Saturday, November 23, 2013

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Show Us Your Surname Distribution Maps

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

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

1) Where did families with your surname reside in the USA (in 1840, 1880 or 1920) or England/Wales (in 1891)?

2)  Go to the FREE Ancestry.con Surname Distribution Map page ( to find out.

3)  Tell us what you learned from this page, and show us some maps, in your own blog post, on a Facebook status or a Google+ Stream post.

Here's mine:

For my SEAVER surname, I learned that:

*  Seaver Name Meaning

English: from the medieval personal name Sefare, a continuation of an unattested Old English female name, S?faru, composed of the elements s? ‘sea’ + faru ‘journey’. This name has also been established in Ireland since the early 17th century.
Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press

In the USA in 1840, the surname distribution map shows:

In the 1840 U.S. census, Massachusetts has the highest number of Seaver families, with New York, Vermont and New Hampshire next. 

From the 1880 U.S. Census records:

In the 1880 U.S. census, the heaviest concentration of Seaver families was in New York and Massachusetts.

From the 1920 U.S. Census records:

By 1920, there were Seaver families in all but 6 U.S. states, with the heaviest concentration in New York and Massachusetts.  However, the number of families with this surname is significantly reduced for some reason.

For England and Wales in the 1891 census:

In the 1891 England and Wales census, the heaviest concentration of Seaver families is in London, and the next highest is in Surrey and Sussex.  

There are other information items below the maps, including:

*   Family Origin - the New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 collection finds 19 immigrants from England, 5 from Ireland and 5 from Great Britain.  [Perhaps this is only for 1851 to 1891?  I don't know!]

*  Family Immigration over the years 1851-1891

*  Average Life Expectancy (from the SSDI) - the chart didn't show up for me

*  Family Occupations - top 6 occupations for the general public and Seaver folks from 1880 U.S. census data.

*  Civil War Service Records - There were 140 Union soldiers and 20 Confederate soldiers in the records

*  Message Board - the Seaver message board on Rootsweb has 114 messages on 85 threads.

I showed you mine - now please show us yours!

The URL for this post is:

copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Surname Saturday - TOMPKINS (England to colonial Rhode Island)

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

I am in the 7th great-grandmothers and I'm up to Ancestor  #739, who is the mother of Deliverance LNU, whose parentage I don't know.  So I'll go to the next number in the ancestor name list with a known ancestor, which is #741 Elizabeth TOMPKINS (1675-1729) 
[Note: the earlier great-grandmothers and 7th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts].

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

1.  Randall J. Seaver (1943-living)

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

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

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

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

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

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

184.  Benedict Oatley (1732-1821)
185.  Elizabeth Ladd (1735-1814)

370.  Joseph Ladd (1701-1748)
371.  Lydia Gray (1707-????)

740.  William Ladd, born about 1665 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island, United States; died before 21 October 1729 in Little Compton, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.  He was the son of 1480. Joseph Ladd and 1481. Joanna.  He married 17 February 1695 in Little Compton, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.
741.  Elizabeth Tompkins, born 1675 in Little Compton, Newport, Rhode Island, United States; died after 1729 in Rhode Island, United States.  

Children of William Ladd and Elizabeth Tompkins are:
*  Sarah Ladd (1696-????)
*  William Ladd (1697-????)
*  Mary Ladd (1699-1734), married 1723 Joseph Seabury (1678-1755).
*  Priscilla Ladd (1700-????), married 1720 Manchester (1685-????).
*  Joseph Ladd (1701-1748), married 1731 Lydia Gray (1707-????)
*  Samuel Ladd (1703-????)
*  Elizabeth Ladd (1704-????), married 1725 George Shrieve
*  John Ladd (1706-????)
*  Catherine Ladd (1707-????)
*  Lydia Ladd (1711-????), married 1732 Samuel Seabury (1702-1768)
*  Hannah Ladd (1712-????)
*  Ruth Ladd (1714-????).

1482.  Nathaniel Tompkins, born about 1650 in probably Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States; died before 19 May 1724 in Little Compton, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.   He married 15 January 1671 in Rhode Island, United States.
1483.  Elizabeth Allen, born July 1651 in Newport, Newport, Rhode Island, United States; died 24 March 1714 in Little Compton, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.  She was the daughter of 2966. John Allen and 2967. Elizabeth Bacon.

Children of Nathaniel Tompkins and Elizabeth Allen are:
*  Robert Tompkins (1673-????)
*  Elizabeth Tompkins (1675-1729), married 1695 William Ladd (1665-1729)
*  Nathaniel Tompkins (1676-1748, married 1696 Elizabeth Ladd.
*  Mary Tompkins (1677-????)
*  Priscilla Tompkins (1679-1732), married 1703 Samuel Lyndon.
*  Samuel Tompkins (1681-1760)
*  Rebecca Tompkins (1684-1688)
*  Mercy Tompkins (1685-1736), married 1707 William Bowdish (1673-1753).
*  Sarah Tompkins (1689-????), married Benjamin Gifford (1685-1754).
*  Hannah Tompkins (1695-1773), married 1717 Timothy Gifford (1691-1780).

2964.  Nathaniel Tompkins, born about 1610 in Wendover, Buckinghamshire, England; died 06 September 1684 in Rhode Island, United States.  

Child of Nathaniel Tompkins is:
*  Nathaniel Tompkins (1650-1724), married 1671 Elizabeth Allen (1651-1714)

5928.  Ralph Tompkins, born about 1585 in Buckinghamshire, England; died before 12 November 1666 in Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 11856. John Tomkyns.  He married 06 November 1608 in Wendover, Buckinghamshire, England.
5929.  Katherine Foster, born about 1586 in England; died after 03 April 1642 in Massachusetts, United States.

Children of Ralph Tompkins and Katherine Foster are:
*  John Tompkins (1609-1684), married 1635 Margaret (1612-1672)
*  Nathaniel Tompkins (1610-1684).
*  Samuel Tompkins (1611-1676), married 1639 Lettice Foster.
*  Elizabeth Tompkins (1612-????)
*  Mary Tompkins (1617-1656), married 1647 John Foster (1625-1687)

Ralph Tompkins has a sketch in The Great Migration, Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volume VII, pages 68-72.  The sketch does not include a son named Nathaniel Tompkins, born about 1610, so the parentage of that Nathaniel Tompkins may be in error.  I haven't figured that out yet!

The records for some of the family of Nathaniel Tompkins, born 1650, are in the book:

Benjamin Franklin Wilbour, Little Compton Families ( Little Compton, R.I.: Little Compton Historical Society, 1967).

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Friday, November 22, 2013

Challenges of a Shared Ancestry Member Tree

I participated in a discussion yesterday which DearMYRTLE (Pat Richley-Erickson) moderated an Ancestry Member Trees: Practical Collaboration Tips Hangout On Air.  You can view it online or below (it's 31 minutes long):

This Hangout On Air above was done because Russ Worthington and I have two different "styles" of researching and adding content to genealogical software programs, and we had some problems while collaborating on an Ancestry Member Tree.

I am very much "Conclusion-based" and always have been. In other words, I pick the very best names, dates or places I can find for each event and often make that the only entry for each event.  I use the sources that support that date and/or place, and discard the other alternate events that have different dates and places.  Persons in my family tree (software and online) have many events with sources, but few alternate names or events that reflect the information in every source I've found to date.  For example, a Birth event would have the day-month-year date that was found in one or more sources, but there would not be alternate dates from other sources, like census or cemetery records.

Russ is very much "Evidence-based." He takes each source that he finds, extracts all of the names and events that he can find, and assigns one of each type of event as a "Preferred" event.  A Person in Russ's tree has several different alternate names (e.g., the names found in each source) and several different entries for events (e.g., a birth event might have several different year dates from census records or a cemetery record, and might include a day-month-year birth date from one or more sources).

The important thing here is not "what is the right way to do this" but "how do we sort this out so that we both benefit from the results."

During the Louis Burr Powell investigation (seCrowdSourcing Opportunity: When and Where did John Louis Powell Die? and succeeding posts), Russ started a Family Tree Maker 2014 file, and sent an early copy of it to me in Dropbox.  I started my own Family Tree Maker 2014 file from Russ's file, and proceeded with my research.  Russ proceeded with his research on this problem also, and synced his FTM 2014 to an Ancestry Member Tree.

Russ shared the Ancestry Member Tree that he started with me - he as the "Owner" and me as an "Editor" role.  As an "Editor," I can add content to it, but I cannot download it as a GEDCOM file or synchronize it to my Family Tree Maker 2014 file.

Several weeks ago, I went into the shared Ancestry Member Tree and noticed that Russ had the name of Louis Powell's wife as "Ethel _____".  I had found that her maiden name was Hall, so I went into the shared AMT and edited the name of "Ethel _____" to "Ethel Hall."  I also noticed that he had another marriage for Ethel that was incorrect, so I wrote a Comment on Ethel's profile page in the AMT telling him to change it.

When Russ next looked at his FTM 2014 database, he noticed that he needed to sync his file, which meant that something had changed in the AMT or his FTM 2014 database.  He did that.  When I made the comment in the AMT, he received an email from with the comment.

A problem occurred because the "Preferred" name of "Ethel _____" had a source citation attached to it - probably a census record.  Because I had changed the "Preferred" name to "Ethel Hall" in the AMT, the source information for that name entry did not match the name.  Russ discussed this in his blog post A couple of thoughts about Sharing / Collaborating with others on his Family Tree Maker User blog.  In that blog, Russ shows the "Please Read" "story" that he added to the "Tree Overview" page laying out his organizing practices and suggestions for dealing with changes to the tree.

This is what Russ and I discussed on the Hangout On Air - with help from Pat as facilitator.  We understand each other better now and can discuss the differences and challenges freely.

The problems with collaborating on a shared Ancestry Member Tree include:

*  One person is the "Owner" and is the only one who can download a GEDCOM file from or sync the AMT with Family Tree Maker 2014.  The "Editor" or "Contributor" or "Guest" cannot do either task.

*  If two people start from one FTM 2014 database and do independent research and data entry in two databases, there is no way to bring the two databases back together in a dynamic environment in one place.  A peer-to-peer synchronization would be the ideal - where information I add gets updated in Russ's tree, and information Russ adds gets updated in my tree.  

* The peer-to-peer synchronization ideal cannot yet be achieved - it requires a software program (online or resident on the computers) which does not exist yet.. The only way to do this at present is for one of us to send their database to the other via Dropbox, and then merge the two files, then share them back and sync the updated file to the Ancestry Member Tree.  Someone would have to deal with duplicate entries for names or events.  That seems very cumbersome to me.

It may be that collaboration of this sort could best be done in a "connected" online family tree like the FamilySearch Family Tree, using the "Discussions" feature to discuss problems and changes. The "Change Log" would keep track of who did what when in the person profile.  Sources, notes, and record images can be added to each person profile.  Changes could be made dynamically, and be reflected back to the other person in near real time.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

DearMYRTLE's Google+ Hangouts on Air - Mondays With Myrt, and More!

I have known DearMYRTLE (AKA Pat Richley-Erickson) for about five years now, and am amazed by her ability to adapt to the rapidly changing world of genealogy technology.  Pat is, I think, one of the very best genealogy educators, and friends, that we have in the genealogical community.

In addition to her DearMYRTLE Genealogy Blog, she takes regular turns on the Legacy Family Tree Webinars.  She also has a DearMYRTLE Facebook Group page, a Google+ DearMYRTLE's Genealogy Community page, and has been doing Hangouts On Air on Google+ for more than a year now.  Her Google+ Hangouts On Air are all archived on the DearMYRTLE YouTube page.

1)  Pat did a discussion series using Google+ Hangouts On Air several months ago on Thomas Jones' recent book Mastering Genealogical Proof that was educational and helpful to those who participated in the discussions, or watched them, and who studied the book.  She wants to do a second series with new panelists, and has put out a call for MGP Study Group 2 members in this Hangout On Air video:

2)  I have been on several of the "Mondays With Myrt" Hangouts On Air with Pat and 8 other folks (the cast varies) on the panel as they discuss the issues of the day, and I've watched most of the ones I've missed.  Here is last Monday's With Myrt Hangout On Air for 18 November 2013:

3)  This past week, Pat has made several other Hangouts On Air on short subjects, including:

*  Ancestry Member Trees: Sharing Options with Russ Worthington:

*  Ancestry Member Trees: What Is Syncing with Russ Worthington:

*  Ancestry Member Trees: Practical Collaboration Tips with Russ Worthington and myself:

These Hangouts On Air are fun to do and, hopefully, are educational for the viewers.

I will discuss some of the issues that we discussed in the latter Hangout On Air in a separate post.

