Saturday, August 2, 2014

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Survey of Genealogy Activities

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) Answer these questions in my survey about genealogy resources and usage:

a)  Which genealogy software programs for your computer do you use (e.g., Family Tree Maker, Reunion, GRAMPS, etc.)?

b)  Which online family trees have information submitted by you - in either a separate online tree (e.g., Ancestry Member Tree) or a universal (collaborative) online tree (e.g., WikiTree)?

c)  For which subscription genealogy record providers (e.g., Ancestry) do you have a subscription?

d)  Which FREE genealogy record providers (e.g., FamilySearch) do you use regularly?

e)  How much time do you spend each week doing actual genealogy research online?  [Note:  not reading, or social networking, but actual searching in a record provider].  Estimate an average number of hours per week.

f)  How much time do you spend each week doing actual genealogy research in a repository (e.g., library, archive, courthouse, etc.)?  Estimate an average number of hours per month over, say, a one year period.

g)  How much time do you spend each week adding information to your genealogy software program (either on your computer or online)?  Estimate an average number of hours per week over, say, a one month period.

h)  How much time do you spend each month at a genealogical society meeting, program or event (not a seminar or conference)?  Estimate an average number of hours per month over, say, a one year period.

i)  How much time do you spend each month on genealogy education (e.g., reading books and periodicals, attending seminars, conferences, workshops, webinars, etc.)?   Estimate an average number of hours per month over, say, a one year period.

j)  How much time do you spend each week reading, writing and commenting on genealogy blogs, websites, and social media?   Estimate an average number of hours per week over, say, a one month period.

2)    Answer the questions in a blog post of your own (and please drop a link as a comment in this post), in a comment to this post, or in a Google+ or Facebook post.

Here's mine:

a)  I use RootsMagic 6 to enter all ancestral information into a database.  I also use Family Tree Maker 2014 and Legacy Family Tree 8 occasionally to take advantage of their features.

b)  I have my family tree information in these online tree systems:

i)  Separate tree:

*  Ancestry Member Tree (updated occasionally)
*  MyHeritage (rarely updated)
*  GeneaNet (never updated)
*  FindMy Past (never updated)
*  Mocavo (never updated)

ii)  Collaborative tree:

*  FamilySearch Family Tree (updated frequently)
*  WikiTree (updated occasionally)
* (updated occasionally)
*  WeRelate (updated rarely)

c)  My subscription genealogy record collection websites:

*  MyHeritage/World Vital Records
*  FindMyPast
*  Mocavo
*  GenealogyBank
*  American Ancestors

d)  My most-used FREE genealogy record providers:

*  FamilySearch
*  Find a Grave
*  Google
*  USGenWeb
*  Rootsweb

e)  Doing online genealogy research each week:  Average per week = 8 hours

f)  Doing repository research each month:  Average per month = 2 hours

g)  Adding information to family tree database each week:  Average per week = 12 hours

h)  Genealogy society events and meetings:  Average per month = 16 hours

i)  Genealogy education:  Average per month = 16 hours

j)  Reading or contributing to social media:  Average per week = 32 hours

Adding all of that up totals about 60 hours per week.  Which is about right, I think!

Since I do a lot of genealogy blogging, I spend at least half of my time every day on social media.  I try to streamline my time reading by using my iPhone, and try to limit my time on Facebook to 30 minutes a day or less.  I really should get out more to the local repositories.  I do spend at least one day each year at the Family History Library.  My genealogy education this past year was limited to society events, RootsTech and Jamboree.  The last two years, I also went on a genealogy cruise.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

Surname Saturday - GOODRICH (England > colonial Connecticut)

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

I am in the 8th great-grandmothers and I'm up to Ancestor #1027 who is Mary GOODRICH (1650-1724) 
[Note: the earlier great-grandmothers and 8th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts].

My ancestral line back through three generations in this GOODRICH 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-????)

1026.  Thomas Read, born about 1653 in probably Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died about 1733 in probably Oxford, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 2052. Thomas Read and 2053. Katherine.  He married 30 May 1677 in Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
1027.  Mary Goodrich, born 15 December 1650 in Wethersfield, Hartford, Connecticut, United States; died 02 October 1724 in Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States. 

Children of Thomas Read and Mary Goodrich are:
*  Thomas Read (1678-1755), married (1) 1702 Mary Bigelow (1677-1708), (2) 1708 Abigail Bacon (1687-????).
*  Mary Read (1680-????), married 1700 Joseph Seaver (1672-1754)
*  Rachel Read (1682-????), married 1704 Isaac Heath (1683-????).
*  Nathaniel Read (1684-????).
*  Elizabeth Read (1687-????), married  1709 Nathaniel Wilson (1681-????).
*  Hannah Read (1689-1691).
*  Joseph Read (1695-1731), married 1723 Sarah Rice (1700-????).

2054.  John Goodrich, born 1616 in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England; died before April 1680 in Wethersfield, Hartford, Connecticut, United States.  He married about 1644 in Wethersfield, Hartford, Connecticut, United States.
2055.  Elizabeth, born about 1620 in England; died 05 July 1670 in Wethersfield, Hartford, Connecticut, United States.

Children of John Goodrich and Elizabeth are:
*  Elizabeth Goodrich (1645-1711), married 1664 Daniel Rose (1631-1696)
*  John Goodrich (1647-1730), married 1675 Mary Gibbs (1652-1691).
*  Mary Goodrich (1650-1724), married 1677 Thomas Read (1653-1733)
*  Joseph Goodrich (1654-1680)
*  Jonathan Goodrich (1657-1657).
*  Hannah Goodrich (1659-1718), married 1678 Zachariah Maynard (1647-1724)
*  Jonathan Goodrich (1665-1742), married 1691 Abigail Crafts (1673-1702).
*  child Goodrich (1670-1670).

4108.  John Goodrich, born about 1575 in Hessett, Suffolk, England; died 21 April 1632 in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England.  He was the son of 8216. William Goodrich and 8217. Margaret Richardson.  He married  07 August 1615 in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England.
4109.  Margery How, born in England; died before 16 May 1632 in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England.

Children of John Goodrich and Margery How are:
*  John Goodrich (1616-1680), married (1) 1644 Elizabeth (1620-1670), (2) 1674 Mary Foote.
*  William-the-elder Goodrich (1617-1678), married Rebecca.
*  Henry Goodrich (1619-1619).
*  William-the-younger Goodrich (1622-1678), married 1648 Sarah Marvin (1631-1702).
*  Jeremy Goodrich (1627-1627).

Information for these Goodrich (or Gutteridge in some records) was obtained from:

1)  Mary Lovering Holman, Ancestry of Colonel John Harrington Stevens and his wife Frances Helen Miller (Concord, N.H. : Rumford Press, 1948)

2)  Donald Lines Jacobus and Edgar Francis Waterman, The Hale-House and Related Families (Baltimore, Md. : Genealogical Publishing Co., 1978).

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

Friday, August 1, 2014

Checking My Watch List on FamilySearch Family Tree

One of the features of FamilySearch Family Tree, the "universal" family tree that is "our tree" and not "my tree" - meaning anyone can contribute to it - is the Watch List.  A user can specify which persons in the Family Tree they want to "watch" to see if changes are made.

Several weeks ago, I decided to watch the first six generations of my ancestors on the FamilySearch Family Tree.  I went through and selected the persons one at a time, and chose 100 persons.  Then waited to see what might happen.

To "Watch" a person in the FamilySearch Family Tree, you click on the star icon just below the birth and death dates for the person in their profile.  The screen below shows the top of the profile for Nathan Gates (1767-1830) - the "Watch" star icon is not filled:

If I click the star icon, then this person is added to my Watch list.

I received an email on Friday, July 25, 2014 from FamilySearch that provided a list of "What's new in your family tree?" added between July 18-25, 2014.  Here's the top of the list:

I scrolled down the list from the email, and saw that most of the changes were my own.

I recalled that I could check the "Watch List" on the Family Tree system, and I found it under "Lists" in the Family Tree:

 There are two tabs at the top of this page - for "People I'm Watching (100)" and "Changes to People I'm Watching."  Every person on the screen above is someone I'm watching, and I can go to their person profile and see what was added, changed or deleted.

When I clicked on the "Changes to People I'm Watching" on the screen above, I was able to click the box to "Hide Changes I've Made."  I checked that, and saw that I had 74 changes made by other contributors for persons on my Watch List:

That is really helpful, I think.  The list above provides the person profile name and ID number, the date of the change, and the type of change.

The first one on the list is the most recent - in this case user PaulineJKnight attached a source to Frederick Sovereign (ID KG43-YGX), my 4th great-grandfather, whom I had "Watched."

I went to Frederick Sovereign's person profile, scrolled down to the Sources, expanded the source, and saw:

The source information for the death and burial for this person is:

Legacy NFS Source: Frederick Sovereign - Government record: Death record or certificate: burial: 16 June 1875; Windham, Norfolk, Ontario, Canada
Obit, , Collection rolls of Windham Twp, Norfolk, held by Eva Donley Brook Museum Simcoe, Norfolk, Ontario, Canada
Government record: Death record or certificate: burial: 16 June 1875; Windham, Norfolk, Ontario, Canada

Reason This Source Is Attached|Edit
Migrated from user-supplied source citation: urn:familysearch:source:3247875081
Originally Created:
31 July 2014byPaulineJKnight

This is labeled as a "Legacy NFS Source" which apparently was attached earlier to this person in New FamilySearch.  This source citation actually provides enough information to find it - but at a local repository, not in an online database.  If I wanted to see this record, I could correspond with the repository and see if I could obtain a document image of the record.  apparently, not every "Legacy NFS Source" provides a useful source citation.

The "user-supplied source citation: urn:familysearch:source3247875081" noted is not a website - it apparently is an internal FamilySearch thing.  The Ancestry Insider addressed it and how it was generated in the blog post FamilySearch Migrates New FamilySearch Sources on 2 April 2014.

So this "Watch" feature appears to be useful - and using it may help me find information, records and sources for persons on my Watch list that I don't have or may have missed.

I expect another email from FamilySearch today - it will be interesting to see what changes have been made to persons on my Watch list.

This appears to work so well that I'm going to add more of my ancestors (I'm not doing siblings of my ancestors) to the list.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 31: #38 Thomas J. Newton (ca 1800 - ????)

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 #31:

Thomas J. Newton (ca 1800 - ????) is #38 on my Ahnentafel List, and is my 3rd great-grandfather. He married #39 Sophia (Buck) Brigham (1797-1882) in about 1834.

I am descended through:

*  their daughter, #19 Sophia Newton  (1834-1923) who married Edward Hildreth (1831-1899) 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:                   Thomas J. Newton    
*  Sex:                       Male   
2)  INDIVIDUAL FACTS (with source citations as indicated in brackets):
:  Birth:                     about 1800, Maine, United States   
*  Residence:             3 December 1832 (about age 32), Westborough, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States [1]   
3)  MARRIAGES AND CHILDREN (with source citations as indicated in brackets):
*  Spouse 1:              Sophia Buck (1797-1882)   
*  Marriage 1:            about 1834 (about age 34), probably Worcester, Massachusetts, United States    

*  Child 1:                 Sophia Newton (1834-1923)   
*  Child 2:                 Thomas Jefferson Newton (1835-1915)   
4)  NOTES (with source citations as indicated in brackets):   

Thomas J. Newton is one elusive ancestor!  He may have been born between, say, 1790 and 1810 in Maine.  He is the purported husband of Sophia (Buck) Brigham, as her second husband, perhaps married in about 1834.  He is the purported father, according to Massachusetts vital records, of at least two children - Sophia (Newton) Hildreth (1834?-1923) and Thomas J. Newton (1835?-1915) - with Sophia.    It is not known if Thomas J. Newton had a wife previous to, or after, Sophia (Buck) Newton.  It is not known when or where Thomas J. Newton died.

One of the time constraints on this relationship between Thomas J. Newton and Sophia (Buck) Brigham is the death of Sophia's first husband, Lambert Brigham on 5 May 1834 in Westborough, Massachusetts.  Assuming that Sophia was married to Lambert at the time of his death, there is the possibility that Lambert Brigham is the biological father of Sophia (Newton) Hildreth and Thomas J. Newton, but only if they were born in 1834 or before.

The available evidence for the birth of the purported daughter, Sophia (Newton) Hildreth, indicates that the year of her birth is between 1832 and 1837, probably in Vermont.  The two earliest pieces of evidence (1850 Census and 1852 marriage record) imply 1834 by the age given in the records.  The 1880 Census evidence implies 1833.  The 1860, 1870 and 1900 Census evidence implies 1835.  The 1910 Census evidence implies 1836.  The 1920 Census evidence implies 1837.  She died 29 April 1923 in Leominster, Massachusetts, aged 86 years, 11 months, 15 days; Her age at death calculates her birth date to be 14 September 1836.  The death record indicates her birthplace as Springfield, Windsor, Vermont, and provides no father's name and a mother's name of (Buck) Newton.  Ages given on census records, and death records, are notorious for being one or two years off if the specific person did not provide the information to the enumerator; also, people fibbed at times.  

My working hypothesis, based on all of the available evidence, and weighting the earliest bits of evidence the most, is that Sophia Newton was born on 14 September 1834.   I have attempted to summarize what I know and how I know it in "Who Really Was the Father of Sophia Newton (183?-1923)?"  (

Sopiha Newton (1834-1923) married in Northborough MA on 25 December 1852 to Edward Hildreth.  On the marriage record, her father's name was listed as Thomas J. Newton.  She died 29 April 1923 in Leominster, Massachusetts, aged 86 years, 11 months, 15 days, with a birthplace listed as Springfield, Vermont, no father's name listed, and a mother's name of (Buck) Newton.  The 1880 and 1900 census data indicates her father was born in Maine, but the 1910 and 1920 census data indicates he was born in Massachusetts.

The second purported child of Thomas J. Newton was a son, Thomas J. Newton (1835-1915), whose marriage record in 1864 identifies his parents as Thomas and Sophia, and his death record in 1915 identifies his parents as Thomas J. Newton (born in Maine) and Sophia Buck.  His death record says that his birth date was 3 June 1835 in Burlington, Vermont.  The earliest record of this Thomas J. Newton is the 1850 U.S. census record for Sterling, Massachusetts where he is age 17, born in Vermont.  The 1900 U.S. census says he was born in June 1835 in Vermont, but the 1850 (age 17), 1870 (age 37) and 1880 (age 47) census records imply that he was born in 1832-3, as does his 1864 marriage record (age 32).  So we have a birth year range of 1832-1835 for Thomas J. Newton.  If it was in 1832, then he may be the son of Thomas J. Newton by some unknown wife, or he may be the son of Lambert and Sophia (Buck) Brigham and then adopted the Newton surname.  

A problem with these children is their relative birth dates.  If daughter Sophia Newton was born on 14 September 1834, and son Thomas J. Newton was born on 3 June 1835, that is less than nine months apart.  If Thomas was born in 1832 and Sophia in 1834, that would be logical.  Or if Sophia was born in 1834 and Thomas in 1836, that would be logical.  Or it could be that they had two different mothers (say, an earlier wife for one of them, and Sophia for the second child).  Or both children could be Lambert Brigham's children.  Or one or both of the children could be adopted.

I have found no marriage records for Thomas J. Newton and Sophia (Buck) Brigham.  Sophia had two children by Lambert Brigham (who died in May 1834) -  Augustus Brigham (born 1820) and Aurelius Brigham (born 1830), both born in Sterling, Massachusetts.  

It is logical that the widow Sophia (Buck) Brigham resided in or near Sterling in the 1834 to 1836 time period with her two sons and near her Buck and Brigham families.  

At some point, Thomas J. Newton met and may have married Sophia (Buck) Brigham. They had a daughter, Sophia Newton (born 14 September 1834 in Vermont) and a son, Thomas J. Newton (born 3 June 1835 in Cambridge, Vermont)  if the accumulated records of those persons are to be believed.  

My working hypothesis is that Thomas J. Newton married Sophia (Buck) Brigham in 1834 or 1835 in Worcester County, Massachusetts.

I have searched records for Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire - including Vital Records, census, some land and probate records, Newton family books, town histories, etc, - for Thomas J. Newton. 

The Newton Genealogy book by Ermina Newton Leonard has been perused for hours, trying to link Thomas J. Newton with a Maine, Vermont or Massachusetts family, with no success.  There are two Newton families that resided in Oxford County, Maine before 1810.

The Newton family was numerous in the Marlborough, Northborough and Southborough area of Massachusetts.  It is possible that Thomas J. Newton is descended from Nathan and Anna (Brigham) Newton who moved from Northborough, Massachusetts in 1790 to Andover, Oxford County, Maine, and had a son Lambert and a daughter Sophia plus several other children.  The Brigham, Lambert and Sophia names coincide with those found in the family of Sophia Newton's mother.  In addition, Sophia Buck's first husband was named Lambert Brigham.

It is also possible that he is descended from Levi and Betsey (Woodward) Newton.  Levi was born in Southborough, Massachusetts, and his family resided in Sutton, Massachusetts in 1790, and moved to Dixfield, Oxford County, Maine in about 1795.  They had several sons, including Jacob Newton.  Jacob Newton had a son, Thomas Newton, born in 1808 (more on him later).

There are no records for persons named Thomas Newton (or similar) in Maine or New Hampshire in the 1830 U.S. census.

There are three records for persons named Thomas Newton (or similar) in the 1830 U.S. census for Vermont.  They are:

*  Thomas Newton - in Burlington, Chittenden, Vermont, age 20-30, with a female aged 20-30.
*  Thomas Newton - in Ira, Rutland, Vermont, age 30-40, with males aged 5-10, 10 to 55, 15 to 20, and females aged 5-10 and 30 to 40.
*  Thomas F. Newton - in Pawlett, Rutland, Vermont, aged 40-50, with males aged 0-5, 10-15, and 15-20, and females aged 0-5, 5-10, 10-15, and 30-40.

There is one person named Thomas Newton (or similar) in the 1830 U.S. census for Massachusetts:

*  Thomas Newton - in Phillipston, Worcester, Massachusdetts, age 40-50, with males aged 0-5, 5-10, 10-15, and 15-20; and females aged 10-15, 15 to 20 and 40-50.

In the 1840 U.S. census, there are no entries for a Thomas Newton (or similar) in Maine or New Hampshire.

There are two records for persons named Thomas Newton (or similar) in the 1840 U.S. census for Vermont.  They are:

*  Thomas Newton - in Burlington, Chittenden, Vermont, age 30-40, with males aged 0-5 and 5-10, and a female aged 30-40.  
*  Thomas C. Newton - in Ira, Rutland, Vermont, age 40-50, with males aged 15-20, 20 to 30, and females aged 15-20 and 40 to 50.

There is one person named Thomas Newton (or similar) in the 1840 U.S. census for Massachusetts:

*  Thomas Newton - in Phillipston, Worcester, Massachusdetts, age 50-60, with males aged 10-15, and a female 50-60.

For the 1830 and 1840 census records, it is apparent to me that the Thomas Newton families in Burlington, Vermont, Ira, Vermont, and Phillipston, Massachusetts are in both census years, and are not the Thomas J. Newton I am searching for.  Of course, there could have been a different spouse in 1840 than in 1830.  However, no 1840 Thomas Newton family in the four states considered have both a male child (son Thomas) and a female child (daughter Sophia) in age ranges of 0-5 and/or 5 to 10.

Sophia (Buck) (Brigham) Newton resided in Northborough, Massachusetts in the 1850 U.S. census with her daughter, Sophia.  The son, Thomas J. Newton, resided in nearby Sterling, Massachusetts.

A T. J. Newton, age 45, was found in the 1850 census, living in Reading, Massachusetts with a wife Eliza, and a 16-year old male named Albert Newton.  This Thomas J. Newton was born in Dixfield, Oxford County,  Maine, according to his death record in 1852, the son of Jacob Newton.  He was born in 1808 in Dixfield, Maine.  The problem is he's only 45 years old (actually 42) in the 1850 census.  This Thomas J. Newton (single, no occupation, no age, no parents) married Eliza P. Coffin (widow) in Dedham, Massachusetts on 17 September 1843.  Dedham is not that far from Westborough and Sterling, Massachusetts.  This may be the Thomas J. Newton who probably married Sophia (Buck) Brigham in about 1834.  Or not!

A divorce from Sophia (Buck) (Brigham) Newton is a possibility.  The divorce records for Worcester County, Massachusetts from about 1834 to about 1850 were reviewed on FamilySearch Library microfilms. They are included in the Supreme Judicial Court records for the county. I looked at two films - one for 1833-1845, and one for 1845-1854. There were several interesting law suits for Newton on these films, but not for the target Sophia and Thomas Newton. There may be a divorce record in Lamoille County or Windsor County, Vermont, or another Massachusetts County, which I have not reviewed to date.

The only record I have found for this Thomas J. Newton residing in a town near where Sophia (Buck) Brigham resided in the 1830 to 1835 time frame is the Westborough town list of "Account of Town Orders from Select Men of Westboro drawn for the support of Town Paupers for whom Cash was drawn from Town Treasury by Caleb W. Forbush Town Treasurer"  included Thomas J. Newton, who drew $32.59 on 3 December 1832.[1]

There are no land records in Worcester County, Massachusetts Land Record Grantee and Grantor Indexes for Thomas J. Newton or for Sophia Newton.  I have not checked for land records in Lamoille or Windsor Counties, Vermont for Thomas J. Newton.  

There are no probate records for a Thomas J. Newton in Middlesex County MA, Worcester County MA, nor in Lamoille County or Windsor County, Vermont records.

I have found no burial record for Thomas J. Newton in published or online records or databases.

One scenario for this Thomas J. Newton and his wife (?) Sophia (Buck) (Brigham) Newton, is that he met her in Westborough, Massachusetts and vicinity around the time of Lambert Brigham's death; she had at least two young sons by Lambert in 1820 and 1830, and may have been pregnant with another and needed a husband to provide for her.  They may have married, gone off to Lamoille (or Windsor) County, Vermont for a period of time, and then he either died, or they separated/divorced, in the 1835-1850 time period.  In the 1850 census, the mother Sophia, the daughter Sophia and son Thomas are residing in Massachusetts.  

Another scenario is that the elusive Thomas J. Newton is the Thomas J. Newton, born in 1808 in Dixfield, Maine to Jacob and Fanny (Parks) Newton, who came to Westborough, Massachusetts by 1832, married Sophia (Buck) Brigham in say, late 1834, fathered perhaps one or both of the children, divorced Sophia soon after, and married widow Eliza Coffin in 1843 in Dedham, fathering two more children, Cordelia (1844-1845) and Thomas Jefferson Newton (1848-1849), appeared in the 1850 census in Reading as T J Newton, and died in 1852 in Reading, Massachusetts.  The problem here is that he would be 11 years younger than Sophia (age 37 at her marriage), the births of Sophia and Thomas are supposedly in Vermont, and he had a son Thomas Jefferson Newton born in 1848, who died in 1849.

So we have a mystery man in this Thomas J. Newton.  He may have been the father of Sophia (Newton) Hildreth (1834?-1923), or he may not.  He may or may not have been the father of Thomas J. Newton (1835?-1915).  

1. Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988, digital images, (, "Westborough, Town Accounts," page 160 (image 84 of 129), No. 103, Thomas J. Newton entry on town support list.


Note that I have provided a lot of narrative, but not a lot of sources for this biography.  I chose not to insert sources for my narrative summaries because of time constraints.  As you can see, I have only one source that clearly identifies this person in a record in the vicinity of the purported wife and children.

I welcome any and all comments about my narrative, the hypotheses and scenarios.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Finding Seaver Folks in a Specific Place In My Database

Today's Boston 1775 blog post by J.L. Bell is titled Preserving New England's Church Records and is important for all New England researchers.

J.L. provides one example of a church record, and it highlights the activities of a Mrs. Seaver in Hopkinton, Mass. in 1773.  When I read this,  I said to myself "hmmm, I wonder who that can be?"  He promises to write about "Tracking down Mrs. Seaver" in Friday's post - I can hardly wait to see what he finds.

So how can I figure who this might be on my own?  Ah, I could use the "Find all events in one place" option in the "Place List" in RootsMagic 6!  Here's what I did:

1)  On the RootsMagic screen, I clicked on the "reports" link and then "Lists" and found the "Place List" item:

2)  After clicking "OK' to Create the Report, I had the "Report Settings" screen, and I could choose "Find events in a single place" from the dropdown list:

3)  By clicking on the chosen option, the screen showed a button to "Select place:"

4)  When I clicked on that button, the list of all places showed up, and I started typing Hopkinton and the list of places appeared:

5.  I selected "Hopkinton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States" from the list.  When I clicked it, it showed up in the "Report Settings" screen:

6)  Now, all I have to do is click the "Generate Report" button to create the list of all events in my database that refers to Hopkinton.  It's a four page report.

There are Seaver folks on the list.  One hint - I think "Mrs. Seaver's" maiden surname initial is C.

I will refrain from spilling all of the beans in this post - interested readers should check the Boston 1775 blog on Friday to see what J.L. Bell finds out!

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

Comments on "How Should Genealogical Societies Nurture Beginners?"

I had several excellent and thoughtful comments on my post How Should Genealogy Societies Nurture Beginners? (posted 24 July 2014).  They included:

1)  Sandra Steele Deford said:  "Randy, your points are right on the money and every society should take your advice."

My comment:  Thank you, Sandra.  I was hoping that comments would provide some more suggestions, since I know I don't have all of the answers.  What does yourl ocal society do?  What should they do?

2)  Nadine Feldman commented:  "I'm a newbie with strong computer skills. I appreciate all your comments, and I agree that having classes that match people with their computer aptitude is smart. Our local genealogical society is having a class on using Word -- I wouldn't be interested in that, but I went to a recent meeting where I learned a LOT that I can use.

"Recently, while looking at some hints, I realized that several families had picked up the same error -- a man who died several years before his "daughter" was born. 

"I think the Internet, even with its limitations, will 'save' genealogy. If I would have started with going to the library, I doubt I would have developed an interest. Online, I have found some wonderful resources that have only made me more curious. NOW, I want to know more about what's beyond the online search. That led me to our local society, and I attended my first meeting last week. 

"The ease of online research will certainly make for some bad genealogists -- but I think we will always have a certain segment of the population with a love of research, for whom the Internet opens a door into a fascinating and wonderful world."

My comment:  You've articulated several key points, Nadine.  Thank you.  I especially like your comment that "If I would have started with going to the library..."  We all come to genealogy with a skill set and family experience, and how we progress in genealogy often takes time and trials.  You've made another key step with attending your local society.  You may find wonderful people, even mentors, there, or you may find they don't advance your knowledge much.  

3)  Melissa noted:  "Randy, I agree 100% with what you said. I have been doing genealogy research for almost 30 years now and the past 8 of those years I have been a professional genealogist, speaker and teacher. I teach a free genealogy class at my local library and I have 'newbies' come to my classes every month. I teach these new students of genealogy research to not rely totally on online resources and information but to venture out into the 'real world' and visit an archives, library or courthouse. Since I am also my local county archivist, I know that there are tons of records not online or even indexed that are just waiting for researchers to discover. The internet is a great resource but we have to put it in perspective to the whole world of genealogy research."

My comment:  Melissa, your students are very fortunate to have you as a guide and mentor.  Not all teachers have the archives experience.

4)  Dave Robison offered:  "Randy, I could have written this...but you've said it better than I could have! We seem to be traveling parallel paths: relatively small society (120+ paid members with an average of 45 per monthly meeting in attendance), computer labs with one-on-one instruction, teaching basic computer skills when necessary, coaching non-internet research strategies..... My eye is on growth with a younger set. Not high school students (but I wouldn't discourage them) but a generation that is computer literate and has the requisite energy and enthusiasm to 'do the work.' Other than our Western Massachusetts Genealogical Society, we've grown a following at the Chicopee Public Library through beginner's classes and some intermediate classes both lecture style and computer lab style. We've managed to get the Chicopee Library designated as a Family History Center. All the micromedia from the Ludlow LDS Church has been transferred there. That will bring us even more 'traffic'. It's looking pretty good!"

My comment:  It's amazing what can happen when several enthusiastic and hard-working society members see that a diverse program and curriculum works very well, and make it happen.  Libraries and churches can work with societies for everyone's mutual benefit.  WMGS is a great example for all societies, large and small.

5)  Lee said:  "I love delving into my family's past. I belong to both the Pima County Genealogy Society and the Southern Arizona Jewish Genealogy Society. I'm not a beginner but I also have almost no experience doing anything other than online research. Most beginners I encounter want to know more about their family's history. They don't want to become genealogists. It's hard enough doing research properly and thoroughly. Maybe we unnecessarily complicate the introduction of beginners to the joy of family history research by subtly suggesting they start a genealogist track. There's a reason Family History Centers aren't called Genealogy Centers."

My comment:  I'm somewhat confused by your comment "They don't want to become genealogists."  Do you mean "professional genealogists" (those who take clients, get paid, etc.).  Some folks define "family history" and "genealogy" as two different pursuits - I think they are woven together.  Yes, we want the names, dates, places, pedigree charts, etc., but we also want to know the stories behind the record documents, ancestor activities, photographs, etc.  

For me, the main reason to suggest starting a pedigree chart, using family group sheets, inputting data into a genealogy program or online tree, etc. is that they are a way to keep the research organized.  

One of the images I use in my beginners classes and adult education classes is the "Iceberg chart" developed several years ago by the California Genealogical society (who kindly permitted me to use it in my materials):

I truly believe that the iceberg chart portrays the reality of genealogy research resources.  My best estimate is that we have between 5% and 10% of ALL genealogy resources online now. 

 FamilySearch, Ancestry, and other providers have done excellent work in adding record collections to online databases, and indexing them.  But there is so much to do.  I recall reading that only about 1.5% of all of the U.S. National Archives documents have been digitized and are online (which includes other websites).  That tells me that there are billions of documents in boxes, on shelves, or in piles in national archives, state archives, state and local libraries, historical and genealogical societies, courthouses and county offices, etc.  

I sincerely doubt that more than 25% to 40% of ALL of the records will ever be digitized, and not all of them will be indexed.  

I've expressed the thought before:  When more "rich" records are digitized and indexed, many more "brick walls" will be broken through.  For me, the real gems in the "rich" records are church, land, probate and newspaper records.  

Thank you to my readers for their comments on my earlier post.  If you have additional comments, please add them to this post, or to the earlier post.

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

Treasure Chest Thursday - Post 225: 1901 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 1901 Canada Census record for my 3rd great-grandfather, Alexander  in Windham township, Norfolk County, Ontario:

The Alexander Sovereen household entry:

The extraction of the information for these two Sovereen households , residing in Windham township, Norfolk County, Ontario, is:

*  Wilber M. Sovereen - male, white, head of family, married, born 3 Nov 1867, age 33, born Ontario, German origin, Canadian nationality, Baptist religion, a farmer, working on own account
*  Fanny Sovereen - female, white, wife, married, born 24 Aug 1867, age 33, born Ontario, German origin, Canadian nationalty, English religion
*  Alexander Sovereen - male, white, head, widowed, born 22 Dec 1814, age 86, born Ontario, German origin, Canadian nationality, Baptist religion, a farmer 
*  Levi S. Jay - male, white, lodger, married, born 22 July 1872, age 28, born Ontario, German origin, Canadian nationality, English religion, a farm laborer, an employee, worked 12 months, earned $400
*  Margaret L. Jay - female, white, lodger, married, born 29 July 1875, age 25, born Ontario, German origin, Canadian nationality, Lutheran religion
*  Russell R. Jay - male, white, boarder, single, born 26 Mar 1895, age 6, born Ontario, German origin, Canadian nationality, English religion
*  Edward L. Jay - male, white, boarder, single, born 5 Apr 1898, age 2, born Ontario, German origin, Canadian nationality, English religion

The source citation for this record is:

Census of Canada, 1901, Norfolk County, Ontario, Schedule No. 1 (population), District 93, North Norfolk, Division No. G, Subdivision 6 of Windham, Page 3, Family #31, Alexander Sovereen household; digital image, Library and Archives Canada ( : accessed 31 July 2014).

The neat thing about this census record is the actual birth date provided for each person.  

I don't know who Levi and Margaret Jay are.  They are not directly related to Alexander Sovereen - they are listed as lodgers in the census record.  One of them might be Alexander's grandchild, but I haven't researched that yet.

When I started this blog post, I had to go find this census record - I had not captured the image previously. I also noticed that the Libraries and Archives Canada URL has changed since I last captured census records there.

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Should "Best of the Genea-Blogs" Be a Weekly Flipboard Magazine?

My weekly Best of the Genea-Blogs blog post on Sundays has been a fixture for almost seven years (my, how time flies!), but it's always been essentially text with links to my selected blog posts from over 1,500 genealogy bloggers.  This is basic curation - find something, link to it, perhaps comment on it, let others read it.

I've been experimenting with different forms of presentation - especially Flipboard magazines, which is available on the Internet and on mobile devices.  I really like Flipboard as a visual curator - and I can select what I want to show in my magazines.

So today I decided to make a Flipboard magazine for last week's Best of the Genea-Blogs - the week of July 20-26, 2014.  The Flipboard magazine is at

Here is the cover page:

Don't click on the image, it's not a live link!

Maybe I need a sexier image on the Best Of the Genea-Blog post?  I'll work on that!

Using the right and left arrows on the side of the Flipboard magazine pages, the reader can scroll through the pages in the magazine.  For instance, here is the second page of the magazine:

By clicking the + sign next to my name under the title of each image, the reader can go to the specific blog post.  That's good.  As you can see, there is an image associated with each webpage in the magazine.

But I have a problem with this concept.  I didn't write these blog posts, Wayne Shepheard and Thomas MacEntee did.  The URL given is to their blogs, but my name is under the title of the posts.  Granted, if the URL is short enough, the bloggers name might be next to it, which is good.  The image is not my image, either.  What do you think?  Are these copyright violations?  If so, whose violation is it - mine or Flipboard's?

Would you read a Flipboard magazine of the Best of the Genea-Blogs if I did this every week?  How about a Flipboard magazine for:

*  Each week's posts on Genea-Musings?  

*  Research and photos for each ancestral family, or a special person?

*  For genealogical society activities?

It takes maybe 30 minutes to put one together with 20 to 25 links.  Is this something that would interest your genealogical society members?  Or your Facebook friends?  Or your family members? Or to pass via email to your genealogy buddies? Or not?

I would like your opinion on this - would you like this to happen?  Or do you not care?  Is this a way to reach younger genealogists, to document research activities, or to reach family members?

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver