake, coffee and cocoa were served by the hostess, who, with the host, made everything as pleasant that the guests hoped another cottage might be built soon and the celebration repeated."

Henry Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer were my great-grandparents and they built the house on the northeast corner of 30th and Hawthorn (it was called Horton in 1905) in 1897.  In 1905 they were not young people - Austin was 52 and Della was 43, with a son Lyle who was 14.

I'm curious about Captain Edwards and Mr. Jacobs.  Were they neighbors, friends, or folks that lived in the neighborhood?  It's too bad I don't have a guest list for this event.

Isn't it great what you can find in historic newspapers once you have an index and can search for person's names?  GenealogyBank permits the user to search by state, or even by a specific city, or a specific newspaper.  That's the only way that I found this article, which adds a social life dimension to my great-grandparents.   A game of whist?  Anyone play whist these days?  What's a graphophone?  Something else to investigate in my spare time?

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

WikiTree Launches G2G Q&A Feature

I received this press release today from Elyse Doerflinger, the Genealogy Evangelist for WikiTree:

WikiTree Launches “Genealogist-to-Genealogist” Q&A
In Honor of “National Ask A Question Day”

WikiTree announces the official launch of its new Genealogist-to-Genealogist (G2G) Sharing Network ( While most collaboration and sharing at WikiTree happens along family lines, G2G is especially designed for genealogists to ask for help from other genealogists, regardless of whether or not they have a direct family connection.

Do you remember when you first started researching your family history? Not only did you have questions to ask other family members, but you weren’t sure how to get started tracing your roots. We learn by asking questions, and G2G offers a supportive environment for all genealogists to get the answers they need.

You don’t need to be a WikiTree member to ask and answer questions on G2G. In fact, you can use G2G to ask for an invitation to join the community. Users are also asking questions about brick wall ancestors and getting generous research help and look-ups.

To celebrate National Ask a Question Day, come ask a question!

About WikiTree: WikiTree's mission is to grow a single worldwide family tree which will ultimately make genealogy free and accessible for everyone. Privacy and collaboration are balanced so that families can share personal information while at the same time growing a valuable genealogical resource with distant cousins and strangers. WikiTree is entirely free for everyone but new members must be invited by a family member or fellow genealogist. See

This sounds like a good feature on WikiTree. There are already a number of how-to questions and brick-wall queries for people to respond to and help solve a problem.  Of course, it will be successful only if the genealogy community adopts it and inundates the site with queries AND responses.  

Copyright (c), 2012 Randall J. Seaver

Common Mistakes in 1940 U.S. Census Indexing

I listed the questions asked in 1940 United States Census Questions and the columns indexed by FamilySearch Indexing in What Columns of the 1940 U.S. Census Will be Indexed?

There is a 1940 U.S. Census Indexing Simulation available on the FamilySearch Indexing project site where you can practice your indexing with a somewhat typical sample (only 12 lines (instead of 40), with pretty readable handwriting).  

There is also a line on the "My Message" box on the Indexing site dated 7 March that says "'SIMULATION' 1940 U.S. Census - Most Common Mistakes." The line is highlighted in the screen below:

The information in this message says:

"The following instructions highlight some of the frequently observed mistakes in our initial 1940 census test. Other refinements to the instructions will be added as we study more results from the *SIMULATION* 1940 US Census.
  • When you index the residence fields, you should correct misspellings and expand abbreviations if you can do so accurately, but don't try to correct what may seem to be factual errors. For example, if "Oakland" was recorded as the city of residence and "Contra Costa" as the county (rather than Alameda), index Oakland in the city field and Contra Costa in the county field.
  • If "Same House," "Same Place," or "Rural" was recorded in census form column 17 (City, town, or village...), type what you see and use Ctrl+B to mark the county and state of residence fields (columns 18 and 19) blank.
  • If the census enumerator recorded a house number (census form column 2) but failed to also record the number of household (census form column 3) then use Ctrl+B to mark the number of household field blank.
  • If a relationship was recorded as "Wife-H" in column 8, do not index the -H; just type Wife in the Relationship field.
  • If the census enumerator listed multiple localities in column 15 (place of birth), index all localities as they are recorded separating them with a space (example: Wurttemberg, Germany should be recorded as Wurttemberg Germany).
  • If you see roman numerals used for a title or term (such as "V," for 5th), type what you see in the Titles and Terms field..
  • Each 1940 census form has 40 entry lines. If a census line on the census form is blank or has no data to be indexed, use Ctrl+Shift+B to mark the entire line blank. Be sure to mark the blank lines in the same order they appear on the census form."
If you are going to do 1940 U.S. Census Indexing, I urge you to read this list of Most Common Mistakes, and perhaps print them out, BEFORE you index the 1940 Census Simulation batch and before you do any indexing of the actual 1940 U.S. Census.  The fewer mistakes you make, the faster the census indexing project will be completed, which benefits all of us.

If you want to practice on some "real" handwriting, you might consider indexing on the 1871 U.K. England and Wales Census, or the World War I draft registration cards, or the Texas Death Records.  The 1871 UK Census is challenging not only because of the handwriting but also the place names are unfamiliar to me, and many of the county and towns use abbreviations.  However, it is the most "like" the 1940 U.S. Census indexing of the batches available for indexers.  I try to do one batch of the 1871 UK Census every night - it takes 15 to 30 minutes depending on the quality of the handwriting.  

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver