Saturday, July 26, 2014

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun- Play Ahnentafel Roulette

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) What year was one of your great-grandfathers born?  Divide this number by 80 and round the number off to a whole number. This is your "roulette number."

2) Use your pedigree charts or your family tree genealogy software program to find the person with that number in your ancestral name list (some people call it an "ah
nentafel" - 
your software will create this - use the "Ahnentafel List" option, or similar). Who is that person, and what are his/her vital information?

3) Tell us three facts about that person in your ancestral name list with the "roulette number."

4) Write about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a Facebook status or a Google Stream post, or as a comment on this blog post.

5) NOTE:  If you do not have a person's name for your "roulette number" then "spin" the wheel again - pick a great-grandmother, a grandfather, a parent, a favorite aunt or cousin, yourself, or even your children!  Or pick an ancestor!

Here's mine:

1)  One of my great-grandfathers was Henry Austin Carringer, born in 1853.  Dividing 1853 by 80 gives me a "Roulette" number of 23 (rounded off).  

2)  Number 23 in my "Ancestor Name List" (i.e., Pedigree Chart) is Amy Frances Oatley (1826-1864), who married Henry White (1824-1885) in 1844 in Killingly, Windham County, Connecticut.

3)  Three facts about Amy Frances Oatley:

*  Amy was born in 1826 in South Kingstown, Rhode Island to Jonathan Oatley and Amy Champlin.  She had 13 siblings.

*  Amy died on 12 November 1864 in Killingly, Windham County, Connecticut, at age 36.

*  Amy had six children with Henry White - Ellen Frances White (1845-1916), Julia E. White (1848-1913), Emily Elizabeth White (1849-1939), Henry J. White (1853-1919), female White (1858-1858), and Frederick J. White (1860-????).

4)  I did!

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copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

Surname Saturday - WILSON (England > colonial Massachusetts)

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

I am starting the 8th great-grandmothers and I'm up to Ancestor #1025 who is Hannah WILSON (1647-1722) 
[Note: the earlier great-grandmothers and 8th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts].

My ancestral line back through two generations in this WILSON 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)

16. Isaac Seaver (1823-1901)
17. Lucretia Townsend Smith (1827-1884)

32. Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825)
33. Abigail Gates (1797-1869)

64. Benjamin Seaver (1757-1816)
65. Martha Whitney (1764-1832)

128.  Norman Seaver (1734-1787)
129.  Sarah Read (1736-1809)

256. Robert Seaver (1702-1752)

257.  Eunice Rayment (1707-1772)

512.  Joseph Seaver (1672-1754)

513.  Mary Read (1680-????)

1024.  Shubael Seaver, born 31 January 1640 in Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States; died 18 January 1730 in Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 2048. Robert Seaver and 2049. Elizabeth Ballard.  He married  07 February 1668 in Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States.
1025.  Hannah Wilson, born before 02 May 1647 in Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States; died 13 February 1722 in Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States.  

Children of Shubael Seaver and Hannah Wilson are:
*  Robert Seaver (1670-????)
*  Joseph Seaver (1672-1754), married 1700 Mary Read (1680-????)
*  Hannah Seaver (1674-????), married 1724 Patrick Gregory.
*  Abigail Seaver (1677-????), married 1705 Edmund Cole (1675-????).
*  Shubael Seaver (1679-1757), married 1704 Abigail Twelves (1677-????).
*  Thankful Seaver (1684-????), married 1705 Richard Mowear (1680-1766).

2050.  Nathaniel Wilson, born before 02 August 1621 in Halifax, Yorkshire, England; died 17 September 1692 in Newton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 4100. Isaac Wilson and 4101. Susan Holgate.  He married 02 April 1645 in Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States.
2051.  Hannah Craft, born about 1628 in England; died 17 August 1692 in Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  She was the daughter of 4052. Griffin Craft and 4053. Alice.

Children of Nathaniel Wilson and Hannah Craft are:
*  child Wilson (1646-1646)
*  Hannah Wilson (1647-1722), married 1668 Shubael Seaver (1640-1730)
*  Susanna Wilson (1650-1725), married 1673 Thomas Gill (1649-1725).
*  Nathaniel Wilson (1653-1721), married (1) 1680 Hannah Jackson (1660-1690); (2) 1693 Elizabeth Osland (1668-1715).
*  Joseph Wilson (1656-1710), married 1685 Deliverance Jackson (1657-1716).
*  Benjamin Wilson (1656-1706), married 1677 Sarah (1658-1689).
*  Isaac Wilson (1658-1720), married 1685 Susanna Andrews (1659-????).
*  Mary Wilson (1661-1729), married 1682 Thomas Oliver (1660-1715).
*  Abigail Wilson (1663-1746), married 1687 Edward Jackson (1652-1727).
*  Samuel Wilson (1666-????), married 1696 Experience Trowbridge (1675-1705).