4)  Needless to say, genealogy education has really gone to the video side (with webinars, streaming video from conference sessions, and Hangouts On Air).  The Hangouts On Air really facilitate discussions between panel members (it helps having a capable moderator like Pat!) and therefore exposes different views, knowledge and skills of the participants.  This is how collaboration should work, and I think that this is one of the most entertaining and useful ways to collaborate with other researchers.

Google+ Hangouts can be done one-on-one between two people, or up to ten people, in a live setting that is not archived, or they can be done with a number of panelists in a Hangout On Air that will be archived on YouTube.  The real beauty of Google+ Hangouts is that they can be done without a fee-based software provider like GoToWebinar.  They are free to participate in and watch.

Hangouts really open the possibility of distance sharing between family members, distant cousins, etc. They also offer the possibility of distance learning between speakers making presentations with genealogical society meeting attendees, since panelists can share their screen with the viewers.  Free.

If you are not a user of Google+, then you are missing out on one of the most active and interesting social media outlets for genealogists. Many in the genealogy community have adopted Google+ and are participating in genealogy-oriented groups like the DearMYRTLE's Genealogy Community.  You do have to join the group, and put other persons in your Circles, but it's all free.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Genealogist Beware: is a Commercial Site

Dick Eastman posted "New Web Site: to Help Automate Genealogical Research" today on the Eastman Online Genealogy Newsletter blog.

I was curious so I clicked through to see if it was worthwhile to explore further:

Here is the home page:

I put Isaac Seaver's name in the fields and clicked on "Search Now."

A popup window appeared that said they have access to over 500 million records nationwide, and my search found "over 75" records for Isaac Seaver in the United States.

I clicked the blue "Continue" button and saw essentially the same message:

I clicked the "Continue" button and the order form popped up:

So it looks like I can enter my personal information and my credit card information, and for only one dollar ($1) they will provide a report with all of the information they found, presumably via email.  You can also subscribe for a year at $18.95 per month for up to 25 monthly reports.

Most search requests with even uncommon names return "75 records."  

A search for "Joseph Zxcvbadfas" returns 75 records.  A Google search returns zero matches, an search returns zero matches or search returns zero matches.

More questions:

*  Will I get only the first 75 records?

*  Can they find my particular John Smith who died in 1675 in Massachusetts?  Or is it just recent records (20th century or later)?

*  Are they only "death records" from some resource?  Or are there other records also?

*  Why can't I input more information, like a place name or a year (or year range) in order to narrow the search?

*  What resources does this web site access?  The site provides no list of resources.

*  How does this "automate" my genealogy search?  Does it give me green leaf hints, or suggested record matches, or add facts to my RootsMagic program?  No, it probably gives me a list of names and other information that I would have to manually enter into my database if they apply to my person.

The "About Us" link indicated that this is really an obituary lookup service.  Does it access only free publicly available databases (like the Rootsweb Obituary Daily Times?)?

Back on the home page, there was a link for a 24/7 Live Chat link, so I engaged that and discussed the resources with "Harry" (which doesn't match the picture of the pretty woman on the chat box):

Here is the conversation I had with "Harry:"

Please wait for a site operator to respond.
You are now chatting with 'Harry'
Harry: Welcome to Customer Service Livechat. In order to pull up your account, could you please provide me the email address, full name and zip code you used to order our services?
you: I don't have an account yet. How extensive are your resources? Is there a list of the resources you use to search for death records?
Harry: Our reports are generated from several databases and we provide all the information available.
you: do I get charged if you don't find anything?
Harry: We offer 100% Money back. If you don't find anything then you can contact us and ask for refund.
you: other websites tell me what resources they use. Do you check or or or or the California Death Index or the Social Security Master Death File?
Harry: Like I said our reports are generated from several databases and we provide all the information available.
you: surely you have a list of all of your databases. Why won't you provide a listing of them?
Harry: I am sorry but I don't have that information.
you: OK, thanks for your help.
Harry: Thanks for chatting. Have a great day.

OK, so I found out that Harry doesn't know what resources they have.  Most genealogy websites tell you, even boast about, their resources.  This site doesn't.

At least the price is relatively low for a "death record."  I resisted the temptation to see what $1 would buy me to find out about Isaac Seaver.

This is a commercial web site for obituary lookups.  The primary market is probably the public who are not genealogists and want to see when their friend or relative died.  But it's probably not a fraud site - it will probably return 75 matches in response to a request and the payment.

In my humble opinion, other websites with more resources are available for genealogy researchers, and many of them are free to use.

Genealogists beware...

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Where Was I 50 Years Ago Today at 11 a.m. PST?

The short answer is:  In the cafeteria at San Diego State University eating lunch.

I had just gotten out of my 9:30 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. class (math, engineering, economics? I don't remember).  I had another class starting at 1 p.m. and needed to eat lunch, watch girls, and study.

I no sooner sat down with my sack lunch (bologna sandwich, apple, cookies?) and the announcement came over the public address system that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas, and was taken to the hospital.  Shortly thereafter came the news that he had died.

Another announcement said that classes for the rest of the day were cancelled.  I had finished eating, so I went out to the bus stop and took the S bus down to El Cajon Boulevard, then the E bus west to 30th Street, and the 2 bus south to Ivy Street and walked across the street to my home at 2119 30th Street.

When I charged up the stairs and opened the front door, my father was there standing by his desk (he worked at home several days a week as a Prudential insurance agent) and he said "Randy, this is a terrible thing."  It looked like he was profoundly sad.  I don't remember if my mother was home, or if she said anything to me when I got home; I'm sure she was at home and was probably in the kitchen or out in the yard staying away from my father.

On 22 November 1963, I was a 20-year old college student majoring in engineering, with an intense interest in world affairs, politics, geography, football and girls.  I had graduated from San Diego High School (a well-integrated high school) with honors in 1961, had worked for the San Diego Chargers during the summer of 1963 as a camp boy (my first real "paying" job), and was in my junior year of college.

President Kennedy had visited San Diego in June 1963, and I had been in the throng along El Cajon Boulevard when his motorcade passed by on the way to his commencement address at San Diego State.

I liked President Kennedy, mainly because my father didn't.  Even so, I considered myself a Republican because I agreed with the economic, domestic and foreign policies of the party, and especially liked the civil rights aspect of the Republicans in the U.S. Senate.  Kennedy's policies were close to my views, although I thought that the 1961 Cuban adventure was a big mistake.  I believed in civil rights for all people, and was aghast at what happened in the South to peaceful protesters and demonstrators. In the past months, President Kennedy had stood up for civil rights for African-Americans. I hoped that things would be better for minorities in the USA.

While I was a quiet believer in civil rights, my father was not.  He was prejudiced, like many persons at this time.  Not just against black people, no, he was an equal opportunity bigot - against Mexicans, Catholics, Italians, lazy people, wealthy people, communists, you name it...against everybody but hard-working white English-speaking people.  Both of my parents voted for Republicans for President throughout their lives.

That's why I was shocked when he said what he said when I got home - I found out that my father actually had a heart and understood what this major historical event meant to our country and the world.  Over time, his views changed a bit as he met, liked and respected more African-Americans.

Over the next days, through the killing of Oswald, to the funeral for President Kennedy, we were all glued to the television set in the living room.  We watched it all - there was nothing to do; the Chargers game was delayed a week on Sunday.  The San Diego Union newspaper front page for Saturday, 23 November 1963 said it all:

I still have this newspaper, wrapped in plastic, somewhere in my boxes of family stuff.

Over the ensuing years, I followed the Warren Commission investigation, read all of the early conspiracy books, and gradually came to the conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald was the person who fired the shots.  But was he a lone assassin?  Was he a patsy for another group?

The evidence is pretty clear for me 50 years later, and is summed up in a Power Line article today that reprints Edward Jay Epstein's 1983 Wall Street Journal article concerning the evidence known about Lee Harvey Oswald.  I think that Oswald did it by himself, acting to impress the Cubans and Soviets to give him a visa to travel to Havana and then Moscow and be hailed as a hero.

The URL for this post is:

copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Transferring Media Files Between Software Programs - Post 4: RootsMagic GEDCOM Imported to an Ancestry Member Tree

I am posting a series on transferring Media Files between genealogy software programs and an Ancestry Member Tree using a GEDCOM export.  Here are the posts to date:

Transferring Media Files Between Software Programs - Post 1: Project Defined and RootsMagic GEDCOM Created

*  Transferring Media Files Between Software Programs - Post 2: RootsMagic GEDCOM Imported to Family Tree Maker 2014

*  Transferring Media Files Between Software Programs - Post 3: RootsMagic GEDCOM Imported to Legacy Family Tree 7.5

In this post, I'm going to import the GEDCOM file created using RootsMagic 6 into an Ancestry Member Tree and see if all of the Media Files transfer during this process.  

Note that Ancestry Member Trees are FREE to create (with a free registration) or upload via GEDCOM, but registered users cannot access record databases or other Ancestry Member Trees without subscribing to

1)  The GEDCOM import into a new Ancestry Member Tree went easily and quickly.  On an page, I ran my mouse over the "Family Tree" button in the main menu and selected "Upload a GEDCOM" from the list.  On the "Upload a Family Tree" page, I browsed my file folders and selected the GEDCOM file, unchecked the box to make the new tree public, added a short description, and checked the "I accept the Submission Agreement" box. 

I clicked on the orange "Upload" button and the GEDCOM file uploaded.  I didn't count the minutes to do this.

2)  After the upload, I checked the "Tree Settings" link, and changed the "home person" to myself: 

The Tree Overview page told me that I had 50 persons, no photos, no stories and no records.  I figured it would take some time to upload the media.

3)  After some time, I went to my father's "Pedigree" view and saw:

There were already green leaf Hints.  I ran my mouse over my father's name, and picked the "View profile" icon and saw the person profile:

I clicked on the "Media Gallery" tab and saw:

Huh?  The media did not upload!  The other people also had no media attached to them.

Then I remembered that Ancestry Member Trees do not upload media from the user's computer via a GEDCOM file.  Duh!

4)  The screen above told me that there were 10 historical records, 1 family tree, and 8 photos and stories in the "Hints" section.  I clicked on the "Hints" tab and saw:

I went through the "Hints," and all of them applied to my father, and I attached them to my father's profile, except for the Ancestry Member Trees hint which I ignored.

After attaching the 10 historical records (found by searching their record databases) and the 8 Photos (which had been attached to other Ancestry Member Trees - mine!), I looked at the "Media Gallery."  The attached Photos showed up, and I quickly attached the head shot to "Make primary photo" (lower right-hand corner in the screen below):

When I click he "Return" link (top-left corner) and see the "Media Gallery" again, I see the profile photo and the 8 Photos that were attached through the Hints:

If I go back to the "Overview" tab, I will see the added Historical Records also, but only as Facts and sources, not as media images.  I clicked on the Residence Fact for the 1930 U.s. census and saw:

The information attached to this Fact is provided, along with the source citation and a thumbnail image of the actual census page.  If I click on the title of the source citation, in this case "1930 United States Federal census" and could see the record summary for that record.  From there, I could view the actual record image.

5)  So the answer to the challenge is:  NO media are transferred using a GEDCOM file to an Ancestry Member Tree.  

However, users can manually upload media to a person in an Ancestry Member Tree, or attach photos and historical records to each person from record databases and other Ancestry Member Trees.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Checking Out Puzzilla - a Descendant Viewer Using FamilySearch Family Tree

Genea-blogger James Tanner posted I Hope This Program Gets Fully Developed and Available: on 3 November 2013 on his Genealogy's Star blog, and commented more about it today in Finding What Needs To Be Researched on Your FamilySearch Family Tree: Revisited.

So I clicked on the link and, like James, I can see real possibilities for as a way to help add leads for further genealogy research, especially descendant research.

1) The home page for (which is in Alpha development) looks like this:

That's pretty bland, but it is in the alpha stage of development.  The "About" page says:

"Descendant Viewer: Research Patterns in FamilyTree Collateral Lines.

"The Puzzilla Descendants Viewer lets researchers see descendants in FamilyTree using compact symbols that reveal patterns in collateral-line research. Names and details appear as you move the pointer over the symbols.
  • Clicking on a symbol in the pedigree leads to that person's descendants.
  • Clicking on a descendant leads to searching for that person in FamilySearch historical records.
  • Shift-clicking on a descendant leads to a new descendant view with that person at the root.


There are also detailed directions for how to use the site.

2)  First, the user has to enter their FamilySearch registration credentials - username and password.

Then Puzzilla finds the registered person in the FamilySearch Family Tree in a fan-like tree:

If the user runs their mouse over one of the nodes on the tree structure on the right side of the screen, they can see the name of the person represented by that node.  The other nodes are the person's ancestors - blue for males, red for females, and green for the registered person (me).

All of the information in the fan tree above is from the FamilySearch Family Tree, which I've worked in quite a bit adding my ancestral families, matching and merging persons, correcting relationships, adding sources, etc.  I need to have checked each family and relationship out to ensure that it matches my genealogy research.

I moused around the tree and found my 4th great-grandfather, Humphrey White (1759-1814), and the screen below shows him in my ancestral tree:

3)  If I click on Humphrey White, then the tree changes so that Humphrey White is the central node and the chart becomes a Descendants chart:

Each one of those dots represents a descendant of Humphrey White.  In addition to blue for males and red for females, there are also yellow for died before age 16, and gray for persons born within 110 years.

The user can select how many generations to see on the descendants branch chart.  I chose 6 generations.

4)  If I run my mouse over one of the persons in the tree above, I can see their node.  Here is my father in Humphrey White's descendant tree:

If I want to see the FamilySearch Family Tree entry for my father, I can click the information box for him:

You can see why this website will be an excellent way to do descendant research to find heirs, find cousins, or investigate autosomal DNA connections.

5)  Of course, someone has to enter the information for the descendant families.  I was surprised to see so many descendants, even out to my generation, of Humphrey White.  I usually track only one more generation, and at most two generations, of siblings of my ancestors in my genealogy database, unless it's one of my one-name study surnames.

If becomes a production program, I expect to see a link on the FamilySearch Family Tree page for each person that says something like "See Descendant Tree of This Person."

6)  I really like this Descendant Viewer program - it works well and should be very useful for me and others.  But the user has to be in the FamilySearch Family Tree and linked to ancestral families in order to use it effectively.

It will be interesting to see if genealogy software programs will incorporate a descendant view feature like this into their offerings.  Currently, the software programs use dropline lists or boxes to do the task in large descendants charts.

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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

Treasure Chest Thursday - Post 190: 1874 Marriage Certificate of Frank Seaver and Hattie Hildreth

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 1874 marriage certificate for my great-grandparents, Frank Walton Seaver and Hattie Louisa Hildreth in Keene, Cheshire County, New Hampshire:

The transcription of this document is (with the groom and bride information not in columns, typed in information underlined, and handwritten information in italics):

State of New Hampshire
00035872                                                                       FILE #   273


FULL NAME                                            FRANK W SEAVER
AGE                                                          0
RESIDENCE                                              LEOMINSTER, MASSACHUSETTS
NO. OF THIS MARRIAGE                          0
PLACE OF MARRIAGE                              KEENE
FILE DATE                                                 ++ SEE BELOW **


FULL NAME                                              HATTIE L. HILDRETH
AGE                                                           0
RESIDENCE                                              LEOMINSTER, MASSACHUSETTS
MARITAL STATUS                      
NO. OF THIS MARRIAGE                         0
DATE OF MARRIAGE                               DECEMBER 16, 1874

** Filed in chronological order with records from 1872 to 1876.


ATTEST:  Patricia Cutler            STATE/LOCAL REGISTRAR    Charles E. Sirc
                                                                                                  CHARLES E. SIRC
                                                                                                  STATE REGISTRAR


The source citation for this record, crafted using the Marriage Records (loose, licenses and bonds) source template in RootsMagic (based on EE 9.5):

Keene, New Hampshire, Abstract of a Certificate of Marriage, File #273, Frank W. Seaver and Hattie L. Hildreth, 16 December 1874 (abstracted 13 September 1994); Keene [N.H.] Town/City Clerk's Office, Keene, N.H.

Since this certificate was created 120 years after the marriage event, it is an official certified record of the marriage.  It is a Derivative Source, with Primary Information and Direct Evidence as to the Marriage date and place.

Note that there are no ages given on the certificate.  Either the town clerk didn't ask for it, didn't write it down, or it wasn't required (really?).

Hattie Hildreth was age 17 at the time of this marriage, and Frank was 22, and they were neighbors in Leominster, Massachusetts.  They probably "eloped" to Keene (which is about 45 miles away).  I'm not aware of any  close family members of either Frank or Hattie who resided in or near Keene.  Perhaps one of their friends went with them or referred them to a family member.

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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver