Saturday, November 12, 2016

Kerry Farmer Wins Genea-Musings RootsTech 2017 Registration Contest

I am pleased to announce that Kerry Farmer, who resides in Australia, has won the RootsTech 2017 registration contest at Genea-Musings (see Win a FREE RootsTech 2017 (February 8-11, 2017) Registration Here on Genea-Musings).

I received 12 entries for this contest.  I used to pick the winning number:
Kerry was the 10th entry on the list of those who followed the rules of the contest.

Kerry said in the entry:

"The session I’ve chosen that I absolutely must attend is Angie Bush’s “DNA: Citations, Proof Arguments and Conclusions” (Session RT1153) on Friday at 4.30 pm.

"The exhibitor I would not want to miss would be Family Tree DNA."

Congratulations to Kerry, and thank you to the 12 readers of Genea-Musings who entered my contest.


Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver

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Saturday Day Night Genealogy Fun -- Your Best Genealogy Day Ever

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 was you very "Best Genealogy Day Ever?"  It might be the day you solved a thorny research problem, or spent the day at a repository and came away with more records than you could imagine, or the day you met a cousin or visited an ancestral home.

2)  Tell us in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a Facebook or Google+ post.  Be sure to drop a comment to this post if you write your own blog post and link to it.

Here's mine:

I pondered this question, and it's hard to pick one day.  After 28 years, I've forgotten many of the "best days" in repositories.

The one that sticks in my mind was 14 August 1999 - in Voss, Norway.  We were on our Scandinavian vacation (Sweden, Finland, Norway), and visited Voss, the ancestral town of Linda's Leland ancestors.  Some background:

Linda's brother had done quite a bit of Leland family history and had visited the Liland farm near Voss in Norway back in 1980. To prepare for our vacation, I tried to find Linda's Norwegian ancestral families and had some luck - I used the Voss bygdebok (farm book) and Voss Parish Registers at the FHC to trace her families back into the 1600's before we went. 

The Voss scenery is breathtaking. There is a long lake, mountains all around, many rivers and streams, very green in the summer, and very white in the winter (it is a ski resort then).  We arrived on 13 August after a six hour train trip through the mountains from Oslo.

One of my message board friends had been to Voss the year before, and recommended that I contact Bjorg Liland, who was related by marriage to the Liland farm families. We called the first night, and Bjorg graciously offered to drive us around the lake the next day. Voss is at the east end of the lake, and Liland farm is at the west end of the lake.  We visited Gjelle farm, Midtun farm, Molster farm and Liland farm, all ancestral farms. At Liland farm, Bjorg had arranged to talk to the family, compare genealogy notes and have a snack there - it was quite enjoyable, although the Liland ladies didn't speak English, but Bjorg translated. 

Linda (second from left) with the Liland farm ladies and Bjorg (far right)

On the way back to our hotel, we stopped at Molster farm, which was where Linda's ancestors lived just before they left for Wisconsin in 1855. It is now a "living history museum" vintage 1855, with docents in each room, and a small artifacts museum. I enjoyed it tremendously, especially the food cooked in the kitchen.

Needless to say, we really appreciated Bjorg's efforts on our behalf and we treated her to a nice dinner at the Park Liland Hotel in downtown Voss (she used to work there). 

This was a memorable day of experiencing family history.  The best benefit of all was that Linda really enjoyed this part of our vacation - and we have been taking genealogy vacations ever since.


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Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver

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Surname Saturday - THURSTON (England to colonial New England)

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 #1493, who is Mary THURSTON (1657-1732) 
[Note: the earlier great-grandmothers and 8th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts].

My ancestral line back through two generations of this THURSTON 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)

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

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

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

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

186.  Stephen Hazard (1730-1804)
187.  Elizabeth Carpenter (1741-????)

372.  Thomas Hazard (1707-1745)
373.  Hannah Slocum (1710-1737)

746.  Samuel Slocum (1685-1741)
747.  Hannah Carr (1691-????)

1492.  Ebenezer Slocum, born 25 March 1650 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island, United States; died 13 February 1715 in Jamestown, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.  He was the son of 2984. Giles Slocum and 2985. Joan.  He married about 1676 in probably Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.
1493.  Mary Thurston, born February 1657 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island, United States; died 16 November 1732 in Jamestown, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.

Children of Ebenezer Slocum and Mary Thurston are:
*  Elizabeth Slocum (1678-1728), married 1696 Peter Green (1666-1708).
*  Mary Slocum (1679-????), married 1699 David Greene (1677-1761).
*  Johannah Slocum (1680-1709), married 1701 Caleb Carr (1679-1750).
*  Rebecca Slocum (1682-1729), married 1705 William Burling (1677-1743).
*  Samuel Slocum (1685-1741), married 1708 Hannah Carr (1691-????).
*  Ebenezer Slocum (1686-1715), married 1710 Naomi Barton (1688-1727).
*  Desire Slocum (1688-1760), married 1710 Samuel Dyer (1686-1767).
*  Deliverance Slocum (1691-????), married Thomas Rogers (1672-1749).
*  Mercy Slocum (1693-1714).
*  Giles Slocum (1696-1750), married 1720 Mary Manchester (1701-1763).
*  Joseph Slocum (1697-1732).
*  Abigail Slocum (1697-1771), married 1717 George Thomas (1694-1771).

2986.  Edward Thurston, born about 1618 in England; died 01 March 1707 in Newport, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.  He married June 1647 in Newport, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.
2987.  Elizabeth Mott, born about1629 in Saffron Walden, Essex, England; died 02 September 1694 in Newport, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.  She was the daughter of 5974. Adam Mott and 5975. Elizabeth Creed.

Children of Edward Thurston and Elizabeth Mott are:
*  Samuel Thurston (1647-????).
*  Elizabeth Thurston (1650-1707), married John Irish (1641-1717).
*  Edward Thurston (1652-1690), married 1676 Susanna Jefferay.
*  Ellen Thurston (1655-????), married 1674 George Havens.
*  Mary Thurston (1657-1732), married 1676 Ebenezer Slocum (1650-1715)
*  Jonathan Thurston (1659-1740), married 1678 Sarah LNU (1659-????)
*  Daniel Thurston (1661-1712), married 1686 Mary Easton (1661-1735).
*  Rebecca Thurston (1662-1732), married (1) 1690 Peter Easton (1659-????); (2) 1690 Weston Clarke (1648-1730).
*  John Thurston (1664-1690), married Elizabeth LNU (1669-1690).
*  Content Thurston (1667-????).
*  Samuel Thurston (1669-1747), married 1696 Abigail Clarke (1674-1731).
*  Thomas Thurston (1671-1730), married 1695 Mehitabel Tripp (1669-????).

The most authoritative information for this Thurston line was obtained in:

*  Carl Boyer 3rd, Ancestral Lines, Third Edition (Santa Clarita, California, 1998).


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Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver

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Friday, November 11, 2016

This Week's We're Related Cousin Relationships

The We're Related mobile app on my iPhone keeps adding cousin relationasjhips to me, based on my Ancestry Member Tree and someone else's Ancestry Member Tree (I think!).

This week's list is:

1)  Benjamin Franklin - Politician, 2nd cousin 8x removed, common ancestor is Sarah Morrill (1601-1673):

I'm not sure about this relationship - I don't have Sarah Morrill in my tree as a mother of Catherine Morrill, mother of John Smith (1651-1727), who is in my AMT.

2)  Kate Upton - Actress, 9th cousin, common ancestor is Samuel Blodgett (1658-1743):

3)  Kevin Bacon - Actor, 7th cousin 1x removed, common ancestor is Mary Jones (1672-1760).

4)  Cari Taplin - Facebook friend, 8th cousin 1x removed, common ancestor is John Wilson (1673-1717).

5)  Ann Coulter - Author, 8th cousin 1x removed, common ancestor is Stephen Gates (1634-1707):

6)  Helen Keller - Reformer, 6th cousin 2x removed, common ancestor is Samuel Smith (1641-1691):

7)  Marcia Philbrick - Facebook friend, 9th cousin, common ancestor is Richard Haughton (1614-1683).

8)  Elyse Doerflinger - Facebook friend, 8th cousin 2x removed, common ancestor is Simon Gates (1667-1752).

