Saturday, June 29, 2013

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun (SNGF) - Create a Gravestone

Hey genea-folks, 
it's Saturday Night again, 

 time for more Genealogy Fun!

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

Create your own gravestone at  And/or create one for a relative who doesn't have one, or one for an event or significant issue.

2)  Share your creation with the genea-sphere in your own blog post, on Facebook or on Google+.  Be sure to drop a link in a comment to this post.

There are several other Gravestone generators online - see:

** John Chandler's Tombstone Generator (
**  Gravestone Caption Generator (
**  Gravestone Generator (

Here's mine:

*  My own gravestone, with a fitting epitaph:

I am shooting for 100 years...hope I don't get too excited.

*  Charles Auble (1849-1916), who is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in San Diego and doesn't have one:

I decided against putting a comment about the cause of death being falling down stairs while drunk.

*  Google Reader:

The URL for this post is:

copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Surname Saturday - COLLINS (England to colonial Massachusetts)

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

I am in the 7th great-grandmothers, I'm up to number 627,  Ancestor #627 is Ruth COLLINS (1685-1715) [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 COLLINS 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)

8. Frank Walton Seaver (1852-1922)
9. Hattie Louise Hildreth (1857-1920)

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

38.  Thomas J. Newton (ca 1800 - ????)
39.  Sophia Buck (1797-1882)

78.  Isaac Buck (1757-1847)
79.  Martha Phillips (1757-????)

156.  Isaac Buck (1732-????)
157.  Mary Richards (1733-????)

312.  Isaac Buck (1706-1780)
313.  Ruth Graves (1710-????)

626.  Thomas Graves, born 16 December 1686 in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts, United States; died 21 February 1756 in Southborough, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 1252. Samuel Graves and 1253. Sarah Brewer.  He married 09 January 1709/10 in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.
627.  Ruth Collins, born 26 October 1685 in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts, United States; died Bef. 1715 in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.  

Child of Thomas Graves and Ruth Collins is:
*  Ruth Graves, born 10 January 1709/10 in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts, United States; married Isaac Buck 03 December 1729 in Reading, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.

1254.  Joseph Collins, born About 1643 in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts, United States; died Bef. 02 November 1724 in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.  He married 15 October 1684 in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.
1255.  Mariah Smith, born 28 February 1663/64 in Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts, United States; died after 1724 in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.  She was the daughter of 2510. John Smith and 2511. Elizabeth.

Children of Joseph Collins and Mariah Smith are:
*  Ruth Collins (1685-1715), married 1710 Thomas Graves (1686-1756)
*  Mary Collins (1688-????); married 1715 John Farrar.
*  William Collins (1690-1767); married 1711 Abigail Richards (1690-1774)
*  Elizabeth Collins (1692-1736); married 1716 Samuel Graves (1692-1716)
*  Joseph Collins (1695-1734); married 1717 Patience Benighton (1699-????)
*  Ezekiel Collins (1698-1765), married 1721 Rebecca Graves (1698-1739)
*  Martha Collins (1700-1731), married 1720 William Odell.
*  Ebenezer Collins (1702-????0; married (1) 1723 Mary Chadwell (1703-1730); (2) 1731 Mary Merrey.
*  Daniel Collins (1704-????).

2508.  Henry Collins, born 1606 in Stepney, Middlesex, England; died 20 February 1686/87 in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.  He married before 1629 in probably Stepney, Middlesex, England.
2509.  Ann, born 1605 in probably Stepney, Middlesex, England; died 29 September 1691 in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.

Children of Henry Collins and Ann are:
*  Henry Collins (1629-1722); married Mary Tolman (1632-1723)
*  John Collins (1632-1679); married Abigail Johnson (1644-1680)
*  Margery Collins (1633-1702); married 1656 Isaac Williams.
*  Hannah Collins (16356-????); married Nathaniel Ingersoll (1632-1718)
*  Mary Collins (1641-1682); married 1664 Samuel Johnson (1640-1723)
*  Joseph Collins (1643-1724); married (1) 1667 Sarah Silsbee (1646-1682); (2) 1684 Mariah Smith (1664-1724).
*  Riall Collins (1645-1681).
*  Elizabeth Collins (1647-1690); married 1666 John Tolman (1635-1725)
*  Benjamin Collins (1648-1711); married (1) 1673 Priscilla Kirtland (1648-1676); (2) 1677 Elizabeth Leach 

Information on these Collins families was obtained from:

1)  Caroline Martino and Marcia Lindberg, "Henry Collins of Lynn and his Descendants", The Essex Genealogist, starting Vol. 10, #3-4 (1990), Vol 11, #1-3 (1991), Vol 12 #4 (1992), 53 pages.

2)  A sketch for Henry Collins was published in the book by Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration, Immigrants to New England, Volume II, C-F (Boston: NEHGS, 2001), pages 164-169; it contains original source references.

The URL for this post is:

copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Friday, June 28, 2013

Is this the Problem Users Have with's "New Search?"

After seeing some of the comments on the Comments List, on Facebook, and in Comments to Comparing "Old Search" and "New Search" Results on, it struck me that perhaps users unfamiliar with "New Search" don't know about the "Categories" list of search results.  

1)  When I was working in "Old Search" today, I did a search for my "isaac" "seaver" born 1823, died 1901, and clicked on the "Exact matches only" box on the search form:

When I clicked on "Search" I saw the matches in a list of "Categories:"

That is the list type that I recall when I used "Old Search" and I really liked it.  But, you have to select "Exact Matches" to see it.

2)  In "New search," I input "isaac" "seaver" and birth date "1823" and clicked the "Exact Match" box:

The results I received looked like this (this is on the "Records" View tab):

The screen above is the "Records" View, and the content is similar to the ranked matches screen in "Old Search" (i.e., with "Exact matches" not checked.

"New Search" has two Views on the results page above.  The other view is "Categories."  Do you see the tab for "Records" and "Categories" on the line above all of the matches (the one that says "Results 1-20 of 44" on the screen above?

If you click on the "Categories" tab you will see the ordered list of record categories with the record databases listed:

The format is somewhat different, but the layout is the same.  

There are more matches on the "Categories" list because I used a slightly different set of search terms.

3)  Does this help sort out the differences between "Old Search" and "New Search?"  I hope so.  

There are many more "features" and capabilities in "New Search" - I guess we'll have to go through them one by one in future posts so that my readers can learn about them.

The URL for this post is:

copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

A Tombstone for "Old Search"

There are many comments about the retirement of's "Old Search" at the Ancestry Comments Site message board.

Among the comments, are images of two tombstones for "Old Search:"

Thank you, user Talbotrail, for having a great sense of humor.

Andy Hatchett pointed out in the thread that has about 2 million subscribers, and since only about 2% of them use "Old Search" on a regular basis (defined by Ancestry as more than 10% of the time), that adds up to about 40,000 users.

My opinion is that "it seems like there are more than 2% because all we see are complaints on message boards, blog posts, Facebook, etc.  However, 40,000 individuals complaining is a long way off still."  My guess is right now there are hundreds on the different social media (message boards, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

If you want to complain, go do it on the Ancestry Comments Site message board.  Ancestry personnel are monitoring the board and answering questions.  By all means, please tell Ancestry what you want them to keep from the "Old Search" experience.

The URL for this post is:

copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Comparing "Old Search" and "New Search" Results on

There has been quite an outcry on the Interweb about's decision to retire the "Old Search" feature  from their website at an unknown future date.  You can read a number of posts concerning this announcement on Heather Rojo's Nutfield Genealogy blog - see "Flash Blog Mob."

One of the claims is that Ancestry's "New Search" algorithms provide results that are not as good as the "Old Search" algorithms.  I decided to do a study of both search algorithms using someone in my database (but someone whom I have not extensively searched).  At random, I picked Floyd Leonard Seaver, born 1892.  It's a relatively unique name.  I knew, from an Ancestry Member Tree and earlier research in census records, who his parents were, and his spouse's name (Verna Daniels).  I also considered who a person new to genealogy might search for - typically, a grandparent or great-grandparent.

1)  In "New Search," here is the search form I used on the Home Page - I entered first names, last name, and a birth year:

The Search results (using the "Records" list of results) have 52,872 listed.  The first 20 are shown below (in 3 screens, no overlap):

The results in order are:

*  Public Member Photo & Scanned Documents - Floyd Leonard Seaver (1892-1939)
*  Public Member Photo & Scanned Documents - Floyd Leonard Seaver (1892-1939)
*  1920 U.S. Federal Census - Floyd L. Seaver (born 1893), Solway, Bertrami, Minnesota
*  1930 U.S. Federal Census - Floyd Seaver (born 1890), Emporium, Cameron, Pennsylvania
*  1920 U.S. Federal Census - Floyd Seaver (born 1890), Zeeland, Ottawa, Michigan

*  1900 U.S. Federal Census - Floyd Seaver (born 1894), Bertha, Todd, Minnesota
*  1910 U.S. Federal Census - Floyd Seaver (born 1893), Woodside, Otter Tail, Minnesota
*  Minnesota Territorial; and State Census, 1849-1905 - 1905, Floyd Seaver (born 1894), Bertha, Todd, Minnesota
*  U.S. World War II Draft Registrations, 1942 - David Floyd Seaver (born 1889), Cameron, Pennsylvania
*  U.S. WWI Civilian Draft Registrations, 1917-1918 - David Floyd Seaver (born 1889), Emporium, Penn.

*  U.S. WWI Draft Registration Cards, 1917-`1918 - David Floyd Seaver (born 1889), Emporium, Cameron, Penn.
*  1900 U.S. Federal Census - Floyd E. Seaver (born 1887), Prairie, Keokuk, Iowa
*  1900 U.S. Federal Census - Leonard Seaver (born 1895), Windsor, Windsor, Vermont
*  U.S. WWI Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 - Elfred Floyd Seaver (born 1888), Ottawa, Michigan
*  1930 U.S. Federal Census - Leonard Seaver (born 1896), Claremont, Sullivan, N.H.

*  Public Member Photos and Scanned Documents - Lena Siegfried Joe Seaver and son Floyd at Thomber Cemetery
*  U.s. Social Security Death Index, 1935-Current - Leonard Seaver (born 1895), died Claremont, Sullivan, N.H.
*  Vermont Vital Records, 1720-1908 - Leonard Roy Seaver (born 1895), Windsor, Vermont
*  1920 U.S. Federal Census - Leonard R. Seaver (born 1896), Claremont, Sullivan, N.H.
*  U.S. World War I Draft Registrations, 1917-1918 - Leonard Roy Seaver (born 1895) , Sullivan, N.H.

After reviewing those 20, I concluded that Results #1, 2, 3, 6, 7, and 8 pertained to Floyd Leonard Seaver (1892-1939), who married Verna E. Daniels in about 1912, and resided in Minnesota.

2)  The "Old Search" form looks like this (with Floyd Leonard, Seaver, and 1892 in the search fields):

The Results list does not give an umber of matches.  Here are the first 20 matches (3 screens, no overlap):

I won't go through the match list, because they are almost the same.  Missing from the "Old Search" results are the Public Member Photos and Scanned Documents items.

Records pertaining to Floyd Leonard Seaver, born 1892, are # 1, 4, 5 and 6.  They are identical to #3, 6, 7 and 8 on the "New Search" list.

3)  Frankly, I don't see any significant difference from the "New Search" results.  The only differences are the Public Member Photos & Scanned Documents items.  If this was your grandfather, wouldn't you like to have the two photos?  And the link to the Ancestry Member Tree that has more information about him?  I would. [Note:  In this study, I'm not concerned with accuracy of an AMT, only the results obtained.]

4)  Thinking that maybe I just picked someone and lucked out, I did three more studies with essentially the same results.  These results match studies I've done in the past year - there is not much difference between the "Old Search" and "New Search"  algorithms.  There used to be some differences, but now there are not.

What about common name persons?  Yes, those are harder - there will be hundreds or thousands of matches just on the name.  The solution there is to narrow your search - use what you know about birth date, birth place, spouse's name, parents names, etc. to narrow your search in a specific collection.  Using wild cards to account for spelling variations works well also, and sometimes you have to search for no surname, or even no name at all (but using narrowing parameters).  Every serious researcher should know how to do this - and needs to practice it regularly.

5)  This is why I present "Searching Effectively" all over Southern California.  My next presentation is at the San Diego Genealogical Society meeting on Saturday, 13 July 2013.  At the end of each presentation on this topic, people come up to me and say something like "I didn't know that there were all of those options and features."  I tell them that the "New Search" algorithm is the most complex and most powerful search engine for genealogy records, and needs to be practiced and learned on a regular basis.  If you are paying for an subscription, you should be willing to invest enough time to learn how to use it efficiently and effectively.

6) For those readers who think that "Old Search" is superior, I encourage you to do a similar study for several of your ancestral persons.  Please tell me about it, or write your own blog or Facebook post, even if it's just a summary of your effort.

I hope that other geneabloggers will perform similar studies as the one above (you don't have to do everything I did), and demonstrate that the "New Search" capabilities are similar to the "Old Search" capabilities.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Follow-Up Friday - Helpful and Interesting Reader Comments

For Follow-up Friday, I take the day off and let reader comments carry the are some of the helpful and interesting reader comments from the past week, with my own responses when needed.

1)  On Does MyHeritage Show Living Persons in Their Family Trees? (26 June 2013):

*  Taco Goulooze noted:  "Yes, they do. Compare your post with a recent one by James Tanner:"

*  MyHeritage said:  "We're are investigating Anthony's situation right now. We take privacy very seriously."

*  Anthony Steel commented:  "I managed to deal with this and now have kindly fulfilled my request and deleted the said information regarding my family and I from their websites and all is to everyone’s satisfaction.

"I hope this matter is now concluded and I thank everyone concerned, which I am most appreciative."

*  Donna Coutant offered:  "Has Anthony ever used the BackupMyTree service to backup any native family tree files or GEDCOMs? BackupMyTree was acquired by MyHeritage in 2011. They sent the email notice pasted below on 6 Dec 2012, which explicitly states that data from BackupMyTree may be transferred to MyHeritage. I suspect this could be a potential root cause for Anthony's data to appear on MyHeritage."

My comment:  I'm glad that this was settled in a timely manner, and that Anthony is satisfied.  In an email to me, a MyHeritage representative said:  "If you click on 'About Us' at the foot of the home page, you'll see a link to contact us - which has a form for you to ask a question or send an email. Or you can click on 'Support' at the foot of the page, and then click on the company tab which also shows you the link to our contact information."

Donna's comment is especially troubling to me.  Does MyHeritage really add new trees to their collection based on BackUpMyTree content?  I didn't print the MyHeritage email above.  

*  Anonymous said:  "I know for a fact there are more than 2% that use the old search, myself included. I am more than a casual user. I use everyday. I do not like the new search at all. Now that old search is being retired i think it's about time I cancelled by subscription."

My comment:  You know this how?  I asked for more information, and they said in email:  "To determine this number we looked at all search logs for users who have used the site in the last 6 months and based on those logs, 2% of our active users used old search 10% or more of the time when searching. Even if we include those users who used old search for less than 10% of their total searches, the number only grows to 3.6%."

It's still a small number!  The Facebook page is hopping, though.  

*  Lisa Suzanne Gorrell noted:  "My problem isn't about the search. I've been using new search for awhile. I don't like the new viewer! I used to save the image by right-clicking and "save as" right to the folder where I want it saved. Now it seems I have to click save, then save to my computer. Once that is saved, it opens into some windows viewer where I have to open in another program such as Photoshop elements to save finally in the folder where I want it. That's way too many clicks!! Is it because I use Chrome as my browser? Any help on shortening these steps!"

My comment:  When in the "Interactive Viewer," you can switch to the "Basic Viewer" by clicking on "Image Tools" and select "Switch to Basic Viewer."  However, I am able to right-click the image in the "Interactive Viewer" and "Save As" and rename it and save it to a file folder of my choice.  I can't do that in the "Basic Viewer" since it is Flash based.  When I click the "Save" button in either viewer, I click "Save to my computer" and my computer puts the image in my "Downloads" folder, where I have to rename it, and then Cut/Paste the file into a file folder of my choice.  I'm using windows 7 and Chrome browser.

*  Drew Smith offered:  "Randy, instead of having to do an extra click to get to the Advanced Search (to set the Exact Search), why not just bookmark the Advanced Search page directly?"

My comment:  Where did I put my round tuit?  I have the Ancestry Home Page on my Bookmarks bar because I use it to go quickly to a specific census collection, or to see the new and updated databases, etc.  

*  Anonymous commented:  "Changing to New Search won't cause me to abandon Ancestry, but I do prefer the old search. For me, it's just annoying, mainly because of the hits that have nothing to do with my search criteria. Plus there's a lot of wasted space, the records could be more tightly packed. Seems like they don't want you to find things quickly."

My comment:  I don't have the problem you describe.  It's probably because we search using different tactics.  Michael Hait, in "Using's "New Search'" explained how he searches; some of the screens are different now.  My search process is very similar, although I immediately go to wild cards and narrowing using a birth year range and birth place or locality when I can't find results with my initial search.

*  Geolover said:  "OldSearch users have access to single-page scrollable database lists by category (such as 'Military') and the full database-list "Card Catalog" as a browsable and nicely searchable list.  These are not accessible to NewSearch users.

"Since the NewSearch engine does not search all databases, access to database lists is very useful. One area this applies to particularly is a group of church records transcripts from the Mohawk Valley which were poorly produced and OCR-indexed. A third to a half of the entries are not indexed at all.

"One persistent problem with NewSearch is when searching from a tree the search results consistently do not fit the person's vital dates, so for a person born 1869 there are going to be various Civil War and World War I database listings.

"Another is searching in US Census entries for Counties presently in West Virginia. They are not in the drop-down place lists, but are readily findable using OldSearch's type-in fields."

My comment:  Geolover always has helpful hints and database/search quirks, doesn't he?  

I've found that searching from within an Ancestry Member Tree that it uses all of the known information, fills in birth, marriage and death, adds parents, siblings, spouses and children, etc. The initial search is "not exact" and it finds millions of non-pertinent records.  The only "exact" matches are to other Ancestry Member Trees because of the search terms entered automatically.  

3)  On (Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 262: My Four-Generation Picture (26 June 2013):

*  Nancy asked:  "Randy maybe you've posted this before and I missed it what brand scanner do you use photo editing software?"

My response:  I use a Hewlett-Packard HP Photosmart C6350 All-in-One Printer/Scanner/copier unit now.  However, many of my photos were scanned using earlier machines with a variety of DPI settings.  I also scanned quite a few photos from photo album pages with the photos stuck to the page.  I don't have PhotoShop, but use the free PhotoScape ( program to edit my photos.

4)  On MyHeritage Record Matches Keep Delivering News! (4 April 2013):

*  Anonymous said:  "I have used FTB6 for about a year and a half. I paid for a data subscription but cancelled within weeks because Record Matching was totally useless, returning thousands of irrelevant and inaccurate matches.

"Currently I'm also 'enjoying' a complimentary data subscription while I run tests for MH so they can try to fix their lousy software.  I just reviewed my tests and have NEVER located anything of value in the newspaper collection. Only in the past few weeks have any relevant records turned up.

IMO the author of this blog would serve his audience better if he were more objective and critical, and less a mouthpiece of MyHeritage."

My response:  FTB6 doesn't work with Record Matching.  You need Family Tree Builder, Version 7.  I try to be objective and critical (when necessary), and I don't think that I am a "mouthpiece" for MyHeritage.  I enjoy and appreciate my relationship with the company.  You're entitled to your opinion.

5)  On "I Am My Own Grandpa" (30 June 2006):

*  Amanda Michelle wondered:  "Okay.. So today in class we did this, it was an option there were a few other options... Anyways, I chose this because I was more interested whenever he said I am my own Grandpa.. It's crazy... I looked at my teacher and I said Incest much? And everybody in the class just laughed their asses off.. I'm on my mobile right now.. Someone please comment and explain deeper to me? It really confuses me.. That's like screwing every family member he has!! That is so sick.. It made me interested in the first line: 'Many, many years ago when I was twenty-three I was married to a widow who was pretty as could be this widow had a grown-up daughter who had hair of red My father fell in love with her and soon the two were wed..'  It really caught my attention.. I have this whole thing memorized.. I have made a pedigree chart myself but it still confuses me.. Someone get back to me as soon as possible please?? "

*  Rick C. helped her out:  "There's no incest involved. He (23) married the widow (46), and his father (46) married the widow's daughter (23). Each couple had a son. The rest is labels.

"The person married to your daughter is called your son-in-law. In this case, his father married his daughter. So his father is both father AND son-in-law.

"Technically, his daughter is his step-mother, because she is married to his father, but is not his biological mother.

"The verses about the singer's [son/uncle/dad's brother-in-law] and the verses about the father's [son/singer's grandchild] are not relevant to the main theme of the song. They're just fun and add to the confusion.

"To clarify: 

"When I was 23, I married a 46-year-old widow, who had a 23-year-old daughter from her first marriage. She became my adopted daughter.

"My father married my adopted daughter. My father's new wife is called my step-mother.

"My wife is the mother to my stepmother (adopted daughter), which makes her my mother's mother, or my grandmother.

"Since my wife is my grandmother, I am her grandson.

"As husband of my grandmother, I am the grandfather to my wife's grandson.

" I am my own grandpa.  Whew."

My comment:  Great explanation.  Thanks, Rick!  It's not often I have a comment on a 2006 blog post.  I wonder if Amanda saw the comment?

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Thursday, June 27, 2013 Quirk - RootsMagic 6 Person Notes Don't Always Upload to a New Ancestry Member Tree

I've been working a lot this week in my Ancestry Member Trees, since I'm making a presentation about them in July for the San Diego Genealogical Society.  I created a new GEDCOM file in RootsMagic 6, and used it as an example of creating an AMT using a GEDCOM file.

1)  When I looked at some of my persons in the newly added Tree, I found that the Notes were not transmitted completely.  Some persons had the Person notes, but others had what appeared to be a Photo Caption as the only line in the Notes in the Ancestry Member Tree.  Here is a screen shot from my new Ancestry Member Tree (called "Randy Seaver's Ancestors - July 2013") of Isaac Seaver (1823-1901):

2)  I got to wondering how this happened, so I went back into RootsMagic 6 and created a small working tree (called "Isaac Seaver-Media") for 4 generations of descendants of Isaac Seaver, and recorded the parameters I chose to create the GEDCOM file:

I unclicked everything but Sources, Notes and Multimedia links, as shown above.  Here is the screenshot of the Notes for Isaac Seaver in the uploaded AMT using those Export GEDCOM parameters:

So I duplicated the problem.  Because a Photo Caption was in the Note, I figured that putting the "Multimedia links," which include photo captions, might be the problem.

3)  I also created another GEDCOM file (called "Isaac Seaver-No Media") in RootsMagic for the same selected people, but left the "Multimedia links" unchecked.  Here is the Notes page for Isaac Seaver after I uploaded that GEDCOM to as a new tree:

It appears that the GEDCOM file that is read and interpreted by when I left the "Multimedia links" item checked in RootsMagic 6 for a GEDCOM 5.5.1 export becomes corrupted somehow - substituting a photo caption for the Person notes.  However, this doesn't occur for all people!

4)  I looked at the GEDCOM files for both of the newly added Ancestry Member Files.  I didn't see much difference, except the links and captions for the multimedia links were in the "Media" GEDCOM file and not in the "No Media" GEDCOM file.

I wonder if other persons have had this problem. and if, or RootsMagic, has knowledge of it?  I can't be the only person uploading a GEDCOM created by RootsMagic 6 to, can I?

I hope that both RootsMagic and will review this problem and report back to the genealogical community of their findings.  I don't know which end of the string is causing the problems.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver to Retire "Old Search" Capability

I received this email from today:


" is continuing our efforts to improve the search experience across and will be making changes to our search functionality in the upcoming months. Some features will be added and some will be discontinued. As part of the 2% of our subscribers that use the old search function on the site, we know that you are passionate about the search experience on and we are reaching out to you to get input on potential improvements. We hope you will take the opportunity to share your insights and feedback on our plans.

"To identify which areas of the experience we should focus on this year, we have drawn on customer input, usage data, usage patterns and our old search function for inspiration. From all of that, we are looking at making your time on more productive by improving these areas of the search experience in 2013:
  • More relevant search results with the best results at the top
  • Easier refining and control of your search results
  • Keeping a better history of the work you have done
  • Publishing more new content and more corrections to existing content
  • Performance improvements to return results faster
"As we begin to make these improvements, we will no longer maintain two separate search systems for the site. Maintaining two systems limits the resources we can use to make improvements and increases the complexity of every improvement we try to make. Additionally, continuing to maintain the two systems limits our ability to direct more investment into other areas like adding more record collections and correcting existing collections.

"Based on that, as a part of the work this year we will be bringing together the two search experiences into a single search experience on We hope to bring forward the best features of both the old and new search systems into the consolidated experience to facilitate the transition for our users and to improve the overall search experience. We expect to discontinue the old search function as a separate experience within the next 6 months.

"As a user of the old search feature, we wanted to give you advance notice and let you influence the changes we are making in search. Please take this survey to share your feedback and ideas on key features to improve.

"Best regards,
The Product Team"


I filled out the survey and gave my opinions about "Old Search" and "New Search."

I currently use "Old Search" infrequently - I like the "New Search" name and location filtering, and can almost always find what I'm searching for.  

They provided no certain date for retiring "Old Search" - my guess is that they will retire it when they incorporate new features into "New Search."

When I give my "Searching Effectively" presentation, a significant number of attendees raise their hand saying they prefer "Old Search."  Some of them are not aware that there is a "New Search," and will be greatly surprised when the change is made.  My impression is that many of these people are very casual users of and not every-day users.  

My view is that while only 2% of all searches are using "Old Search," it may be that much more than 2% of the subscribers are still using it.  

I do wish that "New Search:"

*  Had an "Exact match" box on the Home page.  I work around it by going to the "Search" page or picking a specific collection or database on the home page.  Each click adds up on my carpal tunnel.

*  Consistently worked with wild cards for names on the Home page.  I've written about this before, and talked to them at RootsTech.  They're aware of my issues and said it would be fixed soon.  

*  Permitted a wild card in first and last characters (FamilySearch does...).

My opinion is that "New Search" works very well for my research needs, and is the most sophisticated and complex search algorithm set in genealogy.  It will probably get better in future months as adds new features that capture the "best of Old Search features" and adds more bells and whistles.  

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Disclosure:  I am a fully paid subscriber to, but have received complimentary goods and services in past years from Ancestry.  I witnessed a confidential presentation in early June 2013 about the changes to be made on, including this information about retiring "Old Search."

Treasure Chest Thursday - 1830 U.S. Census for Jonathan Oatley Household

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 1830 United States Census record for Jonathan Oatley (one of my 3rd great-grandfathers) in South Kingstown, Washington County, Rhode Island:

The Jonathan Oatley household (official census date is 1 June 1830):

The extracted information from this census record is:

*  3 males under age 5 [probably William (born 1824?), Benedict (born 1826) and Jonathan (born 1828)]
*  2 males aged 5 to under 10 [probably Lorenzo (born 1821) and Stephen (born 1822)]
*  2 males aged 10 to under 15 [probably John (born 1815) and Joseph (born 1816)]
*  1 male aged 30 to under 40 [certainly Jonathan (born 1790)]
*  2 females under age 5 [probably Amy (born 1826) and ????]
*  1 female aged 10 to under 15 [probably Nancy (born 1818)]
*  1 females aged 15 to under 20 [perhaps Almira (born 1817)]
*  1 female aged 30 to under 40 [certainly Amy, wife of Jonathan (born 1798)]

The source citation for this entry is:

1830 United States Federal Census, Washington County, Rhode Island, population schedule, South Kingstown, Page 135 (penned), Jonathan Oatley household; digital image, ( : accessed 27 June 2013), citing National Archives Microfilm Publication M19, Roll 167.

I was missing this census record, so I figured that the name was not indexed correctly on  I found it today by searching for "jon*" in Washington County, Rhode Island.  He was indexed as "Jonathan Catly."  I can't fault the indexer - it does look like "Catly."

There are minor errors in the numbers of children in each age group (assuming that the Oatley book [Harry J. Oatley, The Oatley Family in America and Their Descendants (Providence, R.I. : The Oatley Family Association, 1970), page 40] has correct information).  None of the Oatley children had married by 1830, and all of the children listed in the Oatley book born before 1830 lived to adulthood.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I've Switched to Feedly for My Blog Reading

When I heard that Google Reader was shutting down on 30 June 2013, my reaction was "oh no, how will I be able to read the 1,4xx blogs that I am subscribed to on Google Reader?"

I decided to wait for someone smarter than me to figure out what RSS reader feeds were available to use as a substitute, and the consensus, at least among bloggers that I read, is that Feedly ( works nearly the same as Google Reader.  There are differences, however.

So I registered (for FREE) for Feedly last month, and have been using it all of this week.  Here are some screen shots, with some of the features of Feedly:

1)  My default screen shows All of the unread posts in Full post mode under the "My Feedly" column in the left-hand column:

At the top of the left-hand column is a link for "Add content" - you can add a feed by clicking that button.

I'm also showing the complete list of the blogs in my feed (there is a small icon to the left of the "Uncategorized" word in the left column - click that and all of your blog titles will appear).  There are link items in the left-hand column for:

*  Today
*  Saved for Later
*  All
*  Uncategorized

and below the list of blogs on my page above, there are link items for:

*  Index
*  Recently Read
*  Preferences
*  Themes
*  Feedly Blog
*  Help

Here is the bottom of one of the posts:

Further down the right-hand column, at the bottom of each post, there are icons for:

*  Google+1
*  Twitter
*  LinkedIn
*  Facebook
*  Buffer (?)
*  M.416 (?)
*  Save for Later
*  Tag
*  Other social Media
*  Remove from the list

2)  At the top of the right-hand column, are the headings for the list type (in my case, the category "All"), a link for "keyboard shortcuts," and on the right side of the top line are icons for:

*  title only view,
*  magazine view,
*  cards view
*  full article view
* mark as read,
* change layout and filtering
*  refresh
*  jump to next (the next category when in a category list)

2)  Here is the "Cards View:"

3)  Here is the "Magazine View:"

4)  Here is the "Titles View:"

5)  If I switch to read a specific blog, by clicking on the blog name in the blog list in the left-hand column), the latest post for that blog shows up:

The information at the top of the right-hand column changes to include the blog title, an "Edit" button and a "Remove" button.

6)  I was curious about the "keyboard shortcuts" so I clicked on it, and a popup window lists the keyboard shortcuts available to the user:

Those shortcuts have at least some of the keystrokes I'm used to on Google Reader (I've only used the J and K keys...I guess I missed the others!).

One thing that I don't like about Feedly (and maybe it's there and I haven't found it yet) is that it doesn't list previously read items on the "All" list in the right-hand column.  I often read past the end of the "unread" list on Google Reader (mainly because I've read some on the iPhone app but haven't been able to add them to a Best Of post), and I would like that capability.  I cannot remember everything these days...

The URL for this post is:

copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Does MyHeritage Show Living Persons in Their Family Trees?

I recently received a comment from Antony Steel on my blog post Connecting to Other Researchers Through (posted 23 June 2011).  I don't know how accurate Anthony's claim is, but it's worth raising to the genealogy world and MyHeritage:

Here's Anthony's initial email to MyHeritage:

I discovered that there is personal information about myself and my wife published on the website.

I am not and never have been a member of, have no wish to join and have no associations with anyone one on there and have never consented to any of my personal information being published within

They say; If a privacy breach is suspected, e.g. one relative posts the details of another relative without permission, the company deletes any data as requested by its owners within 1 to 2 business days.

On 18 June 2013, Anthony sent in a request to to have any personal data they have regarding his immediate family and himself deleted and here is their response:

This is an automatic response

Thank you for writing to MyHeritage.

E-mail support is a premium feature and is available without limits to our subscribers (Premium, PremiumPlus and Data).

If you already have a premium account on MyHeritage but not under the myemail@mail address, please go to our help center log in to MyHeritage using your premium account and then send us your question from there.

If you would like to receive direct access to our support team, consider purchasing a data subscription or data credits
You will gain many additional benefits including unlimited searches in MyHeritage SuperSearch™ and access to Record Matches. Learn more here
You are also welcome to use our knowledge base to find an answer to your question. This is the best way to find answers to the most frequently asked questions at MyHeritage.



Anthony's reply to this email was:

Are you seriously stating that as a profit making company I have no wish to be associated with and using personal data of my family and I without consent, that I would be required to pay a fee in order to view what you have about me on your website and have deleted?

If this is the case, than this is an outrage.

Why should I be part of a subscription fee company, in which I have no desires to be associated with?

I fully intend to take this matter further, no matter how long it takes.

Anthony Steel

Anthony said in the comment:

This is an outrage. These companies believe they have a free hand to acquire anyone’s personal information or their subscribers using the facilities and use it in order to support their fee subscription company site, without consent or consideration of those who have no wish to have their details published or available by a company or someone else’s website not pertaining to them.

I don't know if Anthony is right about this or not.  If he wants to email me at with a specific example (I do need a name, birth date and parents names), I will be happy to investigate and respond to him.

I do think that MyHeritage should be able to provide a response to a privacy concern with more than a form letter that says "subscribe to receive a response from a real person."

The MyHeritage Privacy Policy is at  One paragraph that may be pertinent is:

"If you choose to invite other family members or other users to view and edit your family tree, we will ask you for the individual's email address and name. You must first make certain that you have obtained their consent to pass on their details to MyHeritage. We will only use this information for the purpose of sending the individual his/her access details and will not use the information we collect as a result of this process for marketing purposes.

"In addition you should also make sure that information or material you wish to place on the Website about anyone living is only posted with their prior knowledge and consent. If the person is under the legal age to enter into agreements (typically 18 years old), you represent that you have obtained the consent of the parent or guardian of the person under the legal age to enter into agreements. In all cases, you must make the implications of the consent clear to the person (or, if applicable, to the parent/guardian)."

Is MyHeritage saying in this paragraph that if someone posts information about living people, that they have no responsibility for protecting the privacy of those persons?

To test this, I logged out of MyHeritage, and put myself in the Search box with my birth year, chose "Exact matches" and found only one match - for the California Birth Index, 1905-1995.  I did the same for my daughter, and my cousin, with the same result.  It appears to me that MyHeritage does not find living persons in the family trees for a researcher not logged in.  

I don't know what happened in Anthony's case.  Perhaps their is data for him in a publicly available database like a Birth Index, or perhaps he was invited to join a relative's family tree, did so, and was not asked by the contributor to approve inclusion of his data.  

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver