Saturday, November 7, 2015

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Your Computer History

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) I am a slave to my computer - how about you.  What is your computer history - what have you used, when did you get it, what did you do on it, etc.

*  Tell us in your own blog post about your computer history, or in a comment on this post, or in posts on Facebook or Google+.

Here's mine:

1)  I started on computers at San Diego State University in about 1965 - with punch cards and FORTRAN programs for my engineering classes.  I also had a slide rule that I used in math, engineering and science classes all through high school and college.

2)  In my first paying job, I used an electronic four function calculator with a small screen to make calculations, but it didn't have a square root function so I had to do that with a short process.

3)  When I started at Rohr in October 1967, the engineering group had developed some FORTRAN programs for analysis work, so I was able to use my programming skills and develop more analysis programs.  We filled out coding sheets and sent them to the keypunch operators who sent us back a card deck, which we put together, put in a box with rubber bands around the punched cards, and carried them to the computer center.  Every morning, we would go to the computer center to retrieve our card deck in the box (and hope the cards had not been scrambled) and the 11 x 17 printouts from the dot matrix printers.  If the program failed, the printout included a core dump in hexadecimal numbers (base 16) so we could figure out where the program failed.  We then revised the coding, got new punchcards, put the deck together, and submitted it again, hopefully by the end of the day.  

Department secretaries transformed our handwritten pages into engineering reports on typewriters, which we then edited and redlined and they typed them again.

4)  In the mid 1970s, we got keypunch machines in our work area, and punched cards ourselves.  By the late 1970s, we had a card reader in our work area so we could submit jobs to the remote computer center without walking over to the center.  We also had a printer in our work area that received the printouts.  By the mid-70s, the first word processors were provided to the department secretaries so they had to edit the memos and reports.

5)  In the early 1980s, Rohr got a VAX 11/780 computer system for engineering, and we got terminals in our work area to replace the punch cards, although some engineers still used the punchcards.  On the terminals, we could create a FORTRAN program file, add control cards, and electronically submit our program and data deck to the remote computer.  The printouts still came to our work area printer.  Since the terminals had upper and lower case letters, and Greek letters, the some of the engineers typed the memos and reports on the terminals, printed them off, etc. 

6)  In February 1983, I bought an IBM 8086 PC with no hard drive, two 360 kb floppy drives, MS-DOS, and a dot matrix printer for about $3,000.  I used the EasyWriter program for word processing at home, and wrote BASIC programs for my radio wave propagation hobby.  I had this computer when I upgraded to a hard drive in the late 1980s, along with a 300 baud modem, and started my genealogy work in 1988 using Personal Ancestral File.  I still had this setup in 1992 when I used the Prodigy network to connect with other researchers in their forums using the modem.

7)  In 1994, I bought a 80386 PC, with a larger hard drive, 3.5 inch floppy drives, Windows 3.1, and Microsoft Works.  I used this for the online services and email.  

8)  In 1998 I bought a Windows 95 PC with Microsoft Works and MSWord, with a zip drive, an internal modem and an inkjet printer, and started using the Internet for genealogy research on message boards and mailing lists.  I bought Family Tree Maker Version 5 and transferred my genealogy database into that program.

9)  I upgraded again in about 2004 when the previous computer crapped out, again upgrading to more RAM, faster CPU, Windows XP, CDROM, and a scanner and an inkjet printer.  By now, we had cable modems.  I bought a laptop in about 2002 so I could make genealogy presentations.  I switched to RootsMagic in 2006 for my family tree program.  

10)  I upgraded again in 2010 when the 2004 desktop computer crapped out, and this is my current system with Windows 7, an all-in-one printer, DVD and CDROM drives, etc. I switched to Gmail as my email client in about 2011 because Thunderbird was so slow.   I need a new desktop machine soon since this one is almost full and really slows down during the day often using 70-80% of the physical memory.   I got a new laptop in 2012 with Windows 7.  I work 8-12 hours a day on genealogy on my desktop computer.

That's my story in a nutshell - I'm sure it bored most readers.  

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post.  Or contact me by email at

Surname Saturday - WINN (England to colonial Massachusetts)

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 #1171 who is Ann WINN (1626-1682) 
[Note: the earlier great-grandmothers and 8th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts].

