Saturday, May 18, 2013

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Your Own Scavenger Hunt

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) You're going on a scavenger hunt - for records of one of your relatives.  You can pick a relative who lived in the 1800 to 2000 time period.  A brother of one of your ancestors might be best (since males don't change their name).  Or the husband of a sister of your ancestor.  
Tell us the name of your chosen relative. 

2)   Go to FamilySearch and search for records for that relative.  Start on the Search page -  Search any way you want.   

3)  Tell us what you found in the FamilySearch record collections.  Did you find something new about that relative?   

4)  Write your own blog post, comment on this post, or write something on Facebook or Google Plus.

Here's mine:

1)  I chose Charles Edwin Richmond (1866-1951), born in Connecticut, and brother to my great-grandfather Thomas Richmond, both sons of James Richman and Hannah Rich.  He married Lavinia Guerten in 1896.

2)  I entered his name, birth year and death year into FamilySearch, using these terms:

*  Exact search on first name, last name, exact search on birth state, and plus/minus two years on birth year, 
*  Exact search on first name, last name, and plus/minus 2 years on death year, 
*  Wild card search on first name and last name, and plus/minus two years on birth year 

3)  The results:

*  1900 U.S. Census record, Charles Richmond in Hartford, Connecticut
*  1930 U.S. Census record, Charles E. Richmond in Manchester, Connecticut
*  1920 U.S. Census record, Charles E. Richmond in Manchester, Connecticut
*  1880 U.S. Census record, Charles Richmond in Putnam, Connecticut
*  1870 U.S. Census record, Charles Richmond in Putnam, Connecticut
*  1910 U.S. Census record, Charles E. Richmond in Manchester, Connecticut
*  Connecticut Death Index, 1949-2001: Charles E. Richmond

I expected to find a 1940 U.S. Census record, but I didn't with Richmond or a name variant. I finally found him, by using a last name of "rich*", as a father-in-law enumerated as Charles "Richman" in Manchester, Conn.

I found no new dates or places for Charles Edwin Richmond, but I found eight records for which I did not have a source, and I also found families for several of his children.  I can extend my family tree database a bit with the children, and add sources to my database for the records.  

4)  I just did!

The URL for this post is:

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 589: Hannah WHEELER (1649-1697). [Note: the earlier great-grandmothers and 7th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts].

My ancestral line back through two 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)

146.  Jonathan Keyes (1722-1781)
147.  Elizabeth Fletcher (1720-1761)

294.  Samuel Fletcher (1684-1749)
295.  Hannah --?-- (1689-????)

588.  Samuel Fletcher, born about 1652 in Chelmsford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died before December 1723 in Chelmsford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 1176. William Fletcher and 1177. Lydia.  He married  05 July 1672 in Chelmsford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.

589.  Hannah Wheeler, born about 1649 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 11 December 1697 in Chelmsford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.

Children of Samuel Fletcher and Hannah Wheeler are:
*  William Fletcher (1673-1753), married (1) Mary Foster (1682-1721); (2) Mary (????-????)
*  Hannah Fletcher (1676-1759), married Ebenezer Wright (1663-1730).
*  Elizabeth Fletcher (1679-1715), married Benjamin Butterfield (1679-1715).
*  Samuel Fletcher (1683-1683).
*  Samuel Fletcher (1684-1749), married Hannah (1682-????).
*  Mary Fletcher (1686-1768), married John Wheeler (1695-1747).
*  Lydia Fletcher (1689-1766), married Pelatiah Adams (1682-1746)
*  Susanna Fletcher (1692-????), married Joseph Chamberlain.
*  Isaac Fletcher (1694-1772), married Persis (1695-1747).
*  Sarah Fletcher (1696-????).

1178.  George Wheeler, born before 23 March 1605/06 in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, England; died 02 June 1687 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He married 08 June 1630 in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, England.
1179.  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), married Hannah Buss (1642-1694).
*  Thomas Wheeler (1633-1686), married Hannah Harwood (1632-1707).
*  Elizabeth Wheeler (1636-1704), married Francis Fletcher (1630-????).
*  Sarah Wheeler (1640-1713), married Francis Dudley (1638-1705).
*  John Wheeler (1643-1713), married Sarah Larkin (1648-1725).
*  Mary Wheeler (1645-1679), married Eliphalet Fox (1644-1711).
*  Ruth Wheeler (1647-1703), married Samuel Hartwell (1645-1725).
*  Hannah Wheeler (1649-1697), married Samuel Fletcher (1652-1723).

