Friday, January 11, 2013

Follow-Up Friday - Helpful Reader Comments

On some Fridays, I like to post helpful and useful reader comments to my Genea-Musings posts from the last week or two, and answer any questions raised by my readers.  There were several posts this past week that drew helpful reader comments, including:

1)  On My Purported Line Back to Adam and Eve -- 140 Generations from Adam to Randy! (posted 10 January 2013):

*  QuiltinLibraryLady commented:  "I found a tree for my husband's great-grandfather's line that I know contains some of those names & purports to go back to Adam & Eve. The more recent parts of the tree seemed credible when compared to other data so I added the whole thing to my database even though I consider a lot of the earliest stuff to be questionable. It's just fun to think about. And after all, aren't we all descendants of Adam & Eve??"

My comment:  If you believe in the literal translation of the Bible, you're right.  I can't recall if DNA testing shows that there is ONE "Adam" and one "Eve" several hundred thousand years ago.

*  Tim Forsythe noted:  "Most experts agree that the best lines devolve into mythology about 400 to 500 A.D. Anyone interested in these early lines should consult the GEN-MEDIEVAL-L Archives for more details.

"I monitor the mailing list regularly because I connect to several of these lines and make a concerted effort to keep mythology in its place."

My comment:   Thanks for the link to the mailing list, Tim.  I agree with the experts, but couldn't resist posting this.

*  Geolover said:  "Interesting that nearly all of the list are males, when the one certain parent is the one who gave birth. That's what makes the 'begats' hilarious, with scarce a woman ever mentioned.

"Actually, very few English lineages can be traced before the late 16th century, when Henry VIII had so many church records destroyed."

My comment:  I note that 8 of the names in the "English" line on my post are female, and two on my "American" line are female.  You're right about the medieval part and earlier - males are exclusively on the line (I think - I can't tell gender of many of the names).

*  Tim Forsythe added:  "Randy, at the transition from your Scottish line to your Irish line, is Fergus Mor (

"There are three early Irish sources that list the genealogies of Fergus. All three list Ercc, King of Dalriada as his father and Eochaid Muinremur, King of Dalriada as his grandfather. Weis follows these lines. 

"Stewart Baldwin (author of The Henry Pages - says this is uncertain as Ercc may be legendary, and Eochaid Muinremur probably is."

My comment:  Drat, you mean there's an error in my line back to Adam?  I'm devastated, but not surprised.

2)  The post Genealogy Searching Then and Now - Part 1: Then (pre-1999) (posted 4 January 2013) spurred some memories of "Then:"

*  Heather Rojo noted:  "I remember driving all the way from New Hampshire to Boston, Massachusetts to the Boston Public Library. It was the closest place to look up patent records. I had to use giant indexes to find the correct volumes, which were in closed stacks. It all involved using a librarian to do the heavy lifting. Now I can just use Google patent to look up any patent by number, name, etc. It takes less than a minute."

*  Sherry Pries said:  "It was a good time back then with much more personal contact with "new" cousins. I think the finds were more rewarding as there was more "work" to it. Although I still like genealogy, I find it is rather anti-social. A keyboard is not as stimulating as looking through the "real" things and one-on-one contacts. "

*  Linda Schreiber commented:  "Hours and hours poring through books and directories. Hours, sometimes days, and lots of eyestrain headaches, looking through microfilm readers page by page by page. Many hours in courthouses and other repositories, most of the time spent waiting for the my record request to come up in the queue when most of the employees were busy with current-day customers. They had time to look up my 'genealogy thing' when there were no other people in line....

"Taking the bits and pieces home, and trying to analyze and record everything by hand, on paper. 
*Really* careful and meticulous set-up of the filing system so I was not just buried in paper!
And it was still fun, believe it or not. But I like today much better!"

*  Rootsonomy added:  "FHL Lookups. Pre-1999 it could take up to 15 weeks to receive records from FHL. Then the time required was shortened to just a few weeks. Now, it only takes a day or two to receive your records. The research firm Rootsonomy provides lookups of books, magazines, fiche, or film at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City in fewer than 72 hours. Simple 2-step process: 

"1. Locate the desired collection in the FamilySearch Catalog: OR

"2. Facebook users can send the request by going to: and clicking the button "Request Research or a Lookup".  All others can submit requests at: Now, it's just a day or two.

My comments:  I too like today much better, although I know that I don't do as much 'organizing" and 'listing" and 'logging' as I should do.  I think that it will get even better as more of the microforms in the FHL are digitized and indexed.  I posted Rootsonomy's "advertising" here because it is a service that can be advantageous for those who "can't wait for the digital microfilm" but it does cost money.  

To address Sherry's point, there are many opportunities for researchers to socially interact with other researchers at local genealogy societies, seminars and conferences, online social networks, online family trees (especially in wiki format), online message boards and mailing lists, etc.  Many of these options are increasing the opportunities for collaborating and consulting with others with the same interests.  

*  Sharon said:  "Good article Randy, but I guess I must be older than I thought. I could relate to everything in Part 1. It even brought back the smell of those old coated paper photocopies!

"As for 2013 land records and probate. There is one more possibility. Some county recorder offices have indexes online for these records, and some indexes go back to the origin of the county. Once in a while I run across a county that even has old images online -- for free!"

*  John D. Tew noted:  "In fact the first part inspired me to write about genealogy research 1904 style with examples of my great grandmother's efforts and results. It is on my Sat., Jan. 6th post on my new Blog at , which you mentioned last Saturday in your new blogs posting."

*  David Newton commented:  "The thing about the online records now is that they are frequently the most used and also the ones that you find the first information about a person from. That way you can start your research a lot faster and get quite far before you need to go offline.

"The other advantage of online records is that you can search indexes in many, many ways. Previously for example BMD records might have been arranged by year and then by surname and then by forename. However say you have an index that also records the maiden name of the mother of a child. Doing a search by all those whose birth was registered in a particular year whose mother has a particular maiden name is now easy. Previously it would have been so labour-intensive as to have been impossible."

My comments:  Sharon reminded me of the smell of those slick microfilm printer copies...yuck!  I'm glad that I could stimulate John's blog post - it was a good one!  David highlights the real benefits of doing online searches - both as finding quick aids for further research and also the search engine options.

4)  On Dear Randy - How Do I Cite an Online Family Tree? (posted 9 January 2013):

*  Cormac asked:  "Is your citation done in the ESM method?"

My response:  I used the RootsMagic source template based on the QuickSheet: Citing Databases and Images" for Documented Family Trees, written by Elizabeth Shown Mills.  I didn't find it in the First Edition of Evidence! Explained.  

*  John Carruthers suggested:  "I would like to suggest that when we cite an online source that can only be viewed by subscription we should make that aspect of the citation clear to the reader."

My response:  That's a good idea...especially when it is an obscure database.  A source citer could use the phrase "online subscription database," "free online database," and/or " (subscription website)," or "FamilySearch (free website)" in their source citations.  

Obviously, almost every researcher knows that is a subscription site and that FamilySearch is a freely available site.  I have used an indicator like ($$) in my presentations and handouts, but haven't added them to my source citations.  When the same database is on both free and subscription sites, I tend to cite the free site.  Unfortunately, has the only complete U.S. census with every-name indexes and links to images (and I cite to the image).  

*  Carmen Johnson said:  "I live in Lewiston, ID and am familiar with the Brocke surname. Lewiston is major town in the area and therefore the Lewiston Morning Tribune is the predominant local paper. At one time the Kendrick, Juliaetta area was part of Nez Perce Co., ID before part of it was siphoned off to Latah Co., ID. So, if you are interested in looking at the archives of the Lewiston Morning Tribune to find additional information on the family...go to and it will bring up the archives. They are by no means complete but there is a lot of information. By the way, my family also come from Nebraska in Burt Co. - and my father and I were just back there in September. Small world!"

My comment:  Thank you for the Google News link to the Lewiston newspaper, and for the geography lesson on Idaho.  My readers always know more about a place than I do!  One of the reasons that I blog is to enhance my own knowledge through reader comments.

*    Wendy commented:  "Thanks for posting these search tips! It gives me ways to search - especially via maps & Google Earth - for land my ancestors settled on."

My comment:  This is another reason I blog - to share information and tips about genealogy resources that help other genealogists.  

*  Colleen G. Brown Pasquale offered:  "... it is great to talk to others in the family about your family's history. You never know where it will lead!"

My response:  Yes it is. I wish that I had more cousins to do it with.  Paul and I just started checking online resources on my laptop spontaneously...and look where it led!

*  Linda Schreiber was happy:  "I always enjoy your posts, but this one had two *WOWs* for me. I had seen the Google search type 'site:' mentioned before, but had never realized how much it might find beyond a search at the site itself. And I had never heard of EarthPoint before. You can enter township-range specifics and SEE THE PLACE!  Between the two, I am going to be very, very busy.... Thanks!!"

My comment:  Thanks, and go for it.  And please report what you find!  Several of us posted about the EarthPoint site when it first became available (my post is here). Pam Boyer Sayre and Lisa Louise Cooke do presentations about it at conferences and on webinars.  Legacy Family Tree has a CD of Lisa's webinar available.

Thank you to all of my readers for their help, useful and complimentary comments!  

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

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