Saturday, September 28, 2019

Family Tree Maker 2019 Released - FTM Celebrates 30th Birthday

I saw this notice on the Family Tree Maker Users Group on Facebook from Jack Minsky:



It's Family Tree Maker's birthday today and we're going to party like it's 1989. We're taking a nostalgic look back at the brand's roots and looking to the future by launching our ambitious new edition – today! Let's get started.

Back when software came on floppy discs that were actually floppy, Ken Hess decided to leave his secure tech industry job to start his own company, Banner Blue Software. Five years later Family Tree Maker was born – 30 years ago today. I caught up with Ken this week and he told me how pleased he was that Family Tree Maker was not only still around but still the leading brand and still pushing boundaries. Ken wrote a book called Bootstrap about his building Banner Blue, and you'll find it in the gift collection when you pick up your copy of FTM 2019.* Congrats, Ken! Big day for both of us.

More than two years in the making, FTM 2019 was officially released today, thirty years to the day from the launch of version 1.0 on floppy discs by Ken Hess and Banner Blue back on September 28, 1989. It's the smartest, safest, most complete Family Tree Maker ever built, and includes our first mobile app for FREE, and a year of free cloud services for all those who pre-ordered a copy.

Our engineers and 275 beta testers have agreed that it's time to let the rest of you have at it. To ensure that we don't overwhelm the new TreeVault cloud service servers, we are rolling out email notifications over the next week or so to those who have pre-ordered – ten thousand emails at a time. The emails will go out in the order in which copies were purchased. So those who have been waiting the longest get their copies first. Please be patient – everyone will have their copies soon.

As we celebrate this big anniversary we are grateful to all of you who have been so supportive. For those of you who've always had our backs, we thank you for your confidence in us. For those who cheered us on, we've heard you and it made a difference. For those who let us know that “when it's ready” is exactly when you wanted the new edition, thanks for getting it. And for those of you who just left us alone to get our work done, we thank you for understanding and the space to breathe.

Can't wait to hear what you think of our two and a half year labor of love – and to share with you a map of the road ahead. Stay tuned!

Jack Minsky
President of Software MacKiev
Publisher of Family Tree Maker 


My previous post about Family Tree Maker 2019 release was in August - it has more information about this new release:  Family Tree Maker 2019 News - Last Day For $39.95 Upgrade is 14 August.

Congratulations to Jack and his development team.  They have added excellent features to their software.

Disclosure:  I have been a customer of Family Tree Maker since 1995.  I have received several complimentary copies of the software from Software MacKiev in the past three years.  I have not received a complimentary upgrade to FTM 2019.

Copyright (c) 2019, Randall J. Seaver

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Added and Updated Record Collections at - Week of 22 to 28 September 2019

I am trying to keep up with the new and updated record collections at FamilySearch   ( every week.

As of 28 September 2019, there were 2,589 historical record collections on FamilySearch (an increase of 5 from last week):

The added or updated collections are (as Marshall provided them):

--- Collections Added   ---

*  Ireland, Diocesan and Prerogative Marriage License Bonds Indexes, 1623-1866     (; 218,434 indexed records with 218,434 record images, ADDED 27 Sep 2019

Illinois, Kane County, Elgin, Gail Borden Public Library District, Local Newspaper Obituary Digital Index, 1922-2017    (; 66,820 indexed records with 66,820 record images, ADDED 26 Sep 2019

Ireland, Diocesan and Prerogative Wills & Administrations Indexes, 1595-1858    (; 364,122 indexed records with 364,122 record images, ADDED 27 Sep 2019

England, Lancashire, Rusholme Road Cemetery 1821-1933   (; 67,177 indexed records with 67,177 record images, ADDED 27 Sep 2019

*  France, Gironde, Civil Registration, 1696-1912  (; Index only, no images, ADDED 25 Sep 2019

--- Collections Updated ---

Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, Allegheny Cemetery Records, 1845 - 1960       (; 195,720 indexed records with 39,635 record images (was 193,352 records with 39,613 images), Updated 24 Sep 2019

Nova Scotia Deaths, 1864-1877   (; 9,148 indexed records with 27,717 record images (was 9,063 records with 27,717 images), Updated 27 Sep 2019

Minnesota Deaths, 1887-2001     (; 66,323 indexed records with 66,279 record images (was 39,099 records with 39,068 images), Updated 28 Sep 2019

Manitoba Church Records, 1800-1959      (; 9,862 indexed records with 6,567 record images (was 8,879 records with 6,567 images), Updated 28 Sep 2019

United States Deceased Physician File (AMA), 1864-1968  (; 532,940 indexed records with 707,724 record images (was 532,611 records with 707,724 images), Updated 23 Sep 2019

England, Huntingdonshire Parish Registers       (; 248,616 indexed records with 12,382 record images (was 126,104 records with 5,959 images), Updated 27 Sep 2019

Germany, Bavaria, Diocese of Augsburg, Catholic Church Records, 1615-1939       (; Browse 1,165,845 Images only, no index (was 0 records with 835,572 images), Updated 24 Sep 2019

England and Wales Census, 1871  (; 22,933,411 indexed records with 1,281,291 record images (was 22,933,411 records with 1,281,291 images), Updated 27 Sep 2019

Delaware Vital Record Index Cards, 1680-1934    (; 52,015 indexed records with 134,797 record images (was 4,343 records with 134,797 images), Updated 28 Sep 2019

United States, GenealogyBank Obituaries, 1980-2014      (; 34,153,315 indexed records with 46,885,712 record images (was 34,153,315 records with 46,885,712 images), Updated 27 Sep 2019

Peru, Cemetery Records, 1912-2013       (; 121,589 indexed records with 2,995 record images (was 120,038 records with 2,993 images), Updated 28 Sep 2019

Colorado, Jefferson County, Wheat Ridge, Crown Hill Cemetery Records, 1900-1950 (; 27,111 indexed records with 1,299 record images (was 26,150 records with 1,254 images), Updated 27 Sep 2019

New Jersey, Death Index, 1901-1903      (; 94,450 indexed records with 1,031 record images (was 94,301 records with 1,029 images), Updated 23 Sep 2019

Colombia, Bogotá, Burial Permits, 1960-1991     (; 1,023 indexed records with 4,645 record images (was 288 records with 1,108 images), Updated 28 Sep 2019

Hawaii, World War I Service Records, 1917-1919  (; 9,527 indexed records with 9,512 record images (was 9,527 records with 9,512 images), Updated 24 Sep 2019

Virginia, Slave Birth Index, 1853-1866  (; 151,551 indexed records with 2,561 record images (was 148,016 records with 2,501 images), Updated 27 Sep 2019

South Carolina, Charleston County, Charleston, Birth Registers, 1901-1926       (; 16,917 indexed records with 1,096 record images (was 16,636 records with 1,078 images), Updated 27 Sep 2019

Alabama, County Birth Registers, 1881-1930      (; 212,623 indexed records with 35,777 record images (was 152,807 records with 27,223 images), Updated 28 Sep 2019

Louisiana, Orleans Parish, Birth Records, 1819-1906     (; 21,693 indexed records with 10,829 record images (was 16,609 records with 8,304 images), Updated 28 Sep 2019

Peru, Huánuco, Civil Registration, 1889-1997    (; 10,153 indexed records with 708,628 record images (was 4,392 records with 708,628 images), Updated 28 Sep 2019

--- Collections with new images ---

England, Hampshire Parish Registers, 1538-1980  (; 1,856,675 indexed records with 140,294 record images (was 1,856,675 records with 134,436 images),  26 Aug 2019

France, Dordogne, Church and Civil Registration, 1540-1896      (; 7,882,907 indexed records with 3,099,653 record images (was 7,882,907 records with 3,097,802 images),  28 Mar 2018

Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1500-1971   (; 3,503,512 indexed records with 8,061,512 record images (was 3,503,512 records with 8,060,529 images),  14 Mar 2019

Germany, Rhineland, Diocese of Trier, Catholic Church Records, 1704-1957        (; 2,043,205 indexed records with 206,456 record images (was 2,043,205 records with 194,182 images),  12 Sep 2019

Oregon, Multnomah County, Voting Registration Records, 1908-1958        (; 988,549 indexed records with 982,465 record images (was 988,549 records with 980,956 images),  5 Jul 2019

--- Collections with images removed ---

United States, Native American, Census Rolls, 1885-1940 (; 5,344,149 indexed records with 281,154 record images (was 5,344,149 records with 292,272 images),  27 Aug 2019

United States, Cemetery Abstracts       (; 468,634 indexed records with 64,640 record images (was 468,634 records with 69,349 images),  17 Sep 2019

South Africa, Pietermaritzburg Estate Files 1846-1950   (; 439,965 indexed records with 315,683 record images (was 439,965 records with 316,352 images),  3 May 2019

United States, Veterans Administration Master Index, 1917-1940  (; 6,931,032 indexed records with 5,610,973 record images (was 6,931,032 records with 5,610,978 images),  9 Aug 2019

--- Collections with records removed ---

United States Public Records, 1970-2009 (; Index only (875,610,644 records), no images (was 875,610,657 records with 0 images),  17 Jun 2015

California Birth Index, 1905-1995       (; Index only (24,589,479 records), no images (was 24,589,480 records with 0 images),  1 Mar 2012


In order to select a specific record collection on FamilySearch, go to and use the "Filter by collection name" feature in the upper left-hand corner and use keywords (e.g. "church england") to find collections with those keywords.

My friend, Marshall, has come up with a way to determine which collections are ADDED, DELETED or UPDATED.  Thanks to Marshall for helping me out here!

Each one of the collections listed above has a Research Wiki page (use the "Learn more" link).  It would be very useful if the Wiki page for each collection listed the dates for when the collection was added as a new collection and the dates for major updates also.


Copyright (c) 2019, Randall J. Seaver

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Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -- Your Most Frustrating Brick Wall Problem

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 is your most frustrating brick wall problem?  Tell us what you want to know and what you have found to date.

2)  Share your genealogy brick wall problem in your own blog post, on Facebook, and leave a link to it in the comments.

Here's mine:

Two weeks ago, I would have said my Thomas J. Newton problem was the most frustrating - who were his parents and when was he born?  But now, my hypothesis is that he wasn't the father of my 2nd great-grandmother, Sophia Newton - it may have been Lambert Brigham (see Can DNA Determine Who My 3rd Great-Grandfather Is?), which seems to be supported by DNA matches.

So let's move on to another brick wall problem - Who were the parents of William Knapp (1775-1856)?  William Knapp (1775-1856), was born in Dutchess County, New York, married Sarah Cutter in Woodbridge, N.J. in about 1804, and died in Newton, N.J. in 1856. 

I have written a summary of "what I know" in Were Shubel and Rebecca (Mead) Knapp the Parents of William Knapp (1775-1856)?  Shubel and Rebecca (Mead) Knapp are the "Potential Ancestors" that AncestryDNA think's are his parents.  I am pretty sure that they are not, but other researchers have attached them as parents of William Knapp, and Ancestry chose to include that relationship in their big tree which feeds the ThruLines feature.

Here are links to other blog posts about this brick wall of mine:

*  My Elusive Ancestor - William Knapp (1775-1856) (9 October 2006)
*  Possible Knapp Families in Dutchess County NY - Post 1: The 1790 U.S. Census (14 December 2011)
*  Possible Knapp Families in Dutchess County - Post 2: The "Nicholas Knapp Genealogy" (15 December 2011)
*  Follow-Up Friday - The William Knapp Search (16 December 2011)
*  Possible Knapp Families in Dutchess County - Post 3: Given Names of the Children (19 December 2011)

*  Possible Knapp Families in Dutchess County - Post 4: Knapps in the Settlers of the Beekman Patent (20 December 2011)

I have four AncestryDNA matches in the ThruLines for William and Sarah (Cutter) Knapp, but none for their purported parents or grandparents.  So DNA has not helped me yet.

I'm still stuck here, but reviewing the above blog posts was helpful.  I saw that I did not complete my Dutchess County probate review.

So color me "still frustrated" about this brick wall problem.

Does any reader have more suggestions for research for me?


Copyright (c) 2019, Randall J. Seaver

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Surname Saturday -- CLARKE (England to colonial Massachusetts)

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

I am working in the 9th great-grandmothers by Ahnentafel number, and I am up to Ancestor #2385 who is Joane CLARKE (1596-1654). [Note: the more recent ancestral families have been covered in earlier posts.]

My ancestral line back through one generation in this CLARKE 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.  Zachariah Hildreth (1783-1857)
37.  Hannah Sawtell (1789-1857)

74.  Josiah Sawtell (1768-1847)
75.  Hannah Smith (1768-1827)

148.  Ephraim Sawtell (1735-1800)
149.  Abigail Stone (1737-1800)

298.  James Stone (1702-1783)

299.  Mary Farwell (1709-1804)

596.  John Stone (1658-1735)
597.  Sarah Nutting (1663-????)

1192.  Simon Stone (1631-1708)
1193.  Mary Whipple (1634-1720)

2384.  Simon Stone, born before 09 February 1586 in Great Bromley, Essex, England; died 22 September 1665 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 4768. David Stone and 4769. Ursula LNU.  He married 5 August 1616 in Little Bromley, Essex, England.
2385.  Joane Clarke, born before 21 May 1596 in Great Bromley, Essex, England; died before 1654 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  She was the daughter of 4770. William Clarke and 4771. Margaret Hadlock

Children of Simon Stone and Joane Clarke are:
*  Frances Stone (1619-????), married (1) 1645 Henry Green (1618-1648); (2) 1648 John Horne (1603-1684).
*  Mary Stone (1621-1622).
*  Ann Stone (1624-1665).
Simon Stone (1631-1708), married 1655 Mary Whipple (1634-1720).
*  Mary Stone (1632-1684), married 1660 Nathaniel Stearns (1620-1684).
*  John Stone (1635-1691), married 1662 Sarah Bass (1643-1739).
*  Elizabeth Stone (1639-1665).

 *  J. Gardner Bartlett, Simon Stone Genealogy, Ancestry and Descendants of Simon Stone of Watertown, Mass. 1320-1926 (Boston, Mass. : Stone Family Association, 1926).  

*  David H. Brown, "Dea. Simon Stone of Watertown, Mass., and Some of his Descendants," New England Historic Genealogical Register, Volume 53, number 3 (July 1899), page 345.

I have done no original research on this Clarke line.


Copyright (c) 2019, Randall J. Seaver

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Friday, September 27, 2019

Genealogy News Bytes - 27 September 2019

Some of the genealogy news and education items across my monitor the last three days include:

2)  New or Updated Record Collections:

3)  Genealogy Education - Webinars (times are US Pacific):

 GeneaWebinars Calendar

*  Upcoming Family Tree Webinar - Tuesday, 1 October, 7 p.m.:  The Stories Behind the Segments, by Blaine Bettinger

*  Upcoming Family Tree Webinar - Wednesday, 2 October, 11 a.m.: A Day Out With Your DNA, by Diahan Southard

*  Archived Family Tree Webinar: Ahnenforschung für Anfänger (German), by Andrea Bentschneider

*  Archived Family Tree Webinar:  Hur MyHeritages molntjänst och FTB kompletterar varandra (Swedish), by Kaj Winberg

*  Archived Family Tree Webinar.:  Meaningful Tables and Graphs for Correlation in Family History, by Ruth Wilson Craig

*  Archived Family Tree Webinar:  MyHeritage DNA - Et overblik (Danish), by Ilan Melchior

*  Archived  Family Tree Webinar:  The Home Archivist: Preserving Family Records Like a Pro!, by Melissa Barker

*  Archived Family Tree Webinar:  Research in the Equality State - Wyoming Research Tips, by Cari Taplin

4)  Genealogy Education - Podcasts:

*  Fisher’s Top Tips:  #109 - The Thrill

5)  Genealogy Videos (YouTube):

*  Cheri Hudson Passey:  GenFriends~Relative Race Season 6 Day 1

*  DNA Family Trees:  CMS - Clues in the numbers!

*  Family History Fanatics:  Research Using Keywords

6)  Genealogy Bargains:

7)  DNA Stories

8)  Did you miss the last Genealogy News Bytes - 24 September 2019?


Copyright (c) 2019, Randall J. Seaver

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New Collection on - Obituary Index, 1800s to Current

Ancestry released a new record collection this week that is a game changer for my research - the Obituary Index, 1800s-Current collection (  

There are over 750 million indexed entries in this collection according to the Card Catalog.

The collection description is:

This database consists of facts extracted from obituaries found on™ dating from the early 1800’s to current.
    Details present may include:
  • Name of the deceased
  • Gender of the deceased
  • Birth date and place and/or age at death
  • Marriage date and place
  • Death and/or burial date
  • Residence and/or death place
  • Obituary date and place
  • Names of parents, spouse, children, and/or siblings
  • Original publication details
This database is presented index only, with a link to the digitized page on™. Clicking on the link will open the image on the™ site, which may require an additional upgrade or subscription.
These facts were pulled from a record by a computer and may not be accurate.

The user must have a subscription in order to see the actual obituary.

From the search page for the collection, I searched for "seaver" exact last name entries:

I clicked on the orange Search button and saw that there were 2,983 entries for the exact surname of "Seaver":

As you can see on the screen above, there are columns for the obituary subject, a birth date, a publication date, a publication location, and (some?) relatives mentioned in the obituary.

I clicked on the first entry on the list, and saw the record summary page:

This is as far as an Ancestry subscriber can go without a subscription, but it is "pretty good" in many cases.

Clicking on the "View" link in the image placeholder (on the left of the record summary above), shows the newspaper page from, along with a summary box with indexed information:

There are buttons on the summary box for "Save to Ancestry" and "Clip" (using the clipping features).

If I add a year to the collection search, I will receive matches that include a birth or publication date for that year.

If I add a year only to the "Obituary Place" field on the search form, then I can see all obituaries for only that year - see below:

Some potential problems are:

*  The collection only indexes obituaries and death notices published by newspapers included on  For instance, there are no San Diego obituaries in this collection.

*  The obituaries are read by a computer, and some of the indexed information is inaccurate.  For instance "Grandma Seaver" in a death notice was indexed as "Rantima Seaver" even though the words were very clear!

*  The index only covers obituaries and death notices, but not news articles that are not relating death information.

How does this collection change my genealogy search process?  Quite simply, it "short circuits" my search for obituary and death notice information.  It points to an article for a death, and provides the published information.  I can find the information in the obituary or death notice, clip the article or the whole page on and save it to my computer, and enter the information and attach the image to a person in my RootsMagic family tree and to or my Ancestry Member Tree.

For my Seaver surname study (and any other surname study), this collection will be a tremendous time saver.  I don't have every Seaver/Sever/Seever/Sevier/etc. persons who ever lived in my database, but this will help find many more.  Finding obituaries and death notices in a surname search without an index like this is like hunting for needles in a haystack - it takes a lot of time.

Now I need to find the best way to "mine" this collection for people (it is database number 61843 for those who care).  At some point, this collection should create Hints for persons in my Ancestry Member Tree (I already have some for persons in my AMT that I changed yesterday).  I could "mine" the records that way.  For a surname study, I could go through the list one publication year at a time.

I think I love this record collection!  Thank you, and


Disclosure:  I have had a fully paid subscription since 2000 and a paid subscription since 2017. has provided material considerations for travel expenses to meetings, and has hosted events and meals that I have attended in Salt Lake City, in past years.

Copyright (c) 2019, 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.  Share it on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest using the icons below.  Or contact me by email at