References with information about this Nathaniel Wilson family include:

Clarence Almon Torrey, "The English Ancestry of Nathaniel Wilson," The American Genealogist, Volume 17 (1947), pages 227-230.

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Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

Friday, July 25, 2014

WikiChicks "Spotlight" Interview ... Randy

Eowyn Langhoff and Tami Osmer Mize recently started the WikiChicks blog and have started doing an interview "Spotlight" series.  Last week the interviewee was DearMYRTLE (Pat Richley-Erickson) - see

This week, the interviewee was yours truly.  The WikiChicks sent a series of questions which I tried to answer in my usual prolix style - see

Gena Philibert-Ortega is the author of the piece, and is on the WikiChicks staff.

Most people know that the WikiChicks - Eowyn and Tami - work for WikiTree.  I took their picture at RootsTech 2014 in front of the WikiTree exhibit (you can see why I named them WikiChicks!):

My thanks to Eowyn and Tami for asking me to interview and for publishing the interview, and to Gena for writing it up. But where did the Genea-gasm graphic come from?

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

A Nice Surprise - "David" Smith and Abigail "Vanse" Wisconsin Marriage Record

While adding Life Sketches and Stories to some of my ancestor's profiles in the FamilySearch Family Tree last night, I was pleasantly surprised to see a Record Hint for the profile of my 2nd-great-grandmother, Abigail (Vaux) Smith (1844-1931).  It was another "Forrest Gump Principle of Genealogy Research" moment!

The Record Hint was for the marriage record of "David" Smith and Abigail "Vanse" on 4 April 1861 in Rolling Prairie, Dodge County, Wisconsin.  Here is the record summary in the Wisconsin Marriages, 1836-1930 collection on FamilySearch:

Is this my Abigail Vaux and Devier J. Smith?  The parents first names are correct, the Smith last names are correct, the birthplace of "David" Smith is correct, the date and place are correct.  How do I know?  I have a family Bible record that provides the marriage date and place, and another record that provides the parent's last names.  It's my folks, but with some wrong names!

"David" is really Devier, and "Vanse" is really Vaux.  The handwriting on the record may be difficult to read!

I wondered where this record came from.  There is a GS Film number 1275941 provided, which is in the set of microfilms of the "Dodge County (Wis.) Registration of Marriages (1842-1907) and Marriage Index (1845-1907 --, 1842-1907" collection:

For some reason, I have never looked at that set of microfilms before!  I'm sure it's on the list of records for Dodge County, Wisconsin in the Family History Library Catalog.

Now I wonder what the entry looks like.  It must have all of that indexed information in a format of some sort.  Is it just in columns, or is it on a handwritten form?  If it's a form, why wasn't the form imaged from the microfilm for this record collection?  I guess I'll have to find the record image to find out.

FamilySearch provides a source citation for this record summary:

"Wisconsin, Marriages, 1836-1930," index,  FamilySearch   ( : accessed 24 Jul 2014), David Smith and Abigail Vanse, 04 Apr 1861; citing reference p00195; FHL microfilm 1275941.

I crafted my own source citation for the record in RootsMagic using the "Digital Archives" source template:

"Wisconsin, Marriages, 1836-1930," FamilySearch ( : accessed 24 July 2014), record extraction, David Smith and Abigail Vanse marriage, 04 Apr 1861; citing page 195 on FHL microfilm US/CAN 1,275,941.

I have no clue how FamilySearch decided that this record pertained to the marriage of my second great-grandparents.  A search for "Abigail Vaux" (not exact spelling) in this collection does not provide a match.  Adding a marriage place and a marriage year does not provide the match.  A search for "Devier Smith" with a place and year does not provide a match.

A search for the father's name, "Ranslow Smith," in the collection easily brings up the match.

The lessons learned here is:

*  Double-check the Family History Library Catalog for records in the states, counties and towns of interest.

*  Search specific record collections by parent's names or children's names, in addition to principal's names, to find records.

*  Pay attention to the "Record Hints" in the FamilySearch Family Tree!

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 30: #37 Hannah (Sawtell) Hildreth (1789-1857)

Amy Johnson Crow suggested a weekly blog theme of "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" in her blog post Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks on the No Story Too Small blog.  Here is my ancestor biography for week #30:

Hannah (Sawtell) Hildreth (1789-1857) is #37 on my Ahnentafel List, and is my 3rd great-grandmother. She married #36 Zachariah Hildreth (1783-1857) in 1810.

I am descended through:

*  their son, #18 Edward Hildreth (1831-1899)who married #19, Sophia Newton (1834-1923) in 1852.

*  their daughter, #9 Harriet Louisa Hildreth (1857-1920) who married #8 Frank Walton Seaver (1852-1922) in 1874.
*  their son, #4 Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942), who married #5 Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962) in 1900.* their son, #2 Frederick Walton Seaver (1911-1983), who married #3 Betty Virginia Carringer (1919-2002), in 1942.
*  their son, #1 Randall J. Seaver (1943-....)


1)  PERSON (with source citations as indicated in brackets):

*  Name:                 Hannah Sawtell [1–3]    
*  Sex:                    Female   
*  Father:                Josiah Sawtell (1768-1847)   
*  Mother:              Hannah Smith (1768-1827)   

*  Alt. Name:          Hannah Sartell [5]    
*  Alt. Name:          Hannah Hildreth [3, 6–7]    
*  Alt. Name:          Hannah Sawtelle [9]   

2)  TIMELINE (with source citations as indicated in brackets):
*  Birth:                 6 November 1789, Brookline, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, United States [4-5]   
*  Census:              1 June 1850 (age 60), Townsend, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States [6]
*  Census:              1 June 1855 (age 65), Townsend, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States [7]  *  Death:               13 January 1857 (age 67), of paralysis; Townsend, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States  [3]
*  Burial:               after 13 January 1857 (after age 67), New Cemetery, Townsend, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States [8]
3)  SPOUSES AND CHILDREN (with source citations as indicated in brackets):   
*  Spouse 1:           Zachariah Hildreth (1783-1857)   
*  Marriage:           21 October 1810 (age 20), Townsend, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States [1–2, 9]   

*  Child 1:              Aaron Hildreth (1811-1884)   
*  Child 1:              Clarissa Hildreth (1814-1819)   
*  Child 1:              James Hildreth (1817-1892)   
*  Child 1:              Clarissa Hildreth (1820-1852)   
*  Child 1:              Elizabeth Hildreth (1822-1910)   
*  Child 1:              Milo Hildreth (1824-1893)   
*  Child 1:              Moses Hildreth (1828-1893)   
*  Child 1:              Edward Hildreth (1831-1899)   
*  Child 1:              Harriet Augusta Hildreth (1835-1850)   
4)  NOTES  (with source citations as indicated in brackets):    

 The birth record for Hannah Sawtell in the Brookline, New Hampshire town records reads:[5]

"Hannah Sartell daughter of Josiah Sartell and his wife Hannah born November 6th 1789."

The Townsend town record provides the marriage intention for Zachariah Hildreth and Hannah Sawtell as:[2]

"1810 Sept. 5th rec'd of Mr. Zachriah Hildreth Jr. and Miss Hannah Sartell of this Town, with their intention of Marriage"

The Townsend town record also provides the marriage record for Zachariah Hildreth and Hannah Sawtell as:[2]

"Return of Marriages of Rev'd David Palmer and as follows:

October 21 [1810] Zachariah Hildreth Jnr to Hannah Sartell"

A list of the family of Zachariah Hildreth and Hannah Sawtell was found in a Bible owned by the Northborough Historical Society.  The "Milo Hildreth Family Bible Records"  shows the following:[9]

Zachariah Hildreth married Hannah Sawtelle  Oct-21-1810

Zachariah Hildreth born April 10th-1783     died Jan 22d 1857  Agd 73-9-12
Hannah Sawtelle         Nov 6-1789               "  Jan 13th 1857  " 67-2-7

The list of children includes:

*  Aaron Hildreth        March 11th 1811   died June 11th 1884  Agd 73-3
*  Clarissa Hildreth     Aug 18th 1814       "  Sept 16th 1819   Agd 5-0-29
*  James Hildreth        May 3d 1817         "  April 13th 1892   - 74-11-10
*  Clarissa Hildreth     Jan 24th 1820       "  July 24th 1852  agd 32-6-0
*  Elizabeth Hildreth    April 26 1822
*  Milo Hildreth         Aug 17th 1824
*  Moses Hildreth        Dec 27th 1828
*  Edward Hildreth       April 30th 1831
*  Harriet Augusta Hildreth  July 25th 1835  " July 7th 1850  Agd 14-4-1

In the 1850 US Census, the Zachariah Hildreth family resided in Townsend, Middlesex County, Massachusetts.[6]  The family included:

*  Zachariah Hildreth, age 61, male, a farmer, $1000 in real property, born MA
*  Hannah Hildreth, age 57, female, born NH
*  Harriet A. Hildreth, age 14, female, born MA, attended school.

In the 1855 Massachusetts State Census, the Zechariah Hildreth household resided in Townsend, Middlesex County (indexed as Lechariah Hildreth), and included:[7]

*  Zechariah Hildreth - age 72, male, white, a farmer, born in Massachusetts
*  Hannah Hildreth - age 65, female, born Massachusetts
*  Elisabeth Wilder - age 33, female, born Massachusetts
*  Nancy Wilder - age 10, female, born Massachusetts

The death record for Hannah (Sawtell) Hildreth states that she was married, age 67, and a paralytic when she died on 13 January 1857 in Townsend, Mass.  She was born in Brookline NH, the daughter of Josiah and Hannah Sawtell.[3] 

The Townsend Vital Records book contains a burial record of Zachariah Hildreth in New Cemetery.[8]  The record says for the family group:

Hildreth, Clarissa, d. Zachariah & Hannah, Sept. 16, 1820,a. 5y. 29d.
Hildreth, Harriet A., July 7, 1850, a. 14y. 11m., 12d.
Hildreth, Hannah, w. Zachariah, Jan. 13, 1857, a. 67y.
Hildreth, Zachariah, Jan. 22, 1857, a. 73y.

There were no probate records for Hannah (Sawtell) Hildreth in the Middlesex County Probate Court records.


1. Townsend, Massachusetts, Certificate of Marriage, Zachariah Hildreth and Hannah Sawtell, 21 October 1810; Town Clerk's Office, Townsend, Mass. (certificate dated 12 January 1995).

2. Henry C. Hallowell (editor), Vital Records of Townsend, Massachusetts (Boston, Mass. :  New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1992), page 62, Zachariah Hildreth and Hannah Sartell marriage entry.

3. "Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1915," indexed database and digital images,  New England Historic Genealogical Society, American Ancestors (, Deaths: Volume 112, Page 173, Townsend, 1857; Hannah Hildreth death entry.

4. Edward E. Parker, History of Brookline, Formerly Raby, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire (Brookline, N.H. : Town of Brookline, N.H., 1914).

5. "New Hampshire Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1636-1947," digital images, FamilySearch ( accessed 12 November 2012), Hillsborough County, Brookline Town, "Town Records, 1769-1833," Page 526 (stamped), Hannah Sartell birth entry, 6 November 1789 (daughter of Josiah and Hannah Sartell); citing New Hampshire Town Clerk Records.

6. 1850 United States Federal Census, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, population schedule; Townsend town, Page 312, Zachariah Hildreth household, online database, (; citing National Archives Microfilm Publication M432, Roll 796.

7. "Massachusetts State Census, 1855,"  indexed database and digital image,  (, Middlesex County, Townsend, image 16 of 31, dwelling #1, family #1, Zachariah Hildreth household.

8. Henry C. Hallowell (editor), Vital Records of Townsend, Massachusetts (Boston, Mass. : New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1992), page 355, New Cemetery, Townsend, Mass., Hannah Hildreth burial entry.

9. Richard C. Fipphen, "Bible Records - Northborough Historical Society," The Mayflower Descendant, Vol. 35, No. 2 (July 1985), page 157, Zachariah Hildreth and Hannah Sawtelle entry.


The URL for this post is:

copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

Thursday, July 24, 2014

How Should Genealogy Societies Nurture Beginners?

At our relatively small genealogical society here in Chula Vista, we often get "walk-in" people to a meeting who thinks they want to start doing genealogical research.

There have been several recent "beginners" this year who have attended a society meeting.  Here is a brief description of three of them:

1)  A lady came to one of the monthly programs, and joined the society immediately.  She then attended every meeting over the next six months - the monthly program, the monthly research group, the monthly computer group, etc.  She was computer literate and learned some of the basic research techniques by asking questions and working on them.  She grasped the concept of evidence and doing systematic research, and was able to go back three or four generations relatively quickly using census records and vital record indexes.  She attended the free day of Jamboree in early June, especially the Beginner's class and exhibit hall, and felt a bit overwhelmed by all of the information and people involved.  But she works at learning more and is making solid progress, and is now on the Board of Directors because she is energetic, smart and fun to be around.

2)  Another lady came to the monthly Research Group in late 2013, and then recently came to the Computer Group.  She had a specific goal - to find out if her husband is related to a New Hampshire colonial governor - and had a start on a pedigree chart from a relative.  I tried to help her one-on-one, and we were able to find her husband's grandfather and two more generations back in the census records before time ran out.  I promised to send her images of the census records we had found on  She had some problems manipulating the mouse and some vision problems with the screen.  She was very eager, and seemed to absorb my advice about records, websites, being careful with online data, etc.  I fear that I overwhelmed her with all of the details I offered.  She may join the society soon.

3)  For about a year, one of our seasoned members has been hosting a small (3 to 5 persons) group every week in a small room at the library.  Some of the attendees were "stuck" in their research, and needed some suggestions to continue.  Another was relatively new and didn't have computer access, is gradually finding ancestral records online at the library, but then bought a new computer and is still struggling with Windows 8.  Another was just beginning his research, but had good computer and research skills.  All of them have thrived in this small group environment and have become friends, sharing family stories, food and genealogy.

Here are my thoughts about how beginners come into the present state of genealogical research:

1)  Beginners come to a genealogy society with some skill sets - some are computer literate, some do not, or are fearful, and everything in between.  The computer literate folks can step into the online genealogy world and not be totally overwhelmed - in fact, they get really excited.  The ones who are not computer ept really struggle and often drop away. This is a significant issue because so much of what we do in research now is online.  Online research can happen very fast - you can find five or more generations in an hour and think that it must be correct "because it's on the internet."  I joke that "we can make mistakes a lot faster than we used to."

It seems to me that we really need two genealogy education tracks for beginners:

a)  We need one track for the computer literate who can find online education (webinars, YouTube videos, presentations, learning courses) and online genealogical records (web pages, family trees, record collections, etc.).  We don't want to stifle their enthusiasm, but they need more than what they can find online.  How do they learn the "basics" of genealogical research - the research process, the systematic collection of home, published and vital records, and using society membership for education and social interactions (including research help and advice)?

b)  The second track, for those not comfortable with the computer,  needs to first emphasize the family/home resources (papers, Bibles, vital records, etc.), and library resources (including "how to" books, pedigree and family group sheets, etc.), and obtaining more of them through correspondence and visits to record archives.  They need to be encouraged to join a local genealogical society for education and social activities, and to attend computer literacy classes so that they can find more records for their ancestral families in online record collections and perhaps create a family tree online or in a software program.

2)  Only doing research online really bypasses a lot of the actual "genealogy learning process." advertises "you don't even have to know what you're looking for."  Is this really wise?

When I started in 1988, I went to the local libraries and found surname and locality books and periodical articles that provided incremental information about my ancestral families.  I photocopied them, brought them home, studied them, filled in family group sheets and pedigree charts, etc.  I also borrowed or bought some library books on "how to" do genealogy research.  This was very much a "slow cooking learning process" enriched by what I found each week on my library visits.  It wasn't long before I found the local Family History Center and was reading microfilms and microfiche and making real progress in my research.

Today, a computer literate person with no research skills can get instant ancestral gratification by creating (or grafting onto) an online tree, adding a few ancestors, and then following the green leaf "Hints" offered in an Ancestry Member Tree (or MyHeritage Record Matches, or FamilySearch Record Hints).  Just attach them (after all, "they must be right, the companies claim a high accuracy rate"), and s/he thinks s/he has done genealogical research and is finished.  Whew, it only took a week!  

My point is that the "Genealogy Research Process" was very deliberative 25 years ago, and was kind of burned into my memory "hard drive" by repetition and assimilation over weeks or months. I had to wait for the gratification of a new record or relationship discovery.

Today, with an emphasis on an online learning process, the emphasis seems to be on finding records online, and adding them to your family tree (which requires another learning curve).  It's more like "flash memory" that might be forgotten in a week or a month.

3)  I've seen quotes that "it takes 10,000 hours of education and experience in order to become an expert in a subject."  I think that is fairly accurate - it took me at least five years of full-time employment to become competent in aerospace engineering.  I started my genealogy research in 1988, but devoted only about 10 to 20 hours a week to it until 2002 due to other interests and work.  At present, I feel that I am competent in some research areas and that "I know what I don't know" (e.g.,  Irish, German, and archival records).

Every person is at a different place in their genealogy research education and experience.  In our early years, we "don't know what we don't know."  Those that are not computer ept are missing out on many online record collections that are not accessible except at a distant repository.  Many computer ept researchers don't bother with proper methodology or repository research.  To be a "complete genealogist," every researcher needs to understand proper methodology and be aware of and use all available resources in order to perform competent research.

4)  It is obvious to me that you cannot stick a beginner with poor computer skills into the first track with computer ept persons.  They will only get frustrated, and perhaps quit.  Likewise, forcing a computer ept person to take a basic genealogy course with no computer content ("it's boring!") will result in frustration and they may quit.

We've heard the "Next Generation" of genealogists say that pedigree charts and family group sheets are boring and that young people are so fascinated by all things technical and social that we need to hook them up with programs that provide instant gratification - apps, trees, record hints, photos, stories, etc.  Are we satisfied to let them be "flash dance" genealogists, or do we want them to be "complete genealogists"?

How do we get them involved in more than online research or family tree manipulation?  Of course, some of them will become "complete genealogists" and contribute to the genealogy industry - some of them already are.

5)  What works best? Are "Beginners classes" the best way to educate true beginner researchers?  Perhaps two tracks of classes would work well - all are invited, but the "basics," "online" and "repository" research could be introduced in alternating classes over, say, a two-month period of time.  There needs to be enough "hands-on" time, and homework, for the students to learn the basics of genealogical research.

A regular one-on-one time, or small group, with a seasoned researcher answering the beginner's questions, and perhaps demonstrating techniques, seems to work pretty well.

There also need to be regularly scheduled genealogy society programs to keep them encouraged, learning, and opportunities to seek help as they progress.

So - the question is:  How Should a Genealogy Society Nurture or Help Beginners?  What are your thoughts?  What activities can really help beginners learn?  What works for your society?

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

Treasure Chest Thursday - Post 224: 1891 Census of Canada for Alexander Sovereen 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 1891 Canada Census record for my 3rd great-grandparents, Alexander and Elizabeth (Putman) Sovereen in Windham township, Norfolk County, Ontario:

The Alexander Sovereen family entry:

The extraction of the information for this family, residing in Windham township, Norfolk county, Ontario, is:

*  Alexander Sovereen - male, age 76, married, born Ontario, father born United States, mother born Nova Scotia, Baptist religion, occupation farmer, 1 employee, can read and write
*  Elisabeth Sovereen - female, age 72, married, wife, born in United States, father born United States, mother born United States, Baptist religion, can read and write
*  Wilber Sovereen - male, age 23, married, son, born in Ontario, father born in Ontario, mother born Ontario, Baptist religion, can read and write
*  Fannie Sovereen - female, age 20, married, L (in-law?), born in Ontario, father born Ontario, mother born Ontario, C.E. religion, can read and write

The source citation for this record is:

Census of Canada, 1891, Norfolk County, Ontario, Schedule No. 1, District 96, North Norfolk, Subdistrict Township of Windham, Division No. 4, Page 9, Family #44, Alexander Sovereen household; digital image, Library and Archives Canada ( : accessed 10 March 2013).

The significant error in these records is the name of the son, it should be Wilbert (perhaps they called him "Wilber."  There are several small differences in ages in these records relative to other records, and the birthplace of Wilbert's mother should be United States.  Wilbert had married in November 1890 to Fannie Dalton and they resided with his parents in this census.

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Find Relatives on the BYU-EDU Relative Finder Website

The WikiChicks blog alerted me yesterday to the BYU-EDU Relative Finder tool that works on the FamilySearch Family Tree.  Obviously, you have to be included in the Family Tree and connected to ancestors.

Here is the BYU-EDU Relative Finder home page:

You have to be signed into your FamilySearch account.

Clicking on the "Relatives" link takes you to the page to "Select groups to find relatives."  There are a number of groups to choose from - I chose several of them:

After choosing the groups, you click on the "Show Relatives" button next to the "Check All" button.

The results take some time to appear the first time you use the system.  Here is part of the first page (of 13 pages with 10 items on each page) of my results:

Wow, Thomas Jefferson is listed twice for some reason.  The different columns provide this information:

*  Relative's name
*  Relationship - usually a great-great, or a cousin so many times removed
*  Your path 
*  Relative's path
*  Common Ancestor
*  Group
*  Chart (a link to view the relationship)

I clicked on the first link for Thomas Jefferson, purportedly my 9th cousin three times removed (four screens below, some overlap on the last one):

The chart shows the two paths - my path is on the right, and the "Relative's" path is on the left.

This would be wonderful for sharing with cousins if, and it's a BIG IF, all of the data in the FamilySearch Family Tree was correct.

If you look carefully at the line from the common ancestors, Edward Bulkley and Olive Irby, you will see that there are several spurious relationships on the Jefferson line.  There are also several generations with no name for a father or a mother.  And Edward Bulkeley and Olive Irby are duplicated, but with different lifespan years, in the second generation down the chart.  There is a lot wrong with the Thomas Jefferson line on this chart.

Obviously, the charts, and the calculated relationships, are dependent on the information in the FamilySearch Family Tree.  Someone (not me!) has input a number of relationships, names, lifespans, etc. that are wrong.  Actually, there are over 180 separate profiles for Edward Bulkeley (1540-1621) in the FamilySearch Family Tree.  These need to be merged if they are for the same person, but that is not yet possible in the FamilySearch Family Tree.  Here is the top of the first page of matches:

I randomly selected this match because it was the first match, and I was really excited to find that I might be a cousin to Thomas Jefferson.  I hope that I am, but I won't claim the relationship yet.

Although I have shown a really poor example above, this can be a very useful tool, and a tool to interest relatives who are not yet interested in genealogy research.

However, like all online family trees, the information is only as good as the data input - remember, GIGO (garbage-in, garbage-out).  

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Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

GSNOCC Seminar with Hank Jones on Saturday, 9 August

The Genealogical Society of North Orange County, California (GSNOCC) is hosting a one-day seminar on Saturday, August 9th, at the Fullerton (CA) Public Library and Conference Center (353 W. Commonwealth Avenue, Fullerton CA 92832), starting at 9 a.m. with Registration.

The nationally known speaker and author, Henry Z. "Hank" Jones, Jr., will have four presentations throughout the day.  You can see more details at the GSNOCC Seminar page -

The registration form page is at .

Pre-registration ends on 1 August 2014 ($30 for GSNOCC members, $35 for non-members).  You can register at the door for $40.  A box lunch will be sold for $9 for pre-registered attendees only.

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Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

A Four-Generation Picture -- Post 317 for (Not So) Wordless Wednesday

I am posting family photographs from my collection on Wednesdays, but they aren't "Wordless" - I am incapable of having a wordless post!

Here is a photograph from the Seaver/Carringer family photograph collection provided by my mother from 1988 to 2002:

This photograph was probably taken in early May 1975 on the occasion of our daughter's baptism and first birthday.  The persons in the picture, from the left, are:

*  Frederick W. Seaver (seated, 1911-1983), my father
*  Lori Seaver, my daughter (standing in front of me)
*  Randy Seaver, moi (kneeling)
*  Emily (Auble) Carringer (seated, 1899-1977), my grandmother
*  Lyle L. Carringer (seated, 1891-1976), my grandfather
*  Betty (Carringer) Seaver (kneeling, 1919-2002), my mother 

The photograph was probably taken by my wife, Linda.  The setting is our living room in the home we currently live in in Chula Vista, California.  This was also our housewarming party.  We no still have the beautiful (I thought!) red and gold velvet couch that folks are sitting on. but the fabric is now a golden color.  The red shag carpet and bright yellow wall paint are gone too.  We still have the large dark-wood table, though.  The world map wall hanging is hiding somewhere in the spare bedroom now, replaced with a lighthouse painting and some of my mother's copper enamel works.  
I wish that I was looking at the camera more, and that my father had his eyes open.  My grandparents are focused on Lori.  Lori is very busy mouthing a coaster, I think; at least she is looking at the camera.  

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Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Organizing the Taylor County, Iowa Land Deeds of Ranslow Smith and Devier J. Smith

When I was in Salt Lake City in early February 2014, before attending RootsTech 2014 I had a day in the Family History Library.  One of my To-Do list tasks this year was to find land deeds in Taylor County, Iowa for my 3rd great-grandfather, Ranslow Smith, and his son, my second great-grandmother, Devier J. Smith.

I knew that Ranslow and Devier, with his wife Abbie, had moved from Dodge County, Wisconsin to Taylor County, Iowa in about 1867.  I also knew that Ranslow had moved to Andrew County, Missouri by 1873, and died there.  I also knew that Devier had probably moved to Andrew County also, and subsequently had moved to Cloud County, Kansas, Red Willow County, Nebraska, and Cheyenne County, Kansas, before dying in Red Willow County in 1894.

The challenge is to do a reasonably exhaustive search for all records for these two families.  I didn't know if the Smith ancestors bought and sold land in any of these places, but I knew that Devier Smith had styled himself as a "land speculator" in an interview in a Kansas newspaper.

Using microfilm at the Family History Library, I found that Ranslow had bought and sold several properties, and that Devier (also known as D. J.) bought and sold several properties, in Taylor County, Iowa.

Here was my microfilm review process:

1)  I looked at the Grantor and Grantee Deed Indexes for Taylor County, and wrote down the volume number, the page number, the grantor name, the grantee name, the date of the deed, and the date of the recording of the deed on a sheet of paper.  

2)  Knowing the volume and page number for each deed, I then found the FHL microfilm number from the Family History Library Catalog.

3)  On each microfilm, I found each deed on my list, and reviewed it.

4)  I used my cellular phone to take two different photographs of each of the land deeds on the microfilms.  

5)  When I got home, I transferred the images to my computer in a "Deeds" file folder.  As I transcribe them, I have modified the file name to something like DevierJSmith-1867-LandDeed-fromRanslowSmith-VolL-p205.jpg.

6)  Before I began the transcription task, I created a Microsoft Word table for these deeds, with columns for:

*  Volume/Page, Film Number, and Image Number
*  Date of Deed
*  Grantor Name
*  Grantee Name
*  Township and Range
*  Section and Aliquot Parts
*  Acres and Price

Here are images of my four pages - 28 deeds - that I collected in this effort:

Attentive readers of Genea-Musings will realize that I have transcribed three of these to date in my Amanuensis Monday series.

It is apparent to me that Devier J. Smith bought several land plots in Taylor County.  In Section 23, he subdivided the land on one quarter section into at least 41 lots and sold them off over several years time.  I wonder if he made any money on them?  I guess I'll find out!

This was genealogy fun for me to put together...I feel good when I'm organized and can minimize my duplication of effort when I pick something up six months after the event.

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Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

Forrest Gump Principle Strikes Again - The Frederick Sovereign (1786-1875) Drawing

I love it when surprises happen to me - it just reinforces my Forrest Gump Principle of Genealogy Research"Genealogy research is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you're going to find, but you have to look everywhere your 'genealogy gem' might be hiding."

Yesterday, during the 24-hour GeneaSleepOver Hangout On Air, Pat started a discussion about WikiTree.  I went to WikiTree, logged in, and showed my WikiTree graphic using the ScreenShare.  When Pat asked me what I had, I talked about how I loved WikiTree's pedigree chart with links to person profiles, and the list of spouses, children, and siblings.  Randomly, I clicked on Mary Jane Sovereen (1840-1874, my second great-grandmother), and then clicked on her Family Tree, and saw:

Hmmm, there's a picture for Mary Jane's grandfather, Frederick Sovereign (1786-1875), my 4th great-grandfather.  I know I didn't put it there.  someone else must have added it.  That someone else may be a cousin I don't know about.  I clicked on Frederick's name to see his profile:

Scrolling down a little bit, I can see the entire image:

How can I see who contributed the image?  I could click on the "Changes" button at the top of the person profile page, but I clicked on the "Details" link under the image to see:

A person named Randall Colgan added the image on 27 February 2013.  I wonder if he is my cousin?

It is evident to me that the image is not a photograph, but a drawing of an older man (but not an elderly man, he looks healthy, is clean shaven, has long white and well-kept hair, and is dressed well, as if for a portrait).  Perhaps someone can tell an approximate date from the clothing.  He even signed the image "Yours truly, Frederick Sovereen!"

I wondered where the image came from, since Randall Colgan obtained it from some resource.  I looked for the image in Google Images, and quickly found a link to a page from a book on the Historic Map Works site:

Further down the page is the specific page image:

There he is in the upper left-hand corner of the page.  I could download the page image for $19.95 or I could order a print of the page for a price.

This page provides a link to a source:

H.R. Page & Co., Illustrated Historical Atlas of Norfolk County, Ontario (Toronto : H.R. Page & Co., 1877).

There is also a reprint.  The page tells me that the nearest copy of the Reprint is in Los Angeles, only 122 miles away!  The closest library with the original book is, apparently, in Montreal, Canada!  I imagine that the original book is also in a Norfolk County, Ontario library that is not in WorldCat.

I also wondered if this is for "my" Frederick Sovereign (1786-1875), or for another man of the same name in Norfolk County, Ontario.  The book was published in 1877, so the man was living before that date. 

This was a wonderful surprise, right in the middle of a Hangout On Air - videoed live and saved for posterity on YouTube (see GeneaSleepOver: Worldwide Indexing Event - Video (d).  See, collaboration works!

Now I need to write Randall Colgan and determine if he obtained the image from the original book, and therefore the image is probably out of copyright protection (but the laws are different in Canada!).  Perhaps he will share the image with me if it is out of copyright. 

Thank you, Randall, for finding the image and posting it to WikiTree!

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Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver