Saturday, August 25, 2012

Neil Armstrong - Rest in Peace, Son of America

A great man died today - a hero in every sense of the word, at least to Americans who grew up at the beginning of the Space Age.  

You can read the biography of Neil Armstrong (1930-2012) on Wikipedia (  That describes his life and accomplishments, and provides his parents names, and a mention that he was of Scottish and German descent.

There are no Kings or Queens, no famous persons, in Armstrong's ancestry.  Just immigrants who left their home country to come to the promise of land in America, worked hard and made successful lives.  And a world-famous descendant has highlighted these facts.

You can see Neil Aemstrong's family tree in 33 Ancestry Member Trees and on several trees in the Rootsweb WorldConnect collection.  Here is one of the best trees I found on Ancestry (it's already been modified to add his name and death date):

The best tree I found on Rootsweb WorldConnect was probably this one:

If you click the link above, and select the "Ahnentafel" link, you can see the known 6-generation ancestry of Neil Armstrong (1930-2012).

Thank you, Neil, for your contribution to United States history and world history.  Well done.  Rest in peace.

My hope is that the next Space Station, or interplanetary craft, will be called Armstrong Station in honor of this son of America.

A parting quote, which I lived and fits me to a T (wearing my white socks every day!):

“I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer, born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace and propelled by compressible flow.” — Neil Armstrong, 2000.

He forgot slide rules!

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copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Ancestor Name Roulette

Calling all Genea-Musings Fans: 
 It's Saturday Night again - 
time for some more Genealogy Fun!!

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music, please!):

1) What year was one of your great-grandfathers born?  Divide this number by 50 and round the number off to a whole number. This is your "roulette number."

2) Use your pedigree charts or your family tree genealogy software program to find the person with that number in your ancestral name list (some people call it an "ahnentafel"). Who is that person, and what are his/her vital information?

3) Tell us three facts about that person in your ancestral name list with the "roulette number."

4) Write about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a Facebook status or a Google Stream post, or as a comment on this blog post.

5) If you do not have a person's name for your "roulette number" then spin the wheel again - pick a great-grandmother, a grandparent, a parent, a favorite aunt or cousin, yourself, or even your children!

Here's mine:  

1)  I chose my great-grandfather, Charles Auble (1849-1916).  Dividing 1849 by 50 results in 36.98, rounding up to 37.

2)  Number 37 on my Ancestral Name List ("ahnentafel") is Hannah Sawtell (1789-1857).  Here is the Vital Record information I have for Hannah Sawtell:

Hannah Sawtell was born on 6 November 1789 in Brookline, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, United States, the daughter of Josiah Sawtell and Hannah Smith. She died on 13 January 1857 at the age of 67 in Townsend, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States. Hannah married 21 October 1810 in Townsend, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States to Zachariah Hildreth.  He was born on 10 April 1783 in Townsend, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  Zachariah died on 22 January 1857 at the age of 73 in Townsend, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.

3)  Three Facts about Hannah (Sawtell) Hildreth:

a)  Hannah (Sawtell) Hildreth had nine children - Aaron Hildreth (1811-1884), Clarissa Hildreth (1814-1819), James Hildreth (1917-1890), Clarissa Hildreth (1819-1852), Elizabeth Hildreth (1922-1910), Milo Hildreth (1824-1893), Moses Hildreth (1828-1893), Edward Hildreth (1831-1899) and Harriet Augusta Hildreth (1835-1850).

b)  Hannah (Sawtell) Hildreth and her husband died in January 1857 in Townsend within nine days of each other (Hannah on 13 January 1857 of paralysis, Zachariah on 22 January 1857 of consumption) and are buried in the Hillside Cemetery with their children, Clarissa (1814-1819) and Harriet Augusta (1835-1850).

c)  Hannah (Sawtell) Hildreth was a 4th great-granddaughter of Olive (Welby) Farwell (1604-1692), who was an 11th great-granddaughter of Edward I, King of England (died 1307).  I doubt that she knew that she had a royal ancestor!

4)  I just did!

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Copyright (c) 23012, Randall J. Seaver

Surname Saturday - NORMAN (England > Massachusetts)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week.  I am up to number 515: Eunice Norman (1686-1743). [Note: The 7th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts].  This starts my 7th great-grandmothers.  

My ancestral line back through four  generations of NORMAN families is:

1. Randall J. Seaver

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

4. Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942)
5. Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962)

8. Frank Walton Seaver (1852-1922)
9. Hattie Louise Hildreth (1857-1920)

16. Isaac Seaver (1823-1901)
17. Lucretia Townsend Smith (1827-1884)

32. Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825)
33. Abigail Gates (1797-1869)

64. Benjamin Seaver (1757-1816)
65. Martha Whitney (1764-1832)

128.  Norman Seaver (1734-1787)
129.  Sarah Read (1736-1809)

256. Robert Seaver (1702-1752)

257.  Eunice Rayment (1707-1772)

514.  Samuel Rayment, born 18 May 1679 in Beverly, Essex, Massachusetts, United States; died about 1723 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 1018. John Rayment and 1019. Martha Wooden.  He married 21 November 1704 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.

515.  Eunice Norman, born 14 March 1686 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, United States; died about 1743 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.  

Children of Samuel Rayment and Eunice Norman are:  John Rayment (1705-????); Eunice Rayment (1707-1772); Samuel Rayment (1716-????); Sarah Rayment (1718-????); Benjamin Rayment (1719-????).

1030.  John Norman, born about 1660 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, United States; died after 25 February 1709 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.  He married 10 November 1683 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.
1031.  Sarah Maverick, born about 1659 in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, United States; died before 1723 in probably Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.  She was the daughter of 2062. Moses Maverick and 2063. Eunice.

Children of John Norman and Sarah Maverick are:  Richard Norman (1684-1724); Margaret Norman (1685-1685); Eunice Norman (1686-1743); Moses Norman (1687-1731); John Norman (1690-????); Sarah Norman (1693-????); Benjamin Norman (1694-????); John Norman (1696-1725); Benjamin Norman (1699-????); Jonathan Norman (1701-1724); Elizabeth Norman (1706-????).

2060.  Richard Norman, born about 1623 in Charminster, Dorset, England; died before 11 August 1683 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.  He married 28 March 1660 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.
2061.  Margaret Flint, born about 1642 in probably Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, United States; died before 03 September 1705 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.  She was the daughter of 4122. William Flint and 4123. unknown.

Children of Richard Norman and Margaret Flint are:  John Norman (1660-1709); Elizabeth Norman (1663-1716); Joseph Norman (1665-1691); Benjamin Norman (1670-????); Jonathan Norman (1672-1713).

4120.  Richard Norman, born about 1580 in probably Dorset, England; died about 1653 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.  He married before 1606 in probably Dorset, England.
4121.  Florence, born about 1580 in probably Dorset, England; died in probably Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.

Children of Richard Norman and Florence are:  John Norman (1607-1672); Elizabeth Norman (1611-1613); Margaret Norman (1615-1694); Susanna Norman (1617-????); Florence Norman (1619-1672); Richard Norman (1623-1683).

Information about the Norman family that settled in northeastern Massachusetts was obtained from:

*  Leslie Mahler, "The English Origin of Richard Norman of Salem, Massachusetts," The American Genealogist, Volume 77, Number 2, April 2002, page 102.

*  Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633 (Boston : New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995), Volume 2, pages 1334-1336.

*  Walter Goodwin Davis, The Ancestry of Sarah Stone (Portland, Maine : Southworth Press, 1930), pages 44-53.

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Friday, August 24, 2012

Looking for Stephen Cutter's Will in New Jersey Probate Records on FamilySearch

I noticed that the FamilySearch record collection for New Jersey, Probate Records, 1678-1980, had been updated recently, so I went exploring - looking for the will of my fourth great-grandfather, Stephen Cutter (1745-1823) of Woodbridge, Middlesex County, New Jersey.  I knew that there was a will from earlier correspondence with Russ Worthington.

Here is the New Jersey, Probate Records, 1678-1980 record collection front page:

This is a "Browse Only" collection with over 3 million images.  The description says:

"Images of probate records from various court houses in New Jersey. Most records end in 1920 but some counties have records up to the year 1970."

After clicking on the "Browse through 3,084,661 images" link, the list of New Jersey Counties opened:

I wanted Middlesex County, so I clicked on that:

The top of the list of Volume titles and years opened.  The bottom of the page (after scrolling down) looks like:

I wanted a Will, so I checked the "Will Index, 1804-1930, Vol. 1 & 2" collection.  After thrashing about for several minutes, I found an entry for Stephen Cutter on Image 16 of 187:

The Will Index indicated that his Will was in Volume B, page 624, proved 13 August 1823.

Back to the Volume Titles page, and I chose the "Wills 1804-1824, Vols. A-B" title, and eventually found Volume B, Page 624 on Images 605 and 606:

That's great!  I saved the pages to my [Ancestor Files > Family History - Carringer-Smith-Auble-Kemp > Cutter > 01-Stephen Cutter & Tabitha Randolph > Documents] file folder.

Now I need to transcribe the will for Amanuensis Monday some week.  I've already read through it (what, you expected me to wait?) - it mentions his daughter Sally (Cutter) Knapp, my third great-grandmother.  It also describes the Cutter property in Woodbridge, so I may be able to identify the location of their home.

My next venture into these records are earlier wills and estates of my Cutter, Fitz Randolph, Kent, Rolfe, and other ancestral families in Middlesex County, and also my Knapp families in Sussex County.

Note that there are many more record types in this record collection.  I haven't looked for information in the Estate Index, Estates, Orphans courts Minutes, Proceedings Index, or Releases and discharges yet.

Did I mention that these records are absolutely FREE?  They are!  This is like having a slow microfilm reader in my Genealogy Cave.

This was REAL genealogy fun this afternoon!

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Follow-Up Friday - This Week's Helpful Reader Comments

On Fridays, I like to follow-up on reader comments from the past week.  This week, the comments included:

1)  On Mining the Vermont Vital Records, 1760-1954 (22 August 2012):

* Geolover said:  "Randy, since you are revisiting VT items, and your kin Nathaniel Seaver (1707-1777) and wife Judith Treadway wound up there, perhaps something I stumbled across would be of interest.

"In Lancaster VR is the intention of marriage between Nathaniel Seaver of Narragansett No. (blotch) and Judith Treadway of Framingham, recorded on a date that contradicts what you have for their marriage.  This is better indexed than some on the same page, but I entered a correction for Nathaniel's surname. My relative Aaron Sawyer is indexed as "Karoo Saroya."

"The "Naragansett" entry perked up my interest since Narragansett No. 1 was Buxton, then in York County, ME, where some generations of my kin dwelt at that time (and before and after). But I am not certain that "Naragansett No. 1" is what the entry in the Lancaster record meant.

" The item is here: "

My response:  Interesting - I had not found the Lancaster marriage intention before.  Here is a snippet of it:

The intentions were dated 26 June 1754.

In the Framingham [Mass.] town record book, the marriage is recorded as:

So, the marriage date is 17 July 1754, which is consistent with a 26 June 1754 intentions date.  As Geolover points out, the date I published earlier for the marriage was 17 July I made a mistake and he found it.  I don't know if the error is in the published Framingham Vital Records book or my extraction- error.  It's fixed now!

As I thought, Nathaniel Seaver resided in Narragansett #2 (Westminster, Mass.) where his parents had settled.  The Framingham record is very clear!  However, the Framingham records appear to be transcriptions of the original town clerk records.

Cathi makes a great point below:

*  Cathi Desmarais noted:  "I love searching the Vermont VR collection this way. I've found I have to try lots of variations in the spelling of the surnames though. 

"Also, please remember that these are not really "vital records." They are *index cards,* created by town clerks in the 20th century to index the actual vital records. These are only a finding aid to the actual records, which sometimes contain more information than is on the card. Some of these cards aren't even index cards to vital records - they are index cards to tombstones. On top of that, there are vital records that don't appear in the index cards. I am planning a blog post or two about this topic, but just haven't gotten to it yet!"

My response:  You're absolutely correct, and thank goodness for "Index Cards" created from the town records, and for FamilySearch for microfilming them and digitizing them.  As such they are Derivative Sources.  They are very useful for a one-name study that collects names, dates and places to help point other researchers to the actual Original source records.  If they were my ancestors, I would go look for the Vermont town record book entries on FHL microfilm to make sure that I had all of the information.

*  Delia Furrer asked:  "Just curious how long it took you to enter that one source. This is my huge frustration spending so much time trying to figure out how to enter that correctly to EE standards and deciphering Ancestry's records. Will be interested in reading others comments."

My response:  I did scuffle around a bit making three different source citations.  The one I did from scratch (using the RootsMagic source Template) took about two minutes to figure out which fields to use and make it look right.  But now I have a master source model.

*  Geolover noted:  "One anomaly is that most of the microfilms are not Town records but Church records. There are often overlapping entries that sometimes differ in dates, name-spellings and other record elements.

"Another is record titling: A partial Church (of Christ) record for Lancaster is peculiarly entitled "Immigration and Town Records," although there seem to be no 'immigration' entries (not even Warnings Out) or Town-Record permissions to settle. So figuring out the nature of a given record can be a real chore."

*  Martin commented:  "I think Ancestry does a real disservice to researchers by naming this Massachusetts Town Records. It's not. It's the Holbrook Collection, which is a collection of filmed vital records from many sources in Massachusetts. Town records are completely something else and include tax records, school records, town elections, warnings out, land records, and yes, vital records. But the Holbrooks only filmed the vital records. You are missing out on much if you think that all of a give town's records are what is filmed and indexed on Ancestry."

My response:  Thanks to Geolover and Martin for their observations.  As I highlighted in my post, there can be many different volumes in this Ancestry collections for one town, and Gelolover notes that the labelling of them may be "interesting."  I think Martin is right - should have labelled the collection the "Holbrook Collection" since it is not comprised of the entire Town Record books for all of these towns, but only selected portions of the town records.

*  Suzie Henderson said:  "Brown looks pretty plausible...but give some consideration to Harriet rather than Hannah... Just a thought."

My response:  Harriet crossed my mind, as did misspellings of Hannah.  I thought Hannah looked more plausible than Brown ... and the children's records name their mother as Hannah.  

*  RHolmes asked:  "I tried to look at the image on Ancestry to see it better. I found the image of the vital record book in Massachusetts, Town Records, 1620-1988, but I can't determine where you found the original record. What am I missing?"

My response:  I found the record by searching the Massachusetts, Town Records, 1620-1988 collection using the name John Phillips and a marriage year of 1749.  Three matches come up - the image I showed is here.

*  Rosemary asked:  "Can you tell if she was a widow when she married?"

My response:  No, I can't tell if she was a widow, but that is an EXCELLENT thought!  Why didn't I think of that?  One reason may be that John Phillips was all of 24 years of age when he married in 1749 and my mindset was that Hannah was probably about the same age.  All I need to do is search for a Hannah who married a Mr. Brown, and the Mr. Brown died before 1749. Should be a piece of cake, right? If I find this, I'll definitely report on it!  

*  Kay Haden commented:  "Ancestry may have changed/added to their algorithms for hint searching in the past two days or so. My hints have also multiplied. I have three small private trees. As of yesterday two of them had 0 hints - today both have between 40-80. The number has increased during the day today and I've noticed databases that I don't believe have been searched in the past. I have also noticed that as I add legitimate hints, additional ones are sometimes found within minutes."

*  Rosemary noted:  "They just added a buncha records to this Mass. database. "

My response:  I think the Massachusetts Town Records were the big factor for me - I'm up to 4024 "All Hints."  I do have 49 "Recent Hints" that are not from that collection.

My thanks to my readers for their comments, corrections and suggestions to help me solve my ancestral problems and process questions.  

Let me leave you with this comment from Martin:

"Also, Blogger's robot defense codes are so unreadable, I had to type in a code six times to get my comment published. I may go another six times for this comment."

My response:  I am sincerely sorry to put my commenters through the Captcha ordeal in order to submit a comment.  I've tried it with no Captcha and you don't want to see my spam file!  I'm damned if I don't, and less damned if I do.

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver (except for reader comments which are their copyrighted material)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Do You Source Your Person's Name? Spouses? Parents?

I was watching Geoff Rasmussen's interesting Webinar on "Researching with Geoff - Live!" today (available for free until 28 August 2012), and noticed that he does many things during data entry in his database that I don't do.  I probably should do them, but I don't.

One of the things that he does is provide a source citation for the Name of his Person, and also for the Relationship to the Parents of a Person.  That seems very logical, but I haven't done it in the past.

What records should I source to a Person's Name?  Logically, a birth record, baptism record, marriage record, death record, burial record, I guess, since all supply a person's Name.  Even census records, military records, etc.  But I already source them to the Fact.  Why would I want to source them to the Name?  The most logical one to source to Parent's Names is the Person's Birth Record.

I do have some records where the only information I have about a Person's Name, or their Parent's Names, is a Marriage Record, a Death Record, or an Obituary Record.  I guess that makes sense to source the Relationship to the Parents.

What about Marriages?  I have source citations for the Fact of a Marriage - should I source the same Record(s) to the Spouse Fact in my database?

RootsMagic 5 provides a Note and Source button for the Name, Spouse and Parents Facts.

What about Given Names, which can often be numerous - First Names, Middle Names, Nicknames, Initials, etc.  I haven't been adding them to my database either - should I be?  I really dislike seeing a long list of Alternate Names in the Fact List.  But each name used to identify a Person should probably be included in the database (which can make the Fact list very long!).

If I provide a Source for the Names and Relationships, shouldn't I also attach the Media Item in the genealogy database also?

I guess what I'm asking here is - What is the Standard for Name entry in a genealogy database/family tree, and for sourcing Names, Spousal Relationships, and Parental Relationships?

I found a useful document titled "Getting It Right: Data Entry Standards for Genealogists" by Judith Schaefer Phelps (2010) at  That addresses names, dates and places, but not sourcing names and relationships.  She refers to a book:

Slawson, Mary H., 2002, Getting It Right: The Definitive Guide to Recording Family History Accurately, Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, 263 pgs.

The National Genealogical Society has short documents titled Standards for Sound Genealogical Research, and Standards for Use of Technology in Genealogical Research, but it doesn't address my Source the Name/Relationship issue I'm discussing herein.

Can someone point me to a discussion of these somewhere, preferably on the Internet?  Or tell me what they do, and why?

Last thought:  I wish I had thought about this 20 years ago!

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver Loaded More Massachusetts Town Records

I highlighted the first release of Massachusetts Town Records in Adds Original Massachusetts Vital Records on 20 March 2012. released Town Vital Records for many more Massachusetts towns this week from the Jay Mack Holbrook collection of microfiche images.  These are, in general, the handwritten, ORIGINAL, town records that contain birth, marriage, death and burial information dating from 1620 to 1988 (not all towns have records spanning these years, of course!).

I didn't keep a list of the Towns that were previously covered, but I did list some of my ancestral towns of interest that were not covered back in March - they were Medfield, Eastham, Wellfleet, Salem, Concord and Sudbury.  As of today, only Wellfleet on that list of five towns is available.

There are hundreds of towns available, however, and by far the easiest way to search the records of one town is to start at the   "Massachusetts, Town Records, 1620-1988" record collection page, where there is a dropdown menu on the right sidebar to determine the towns included in the collection, as shown below:

I wondered what records they now had for Boston, so I scrolled down to Boston in the dropdown list and clicked on it.  The list of different titles of documents is shown - there are a lot of them!

I put Last Name = "Seaver" and Any Event - Location = "Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, USA" in the search fields in order to narrow my search to only Boston records:

I clicked the "Search" button and received 1,763 matches.  Yikes, I need to do more mining!

I clicked on the first match (for Benjamin C. Seaver marriage to Susan Bill, which had no year indicated for some reason - the indexing is imperfect, I fear), and saw the record summary:

I clicked the "View image" link and saw the record:

Now I understand why there was no year - it was not totally visible to the indexer!  It was 1843, based on other resources.

The source citation for this specific record is: Massachusetts, Town Vital Collections, 1620-1988 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.
Original data: Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital and Town Records. Provo, UT: Holbrook Research Institute (Jay and Delene Holbrook).

Note that the Source Citation does not reflect the current Title of the database.  It also does not reflect the specific Title where the record was found, or the specific page number in that Title, or the Image number in the collection, or the specific record selected, let alone the line number!

My own free-form source citation for this record, based on Evidence! Explained principles (as best I could), is:

"Massachusetts, Town Records, 1620-1988," digital images, ( : accessed 23 August 2012), citing original data from Massachusetts Town and City Clerk records in Jay and Delene Holbrook, Massachusetts Vital and Town Records (Provo, Utah : Holbrook Research Institute), Microfiche collection. Boston Marriages: Benjamin C. Seaver and Susan Dill (6 July 1843) entry.

Unfortunately, I cannot ascertain from the record exactly which Title was used for this specific record.  It was Image 5329 of 60705.  I don;'t know if that image number will change if/when more towns are added, and I'm leery of using the Image number.  I can browse back to try to find the first page of this specific Title...and I did - it's on Image 5181:

So I should probably modify my Free-form source citation to read:

"Massachusetts, Town Records, 1620-1988," digital images, ( : accessed 23 August 2012), citing original data from Massachusetts Town and City Clerks Records, collected by Jay and Delene Holbrook, Massachusetts Vital and Town Records (Provo, Utah : Holbrook Research Institute, n.d.), Microfiche collection. "Boston Marriages, 1841-1849," page 378 (penned), Benjamin C. Seaver and Susan Dill (6 July 1843) entry.

That is "doable," but it's a real pain to find the specific Title by browsing for the title page image.

Another Source Citation, crafted from the RootsMagic 5 source template for "Vital Records, Town Registers (New England)" is:

Boston, Massachusetts, "Boston Marriages, 1841-1849": Page 378 (penned), Benjamin C. Seaver (of Boston) and Susan Dill (of Eastham) entry, 6 July 1843. Digital images, (, "Massachusetts, Town Records, 1620-1988," citing original data from Massachusetts Town and City Clerk records in Jay and Delene Holbrook, Massachusetts Town and Vital Records (Provo, Utah : Holbrook Research Institute, n.d.), Microfiche collection.

I like the latter one, but it requires a lot more typing or copy/pasting to put all of that into the "Source Detail" field in the Free-form citation.  Any comments or recommendations from "Citation Mavens?"

If a researcher is looking for a specific name in a specific locality, it might be advisable to search through each specific Title, and thereby be assured that s/he knows in which specific Title the record was found.

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Treasure Chest Thursday - 1900 U.S. Census Record for Thomas Richmond Family

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

The treasure today is the 1900 United States Census record for my great-grandparents and their family in Leominster, Worcester County, Massachusetts: 

The entry for Thomas and Juliette Richmond is below:

The extracted information for the family, residing at 42 Summer Street in Leominster, taken on 4 June 1900, is:

*  Thomas Richmond - Head, white, male, born June 1848, age 51, married, married 31 years, born in England, father born England, mother born England, immigrated in 1856, US resident for 44 years, naturalized citizen,  occupation is overseer in a woolen mill, 0 months not employed,  able to read, able to write, able to speak English, rents a home.
*  Juliaette Richmond - Wife, white, female, born Sept 1848, age 51, married, married 31 years, 9 children born, 1 child living, born Connecticut, father born Rhode Island, mother born Rhode Island, no occupation, able to read, able to write, able to speak English.
*  Grace Richmond - Daughter, white, female, born Aug 1876, age 23, single, born Connecticut, father born England, mother born Connecticut, occupation is shirt-maker, 0 months not employed, able to read, able to write, able to speak English.
*  Emiley W. Richmond - Daughter, white, female, born Jan 1879, age 21, single, born Connecticut, father born England, mother born Connecticut, no occupation, able to read, able to write, able to speak English.
*  Charles E. Richmond - Son, white, male, born May 1880, age 20, single, born Connecticut, father born England, mother born Connecticut, occupation is printer, 0 months not employed, able to read, able to write, able to speak English.
*  Alma G. Richmond - Daughter, white, female, born Feb 1882, age 18, single, born Connecticut, father born England, mother born Connecticut, occupation is housework, 0 months not employed, able to read, able to write, able to speak English.
*  Edwin T. Richmond - Son, white, male, born Dec 1883, age 16, single, born Connecticut, father born England, mother born Connecticut, occupation is laundryman, 0 months not employed, able to read, able to write, able to speak English.
*  James H. Richmond - Son, white, male, born Nov 1876, age 13, single, born Connecticut, father born England, mother born Connecticut, occupation is at school, attended school for 10 months, able to read, able to write, able to speak English.

The source citation for the census image is:

1900 United States Federal Census, Worcester County, Massachusetts, Population Schedule, Leominster; ED 1644, Sheet 4B, dwelling #63, family #88, Thomas Richmond household; digital image, ( : accessed 29 October 2011), citing National Archives Microfilm Publication T623, Roll 692.

I consider the 1900 U.S. Census records to be an "Original Source" (because this "family snapshot" in June 1900 is in its first written form); mostly as "Secondary Information" (since we don't know who provided the information - although it was probably Juliette Richmond), and as "Indirect Evidence" for most of the information (the exception being the home address,  the birthplaces, and Thomas's occupation which were certainly known by the informant).  

I see several obvious errors in this census record (based on what I know about these persons from other records, including birth and marriage records), including:

*  Juliaette's given name.  Her birth name was Julia (used in the 1880 Census and before) and at some point she adopted the name Juliet(te) before 1900, and used it for the remainder of her married life.  Juliaette is a variation of Juliette.
*  Juliaette had 10 children, and nine were still living at the time of this census.  The record says 1 child was living.  Perhaps she misunderstood the question, or the enumerator made a mistake.
*  The middle initials of several children are wrong - should be Charles P. [Percival], Alma B. [Bessie].

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mining the Vermont Vital Records, 1760-1954

I was asked today, in an message, if I had information about a Eunice Seaver who was the daughter of Peter Seaver, who was born in Vermont.  I had information for her birth, but not her death.  She was married three times, according to my database, but there were no sources for my information.

I easily found her birth record in the "Vermont Vital Records, 1760-1954" collection on  To find her death record, I guessed that, since her third husband was Stebbins Ashley, that she might be indexed as Eunice Ashley.  That worked, and I found the record, and sourced it also.

Then I got the bright idea that I could find all sorts of persons born with the surname Seaver who are in the Vermont Vital Records index if I used a Father's Name = "Seaver" and then I could mine all of the matches and put names, dates and places into my database with helpful source citations.  Frankly, I thought that I had done this before, but I'm finding very few that were previously sourced to this collection.

I also thought that others might be helped by showing my "mining" process using a father's last name (and I could do mother's last name = "Seaver" also), so follow along here if you wish:

1)  On the "Vermont Vital Records, 1760-1954" collection page, I opened the "Parent's" link and entered the Father's Last Name = "seaver":

2)  After clicking on "Search," I received 519 matches for my search query:

some of the matches at the top of the list are females married to someone with a name other than Seaver whose father had the Seaver last name.

3)  Eunice Ashley is there (the fifth one down); here is her record summary:

4)  I clicked on the "View image" link and saw the image of the card for the record:

This record told me quite a bit about Eunice - her death date of 3 April 1888 in Moretown, her age as 77 years, 10 months, 9 days, her birthplace as Moretown, her father was Peter Seaver, and the cause of death as heart disease.  No date of birth, mother's maiden name, or father's or mother's birthplaces are on this particular card, but other cards have that information.

The source citation for this particular record is provided by FamilySearch on the Record Summary as:

"Vermont, Vital Records, 1760-1954," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 22 Aug 2012), Eunice Ashley, 1888.

That source citation provides a link to the card image shown above, I prefer to create my own free-form source citations in RootsMagic 5 trying to adhere to Evidence! Explained standards.  Here is my source citation:

"Vermont Vital Records, 1760-1954,” digital image, FamilySearch International ( : accessed 22 August 2012), citing original data from the Vermont State Archives and Records Administration, Middlesex, Vermont, Deaths: Eunice Ashley entry.

That is not "exactly" EE format, but it's "good enough" for me.

I've been through about 40 of the matches in the past two hours, and have added several children to existing families, added birth dates and death dates to persons in my database, added about 50 source citations to my database, and even added two maiden names of Seaver wives in the process.  I love databases that indexed everything on a record (especially parents names!).

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver iPhone/iPad App - Filters Work!

On my post Ancestry's iPhone App has a New Look (20 August 2012), Branden Neish of Ancestry'com commented:

"I wanted to bring up one additional set of features that you and your audience may be particularly interested in. When you tap on the 3 bars on the top left of the screen, an alphabetized list of all people in your tree is shown. Tap on the "All People" button to reveal several options: Direct Ancestors, End of Line, Living Relatives, All Hints, and Recent Hints. By tapping on one of these filters, the list of people is updated to show only those that apply. Tapping on one of the individuals in the list brings up the tree with that person selected as the focus person."

I had missed the "3 bars" icon at the top left of the screen, and decided to go explore this feature.  Here is what I found (it wasn't exactly what Branden described above):

1)  On the "Family Tree" view of the App, you can see the "3 bars" icon to the left of the Ancestry Member Tree title:

2)  Tapping on the "3 bars" icon, the user sees a list of different "Filter Types:"

The "Filter Types" listed are "All People," "Direct Ancestors," "End of Line," "Living Relatives," "All Hints," and "Recent Hints."

3)  I tapped the "All People" line and saw a list of the persons in this specific Ancestry Member Tree:

I could scroll down to find a specific person, tap on the person's name, and see the Person profile.

4)  I tapped the "Back" arrow key (lower right-hand corner of the screen above, I could have tapped the down arrow on the "All People" line) and went back to the "Filter Type" screen and tapped on the "All Hints" line:

This lists the names of persons with Hints, in alphabetical order, and the number of Hints for each person on the list.

A user can go back to the "Family Tree" view at any time by tapping the "3 bars" icon in the top right of the "Filter Type" screens.

5)  I tapped the name "Love Brewster" which had one Hint listed (in the above screen), but it really had 15 Hints:

I think that this is a wonderful addition to the App!  This will be very useful to me while searching for Hints.

Thank you,, and Branden for taking the time to tell me about it.

Note:  I made these screens on Monday night, and had 109 Hints in this database at that time.  Today, when I checked the App again, I have 4,023 Hints!  I wonder what happened?  Many of my Massachusetts colonials have over 20 Hints.  Not all of them are ones I want to attach to persons in my tree, however.  I will take a look at the Hints offered for an early colonial ancestor in a future post.

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 219: Aunt Gerry in 1950

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

Here is a photograph from the Geraldine (Seaver) Remley family collection handed down from my Aunt Gerry in 2007
 after her passing. 

This photograph is of Geraldine Seaver (1917-2007), my father's youngest sibling, and was taken in about 1950.  I don't know the setting or the occasion - it may be the home of one of her siblings in or near Leominster, Massachusetts.  Aunt Gerry is wearing a summer dress and comfortable shoes.

Isn't she beautiful?  Aunt Gerry was a very special person to everyone in the Seaver family - at this time she was the maiden aunt who doted on every niece and nephew, and there were a bunch of them.  

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Having Fun in the Summertime - is the name Brown?

It's a beautiful day in San Diego today - the outside temperature is 80  degrees F, the sun is shining, the light breeze is refreshing, and I'm inside in the 81 F Genealogy Cave having fun.  Three hours ago, I got the bright idea that I should start to attach records to the Facts for my ancestral families in an organized way.

So I've been going through this process:

1)  Find document images in the appropriate ancestral family Document folder, and make sure they are in my preferred file name convention - "FirstLast-Year-RecordType-Place-Info.Ext" (e.g., ThomasRichmond-1880-CensusUS-KillinglyCT.jpg)

2)  Find photograph images of people, gravestones, houses, etc. in the appropriate ancestral family Photographs folder and make sure they are in my preferred file name convention - "FirstLast-Year-RecordType-Place-Detail.Ext" (e.g., ThomasRichmond-1917-Gravestone-PutnamCT-GroveStreetCemetery.jpg).

3)  For records that I haven't "collected" yet, search on, and for the records, especially vital records in the Massachusetts Town Vital Records collection (original town records!) and the Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910 collection on  When I find these and download them, I save them to the appropriate Document file folders.

4)  Having gotten the images into the right file folder and with a proper name, I uploaded them into RootsMagic 5 and then Tagged each of them to the appropriate Fact.

I have most of my Seaver side ancestors (note: just the ancestors, not the siblings) done back six generations.  In the process, I've collected a number of the town record entries from, including this one which gave me an idea:

This page from the Southborough, Massachusetts town record has the entry for the marriage of John Phillips and Hannah Brown on 3 May 1749.  Here is a snippet of the record:

At some point, a transcriber got "John Phillips & Hannah Brown Married May ye 3d day 1749" out of that smudged line.  That transcribed information was put into the Southborough Vital Records book, which is where I originally found the record.  Of course, I dutifully noted the information, added it to my database, and sourced the published town vital record book.

Looking at the snippet above, I'm really not sure that the name is "Hannah Brown."  Here is a snippet of her name:

That may be "Hannah Brown" but I am really not sure.  Another entry in the index for this record says "Hannah Farr" is the name.  I don't see that, but it sure alerted me to look more carefully at the record!

I do think that the first name of John's wife is Hannah - the birth records of their first two children in Southborough is pretty clear:

Of course, I've never been able to find any other record of Hannah Brown's birth or I searched the Town Record collection index for different names using wild cards (Han*, *nah, *nna," "*rah" and "Bro*," "Br*n."  Unfortunately, the indexing for this collection doesn't permit me to search for a specific town, like Southborough.  I will have to go page by page through these records in the future.

There is another marriage in Southborough around this time, a Susanna Brown married a Benjamin Garfield in Southborough on 3 December 1754.  The snippet of this marriage is:

I've always considered that if Hannah was a Brown, that this Susanna Brown may be her sister.  But then I've never been able to find a family with Hannah and Susanna Brown in or near Southborough.

'Tis a mystery ... but if her name wasn't Brown, I have some new avenues to search .... if I could figure out her last name from this record.

This, once again, highlights the necessity of finding the "original source" record if at all possible.  I think that these handwritten Southborough town records are the starting point for further research.

Can anyone else see something there that I cannot see?  

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

All States in 1940 U.S. Census Now on FamilySearch

FamilySearch has just announced that all of the states in the 1940 U.S. census have been completely indexed and imaged, and are searchable on the FamilySearch site (  The index for the last five states were added today.

I don't see a link to the several Territories (other than Alaska and Hawaii) yet.  Are there overseas military bases in this census, and if so, are they imaged and indexed also?

I immediately went to Massachusetts and looked for my grandmother, Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver using all of my search tips and tricks.  alas, she apparently was not enumerated.

Three CHEERS for the FamilySearch Indexing team - this is quite a fantastic feat of indexing 134 million names/data in less than five months.

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver