Saturday, June 16, 2012

One More Day for Father's Day Contest on Genea-Musings

Last chance!  One more day (entries close at 8:59 p.m. PDT on Sunday!

Join the Genea-Musings Father's Day contest with great prizes from - see rules at

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - How popular was your name?

Hey, genea-philes - it's Saturday Night again, time for some Genealogy Fun!!

Did anybody but me have SNGF last week?  I don't think so... being at a conference or seminar is no excuse!  Come on now and just do it.  Or it will go away... no pressure!

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

1)  Go to the Popular Baby Name page on the Find the Best website at

2)  Enter your given name into the search box, click the appropriate gender button, and click on the "All" Decade button.  Note the results for your given name.

3)  Tell us about how the popularity of your name has changed over the decades.  Were you named during the buildup, the height, or the drawdown of the popularity of your given name?

4)  Share your results in a blog post of your own, in comments to this blog post, or in a Facebook status or Google+ Stream post.

Here's mine:

1)  I chose "Randall" and the results by decade were:

1880s:  Rank = 654; Percent with Name = .0076%; Number = 89
1890s:  Rank = 740; Percent with Name = .0068%; Number = 84
1900s:  Rank = 609; Percent with Name = .0103%; Number = 151
1910s:  Rank = 457; Percent with Name = .0164%; Number = 1,140
1920s:  Rank = 428; Percent with Name = .0172%; Number = 1,954
1930s:  Rank = 316; Percent with Name = .0278%; Number = 3,015
1940s:  Rank = 132; Percent with Name = .1173%; Number = 17,754
1950s:  Rank = 58; Percent with Name = .3043%; Number = 62,367
1960s:  Rank = 65; Percent with Name = .2654%; Number = 52,049
1970s:  Rank = 122; Percent with Name = .1347%; Number = 23,020
1980s:  Rank = 148; Percent with Name = .1005%; Number = 19,308
1990s:  Rank = 270; Percent with Name = .0503%; Number = 10,319
2000s:  Rank = 570; Percent with Name = .0197%; Number = 3,749

2)  I also checked "Randy" and the results by decade were:

1940s:  Rank = 156; Percent with Name = .0935%; Number = 14,156
1950s:  Rank = 33; Percent with Name = .5875%; Number = 120,000
1960s:  Rank = 40; Percent with Name = .4786%; Number = 93,859
1970s:  Rank = 77; Percent with Name = .2137%; Number = 36,537
1980s:  Rank = 103; Percent with Name = .1535%; Number = 29,486
1990s:  Rank = 190; Percent with Name = .0817%; Number = 16,776
2000s:  Rank = 304; Percent with Name = .0489%; Number = 9,332

Apparently, before the 1940s, Randy was not a name ranked in the top 2,000 names.

Randall gained in popularity and peaked in the 1950s, and Randy peaked in the same decade.  In the 1950s, 0.8918% of all boy babies in the U.S. were named Randy or Randall (that's about 1 in 112.  That ratio is down to about 1 in 148 in the 2000s decade.

Since I was born in 1943, my parents named me while the name Randall was on the buildup to the popularity of the name, and Randy was just starting to appear on birth certificates.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Surname Saturday - BECK (England > New York)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week.  I have another blank spot this week at #481, so I am up  to number 483, Anna Beck (1704-1749). [Note: The 6th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts] 

My ancestral line back to Anna BECK (and three more generations) is:

1. Randall J. Seaver

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

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

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

30.  James Abram Kemp (1831-1902)
31.  Mary Jane Sovereen (1840-1874)

60.  Abraham James Kemp (1794-after 1881)
61.  Sarah Sephrona Fletcher (1802-after 1861)

120.  John Kemp (1768-after 1861)
121.  Mary Dafoe (ca 1776-before 1851)

240.  John Kemp (about 1723-1795)
241.  Anna Van Vorst (1732-1789)

482.  Jacobus Van Vorst, born before 12 December 1703 in Schenectady, Schenectady, New York, United States; died after 06 December 1790 in Schenectady, Schenectady, New York, United States.  He was the son of 964. Jillis Jacobse Van Vorst and 965. Elisabeth Van Eps.  He married  14 February 1728 in Schenectady, Schenectady, New York, United States.
483.  Anna Beck, born before 07 October 1704 in Schenectady, Schenectady, New York, United States; died before 20 May 1749 in Schenectady, Schenectady, New York, United States. 