Astute readers will recall that I did Esther Wheeler (1678-1756), daughter of John and Sarah (Larkin) Wheeler, on 13 April 2013, and Thankful Wheeler (1682-1713), daughter of John and Sarah (Larkin) Wheeler, on 20 April 2013.  

Information about the George Wheeler family was obtained from:

*  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, May 17, 2013

I'm Speaking at South Orange County, California Genealogical Society (SOCCGS) on Saturday, 18 May

I almost forgot to post this notice about my speaking engagement on Saturday, 18 May 2013 at 11 a.m. at the South Orange County, California Genealogical Society (SOCCGS), in Mission Viejo, California.

My topic is "Genealogy Blogging:  What? When? Why? Where? How?"

A brief description of this talk is:

"What is genealogy blogging all about? Randy will tell all, showing where to find genealogy blogs, how to read them, some genealogy blog examples, and a basic how-to of starting and writing a genealogy blog so you to share your family history and genealogy knowledge with the world."

The SOCCGS program meeting is in the chapel at the LDS Church at 27976 Marguerite Parkway (corner of Hillcrest Drive) in Mission Viejo. The business meeting begins at 10:00 a.m. followed by a break with refreshments, and the program begins 11:00 a.m.

I look forward to seeing my SOCCGS friends, and would welcome Genea-Musings readers to say hello to me at this event.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Finding Isaac Seaver (1823-1901) in FamilySearch Record Collections

One of the ways I test out every online U.S. record collection is to search for my second great-grandfather, Isaac Seaver (1823-1901).  There are a lot of records for him available online, and it's a good measure of the breadth of the different record collections.

Today, it is FamilySearch's turn in the barrel - what information is there about Isaac Seaver on FamilySearch?

I used Search criteria of:

*  Not exact search
*  First name = 'isaac" (not exact)
*  Last name = "seaver" (not exact)

*  Birth place = "Massachusetts" (not exact)
*  Birth year range = "1821" to "1825"

1)  Here is the Search screen (at

2)  After clicking on the blue "Search" button on the screen above, I was presented with 146 matches to my search criteria (two screens shown):

There were more matches to my search criteria on succeeding pages of results.

3)  A summary of the results for Isaac Seaver (1823-1901) includes (in approximate order):

**   Massachusetts, Births and Christenings, 1639-1915:  Birth in Westminster, birth in Leominster (Index only, no image)
*  1900 United States Census: Leominster, Worcester, Mass. (index, image)
*  1880 United States Census: Leominster, Worcester, Mass. (index, image on Ancestry)
*  1870 United States Census: no town given, Worcester, Mass. (index, image)
*  1860 United States Census: Westminster, Worcester, Mass. (index, image on Fold3)
*  1850 United States Census: Medfield, Norfolk, Mass. (index, image)
*  Massachusetts, Deaths, 1841-1915: Leominster, Worcester, Mass. (index, image)
*  Massachusetts, State Census, 1865: Westminster, Worcester, Mass. (index, image)
** Massachusetts, Marriages, 1695-1910:  1888 to Alvina Lewis, no place given (index only);
** Massachusetts, Deaths and Burials, 1795-1910:  1901 in Leominster, Worcester, Mass. (index only, no image)
*  Massachusetts, Births, 1841-1915: 3 entries for children (Index, Image)
*  United States, Civil War Soldiers Index (no image)
*  United States, Civil War and Later Pension Index, 1861-1917: (index, image on Fold3)
*  Massachusetts, Marriages, 1841-1915:  1846 to Juliet Glazier, in Rutland, Mass. (index, image)
** Massachusetts, Deaths and Burials, 1795-1910:  1910 death of daughter, Juliet Bryant, no place (index, no image)
** Massachusetts, Deaths and Burials, 1795-1910: 1894 death of son, Benjamin Seaver, no place (index, no image)
*  Massachusetts, Deaths, 1841-1915: 1910 death of daughter, Juliett Bryant, in Leominster (index, image)

There were 22 matches for Isaac Seaver (1823-1901) in the first 50 matches, and none after the 50th match.  There were 15 different record collections with entries found for Isaac Seaver (1823-1901).  Note that the IGI extracted data is in the three collections denoted with an **.

I didn't see the marriage of Isaac Seaver to Lucretia Smith.  So I searched for Lucretia Smith, and found her 1851 marriage to Isaac "Leavir" in the Massachusetts, Marriages, 1841-1915 collection. An indexing error.

The birth of a fourth child to Isaac and Lucretia (Smith) Seaver is not on the list above - There is a listing in the Massachusetts, Births, 1841-1915 collection for Ellen Maria Leaver in 1861 to "Isa.. Z. Leaver" and "Luera."  Another index error.  Here is a snippet of the Ellen Maria "Leaver" birth record:

I can see how the indexing error for Isaac's name occurred.  They confused "3d" with Z. for Isaac's name.  I think I would have indexed the mother's name as "Lucretia," but I'm biased because I know the name.

There was also an 1855 Massachusetts, State Census, 1855 collection for Isaac "Leaver."

So that makes 25 entries for Isaac "Seaver" (1823-1901), in 15 FamilySearch record collections, accounting for spelling variations in the indexing.

The URL for this post is:

copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Follow-Up Friday - Helpful and Interesting Reader Comments

It's Friday - time for follow-up on reader comments, suggestions and challenges from the last two weeks.

1)  On MyHeritage To Announce Record Detective Feature (11 May 2013):

*  Nancy commented:  "Thanks Randy for asking MyHeritage about matching delays for all your readers – many of us have been having problems as new MyHeritage subscribers with getting matches, syncing new software and NOT getting help from support.

"As long ago as you last posted about this problem (May 5th), is how long I've been waiting for a support email to be answered - today I received a response ( Yippeee only 7 days) and they report that folks having problems with software should uninstall their software and reinstall new software from a link that will fix issues – I thought you should know about this.

"With no assistance from support I deleted my own ged file ( via web) and reloaded it via the web page only and I am now getting some smart / record matches. I guess I will reinstall the software at some point but I’m interested in the matching and don’t care about the syncing so I’ll wait.

"From my email this morning from MyHeritage support ---

"'I apologize for any inconvenience. I recommend you to uninstall the software then download it from the link below:

""'It is supposed to fix some issues.'"

My response:  Thank you for the information.  I haven't received Record Matches yet for the new tree I uploaded on 5 May 2013.  I also can't sync my "bigger" original tree on MyHeritage down into FTB, even with the updated program.

*  Mac Torment snarled:  "They give you a free account and you become an uncritical part of their marketing machine.  How the hell is this different from the record matching they already do.  Sounds like the only change is the new name, stolen from gendetective?"

My comment:  You should talk to MyHeritage personnel about my being an "uncritical part of their marketing machine."  Here's a paraphrased quote from one of them:  "Randy finds problems and errors that we don't find with our testing."  You can look at all of my MyHeritage blog posts at and see that I have been both complimentary (for features I like) and critical (for features I don't like, or problems I find).  Frankly, I'm one of the few geneabloggers that is critical of the software and database companies.  I don't publish press releases, I test and analyze and comment, while trying not to gush or whine excessively.

The "Record Detective" feature finds additional records for the same person, or for family of the person, based on Record Matching from other MyHeritage family trees.  So it is different from "Record Match" which only finds records for a person in my MyHeritage tree.  If you'd read their publicity, you would understand that.

The term "Record Detective" is not the same as the term "GenDetective."  "Record Detective is an accurate description of the MyHeritage feature, and the "Record Detective" feature does not perform the same function as the "GenDetective" software.  

I do have a free account on MyHeritage, and I appreciate having it.  I think that I give them their money's worth.

*  Rick asked:  "Why is it important to include a microfilm number when you're not using microfilm? Isn't it more useful to include the image number for this record on (Plus, of course, the town, county, state and sheet number.) The microfilm number won't help anybody find the record online."

My comment:  I agree with you in principle, but not everybody will have a MyHeritage Data subscription, or even an Ancestry subscription.   Having the FHL microfilm number, one could find the image on FamilySearch, HeritageQuestOnline, or  Can we be sure that the image number on MyHeritage (or Ancestry, or another provider) will be everlasting?  I think we need every bit of the information that we can get in our source citations, including the NARA Publication number and roll number.

*  Anonymous commented:  "To search for a prefix like Sea*, you can select "Names starting with letters (e.g., Jo finds Joshua)" on the last name advanced options popup, and enter "sea" in the last name field."

My comment:  Thank you for adding to my knowledge base about searching on MyHeritage.  I did not know that before.

3)  On Amanuensis Monday - Probate Records of Elizabeth (Jenckes) Tefft (1658-1740) (posted 13 May 2013):

*  Geolover commented:  "Ah, another delightful estate inventory!  Interesting, the wo(r)sted combs. Was Elizabeth a spinster? The precious worsted fleece was carefully combed, not carded like wool, in order to align the long fibers. Then it was usually hand-spun using a spindle and whorl (a disk that acted as a fly-wheel).  The "Ktchel" was probably a Hatchel, one of the implements for processing flax fibers. Possibly a spinning wheel for flax had long since been given to a daughter or granddaughter."

My response:  Thank you for the corrections...the handwriting is never quite readable for me...

4)  On Day 3 at the NGS 2013 Conference (10 May 2013):

*  Lauri offered:  "This was easy enough to find, but here is a link to the NY Muster Rolls 1755-1764. "

My comment:  Thank you, Lauri!  That is very useful.  I didn't take the time to find it while at NGS

*  Angela said:  "Randy, Thanks for summarizing Robert Charles Anderson's presentation. He was speaking at the same time I was, so I missed it."

*  Lisa Suzanne Gorrell noted:  "I want to thank you, Randy, for attending and summarizing as many of the presentations that you did! They helped me decide to order a few JAMB recordings since I was unable to attend this year, even though it was nearly in my back yard (on the west coast at least)."

My comment:  You're welcome, ladies.  Someone has to do it, and it provided blog fodder.  By the way, I am still updating the list as posts come online.

6)  That's it for this week - thank you to all of my readers for their comments on the blog, and in email and on Facebook.  

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Thursday, May 16, 2013 Changes Search Results Page Format

I wondered why was taking so long to respond last night after 9 p.m. PDT - and then the page format changed in the middle of my seemingly endless searching for records and sources.  It looked different.  I'm guessing that they took a new design live around that time.

For the record, here is the Search Results page from my post yesterday:

Today, I poked around to see what changes were made to the search results page format.

Using the same search terms for my Isaac Seaver (1823-1901), with the "exact match" box not checked, here is today's search results page:

The changes I see on this page ("new screen") from the first screen ("old screen") above include:

*  The fonts are different.  The font size and weight seems to be about the same for the results in the match list, but the "Results" heading is much fainter...I like dark fonts with contrast as opposed to light with less contrast.
*  The color scheme for the Results list is different - the "Results" header background is a very light green, rather than dark green, and the Categories background is also light green.  The "Matching Records" heading in the "Results" list is next to the matching person for some reason (I think that's a programming error.
*  There are tabs on the new screen for "Records" and "Categories" as opposed to "Sorted by relevance" and "Summarized by categories" on the old screen.  I like this change.
*  The "Star system" shown on the record matches has disappeared (as shown on the screen above).  I liked the old "Star system."

The screen above shows the "Records" tab - this is the "Categories" tab below:

One more significant change is:

*  You can click on the right arrows next to the different Categories in the left portion of the screen and expand them to see sub-categories.  I did that in the screen above for the "Birth, Marriage & Death" and "Military" categories.

If I select one of the matches from the "Categories" tab list, I see a similar layout, but with the selected database, and the bread crumbs to it, in the left panel.

I clicked on one of the matches listed to see the record summary for my Isaac Seaver in the 1880 U.S. Census:

I did not notice any changes to the record summary from before.

At the top of the "Results" screen is a message with a light blue background, saying:

"What's new  The search results page is faster and has a new look and feel. Tell us what you think."

When I clicked on that, I got this popup screen:

I made my selection and clicked on the double arrow and was able to comment on each of the format changes that they showed.  They include;

*  The "Searching For" area, where the presentation is more compact and simplified, and long fields are truncated.  I dislike this...
*  The "Category" area changes, where you can pick sub-categories with a single click.  I like this!
*  The "Layout" changes - fonts, backgrounds, etc.
*  Tabs for switching views between "Records" and "Categories."  I like this!

There is space for your comments on each option, plus one at the end of the survey for general comments.  I filled it out...

All in all, these changes are cosmetic, with the exceptions of the tabs and category expansion features, which are easier to use and are helpful.

Now, I'm wondering what records the search found that are different from yesterday's identical search:

*  The "Old screen" (first screen above) shows 84,655 matches  
*  The "New screen" (second screen above) shows 85,359 matches

And there are differences between the "New screen" for "Records" and the "New screen" for "Categories:"

*  The "New screen" for "Records" (second screen above) shows 85,359 matches
*  The "New screen" for "Categories" (third screen above) shows 95,527 matches.

I was told at NGS 2013 that the algorithms for "Records" and "Categories" were different, but I didn't expect that many differences.  

I'm really glad that this change happened now and not in June or July.  I have presentations on "Searching Effectively" in both months, and will have to change all of my screen shots of results in the presentation!  

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Survey of Genealogy Database Software Usage

Jerry Kocis offered a survey of genealogy database software usage in March 2013 in the Google+ Genealogy Tech Community.  He has summarized and analyzed the answers from 166 respondents.  He described the survey as:

"This is a survey regarding users’ satisfaction with their genealogy software, including their perceptions of to what extent they make use of the software’s features and capabilities."

His survey summary is a PDF file here.

Jerry not only presented the findings to ten questions, but he analyzed the responses for the three most used programs - Family Tree Maker, Legacy Family Tree and RootsMagic - for each of the questions.

Here is a typical screen capture from the report:

Interested readers should peruse the entire document.

My take on the results, at least for the three programs analyzed in more detail, is that users are fairly well satisfied with their program, but need to learn more about using the program effectively.

One factor that may skew the results of this survey is that the respondents are much more likely to be consumers of social media and genealogy technology - they were on Google+, probably obtain information from a variety of online sources, and are more "tuned in" to the online genealogy world than the typical genealogical society member or occasional user of online trees.  It would be interesting to do this type of survey in a large genealogical society with thousands of members.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Treasure Chest Thursday - 1850 U.S. Census Record for Henry White 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 Henry White family (my second great-grandfather) in Killingly town, Windham County, Connecticut:

The Henry White household:

The extracted information for the Henry White family, enumerated on 19 September 1850, is:

*  Henry White - age 26, male, a Weaver, born Gloucester R.I.
*  Amy White - age 24, female, born So. Kingston R.I.
*  Ellen F. White - age 5, female, born Killingly Ct, at school
*  Julia E. White - age 3, female, born Killingly Ct
*  Emily E. White - age 2, female, born Killingly Ct

The source citation for this 1850 census entry is:

1850 United States Federal Census, Windham County, Connecticut, population schedule, Killingly town; Page 360 (stamped), dwelling #582, family #635, Henry White household, digital image, (; citing National Archives Microfilm Publication M432, Roll 51.

The only minor errors I see are in the ages of Julia and Emily:

*  Julia was born 8 September 1848, so on 1 June 1850 (the "official" census day), she would have been 1 year old rather than 3 years old .  However, on the day the census was take, she would have been 2 years old.
*  Emily was born 15 October 1849, so she should have been enumerated as 8/12 "officially," or 11/12 on the day the census was taken.

There is an interesting feature of this particular census record:  The birthplace includes the town and the state, rather than just the birth state.

This is the earliest record that I have for Julia's first name being "Julia" - several other records have her as "Juliet" or "Juliette."  She went by Juliette as an adult, I believe.

This is the only record I have where Julia has a middle initial - I believe it is E.  She may have been Julia Elizabeth White.  A sister was Emily Elizabeth White. Another sister was Ellen Frances White.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Genealogy Guys Podcast Celebrates its 250th Episode

I received this press release from George G. Morgan and Drew Smith, the Genealogy Guys:

The Genealogy GuysSM Podcast
Celebrates Its 250th Episode

For Immediate Release
May 15, 2013

Aha! Seminars, Inc., announces that The Genealogy GuysSM Podcast (, the longest running genealogical podcast in the world, has published its 250th episode. The podcast is a production of Aha! Seminars, Inc., based in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, and began production in September of 2005. The total downloads for all episodes numbers more than 1,230,000.

The Genealogy Guys are George G. Morgan and Drew Smith, both of whom are internationally recognized genealogical experts, speakers, and authors. George is president of Aha! Seminars, Inc., and the author of the book, How to Do Everything: Genealogy, published by McGraw-Hill and now in its third edition. He is also Vice President of Membership for the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS). Drew is an assistant librarian at the University of South Florida and the author of Social Networking for Genealogists, published by Genealogical Publishing Company. He is president of the Florida Genealogical Society (Tampa), a Director of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, and the Federation representative to the Family History Information Standards Organisation (FHISO). Together, George and Drew have just written a new book, Advanced Genealogical Research Techniques, which will be released by McGraw-Hill in September.

The free podcast includes genealogical news, press releases and announcements, interviews, book and product reviews, responses to listener email from around the globe, and other features. Each episode is sponsored by RootsMagic,, and the Federation of Genealogical Societies. Recordings of all of the podcast episodes are available for listening and download at, complete with show notes for each show. Listeners can also subscribe to the podcast in the iTunes store.

About Aha! Seminars, Inc.

Aha! Seminars, Inc., is a Tampa Bay-based company that has been providing training to library personnel across the United States and to genealogists in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. since 1996. The company provides library collection consulting services, genealogical conference and event planning services, and organizes genealogical research tours on demand.


George G. Morgan
Aha! Seminars, Inc.


Congratulations to George and Drew for a tremendous volume of audio content full of timely genealogical information.  I hope they continue their work for years.

Finding Isaac Seaver (1823-1901) in Record Collections

One of the ways I test out every online U.S. record collection is to search for my second great-grandfather, Isaac Seaver (1823-1901).  There are a lot of records for him available online, and it's a good measure of the breadth of the different record collections.

Today, it is's turn in the barrel - what information is there about Isaac Seaver on

I used Search criteria of:

*  Not exact search
*  First name = 'isaac" (default settings)
*  Last name = "seaver" (default settings)
*  Birth year = "1823" plus/minus 2 years
*  Birth place = "Massachusetts, USA" (default settings)

1) Here is the Search box:

2) After clicking on the "Search" button, I was presented with a list of 84,655 matches (using the "Sorted by relevance" list).

The top of the matches looks like this (the highest on the list are the "best" matches found, according to the star system used by Ancestry) (two screens shown):

3) A summary of the results for Isaac Seaver (1823-1901)  includes:

*  Matching Person from Ancestry Member Trees (from my AMT)
*  U.S. Census Records for 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 and 1900
*  Public Member Photos and Scanned Documents:  20 from my two AMTs
*  Massachusetts Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988:  birth, marriage to Lucretia Smith,  and marriage to Alvina Lewis. 
*  U.S. Civil War Draft Registration Record 
*  U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles
*  Web, Massachusetts, Find A Grave Index, 1620-2013

There were 42 matches listed in the results section titled "Matching Records."  Of those, all but 4 were for Isaac Seaver (1823-1901).

In the next results section titled "Matches below are less likely to be your ancestor, but still might be helpful" are these results for Isaac Seaver (1823-1901):

*  U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989:  1880, 1890, 1891, 1893, 1895-1901.
*  Massachusetts Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988:  marriage to Juliet Glazier
*  Massachusetts Town Marriage Records, 1620-1850:  marriage to Juliet Glazier
*  U.S. Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934
*  American Civil War Soldiers
*  Leominster, Massachusetts City Directories, 1883-1895:  1883 to 1886, 1893 to 1895
*  Worcester County, Massachusetts, Probate Index, Vol. 1 & 2, A-Z, July 1731-1881

4) All told, there were 109 matches that pertained to an Isaac Seaver before the search algorithm started searching for persons without the first name Isaac.  There may be other records that I didn't find with a surname variation from "Seaver" - like Seavers, Sever, Severs, etc.  

There were 14 different databases on that had Isaac Seaver (1823-1901) included in them.  

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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

CGSSD Meeting on Saturday, 18 May - Jamie Mayhew on the FamilySearch Wiki

The Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego (CGSSD) meets on Saturday, May 18th from 9 a.m. to noon on the campus of UCSD, University of California, San Diego. See our web page  for directions.

 Here are the program details:

9:00 - User groups: Family Tree Maker with Ken Robison, and Macintosh with Dona Ritchie

10:00 - Break

10:20 - Announcements followed by the program:

"What is the FamilySearch Wiki and how can it help you with your genealogical research?"
presented by Jamie Mayhew

    The FamilySearch Wiki has 68,000+ pages about records, localities, subjects and methods that can help you find your ancestors. Learn about this lesser-known gem of the genealogy world, including a case study of an actual user. Learn how to join the wiki community to contribute your knowledge and share in a collaborative journey.

    Jamie McManus Mayhew, a researcher for over twenty years, specializes in Southern California research although her personal experience covers the Midwest, New England, and the Southern States. Jamie holds a PLCGS (Professional Learning Certificate in Genealogical Studies) in American Research from the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. She is the moderator for the California pages on the FamilySearch Research Wiki and is a member of the FamilySearch Wiki Community Council. She is president of the California State Genealogical Alliance (CSGA) and past president of the Genealogical society of North Orange County California (GSNOCC) where she presently serves as Education Chairman. She has a B.A. in Sociology, an M.A. in Educational Technology, taught for over twelve years and finished up her last career as the Director of Educational Technology for a Southern California school district. She is a member of APG, SCCAPG, SCGS, CSGA, OCCGS, and a number of other societies.

We meet at the Robinson Auditorium complex on the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) campus in La Jolla. From North Torrey Pines Road, turn at Pangea Drive into UCSD. Free parking is available in the parking garage on the left; use any space other than those specifically reserved for UCSD vehicles. Signs will mark directions to our meeting room. Please refer to our website for driving directions and a map.

Thanks to Tom Smith for passing along this notice.

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(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 256: Grace and Bess at the Lake

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

Here is a photograph from the Seaver/Richmond family photograph collection passed to me by my cousin Laura in 2008:

This photograph is of Grace (Richmond) Shaw (on the left) and her sister, Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver (on the right) at Whalom Lake near Fitchburg, Massachusetts in the 1920s (I think).  Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver is my paternal grandmother.

Check out the hats, the long dresses and the white shoes.  Pretty classy for a summer outing at the lake.  There is a child to the right of Bess who is mostly out of the picture.  It may be my father Frederick Seaver (born in 1911), my uncle Edward Seaver (born in 1913) or my aunt Geraldine Seaver (born in 1917). 

The Frederick and Bessie (Richmond) Seaver family owned a cottage at Whalom Lake for several years in the 1920s.  There was an amusement park there, also.  

What do Grace and Bess have in their hands?  Is it a bag of popcorn?  Is that a boat on the lake between them?  

I received this photo in 2008 from my cousin Laura, who is a great-granddaughter of Grace (Richmond) Shaw.  She had some pictures of our Seaver family that I did not have (because Bessie sent them to Grace) and kindly shared them with me.

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copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Does the MyHeritage Record Detective Find My Isaac Seaver Search Results?

One of the ways I test out every online U.S. record collection is to search for my second great-grandfather, Isaac Seaver (1823-1901).  There are a lot of records for him available online, and it's a good measure of the breadth of the different record collections.

Last week, I posted SuperSearch Matches on and it found 11 records:

*  The 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 and 1900 census records
*  The WikiTree entry (mine)
*  The Find A Grave entry
*  4 MyHeritage Family Tree entries

With the release of the Record Detective technology, I wondered if all of those records would be found if I click on one of them.  I used the 1900 U.S. Census record to investigate this:

1)  Here is the bottom of the 1900 U.S. Census record for Isaac Seaver (1823-1901):

As you can see, there are no entries in the Record Detective section of the page.  I clicked on the other four census records on the results list, and none of them had any results in the Record Detective area.

2)  I clicked on the Find A Grave entry in the results list, and here is the bottom of the page:

This result shows three other entries in the Record Detective section.  The other two records found by the Record Detective were for the WikiTree entree for Isaac Seaver and a Fitchburg [Mass.] Sentinel newspaper article about Isaac's death.  There was also the match to my MyHeritage family tree.

3)  What about Record Detective results for the MyHeritage trees on the Result list.  Here are two of them:

That's interesting.  My tree and these two trees have exactly the same Facts about Isaac Seaver (1823-1901), including his parents and children's names.

For the Record Detective list on the first tree, it found the three Find A Grave records for Isaac, his wife Lucretia, and his son Benjamin Seaver.  On the second tree, it found the WikiTree entry for Isaac and his son, Frank Walton Seaver.  I wonder why they are different?  And why didn't it find the Find A Grave records for Frank Walton Seaver, and for Isaac's daughter, Juliette (Seaver) Bryant, in the same cemetery.

4)  I clicked on the link for Isaac Seaver for my family tree, and saw his Info tab on his Profile page:

There are green check marks on the Find A Grave match and the newspaper article match, presumably because I Confirmed them when I found them in the Record Matches over the past 8 months.  I have not confirmed the WikiTree item yet.  I did not have to go back and attach them to Isaac Seaver.

 It appears that the Confirms done prior to the Record Detective release have been attached to people in my MyHeritage family tree. That is great - I was dreading having to do that manually for the over 2,000 Record Matches I've already confirmed.

Note that the icons used for the Record Detective (and SuperSearch) matches are generic - they are not thumbnails of the actual images.

So why did the Record Detective not find the census records for Isaac Seaver?  My guess is that the U.S. Census collections are "too new" - perhaps the Record Detective algorithm does not search them yet.  I will take a "wait and see" attitude here, hoping that more Record detective matches will appear later.

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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Disclosure:  I have a complimentary HyHeritage PremiumPlus subscription for my family tree site, and a complimentary Data subscription for access to the MyHeritage record collections.  The subscriptions do not affect my objectivity, and permit me to investigate and evaluate the MyHeritage capabilities.

Tuesday's Tip - Check Out the New York Town Guide for Locality Records

This week's Tuesday's Tip is to:  Use the New York Town Guide on the NEHGS American Ancestors website to find resources for New York localities.

One of the leads I gleaned from Bill Ruddock's presentation on "Colonial New York Genealogy" at the NGS Conference was about Gordon Remington's book, New York Towns, Villages, and cities: A Guide to Genealogical Sources (Boston: NEHGS, 2002).

The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) has a New York Town Guide on its' website (it's FREE) at

The towns, villages and cities are listed alphabetically, with the County, the locality type (Town, Village, City), the Date started, if there is a History, Church records (use the Key letters), Cemetery records (use the Key letters), whether there are transcribed church and cemetery records (the TCR column), and any Comments.

The Key Letters for the Church and Cemetery codes for the New York State Towns, Villages, and cities is on

While this seems fairly cumbersome, it is actually very useful.  There is a lot of information on just a few pages.  Looking first in this index and lists may save a researcher time and effort.

For instance, I was interested in records for Lorraine town in Jefferson County, New York.  The locality listing says:

From this listing, I can tell that there is no published town history, no available church records, there are Cemetery records (the D cemetery key), and transcribed church/cemetery records.  The "D" key letter indicates that the transcribed records are in the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Collection of New York State Cemetery, Church and Town Records.  These are available at the New York State Library in Albany, at the DAR Library in Washington, D.C., and on Family History Library microfilm in Salt Lake City.

That wasn't particularly productive - let's try East Aurora in Erie County:

This listing tells me that East Aurora is in Erie County, is a Village, started in 1874, with no town history, with key letters OR for churches, key letters DO for cemeteries, and no transcribed records.  The Church key letters OR tell me that Original church records (O) are available on FHL microfilm, and the Roman Catholic original records (R) are available on FHL microfilm.  The Cemetery key letters tell me that records are available in the DAR collection (D) and on FHL microfilm (O).

This index is an excellent finding aid for localities in New York State!

See, I was paying attention to the speakers at the NGS Conference...and the syllabus helped immensely!

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Copyright (c) 2013), Randall J. Seaver