Tuesday, December 31, 2013

"Best of Genea-Musings" Posts of 2013

I wrote about 915 posts during 2013, and it is a challenge to pick out the ten or twenty "best" from the list.  I'm going to ignore the daily meme posts of Amanuensis Monday, Tuesday's Tip, Wordless Wednesday, Treasure Chest Thursday, Follow Up Friday, Surname Saturday, Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, and Best of the Genea-Blogs, and try to pick them based on my subjective criteria of relevance to my research, and relevance and interest to the genealogy industry.

My selections for the Best Genea-Musings Posts of 2013 are (in posting date order):

*  "What Do You Do With a Document for a Potential Ancestor?" (posted 15 January 2013)

*  Dear Randy: What Record Collection Would You Like To Have Indexed? (posted 1 February 2013)

*  Top Ten Characteristics of a Good Genealogist (posted 26 February 2013)

*  Education, Collaboration, Crowd-sourcing and Cat-herding at CVGS Today (posted 13 March 2013)

*  Dear Randy - Why Does LDS Church Exert So Much Control over Genealogy? (posted 29 March 2013)

*  Breaking Down the Mary Smith Brickwall (or is she a Bell?) (posted 1 April 2013)

*  Dear Randy - Why Do You Post Your Own Genealogy Stuff? (posted 12 April 2013)

*  Is FamilySearch De-emphasizing Genealogical Research? (posted 18 April 2013)

*  Dear Randy - How Do You Handle False or Wrong Information?  (posted 30 May 2013)

*  Beginners, Professionals, Sources, Citations, EE, and More (posted 24 June 2013)

*  Have You Posted Your Genealogy Research on the Internet? I Practice PMGDOE! (posted 19 July 2013)

*  How Much Online Information Should I Use In My Family Tree? (posted 23 July 2013)

*  My Top Ten Most Useful Online Genealogy Databases to Research My Family Tree (posted 29 July 2013)

*  Standards, GEDCOM, FHISO, and my Genea-Fantasy (posted 1 August 2013)

*  Dear Randy - Where Did You Get All of Those Probate Records? (posted 14 August 2013)

*  It's Really Not That Easy! (posted 28 August 2013)

*  The Problem with FamilySearch Family Tree - For Example: Thomas Dudley (1576-1653) (posted 2 September 2013)

*  Gleaning Information From a Record or Article (posted 14 October 2013)

*  What Should Genealogical Societies Offer? My 11 Suggestions (posted 13 November 2013)

*  Dear Randy - How Do You Do Your Record Transcriptions? (posted 27 November 2013).

*  Dear Randy: "What Is Your Naming Convention for Downloaded Documents?" (posted 17 December 2013)

That's the list!  Did you miss any of them?  If so, please go read them and make a comment if you wish.

Which one is your absolute favorite?

If you have a genea-blog, what were your best genealogy blog posts for 2013? 

The URL for this post is:  

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Monday, December 30, 2013

Book Review: "Sustainable Genealogy: Separating Fact From Fiction in Family Legends"

Do you have family legends and lore?  How do you separate fact from fiction.  This book discusses these issues:

Richard Hite, Sustainable Genealogy: Separating Fact from Fiction in Family Legends (Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2013), 126 pages, $18.95 (soft cover). ISBN:  9780806319827, Item #: GPC2752

The publicity for this book says:

There are a lot of textbooks that describe how to find your ancestors; this new one by Richard Hite clarifies how not to. In short, Sustainable Genealogy explains how to avoid the traps many family historians can fall into. Whether it’s a proud family legend, a venerable publication, or the claims of an Internet family tree, the unsubstantiated genealogical source is like a house of sticks before the Big Bad Wolf--it won’t stand up. As Mr. Hite demonstrates in this collection of case studies, many are the "oral traditions that have fallen by the wayside under the lens of careful research in primary sources and more recently, DNA testing."

Here are just a few of the lessons from Sustainable Genealogy that can protect you along genealogy’s primrose path:
  • Recognizing when identical surnames conceal different nationalities
  • Understanding when and why death certificates can be “wrong”
  • Knowing when ancestors’ middle names are not family names
  • Respecting the role of geography in establishing ancestral ties
  • Taking the genealogies in 19th-century “mug books” with a grain of salt
  • Accepting that all relationships must be chronologically plausible
Many of the instructions Mr. Hite has to offer came only after he spent considerable time and effort in finding the correct trail to his own forebears; however, as esteemed genealogist Hank Jones explains in the Foreword to the book, they have value for researchers far and wide:

"Richard’s critical eagle-eye served him well in this task. He was fighting the old “Well if my last name is Boone, I must be a descendant of Daniel Boone” syndrome that pops up so often in our field. Like a skilled surgeon, he took out his genealogical scalpel and dissected some of the erroneous Hite family traditions to separate fiction from fact and thus Jost Hite (prominent early settler of the Shenandoah Valley) from some of the other completely different, later-arriving Hite lines. This book covers the methodology he used, the questions he asked, and--most important of all--how his wisdom might help YOU as you climb your own family tree.

"You’ll find lots of genealogical bases beyond Hite lore covered here: how sometimes the origins of certain families are attributed to the wrong ethnic group; how the very common two or three immigrant brothers tradition and their geographic dispersal is often attributed to the wrong side of the family tree; what to do when even the primary sources are in error; how Native American ancestry is fun to talk about, but hard to prove; and on and on in fascinating detail.

"Reading Richard’s thoughts and experiences cannot help but lead you into taking a more critical look at the accuracy and veracity of the sources you use to compile your own family’s genealogy. I guarantee you that taking heed of the cautions cited and putting into practice the lessons learned in this book will make you all much better family historians and ensure that your genealogical legacy will be one to be trusted."

I agree with Hank Jones' assessment.  Mr. Hite uses his personal research examples to illustrate how to question assumptions, develop a research plan, and then execute the plan to achieve success in finding the correct names, dates and places for his ancestors.

This book costs $18.95 plus $5.50 shipping costs from Genealogical Publishing.  You can order it here.

The URL for this post is:  

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

Sunday, December 29, 2013

An Instant Classic: "Tired of Your Family..."

James Tanner wrote "Tired of your family?  Divorce them, and choose an entirely new one" on his Genealogy's Star blog on Friday, and it is the funniest genealogy blog post I've read this year.

If you missed it in the weekend activities, I urge you to go read it and laugh.  My brother and sister-in-law and my wife even laughed out loud when I read it to them.

Unfortunately, James neglected to add links to sign up for his "Family Blaster" program and his "Advanced Super Premium High Value Program" which includes the "Impressive Family Lines" catalog.

Ever since I read it, I've been thinking of ways to graft one of my ancestors onto online family trees.  Heh heh, I'm not going to spill those beans!  The easiest way to accomplish this would be in the unified trees like on Geni and FamilySearch.  It would take a lot more work to add families to an Ancestry Member Tree or some other online family tree system with separate family trees.

Would anyone ever notice?  It might be an interesting study to see how long it takes for someone to find it and correct it if there was no publicity about it.  Someone with money could offer a prize to find the "lump of coal" in the family tree.

Let's help James out here ... whose family tree do you think should be included in James's "Impressive Family Lines" catalog?  James mentioned these famous people:

*  Adam
*  Elvis
*  Kings of Europe
*  Tom Hanks
*  Harrison Ford

I would suggest the following:

*  Barack Obama
*  George W. Bush
*  Lady Diana Spencer
*  Winston Churchill
*  Walt Disney

90 more to go... who do you suggest?  Put them in comments and I'll add them to this list!

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Book Review: "Without Indentures: Index to White Slave Children in Colonial Court Records"

Did your ancestor just "appear" in colonial Maryland and Virginia in the 17th and 18th century?  This book may provide an answer for you.

Richard Hayes, Phillips, Ph.D., Without Indentures: Index to White Slave Children in Colonial Court Records (Maryland and Virginia) (Baltimore, Md., Genealogical Publishing Company, 2013).  322 pages (soft cover), Price: $29.95.  ISBN: 9780806319797, Item #: GPC4606.

The publicity for this book says:

In this groundbreaking work, Richard Hayes Phillips has collected the names of more than five thousand children kidnapped from Ireland, Scotland, England, and New England, and sold into slavery in Maryland and Virginia, c. 1660-1720. By English law dated 1659, it was lawful for justices of the peace to kidnap children found begging or vagrant and ship them to the plantations as servants without indentures. The younger the child, the longer the sentence, and the colonial county courts were the judges of their ages.