My ancestral line back through two generations of this WINN family line is:

1. Randall J. Seaver

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

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

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

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

36.  Zavhariah Hildreth (1783-1857)
37.  Hannah Sawtell (1789-1857)

72.  Zachariah Hildreth (1754-1828)
73.  Elizabeth Keyes (1759-1793)

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

292.  Joseph Keyes (1698-1744)
293.  Elizabeth Fletcher (1698-1775)

584.  Joseph Keyes (1667-1757)
585.  Joanna Cleveland (1670-1758)

1170.  Moses Cleaveland, born 1624 in Ipswich, Suffolk, England; died 09 January 1702 in Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He married 26 September 1648 in Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
1171.  Ann Winn, born 1626 in England; died before May 1682 in Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  

Children of Moses Cleaveland and Ann Winn are:
*  Moses Cleaveland (1651-1718), married 1676 Ruth Norton (1657-1717).
*  Hannah Cleaveland (1653-1737), married 1677 Thomas Henshaw (1650-1700).
*  Aaron Cleaveland (1655-1716), married 1675 Dorcas Wilson (1657-1714).
*  Samuel Cleaveland (1657-1736), married (1) 1680 Jane Keyes (1660-1681); (2) 1682 Persis Hildreth (1660-1698); (3) 1699 Margaret Stark (1658-????).
*  Miriam Cleaveland (1659-1735), married 1683 Thomas Foskett (1660-1694).
*  Joanna Cleaveland (1661-1667).
*  Edward Cleaveland (1664-1746), married (1) 1684 Deliverance Palmer (1665-1717); (2) 1722 Zeruiah Church (1662-1726).
*  Josiah Cleaveland (1667-1709), married 1689 Mary Bates (1667-1743).
*  Isaac Cleaveland (1669-1714), married 1699 Elizabeth Curtis (1681-????).
*  Joanna Cleaveland (1670-1758), married 1690 Joseph Keyes (1667-1757).
*  Enoch Cleaveland (1671-1729), married (1) 1695 Elizabeth Counts (1669-1719), (2) 1719 Elizabeth Wright (????-1731).

2342.  Edward Winn, born about 1599 in England; died 05 September 1682 in Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He married before 1626 in England.
2343.  Joanna, born about 1607 in England; died 08 March 1649 in Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.

Children of Edward Winn and Joanna are:
*  Ann Winn (1626-1682), married 1648 Moses Cleaveland (1624-1702).
*  Elizabeth Winn (1628-1695), married 1649 George Polly (1625-1683).
*  Joseph Winn (1630-1715), married 1664 Rebecca Reed (1647-1734).
*  Increase Winn (1641-1690), married 1665 Hannah Sawtell (1642-1723).

Information about this Winn family was obtained from Massachusetts town vital record books and:

*  Samuel Sewall, The History of Woburn, Middlesex County, Massachusetts (Boston, Wiggin and Lunt, 1868).

*  Cleveland, Edmund Janes, and Horace Gillette Cleveland, The Genealogy of the Cleveland and Cleaveland Families (Hartford, Conn. : Case, Lockwood, and Brainard Company, 1899).

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post.  Or contact me by email at

Friday, November 6, 2015

Three Days of Genealogy Blogging Statistics

I read James Tanner's post What is the Future of Genealogical Blogs on 3 November and pondered how to respond.  One of James main concerns was that "Almost all the blog posts I now see now are created by commercial enterprises."

I decided that if I was going to discuss that issue, I had better have some statistics.  So, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week I have been compiling statistics about "Personal genealogy" blogs, "Corporate genealogy" blogs, and "Non-genealogy blogs" that I read with Feedly.

I have over 1,600 blogs in my Feedly reader, but only about 1,500 are for genealogy.  I have news, technology, humor, science, sports and other blog genres in my Feedly list.

Here are my statistics:

1)  Wednesday, 4 November:

*  Personal genealogy blogs - 79 posts
*  Corporate genealogy blogs - 34 posts
*  Non-genealogy blogs - I didn't count them.

2)  Thursday, 5 November:

*  Personal genealogy blogs - 95 posts
*  Corporate genealogy blogs - 34 posts
*  Non-genealogy blogs - 228 posts

3)  Friday, 6 November:

*  Personal genealogy blogs - 87 posts
*  Corporate genealogy blogs - 35 posts
*  Non-genealogy blogs - 197 posts

So, from the genealogy-related blogs - there are 261 that I classified as "personal," and 103 that I classified as "corporate."  So about 70% of the genealogy blog posts were personal.

I tried to note different types of "corporate genealogy" blog posts - examples are press releases, corporate blog posts (e.g., Ancestry, Findmypast, FamilySearch, GenealogyBank, Legacy Family Tree, etc.), organization blog posts (e.g., NEHGS, TNA, NIGS, NGS, SCGS), and professional blogger posts (e.g., Dick Eastman, Lisa Cooke, Leland Meitzler, etc.).

Now, James may be reading (or not reading) the same genealogy blogs that I read.  I don't have his list and he doesn't have mine.  My guess is he reads all of the corporate blogs I do, but few of the personal blogs.

So it all comes down to "what blogs do you read."  I was surprised by some of my statistics:

*  I think the number of personal genealogy blog posts has gone down over the past year.

*  I think the number of corporate blog posts has gone up over the past year.

*  Very few genealogy bloggers post each day (less than 10%).

*  I was shocked that genealogy blog posts are only 36% of all of the blog posts I receive in my Feedly reader.  I know where I can save some time!

I will do a similar statistics dump sometime next year to see if the trends continue.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post.  Or contact me by email at

Updates to My AncestryDNA Results, and New Shared cM Feature

I haven't updated my AncestryDNA results in a blog post for some time, and there have been some important changes to the site, and to my matches.

There were two interesting blog posts today about the Shared centiMorgans that can now be found in a person's matches.  They were:

*  Exploring the New DNA Feature: Total cMs by Kitty Cooper on Kitty Cooper's Blog.

*  Ancestry's New "Amount of Shared DNA" -- What Does it Really Mean? by Roberta J. Estes on the DNAeXplained -- Genetic Genealogy blog.

Here are screen shots of my DNA Results Summary page:

The important information for me is that:

*  I have 81 Shared Ancestor Hints - these are autosomal DNA matches with common ancestors in their tree and my tree.

*  I have 131 4th cousins or closer - these are autosomal DNA matches, including those with shared Hints.

*  I have almost 4,500 matches with at least 5.0 in shared centiMorgans, but only 81 have a tree with a shared common ancestor.  About 10% of my matches don't have a tree or have a Private tree.

*  I now have five DNA Circles - for James Richman (1821-1912), his wife Hannah Rich (1824-1911), John Rich (1791-1868), his wife Rebecca Hill (1790-1862), and Zachariah Hildreth (1754-1828).  There are the same five matching persons in the Richman, Rich, Rich and Hill DNA Circles - we are all descendants of these persons.  There are four matching persons in the Hildreth DNA Circle, but I share enough autosomal DNA with one of them - but he shares enough with the other two.

*  I have no New Ancestor Discoveries yet (which is OK with me, since most of them I've heard about are erroneous).

What about the new feature - the Shared centiMorgans (cM) for AncestryDNA matches?  How do you find these?

Well, you click on one of your AncestryDNA matches.  Below the person's name is the "Predicted relationship: xxx Cousins" with a possible relationship range, and a Confidence level.  Beside the Confidence level is an icon with an "i" in a black circle - if the user clicks on that, they can see the "Amount of Shared DNA."

In the case above, I hare 91 cM across 8 DNA segments with this 4th cousin (we both have John Rich and Rebecca Hill in our trees as 3rd great-grandparents).

In the "Amount of Shared DNA" box above, there is a link for "What does this mean?"  When the user clicks that, a popup appears with information about shared DNA and confidence levels.  Here is the chart that defines the Confidence Level information, including the range of shared cM:

The shared cM information is helpful to understand the closeness of the relationships.

For the shared cM of 91 that I have with the DNA match above, the expected "Extremely high" confidence level is "above 30 centiMorgans" so that makes sense, although the match is a 4th cousin.
The "best" match I have on AncestryDNA is a second cousin (common great-grandparents), with 244 centiMorgans across 16 DNA segments.

The second best match I have is the example above with 91 centiMorgans in common across 8 DNA segments.

The third best match I have is a third cousin (common 2nd great-grandparents) with 76 centiMorgans across 6 DNA segments.

*  The fourth best match I have is a 4th cousin once removed (common ancestors are my 3rd great-grandparents) with 77 centiMorgans across 3 DNA segments.  We are also 5th cousins once removed (common ancestors are my 4th great-grandparents).

*  The fifth best match I have is a 2nd cousin twice removed (common ancestors are my great-grandparents) with 68 centiMorgans across 4 DNA segments.  This is a grandchild of my best match with 244 centiMorgans.

*  The sixth best match I have is a 3rd cousin (common 2nd great-grandparents) with 37 centiMorgans across 4 DNA segments.

The point here is that the amount of shared DNA can be highly variable - my 4th cousin match with 91 cM has much more shared DNA with me than my 3rd cousin with only 37 cM.