Children of Jacobus Van Vorst and Anna Beck are:  Margriet Vedder Van Vorst (1726-????); Caleb Van Vorst (1729-????); Anna Van Vorst (1732-1789); Elizabeth Van Vorst (1734-1805); Jellis Van Vorst (1735-1823); Engletje Van Vorst (1738-1821); Johannes Van Vorst (1741-1844); Abraham Van Vorst (1743-1833); Jan Baptist Van Vorst (1746-1830>

966.  Caleb Beck, born about 1680 in probably Portsmouth, Rockingham, New Hampshire, United States; died before 08 May 1733 in Schenectady, Schenectady, New York, United States.  He married 02 November 1703 in Schenectady, Schenectady, New York, United States.
967.  Annetje Janse Mol, born before 25 July 1678 in Manhattan, New York, New York, United States; died after 1733 in Schenectady, Schenectady, New York, United States.  She was the daughter of 1934. Jan Janse Mol and 1935. Engeltie Pieterse Mabie.

Children of Caleb Beck and Annetje Mol are:  Anna Beck (1704-1749); Caleb Beck (1712-1714); Caleb Beck (1714-1787); Engeltje Beck (1715-????); Margaret Beck (1717-????).

1932.  Caleb Beck, born 1649 in Portsmouth, Rockingham, New Hampshire, United States; died 1694 at sea.   He married before 1680.
1933.  Hannah Bolles, born before 25 November 1649 in Wells, York, Maine, United States; died after October 1717 in Portsmouth, Rockingham, New Hampshire, United States.  She was the daughter of 3866. Joseph Bolles and 3867. Mary Howell.

Children of Caleb Beck and Hannah Bolles are:  Thomas Beck (????-????); Caleb Beck (1680-1733).

3864.  Henry Beck, born about 1618 in Dover, Kent, England; died before 26 April 1686 in New Castle, Rockingham, New Hampshire, United States.  He married before 1647 in probably Rockingham, New Hampshire, United States.
3865.  Anne Frost, born in England; died before 1680 in Rockingham, New Hampshire, United States.

Children of Henry Beck and Anne Frost are:  Mary Beck (????-????); Caleb Beck (1649-1694); Joshua Beck (1655-????); Thomas Beck (1657-1734); Henry Beck (1661-????).

Resources used to define the families above include:

1)  Kristin Carle Hall, "Beck Register Report," (
 on the Kristin C. Hall website : dated 13 August 2002).

2)  Robert Charles Anderson, et al., The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England 1634-1635 (Boston, Mass. : New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1999), Volume I, pages 228-230.

3)  Cheryl Kemp Taber, "Kemps and Kin," online database, Rootsweb WorldConnect (

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Friday, June 15, 2012

GenealogyBank has a new face

One of my favorite genealogy subscription websites has a new "face" - they've changed how they look, and have made some changes with how it works.

Here is the home page for GenealogyBank (two screens):

The signed-in user can start a global search immediately by putting names into the last name and first name search fields.  Or the user can scroll down a bit and pick from a state (and then from a specific newspaper if desired) or a specific record set (Newspapers, 1690-present; Historical Documents (1789-1994); Historical Books (1801-1900); Social Security Death Index (1937-present) - free access!).

The list of newspapers available on GenealogyBank is at

The "About Us" page for GenealogyBank says:

"GenealogyBank is a leading online genealogical resource from NewsBank, inc. Featuring a wealth of exclusive material-including modern obituaries and historical newspapers, books, pamphlets, military records, government documents and more - GenealogyBank helps you discover fascinating information about your family history.
"GenealogyBank's 6,100+ historical newspapers include letters, speeches, opinion pieces, advertisements, hometown news, photographs, illustrations and more. These unique primary documents go beyond names and dates, providing first-hand accounts that simply aren't available from census or vital records alone. With GenealogyBank, you'll get a glimpse into the triumphs, troubles and everyday experiences of your American ancestors.
"In addition to more than 300 years of extensive coverage, GenealogyBank features a streamlined interface and fast, accurate searching, allowing researchers of any level to easily track lost ancestors and uncover previously hard-to-find family history information."
I entered Devier Smith into the search fields on the screen above, and received several matches:

When I clicked on the one Newspaper match, I found a listing of the matches (up to 10 on a page) and a snippet view of the matches:

At the bottom of the results page above, I could edit my search with information about the last name, first name, include keywords, exclude keywords, date, and added since [date].