9)  Theodore Roosevelt - Polittician, 6th cousin 5x removed, common ancestor is Maria Du Trieux (1617-1684):

This is probably not my cousin because it goes through my adopted 2nd great-grandfather, Devier James Smith.

10)  Elvis Presley - Musician, 9th cousin, common ancestor is John Wheeler (1642-1713):

I'm not sure about this line - I need to check his line back to the common ancestor.

11)  Suzanne Shay - Facebook friend, 9th cousin, common ancestor is Thomas Goble (1631-1690).

12)  Mark Twain - Author, 7th cousin 4x removed, common ancestor is Elizabeth Gifford (1567-1634):

This is another line I'm not sure of on my side - I have another mother for Abigail (Briant) Carpenter (1604-1687) in my Ancestry Member Tree.  Why does it show Elizabeth Gifford?  Twain's line goes through daughter Mary (Shart) Gove (1604-1682).  This one doesn't compute.

So there's my list for this week.  

As mentioned in an earlier post, I think that this app can excite an interest in being related to famous persons, but the problem is that relatively few persons can trace their ancestry back to the 1600s, which is when most of the common ancestors lived.  Then there is the issue of connecting all of your relatives with your Ancestry Member Tree if they don't have their own.


Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver

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Family Tree Maker Software News Update

I found this information on the Family Tree Maker Users group on Facebook and thought my readers might want to know about it.


  1)  Jack Minsky of Software MacKiev wrote on 5 November:


As it gets closer to the end of 2016, I'm understandably hearing this question a lot. I've answered this a few times in response to questions in posts in this group, but it keeps coming up, so I thought it might be helpful as a post on its own. If you have been worried about what happens at the end of the year, well you can stop worrying. Here is what I've answered previously about this:

Ancestry did say once upon a time that they were going to stop supporting FTM at the end of this year. But that was a million years ago back in December 2015 when they also announced the brand would not continue at all. All that changed 7 weeks later on February 2nd -- the day Ancestry announced that they'd decided after all to sell this wonderful old brand to us, and that together we would be building on what Ancestry had started. Including building a new sync technology together.

So relax. TreeSync is not ending at the stroke of midnight this December 31st. And though it will be retired at some point, before that happens, there will be new syncing technology available to replace it. It's already well into development and we will be starting outside beta testing of it later this month. And that means syncing as we know it for FTM is going to live on. Not just into 2017, but as my kids like to quote Buzz Lightyear as saying -- to infinity and beyond. So stop worrying. And stay tuned.

If you'd like to keep up with the latest news about the new sync technology, as well as be the first on your block to hear about new products, free updates, and whatever else we've been up to with Family Tree Maker, then it's a great idea to sign up for the FTM mailing list if you haven't already done so. You'll find a link to the sign up page at

2)  And on 10 November, Jack Minsky posted:


I get this question often and I've been answering individual questions about it in member posts. I thought it might be helpful to have a full post on it that you can point to, with a kind of compendium of what I've been writing. So here goes:

When we happily rescued FTM earlier this year, we set out to create free updates we could wholeheartedly recommend to all current users of FTM 2014 and Mac 3. That work is still in progress, but if you'd like to get your hands on a copy and you're OK with a near-final build, then you can have one any time. Even right now.

That's because a couple of months ago we started making the latest interim builds of FTM 2014.1 and Mac 3.1 available for free from our Replacement Center for any registered FTM 2014 or Mac 3 user. And since then, when anyone has come to us with a serious issue that's fixed in the new editions, we have sent them there to get a copy right away.

Why so cautious? Well, because this is a very complex product. And because we feel an awesome responsibility in dealing with what often enough is literally decades of a user's work. So we are taking the time to get it right - to ensure that when we release final builds of Family Tree Maker 2014 and Mac 3 they're as ready as they can be to meet that high standard.

So, should you get the latest build right now then? Well, it depends. The improvements we're made are mostly in stability and performance. So if FTM is crashing or has slowed to a crawl with large trees, then have at it. Same if the waiting is driving you crazy, or you usually download interim updates anyway.

But if, like most users of FTM 2014 and Mac 3, your copy is working just fine, and you like being conservative about installing updates, we still suggest waiting for the final build. This is, after all, not a new version. It's a patch. That's why it's free. And if you don't think you need it right away, then you probably don't.