I can now add the amount of shared autosomal DNA CentiMorgans to my spreadsheet of AncestryDNA relatives, which includes the common ancestors and actual relationships (from research).

Of course, AncestryDNA still doesn't provide a chromosome browser wherein a user can see which chromosomes have the shared DNA.  AncestryDNA users need to use a third-party utility like GEDMatch in order to determine on which chromosome the shared DNA segments are located.  

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post.  Or contact me by email at

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 97: #119 Tabitha (Randolph) Cutter (1752-1841)

Amy Johnson Crow suggested a weekly blog theme of "52 Ancestors" in her blog post Challenge:  52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks on the No Story Too Small blog.  I am extending this theme in 2015 to 104 Ancestors in 104 Weeks. Here is my ancestor biography for week #97:

Tabitha (Randolph) Cutter (1752-1841) is #119 on my Ahnentafel list, my 4th great-grandmother, who married #118 Stephen Cutter (1745-1823) in about 1768.

I am descended through:

* their daughter, #59 Sarah Cutter (1785-1878) who married #58 William Knapp (1775-1856) in 1804, 

*  their daughter, #29 Sarah G. Knapp (1818-????), who married #28 David Auble (1817-1894).  in 1844.
*  their son #14 Charles Auble (1849-1916), who married #15 Georgianna Kemp (1868-1952) in 1898.
*  their daughter #7 Emily Kemp Auble (1899-1977) who married #6 Lyle Lawrence Carringer in 1918.
*  their daughter, #3 Betty Virginia Carringer (1919-2002), who married #2 Frederick Walton Seaver (1911-1983) in 1942.
*  their son, #1 Randall J. Seaver (1943-....)


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

*  Name:                   Tabitha Randolph[1,3]   
*  Alternate Name:   Tabitha Cutter[2,4-6]
*  Sex:                      Female   

*  Father:                 Samuel Fitz Randolph (1730-????)   
*  Mother:               Martha Gach (1729-????)   
2)  INDIVIDUAL EVENTS (with source citations as indicated in brackets):
*  Birth:                   about 1752, Elizabeth, Union, New Jersey, United States[2,4]
*  Baptism:              6 September 1761 (about age 9), Elizabeth, Union, New Jersey, United States[3]
*  Affidavit:            8 November 1839 (about age 87), Affidavit of Tabitha Cutter in support of Abraham Johnson; Woodbridge, Middlesex, New Jersey, United States[5]    
*  Affidavit:           30 June 1840 (about age 88), Affidavit of Tabitha Cutter in support of Mary Hadden; Woodbridge, Middlesex, New Jersey, United States[6]   
*  Death:                26 November 1841 (about age 89), Woodbridge, Middlesex, New Jersey, United States[2,4]   
*  Burial:               after 26 November 1841 (after about age 89), First Presbyterian Cemetery, Woodbridge, Middlesex, New Jersey, United States[2,4]   
3)  SHARED EVENTS (with source citations as indicated in brackets):   

*  Spouse 1:           Stephen Cutter (1745-1823)   
*  Marriage 1:       about 1769 (about age 17) , Woodbridge, Middlesex, New Jersey, United States[1]   
*  Child 1:             Phebe Cutter (1769-1839)   
*  Child 2:             Nancy Cutter (1771-1812)   
*  Child 3:             Stephen Cutter (1773-    )   
*  Child 4:             Mary Cutter (1775-    )   
*  Child 5:             Richard Cutter (1779-1820)   
*  Child 6:             William Whitmore Cutter (1781-1862)   
*  Child 7:             Hannah Cutter (1784-    )   
*  Child 8:             Sarah Cutter (1785-1878)   
*  Child 9:             Samuel Cutter (1787-    )   
*  Child 10:           Mary Cutter (1790-1870)   
*  Child 11:           Thomas Cutter (1793-1817)   
4)  NOTES (with source citations as indicated in brackets):   

Tabitha Randolph was born in about 1752 in Woodbridge, Middlesex County, New Jersey to Samuel and Martha (Gach) Fitz Randolph.  According to her gravestone, she was age 89 at death in 1841[2].

Tabitha Randolph was baptized 6 September 1761 in St. John Episcopal Church in Elizabeth, Union County, NJ, daughter of Samuel Randolph[3]. Her sister, Mary, and cousins (all from her mother's Gach/Gage family) were also baptized on the same date.

Stephen Cutter and Tabitha Randolph were married by Dr. Azel Roe, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Woodbridge, Middlesex County, New Jersey  before 1769, since their first child was born in 1771[1].  They had eleven children, all born between 1769 and 1793 in Woodbridge, where Stephen and Tabitha lived out their lives.  

In the Revolutionary War a party of British soldiers from Staten Island came up the creek in the night, and made Mr. Cutter a prisoner. He narrowly escaped being thrown overboard in the middle of the Sound, between the mainland and the island, for refusing to row.  The enemy found Mrs. Cutter an obstinate rebel.  Some soldiers entered her house and shamefully abused her.  They damaged her furniture and created disorder, and finally taking her dinner pot off the fire, strewed the contents over the floor.  This she never forgave.  She allowed no one afterwards to speak in favor of the English in her presence, without giving her sentiments and relating her experience with Englishmen, and with soldiers in particular[1].

Stephen Cutter's widow, Tabitha (Randolph) Cutter,  made an affidavit in 1840 in support of a Revolutionary War Pension for Abraham Johnson on 8 November 1839[5].  The affidavit says:

"Personally appeared before the Subscriber Tabitha Cutter widow of Stephen Cutter a Revolutionary Soldier who being duly sworn on her oath saith that during the Revolutionary War she was intimately acquainted with Abraham  Johnson. That said Johnson served continually during the whole war. He served part of the time under the command of Capt. Nathaniel Randolph. That in the years 1781 & 1782 said Abraham Johnson served under the command of Capt. Asher Randolph in the enlisted service. The deponent further saith that the said Johnson was wounded she thinks in the battle of Elizabethtown and was brot to her house while suffering under the effects of that wound.
Sworn and Subscribed this     }
8th day of Nov'r 1839 before }    Tabitha Cutter
Henry Silcock J.P.                  }"

She made another affidvait on 30 June 1840 in support of the Revolutionary War Pension application for Mary Hadden[6].  That affidavit says:

"On the thirtieth day of June 1840 personally appeared before me Ichabod Potter a Justice of the Peace … in and for said County,Tabitha Cutter a resident of the township of Woodbridge in said county, Aged near 87 years, who being duly sworn according to law, doth depose and say that she was well acquainted with Thomas Hadden late the husband of Mary Hadden, now a widow, whose Maiden Name was Mary Baker. That at the Commencement of the Revolutionary War in the year 1776 she resided with her husband at Woodbridge, instate of New Jersey, and that Thomas Hadden, the late husband of the said Mary, resided at the same place, that in the Month of June 1776 or near about that time, the particular day she has forgotten, there was companies raised for five months as she then was informed and that the said Thomas Hadden had enlisted in one of the companies, she then also understood that they were taken to Long Island, and she well recollects that the said Thomas Hadden was absent from Woodbridge until the return of the said troops or companies which was in the Month of November in said year.
Sworn and subscribed        }
this day and year aforesaid }              Tabitha Cutter
before me
Ichabod Potter Justice of the peace"

Tabitha Cutter died 26 November 1841 in Woodbridge, and is buried in the First Presbyterian Churchyard[2,4].  Stephen is in Section 1, plot number 4, the inscription says:

"Stephen Cutter June 20, 1823, in 76th year."  

Tabitha is in plot number 5, with the inscription of:

"Tabitha Cutter, wid. of Stephen Cutter, d. 26 Nov. 1841, in 89th year."


1. Dr. Benjamin Cutter, The History of the Cutter Family of New England  (Boston, Mass. : 1871), page 93, Stephen Cutter sketch.

2. Jane Devlin (transcriber), "Inscriptions, Cemetery of the First Presbyterian Church of Woodbridge [Middlesex County], New Jersey," online database, Dunham-Wilcox-Trott-Kirk (, No. 5. Tabitha CUTTER, wid. of Stephen CUTTER, d. 26 Nov 1841, in 89th yr.

3. Florence Evelyn Pratt Youngs, "Records of St. John's Episcopal Church, Elizabeth, N.J. 1750-1873," FHL US/CAN Film 1019522, Item 2, Tabitha Randolph baptism entry, 1761.

4. Jim Tipton, indexed database, Find A Grave (, First Presbyterian Churchyard, Woodbridge, N.J., Tabitha Randolph Cutter memorial #147457921.

5. "Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files,"  online database with digital images, ( : accessed 12 December 2007), Pension File S.133552, New Jersey, Abraham Johnson Pension File, page 51, Affidavit of Tabitha Cutter, 1839.

6. "Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files,", Pension File R.4413, New Jersey, Mary Hadden Pension File, page 32, Affidavit of Tabitha Cutter, 1840.


The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post.  Or contact me by email at