Saturday, April 20, 2013

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Tell Us a Childhood Memory

Calling all Genea-Musings Fans: 

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

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

1)  Have you written your memoirs yet?  If so, please share with us one story from your childhood.  
If not, then start your memoirs!   The story could be a memory of your family life, your schoolwork, your neighborhood, etc.  It doesn't have to be a certain length - just something you recall.

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

Here's mine:

The Paper Route and the Flexies

As a teenager (aged 12 to 16, as I recall), I shared a newspaper route with my brother Stan to earn money. The “Independent” was a twice a week paper, mostly advertisements and local news. Our route was between Fern Street (east) and 28th Street (west), Fir Street (north) to Date Street (south). Fir Street was three blocks down from our house on 30th Street between Hawthorn and Ivy Streets.  The only customer that I remember was old Mr. Stotler. He would give us extra money if we would learn something new – the National Parks, the alphabet backwards, etc. I can still impress my kids and grandchildren by saying the alphabet backwards very fast.  We delivered the folded newspapers on our Flexies, carrying them in boxes and throwing them onto the porches.  

The Flexy (essentially a sled on wheels – low to the ground, steered by handlebars with springs, with hand brakes) was a great transportation device, but it was dangerous because it was nearly invisible to drivers. We would go off a curb at a corner, swerve out into the street, and go up the first driveway on the next block. One day, while going down 30th Street to the nickel-and-dime store on Beech Street, I went off the curb at Date Street, swerved out in the street, looked behind me, and saw a city bus bearing down about 5 feet behind me. Oops. I crashed on the curb, flipped off the flexy, hit my head, and suffered a concussion.  

Stan also had a close call on his flexy – going down Ivy Street from 29th Street to the park, which is a great downhill ride that ends in a cul-de-sac with a concrete barrier at the bottom of the hill. He didn’t make the curve at the end of the hill, hit the curb, and flew off through the concrete barrier (which had an opening in it) and landed on the hillside below.  

If I can do this, you can too!

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Surname Saturday - WHEELER (England > Colonial 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 581: Thankful WHEELER (1682-1716). [Note: the earlier great-grandmothers and 7th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts].

My ancestral line back through three American generations of this WHEELER family line 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)

18.  Edward Hildreth (1831-1899)
19.  Sophia Newton (1834-1923)

36.  Zachariah Hildreth (1783-1857)
37.  Hannah Sawtell (1789-1857)

72.  Zachariah Hildreth (1754-1828)
73.  Elizabeth Keyes (1758-1793)

144.  Zachariah Hildreth (1728-1784)
145.  Elizabeth Prescott (1734-1812)

290.  Jonas Prescott (1703-1784)
291.  Elizabeth Harwood (1701-1739)

580.  Jonas Prescott, born 26 October 1678 in Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 12 September 1750 in Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 1160. Jonas Prescott and 1161. Mary Loker.  He married 05 October 1699 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
581.  Thankful Wheeler, born 03 June 1682 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 06 November 1716 in Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  

Children of Jonas Prescott and Thankful Wheeler are:  Ebenezer Prescott (1700-1771); Jonas Prescott 1703-1784); Thankful Prescott (1705-????); Mary Prescott (1711-1793); Sarah Prescott (1712-1737); Dorcas Prescott (1714-1803).

1162.  John Wheeler, born 19 March 1642/43 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 27 September 1713 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.   He married 25 March 1664 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
1163.  Sarah Larkin, born 12 March 1647/48 in Charlestown, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States; died 12 August 1725 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  She was the daughter of 2326. Edward Larkin and 2327. Joanna.

Children of John Wheeler and Sarah Larkin are:  Samuel Wheeler (1664-1717); Sarah Wheeler (1666-1692); Edward Wheeler (1669-1734); Joanna Wheeler (1671-1748); Mary Wheeler (1673-????); Lydia Wheeler (1675-1720); Esther Wheeler (1678-1756); Ebenezer Wheeler (1682-1748); Thankful Wheeler (1682-1718).

2324.  George Wheeler, born before 23 March 1605/06 in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, England; died 02 June 1687 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 4648. Thomas Wheeler.  He married June 1630 in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, England.
2325.  Katherine Pin, born in England; died 02 January 1684/85 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.

Children of George Wheeler and Katherine Pin are:  William Wheeler (1631-1683); Thomas Wheeler (1633-1686); Elizabeth Wheeler (1636-1704); Sarah Wheeler (1640-1713); John Wheeler (1643-1713); Mary Wheeler (1645-1679); Ruth Wheeler (1647-1703); Hannah Wheeler (1649-1697).

Astute readers will recall that I did Esther Wheeler (1678-1756), daughter of John and Sarah (Larkin) Wheeler, last week.  

I have these resources for these Wheeler families:

*  M. Wheeler Molyneaux, The Wheeler Family of Cranfield, England and Concord, Massachusetts and Some Descendants of Sgt. Thomas Wheeler of Concord (Long Beach, Calif. : the author, 1992)

John Brooks Threlfall, 50 Great Migration Colonists in New England and Their Origins (Madison, Wis. : the author, 1990)

Dean Crawford Smith, edited by Melinde Lutz Sanborn, The Ancestry of Eva Belle Kempton, 1878-1908; Part III: The Ancestry of Henry clay Bartlett, 1832-1892 (Boston : New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2004)

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Friday, April 19, 2013

How I search on FamilySearch - Post 3: Browsing a Specific Record Collection

I had several reader comments on my blog post, Is FamilySearch De-emphasizing Genealogical Research?in my email, and in Google+ and Facebook that indicated the commenters needed help in how to search on  

There are three different ways that I use to search on FamilySearch, and it depends on my search goal and the availability of indexing specific databases:

I will address each of these three ways in a separate blog post.

For Browsing a specific record collection, I start again on the  Historical Record Collections page (

Again, I filtered the over 1,500 collections down to Massachusetts collections (see Post 2), and noticed that some of the collections are "Browse Images."  These collections are NOT INDEXED!

This is why you have to do more than a Global Search for names, locations, dates, relationships, etc.!  A Global Search will not find entries in the "Browse Image" record collections on FamilySearch.

I picked the "Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Records, 1633-1967" record collection to look for "Seaver" or "Sever" entries.  I right-clicked on that collection link, and the collection search page opened in a new Tab:

Since the only way to search this record collection is to Browse, the user has to click on the "Browse through 302,640 images" link.  I did:

The screen above shows the different items in this record collection.  Each Item represents a volume or "book" in the Probate Record collection.  These are called "Waypoints" by FamilySearch - they point the way to the actual records.

There are Dockets by Year Range and alphabetical surname, and then by Probate Case File numbers, and then Probate Court volumes.  The Dockets are indexes for Probate Case File numbers and Probate Court volume/pages, and the Probate Case Files contain images of the original papers in the File.

I chose the "Dockets, 1686-1881 Pra-Sta" item, and saw the first page of this "book:"

I managed to find the page with "Sever" Dockets listed, as shown below:

The Probate Case File number is provided for each person, in addition to the Probate Court volume/page numbers for each document in the Probate Case File.

Every "Browse Image" record collection on FamilySearch contains unique material, and it is often organized in a unique way.  The Waypoints may be to "books," or "volumes," or to "alphabetical surname groups," or some other way to organize the material.  The user has to figure out how to browse the collection by looking for an index, and then figuring out how to find the actual record pages.  

Using these records in a "Browse Images" mode is very similar to using microfilm at a Family History Center...except you browse image by image, or use can type in a target image number.  I call it "digital microfilm."

I don't know what percentage of the FamilySearch record collections is "Browse Image" rather than indexed, but I know that the "Browse Image" contain images of original source material organized by country, state/province, and/or county/city/town/parish.  these are very rich genealogical content - often containing the genealogy gem that you are seeking.  

FamilySearch users need to use these "Browse Image" collections in their research.

My opinion has long been that "When FamilySearch has digitized and displayed rich record collections like probate, land, tax, vital, and other records - even in "Browse Image" form - then genealogists will be able to solve some of their brick wall problems at home in their pajamas."

copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

How I Search on FamilySearch - Post 2: Searching a Specific Indexed Record Collection

I had several reader comments on my blog post, Is FamilySearch De-emphasizing Genealogical Research?in my email, and in Google+ and Facebook that indicated the commenters needed help in how to search on  

There are three different ways that I use to search on FamilySearch, and it depends on my search goal and the availability of indexing specific databases:

I will address each of these three ways in a separate blog post.

For Searching a specific indexed record collection, I start on the Historical Record Collections page (

A user can either scroll down the list of over 1,500 record collections, or narrow the search by searching for a specific locality or topic (using the "Filter by collection name" field in the upper left corner of the sidebar) or by using location, date or collection filters in the left-hand sidebar.

In the screen below, I started typing "massachusetts" into the "Filter by collection name" field.  The list of 17 collections with "Massachusetts" in their title:

Alternatively, I could choose the "United States" link from the Place filter list, then pick "Massachusetts" from the list of states that appear:

If I select "Massachusetts" from the list of U.S. states, I get the same list of Massachusetts collections:

Note that the list includes collections with photo icons to the left of the collection name - those collections have record images.  Some collections have a number in the "Records" column - those collections are indexed.  Some collections say "Browse images" in the "Records" column - those collections are not indexed (see Post 3 in this series).

In the screen above, I right-clicked the link for the first collection listed.  I can Open the link in a new Tab, in a new Window, etc.  Why would I want to do this?  Because FamilySearch does not keep the filtered collection list in the browser stack - if I come back to the Historical Record Collections list (by using the browser back button), I get the entire list of over 1,500 collections and have to enter my filters again.  So I open a specific collection in a new Tab, and then can come back to the list of filtered collections in its own Tab.

In the selected record collection, I can enter search parameters into the search form for my person of interest.  In the screen below, I entered a first name (Isaac), a last name (Seaver), a Birthplace (Massachusetts), and a birth year range (1820 to 1825):

I clicked on the "Search" button and there were two matches, both of which are for my 2nd-great-grandfather:

As you can see, I quickly found pertinent records in a specific record collection.  Those two items were also on the match list when I did a Global Search in Post 1 of this series, but they were not as easy to find.  With a common name, using the specific collection search works well, as long as you know the location, and/or life events, and/or relationships of the person if interest.

Remember the prime adage of using a computer:  The computer does exactly what you told it to do.  If you aren't getting the results you expect, it's usually "user error."

copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

How I Search on FamilySearch - Post 1: Global Searches

I had several reader comments on my blog post, Is FamilySearch De-emphasizing Genealogical Research?, in my email, and in Google+ and Facebook that indicated the commenters needed help in how to search on  

There are three different ways that I use to search on FamilySearch, and it depends on my search goal and the availability of indexing specific databases:

I will address each of these three ways in a separate blog post.

For the Global Search, I start on the FamilySearch Search page ( I entered only a first name (Isaac) and a last name (Seaver) in the search fields:

I could have checked the small check boxes next to the names to make the search "exact."  I could have clicked on any of the other fields on this page (location, life event, relationships) and enter more data into the fields provided (clicking on a blue link on the screen above opens more fields for data entry).

I clicked on the "Search" button on the page (not shown in the screen above) and saw the record matches:

Since I searched only for a given name and a last name, and not "exact," I got 6,600 matches.  There is a "Refine your search" box on the left side of the screen above, and I added a birthplace (Massachusetts) and a birth year range (1820 to 1825) to the search criteria, and clicked on the blue "Search" button:

Now there are only 20 matches, and I can investigate each of them by clicking on the name on the match list (which opens a record summary) or by clicking on the down arrow on the right side of each entry, which opens a record summary without opening another window.  Here is a screen shot that shows what happens when I click the down arrow for the first entry on the list above:

As you can see, the indexed data for that specific match opens in a dropdown menu without opening a new window.  I can then judge whether I want to explore this record further (e.g., see, print or save the record image, if available).

This is only one way to search for records on FamilySearch.  I use it when I want to find all of the records for a specific person.  Adding information on location, life events or relationships really helps to narrow the search.  Adding the "exact" check boxes really helps also, as long as the name in the record is spelled as you have entered it.  

FamilySearch does permit wild cards, so I search with them when I cannot find records for my person of interest.  

I will address the Search a specific Indexed Record Collection in my next post in this series.

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

FamilySearch Research Wiki, Videos, Getting Started Just Two Clicks Away Now

After raising the issue of the difficulty in finding and accessing some of the really useful features of FamilySearch in my post yesterday (Is FamilySearch De-emphasizing Genealogical Research?), I received an email today from a FamilySearch manager who said that:

"...we made a change to the home page of FamilySearch that addresses some of the items you mentioned in your last two posts. 

"When you click on the Live Help icon you will now see links to the Wiki, Course videos and Getting Started."

I really appreciate that FamilySearch is listening and is open to constructive suggestions and is responsive to the comments and needs of the genealogical community.

Here is the "Live Help" image on the FamilySearch home page (which takes one click to reach):

As you can see in the red box highlighted area, they have added links to the wiki (Research Wiki), the videos (Research Courses) and getting started (Beginners).

So a user can get to the Research Wiki, Research Course and Getting Started page with two clicks.  That's a significant improvement.  

However, it is not "easy to see" how to get there - you really have to know where to look to find it, and it's not clear that the words are links to pages rather than just information.

I still recommend, for the time being, that users add links to the important FamilySearch pages to my browser bookmarks, and train themselves to click on them in Bookmarks rather than try to sort through all the web pages and links on the FamilySearch site.  The important links for FamilySearch, in my humble opinion, are:

*  Global Search page (searches all indexed collections):

*  Historical Record Collections:

*  FamilySearch Research Wiki: 

*  FamilySearch Research Courses (videos):

*  Getting Started (Beginners):

*  Family History Library Catalog:

*  FamilySearch Books:

*  FamilySearch Family Tree:

*  FamilySearch Genealogies (Ancestral File and Pedigree Resource File):

*  FamilySearch Labs:

*  Standard Finder (location names):

*  Community Trees:

*  English Jurisdictions, 1851:

*  FamilySearch Blog:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Follow-Up Friday - Interesting and Helpful Reader Comments

It's Friday, so it's time for interesting and reader comments on Genea-Musings posts.  They include:

1)  On Is FamilySearch De-emphasizing Genealogical Research? (18 April 2013).

*  Michael McCormick said:  "If you look at you see hover over menu that only takes one bar on the screen and expands to things like their wiki so you only need one click.  Some wheels don't need to be reinvented.

"Congrats on the little summaries and big photos on the home page. these may highlight things for beginners to try, but at you said we need the links too.

"I like that they made it more mobile friendly. try it on your android or iphone web browser and you don't have to zoom to read the page. some pages don't work that way yet."

My comment:  I haven't looked at it on mobile yet, I will.   

*  Elizabeth H. commented:  "Can I also add that trying to find out the status of an order of microfilm is almost impossible. I very occasionally order a microfilm (not everything is digitized, especially from 19th century Hungary) and trying to figure out where to go to find the status is almost impossible. I'm glad I got an email with a link to the page showing the updated status.

"New researchers need to know that not all records are digitized and online and the FHL microfilms are such a valuable resource! (Admittedly not free, but very low cost for going back a couple of generations in my husband's Jewish genealogy!)"

*  Janet Iles noted:  "I am finding the new website layout very confusing. When I see Live Help, I think of live chat and I was looking for something last night, I thought this is not what I want. Thanks to your instructions I found the wiki and then England then the maps and then the interactive map. A site menu with links to the different areas would be so helpful and it would get you to where you want to go quite quickly.   Not everyone has high speed connections so every click takes time."

My comment:  Very good observation about click time.

*  Wendy L. Callaghan said:  "I have yet to utilize the new website or even look at it. How disappointing that, rather than emphasizing research, they are more interested in sharing stories, family trees, etc. While this is a lovely idea, it does not appeal to everyone.  Why not make room for *both* research and community/sharing on their front page?"

My comment:  Amen!  Family photos and stories are important for family history, and have a place in our genealogy world.  But genealogical and family history research is our  bread and butter - how we link it all together using sources and evidence analysis.

*  Amy Sue Smith offered:  "I appreciate all the links. I didn't realize that not all of the resources on FamilySearch were not actually searchable from the front page search box, so now I will have to re-think my search strategies and re-examine what is there."

My comment:  I will write more about my current FamilySearch search strategy, since this is them ost important thing to genealogists.

*  JG in MD said:  "Clicks? It's not just clicks. It's I can't possibly remember how to get through to where I want to go. Surely not everyone can remember exactly how to traverse a series of menus every time they want to see something on FamilySearch."

My comment:  Excellent point!  I get hung up on the time it takes to get to where I want to go.  

*  Patrick Liechty commented:  "I am a developer. I have posted on my blog a response to this blog post. This is good feedback that we can use to make the site better."  

My comment:  Thank you, Patrick, for the insider's view.  I'm glad that FamilySearch is listening.  

I know that we will have additional commentary in the next month or so on this topic.  It will be interesting to see how FamilySearch reacts with commentary and website design changes.

*  Randy asked:  "How do I see photos that others have uploaded?"

My comment:  You sign in to Familysearch, click on the FamilySearch Family Tree link (, and do a search for your person of interest, and look at his/her Profile. If there are Photos tagged to that person, you should be able to see them.  

*  Geolover noted:  "Thanks especially for pointing out the new burying ground for the Wiki. I find the placement in 'help' especially annoying: "Live help" is a particularly misleading term for an area that includes a huge body of research guidance. It suggests a chat forum for assistance with a site **problem**."

My comment:  The Wiki, like the Catalog and the Courses, deserve a visible link so users will find it.

*  Cormac said:  "Slick."

My comment:  Yep,  maybe too slick...

*  Diane B. noted:  "Randy, as someone who is bound to be distantly related to you many times over through the Townsend, Massachusetts and Brookline, New Hampshire folks, I can only urge you to write as often as possible about your ancestors. But beyond that, it's my belief that people learn a lot from looking at someone else's sources and strategies. In fact I would say the very idea of approaching a problem through multiple channels and methods is, in itself, eye opening to a lot of readers. Keep up the good work!"

My comment:  I agree, Diane.  The same attitude applies to genealogical books and periodicals, especially the peer-reviewed journals like NGSQ, NEHGR, NYGBR, TAG, TG, etc.

*  Unknown said:  "As someone who certainly isn't related, I enjoy all the posts from genealogists worldwide who post on these themes. Not only are they interesting, but they act as a poke in the ribs to keep me working on my own stuff. Thanks!"

My comment:  One of my favorite sayings is:  "There's no such thing as a bad blog post.  It can always be used as a bad example."

*  Lauri offered:  "I love all your posts and have learned a lot from them. I keep thinking that if I would have started a Surname Saturday process, I would have a lot of my ancestor's data cleaned up. Yes, I really should start that soon."

My comment:  Lauri, I hope that you do.  I get occasional emails as a result of my Surname Saturday posts - usually pointing me to a book or article that I've missed.

4)  On First Look at NGS 2013 Conference App (8 April 2013):

*  Julie Miller, CG commented:  "An Official Blogger button has now been added to the NGS Conference App. Thanks for pointing it out. You spoke and we listened."

My comment:  THANK YOU, Julie and NGS.  Great work within a week.  We appreciated it!

5)  Thank you all for the kind comments on my posts Genea-Musings is 7 years old today (15 April 2013) and Family Tree Magazine's 40 Best Genealogy Blogs for 2013 (16 April 2013).  I love feedback, even compliments and accolades...

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Donna Moughty's Ireland Research Trip in October 2013

I received a PDF flyer from geneablogger and Irish research expert Donna Moughty, who is leading a Research Trip to Ireland from 13 to 20 October 2013.

The trip includes 7 nights hotel accommodations, Irish breakfast each day, on-site research assistance, two hours of pre-trip research assessment, and Sunday dinner and Saturday banquet.

Research venues in Dublin will include the National Library of Ireland, General Register Office, National Archives of Ireland, Registry of Deeds, and Valuation Office.

Please contact Donna Moughty ( to indicate your interest, or visit her website  There is more information about this research trip on Donna's website at

Thank you to Donna for passing this along.  I wish that I had some Irish ancestors to research, but I don't!

The URL for this post is:

Is FamilySearch De-emphasizing Genealogical Research?

FamilySearch modified their website design on Tuesday (see FamilySearch Unveils Their New Website Design), and in the process confused many genealogical researchers by changing the navigation to certain pages on the site.

Serious genealogical researchers and geneabloggers have lamented the difficulty in accessing the Research Wiki, the Record Collections page, the Research Courses, and more.  Not only is the navigation to these pages different, they now require more mouse clicks.  For instance:

*  James Tanner says " ...  if you look at the startup page for a while, you will see that there are almost no links to any of the research resources of the website at all except user submitted areas such as photos, family tree and indexing. There are two links to the search screen for Historical Record Collections and other resources, but nothing to tell you what or how to search."

*  Lee Drew says:  "The little touted but widely acclaimed Research Wiki was hard to find on the old site design but the new design has pushed it farther into the background.  In fact, it has been pushed so far out of the stream of relevance that few site visitors will find it.  Links to the wiki have gone from two clicks to four."

*  DearMYRTLE says:  "In this day and age, bookmarks on a specific computer should not be the mainstay for Internet researchers. 

"I've heard FS engineers say there is only a small segment of potential users who are serious researchers and that the thrust now is to reach those who have photos and stories."

The new FamilySearch home page requires one mouse click to go to "Family Trees," "Photos" and "Search" (the links on the line with the logo).  A click to pick the large image frame and then another click can take the user to their "Fan Chart," "Photos," "Family Tree," "Family Records," "Indexing" or "Live Help."  

 If a user goes to "Search" or "Family Records," they have to scroll down to the Collections list in order to click on the "Browse All Published Collections" or a locality to get to the Historical Record Collections.  Three clicks - it should be ONE!  That's two more clicks than before.  

Why is that important?  Because only some of the historical record collections are searchable from the Search page.  I usually start at the Historical Record Collections page rather than the Home page.  

To get to the Research Courses (which I do almost every day), I have to click on the "Live Help" button on the Home page, then the "Get Help" button in the image, and then on the "Learning Center" "Take a Course" link.  Three clicks - it should be ONE!  It used to be two clicks.

To get to the Research Wiki (which I do almost every day), I have to click on the "Live Help" button on the Home page, then  the "Get Help" button in the image, then the "Research Assistance" and then the "Visit the Research Wiki" link.  Four clicks - it should be ONE!  It used to be two clicks.  

You get the idea, I hope.  My genealogy work life does not need extra clicks (carpal tunnel, anyone?) or time wasted waiting for three or four web pages to load.  My work-around is to put all of the important links (to me) in my Bookmarks and go directly to the pages, bypassing the FamilySearch Home page.

What about beginners new to the FamilySearch website?  They may be attracted to the beautiful web pages, but what should they do once they get there?  Are they expected to thrash around and finally figure out that they should call the 1-866 number at FamilySearch for basic help?  Maybe 20% of the beginners will do that, and the other 80% will just think "I don't have time for this."

I work with beginning and experienced researchers in my local society, and most of them will be confused by the burial of really useful links deep in the FamilySearch website.  After three years of trying to lead them to the great FamilySearch record collections, Wiki, Courses, Catalog, etc. (and it's not been easy), I'll have to start over. [Aside:  I need to totally revamp my "FamilySearch: The Very Best FREE Genealogy Website" presentation now...]

What should be done?  I suggested on Google+ yesterday that:

"A simple listing of the major pages on the home page, near the top, would be really useful.  Even a two-tier link set where Family Tree, Photos and Search are now located.  I want to be able to go to the home page and click once and be in the Family Tree, the Record Search, the Collection page, the Research Wiki, the Research Courses, Getting Started, the Catalog, Indexing, the Blog, etc"

So how hard would it be to satisfy the serious genealogical researchers AND the beginners wanting to add photos and stories to the Family Tree and the FamilySearch web page designers?  Would this be feasible:

Yes, just add a ribbon of Links to the FamilySearch pages that are really important to genealogical researchers. Even two lines to add more links.  That would make me ecstatic.  Oh, I'd like that link ribbon on the major genealogical pages also so that I can go, with one click, to the Library Catalog, or to the Research Wiki, etc.  

To answer my rhetorical question:  No, I don't think that FamilySearch is de-emphasizing genealogical research.  I do think that they've identified Photos and Stories as a way to bring new generations of people interested in their family history, perhaps not genealogists, to FamilySearch and the Family Tree.  In that regard, their no different from Ancestry, MyHeritage, Geni, and a number of other online family tree websites that encourage their users to add names, dates, places, stories, photos, etc. to their trees.

Of course, we all hope that those new generations become intrigued by what they find, educate themselves online or in local genealogical societies, and become genealogists.  In order for that to happen, there needs to be education on the FamilySearch sites, and that goal should make the Beginners information, the Research Wiki and the Research Courses critical to achieving their goal.  

Please, FamilySearch, don't hide your shining lights under a blanket of  web page clicks - it's self-defeating.  

DearMYRTLE, Russ Worthington, Laurie Haldeman-Lambe and I discussed this yesterday in a Google+ Hangout "Exploring the FamilySearch Redesign" - you can watch it on YouTube at

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Treasure Chest Thursday - 1850 U.S. Census for Samuel Vaux 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 1850 United States Census record for my Vaux 3rd great-grandparents  in Aurora town, Erie County, New York:

The Samuel Vaux household:

The extracted information for the family, with an enumeration date of 12 September 1850, is:

*  Samuel Vaux - age 34, male, a farmer, $1100 in real property, born Eng[land]
*  Mary Ann Vaux - age 35, female, born N.Y.
*  Mary Vaux - age 11, female, born N.Y., attended school within the year
*  Cele Ann Vaux - age 9, female, born N.Y., attended school within the year
*  Abagail Vaux - age 5, female, born N.Y., attended school within the year
*  Jane Vaux - age 3, female, born N.Y.

The source citation for this document is:

1850 United States Federal Census, Erie County, New York, population schedule, Aurora town: Page 103, Dwelling #1589, Family #1605, Saml Vaux household, digital image, (; citing National Archives Microfilm Publication M432, Roll 498.

There is one significant error and one possible minor error in this enumeration:

*  Jane Vaux is really James P. Vaux, a son born 8 January 1847 in New York.
*  Celia Ann Vaux may have been born in May 1842 (according to 1900 U.S. census) rather than in 1841.

This is the first record I have for the children of Samuel and Mary Ann (Underhill) Vaux.  The family moved to Wisconsin before the 1855 New York State Census was taken, Unfortunately, I have found no 1860 United States Census record for this Samuel Vaux family in Dodge County, Wisconsin.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver