Saturday, September 22, 2012

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Your Family and Genealogy

It's Saturday Night, time for more Genealogy Fun!!

For this week's mission (should you decide to accept it), I want you to:

1)  Tell us how your family members (parents, children, grandchildren, spouse, siblings, cousins, aunts/uncles, etc.) react to your genealogy addict er, hobb, er, interests!  Do they accept it, cooperate with you, listen to your experiences and accomplishments, or not?

2)  Do you have any funny stories about your family members' interest in or with genealogy?  Tell us!

3)  Share your report in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blog post, in a Facebook status post, or a Google+ stream post.  

Here's mine:

1)  My wife, Angel Linda, tolerates my genealogy addiction.  She doesn't want to do any research herself, but is interested in hearing the stories of her ancestors.  I tested this with my presentation of "Discovering Jane's Roots in California, Australia and England" recently - she didn't react badly when I told her, and the GSNOCC audience, "Linda - your third great-grandmother was a slut."  She really enjoys going to conferences, cruises, or genealogy vacations in distant places as long as she can shop, swim, and, most importantly, talk to people that she meets and can tell them her life stories.  That's good, because we're doing four next year (RootsTech, NGS, SCGS, LFT cruise).

My daughters are happy that I have something that I am passionate about that keeps me intellectually active and in the Genealogy Cave (they always seem to know where I am).  However, they have showed absolutely no interest in doing any research or even learning about their ancestry, at least not yet.  They are way too busy with their own lives and raising my grandchildren.  The grandchildren are almost old enough now to play some of Lorine Schulze's family fun games, heh heh!  I have big plans!

My brothers and my cousins appreciate what I do, but have no interest in doing it themselves.  They like the yearly Seaver-Richmond Family Journal that I send them at Christmas time with photos and stories.  We enjoy visiting with them, and even going to ancestral homes and cemeteries in Massachusetts, but that happens only occasionally.  

2)  A funny story - see A Cure for Insomnia.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Surname Saturday - LNU (England > Massachusetts

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week.  

I am in the 7th great-grandmothers, up to number 523: Martha LNU (1647-1698). [Note: The 7th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts].    

My ancestral line back through only one generation of this LNU family (LNU = Last Name Unknown...) 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)

130.  Samuel Whitney (1719-1782)
131.  Abigail Fletcher (1720-1783)

260.  William Whitney (1683-1720)
261.  Martha Peirce (1681-1759)

522.  Joseph Peirce, born about 1647 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died before 22 December 1713 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 1044. Anthony Peirce and 1045. Anne.  He married about 1667 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
523.  Martha, born about 1647 in Massachusetts, United States; died before 15 June 1698 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.

Children of Joseph Peirce and Martha are:
i. Joseph Peirce, born 02 October 1669 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 13 March 1753 in Weston, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; married (1) Ruth Holland 20 May 1689 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; born 12 December 1665 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died before 21 December 1692 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; married (2) Hannah Munroe 21 December 1692 in Lexington, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; born 1674 in Lexington, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died before 1736 in Massachusetts, United States; married (3) Beriah Bemis 12 August 1736 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; born 23 June 1681 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 1768 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
ii. Francis Peirce, born 27 July 1671 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 22 April 1728 in Weston, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; married Hannah Johnson 17 December 1697 in Lexington, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
iii. John Peirce, born 27 May 1673 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died before 21 May 1744 in Waltham, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; married Elizabeth Smith 05 November 1702 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; born 15 January 1673/74 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 20 September 1747 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
iv. Mary Peirce, born 26 November 1674 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; married Jacob Bennett 1706 in probably Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; born about 1676 in Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.
v. Benjamin Peirce, born 25 March 1677 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 06 December 1740 in Dover, Strafford, New Hampshire, United States; married (1) Elizabeth Hall 07 September 1705 in Dover, Strafford, New Hampshire, United States; born about 1673 in of Dover, Rockingham, New Hampshire, United States; died about 1710 in Dover, Strafford, New Hampshire, United States; married (2) Hannah Chesley 30 May 1714 in Dover, Strafford, New Hampshire, United States; born 1690 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
vi. Jacob Peirce, born 25 December 1678 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 06 December 1740 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; married Hannah Lewis 13 November 1702 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
vii. Martha Peirce, born 24 December 1681 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 15 September 1759 in Weston, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; married William Whitney 17 May 1706 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
viii. Stephen Peirce, born 24 October 1683 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; married Abigail Bemis 16 September 1708 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; born 10 January 1686/87 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
ix. Israel Peirce, born 07 October 1685 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; married Sarah Holland 14 January 1717/18 in Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; born 12 August 1688 in Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
x. Elizabeth Peirce, born 09 September 1687 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; married Joseph Bemis 15 October 1706 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; born 17 November 1684 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 1738 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.

I have not been able to find a maiden name for Martha (--?--) Peirce in over 20 years of searching. We may find a reference to her in land records or probate records for Middlesex County once the those records are indexed (if they ever are indexed).

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Friday, September 21, 2012

Follow-Up Friday - Helpful Reader Comments

It's a Follow-Up Friday, time to post useful reader comments to Genea-Musings blog posts.  Here are the most helpful reader comments, and my own comments, from the past week:

1)  On Answers to my MyHeritage Record Search Thoughts (18 September 2012):

*  Laurence Fuller noted:  "It seems to me that My Heritage is not what they say they are!!, A few months ago they promised me that they would let me have 3 Years free membership, as they had brought out another website, and offered some that had a lot of Pedigrees on the site, free membership, It as been almost a year now and no free membership."

Gilad Japhet of MyHeritage responded:  "Laurence, you are referring to the acquisition of by MyHeritage. We promised its users a free 3-year subscription to MyHeritage. This was not forgotten, but was delayed due to our need to find a way to convert the trees in BackupMyTree to GEDCOM from their various native formats in order to import them reliably. This has been completed so you and the other BackupMyTree can expect to receive your free subscription during the next 2-3 weeks."

My comment:  Thank you to Gilad for explaining this.  Somehow I missed this announcement when it happened, and now I'm wondering if the tree(s) I saved to will be added as new trees on MyHeritage.  I really don't want them to be ... is there a way to opt out of this?  Or maybe I should add an updated tree to and get three free years of MyHeritage?

2)  On Dear Randy - Which Online Family Tree Do You Use? And Why? (14 September 2012):

*  Keith Riggle said:  "AncestorSync is out in beta now. It's supposed to work with Geni, FamilySearch, and MyHeritage, although I haven't tried it yet, as I'm still cleaning up my tree."

My comment:  Thanks for this, Keith.  I've let my subscription lapse since I couldn't efficiently add data to it, and have not tried to use AncestorSync recently.  I'll have to go visit them again and see if it works with FamilySearch and MyHeritage.

*  Doris Wheeler said:  "I use most of the same sites you do and also Rootsweb's WorldConnect. I love the "almost interactive" feature that lets anyone zero in on his own relative in my tree and produce ancestry and descendant trees for that person. I also love that they promise to keep my tree online even after I'm no longer around. That's very reassuring."

My comment:  I also appreciate and use the Rootsweb WorldConnect family tree site, and think it is still the best online family tree site as far as navigation and reports.  I don't have a tree on WorldConnect because I didn't want to show my research notes (some copyright issues there!).  I know, I could export a tree without Notes but haven't done it yet.  One of the requests in my "When I die" instructions to my heirs is to add my tree to Rootsweb WorldConnect so that other researchers can benefit from my research.  I just hope that it's "done!"

* noted:  "It was interesting to look at your tree on Genealogy.Com ~ I forgot that I was even a member . It's interesting to see those trees at Genealogy.Com have no citation of sources anywhere . Is it still like that when one uploads ??"

My response:  My information there is in the form of genealogy reports created in 2005 using Family Tree Maker 16 and I chose not to display sources (true confession: I didn't have many in my database then!  Embarrassing!).  The site permitted a total of 10 megabytes of information, so I put as much up as I could within that limitation.  The site permitted persons to upload their database and included navigation links between generations.  Many of these trees are still available online, and are searchable using search engines.

3)  On Engaging Genealogical Society Members (12 September 2012):

*  Pat Richley-Erickson noted:  "Absolutely right on, Randy! Real time conversations, meeting the needs of the attendees that day. If you held a similar session in six months, it would end up differently, because the participants will have done more research and will have a new set of questions.

"THIS sort of teaching is not about how smart the "presenter" is, but rather focuses on problem solving to leading participants from point A to point B, based on group discussions.  Thank you for being a confident, capable mentor."

*  Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith commented::  " You've got it. Pat is 'right on' as well, of course. As a university professor, I never 'lectured' - I engaged my classes. As a genealogist, the 'prepare a lecture' for a meeting - really turns me off! The 'presenter' is not the point! The 'student' has to do the learning, for you to be effective. This only happens with engagement, involvement, immersion - best of all. Thanks for sharing! Movement in the right direction!! ;-)"

My comments:  I'm not sure that I'm really good at this teaching stuff yet.  I tend to lecture in my presentations, although I've experimented with engaging the audience with hands up, soliciting ideas, exercising, etc.  I usually have "too much information presented too quickly" and am trying to fix that too (no, not with longer presentations!).  

In the CVGS Research Group setting, I moderate that and usually jump in too quickly with the "right answer" (IMHO, of course!).  I'm aware of that, and try not to do it, but the temptation is so strong sometimes...

4)  On Best of the Genea-Blogs - 9-15 September 2012 (16 September 2012):

*  Unknown said:  "We would love to have you mention the blog at"

My comment:  OK, I mentioned it...and it looks really interesting.  I will try to use this service.  Has any Genea-Musings reader used it yet?  I'll blog about it if I use it.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

New Family Tree Maker 2012 Update

I just opened my Family Tree Maker 2012 program and got the message that there is a new Version 704 available.  This is a required update.  The Update Description says:

This update contains important improvements to the Family Tree Maker 2012 product.  

These improvements include:

1. Improvements to TreeSync reliability and performance

2. Private Media - Media items can be marked private and will be excluded from TreeSync.

3. Web Links - Person and citation web links can now be created in Family Tree Maker and can be synchronized between Family Tree Maker and Ancestry Member Trees.

4. Improved Sync Log - The TreeSync Details log can now be printed and now shows the names of people who made each change that is being synchronized to Family Tree Maker from Ancestry Member Trees.

5. Improved Backup & Restore - A synced tree can now be backed up and restored to the same or another computer in a way that allows syncing to continue.

6. Place Name Hierarchies - Place names can now better accommodate addresses and other place detail (such as cemetery, church, hospital, or historical names, etc.).  This new capability also allows places to be displayed as part of their hierarchical structure if desired (this can be turned on or off). 

7. Copy & Paste Facts - Facts (including date, place, description, notes, media, and source citations) can be copied from one person and pasted to anyone else in the tree.  When pasting you can select any/all members of the person's family and paste to all at once.

8. Updated help for all of the new and enhanced features added during the past year.

9. Numerous other bug fixes and minor enhancements.

One new feature that intrigued me was the Web Links tab on the People Workspace and Person Tab:  I clicked on the Web Links tab to see what happened:

I filled in the blanks above for the biography of my grandfather, added the title, and clicked "OK."

On the Web Links tab, when I highlight the item shown I can Edit, Delete or Open the Web Link by clicking on the icons on the Web Links menu line.

I wondered what the Help page for the Web Links said.  Here is the Help page for "Add Web Link:"

It says:

"Add Web Link lets you attach a web address to a person. A person's record can have multiple web addresses associated with it. You can include the web addresses in books and reports, or you can open the web page in your default browser directly from the link."

In the "Web Address" option field, it says:

"Specifies the URL to the web page you want to attach to the person. The address must be a properly formatted to work. At times it may be better to copy the address from your browser and paste it into the Web address field.
"The Open Link button opens the web page in your default browser."

In the "Link name" option field, it says:

"Specifies the title of the web address. You can give the link any name. This name appears in the Web Links list."

This looks like a really helpful addition to Family Tree Maker 2012.  I wonder if it gets transferred in a GEDCOM file, or is included to an Ancestry Member Tree?

Check out Russ Worthington's Family Tree Maker User blog for more discussion of this FTM 2012 update.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Mocavo to Provide FREE Genealogical Records

I received the following information from Cliff Shaw of Mocavo last night, requesting that it not be released until 10 AM MDT (12 noon EDT, 11 AM CDT, 9 AM PDT).  I honored that request.  The information below was written by Mocavo:

Today represents an exciting milestone at Mocavo.  Over our years in both the genealogy and technology industries, we have had few occasions to meet an engineer as talented as Matt Garner.  Matt has deep expertise in the genealogy industry and has few peers in the art of historical record digitization.  We are excited to announce that Matt and his incredible team at ReadyMicro have joined Mocavo.  The ReadyMicro team will continue to operate out of their facility in Orem, Utah and we will maintain our office in Boulder, Colorado, while also adding more employees in both locations.

Now you might ask, “why does a genealogy search engine need digitization?”  The answer is, “Mocavo is no longer just a genealogy search engine.”  From the day the company was founded, our mission has been clear: to bring all of the world’s genealogical information online for free and give everyone the ability to discover their family history.  Over the past several months, we have been working tirelessly to gather genealogical records and connect with other genealogical Web sites.  In the next few weeks, we will make several exciting announcements about these additions that are sure to please family historians.

The acquisition of ReadyMicro gives us the ability to partner with other stewards of genealogical information to help them digitize their records at a very low cost and even, in many cases, at no cost.  In an era where government cutbacks are forcing archives to shut their doors, we will provide a valuable resource to our partners that will enable them to rapidly and cheaply digitize their invaluable collections.

Welcome aboard ReadyMicro and welcome to the new Mocavo!

My first reaction to this announcement is "Super!  More free genealogical records, and more market-based competition in the genealogy world."

My second reaction is:  "What genealogical records has Mocavo been gathering, and which genealogical sites have they been connecting with?"  I look forward to seeing the genealogical resources to be offered by Mocavo, and have absolutely no insight as to what the content might be.  I hope that at least some of the content will be unique - not offered by any other free or subscription record collection site.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Using MyHeritage Record Matches to Find Find-A-Grave Entries

Over the past year or so, I've been "mining" the Find-A-Grave website for burial records of persons in my database, especially for my Seaver one-name study.  On some of the memorials on Find-A-Grave, there are birth dates, birth and death places, short biographies, transcribed obituaries and family tributes.

That search process has been rewarding, especially with the ability to search a specific cemetery for a surname.  But it is tedious, and I am only through about 1,200 of the 1,700 entries for the Seaver surname, let alone all of my other surnames.  I have despaired of ever finishing going through my 41,000 persons in my database to find all of the Find-A-Grave entries.  I'm not sure that looking for every one will be time effective.

The MyHeritage Record Matching technology will be very helpful in this regard - it told me that I have 1,322 matches in my MyHeritage family tree on Find-A-Grave, and it is happy to list them for me!  Here is one of the pages from the Record Match list of Find-A-Grave matches:

Look in the upper right-hand corner of the page above - MyHeritage provides a selection of Sort options - by Confidence (the Star system ranking), by Status (Confirmed, Rejected, Not Stated), by first Name, and by Last Name.  If I choose to sort by Last Name, then I can easily go through my RootsMagic family tree database person-by-person and add content from the Find-A-Grave site.

Here is a screen shot for the Seaver surname:

As you can see, information about the person in my MyHeritage family tree is on the left and the Record Match information is on the right.  My information for Adello Harden Seaver does not have a death date, but the Find-A-Grave site does, with the cemetery information and a photograph of the gravestone to boot!  If I click on the blue "Review Match" link for Adello H. Seaver, I can see his information on MyHeritage derived from the Find-A-Grave match:

I can click on the "Source" link on the screen above that says "View full record on Find-A-Grave website" and see the specific memorial page:

Using this information, I can add a death date and burial site to my database for Adello Harden Seaver, plus a source citation for the information.  I will use the Find-A-Grave memorial in my citation, since the MyHeritage Record Match is a finding aid.

I will click on the "Confirm" button on the MyHeritage Record Match list so that I don't see the entry on the Record Match list again.  If I search by "Status" later - the "Not Stated" status items are at the top of the list, and the "Rejected" and "Confirmed" are at the bottom of the list.

I went through my list of 1,322 Record Matches looking for my family members that I know are on  Find-A-Grave.  What I found, by looking at the Match lists, was that married females are listed in the "Last Name" Sort by their maiden name.  Here is an example for Lucretia Townsend Smith (wife of Isaac Seaver):

I think that this will really shorten up my search time in Find-A-Grave for persons in my database.  I can use the MyHeritage Record Matches to find missing information about persons in my tree.  However, I need to be consistent in noting "Confirm" or "Rejected" when I do this in MyHeritage so that only the "Not Stated" matches are at the top of the list when I review these matches.

Interestingly, I found that the "One Star" matches have the most useful information for me, so I can select only those by clicking on the "Filtering Options" link at the top left of the page (under the number of matches line).  Then I can sort by Surname and do the data entry one category at a time.

A caution:  Not every bit of information on the Find-A-Grave memorial pages are accurate, since they are dependent upon the information that the informant provided about the deceased person to the gravestone maker, or  on the human transcription of a gravestone, information from a town record, or from a newspaper article for Find-A-Grave.  It is not uncommon for information on Find-A-Grave to have a date wrong (relative to a vital record) or for a Find-A-Grave volunteer to get a relationship wrong.

Therefore, the discerning user needs to consider the Find-A-Grave information as a derivative source and finding aid, and try to find more authoritative records for the event and relationships.  A photograph of the gravestone helps verify the transcription of the gravestone, but even that can be wrong.

That said, Find-A-Grave, and sites like it, are wonderful resource for genealogists, especially for 20th century research.  Knowing the death date and burial location helps to narrow down a search for a death record or a newspaper obituary that might describe a person's life.

I like the MyHeritage Record Matching technology - it is a step forward in helping researchers with online family trees find online records that can add content to their database in the quest for finding our elusive ancestors.

Disclosure:  I have a complimentary subscription to both and courtesy of MyHeritage, for which I am grateful.  However, this does not influence my objective opinions in reviews of these websites and their products.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Book Review: Genealogy at a Glance - Pennsylvania Genealogy Research

The Genealogical Publishing Company in Baltimore has published another in its series of "Genealogy at a Glance" laminated research guides - this time for Pennsylvania Genealogy Research by John T. Humphrey, CG.

This "Genealogy at a Glance" booklet has four laminated pages on one 11" x 17" paper (folded). It is designed to give the user the basic elements of genealogy research in the allotted space. They provide an overview of the facts a researcher needs to know in order to begin and proceed successfully with research in the subject.

Pennsylvania Genealogy Research folder has these subjects:

* Contents list
* Quick Facts and Important Dates
* Settlement Background

*  Topography
*  Pennsylvania Germans
*  Record Sources
*  Vital Records
* Church Records
*  Land Records
*  Probate Records
*  Tax Records
*  Census Records
*  Newspapers
*  Poor Children School Records
*  18th Century Immigration
*  1798 Direct Tax: Pennsylvania
*  Major Repositories

This booklet is designed primarily for the person who is not an expert, or has no experience, in Pennsylvania genealogical research.  It provides a summary of the fundamentals of pursuing research in and about Pennsylvania records. Reference books, online databases and websites for some of the topics are cited in the text.  A researcher wanting additional expertise should rely on quality published books with in-depth knowledge about the resources available.  

For someone like me that teaches and talks about genealogy a bit, it is invaluable because I can pull it out and provide some guidance to my student or colleague interested in the subject.

The beauty of these "Genealogy at a Glance" folders is that they are very light and portable in a briefcase or laptop case. They are fixtures in my research case.

This four-page laminated booklet costs $8.95,  plus postage and handling (4th Class Mail $4.50; FedEx Ground Service in the USA, $6.00). You can order it through the Genealogical Store, or use the link for the 
Pennsylvania Genealogy Research  booklet and click on the "Add to Cart" link.  I recommend buying these at seminars and conferences where they are offered in order to avoid the shipping costs.

I reviewed several similar works in Book Review: Genealogy at a Glance: "How-To" Series (French-Canadian, Scottish and Irish), Book Review: "Genealogy at a Glance: German Genealogy Research," Review: "Genealogy at a Glance: English Genealogy Research," and Review - Genealogy at a Glance: French Genealogy Research.

The URL for this post is: 

Copyright (c) Randall J. Seaver, 2012.

Disclosure: contacted me recently and asked me to provide a review of this booklet. They mailed me a review copy for my personal use as remuneration for this review. 

Treasure Chest Thursday - 1870 U.S. Census for Edward Hildreth 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 1870 United States Census record for my Hildreth great-great-grandparents and their family in Leominster, Worcester County, Massachusetts: 

The entry for the Edward Hildreth family is below:   

The extracted information for the family, residing in Leominster, taken on 2 June 1870, is:

*  Edward Hildreth - age 39, male, white, works in machine shop, real property of $2000, personal property of $500, born in Mass., male citizen of U.D. over age 21
*  Sophia Hildreth - age 34, female, white, house keeping, born Vermont.
*  Hattie Hildreth - age 12, female, attends school, born Mass., attended school within the year

The source citation for the census image is:

1870 United States Federal Census, Worcester County, Massachusetts, Population Schedule, Leominster town: Page 261, dwelling #67, family #86, Edward Hildreth household; digital image, (; citing National Archives Microfilm Publication M593, Roll 654.

I consider the 1870 U.S. Census records to be an "Original Source" (because this "family snapshot" in June 1870 is in its first written form); mostly as "Secondary Information" (since we don't know who provided the information - although it was probably Sophia Hildreth), and as "Indirect Evidence" for most of the information (the exception being the birthplaces, and Edward's occupation which were certainly known by his wife if she was the informant).  

The only obvious errors in this census record (based on what I know about these persons from other records, including birth and marriage records) is Sophia (Newton) Hildreth's age, which probably should be 36 rather than 35 (if other data that says she was born in September 1834 is correct).   

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

CVGS Seminar for Beginners on Saturday, 22 September

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society Fall Seminar will be held Saturday, September 22 at Bonita-Sunnyside Library (4375 Bonita Road; take Billy Casper Way turnoff). 

The seminar theme is "Show Me My Roots." This seminar will be geared to beginners but we will be glad to help anyone who feels they need it. There will be two sessions. The morning session is 10 a.m. to 12 noon and the afternoon session will be from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Attendees are asked to bring whatever information they have on their parents, grandparents, etc. The attendees will be able to receive help filling out their pedigree chart.

The attendees will then be introduced to the three most popular genealogy programs to give them some idea which one they would like to use. We will be demonstrating Family Tree Maker, RootsMagic, and Reunion. We will also have two computers dedicated to going online to show the attendees how to do research on line, concentrating on the free websites they can use. 

Between the charts and the computers the attendees can have a short tour of the library to show them where they can find genealogy information and to let them know that they can order books through inter-library loan from any of the county libraries and have them delivered to Bonita.

This is a free seminar. Please contact Virginia Taylor (, 619-425-7922) to register so that we can plan refreshments, handouts and volunteers. Attendees should provide their own lunch.

For this seminar to be a success, we need members of our society to volunteer to help either with the charts or demonstrating the programs. You can work either session or all day. Contact Virginia Taylor to volunteer. 

Answers to my MyHeritage Record Search Thoughts

In my post today, First Look at Record Matches on MyHeritage, I shared some of my thoughts and opinions and observations about the MyHeritage Record Search technology.  My cousin and geneablogger Kay Haden commented also, especially about the pay-as-you-go credits.

MyHeritage Founder and CEO, Gilad Japhet, responded to my comments and also to Kay's in a comment that I want to share in toto because it is important to all MyHeritage users:

Thanks Randy for this quick look.  Hopefully you will be able to take a deeper look soon.

A few comments:

1. The default filtering of one star means you will see matches with a confidence of one star or higher. Matches with less will be hidden in the interface, i.e. the weakest matches are hidden by default. Users with few matches who who are desperate for any leads can change that setting by lowering it, but things work well without changing the default.

2. Yes, ALL 40,000 people in your family tree were covered.

3. The indexing of the 1940 US census is still ongoing at MyHeritage. We are putting an emphasis on the quality of the indexing, not on getting it done quickly. So for now you will get Record Matches for some of the USA states, including New York and the others you mentioned. As we add more states you will receive new Record Matches automatically until the 1940 US census is fully indexed.

4. It is complex to explain how Record Matching technology decides which variables to take into account and when, it would take a long white paper to do so and the algorithms are proprietary. It would be great if you could comment later on the correctness of the matches that were found for you from your point of view as a genealogist, and the new information they allowed you to add to your tree, especially regarding newspaper matches which are unique. 

I can mention that matches are indeed flexible with names and synonyms, and various types of soundex are supported in matching, and information like year discrepancy is allowed, depending on other circumstances.

5. MyHeritage users do NOT need a subscription to any record collection providers. Only to MyHeritage itself (Data Subscription) or to have pay-as-you-go data credits on MyHeritage. MyHeritage users with a World Vital Records subscription receive a complimentary MyHeritage Data Subscription automatically (since we now own World Vital Records) so they not need buy anything else to enjoy Record Matching. For users who do not want to pay at all we provide free matches with all collections (as an extract) and full lookups of Find-a-Grave and Ellis Island matches.

6. You can count on us adding more USA census records soon and the UK census records, and other types of records. This is a focus for us. Our aspiration is not to be a rival to Ancestry but to provide a superior product and experience for the users. This may take us more time, but this time last year we didn't have any historical records at all, nor any search engine, nor Record Matching technology, so imagine what we'll have one year from now. SuperSearch and Record Matching work in 38 languages, not just English and 4 others. So users around the world who are not English speakers already have products they can use on MyHeritage. And MyHeritage provides unique content so that Ancestry users will find value in receiving Record Matches on MyHeritage, even if they already have a subscription on Ancestry. Many genealogists would appreciate additional information and new records and discoveries, especially when found automatically. also This comes with Smart Matches which also cannot be found on Ancestry. We hope that users will eventually want to make the switch (noting that a MyHeritage Data Subscription costs $76/year, less than a third of an Ancestry subscription which covers all the records).

An answer for Kay: the value in the Record Matches is in the matches found automatically for you. What you tried to do was not to "match" but to "confirm" a match which is to indicate that it is correct. The value in confirming is for marking matches from which you have extracted information, as you go through the matches and process all of them. Otherwise when having many matches you won't be able to easily remember which ones you've already processed. Find-a-Grave matches are free and we will apply a fix so that confirming them will be free too and will not require any credits.

My thanks to Gilad for his responses to our comments.  I am always impressed that Gilad responds so quickly to my blog posts (even late at night in Israel!).

Kay Haden noted in her comment that:

I also did match a record to one of my persons and nothing really happened... Nothing appears on that person's profile to reflect the match to the source of that record match. 

My response to her in email was:

From what I can tell, you have to add the information in the record yourself to the person's profile.  Same with the source citation.  This doesn't work exactly like Ancestry's shaky leaves work where the information and the source are added to your tree.

Disclosure:  I have a complimentary subscription to both and courtesy of MyHeritage, for which I am grateful.  However, this does not influence my objective opinions in reviews of these websites and their products.

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First Look at Record Matches on MyHeritage

I took a spin through my Record Matches on MyHeritage today (see announcement and demonstration at Introducing Record Matching. 

In order to perform these tasks, I have to have a MyHeritage family tree (I do!) and a subscription to (I do!).  The way the Record Matches work is that MyHeritage looks at persons in my MyHeritage family tree, tries to find them in the free or subscription record collections that they have access to, and if they find a match they add it to the Record Matches list.

1)  Here is the Home page my MyHeritage website:

2)  I clicked on the "View your Record Matches" link on the screen above, and went to the Record Matches page on the Family Tree tab:

The page above lists all of the record collections in which the Record Matching technology found matches.  There are 3,765 Record Matches for people in my tree, and they are in 30 record collections.  The collections that are listed for my Record Collections are:

*  1860 U.S. census (7 matches)
*  1940 U.S. Census (8 matches)
*  U.S. Air Force Register Extracts (5 Matches)
*  California Births, 1905-1995 (227 Matches)
*  California Deaths, 1940-1997 (234 Matches)

*  Data Relating to the Settlement and Settling of New York and New Jersey (3 Matches)
*  Early Germans of New Jersey (4 matches)
*  England & Wales Deaths, GRO Indexes, 1969-2007 (46 matches)
*  Everton Pedigree and Family Group Sheets (9 matches)
*  Find-A-Grave (1,322 matches)

*  Historical and Genealogical Miscellany, Volume 1 (3 matches)
*  Illinois Deaths, 1916-1950 (4 matches)
*  Illinois Deaths before 1916 (1 match)
*  Illinois Marriages, 1763-1900 (50 matches)
*  Kentucky Births, 1911-1999 (1 match)

*  Kentucky Deaths, 1900-1999 (2 deaths)
*  Leicestershire Parish Birth and Christening Records (2 matches)
*  Leicestershire Parish Marriage Records (3 matches)
*  Maine Deaths, 1960-1996 (3 matches)
*  Maine Marriages, 1892-1966 (24 matches)

*  Maximilian Family Tree (157 matches)
*  Membership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 1830-1848 (4 matches)
*  Newspaper Archive (818 matches)
*  Social Security Death Index (738 matches)
*  Texas Births, 1926-1995 (53 matches)

*  Texas Marriages and Divorces (29 matches)
*  The Early Germans of New Jersey (2 matches)
*  The Early Germans of New Jersey, Their History, Churches and Genealogy (2 matches)
*  U.S. World War II Army Enlistment (1 match)
*  UK Marriage List, 1655-1992 (1 match)

3)  The default filtering option seems to be 1 star (whatever that means).  Up under the number of matches, there is a link for "Filtering Options" (273 matches not listed).  The user can choose how many Stars to select - 5 stars gave me 48 matches in 5 collections, and 0 Stars gave me 4,038 matches in 32 collections.  My guess is that most users won't modify the default filtering.  Here is the Filtering window:

On that window, the user can choose the group of matches to display (e.g., pending, confirmed, rejected) and the Record types to display (e.g., structured or text).

4)  I wanted to look at how the matches are presented.  Here is the 1940 U.S. Census page for my 8 matches):

In the screen above, the information in my tree is on the left side of the screen (birth death, parents, spouses, children) and the record data is on the right side of the page (birth, residence, parents, spouse, children in the record).  I can click on the blue "Review Match" button for each match to see the record, or I can click on the check mark to confirm the match, or the X mark to reject this match.

I clicked on the blue "Review Match" button for one of the 1940 Census matches (3 screens below):

In this record collection, the information in my tree is at the top left of the screen, and the information about the person in the record is on the right side of the screen.  The census source information is provided (NARA roll, image frame, state, county, township, enumeration district, page, family number andl ine number), but no source citation is created).  The record image is provided, and can be manipulated within the frame, or the user can choose to go full screen with the image.  On the full screen, the user can download the image to your computer (by doing a "Save image as" in your browser).  The household members are listed below the image.

Finally, the user is told that if this match is correct to extract the information by the record by editing the person profile in the MyHeritage family tree.  The user is given the choice to Reject or Confirm the match.

5)  After this first look, I have these thoughts:

*  The Record Match system works pretty well as far as it goes.  It is limited by the record collections available to MyHeritage, including free collections like Find-A-Grave and Ellis Island, and subscription collections, like the census and newspaper collection.

*  It is unclear if the Record Match number covers EVERYONE in my 40,000 person family tree.  If it doesn't, then I wonder if the system looking for more matches automatically, or do I have to instigate that somehow using the Research menu?

*  There is no indication of the limitations of each record collection.  I know that I have many more persons in my tree that are in the 1940 U.S. Census - the MyHeritage matches for my people are in Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania.

*  We all know that many records were created with errors in names, locations, ages, etc.  It is unclear to me how the Record Matching technology decides on the range of the variables.  Are names coded using Soundex or similar?  Do ages have some year range?  The MyHeritage SuperSearch matching in the Research tab permits these variations.

*  The Filtering options appear to be logical and useful.

*  The MyHeritage Record Search technology will help me find additional information on persons in my family tree.  While I have mined databases like the Social Security Death Index and Find-A-Grave extensively, I have not done extensive mining in the Newspaper Archive collection.  This will be my main concentration in the weeks ahead.

*  I believe that this is the only record matching technology that looks in newspaper records without  entering names into a search field.

*  The MyHeritage Record Search is an excellent advancement for MyHeritage users as long as they have a subscription to the record collection providers.  This is a first step for MyHeritage because the number and type of record collections available are limited.  If they can add access to many more record collections (e.g., U.S. Census, England Census, military records, passenger list records, and more), then they may rival in the future.

6)  Disclosure:  I have a complimentary subscription to both and courtesy of MyHeritage, for which I am grateful.  However, this does not influence my objective opinions in reviews of these websites and their products.

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver.

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 223: Frederick W. Seaver in 1933

 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 is a photograph of my grandfather, Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942), taken in 1933, probably in Leominster, Massachusetts.  I don't know the occasion - it may be a wedding occasion, or a birthday or anniversary occasion, or just an after-work picture.  He is dressed in a coat, vest, white shirt, slacks, shoes, tie, and hat.  He is not wearing eye glasses, but has a pin of some sort on his left lapel.  The setting is probably the front steps of a brick house or business.

It looks like someone wiped their nose and touched the photograph before I received this photo album!

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

MyHeritage Releases Record Matching Technology

Back in June 2012, MyHeritage held a press conference - I reported on it in MyHeritage Announces Record Matching Feature.  Some of my ancestral families were highlighted in the video by Gilad Japhet.  
Today, MyHeritage released the Record Matching technology feature with a press release and a blog post at Introducing Record Matching.  Again, some of my ancestral families are featured in the examples.  I will write more about this feature in the coming week.

The press release today from MyHeritage:
MyHeritage releases breakthrough Record Matching technology for family history

Discoveries made easy: Millions of MyHeritage users to automatically receive relevant newspaper clippings and historical records, adding color to their family history
PROVO, Utah & LONDON & TEL AVIV, Israel – September 19, 2012: MyHeritage, the world’s largest family network, today announced the release of Record Matching, an innovative new technology set to change the face of the family history market. Record Matching will help millions of families learn more about their past by automatically discovering relevant historical records and newspaper articles dating back 300 years.
Record Matching is the next generation of family history exploration. It saves time by automating online research for users’ family trees, breaking through “brick walls” for dedicated genealogists, and giving beginners a significant boost with their family tree research. It works by comparing more than one billion profiles in family trees created by MyHeritage users to more than four billion historical records, to find relevant matches. It’s the only service of its kind to automatically research newspaper articles, books and other free text content through semantic analysis, to find articles that can shed light on the actual lives, personalities and achievements of one’s ancestors.  The Internet has helped bring family history to mainstream audiences, by allowing some of the research traditionally done in libraries and archives to be done online. Record Matching now simplifies online research by conducting it automatically.
Supporting 38 languages, MyHeritage has become the trusted home on the web for families worldwide wishing to explore their family history, share memories and stay connected. In addition to its expertise on collaborative family tree building, over the past year MyHeritage has positioned itself as a leading provider of historical records. Record Matching is an add-on feature for SuperSearch, the search engine for historical records successfully released by MyHeritage in June 2012.

MyHeritage Founder and CEO, Gilad Japhet, said: “Record Matching is a family history discovery maker and time saver, designed to delight both dedicated family historians and people with a casual interest in their ancestry. Over the past year we’ve expanded our consumer offering by complementing our social family tree network with a substantial amount of historical content. Record Matching now ties these two assets together, adding exciting new value for our users and giving us a unique edge in the family history market. It’s a significant step towards realizing our goal of bringing family history to the masses.”

Record Matching utilizes the current global pool of more than four billion records on MyHeritage, including strong collections in the USA, UK, Ireland, Australia and Canada, with more content being added daily for additional countries. Users can receive birth, marriage and divorce documents, gravestone photos, death, burial and census information, military, immigration and other types of records in their Record Matches. More information about the lives of relatives and ancestors can be revealed in Record Matches from the world’s largest historical newspaper collection licensed to MyHeritage (currently about 120 million pages dating back to the 18th century), books and other free text materials. Record Matches also cover the 1930 and 1940 US census records and the content from MyHeritage-owned family history websites, WorldVitalRecords and FamilyLink.

Developed in-house by MyHeritage engineers and family history experts, Record Matching technology is designed to mimic the work of a family historian as much as possible, finding matches that a human would consider plausible, and ruling out matches that a researcher would consider as incorrect. Based on multiple genealogical algorithms that match information in the record (names, dates, facts, relationships, etc) to the information in the family tree, semantic analysis, statistical engines and a false positive prevention sub-system, Record Matching provides a high degree of accuracy without sacrificing flexibility. Through its use of massive computational resources and systematic approach of comparing every person to every record, Record Matching makes discoveries that many users would not have the time or luck to find on their own.
Record Matching technology augments MyHeritage’s flagship Smart Matching™ technology that compares family trees to other family trees. The two technologies work together in a cycle that constantly pushes forward the users' knowledge of their family history. MyHeritage users will receive weekly email updates of their new Record Matches. On the website, all Record Matches found are consolidated in one interactive report, where users can conveniently review, filter, sort, confirm and reject their matches.
Record Matching has flexible phonetic and multilingual capabilities when researching names, covering many possible synonyms, different spellings and international variations.  Record Matches have an individual confidence score and can be viewed by person or by data collection. Additional features, such as saving information from Record Matches into online family trees, creating references and source citations and displaying real-time matches whenever a new person is added into the tree, will be added before the end of 2012.
As of today, Record Matching will run periodically for every user who has a family tree on MyHeritage. Record Matches found will be displayed for free as a shortened extract. For full access to the historical records delivered by Record Matches, MyHeritage offers affordable data subscription plans and pay-as-you-go credits which are also good for use on SuperSearch, the MyHeritage search engine for historical records. In complimentary collections under license, such as Ellis Island and Find-A-Grave, MyHeritage users will enjoy full access to the Record Matches for free. Family tree enthusiasts interested in receiving Record Matches are welcome to sign up for free at MyHeritage, import their family tree or build a new one using the site’s friendly tools, and receive their matches in less than 24 hours.

About MyHeritage
MyHeritage is the most popular family network on the web. On MyHeritage, millions of families around the world enjoy a private and free place to explore their history and share family memories. Pioneers in making family history a collaborative experience for the entire family, MyHeritage empowers its users with innovative social tools and a massive library of historical content. The site is available in 38 languages. The company is backed by Accel Partners and Index Ventures. For more information visit

Press Contact
Caroline Cohen, PR Manager for MyHeritage
Phone: +44 2081231152   Email:

Disclosure:  I have a complimentary subscription to both and courtesy of MyHeritage, for which I am grateful.  However, this does not influence my objective opinions in reviews of these websites and their products.