Having said all that, by all accounts, the builds we have placed on the Replacement Center are stable and safe to install. They have already been downloaded by a few thousand FTM 2014 and Mac 3 users, and — so far so good. Most are reporting that crashes have all but disappeared and actions with really large trees that previously took minutes, now take just a few seconds.

If you'd like to try out the latest build of FTM 2014.1 or Mac 3.1, here’s how:


1. Go to
2. Click "for further assistance" at the bottom of the page
3. Select the Replacement Center tile.

Or if you decide to continue to wait for the final release and you'd like to be notified when we post it, just sign up for the FTM mailing list (at and we'll let you know the moment it's available. Promise.


Disclosure:  I have always paid for my Family Tree Maker software at each update as far as I can recall.

Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver

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Order England and Wales Civil Registry Certificates and PDFs Online

The LostCousins Newsletter, published weekly by Peter Calver for FREE, has been excited by the news that the England and Wales General Record Office (GRO) has new indexes for Births and Deaths and a registered user can order them through the GRO website.  The November 16th issue of the newsletter has full details.  You can subscribe to the newsletter for FREE.

The big deal about this is that the Births and Deaths have been re-indexed from the original records, and can be searched on the GRO website.  The Birth records now include the maiden name of the mother.  That is a big deal.  The index provides the year and quarter of the event - you have to order the certificate or PDF in order to get the exact date and, in the case of Births, the parents names.

I have several ancestors and their siblings in the Civil Registry, and need the exact birth and death date for some of them.  One of them is Thomas Richman, my great-grandfather who was born in June 1848 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, England.

I followed the instructions in the newsletter article about registering on the GRO website, and was successful.  After being authorized, I clicked on the link for the GRO website - - and saw:

On the screen above, I had to click on the "Order Certificates Online" link in order to search the system.  That opened the "Certificate Ordering Service" page:

I want to search the indexes, so I clicked on the "Order Certificates Online and Search the GRO Historic Birth and Death Indexes link, and saw:

You can enter a forename (even two of them) choose Exact matches only (or phonetic or similar), the mother's maiden name if known, the year and quarter if known, and GRO reference details of volume and page number.  The required fields are only surname, gender and year.  You can vary the year only up to plus or minus two years.  You have to select either male or female.

On the screen above, I entered the surname Richman, selected the gender Male, selected the year 1848 plus/minus 2 years, and entered the District as Melksham (I knew this).

I clicked on the "Search" button below the input fields, and saw the result below the search fields:

There were five male Richmans born in Melksham district between 1846 and 1850 (1848 plus/minus two years).  My Thomas Richman is listed in the 1848 S[eptember] quarter, in Volume 08, Page 375, with mother's maiden name of Rich.

To the right of the match list are links for "Certificates" and "PDF."  I want the PDF to be sent by email.  I clicked on the PDF link and the order summary page appeared (two screens below):

I reviewed the details, and made sure that I clicked on the choice of "Standard PDF by Email" and clicked the "Submit" button at the bottom of the screen above, and the  I had to confirm my email address, and accepted the terms, and the "Basket Summary" appeared for my order:

From the screen above, I could "Checkout," "continue shopping," or "Return to the GRO Indexes."

I chose to Checkout and saw the "Proceed to payment" screen:

Finally, I clicked on ""Proceed with checkout" and was able to enter my credit card information and successfully ordered the one PDF for £6.00 to be sent by email.  I think the system said I should expect my PDF by 21 November.

That is a bit cumbersome, but it works.  You need to plan ahead for some things; for instance, it helps if you know the GRO District and at least a birth year for the person.  Peter Calver's newsletter provides much more information and some examples of how the website has helped him and many of his readers find their ancestor's records.

Note that the £6 for the PDF is for a trial period only - the price may rise soon to the standard £9.25 for a certificate.

My thanks to Peter Calver for his weekly newsletter with all of this helpful information.


Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver

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New Records From Findmypast - 11 November 2016

I received this information via email today from Findmypast:


Findmypast Publishes Over 2 Million British Military Records

·         New collection of over 1.6 million gallantry medal records, over 171,000 Military Medal records and 551,000 Royal Navy Service records released online
·         Records span 140 years of British military history and cover both world wars, the Napoleonic wars, Indian Mutiny, Crimea, Boer Wars and many more conflicts.
·         Over 1.5 million new Military newspaper articles and the Lower Canada Census 1825 also available to search.

Today, 11th November 2016, over 2 million records of British soldiers and sailors spanning more than 140 years of conflict have been published online at Findmypast.

The publication, released to coincide with Remembrance Day 2016, consists of Campaign, Gallantry & Long Service Medals & Awards, Royal Naval Reserve records, ships musters and Royal Navy & Marines service and pension records. 

The majority of the new additions come from The National Archive’s Admiralty and War Office series (ADM & WO) and consist of both fully searchable transcripts and scanned colour images of original documents, including: 

Findmypast has released a new collection of more than 1.6 million records of British Army, Royal Marines, Royal Navy, and Merchant Navy personnel who were recognised for their service, courage, and accomplishments in times of war and conflict. The awards include, in part, Military Medals, Distinguished Conduct Medals, Waterloo Medals, Merchant Navy Medals, and the Victoria Cross Award, the premier award for gallantry.

The new Britain, Campaign, Gallantry & Long Service Medals & Awards collection was created by merging 171,000 new Military Medal 1914-1920 records with Findmypast’s existing medal collections to form a single, comprehensive search experience. The records list the details of men and women who showed exceptional courage and fortitude in the face of danger and contains records from both world wars as well as the Peninsular War, Indian Mutiny, Waterloo, and many more conflicts.

This collection of over 280,000 muster rolls is an excellent resource for genealogists looking to find seafaring ancestors in the Royal Navy before service records began in 1853. Covering the years 1739 to 1861, the muster roll books recorded the names and birth details of every person present on board a ship and were kept on an 8-week basis for accounting and administrative reasons.

British Royal Naval Reserve 1899-1930 consists of over 81,000 service cards of officers and ratings who served with the RNR. The records list the names, ranks and dates of service of RNR personnel as well as details of awards, promotions and notes on their character and behaviour during combat.
The RNR is an amalgamation of the Royal Naval Reserve, created in 1859, and the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, created in 1903. The two forces were merged in 1958. At the beginning of the First World War, the RNR had 30,000 officers and men. Sailors within the RNR served at the Battle of Coronel, the Battle of Jutland, and in Gallipoli. Many others boarded trawlers searching for mines.

Over 185,000 records have just been released in the second phase of Findmypast’s Royal Navy & Royal Marines Service and Pension Records, 1704-1919 collection. The collection consists of an assortment of documents kept by the Greenwich Hospital and the Royal Hospital Chelsea to record the details of Greenwich Pensioners and spans over 230 years of British naval history from to 1704 to 1934.

The records allow family historians to uncover fascinating details of their ancestor’s career with the Royal Navy, such as their period of service, where they served, when they joined and if they were wounded in the line of duty. 

The new additions will be free to search until midnight on Sunday. Findmypast has made their entire collection of more than 70 million world military records free until 23.59 GMT 13th November to allow family historians from around the globe the opportunity to uncover the stories of the military heroes within their own family.

Paul Nixon, military expert at Findmypast, says: "Findmypast has consolidated all its medal collections under a single search AND released a new collection: Military Medal awards 1914-1920, the most comprehensively indexed version of this Military Medal available online. Family historians can now access all our medal records through one search to easily uncover the stories of those ancestors who sacrificed so much.

"As an island nation we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the men and women who have served Great Britain at sea. Our new naval records will open up fresh lines of enquiry for thousands of people and cement Findmypast’s reputation for having the most comprehensive online collection of British naval records.”

Other new additions available to search this Findmypast Friday

Over 1.5 million new articles have been added to military publications available in our collection of historic British Newspapers. One new title has been added, The Naval & Military Gazette and Weekly Chronicle of the United Service, and additional articles have been added to the Army and Navy Gazette.

The Lower Canada Census 1825 contains over 74,000 records covering modern day Labrador and southern Quebec. Each search result will provide you will an image of the original document and a transcript revealing the language your ancestor spoke, where they lived and with how many people they lived.


Disclosure:  I am a Findmypast Ambassador, and receive a complimentary subscription to their databases.

Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver

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