Saturday, October 20, 2012

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -Make Funny Genealogy Posters

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

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

1)  Go to the website and choose one or more poster pictures.

2)  Channel your inner genealogist and create one or more posters with a genealogy oriented saying on it.  Be creative!!  Be brave!  Make it funny, or happy, or sad. 

3)  Save or clip your creation, then show us your creation(s) in your own blog post, in a Facebook status, or a Google Plus stream post.  

A warning:  some of the sample posters on the site ate somewhat risque.

Here's mine:

*  I chose the Arnold Schwarzenegger face and created:

*  I couldn't resist using the Dos Equis beer guy:

3)  We all want to see a message this, right:

I used the Windows 7 snipping tool to capture these right from the site.  I could have posted them on Facebook also.  I didn't, at least not yet!

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Surname Saturday - CLARK (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 531: Sarah CLARK (1681-1720). [Note: The 7th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts].

My ancestral line back through two American generations of this CLARK family 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)

66. Nathan Gates (1767-1830)
67. Abigail Knowlton (1774-1855)

132.  Simon Gates (1739-1803)
133.  Susannah Reed (1745-1833)

264.  Amos Gates (1706-1783)
265.  Mary Hubbard (1712-1754)

530.  Samuel Hubbard, born 27 April 1687 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 12 December 1753 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 1060. Jonathan Hubbard and 1061. Hannah Rice.  He married  08 December 1709 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.

531.  Sarah Clark, born 14 July 1681 in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States; died 25 July 1720 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  

Children of Samuel Hubbard and Sarah Clark are:  Ephraim Hubbard (1710-????); Mary Hubbard (1712-1754); Samuel Hubbard (1714-1783); Sarah Hubbard (1716-????); Lois Hubbard (1718-????).

1062.  Samuel Clark, born before 01 November 1646 in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States; died 30 January 1729/30 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He married about 1676 in probably Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States.
1063.  Rachel Nichols, born July 1654 in Charlestown, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States; died 19 October 1722 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.

Children of Samuel Clark and Rachel Nichols are:  Samuel Clark (1676-????); William Clark (1679-1756); Sarah Clark (1681-1720); Rachel Clark (1683-????); Susanna Clark (1689-????); Hannah Clark (1691-????); Benjamin Clark (1693-????); Arthur Clark (1696-????).

2124.  Arthur Clark, born about 1620 in Ipswich, Suffolk, England; died 30 October 1665 in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States.  He married
2125.  Sarah, born in England; died 1665 in probably Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States.

Children of Arthur Clark and Sarah are:  Sarah Clark (1644-????).; Samuel Clark (1646-1730).

The only resources I've found for these Clark families is Massachusetts town vital records, and some bits and pieces about Arthur Clark in several early New England Historical And Genealogical Register articles.   

I don't know the parents of Samuel Clark's wife, Rachel Nichols.  There are many online family trees asserting parents for her, but I haven't found any corroborating records for her parents.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Friday, October 19, 2012

Two More Days for Genea-Musings Ancestry Contest

I announced the first Genea-Musings contest for a 3-month World Subscription on Tuesday in Enter Genea-Musings Contest to Win a 3-Month Ancestry World Explorer Membership.

The deadline for entries is Sunday, 21 October 2012 at 8:59 PM PDT (11:59 PM EDT).  I have only about 65 entries at this time, so there is a decent chance of winning.

Please submit your entry immediately to be included in this drawing.

There will be a second contest next week with all new entries.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

It's a Puzzle: Did Ralph really have a child at age 11?

I've been working in my genealogy database, and reviewing Problems (in RootsMagic 5, Tools > Problem Search).  One that popped up was a child born when the father was age 11.

That is based on this set of records in Texas vital records indexes (the actual records are not available).  The first, middle and last names are anonymized by initials in the text so that they don't show up in a search:

*  R1. A S1. was born 3 June 1951 in Lubbock, Lubbock, Texas:

*  R1. A. S1. married V. R2. S2. on 23  Nov 1974 in Travis County, Texas:

*  J. E. S1. was born on 18 March 1963 in Potter County, Texas to R1. A. S1. and V. R2. S2.

As you can see, the dates "hang together" very well.  The marriage record in 1974 says R1. was born about 1951, and the birth record indicates that also.

The parents named for the daughter are R1. A. S1 and V. R2. S2.

There are two more birth records for this couple in the Texas Birth Records, one born in 1968, the other in 1977.

The only rational conclusion I can draw here is that the 1963 and 1968 children are either adopted or were children of V. out of wedlock or by another husband.  I found no marriage record for V. in the Texas Marriage Records to an S2. male.  However, they might have been married in another state.

Does anyone have any other ideas about this?  These names are pretty unique.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Adding Source Notes in FamilySearch Family Tree

It appears that FamilySearch Family Tree is about to go public with their interconnected Family Tree - one big worldwide family tree with sources, discussions, etc.  LDS church members and some genealogy researchers have been using it in a Beta environment.

One of my major issues with the FamilySearch Family Tree has been source citations - I wrote My First Look at FamilySearch Family Tree - Post 2: Source Citations in March 2012, Checking Out "My Source Box" on in May 2012 and Attaching Sources to Persons in FamilySearch Family Tree in July 2012 about the Source Box feature and attaching the sources to persons.

Once you have the source citation from the Source Box attached to a person, you have a record similar to this (for my grandparents marriage in 1900):

"Massachusetts, Marriages, 1841-1915," index and images, <i>FamilySearch</i> ( : accessed 19 Oct 2012), Fred Walton Seaver and Alma Bessie Richmond, 1900.

That is not a real perfect source citation, since it doesn't list the original source record that FamilySearch, and doesn't provide any source citation details other than a name and year for the record. That may be adequate for some researchers.

For some researchers, finding the original source is important for quality assessment purposes. FamilySearch Family Tree offers the capability to add Notes to a source citation, and this can serve to add more detail to the source citation.

Here is how I added Notes to the marriage of my grandparents:

1) In FamilySearch Family Tree, I navigated to the Person page for Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942):

2)  Down near the bottom of the Person page is the list of sources:

3)  The details for each Source provided can be seen by clicking on the Source title.  I clicked on the bottom source on the list above, for the Marriage of my grandparents, and saw:

4)  In order to add a Note, I clicked on the "Edit" link in the source citation entry.  That added an editable field below the current source citation.  I couldn't edit the source citation itself.

4)  The editable field includes a link to "Add" a Note.  When I clicked that, I could type in two fields - one for the Note, and the other for "Reason for the change:"

I typed in the "Note" field:

"citing original data at Massachusetts State Archives; Marriages: Volume 502, Page 297, Leominster, 1900: entry for Frederick W. Seaver and Alma Bessie Richmond, 21 June 1900."

and in the "Reason" field:

"added original data source and details of the original source."

6) I clicked on the "Save" button, and saw the modified Source citation screen:

The "Latest Changes" box in the upper right shows when and by whom the changes were made. The box below that shows who this particular source citation is attached to.

I couldn't figure out how to add someone to the "Attach To" list - obviously, this marriage concerns two people. I actually have it attached to my grandmother also, but as a completely separate source citation (since I searched for records for her).

In retrospect, I could have added more detail to the "Note" - their ages, residence place, occupations, birthplaces, parents names, parents birthplaces, number of marriage, and the minister's name. All of those are available in the image of this record.

For census records, a researcher could add the address, ED, page number, dwelling number, family number, and all of the information for each family member - name, relationship, age, gender, birthplace, occupation, etc.

I have not done this task for many of my persons because my hope is, still, that the certified software that interfaces with the FamilySearch Family Tree will enable source citations to be added to FSFT from within the software. At present, software like RootsMagic 5 and Legacy Family Tree 7.5 will add the Event but not the source citation to a Person page in FamilySearch Family Tree.  

I have many source citations in my database for Events that are not in FamilySearch historical record collections - vital record certificates, probate records, land records, etc., and really don't want to spend the time adding them to the FamilySearch Family Tree by hand if the capability will be automated in the future.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Follow-Up Friday - Useful Reader Comments

It's Friday, so I'm highlighting interesting and useful reader comments received in the past week.  They include:

1)  In Who Knew? Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are Cousins! (12 October 2012):

*  Martin said:  "Please do not credit Thomas Kemp with this. This was discovered by long ago by (among others) Bill Reitwiesner and Gary Boyd Roberts. All presidential genealogy started at the NEHGS. Mr. Kemp (a one time employee at NEHGS for a very short time) is just exploiting that for his new business. He gives no credit to the people who truly did the research. I find that shameful. You shouldn't link to such stuff."

My comment:  Thomas Kemp did not claim that he did the research, and the graphic had a list of sources at the bottom of the graphic.  His company (which is not new) did put the graphic together based on the sources reviewed.  I do think he should have included the Bill Reitwiesner website and the Roberts book to the list.  I don't think it exploited  NEHGS - it was informative and humorous and was intended for a genealogy audience.  I agree that NEHGS has been in the forefront of presidential genealogy, but other companies have done some, especially the celebrity genealogy bit.  I think that genealogy is promoted through graphics like this, and that's only good, IMHO.

*  Carmen Johnson noted:  "It is really interesting when you look at the list of Presidents who have no common ancestry with any other Presidents. It is a short list. Ronald Reagan, John F. Kennedy and Andrew Johnson. I am actually related to Andrew Johnson - he was my great great grandfather's first cousin. Calvin Coolidge has the most common lines with other Presidents with 19 and Bush 41 & 43 share 18 common lines."

*  Martin responded:  "Just to clarify, Ms. Johnson is incorrect in many of her assertions. Presidents with no known presidential cousins are: Jefferson, Monroe, Jackson, Polk, Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Arthur, McKinley, Wilson, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Reagan, and Clinton. That's 13 out of 43 men to hold the office or roughly 30%. Additionally the Bushes have the most lines in common with other presidents at 18. Coolidge, FDR, and Ford are tied for second place at 17. See: Ancestors of American Presidents by Gary Boyd Roberts 2009 edition, pp. 591-593."

My comment:  Thank you to Carmen and Martin for their notes.  I know that I've seen other resources (I think family trees on sites like that take some of the Presidents back into English history and show common ancestors in the 1200-1600 time period that results in cousinhood.  I don't think that those were considered in the Reitwiesner or Roberts work.  I'm not saying they're correct - just that more relationships have been asserted.

2)  On Finding Daniel Spangler's Probate Records on FamilySearch - the Russell Index System (15 October 2012):

*  Jeff Hodge commented:  "This has got to be the mother of all citations. If you can write one, Randy, you'll be the crown Prince of Citations!"

My comment:  Arrggghh, a source citation challenge.   Am I up to it?  

The  sample FamilySearch citation for an entry in this collection is:

"Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Probate Records. 1683-1994" index and images, FamilySearch (accessed 7 October 2011). entry for Mary Green, will probated 1842; citing Probate Records, reference number Box 10, 100-149 123; City of Philadelphia Register of Wills Office. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States.

 Using this as a model, a source citation for the Sale of Real Estate item would be:

"Pennsylvania, Probate Records, 1683-1994," digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 15 October 2012), citing Mercer County, Pennsylvania Orphans Court Docket, 1850-1858, Volumes D-E, "Sale of Real Estate" entry for Daniel Spangler, 15 September 1851, Volume D, Page 93 (image 55 of 684).

In my particular case, we have a record in a probate court clerk's record book, microfilmed by FamilySearch, digitized by FamilySearch, and included in a statewide record collection.  The closest citation model that I could see in Evidence! Explained is on page 527 (Section 10:33, First Edition) for an online image of a specific probate record entry.  Here is my attempt to create an EE-like source citation:

Mercer County, Pennsylvania Orphans Court Dockets, "Sale of Real Estate" entry for Daniel Spangler, 15 September 1851, Volume D, Page 93; "Pennsylvania, Probate Records, 1683-1994," digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 15 October 2012), citing Mercer County, Pennsylvania Orphans Court Docket, 1850-1858, Volumes D-E, image 55 of 684.

Whew...if those more skilled in the Source citation arts want to help me out, I would appreciate it!  I tried...hard!

Thanks, Jeff!  Now I can add one of the above to my Event entry in my genealogy program.  I'm afraid that I'm probably the "Court Jester of Source Citations" rather than the Crown Prince.

3)  On Ancestry Matches Death, Burial, Cemetery, Obituary Records with Family Tree People, Except it Doesn't (17 October 2012):

*  Geolover noted:  "Interesting, I had not noticed this peculiar item. Be aware that the 'hint' total is not strictly a search-engine result for people in your tree. In addition to items you have already attached, there are also items that others have attached (rightly or wrongly) to individuals in their trees. Many of these were just silly irrelevant items that others mindlessly clicked on.  Presenting such awesome totals must be the reason that the Member Trees were indexed the other day, for perhaps the third time this year."

My comments:  You raise an interesting point - are these (a) actual Hints found by Ancestry's matching of persons in my tree to records in collections, or are they (b) Hints previously attached by other persons in their trees for the same person in my tree?  Perhaps they are both (a) and (b). After looking at my match list in some detail,  I think that they are (a) - the result of matching records to persons in my tree, but I don't know for sure.  There are no Ancestry Member Trees in the list.  Frankly, I've pondered listing the most common sources provided on the match list for at least a portion of the list. 

*  Kristi Hancock offered:  "I have had the same dreams of this "Ideal Ancestry World"! I have found a little bit of a work around that I figured out when Ancestry started the link on the 1940 Census page to see your hints from that database only.  When I go to that link for my tree, this is what is in the address bar:

"The last four digits (2442) is the code for the 1940 Census database. Now, go to another database and look in the address bar for its "code". For example, the code for the Texas Birth Index, 1903-1997 is 8781.  
If you go back to that original link and change the 2442 to 8781, you will see the hints for your tree in that database.

"You may already know this, but I thought I would share just in case!"

My comment:  Kristi, you are a genius!!  What a great tip!  I did not know that, but will be sure to use it.  Thank you.  Note that the number after "tree" in the link above is Kristi's tree, not mine or yours.  Your URL will look different.

4)  On Historical Records of a Real Santa Claus (21 December 2011):

*  Anonymous noted:  "Well, Santa Claus was my Grandfather's cousin. My understanding was he was a hell fire and brimstone preacher. I remember my mother telling me she had a relative named Santa Clause. At Karen K...he was named that before the term Santa Clause. He actually had all of "Santa Clauses aka North Pole" mail delivered to him. He got thousands of letters, and I read somewhere that he wanted to try to answer them all. My mother also told me of seeing a check Mae West had sent him, why I don't know."

My comments: I get comments like this occasionally on my older posts about famous people (Lincoln, Boone, Claus, etc.).  I appreciate them - this adds even more to the Santa Clause story!

Thank you to my readers for their notes and comments.  I enjoy the interaction and hope that it continues.  I know that the Captcha spam filter is a challenge and you all have to overcome it.  It does keep almost all spam away.

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Dear Ruth: One Tree

My friend and CVGS/geneablogging colleague, Ruth Himan, wrote I would like to pose a question to the Genealogical Community. Multiple Ancestry Trees today on her Genealogy is Ruthless Without Me blog.

It's an excellent question, and I wanted to share  my opinion.

I prefer one tree in my genealogy software for my own genealogy and family history research.  The main reason is simple - it saves me time because I don't have to input data for a specific person more than once.  

I worked with several different trees for a long time, but there were often duplications in them.  I would add or modify data in one database as I received new information, but would often forget to change the information in the other database.

I combined five databases into one large one for the ancestral families of my children (so my tree, my wife's tree) about two years ago, plus all of the one-name study databases for Seaver, Carringer, Buck, Dill, Vaux, Remley, Auble, and others.  

In the combined database, there were duplicate names and events which I fixed over the past two years.  I also took the opportunity to standardize my place names to current map jurisdictions (so that the online maps would work), and to standardize my sources to Evidence! Explained standards.  I add unconnected persons to my big family tree because I hope that the current and future research will connect into my tree at some time, and I know where I can find it!  I keep some disconnected families in my big family tree also, in hopes that when I post the tree online that it might help somebody, or someone might help me.  

I'm still finding mistakes as I go through portions of my database on a daily basis, but I'm also adding content (names, dates, places) for persons with sparse or no data, and I've been adding sources to events as I find them.  There are over 41,300 persons in my big tree at present, and it will never be perfect.  But I am doing my database improvement work on a steady basis and may actually have a decent database in, oh, 20 years or so.  I'm OK with imperfection, and recognize it when I find it, and try to make it less imperfect when I can.

There are drawbacks to a large database.  Some genealogy programs struggle to load them (Family Tree Maker 2012 still takes almost a minute to open mine, while RootsMagic 5 loads in less than 5 seconds), and some programs do not navigate instantly to the desired person or screen.   Some databases are so large that some genealogy programs cannot open them.

I think that the benefits of having one larger family tree for my research far outweigh the drawbacks of having one larger family tree.

I do have other family tree research in separate databases because I have done some client research over the years for friends, and have kept them in separate trees.  This made sense at the time, and I think it still makes sense.

So dear Ruth - I'm in favor of one big family tree for my children's genealogy and family history research activities, for the reasons stated.  However, the opinion of others may vary!

What do my readers think?  One big family tree, or several smaller trees for different families?  Leave a comment, or a link to your own blog post.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Treasure Chest Thursday - 1910 U.S. Census Record for Henry A. Carringer 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 1910 United States Census record for my Carringer great-grandparents and their family in San Diego, San Diego County, California:

The entry for the Henry A. Carringer entry is:

The extracted information for the family, residing at 3902 Hawthorne Street in San Diego, taken on 21 April 1910, is:

*  Henry A. Carringer -- head of household, male, white, age 58, first marriage, married 22 years, born Pennsylvania, parents born Pennsylvania, able to speak English, a carpenter, does general work, a worker, not out of work on 1 April 1910, can read and write, owns house free of mortgage
*  Della A. Carringer -- wife, female, white, age 50, first marriage, married 22 years, 2 children born, 1 living, born Wisconsin, parents born New York, able to speak English, able to read and write
*  Lyle L. Carringer -- son, male, white, age 18, single, born California, father born Pennsylvania, mother born Wisconsin, able to speak English, can read and write, attended school since 1 September 1909
*  Harvey Carringer -- brother, male, white, age 59, single, born Pennsylvania, parents born Pennsylvania, able to speak English, own income, can read and write
*  Abby A. Smith -- mother-in-law, female, white, age 65, widowed, 5 children born, 3 living, born New York, father born England, mother born New York, able to speak English, own income, can read and write

The source citation for this census entry is:

1910 United States Federal Census, San Diego County, California, Population Schedule, San Diego 4th Ward; ED 150, Sheet 9A, Dwelling #217, Family #225, Henry A. Carringer household; online database, ( : accessed 20 October 2011); citing National Archives Microfilm Publication T624, Roll 94.

The errors or discrepancies I see in this entry include:

*  Henry A. Carringer's age should be 56, not 58 (born 28 November 1853)
*  Della A. Carringer's age should be 47, not 50 (born 11 April 1862).  The enumerator instructions say age as of 1 April 1910, although the enumeration was taken on 21 April 1910.
*   Harvey Carringer's age should be 57, not 59 (born 6 May 1852).

I wonder if Abby A. Smith provided the information in this record - her age is right!  The age of son Lyle is also correct - perhaps he gave the information.

I am puzzled by the address of 3902 Hawthorne Street.  This is the first time I've noticed the street number, and it doesn't jibe with what I know about the location of the house.  The house was on the northeast corner of Hawthorn Street and 30th Street in San Diego.  In 1920, the address was 2105 30th Street.  With the current street numbering system, the address on Hawthorn might have been 3002 Hawthorn.  I think that the east-west street numbering system was changed sometime between 1910 and 1920 (when the census record image shows the block east of 30th is number 30xx).  

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ancestry Matches Death, Burial, Cemetery, Obituary Records with Family Tree People, Except it Doesn't

I noticed that has started matching records in for Death, Burial, Cemetery, and Obituary collections with persons in my family tree.

On the Death Records Education page,, there is a box at the bottom right that shows how many persons there are with Death, Burial, Cemetery and Obituary collections in my Ancestry Member Tree:

As you can see, the box says that there are 2738 Hints in the Seaver-Leland Family Tree from the Death, Burial, Cemetery and Obituary collections.

I was excited about this - I would love to have the Hints on Ancestry for persons in my tree categorized by record type and record collection.  That would be very helpful - it would short-circuit the search process significantly.

Here's what I saw when I clicked the link for "View all hints from this tree:"

There are about 887 pages of these, for Records only, not Photos, Story or Member Tree hints.

I expected that this would be a list of the Hints in only the Death, Burial, Cemetery and Obituary collections, but it isn't.  It's a list of All of the 25,749 Hints for the 7,372 persons in this tree, including the birth, burial, cemetery and obituary matches, but it also includes birth, marriage, census and other record collections too.

There is another link on the page - for "Search for them now," which goes to the Death, Burial, Cemetery and Obituaries search page:

However, and it's a BIG However, there is no list of the matches of persons in my tree with the records in the Death, Burial, Cemetery and Obituaries records.  In order to use this search page, I would have to go through every person in my database and enter their name, birth year, etc. in order to find the death, burial, cemetery or obituary record for them.

This was disappointing -  I thought that I would be able to search from one selected database (e.g., Massachusetts Death Records, Find-A-Grave, Social Security Death Index, Newspapers Obituaries), or at least from within this category.  I thought that there would be a button that says "See your Hints here" for this set of record collections.

In my "Ideal Ancestry World," the list of death collections on the right (in the screen above) would have the number of matches in each collection for persons in my database.  In my ideal Ancestry World, I would be able to Review and Accept the Hint, or Reject or Ignore the Hint. That was my expectation when I started looking at this feature today.

It is evident that they have the ability to do it for ALL collections (they found over 25,000 for me in this tree).  It is evident that they have the ability to do it for a set of collections (they found over 2,500 for me in the Death, etc. collections).  The next step should be to identify matches in each collection for persons in my tree.

I hope that Ancestry adds this "Ideal Ancestry World" feature to their search features in the near future.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

CGSSD Meeting on Saturday, 20 October 2012

The Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego (CGSSD) meets on the 3rd Saturday of each month (except December) from 9:00 a.m. to noon on the campus of UCSD, University of California, San Diego. See our map page for directions.

The next meeting will be held on 20 October 2012 from 9:00 am to noon. Here are the details:

Instead of the annual Mini-Fair, we will be having a “Guided Tour of the UCSD Geisel Library.” 

Conducting the tour will be Harold Colson, a research librarian at the library. Harold is also a genealogist and maintains a website pertaining to colonial period tax records of certain key counties in North Carolina.

    • 9:00. Meet at the regular meeting place (the IR/PS building in the Robinson Auditorium complex at UCSD, La Jolla. See a link to maps at for business and an initial presentation by Harold Colson.

    • About 9:30, we will proceed on foot to the Geisel Library. If anyone needs to travel by car, we can arrange that through volunteers. We will provide maps if some attendees want to move their cars closer, but parking at the library is not convenient except for disabled placard holders, and nearby parking (which is free on weekends) is not plentiful.

    • After gathering in a library meeting room, Harold will lead the group to various book and map collections of interest to genealogists, including computer terminals that have access to Internet resources not available to the general public unless they come to the library. We call these the "deep Internet."

    • Following the library visit, we will not be returning as a group to IR/PS. The library is open to the public so anyone can stay all day if they'd like.

Visitors are welcome to attend.

The URL for this post is:

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 227: Randy's High School Graduation Picture

 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. 

I think that this is the only picture I have of me at age 17 - and it's probably a good thing!  

This is the day of my graduation from San Diego High School in June 1961.  It was taken at the home of Marshall and Dorothy (Taylor) Chamberlain, probably by my mother or by Dorothy;  it was sent to Geraldine Seaver, who put it in her scrapbook.  The date on the photo edge is Jan 1962, which means that it stayed in someone's camera for a fairly long time!  

The persons in the picture are (from left):

*  Randall J. Seaver (moi), born 1943, in a suit, tie, grad gown and grad cap.  I think that I'm looking at my little brother to make sure he doesn't do something to mess up the picture.  
*  Emily (Richmond) Taylor, my great-aunt "Aunt Emily," who was the sister of my father's mother.
*  Frederick W. Seaver (in back of Scott), my father.
*  Scott (in front of my father), my youngest brother
*  Stan, the middle son of our family.  

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Enter Genea-Musings Contest to Win a 3-Month Ancestry World Explorer Membership

As part of the Death Record Education Program (see, I was offered the opportunity by to run a contest of my choosing for one of my readers, to win a FREE 3-month Ancestry World Explorer membership.  In addition, a second FREE Ancestry World Explorer membership will be awarded to a designated friend of my contest winner.

Here are the rules for my contest:

The contest rules are:

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

2)  Entrants must answer this question correctly:

"What was the exact death date of David Jackson ("D.J.") Carringer (1828-1902), and where was he buried?"

Entrants must provide a link to the information (which can be found on Genea-Musings, and elsewhere). 

3)  One contest entry per person.

4)  The deadline for contest entries is Sunday, 21 October 2012 at 8:59 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time (that's 11:59 p.m. EDT, 10:59 p.m. CDT, 9:59 p.m. MDT, and 3:59 a.m. GMT on 22 October).

5)  One winner will be selected from a random drawing conducted by Randy Seaver on Monday, 22 October 2012 using a random number generator for the number of entries submitted.  The decision will be final.

6)  The winner's name and email address will be passed to for awarding of the prize by, and announced soon after on Genea-Musings.

Thank you to for offering to provide the prize for this contest.

Please share this contest opportunity with your friends and colleagues.  Give them this link:

There will be a second, similar, contest, with a different question, on Tuesday, 23 October. 

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver 

How Many Seaver Death Records Are There on

Have you entered the Death Contest yet?  There are puzzles on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to solve.  There is a valuable prize for the Monday and Wednesday contests, and all entrants are entered for the grand prize of a free iPad on 2 November 2012.  Check it out at

I was curious to see how many death records for my Seaver surname there were on  I entered "Seaver" in the Last name field of the Birth, Marriage and Death Records, with "Exact match" checked, and saw:

There are 24,647 matches for births, marriages and deaths for the exact "Seaver" surname in Ancestry's collections today.