When I clicked on the one match on the screen above, the newspaper page appeared with the requested last name and first name highlighted:

The search is still a search for word combinations within two words of each other on the same page.  The "Search Tips" link describes it like this:

"Using both name search fields returns newspaper articles in which the surname is automatically "near2" the first name.

    • This means the newspaper archive search engine automatically finds occurrences of the first and last names within two words of each other.
    • This helps to find occurrences of middle names or initials in the newspaper articles, without having to enter or remember them.
    • The "near2" search command is not order specific—meaning your newspaper search will retrieve the person's name no matter in what order it is mentioned: the first name then last name or the last name then first name.
    • This search default is intended to bring you the most occurrences of the name you are searching for in the online newspaper archives."
For common names, the Search Tips recommend that the user enter information into the other fields.  for instance, when I search for the Seaver surname, I exclude the words "Tom" and "baseball" just to avoid results for Tom Seaver.

I like the new "look" and "feel" of the GenealogyBank site.  I especially like that up to 10 matches are displayed on the results page now - it used to be only 5.  Actually, I would prefer more - like 20 or 50!

Disclosure:  I know Tom Kemp personally, he is a distant Richmond cousin of mine.  I was given a free membership to the site several years ago and use it regularly.  This does not affect my use or review of the site.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Follow-Up Friday - Original vs. Derivative Source

For Follow-Up Friday, I want to revisit the comments made on my post Original or Derivative Source? Bible Records from Wednesday.  In that post, I provided the definition of the terms from Evidence! Explained, and stated my reasons for thinking that handwritten Bible entries on the family pages of a published Bible was an Original Source.

Not everyone agreed.  For instance:

*  Denise Spurlock commented:  "Randy, I agree with you that the entries in a family Bible are an original source. If you were looking at a transcription of the entries, that would be derivative. The evidence provided by those entries is direct evidence of the date of the event (whether birth, marriage or death). What needs to be considered carefully is (to quote EE) "the informant's degree of participation or knowledge." Although someone certainly was present at their own birth, their knowledge of the event is secondary."

*  Elizabeth O'Neal said:  "I was also in Warren's class that day. I believe his point was that even though the person in question was present at her own birth, she did not have the mental capacity to know and understand it at the time it was happening. Thus the entry was made "after the fact," and thus, derivative.  Also, he commented that the copyright date on the Bible was well after the date of all but one of the children's births, hence making those derivative. Not sure I agree with that.

"Personally, I think it's half and half: original information about the children's births, since the mother would certainly have been present at those (although not in the best frame of mind, from what I know of MY experience!), and derivative about one's own birth, and in this case, the birth location of the spouse. But I'm not sure I would want to argue any of this with Warren! ;-)"

*  Elf Flame stated:  "I think the point of what he's saying, if I understand, is that things written in the bible may well be wrong. We know that a lot of people didn't really know their birth year when you go back far enough. They may have written down in the bible the date they'd always assumed was theirs, but that doesn't mean they're always right, though derivative work isn't always wrong, so that follows, too. As for others' birth dates, that's derivative too, simply because you can't be guaranteed that the person had the book with them at the birth (if they were even there at all), and they may remember a day or even a year wrong, so relying on what's in a bible is shaky at best, and misleading at worst."

*  The Family Curator noted:  " I was also in Warren's session and have been thinking about the Bible example. I understood that the birth records could not be "original" because the Bible itself was not in existence at the time of the supposed birth; I believe it was printed some years later.   I suppose that a birth entry made by a father or mother in a Bible clearly published before the birth date would qualify as an original source. Is that correct?"

*  Eileen said:  "If her parents recorded her birth in a bible they owned at the time of her birth (which they may have) that would have been an original source. Then if they parents got a new bible and copied the information to the new bible that would be a derivative source. In her case, her birth date is hearsay, so to speak, since she really was not aware of it at the time.  To me the purpose of original versus derivative is the validity of the data. Even her parents could have made an error when copying information over to a new bible."

*  Bart Brenner noted:  "Interesting discussion! It seems to me, considering the arguments on both sides, that this becomes a judgment call for each of us. This is my "Pirates of the Caribbean" approach... The categories are guidelines, not rigid laws. Their function is to help us as we seek to resolve conflicts and develop sound, reasonable, and coherent conclusions."

*  Dave noted:  "This is why genealogists don't typically use the term original and derivative "source". We usually discuss "information". The handwritten bible is an original source. No question. If i go out and buy a bible and start putting in my family tree, the bible will still be an original source. If someone copies the information, it becomes derivative.

"Note, there is no discussion of the veracity of the information. Doesnt matter. Original refers to the source itself, the tangible thing. To qualify the data we talk about primary and secondary information. Bibles are usually secondary, but some information may be primary. If the author recorded the bitths of their children as they were born, its primary."

*  Anonymous said:  "I think it is a derivative source as it was entered into the bible by someone who would only know the information by some other source. A person has no way to know their own birth date and place unless it was told to them. In court, I think this is called hearsay evidence. I have a family bible and while the bible belonged to my great-grandparents, the entries were made years later by my grandfather and he incorrectly entered the maiden name of his grandmother in a marriage entry he wrote in. Had the entry been made by the married couple it would have been entered correctly."

*  Kay Rudolph commented:  " An earlier comment noted: "If I go out and buy a bible and start putting in my family tree, the bible will still be an original source. If someone copies the information, it becomes derivative." In this case, someone went out and bought a bible and copied hearsay information into it. If I copy a list of names and birth dates onto a blank sheet of paper, no one would question for a minute whether the list was original or derivative. What's the difference between copying a list onto a blank sheet of loose paper and copying it onto a blank sheet of paper in the flyleaf of a bible? But really, whether we call the bible entry an original source with secondary information or a derivative source with secondary information, is less important than our recognition that this is secondary information and can't be relied upon to the degree that a source based on primary information can be."

*  Geolover noted:  "I completely agree with Eileen and Anonymous (12:00 AM PDT). What was written in the Bible, in your example, was not from first-hand experience as newborns do not take notes on the event (yet, anyway!). It was information related to the writer from another source, which could have been verbal or written.

"Kay is also right ("this is secondary information and can't be relied upon to the degree that a source based on primary information can be"). Very large numbers of people did not know their own birth-date, and large numbers of parents did not know such a date, much less have a written record of it. I know of a relative who simply did not believe his official birth record because his name was not on the hospital certificate (many children were not named the same day as born)! "

My thoughts:

Is there a consensus here relative to Original or Derivative Source?  Let's go back to the definition of "Original Source" from Evidence! Explained:  

"Original sources—material in its first oral or recorded form. Examples: the testimony of someone relating events that he or she personally experienced or witnessed; or an original document created by a party with firsthand knowledge of the information recorded."  

I think that it's a simple test!  Is it material in its first oral or recorded form?  The instant question becomes:  "Was the Bible entry for Minnie's birth the first oral or recorded material of the event?"  We don't know, do we?  Was there an earlier Bible record, or a handwritten list of births, provided by the parents, or by Minnie herself, or by another family member?  

My own conclusion is this:  If the Bible had been purchased before the first entry on the family pages, then the handwritten family pages should be considered an Original Source.  Since it was published and purchased long after the first entry on the family pages, it should be considered a Derivative Source.  

When Warren found Minnie's Bible, it was the key to finding more records.  Subsequently, church records were found  for Minnie's date of birth, and those records should be considered "Original Source" and "Primary Information."  Even so, they may contain erroneous information.  The quality of the information does not affect the classification of the Source type.

Some of the commenters said that because the information was "secondary" (because it was written well after the event by a person not sentient at her own birth), that it could not be an "Original Source."  A Source is a tangible thing - and should be classified as Original or Derivative irrespective of the content of the information.  But what about the handwritten family pages of a published Bible when the researcher does not know if there is an earlier source?  

I agree with several commenters that the most important factor is that we consider the information on a Bible record such as this as "Secondary Information" if it is written after the events recorded, no matter what Source type it is.  A source can provide both "Primary Information" and "Secondary Information," and any information provided may be erroneous.  The only way to determine what is a true assertion is to follow the Genealogical Proof Standard trail - do a reasonably exhaustive search, create source citations, analyze all of the evidence at hand, resolve conflicting evidence, and draw a reasoned written conclusion.  That's what Warren Bittner did in his Case Study.

I go back to my own example where Family Bible pages contain the birth date of the writer (Devier Smith in 1842) and his wife (Abbie Vaux in 1844) and their children (including two that were recorded in no published record yet found).  Even though Devier wrote it in 1889, I have always considered it to be an Original Source because I believe that this was the first oral or written form of the information that survived.  It is my own "golden record."  Then I think "but how did he know?  Did he have another piece of paper - a former Bible, a list he kept in a now-lost journal?"  

Of course, I think that Devier's own birth date on the family page of the Bible was recorded erroneously - I think he was born in 1839!  But that's the result of doing a reasonably exhaustive search to find records, analyzing all of the records, and coming to a reasoned conclusion.  

My thanks to the commenters who shed more light on the question at hand and helped me learn more about the issue.  

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Searching on my iPhone

During Daniel Horowitz's presentation on "Mobile Devices and applications for Genealogists" at the SCGS Genealogy Jamboree last weekend, I made a statement that "The app on my iPhone does not search the Ancestry record collections."  Another attendee corrected me, and I then figured it out myself right there in the presentation, and told Daniel about it afterwards..

I thought that my Genea-Musings readers would like to know the process for searching the record collections using the iPhone.  Here is the process that I've found:

1)  From the application on my iPhone:

2)  I tapped Thomas Richmond (1848-1917) on my tree (above), and the information for him opened:

There are four buttons at the bottom for Info, Family, Photo and Evidence.

3)  I tapped the "Evidence" button and a list of my source citations appeared:

4)  Scrolling down to the bottom of the list, there is a line for "Search to find historical documents about Thomas Richmond."

5)  When I tapped on the "Search" link above, the browser opened and the familiar search results on opened:

6)  Turning the iPhone to landscape mode, and zooming in to the image:

What I noticed was that the first search was a global search, and I received thousands of matches that did not reflect the birth, death, spouse or parents information for Thomas Richmond.

From here, I could choose one of the record collections to see the list of matches, or I could tap the "Edit Search" screen to refine my search.

7)  When I clicked on "Edit Search" to refine my search, the search form had all of the information in the search fields - birth, death, marriage, spouse's name, parents names, siblings, etc.  Since I usually search for Exact matches, those boxes were also checked.

When I clicked "Search," I received no results!  That was frustrating!  I didn't see an easy way to delete selected search fields on the "Edit Search" screen except to tap each field and do it manually.

I haven't done much searching on using the iPhone, but I would like to have some capability to not use the pre-filled in information in the search fields, or be able to easily tap it to use it or not use it.

Of course, I had already reviewed, and accepted or rejected, all of the Hints that offered for Thomas Richmond.  Because I have this Ancestry Member Tree synced to my Family Tree Maker 2012 program, I also get the documents attached to the tree downloaded to my computer when I sync my FTM database with the Ancestry Member Tree.  However,'s sources are still not up to Evidence! Explained quality...

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

War of 1812 Pension Application Files Indexed on

I was browsing through the list of Recently Added or Updated Databases on this morning, and noticed that there was an entry for the War of 1812 Pension Application Files Index, 1812-1815.  There are 81,265 entries in this database.

The last time I checked in the Ancestry Card Catalog, this record collection was not indexed - I wrote about it in Unindexed Databases on in May, 2009.

The information about this index says:

"This database contains an index to War of 1812 pension application files. Pensions were applied for and granted to War of 1812 veterans or their survivors.
"The application files indexed in this collection relate to claims of military service between 1812 and 1815. Most of the applications were filed as a result of acts instated in 1871 and 1878 (read more below). These acts made it possible for veterans and their survivors to receive pensions based on service alone. Earlier acts provided pensions only for service related deaths or disabilities.
"This index consists of the fronts of the envelopes containing the actual pension applications. These envelopes are arranged alphabetically according to surname of applicant. The amount of information shown on the front of the envelope varies. However, the following information is generally provided:
  • Name of veteran
  • Name of widow, if she applied
  • Pension claim or file number(s)
  • Service type or organization
"Some of the envelopes also contain personal identifying data about the veteran and/or widow. Some of the envelopes contain information written in the upper right-hand corner relating to bounty land applications."
I wanted to find the information in this index about Isaac Lanfear of Lorraine, Jefferson County, New York.  On the search screen for the database, I entered the surname:

The search results turned up three matches for that surname:

There were two matches for an Isaac Lanfear, so I clicked on one of them:

The index card for Isaac Lanfear, and his wife Rosannah, is:

The information on this card indicates that there are two applications:
*  W.O. 11,838
*  W.C. 27,857
The service information for Isaac Lanfear is:
*  Service: Capts. Gould & Wilcox's Co's, N.Y. Mil.
This index card was on:
*  National Archives Microfilm Publication M313, Roll 56.
With the pension file numbers, the actual War of 1812 pension application files can be ordered from the National Archives.  However, is digitizing these pension application files.  The records for surnames starting with A and B are available in the War of 1812 Pension Files.  Note that all War of 1812 files on are FREE through 30 June. 
Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Treasure Chest Thursday - Funeral Home Record for Dora Schaffner (1838-1904)

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 Funeral Home Record for Dora (--?--) Schaffner in San Francisco, California.  This record was found in the FamilySearch Historical Collection for  San Francisco (CA) Funeral Home Records, 1831-1935. 
 Dora Schaffner, widow of Frederick Schaffner, died 11 April 1904:

The information in this record can be very helpful for genealogy researchers. The information written on the record included (handwritten information underscored):

* For the Funeral of: Dora Schaffner
* To be charged to: Estate  112 Scott St.
* Date of Funeral: April 13th 04
* Place of Death: 112 Scott St.
* Date of Death: April 11th 04
* Occupation of the Deceased: Housewife
* Cause of Death: Fatty Degeneration of the heart
* Place of Birth: Germany
* Date of Birth: Sept 20th 1838
* Married
* Religion: Prot
* Aged: 65 Years 6 Months 20 Days
* Funeral Services at: 112 Scott St
* Clergyman: Rev. Crocuke
* Certifying Physician: Dr. Weiss
* His Office: Union Sq.
* Interment: I.O.O.F.
* Who Conducted Funeral: Fred

* Price of Casket = $175.00
* Embalming Body = $15.00
* Singer - Knich Quart =. $30.00
* 10 Folding Chairs
* 6 Lifters, @$2.50 = $15.00
* Number of Carriages: 6 @ $4.00 = $24.00
* Hearse = $10.00
* Death Notices in Newspapers = $6.00
* Outlay for Lot - Opening Niche for Ashes = $6.50
* Cremation Fee = $25.00
* Rev. Krocuke = $10.00
* Total footing of Bill = $316.50
* May 31st 1904 By Cash in Full = $296.50

Other lines on the form, which were not filled in, included:

* Position as Member in Family
* Name of Father
* His birthplace
* Name of Mother
* Her Birthplace
* Lot or Grave No.
* Section No.

From this record, I was able to add Dora's birth date, death date, residence address, and burial location to my genealogy database. Unfortunately, the record did not include her parents names. 

Note also that there is a brief newspaper obituary pasted to the bottom of the funeral home record.

Check out the funeral expenses. An interesting list that provides some idea of what things cost in San Francisco in 1904.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Janet Hovorka's Presentations at Jamboree 2012

Janet Hovorka, the creator and owner of Family ChartMasters, and The Chart Chick blog, made three excellent presentations at the Southern California Genealogical Society Genealogy Jamboree 2012.  They were:

1)  "Hatching Eggs: The Chart Chick Engages Her Teenage Children With Their Family History."  You can view this presentation, in Prezi format, at

2)  "Magnifying Glass, Wide-Angle Lens or Telescope?  Charts to Visualize Your Family Tree."  You can view this presentation, in Prezi format, at  There is a 30 minute video tutorial for Family ChArtist at

3)  "Advocating Genealogy and Growing the Market:  Issues of the New Genealogist."  This presentation is not available online as far as I know.

I am really intrigued by the Prezi style of presentation.  I love the transitions from slide to slide and find myself trying to guess what's going to happen next.  I thought maybe it would be distracting for audience members during a presentation, but it actually enhanced my interest and curiosity about "what's coming next.

Thank you to Janet for making two of her presentations available to her audience.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Original or Derivative Source? Bible Records

I was sitting in Warren Bittner's class at the SCGS Genealogy Jamboree on Sunday morning, titled "Complex Evidence: What Is It? How Does It Work? Why Does It Matter?" and he said something I immediately disagreed with - and now I'm wondering if I've misinterpreted something in the Source, Information, Evidence, Genealogical Proof Standard discussion..

The issue in his case study was a handwritten family Bible record - Minnie Bahre Bittner recorded her own 1865 birth many years later.  Warren called it a "Derivative Source"  because the information was recorded well after the facts involved, and the fact that the Bible was printed and purchased well after the Birth event in question.

I have always considered that a handwritten document, even with information recorded well after the events recorded, was an Original Source.  So I went to my copy of Evidence! Explained to review the Sources section (Section 1.14 in the First Edition).  It says:

Sources are artifacts, books, digital files, documents, film, people, photographs, recordings, websites, etc. Sources are classified according to their physical form:

"Original sources—material in its first oral or recorded form. Examples: the testimony of someone relating events that he or she personally experienced or witnessed; or an original document created by a party with firsthand knowledge of the information recorded.

"Derivative sources—material produced by copying an original or manipulating its content; e.g., abstracts, compilations, databases, extracts, transcripts, translations, and authored works such as historical monographs or family histories."

In the case of entries for children in the Births, Marriages and Deaths section of a family Bible, written in a mother's or father's hand, I have no doubt that the information recorded was based on firsthand knowledge of the informant.  But what about her own birth?  Was this record the first oral or recorded form?  I don't know - it is possible that it is the only recorded form of the information, or it may have been copied from another document that was subsequently destroyed or has not yet been found.  If it was a copy, then it may have been a Record Copy which may be treated as an Original Source.

In Warren's case study, there were church birth and baptismal records that confirmed the date of birth - those church records are also Original Sources, I think.

Of course, the names and dates in the Bible record is Secondary Information, since it was recorded in the Bible many years after the event, and the writer of the information was not a participant or eyewitness to the event.  The information in the Bible records are also Direct Evidence for the births.  

I have two sets of Bible records with family information on them.  In both cases, they provide the only source for some of the events, were written well after some of the events, and they provide the only Direct Evidence I have of the full names and births and marriages of the persons involved.  I have classified these records as Original Source, Secondary Information and Direct Evidence in my analysis and proof arguments for these families.

To me, whether the Source is Original or Derivative does not depend upon the classification of the Information or Evidence provided by the Source.  I think that it's either an Original Source or a Derivative Source based on the nature of the work itself.  

A complicating factor in this discussion is the nature of a family Bible - the printed book itself is clearly a derivative source (due to revision, translations and interpretations over thousands of years), but what about the handwritten information on the family event pages provided in the Bible?

Am I wrong here?  I would appreciate discussion and commentary on this point for my own education and that of my readers.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 209: At Norway's Riksarchivet

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

Here is a picture from our recent Royal Caribbean cruise (Norway-France-Ireland-England-Scotland-Norway):

On 11 May 2012, Linda and I enjoyed an Oslo tour day with Torill Johnsen, who is a Norwegian genealogy blogger (see  

We visited the Riksarkivet in Oslo, the National Archives of Norway.  In the book area, Torill quickly found the Voss bygdebok (farm book) and she and Linda posed for this picture.  I had, of course, extracted a great deal of information about Linda's Norwegian roots from the Voss bygdebok back in 1999 using microfilm at the San Diego Family History Center (it's still there on permanent loan, I hope!).

This visit with Torill got our European vacation off to a great start!

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Father's Day Contest at Genea-Musings - Win Prizes

This coming Sunday is Father's Day.  I usually receive cards from my daughters and grandchildren, and a box or two of See's Candy chocolate from my wife. has graciously offered prizes for a contest on Genea-Musings, similar to (but not the same as) their package being given away on Ancestry's Facebook page (  

The prizes for the Genea-Musings contest are:

*  6-month U.S. Discovery membership to
*  1-year membership to Fold3
*  Family Tree Maker (PC or Mac version)

The contest rules are:

1)  Entrants must email me at with their entry titled "Ancestry Contest," and providing their name, location and email address.

2)  Entrants must describe their favorite father in 25 words or less in the email.

3)  One contest entry per person.

4)  The deadline for contest entries is Sunday, 17 June 2012 at 8:59 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time (that's 11:59 p.m. EDT, 10:59 p.m. CDT, 9:59 p.m. MDT, and 3:59 a.m. GMT on 18 June).

5)  The winner will be selected from a random drawing conducted by Randy Seaver on Monday, 18 June 2012 using a random number generator for the number of entries submitted.

6)  The winner's name and email address will be passed to for awarding of the prizes by

Thank you to for offering to provide prizes for this contest.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

SCGS Genealogy Jamboree Blog Compendium

There were a number of posts about the 2012 SCGS Genealogy Jamboree events and happenings, so I'm going to do a blog compendium.

*  Jamboree: Lights, Camera, Action, Idols by Mark Olsen on the MyHeritage Blog.

*  Southern California Jamboree in Burbank - Day 1*Southern California Jamboree - Day 2*,  Southern California Jamboree - last day* by Sandra Benward on the Root Cellar Sacramento Genealogical Society blog.