These five thousand names, culled from the Court Order Books, some of which have not been examined for centuries, have now been compiled into one genealogical index. In almost every case the entries provide the name of the child, the name of the owner, the date they appeared in court, and the age assigned by the judges, many of whom owned the very children they were sentencing to servitude. For ease of use, the volume contains an index to the ships--and their captains--that imported these kidnapped children, as well as a surname index to guide the researcher to alternate or incorrect spellings as found in the Court Order Books. The Introduction to Mr. Phillips’s book describes the history and conditions of white servitude in colonial Maryland and Virginia, along with an annotated list of the sources he consulted.

Families who have traced their ancestry back to a name that appears in this index will know for the first time how their progenitor got to Maryland or Virginia. In other cases the kidnapped child will be the sibling in the family chart for whom there is nothing but a birth record.

We have long known about indentured servants, who agreed in writing, by indenture, to work without wages for a number of years to pay off the cost of their passage and lodging, after which time they were free. We were never told--until now!--about white slaves, who did not consent and who never contracted in writing.

The Preface to the book describes the background for this situation, and how it came about.  The book has guides for the indexes.  Records from each county in Maryland and Virginia are listed in separate lists.  There is an index for the over 5,000 names that appear in these lists.  

This book costs $29.95 plus $5.50 shipping costs from Genealogical Publishing.  You can order it here.

The URL for this post is:  

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

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - What did Genea-Santa Bring You?

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

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible! music) is to:

1) What gift that you received for Christmas is your favorite for genealogy purposes? Book, magazine, hardware, software, website subscription, research time, DNA test - what was it, and how will it affect your genealogy research?

2) Tell us about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a comment to this blog post, or in a comment on Facebook or Google+ in response to this post.

 Come on, spill!  And it's OK to respond to this in the days after Saturday too!

My response:

Hardware!  I got an iPhone 5s for Christmas (but received it about 10 days early!) and gave my iPhone 4 to my wife for Christmas 10 days early too.  I had the iPhone 4 for two years, and it was full and slow (3G) and I couldn't update many of the apps on it.  We were able to upgrade our Verizon account also and pay less money for unlimited text and phone and doubled the data limit.  Win-win-win!

I signed up with iCloud the week before we went to the Verizon store, so they were able to transfer all of my apps and data onto the new iPhone 5s.  

I left most of the apps on the iPhone 4 and got Linda signed into her email and Facebook accounts.  She's still learning how to use the phone - photos, email and Facebook are next and she will be the envy of all her friends.

I haven't found many new genealogy apps to add to my new iPhone - any suggestions?  The apps I use for genealogy are Ancestry, MyHeritage, RootsMagic, RootsTech14, LegacyMobile, BillionGraves and Their Stories.  I have Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Feedly and Evernote for social media and note taking (although I prefer the tablet for note taking with a bigger keyboard).  

I noticed that the Ancestry.com app updated, and that the RootsMagic app works a lot faster. Facebook works a lot faster on 4G also!   

I've had trouble with Feedly this past week switching between different wi-fi networks (hotels, Lori's house, now Paul's house) - deleting the app and then adding it new and signing in works but is a hassle.  

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2013/12/saturday-night-genealogy-fun-what-did.html

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Surname Saturday - PEARCE (England to colonial Rhode Island)

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

I am in the 7th great-grandmothers and I'm up to Ancestor  #751, who is Margaret PEARCE (1689-????) 
[Note: the earlier great-grandmothers and 7th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts].

My ancestral line back through three generations in this PEARCE family line is:

1.  Randall J. Seaver (1943-living)

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

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

10.  Thomas Richmond (1848-1917)
11.  Julia White (1848-1913)

22.  Henry Arnold White (1824-1885)
23.  Amy Frances Oatley (1826-1864)

46.  Jonathan Oatley (1790-1872)
47.  Amy Champlin (1798-1865)

92.  Joseph Oatley (1756-1815)
93.  Mary Hazard (1765-1857)

186.  Stephen Hazard (1730-1804)
187.  Elizabeth Carpenter (1741-????)

374.  Daniel Carpenter (1712-1784)
375.  Renewed Smith (1717-1766)

750.  Ephraim Smith, born about 1675 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island, United States; died before 14 May 1733 in North Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island, United States.  He was the son of 1500. Jeremiah Smith and 1501. Mary Gereardy.  He married about 1710 in probably Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.
751.  Margaret Pearce, born about 1689 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.

Children of Ephraim Smith and Margaret Pearce are:
*  Freelove Smith (1711-1775), married 1735 John Allen (1710-????).
*  Sarah Smith (1714-????), married 1735 James Langworthy (1711-1762).
*  Renewed Smith (1717-1766), married 1733 Daniel Carpenter (1712-1784).
*  Margaret Smith (1719-????).
*  Ephraim Smith (1722-????).

1502.  Daniel Pearce, born about 1658 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island, United States; died after 1744 in Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island, United States.   He married about 1683 in probably Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.
1503.  Mary Weaver, born about 1662 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island, United States; died before 1703 in Rhode Island, United States.

Children of Daniel Pearce and Mary Weaver are:
*  Daniel Pearce (1687-1758), married 1708 Patience Hill (1687-????).
*  Margaret Pearce (1689-????), married 1710 Ephraim Smith (1675-1733).
*  Mary Pearce (1690-????), married 1715 John Morse (1685-????).
*  John Pearce (1691-1744), married 1718 Martha Sweet (1697-????).

3004.  John Pearce, born about 1632 in England or Wales; died before 26 April 1692 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.  He married about 1654.
3005.  Mary, born about 1633 in probably England; died before 15 October 1711 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.

Children of John Pearce and Mary are:
*  John Pearce (1655-1746).
*  Daniel Pearce (1658-1744), married (1) 1683 Mary Weaver (1662-1703), (2) 1703 Elizabeth Tucker (1677-1728).
*  Mary Pearce (1662-????), married James Sweet  (1657-1686).

Information about this Pearce line was obtained from:

*  Henry Edward Turner, editor, "Percy, Perce, Pearcy, Pearxce, Pierce, &c., in Rhode Island, 1650-1700," The Rhode Island Historical Magazine, Volume 5, Number 1 (July 1884), pages 45-47.
*  Tor Hylborn, The Hylborn Family Ancestry Project (http://hylbom.com/family/paternal-lines/paternal-ni-to-po/pearce-2720/).

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Friday, December 27, 2013

Book Review - Tracing Your Irish Ancestors, 4th Edition

Do you have Irish ancestry, but are frustrated in your genealogy research for records in Ireland?  This book may help.

John Grenham, Tracing Your Irish Ancestors, 4th Edition (Dublin, Ireland, Genealogical Publishing Co., 2012), 608 pages, $37.95 (soft cover).

The publicity for this book says:

The best book ever written on Irish genealogy, this new edition of Tracing Your Irish Ancestors retains the familiar structure of previous editions but is now more useful than ever. Combining the key features of a textbook and a reference book, it describes the various steps in the research process while at the same time providing an indispensable body of source materials for immediate use.

The biggest change from previous editions is in its approach to the Internet. Online research is now an essential part of any Irish family history project, so the 4th edition serves as a directory to online records, discussing their uses and outlining research strategies. The sheer scale of the data available online makes a guide such as this all the more essential, and in the hands of a master it is indispensable.

Along with its step-by-step instructions in the location and use of traditional genealogical records, its discussion of civil records of birth, marriage, and death, as well as land records and wills, and its list of Roman Catholic parish records and source lists-—all expanded, updated, and indexed-—it is easily the most useful book in Irish genealogy.

Some testimonials:

"The most comprehensive and authoritative book on Irish genealogy available."-—Heritage Quest

"Highly recommended for anyone doing Irish research.--Federation of Genealogical Societies Forum

"It is one of the most up-to-date and thorough source books for serious researchers of Irish family history."--American Reference Books Annual

The Table of Contents includes:

Chapter 1: General Register Office Records
Chapter 2: Census Records
Chapter 3: Church Records
Chapter 4: Property and Valuation
Chapter 5: The Internet

Chapter 6: Wills
Chapter 7: The Genealogical Office
Chapter 8: Emigration and the Irish Abroad
Chapter 9: The Registry of Deeds
Chapter 10: Newspapers

Chapter 11: Directories
Chapter 12: Occupational Records
Chapter 13: County Source Lists
Chapter 14: Roman Catholic Parish Registers
Chapter 15: Research Services, Societies, Repositories and Publishers

The value of this book is the comprehensive nature of the work.  Each record type is discussed in detail and with examples.  The Internet (Chapter 6) has many links to online record collections, both free and commercial.  The County Source Lists (Chapter 13) are extensive.  The Roman Catholic Parish Registers (Chapter 14) lists are by county, then parish (with diocese listed), and provide information about baptisms, marriages and burials.  The location of the records, and any reference, is also provided.

If you want a "Bible" for Irish genealogy and family history, this book is highly recommended.  Order it at Genealogical Publishing company's website - see Tracing Your Irish Ancestors, 4th Edition

The URL for this post is:

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

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday - Post 194: Death Certificate for Frederick Walton Seaver

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 Frederick Walton Seaver (1911-1983death certificate in San Diego county, California:

The transcription of this death certificate is (form fields underlined, handwritten portions in italics):

___________________         CERTIFICATE OF DEATH                 8009          
State File Number                      State of California                         Local Registration Number

1A.  Name of Decedent - First (Given):    Frederick  
1B.  Middle:    Walton  
1C.  Last (Family):    Seaver   
2A.  Date of Death:    May 26, 2983  
2B.  Hour:     2030  

3.  Sex:    M  
4.  Race/Ethnicity:      White   

5.  Spanish/Hispanic:  No
6.  Date of Birth:    October 15, 1911   
7.  Age:     71   8.  Birthplace of Decedent:    Massachusetts   
9.  Name and Birthplace of Father:     Frederick Walton Seaver Sr .- MA  
10.  Birth Name and Birthplace of Mother:  Alma Bessie Richmond - CT  
11.  Citizen of Which Country:    USA   12. Social Security No.: XXX-XX-XXXX
13.  Marital Status:   Married  

14.  Name of Surviving Spouse:    Betty Carringer  15.  Primary Occupation:     Insurance Agent  
16.  Number of Years this Occupation:    24   
17.  Employer or Self-Employed:    Prudential Insurance Co.  

18.  Kind of Industry or Business:    Insurance    19A.  Usual Residence - Street and Number or Location:  825 Harbor View Place
19C.  City:  San Diego
19D. County:  San Diego
19E:  State:    CA  

20.  Name and Address of Informant:  Betty C. Seaver (Wife), 825 Harbor view Place, San Diego, CA 92106
21A.  Place of Death:  Sharp Cabrillo Hospital  
21B.  County:    San Diego   
21C.   Street Address:    3475 Kenyon Street   
21D.  City or Town:    San Diego    
22.  Death was Caused By:  (a)  Acute cardiovascular accident - 10 min
                                          (b)  Arteriosclerosis - 5 yrs
                                          (c)  Carcinoma of prostate - 5 yrs
23.  Other Conditions contributing but not related to the Immediate cause of death:   [blank]
24.  Was death reported to coroner?:    No  
25.  Was Biopsy performed?:    Yes  
26.  Was autopsy performed?:    No  
27.  Was operation performed for any Condition in items 22 or 23?  Yes - Prostatectomy  Date  2-6-83

28A.  I Certify that death occurred at the hour, date and place stated from the causes stated:  Attended Decedent since:  Yes  5-24-83    I last saw decedent alive:  5-26-83  
28B.  Physician:  Robert Delaval M.D.  
28C.  Date Signed:    5-27-83   
28D.  Physician's License Number:  A11025
28E;  Type Physician Name and Address:  Robert E. Delaval, M.D., 2850 6th Ave. #105 San Diego  CA   

36.  Disposition:    CREMATION
37.  Date:    May 27 1983  
38.  Name and Address of Cemetery or Crematory:   Leneta Corporation - El Cajon CA  39.  Embalmed's License:  Not Embalmed  
40A.  Name of Funeral Director:  The Telophase Society
40B.  License No.    1272  DDF   
41.  Local Registrar:  Donald G. Ramers  M D
42.  Date Accepted by Registrar:  May 27 1983  

The source citation for this death certificate is (using the Evidence Explained template for a Death Certificate, local level):

Frederick Walton Seaver, Death Certificate, Local Registration No. 8009 (1983), Registrar of Vital Statistics, San Diego County, California.

I see no known errors on this death certificate.

This death certificate was obtained by me after 27 May 1983 from my mother, who received it from the County Registrar of Vital Statistics.

The URL for this post is:  

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Randy Visits Santa Claus

I'm posting family photographs from my collection on Wednesdays, but they aren't Wordless Wednesday posts like others do - I simply am incapable of having a wordless post.

Here is a photograph from the Seaver/Carringer family collection handed down by my mother in the 1988 to 2002 time period:

This photograph was probably taken at Marston's Department Store in downtown San Diego where my grandfather worked for 55 years. This photo was probably taken in the 1947 to 1950 time frame. My guess is that my grandfather, Lyle Carringer, took this picture, although my mother may have taken it. 

It looks like Santa has a good hold on me - an arm around my waist and a hand holding down my left arm. I was never scared of Santa Claus, so my smile is genuine and anticipatory. Either that, or someone made a funny face at me when the picture was snapped.

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2013/12/not-so-wordless-wednesday-randy-visits.html

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Merry Christmas to All!

There is a reason for the season! Thank you, God, for your Gift to the Earth. 

Merry Christmas to all of my Christian readers and friends. I hope that this day finds you healthy, happy, with family and friends, and that Santa brings you everything you desire.

We visited the home of our daughter, son-in-law and two granddaughters on Sunday and Monday.  Now we are at the home of our daughter and two grandsons today, enjoying seeing the boys with their gifts, telling family stories, and eating wonderful stuff.  We are off on Saturday to the Russian River for two nights with Linda's brother's family, and we'll be home in time for New Years Day (I hope).

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2013/12/merry-christmas-to-all.html

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

'Twas the Night Before a Genealogist's Christmas

I received this parody of Clement Moore's masterpiece via email back in the mid-1990's, the author is unknown to me. Kimberly Powell at the About Genealogy page also has it on her site.

'Twas the night before Christmas
When all through the house
Not a creature was stirring,
Not even my spouse.

The dining room table with clutter was spread
With pedigree charts and with letters which said...
"Too bad about the data for which you wrote;
Sank in a storm on an ill-fated boat."

Stacks of old copies of wills and such
Were proof that my work had become too much.
Our children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.

And I at my table was ready to drop
From work on my album with photos to crop.
Christmas was here, and such was my lot
That presents and goodies and toys I'd forgot.

Had I not been busy with grandparents' wills,
I'd not have forgotten to shop for such thrills,
While others bought gifts to bring Christmas cheers,
I'd spent time researching those birth dates and years.

While I was thus musing about my sad plight,
A strange noise on the lawn gave me such a great fright.
Away to the window I flew in a flash,
Tore open the drapes and yanked up the sash.

When what with my wondering eyes should appear,
But an overstuffed sleigh and eight small reindeer.
Up to the house top the reindeer they flew,
With a sleigh full of toys and 'ole Santa Claus, too.

And then in a twinkle, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of thirty-two hoofs.
As I drew in my head, and bumped it on the sash,
Down the cold chimney fell Santa--KER-RASH!

"Dear" Santa had come from the roof in a wreck,
And tracked soot on the carpet, (I could wring his short neck!)
Spotting my face, good 'ole Santa could see
I had no Christmas spirit you'd have to agree.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work
And filled all the stockings, (I felt like a jerk).
Here was Santa, who'd brought us such gladness and joy:
When I'd been too busy for even one toy.

He spied my research on the table all spread
"A genealogist!" He cried! (My face was all red!)
"Tonight I've met many like you," Santa grinned,
As he pulled from his sack a large book he had penned.

I gazed with amusement--the cover it read
Genealogy Lines for Which You Have Plead.
"I know what it's like as a genealogy bug."He said
as he gave me a great Santa hug.

"While the elves make the sleighful of toys I now carry,
I do some research in the North Pole Library!
A special treat I am thus able to bring,
To genealogy folk who can't find a thing."

"Now off you go to your bed for a rest,
I'll clean up the house from this genealogy mess."
As I climbed up the stairs full of gladness and glee,
I looked back at Santa who'd brought much to me.

While settling in bed, I heard Santa's clear whistle,
To his team, which then rose like the down of a thistle.
And I heard him exclaim as he flew out of sight,
"Family History is Fun! Merry Christmas! Goodnight!"

--Author Unknown

To all, I wish a very Merry Christmas, and I hope Santa brings you a special gift for your family history.

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