Saturday, February 20, 2016

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -- Who Were Your Neighbors?

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


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

1) Think about who your neighbors were when you were a child.  Where did you live?  Who lived next door or across the street?  

2)  Tell us a story about one or more of your neighbors.  If you want to keep them anonymous, just use first names.   Do some research if you need to recall names and years.

3)  Share your story in your own blog post (but leave a comment on this post so we can find it), in a comment to this blogp ost, or on Facebook or Google+.

Here's mine:

I lived at 2119 30th Street in San Diego from 1947 to 1968 (ages 4 to 25).  This was a second floor apartment - downstairs was 2115 30th Street.  My grandparents also owned four other apartments on the block - cottages at 2123 and 2127 30th Street, and a two story apartment house at 2114 and 2116 Fern Street.

1)  My grandparents, Lyle and Emily (Auble) Carringer, and my grandmother's mother, Georgia Auble, lived in the 2115 30th Street apartment for the 1948 to 1961 time period, and then moved to the Point Loma House in 1951.

I recall two of the subsequent occupants of 2115 30th Street after my grandparents:

*  A widow, Lillian, and her son Rocky lived there for about five years in the 1952-1958 range, until she married again.  My brother and I played with Rocky, and had  some fun with him, although I don't recall many details.  What I do remember is trying to cuss Rocky out once, saying "you, you, you, you baxter!" in the presence of his mother. Obviously, I was experimenting with the word, and was punished for that.  I also remember getting sick on a rare-cooked hamburger provided by Lillian.  They moved out when Lillian got married.

*  A young married couple, Ben and Sharon, moved in during the late 1960s, and stayed into the 1970s, having three children.  All of them fondly remember my parents.  My parents enjoyed them and their kids - it was a great place to raise kids.  Ben and Sharon are still close friends of ours.

2)  I recall only one occupant of the 2123 30th Street cottage (this was one bedroom, one bath, ideal for a single person):

*  Frances Chapman lived there in the 1950s and into the 1970s.  I don't recall when she left.  My mother interacted with her a bit, but I didn't.  She worked downtown, I think, but I don't know what she did. I don't know how old she was at the time.  An Ancestry search reveals her name was Muriel Frances (Wilkinson) Chapman (1907-1994).  Entries in San Diego City Directories show her in 2123 30th Street in 1947 (a stenographer), 1950 (a stenographer), 1961, 1962, 1964 (stenographer), 1967, 1978 (retired), 1979 (retired).  Her spouse may have been Ralph W. Chapman.  

3)  I recall only one occupant of the 2123 30th Street cottage:

*  Ruby LaTourrette lived there in the 1960s.  She was elderly, but a sweet little old lady.  An Ancestry search reveals her name as Ruby Elizabeth LaTourrette (1884-1978).  A 1928 New York passenger list shows her husband's name as Willett (born in 1876 in Iowa), their marriage date in 1918 in Michigan (Ruby was Ruby Mitchell, born in Scotland), and they were going to Denver, Colorado.  The earliest San Diego City directory entry for Ruby and Willett is 1962 in 2127 30th, and the latest is 1978.  Willett J. LaTourrette died in 1968 in San Diego.

4)  I recall only two occupants of 2116 Fern Street, the upstairs apartment:

*  During the 1960s, Mayme Lonzway and her son lived there.  My mother talked to her often, across the back porches, I think.  An Ancestry search of San Diego City Directories revealed Mayme (1902-1978) and her husband Reeves Lonzway (????-1948) were from Baker, Oregon.  Mayme lived in this apartment in 1961 and 1964.  She moved to nearby houses in the neighborhood by 1968.  

*  During the early 1970s, my brother Stanley and his wife Sheryl lived there.  

5)  I recall only one occupant of 2114 Fern Street, the downstairs apartment:

*  A young couple, Frank and Gayle, lived there in the 1970s.  Gayle was the daughter of my mother's friend Alma, who lived at 2121 Dale Street, one street to the west.  Gayle and Sharon (from 2115 30th) are good friends.  I found only one San Diego City Directory entry for them in 2114 Fern.

This was a difficult apartment to rent and have a longtime renter.  It was really small, with a living room, kitchen/dining area, bathroom and one bedroom, and the back door opened onto the brick patio where the Seaver boys played all of their games (ping pong, basketball, whiffle ball, etc.) during the 1960s.  It was noisy when we were around!

6) Well, that was a fun trip down memory lane, with the help of City Directories!  I'm sure that my brothers have more memories of the neighbors on this block.  


Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver

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Surname Saturday - SMITH (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 #1255, who is Mariah SMITH   (1664-1724) 
[Note: the earlier great-grandmothers and 8th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts].

My ancestral line back through two generations of this SMITH 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)

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

78.  Isaac Buck (1757-1846)
79.  Martha Phillips (1757-1820)

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

312.  Isaac Buck (1706-1780)
313.  Ruth Graves (1711-????)

626.  Thomas Graves (1686-1756)
627.  Ruth Collins (1685-1714)

1254.  Joseph Collins, born about 1643 in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts, United States; died before 02 November 1724 in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 2508. Henry Collins and 2509. Ann LNU.  He married 15 October 1684 in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.
1255.  Mariah Smith, born 28 February 1664 in Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts, United States; died after 1724 in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.  

Children of Joseph Collins and Mariah Smith are:
*  Ruth Collins (1685-1715), married 1710 Thomas Graves (1686-1756).
*  Mary Collins (1688-????), married 1715 John Farrar (1695-????).
*  William Collins (1690-1767), married 1711 Abigail Richards (1690-1774).
*  Elizabeth Collins (1692-1736), married 1716 Samuel Graves (1692-1716).
*  Joseph Collins (1695-1734), married 1717 Patience Benighton (1699-????).
*  Ezekiel Collins (1698-1765), married 1721 Rebecca Graves (1698-1739).
*  Martha Collins (1700-1731), married 1720 William Odell (1697-????).
*  Ebenezer Collins (1702-????), married (1) 1723 Mary Chadwell (1703-1730); (2) 1731 Mary Merrey.
*  Daniel Collins (1704-1729).

2510.  John Smith, born before 21 January 1622 in Hadleigh, Suffolk, England; died 16 October 1672 in Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 5020. John Smyth and 5021. Alice Barnes.  He married about 1653 in Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.
2511. Martha LNU, born about 1632 in probably England; died in probably Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.

Children of John Smith and Elizabeth are:
*  John Smith (1654-1737), married 1678 Elizabeth Smith (1653-1737).
*  William Smith (1658-????).
*  Thomas Smith (1661-1726), married (1) 1685 Joanna Barber (1667-1688); (2) 1689 Mary Younglove (1670-1743).
*  Elizabeth Smith (1662-1688), married 1682 William Chapman (1651-1732).
*  Mariah Smith (1664-1724), married 1684 Joseph Collins (1664-1724)
*  Ruth Smith (1666-????).
*  Prudence Smith (1671-????),
*  Mary Smith (1671-????),

Information about this Smith family was obtained from:

*  Linton E. Love, Our Smith Families, website ( : accessed 2003, no longer available).

*  Vital Records of Ipswich, Massachusetts, to the End of the Year 1849 (Salem, Mass. : The Essex Institute,1910-1919).


Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver

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Friday, February 19, 2016

Watch Relative Race on BYUtv - Starts 28 February!

I received this information about the new TV show, Relative Race, through today:


We are working with a brand new TV show, an original family history-based competition reality show titled Relative Race, that has been described as Amazing Race meets Who Do You Think You Are.

Premiering on Sunday, February 28 at 8pm ET/6pm MT/5pm PT on BYUtvRelative Race features four married couples as they travel across the US in search of long lost relatives, armed with only paper maps, a rental car, a $25 per diem and a flip phone. Using the science and technology provided by AncestryDNA, the couples embark on a journey that starts in San Francisco, ends in New York City and leads them to unknown relatives along the way. Cameras follow all four teams as they drive across the country -more than 4500 miles - in just ten days, stopping each day to complete a challenge and find (and stay with) their newly discovered relatives in a different city. At the end of each day, the team that finishes last receives a strike; after three strikes, teams are eliminated and the remaining teams travel to NYC for the grand finale where there is a $25k grand prize for the winning couple.

As you know, genealogy is a real hot button topic right now. Perhaps your audience would find this series to be both timely and entertaining.

The host, and Executive Producer of the show, Dan J. Debenham, as well as one of the couples, are available for interviews. They will be able to talk about some of the research that the show did prior to production about the genealogy and DNA testing, as well as some of the experiences that the couples had during their journeys. In each city, they are meeting complete strangers (and staying in their homes) that are related to them in some way. There are a couple of really emotional moments that happen along the way, especially with The Browns, an interracial couple with a 20 year age difference who also happen to be quite an interesting pair. (Here is their audition tape to give you an idea.)


I was provided a link to a "screener" which shows the first episode.  This show looks really interesting, and should be fun!

If this interests you, you should find out where you can access BYUtv - perhaps your cable system will have it.  I found this information:

BYUtv is available on Dish (Ch. 9403), DirecTV (Ch. 374), and carried by nearly 600 cable television providers nationwide.

Stream live or watch on demand on



Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver

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52 Ancestors - Week 112: #135 Abigail (Pierce) Knowlton (1750-1776)

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 2016 to 156 Ancestors in 156 Weeks. Here is my ancestor biography for week #112:

Abigail Pierce (1750-1776)  is #135 on my Ahnentafel list, my 5th great-grandmother who married #134 Jeremiah Knowlton (1745-1785) in 1771.

I am descended through:

*  their daughter, 
#67 Abigail Knowlton (1774-1855), who married #66 Nathan Gates (1767-1830), in 1790. 
*  their daughter, 
#33 Abigail Gates (1797-1867) who married #32 Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825), in 1817.
*  their son, #16 Isaac Seaver (1823-1901), who married #17 Lucretia Townsend Smith (1828-1884) in 1852.
*  their son, #8 Frank Walton Seaver (1852-1922), who married #9 Hattie Louise Hildreth (1847-1920) in 1874. 
*  their son, #4 Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942), who married 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:                    Abigail Pierce[1–5]   

*  Alternate Name:    Abigail Knowlton [3-5]
*  Sex:                        Female   

*  Father:                   Samuel Peirce (1712-1772)   
*  Mother:                 Abigail Stearns (1715-1798)   
2)  INDIVIDUAL EVENTS (with source citations as indicated in brackets):
*  Birth:                     12 April 1750, Waltham, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States[1]
*  Distribution:          26 March 1772 (age 21); Samuel Pierce's will; Waltham, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States[3]   
*  Death:                   2 February 1776 (age 25), Lincoln, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States[4–5]   
3)  SHARED EVENTS (with source citations as indicated in brackets):   

*  Spouse 1:              Jeremiah Knowlton (1745-1785)   
*  Marriage 1:           4 April 1771 (age 20), Waltham, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States[2]   
*  Child 1:                 Lydia Knowlton (1773-    )   
*  Child 2:                Abigail Knowlton (1774-1855)   
4)  NOTES (with source citations as indicated in brackets):   

Abigail Pierce was born 12 April 1750 in Waltham, Massachusetts to Samuel and Abigail (Stearns) Pierce.  She was the 6th of 9 children.

The Waltham vital record book says[1]:

"PIERCE, Abigail [dup. Peirce], d. Samuel and Abigail, Apr. 12, 1750."

Jeremiah Knowlton married Abigail Pierce in Waltham on 4 April 1771.  The Waltham vital record book records the marriage as[2]:

"KNOWLTON, Jeremiah of Lexington, and Abigail Pierce, Apr. 4, 1771."

The Lexington vital record book also records the marriage as:

"KNOWLTON, Jeremiah of Lex., m., in Waltham, Abigail Pierce, of Waltham, Apr. 4, 1771."

In his will dated 26 March 1772, and proved 5 May 1772, Samuel Pierce bequeathed money to his daughter Abigail[3]:

"Item  To my beloved Daughter Abigail Knowlton Wife of Jeremiah Knowlton the Sum of six pounds thirteen shillings & four Pence to be paid at my wifes decease."

Jeremiah and Abigail (Pierce) Knowlton had two children, Lydia in 1773 and Abigail in 1774, both born  in Lincoln, Massachusetts.  

The death record in the Lincoln, Massachusetts town records for Abigail (Pierce) Knowlton says[4-5]:

"Abigail Knowlton, wife of Jeremiah Knowlton, Departed this life February ye 2d A./D. 1776"

There is no known burial location for Abigail (Pierce) Knowlton.  She was probably buried in Lincoln, Massachusetts.

1. Vital records of Waltham, Massachusetts, to the year 1850 (Boston, Mass. : New-England Historic Genealogical Society, 1904), Births, page 72, Abigail Pierce entry.

2. Vital records of Waltham, Massachusetts, to the year 1850, Marriages, page 179, Jeremiah Knowlton and Abigail Pierce entry.

3. "Probate Records 1648-1924 (Middlesex County, Massachusetts),"  886 FHL US/CAN Microfilms, Packet #17,559, Samuel Peirce, will, accessed on  FHL Microfilm US/CAN 0,421,491.

4. Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988, digital images, (, "Lincoln Births, Marriages and Deaths," Page 97 (image 226 of 1092), Abigail Knowlton death entry.

5. Vital Records of Lincoln, Massachusetts, to the Year 1850 (Boston, Mass.: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1908), Deaths, page 167, Abigail Knowlton entry.


Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Does the Ancestry Member Tree Index "Prune" Trees?

The " > Ancestry Site Comments" Message Board has an interesting thread titled "Public Tree Search Results" started by Vera on 3 February, with 22 comments to date.  Vera, and others, stated that persons in their tree were missing from searches in the Ancestry Member Trees.  One of the commenters noted that they had called the Ancestry Help desk and were told that persons in Ancestry Member Trees were indexed only if the tree person had sources attached to the profiles.

Jim Mosher, who identified himself as on the Ancestry Product Management, responded in comment 16:

"The Member Services rep you spoke to was correct on several points:

"1. The index for our Public Member Trees has not been updated since mid-November.

"2. The current indexing rules do prune people from the index. These rules eliminate unusually large people (those with thousands of events or hundreds of immediate family members); those without any sources; and those with only a name. This makes the indexing more efficient (and it is still a big job to process the multiple billions of people in the trees system). THIS IS A CHANGE from what we used to do, so the statement of "only ever indexing those with records attached" is incorrect, but it DOES reflect the current system.

"3. The Member Service agent was also correct in that she cannot connect you to our development staff to "talk to a tech." There are escalation channels within Member Services, and they can (and do) bring up issues with our Product and Development teams, but they will not put you on the phone with the development staff.

"HOWEVER, we are investigating to see if something has failed with part of the tree index, and we are in-process of re-indexing the public member trees."

I found the comments about indexing the Member Trees surprising.  I knew that they didn't index it every week, but to go three months without indexing it for new trees, changes to trees, etc. seems too long.

But even more surprising was the current indexing rules, especially those profiles without any sources, or with only a name.  

I have many tree persons that don't have a source of any sort - either an attached record or a source entered via a GEDCOM file.

I wanted to see if what Jim Mosher said is true, so I used my 3rd great-grandfather Thomas J. Newton (1800?-????) as an example.   Here are the search results for him in the Ancestry Member Trees with an exact search on name and place:

There are 5 entries for the specific person, and 4 of them have one source, and one has two sources.  The only provided source in any tree is "Ancestry Member Tree."  When I "View" that source, they refer to one of the other trees.

What about my trees?  I have three trees with this person in it, and I don't have any source attached to Thomas J. Newton.  Here is the profile for Thomas J. Newton in one of my trees:

None of my trees with Thomas J. Newton have a source citation attached, and none show up in the search results for this person.  

What about someone in my tree with sources?  I will use Thomas J. Newton's daughter, Sophia Newton (1834-1923):

Here is my person profile for Sophia Newton:

On the profile above, I have 8 sources input from a GEDCOM file, and five sources from attached records.

I did a search for Sophia Newton for the exact name and place in Ancestry Member Trees:

There are 20 matches for my search criteria, and 11 of them are for my specific person.  All 11 have at least one source citation, and some of those are for "Ancestry Member Tree."

My three trees with Sophia have 17, 15 and 13 sources, respectively, and are listed in the search results.  

My conclusions from this little study are:

*  Ancestry Member Tree search results seem to require a source to be listed.

*  Those sources can be "Ancestry Member Tree."

*  A person's own tree's with sources will show up in the search results.

Here are my thoughts on the indexing criteria for Ancestry Member Trees:

*  Profiles for every person in all trees should be indexed, no matter how many sources there are.  While many tree profiles may not have a source, they may provide useful clues and contact opportunities to possible relatives and other searchers.

*  The list of matches should be ordered according to how many sources are provided for the person of interest.  That way, the (presumably) "best" tree information appears at the top of the list.  

*  A source listing an "Ancestry Member Tree" is fairly useless if there is no attached record on the profile.  Why are they even considered?

* should provide a summary of their indexing rules, and the date of the last index on a regular basis.

Thank you to reader Judy for pointing out the message board thread and the indexing rules.


Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver

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Searching Newspaper Records on Findmypast

I was reviewing the latest digitized databases on Findmypast (a subscription site) today, and discovered that they have a sizable collection of U.S. Newspapers, based on the large  NewspaperARCHIVE collection.  However, it is unclear if they have all of the NewspaperARCHIVE collection, or just part of them.

1)  The Findmypast description ( of the collection says:

"Our massive collection of more than 130 million newspaper pages will allow you to watch history unfold in front of you. Our intuitive search will help you explore more than 5 thousand newspaper titles by keywords, date and ancestors' names. "

2)  On the Findmypast U.S. and World Newspapers page (, I could search all of the available newspapers for a given name, a last name, and keywords.  

I wanted to limit my search for my father and grandfather, both named Frederick Seaver, to a specific newspaper - the Fitchburg Sentinel.  In order to "Filter" my search, I wanted to filter the collection "By Publication."  There is a blue button to "Show Filters" in the left-hand column of the screen above.

3)  When I clicked on "Show Filters," I was presented with the list of available newspapers (only the name, not the inclusive years).  There is a list of first letters above the list on the screen below:

Since I wanted to search Fitchburg newspapers, I went to the "F" list and scrolled through them (using the blue arrows on the side of the screen) to find the Fitchburg newspapers.  I selected the "Fitchburg Sentinel" on the screen above.  When I clicked on the blue "Apply Filters" button, the screen showed me all of the articles available for that newspaper:

4)  On the screen above, I entered "First Name" = "frederick" and "Last Name" = "seaver" and "Keywords" = "leominster" and clicked the big blue "Search" button, and received 32 matches:

Almost all of those matches are for my father, my grandfather, or my grandmother ("Mrs. Frederick Seaver."

5)  I reviewed the list and found an article that I had not seen before.  I clicked the image icon next to the article description and OCR derived text.  The newspaper page appeared for the article:

I could zoom in (but only so much - the text was difficult to read at the highest zoom setting), move the image around the window, and I could download the page image to my computer.

6)  I downloaded the page image, opened the image file, and zoomed into the article of interest.  I used the Windows Snipping Tool to make an image of the article and saved it to my surname and family file for my father:

It turns out that my father, Frederick W. Seaver, Jr., at age 20, had an accident driving his "machine" and injured a bicyclist in Leominster, Massachusetts on Saturday, 9 May 1931.

7)  I did a search with no filters later and received 42 matches for the same search terms.  That search found articles in other Massachusetts newspapers, but included the specific newspaper I searched above.

8)  I like this search system and the quickness of the results.  I would like to see more magnification of the page so I can read the text easier (I had to use a magnifying glass).  The Optical Character Recognition (OCR) snippet of the search results page (in 3) above) usually sucks, but it sucks for everybody that has this NewspaperARCHIVE collection.

9)  This search capability adds even more value to a Findmypast subscription, since NewspaperARCHIVE is a subscription site that costs $99 per year.  I note that and MyHeritage also have access to NewspaperARCHIVE through their subscriptions.


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Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver

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