*  SCGS Jamboree Tech Trax,  SCGS Jamboree - Friday,  SCGS Jamboree 2012 - Saturday by Karen Krugman on Karen's Genealogy Oasis blog.

*  Jamboree 2012 and Progress on My List by Sheri Fenley on The Educated Genealogist blog.

*  Jamboree 2012 Wrap-Up by Michael John Neill on the blog.

*  Day 1 at JamboreeSCGS Jamboree Day #2SCGS Genealogy Jamboree Day #3 - SaturdayDay 4 at SCGS Genealogy Jamboree - Sunday and SCGS Genealogy Jamboree Pictures - Hollywood Gala* by Randy Seaver on the Genea-Musings blog.

*  Top 40, Jamboree and Me by Valerie Craft on the Family Cherished blog.

*  SCGS12 Hollywood Gala* by Amy Coffin on The We Tree Genealogy Blog.

*  Jamboree Weekend Train and Hotel, Jamboree Day 2 Friday June 8, 2012, Jamboree Day 2, Saturday June 9 and Sunday Day 3 at Jamboree by Gwynn Socolich on the GSGenealogy blog.

*  The Day After: My Top 10 Jamboree 2012 List by Gena Ortega on Gena's Genealogy blog..

*  What I Liked Best About #SCGS12 by Caroline M. Pointer on the blog.

*  My First Jamboree - Part 1, My First Jamboree - Part 2 and My First Jamboree - Part 3 (The Finale) by Missy Corley on the Bayside Blog.

*  Jamboree 2012 - Friday,  Jamboree 2012 - Saturday by Cheryl Palmer on the Heritage Happens blog.

*  Surreal Southern California Genealogy Jamboree by the writer of The Ancestry Insider blog.

*  Don't Miss the Author of Annie's Ghost #scgs12 Streaming Video,   A Good Time Was Had By All @scgs12, and  Elyse Doerflinger and A.C. Ivory Receive Suzanne Winsor Freeman Student Scholarship Grants by Denise Levenick on The Family Curator blog.

*  Genealogy Firsts - Merit Badge, Conference, Autographs and Cemetery Picture-Taking by Geoff Rasmussen on the Legacy News blog.

*  Jamboree: Crowds, the Census and a Red Carpet! by Schelly Dardashti on the MyHeritage Blog.

*  Southern California Genealogical Society's Successful 2012 Jamboree by Tom Kemp on the GenealogyBank Blog.

*  Southern California Genealogy Jamboree 2012 Recap by Amanda on the Geni Blog.

*  SCGS Jamboree in Oregon 2012 by Susan LeBlanc on the Gopher Genealogy blog.

*  At the Genealogy Jamboree 2012 and   Saturday at SCGS Jamboree - Fun and Discoveries by Donna Wendt on the Another Day With Donna blog.

If I missed one or more of your blog posts about events at SCGS 2012, please let me know in comments or email.

Last updated Thursday, 14 June 2012, 1 p.m.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Tuesday's Tip - Use the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Site

This week's Tuesday's Tip is:  Use the National Park Service's website ( to search for information about the war, Union and Confederate Soldiers and Sailors, prisoners, regimental histories, and more.

Here is the Home Page for the site:

The tabs at the top of the page (green background) are NPS links for "Find a Park," "Discover History," "Explore Nature," "Get Involved," "Working with Communities," "Teachers," "Kids" and  "About Us."

Down the left side of the screen above are links to the Civil War site, including "Home," "Stories," "People," "Places," "Collections," "Preservation," "Facts," and "150 Years: Maryland campaign."

On the "People" page, there is a l ink for the "Soldiers and Sailors Database" (

A user can search for people who might have served in the War using this database.  There are different search fields for "Soldiers," "Sailors," "Regiments," "Cemeteries," "Battles," Prisoners," "Medals of Honor" and "Monuments."

I chose "Soldiers," and in the search box, I put in Last Name = 'seaver' and selected "Union" as shown below:

The options in the search fields included:  "By Keyword," "By Last Name," "By First Name," "By Side," "By State," "Rank In," "rank Out," and "By Function."

There were 205 Union Soldiers with the last name of Seaver:

I scrolled down until I found Isaac Seaver.  Here is what his screen said:

There was a link to his regiment which provided information about the regiment:

The best use of this site is as a starting point to find further records for your ancestors.  If they aren't included here, then they probably did not serve in the Civil War.  If they are included, then the user should pursue the different records (Service Record, Pension File, etc.).

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver