Monday, December 31, 2018

My RootsMagic Genealogy Database Statistics Update - 31 December 2018

 I last updated my Genea-Musings readers on the "numbers" in my RootsMagic genealogy family tree database in My RootsMagic Genealogy Database Statistics Update - 1 January 2018, and before that in:

*  My Genealogy Database Statistics Update - 1 January 2017
*   My Genealogy Database Statistics Update - 1 January 2016 
*   Genealogy Database Statistics Update - 1 January 2015 
*  Genealogy Database Statistics Update - 1 January 2014  

I was curious to see how much progress I had made in the last 12 months.

Here is the family tree database summary from RootsMagic on 31 December 2018:

Here are the "numbers" from 31 December 2018 in my RootsMagic database (with increases from 1 January 2018):

*  51,984 persons (+ 2,669)
*  21,039 families  (+ 1,192)
*  168,177 events  (+ 8,516)

*  5,977 Alternate names (+ 1,507)
*  11,055 places (+ 726)  
*  1,835 sources (+ 232)
*  99,591 citations (+ 8,533)
*  1,233 Multi-media Items (+ 71)

*  3,202 Multimedia links (+25)

*  28,451 Persons matched to FamilySearch Family Tree persons (+ 7,047)

In the past 12 months, I've averaged adding 7.3 persons, 3.3 families, 23.3 events and 23.4 source citations a day.  I've been trying to work at least an hour in the evening (since baseball season ended) adding content and sources to the database, although vacations and the holidays intervene. 

 Consequently, I've  managed to improve my  citations/person from 184.65% to 191.58%, and my  Citations/Events from 57.03% to 59.22% this past year.  Obviously, I don't have a citation for every event, and in some cases I have more than one citation for an event.  At that rate, to reach 100% in citations/events will take about 46 more years!  

I added 2,669 persons to my database in 2018, some in my 5th great-grandparent's descendant lines, some in my one-name studies, and some from further research on my ancestral families.  My one-name studies include Seaver, Carringer, Auble, Vaux, Dill, and Buck on my tree, and McKnew on my wife's tree.  

I also mine new Ancestry and FamilySearch databases for my one-name study surnames, and add content and source citations.  I have also corrected some relationship and date errors found while working on the database.  I use RootsMagic to match my tree profiles to the FamilySearch Family Tree profiles, and exchange verified information both ways on a regular basis.

I added a new ancestral Ancestry Member Tree (AMT) on in August 2017 with a new tree upload when RootsMagic was able to synchronize with it.  I TreeShare almost every day now to keep the AMT up-to-date, which generates more Record Hints.  I do not attach Record Hints to that Ancestry Member Tree because I know that it will be replaced eventually so doing that would be a time suck.  I do review and manually add records from Ancestry Hints to my RootsMagic database to add content and sources to my family tree database.

Doing the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge for a fifth year in 2018, along with deciding to start with my great-grandparents and doing it by ancestor chart numbers, has greatly improved the events, source citations and notes for the ancestors I write about.  I am now in the sixth great-grandparents at the end of this year, doing them in ancestor chart number order.  I will continue this weekly meme because it helps me focus on one individual each week and improves my database and my family history.

My trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City in late February added a few more ancestral records to enrich my database - in recent years they have been probate records and land deed records for my ancestors found on FHL microfilm.  I did some research at the local FamilySearch Library but not on a regular basis.   Since many Family Search Library catalog items are not available from home online, I have a long to-do list for the local FamilySearch Library more often in order to use the digital microfilm that I cannot read at home.  
I am also mining the vital, probate and land records now available on, FamilySearch, MyHeritage, Findmypast and AmericanAncestors on a regular basis.

There are only so many hours in my genealogy day - usually 8 to 11 hours, but often only 5 to 8 hours.  I spend one to three hours each day reading blog posts and answering emails, one to three hours writing blog posts, an hour or two doing online research, one to three hours adding content and sources to the database, and the balance of my time doing society support tasks, creating presentations, participating in or watching webinars, analyzing my DNA matches, or working on other projects.  My genealogy life is varied, and definitely not boring (I gave up doing boring genealogy things like extended client research, or going often to libraries and archives - with some exceptions!).  I'm having great genealogy fun, but have no clue how long I can go on like this due to health or family circumstances.

My conclusion is:  I've made steady progress, and I'm still actively improving my database in both quantity and quality, but still have a long way to go to have a "fully sourced and accurate" family tree.  It's better than it was, but it can still be improved.  It is a lifelong task, I think!  
I truly need a genealogy clone or assistant.  I doubt that an Amazon Echo, Google Home or any other Virtual assistant is yet capable of doing genealogy research, source citations, etc.


Copyright (c) 2018, Randall J. Seaver

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Top 40 Most Viewed Posts in 2018 on Genea-Musings

A)  Here are the Top 40 viewed Genea-Musings blog posts from 2018 that had the most page views in 2018 (from View Count statistics on the Google Blogger Posts page as of 31 December 2018). 

Blog Post Title

Seavers in the News -- Charles Seaver Dies in 1939 in Santa Maria, California


52 Ancestors - Week 247: #372 Thomas Hazard (1707-after 1748) of North Kingstown, Rhode Island


B)  The ten most popular Genea-Musings posts since 2007 are:

1)  Microfilm Scanning at the FHL and FHC (posted 22 July 2009) - 76,910 views.

2)  1940 Census Enumeration District Maps Online at NARA Website (posted 18 July 2011) - 63,116 views.

3)  Genealogy Presentations on (posted 28 January 2010) - 25,937 views.

4)  Merry Christmas to All! (posted 25 December 2011) - 14,852 views.

5)  World records for number of children (posted 21 July 2006) - 11,499 views.

6)  Randy's NGS 2010 Photos - Post 1 (posted 4 May 2010) - 9,345 views

7)  RootsTech 2017 Blog Compendium -- UPDATED (posted 1 March 2017) - 8212 views

8) Says They Will Work on Technical Problems (posted 11 May 2018) - 8884 views

9)  Are There Search Problems on - UPDATED (posted 25 April 2018) - 7188 views.

10)  Book Review: "The Spyglass File," by Nathan Dylan Goodwin (posted  29 September 2016) -- 6,407 views
C)  Of course, all of my blog posts are viewed by many more readers than those that go to the web page for the post - those who read them on an Genea-Musings archive page, those that read them in an RSS reader, or on a mobile device, and those that receive them via email.

Another measure of popularity or readership might be in the number of comments generated by each post.  I don't think that is a reliable measure of popularity because of the proliferation of RSS reader usage, email usage, and mobile device usage, each of which require one or more click throughs to get to the comment box.

It certainly seems like readers search for, source citations, conferences, DNA, and genealogy software topics, and find my blog posts.  Posts for the Amanuensis Monday and 52 Ancestors series have increased in viewership over last year.

D)  Previous "most popular" posts on Genea-Musings are:

E)  Readership of Genea-Musings has dropped over the past year - perhaps persons have given up on reading my blog (and other blogs) on a web browser and have moved to a reader or email, or perhaps Genea-Musings has become old-hat and readers are bored by it.  for example, the 40th most viewed post last year had 968 views.  This year, the 40th most viewed post had 808 views.  

F)  I wondered what the least popular Genea-Musings post was in 2018.  I know that Surname Saturday, Treasure Chest Thursday, Wordless Wednesday, and Seavers in the News posts are not that popular.  The least viewed blog post in 2018 was Ping Pong Buddies in 1956 -- Post 542 of (Not So) Wordless Wednesday, posted 28 November 2018, with 49 views.


Copyright (c) 2018, Randall J. Seaver

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Amanuensis Monday - 1833 Deed of Stow Hildreth to Zachariah Hildreth in Townsend, Mass.

This week's document for Amanuensis Monday is the 1833 deed of Stow Hildreth to  Zachariah Hildreth of Townsend in the Middlesex County, Massachusetts Land Records: 

[Volume 337, pages 108-109]

[Volume 337, pages 110-111]

The transcription of this deed is:

[Volume 337, page 109, starts at bottom of right-hand page]

[in right-hand margin]

Stow Hildreth
Zach. Hildreth

[body of text]
Know all men by these presents that I Stow

Hildreth of Townsend in the County of Middlesex
and Commonwealth of Massachusetts yeoman in con-
sideration of one hundred and ninety two dollars

[Volume 337, page 110]

to me paid by Zachariah Hildreth of said Townsend
yeoman the receipt whereof I do hereby acknowledge
do hereby give grant sell and convey unto the said
Zachariah Hildreth his heirs and assigns forever a
certain piece of wood land in  the southwesterly part
of said Townsend on Baberry Hill so called and boun-
ded as follows to wit: beginning at the southeast cor-
ner by land of Henry Sanderson at a stake and stones
thence north 60 [deg] west thirty nine rods and ten links
by land of Henry Sanderson to a stake and stones
at land of Archelus Adams thence north thirty degrees
east sixty five rods by land of Archelus Adams and
land of Joseph Walker to a stake and stones thence south
sixty degrees east thirty nine rods and ten links by
land of Samuel Scales to a stake and stones thence south
thirty degrees west sixty five rods by land of Stow
Hildreth to the bound first mentioned with all the privi-
leges and appurtenances to the same belonging.  The afore
said piece of land contains sixteen acres.  To have
and To hold the above granted premises to the said Zach-
ariah Hildreth his heirs and assigns to his and their use and
behoof forever and I for myself my heirs executors and admin-
istrators do covenant with the said Zachariah Hildreth his heirs
and assigns that I am lawfully seized in fee of the afore-
granted premises that they are free of all encumbrances that
I have good right to sell and convey the same to the said
Zacheriah Hildreth in manner as aforesaid and that I
will and my heirs executors and administrators shall war-
rant and defend the same to the said Zachariah Hil-
dreth his heirs and assigns forever as against the lawful 
claims and demands of all persons.  In witness whereof
I the said Stow Hildreth and Mary Hildreth wife of the
said Stow in token of her full and free release of dower and
power of thirds in said premises have hereunto set our hands
and seals this thirteenth day of November in the year of
our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty three.
Signed Sealed & delivered   }              Stow Hildreth  {seal]
in presence of us                   }             Mary R. Hildreth  {seal}
Aaron Keyes                  }  Middlesex Ss  November 13, 1833 then
Charlotte Conant            }  the above named Stow Hildreth ack-
nowledged the above instrument to be his free act & deed before me
Aaron Keyes  Just Peace   Middlesex Ss  Dec^r 5^th 1834  Rec^d & Recorded by
                                                                                     W^m F. Stone  Reg^r.

The source citation for this recorded deed is:

"Massachusetts, Land Records, 1620-1986," digital images, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, FamilySearch ( : accessed 23 December 2018), Middlesex County, "Deeds, 1834-1835, Vol. 336-337," Volume 337, pages 109-110 (images 362-363 of 633), Deed of Stow Hildreth to Zachariah Hildreth, executed 13 November 1833, recorded 5 December 1834.

This deed is for sixteen acres of wood land on Baberry Hill in the southwestern part of Townsend, adjacent to other land owned by Stow Hildreth.  Zachariah paid 192 dollars for this piece of land, which measures about 39 rods (644 feet) in one dimension (northwesterly and southeasterly), and about 65 rods (1073 feet) northeasterly and southwesterly, in a parallelogram shape.  

Zachariah Hildreth (1783-1857) "yeoman" is my 3rd great-grandfather, who married Hannah Sawtell (1789-1857) in Townsend, Massachusetts in 1810.  I am descended from their son, Edward Hildreth (1831-1899) who married Sophia Newton (1834-1923) in 1852.


NOTE:  Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the excellent  TransylvanianDutch blog) started a Monday blog theme years ago called "Amanuensis Monday."  John offers this definition for "amanuensis:" 

"A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another."

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Copyright (c) 2018, Randall J. Seaver

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Sunday, December 30, 2018

Best of the Genea-Blogs - Week of 23 to 29 December 2018

Dozens of genealogy and family history bloggers write thousands of posts every week about their research, their families, and their interests. I appreciate each one of them and their efforts.

My criteria for "Best of ..." are pretty simple - I pick posts that advance knowledge about genealogy and family history, address current genealogy issues, provide personal family history, are funny or are poignant. I don't list posts destined for daily blog prompts or meme submissions (but I do include summaries of them), or my own posts.

Here are my picks for great reads from the genealogy blogs for this past week:

* Research Spotlight: Colonial New Jersey Family History Resources by Michelle Chubenko on the Legacy Tree Genealogists blog.

Becoming a Certified Genealogist by Lisa S. Gorrell on the My Trails to the Past blog.

Ask the Experts: An Interview! by Natalie Pithers on the Genealogy Stories blog.

Five Dollars, a Snickers, and a Bottle of Pop by Michael John Neill on the Rootdig blog.

Year in Review:  2018 by Amanda on the Geni Blog.

My Year in Genealogy - 2018 by Marian B. Wood on the Climbing My Family Tree blog.

Making Good Genealogy Habits by Amy Johnson Crow on the Amy Johnson Crow blog.

Finding Genealogically Relevant Books Online by James Tanner on the Genealogy's Star blog.

*  The Archive Lady: Preserving and Archiving Christmas by Melissa Barker on the Abundant Genealogy blog.

Best Genealogy Finds of 2018 by Linda Stufflebean on the Empty Branches on the Family Tree blog.

25 Years of Dutch Genealogy by Yvette Hoitink on the Dutch Genealogy blog.

Organizing DNA Matches by Sam Williams on the Ancestral Anamnesis blog.

Ethnicity is Just An Estimate -- Yes, Really! by Roberta Estes on the DNAeXplained - Genetic Genealogy blog.

Here are pick posts by other geneabloggers this week:

*  Friday's Family History Finds by Linda Stufflebean on the Empty Branches on the Family Tree blog.

This Week's Creme de la Creme -- December 29, 2018  by Gail Dever on the Genealogy a la Carte blog.

Readers are encouraged to go to the blogs listed above and read their articles, and add their blogs to your Favorites, Feedly, another RSS feed, or email if you like what you read. Please make a comment to them also - all bloggers appreciate feedback on what they write.

Did I miss a great genealogy blog post? Tell me! I am currently reading posts from over 900 genealogy bloggers using Feedly, but I still miss quite a few it seems.

Read past Best of the Genea-Blogs posts here.


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Copyright (c) 2018, Randall J. Seaver

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Ten of Randy's Best Research Discoveries of 2018

I see that several of my genea-blogging colleagues are listing their best genealogy research discoveries of 2018, so I decided to do the same.  Here is my list:

1)  I finally received a clue to the birth family line of my 2nd great-grandfather, Devier J. Lamphear Smith (1839-1894), who was born in Jefferson County, New York to an unknown Lamphear/Lanphier/Lanfear/etc. parent (male or female, I don't know which), and was adopted by Ranslow and Mary (Bell) Smith of Henderson before they all moved to Wisconsin.

The clue was an autosomal DNA match on MyHeritageDNA whose 3rd great-grandparent is Nancy Lanfear (1816-1898) of Lorraine, Jefferson County, New York, daughter of Isaac and Rosina (Lown) Lanfear.  I share 44.7 cM with this DNA match in 3 segments, so it's probably a 4th-5th cousin match.  If Devier's grandparents were Isaac and Rosina, then they would be my 4th great-grandparents, and I would be a 5th cousin to my DNA match person.  I just don't know which of the 7 children of Isaac and Rosina was the parent of Devier.  There are over 60 matches that share the largest segment (only two shown below in the MyHeritageDNA chromosome browser tool).  I wrote about this in Finding Devier J. Lamphear Smith's Parents - Part I: DNA Trails.

2)  George W. Seaver's life story became a focus in February after finding a newspaper article about him leaving his family in Los Angeles in 1899.  With Barry Sheldon's help, I managed to piece together an interesting life story, and found his parents, spouse and child.  I even created a presentation about his life story to show how I do descendancy research.  See The Rest of the George W. Seaver Story - Part VIII: More Family Information for a summary of information and links to earlier blog posts.

3)  I posted in January about my mother's San Diego High School Yearbook information, and mentioned it to my San Diego genea-blogger friend Yvette Porter Moore (who is now the Historian of the San Diego High Alumni Association).  She went digging into the alumni association records in May to find entrance cards, report card summaries, and yearbook entries for my mother, and her parents, Lyle L. Carringer and Emily K. Auble who were all San Diego High School graduates (as I am).  Yay, Cavemen!  See the records found in

4)  I made significant progress in finding common ancestors for autosomal DNA matches on the various websites.  I downloaded DNA match segments from MyHeritageDNA, FamilyTreeDNA and 23andMe for all of my DNA matches to a spreadsheet to find matching segments with me and cousins with known relationships using a spreadsheet.  I added Notes to about 1,000 AncestryDNA matches, and used the MedBetter DNA Chrome extension to display them on the match list.  I also learned how to use Quick and Dirty Ancestry trees to find the common ancestors for those with small or unlinked trees and successfully found common ancestors with some of the matches.

5)  I subscribed to in late 2017, and have used it every week to supply obituaries and articles for my "Seavers in the News" series.  The articles have helped me add Seaver families to my RootsMagic family tree database, plus I have found articles about some of my ancestors that added dates and details to their life stories.

6)  My CVGS assignment in February 2018 was to research the ancestry of one of our local politicians, a county supervisor, for a presentation to him and his family at the CVGS Family History Day on 29 September. With his sister's and daughter's help in supplying family information and photographs, I was able to find his English and German ancestry, but was stumped on his one set of American 2nd great-grandparents.  I made a RootsMagic family tree, TreeShared it with an Ancestry Member Tree, matched it with the FamilySearch Family Tree, and researched on all of the major sites.  The family loved the presentation.

7)  I was able to extend my grandsons' Danish ancestry back several more generations after FamilySearch added several Denmark record collections for church records and census records.  I also discovered the home village of one of the Italian families in their ancestry and extended that line one more generation in FamilySearch records.

8)  Maggie is my 103 years old friend, and she didn't know the name of her grandparents, since her father came from Denmark in the early 1900s.  I was able to find her grandparents, great-grandparents, and aunts and uncles in the Denmark records.  See Down the Rabbit Hole: Finding Maggie's Grandparents I gave her a copy of the records, and sent the family tree data I have and the record images to her son in Maryland.  

9)  I search for Seaver/Sever/Seever/s/ persons almost every day, and add them to my RootsMagic family tree.  I find them with database searches, and in the online collaborative trees.  After I add them to RootsMagic, I TreeShare with my Ancestry tree and obtain Web Hints, and then search the online databases, and update the RootsMagic profiles.  For persons born after 1800, I can almost always find birth, death and burial records, and sometimes marriage records.  

10)  Needing blog fodder, writing the Amanuensis Monday, Treasure Chest, Seavers in the News, 52 Ancestors, and Surname Saturday posts keep me searching and finding records to add to the RootsMagic family tree, and thereby "advancing the ball" of my ancestral research.  Every little bit helps!  


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Copyright (c) 2018, Randall J. Seaver

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