I noted that:

*  Of the 5,085 Seaver matches in Massachusetts Town Records, 1620-1988, there are 800 death records

*  There are 1,588 Seaver names in the U.S. Obituary collection (not all of them are deceased Seaver folks, but many are!)

*  There are 1,403 entries for Seaver in the Social Security Death Index.

*  There are 707 Seaver names in the Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage and Death Announcements, 1851-2003 collection.  515 of them are in Obituaries.

*  There are 310 matches in the New Hampshire Deaths and Burials, 1654-1949 collection.

*  There are 278 matches in the California Death Index, 1940-1997

*  There are 268 matches in the Web: Obituary Daily Times Index, 1995-2011 collection.

*  There are 241 matches in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010 collection.

*  There are 212 matches in the Web: Massachusetts Find A Grave Index, 1620-2011 collection.

And that's just in the first 20 collections listed.  Don't forget to look in all of the collections listed - not just the first 20.  I still have lots of work to do here!

Don't forget that Public Member Trees often have death dates and places (occasionally with source citations!) for persons - these can be used as finding aids or clues to records in other collections.

The point here is that has MANY Death records in their 31,018 collections (as of today) - and they add collections on a regular basis.

I know that many searchers do not get the "Summarized by Category" view I have above - many searchers have the "Sorted by Relevance" view (see below):

You can click that dropdown box in the "Matches..." line to get to the "Summarized by Category" listings.

I rarely use the "Sorted by Relevance" list because there are often too many matches to easily digest and find the "nuggets" that I'm looking for in my searches.

So how many Death Records are there for your ancestral surnames?  Have you searched for all of your ancestors, and collateral family persons, on

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Tuesday's Tip - FamilySearch Family Tree Learning Tools

This week's Tuesday's Tip is:  Learn how to use the FamilySearch Family Tree (soon to be available for every person to contribute to, perhaps this week!), including the ability to add, edit, delete, and merge persons and their information.  

There is a wealth of "learning material" online to help a researcher come up to speed and learn how to use this interconnected "Mother of all Genealogy Family Trees."

Here are some of the links I've collected:

1)  Guides and Articles:

*  Gaining Access to the FamilySearch Family Tree (PDF)
*  Getting Started with FamilySearch Family Tree (PDF)
*  Family Tree: Quick Start Guide (September 2012) (PDF)
*  Using the FamilySearch Family Tree: A Reference Guide (2 October 2012) (PDF)
*  Family Tree Release Notes  (4 October 2012) (PDF)
*  Sources in FamilySearch Family Tree: A FamilySearch White Paper (PDF)
*  Family Tree: Dealing with Duplicate Records (PDF)

2)  Videos and Presentations (all on FamilySearch Research Courses)

*  Family Tree: Overview
*  Navigating the FamilySearch Family Tree
*  Family Tree: Adding Information
*  Family Tree: Correcting Information About a Person
*  Family Tree: Correcting Family Relationships
*  Family Tree: Adding Sources

3)  Webinars

*  FamilySearch Family Tree Webinar (James Tanner, 15 October 2012)
*  FamilySearch Made Easy with RootsMagic (18 January 2011)
*  New FamilySearch Made Easy with Legacy Family Tree (22 January 2011) - scroll down page to find this

Devoted readers of Genea-Musings know that I have been working in FamilySearch Family Tree since February 2012.  I think it has a real potential to be what it hopes to be - an interconnected family tree with sourced information, discussions, etc.  However, that will require that information in the tree is source-centric and that collaboration will be required to resolve disputed data and relationships.

At this time, there is no GEDCOM (or similar) upload capability to add information to FamilySearch Family Tree.  Users can add persons, data, sources, etc. to the tree by adding it online, or by using one of the genealogy computer programs to add persons, combine persons, add data, etc.  I use both RootsMagic 5 and Legacy Family Tree 7.5 to do this.  However, source citations do not transfer to the Family Tree from the programs.

UPDATE, 18 October:  Michael McCormick offers this URL for the current list of these Family Tree training materials: (you have to use your free FamilySearch registration username and password).  Thank you, Michael!

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Monday, October 15, 2012

Finding Daniel Spangler's Probate Records on FamilySearch - the Russell Index System

I've been mining the Pennsylvania Probate Records, 1683-1994 collection on for some time now.  

This post describes the search for the Daniel Spangler probate records in Mercer County, which I transcribed today in Amanuensis Monday - Probate Records for Daniel Spangler (1781-1851) of Mercer County, Pennsylvania.

The search in Mercer County was difficult because of the complexities of the record sets available. In Mercer County, as in most counties, there are multiple record sets.  

For Mercer County, Pennsylvania, there are several sets of probate records:

*  Estate Index, 1804-1971 (11 indexes, by surname)
*  Orphans Court Dockets, 1804-1867 (4 sets)
*  Proceedings Index, 1804-1971 (11 sets)
*  Register's Dockets, 1804-1908 (1 set)
*  Wills, 1804-1917 (9 sets).

I knew that Daniel Spangler died in 1851, and had resided in Mercer County, Pennsylvania.  The discovery process proceeded in this way:

1)  In the Mercer County Estate Index, 1804-1971 collection, I clicked on the volume for surnames S-T.  The initial look was very confusing because this Index uses the Russell Index, which can be described this way:

"To Locate Names in the Index:
Determine first key-letter following initial letter in Family Name.  Find section number in the column headed by said key-letter, opposite given name initial desired.  Names not containing a key-letter will be located under 'Misc.'  Corporations, etc. will be located under the first key-letter following the initial letter in the first word of the name, or if no key-letter, under 'Misc.'  Always omit the article 'The.'"

The instruction page and table is shown below:

So if I'm looking for Daniel Spangler, the key LMNRT letter in SpaNgler is N, his first name starts with D, so when I look in the chart above, I see that I need to find Page 43.  If I was searching for Martin Carringer, I would search for page 114 (key letter R, given name M) .  If I was searching for Stephen Cox, I would look for page 156 (key letter Misc., given name S).

That's seems simple...until you realize that the FamilySearch collection image numbers do not correspond exactly with the desired Russell Index page number.  After figuring this out, I found the correct page on Image 51 (of 955) in this volume:

That entry for Daniel Spangler told me that his probate papers are in File Number O.S. 1664, with Proceedings in Volume 17, page 74, Block 5.

2)  In the Mercer County Proceedings Index, Vol. 17-19 collection, I found Volume 17, Page 74 on Image 94 (of 891):

The information about the papers in Daniel Spangler's probate packet is in Block 5 above (lower left-hand corner).

This entry tells me that there are papers for:

*  Letters-Bond-Aug. 13, 1951
*  Inventory-Sept. 6, 1851
*  Sale List, Sept. 11, 1851
*  Sale of Real Estate:  Docket = OC, Vol. = D, Page = 93, Date = 17 Sept. 1851
*  Account - Mar. 10, 1856:  Docket = Acc, Vol. = 2, Page 387, Date = 50 Apr. 1856
*  .......................................  Docket = OC, Vol. = E, Page =320, Date = 50 Apr 1856

My interpretation of this is that only three of these six records are available in the Probate Court Record books - two are in the Orphans court records (OC) and one is in the Account records (Acc).  The Account records are not available on FamilySearch, but the Orphans Court records for this time period are available.

3)  In the Orphans Court Docket, 1850-1858 collection, I found Volume D, Page 93 on Image 55 (of 684) with the Sale of the Real Estate:

The probate paper record for the Sale of the Real Estate is on the right-hand side of the image above.  I transcribed this and it is included in Amanuensis Monday - Probate Records for Daniel Spangler (1781-1851) of Mercer County, Pennsylvania.

The probate paper for the Account is in Volume E, Page 320, on Image 503 (of 684):

The probate paper record for the Account in 1856 is in the upper part of the left=-hand page above.  I transcribed this and and it is included in Amanuensis Monday - Probate Records for Daniel Spangler (1781-1851) of Mercer County, Pennsylvania.

4)  All of the Probate Records for Mercer County, Pennsylvania are available on microfilm through the Family History Library Catalog.  Unfortunately for me, the O.S. (Old System) Probate Files are not available on microfilm or in digital format.

5)  I wanted to post this because many researchers are going to start using the Probate Records for many states on FamilySearch, and discover that they will have to use the Russell Index process above in order to find their folks and their records (or give up after getting frustrated because they don't understand the system.

Once you understand the Russell Index system, it becomes easier.  However, the FamilySearch collection images are not on the Pages listed by the indexes - you have to search for them.  It becomes easier with practice by guessing an Image number, checking the page number that comes up, and then guessing another image number.  Eventually, you can use the back or forward arrows to find the page you want.

This is more difficult to do in the digital space than on microfilm, but, of course, you can do it at home at any time of day, and you don't have to rent a number of microfilms (it would have been 3 different films in the search above - probably over a two month period) at the FHC.

Lastly, not every County in every State uses the Russell Index.  You may get lucky and find your county of interest actually has a consolidated list by surname first letter that leads you to the probate records easily.

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver