Saturday, May 29, 2021

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -- Who Is #42 on Your Ahnentafel List?

 Calling all Genea-Musings Fans: 

 It's Saturday Night again - 

Time for some more Genealogy Fun!!

Here is your assignment, should you decide to accept it (you ARE reading this, so I assume that you really want to play along - cue the Mission Impossible music!):

1)  Have you identified #42 on your ahnentafel list?  If not, how about #21 the mother of #42?  If not, how about #10 on your ahnentafel list?  Do you even have an ahnentafel list?  

2)  Anyway, tell us about your #42 ancestor (or #21, or #10, etc.) - full name, parents, spouse, children, birth, baptism, death, marriage, burial, etc.  

2)  Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook Status post.  Please leave a link in a comment to this post.

Here's mine:

#42 on my ahnentafel list is John Rich (1789-1868) of Hilperton, Wiltshire, England.

John Rich, my third great-grandfather, was probably born between 1789 and 1794, since he was listed as age 47 in the 1841 census, age 58 in the 1851 census, age 70 in the 1861 census, and age 79 in his burial record in June 1868.  

The parents of John Rich are not known with assurance.  They may be Robert and Betty (Sly) Rich of Trowbridge, who had a son John baptized 3 Mar 1793 Trowbridge.  They may be William and Betty (Noad) Rich of Trowbridge, according to Ancestry's "Potential Ancestors" feature.  There was a John Rich christened in Hilperton on 27 September 1789, son of John and Mary Rich; however, this may be a John Richman (also an ancestor of mine!).

This John Rich is the only male with surname Rich born between 1785 and 1795 residing in Hilperton in the 1841, 1851 and 1861 Census returns for Wiltshire.  

The first record for John Rich is his marriage record.  John Rich and Rebecca Hill were married by banns in Hilperton Parish Church by curate J. Bailes on 14 February 1815, and both signed by their mark.  George Hill and Isaac Hiscock were the witnesses.

John and Rebecca (Hill) Rich had eleven children.  They were:  James (1816), Ann (1818), John (1818), William (1821), John (1822), Jesse (1822), Hannah (1824) Emma (1827), Elizabeth (1828), William (1830) and Samuel (1833).

The baptisms of the children of John and Rebecca (Hill) Rich are in the Hilperton parish church records.  Three of the children, Hannah (born 1824) , William (born 1830) and Samuel (born 1833) were baptized on 19 February 1837.  John's occupation is given as weaver.

In the 1841 Tithing and Land Apportionment taken 27 Feb 1841 (copied from large map and rolls of records in Wiltshire County Record Office in Trowbridge), John Rich occupied land leased by Grace Shrapnell:  

#51:  house and garden, area 0a 1r 3p, tithing 0L 2s 0p.
#52:  garden                   area 0a 0r 12p, tithing -------

Lots 51 and 52 are located in Hilperton Marsh, on the south side of what is now Horse Road opposite St. Mary's Close.

In the 1841 Census for Wiltshire,  the John Rich family resided in Hilperton, Wiltshire, England.  The household included:

*  Jno Rich - age 47, male, a weaver, born Wiltshire
*  Rebecka Rich - age 55, female, born Wiltshire
*  James Rich - age 18, male, born Wiltshire
*  Elizabeth Rich - age 16, female, born Wiltshire
*  Hannah Rich - age 15, female, born Wiltshire
*  William Rich - age 10, male, born Wiltshire
*  Samuel Rich - age 7, male, born Wiltshire

In the 1851 Census for Wiltshire, the John Rich family resided in Hilperton, Wiltshire, England.[3] The household included:

*   John Rich - head, age 58, hand loom weaver, born Hilperton
*  Rebecca Rich - wife, age 63, born Hilperton
*  William Rich - son, age 21, weaver, born Hilperton
*  Samuel Rich - son, age 18, India rubber worker, born Hilperton

In the 1861 England and Wales Census, John Rich (age 70, married, a woolen cloth weaver, born in Hilperton, Wiltshire) and Rebecca Rich (age 75, married, born in Hilperton, Wiltshire) resided in Hilperton, Wiltshire.

The burial record for John Rich indicates that he resided in Hilperton Marsh, buried on 8 June 1868, age 79, i n the Hilperton church yard.  There is no extant grave marker for John or Rebecca (Hill) Rich.

I am descended from Hannah Rich (1824-1911), who married James Richman (1821-1912) in 1845 in Hilperton.  


The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2021, 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

Added and Updated Record Collections - Week of 22 to 28 May 2021

 The following record collections were listed on the Recently Added and Updated List on during the period from  22 to 28 May 2021:

The ADDED and Updated record collections are:

Missouri, U.S. Pre-World War II Adjutant General Enlistment Contracts, 1900-1941; indexed records with digital images, ADDED 5/27/2021

Utah, U.S., Applications for Indian War Service Medals, 1905-1912; indexed records with digital images, ADDED 5/27/2021

Salt Lake County, Utah, U.S., Militia Records, 1895; indexed records without digital images, ADDED 5/27/2021

Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, Unaccounted-for Remains, Group B, 1941-1975; indexed records without digital images, ADDED 5/27/2021

Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, Unaccounted-for Remains, Group A, 1941-1975; indexed records without digital images, ADDED 5/27/2021

Idaho, U.S., Marriage Records, 1863-1969; indexed records with digital images, Updated  5/26/2021

Idaho, U.S., Divorce Records, 1947-1969; indexed records with digital images, Updated 5/26/2021

Idaho, U.S.A., Birth Index, 1861-1919, Stillbirth Index, 1905-1967; indexed records with digital images, Updated 5/26/2021

1901 Census of Canada; indexed records with digital images, Updated 5/26/2021

Idaho, U.S., Death Records, 1890-1967; indexed records with digital images, Updated 5/26/2021

London, England, Marriage Notices from The Times, 1982-2004; indexed records without digital images, Updated 5/24/2021

Caernarvonshire, Wales, Anglican Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1541-1994; indexed records with digital images, Updated 5/24/2021


The complete Card Catalog is at  

By my count, there were 5 NEW collections ADDED this past week, per the list above.  There are now 32,992 collections available as of 28 May, an increase of  from last week.   


Disclosure: I have a complimentary all-access subscription from, for which I am thankful. 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.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2021, 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

Added and Updated Record Collections - Week of 22 to 28 May 2021

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

As of 28 May 2021, there are 2,989 historical record collections on FamilySearch (an increase of 2 from last week):

The new and updated collections this week from FamilySearch are:

--- Collections Added ---

*  France, Eure, Census, 1891 (; 19,451 indexed records with 19,451 record images, ADDED 24-May-2021

--- Collections Updated ---

Texas, Various Counties, Military Discharge Records, 1916-1990 (; 43,056 indexed records with 18,749 record images (was 42,417 records with 17,931 images), UPDATED 25-May-2021
New Jersey, Death Index, 1901-1903; 1916-1929 (; 261,717 indexed records with 2,215 record images (was 261,444 records with 2,213 images), UPDATED 24-May-2021
Mexico, Guanajuato, Catholic Church Records, 1519-1984 (; 7,583,026 indexed records with 4,584,983 record images (was 7,537,097 records with 4,584,983 images), UPDATED 26-May-2021
England, Middlesex Parish Registers, 1539-1988 (; 2,109,119 indexed records with 141,647 record images (was 2,046,005 records with 134,882 images), UPDATED 28-May-2021
Moldova Church Books, 1811-1936 (; Browse 3,386,730 Images only, no index (was 0 records with 3,386,730 images), UPDATED 24-May-2021

Hungary Civil Registration, 1895-1980 (; 1,553,401 indexed records with 5,864,285 record images (was 1,531,024 records with 5,864,285 images), UPDATED 27-May-2021
Nicaragua, Catholic Church Records, 1740-1960 (; 44,653 indexed records with 86,119 record images (was 43,537 records with 86,119 images), UPDATED 27-May-2021
Brazil, Minas Gerais, Civil Registration, 1879-1949 (; 488,350 indexed records with 208,464 record images (was 484,081 records with 206,569 images), UPDATED 28-May-2021
Argentina, Corrientes, Catholic Church Records, 1734-1977 (; 41,587 indexed records with 207,943 record images (was 33,751 records with 207,943 images), UPDATED 23-May-2021
Argentina, Córdoba, Catholic Church Records, 1557-1974 (; 911,909 indexed records with 419,985 record images (was 877,189 records with 419,985 images), UPDATED 23-May-2021

British Columbia Naturalization Records, 1859-1926 (; 17,798 indexed records with 23,240 record images (was 17,090 records with 23,240 images), UPDATED 25-May-2021
Costa Rica, Catholic Church Records, 1595-1992 (; 1,459,124 indexed records with 962,203 record images (was 1,443,924 records with 962,203 images), UPDATED 27-May-2021
Mexico, Veracruz, Catholic Church Records, 1590-1978 (; 2,055,968 indexed records with 2,563,917 record images (was 2,052,795 records with 2,563,917 images), UPDATED 26-May-2021
Argentina, Entre Ríos, Catholic Church Records, 1764-1983 (; 564,467 indexed records with 235,772 record images (was 558,339 records with 235,772 images), UPDATED 23-May-2021
Sweden, Örebro Church Records, 1613-1918; index 1635-1860 (; 635,052 indexed records with 647,469 record images (was 621,050 records with 647,469 images), UPDATED 26-May-2021

Mexico, Sonora, Catholic Church Records, 1657-1994 (; 479,278 indexed records with 383,518 record images (was 464,965 records with 383,518 images), UPDATED 26-May-2021
Hungary, Jewish Vital Records Index, 1800-1945 (; 56,995 indexed records with 1,272 record images (was 54,390 records with 1,272 images), UPDATED 26-May-2021
Chile, Catholic Church Records, 1710-1928 (; 1,423,069 indexed records with 180,920 record images (was 1,226,063 records with 155,444 images), UPDATED 22-May-2021
Argentina, La Rioja, Catholic Church Records, 1714-1970 (; 21,651 indexed records with 74,259 record images (was 0 records with 74,259 images), UPDATED 23-May-2021
El Salvador Catholic Church Records, 1655-1977 (; 934,591 indexed records with 592,191 record images (was 922,132 records with 592,191 images), UPDATED 28-May-2021

Czech Republic, Church Books, 1552-1981 (; 211,793 indexed records with 4,668,489 record images (was 210,556 records with 4,668,489 images), UPDATED 26-May-2021
Spain, Province of La Coruña, Municipal Records, 1648-1941 (; 855,141 indexed records with 258,646 record images (was 844,841 records with 258,646 images), UPDATED 27-May-2021
Louisiana, Orleans Parish, State Museum Historical Center, Cemetery Records, 1805-1944 (; 218,607 indexed records with 203,182 record images (was 215,908 records with 200,799 images), UPDATED 28-May-2021
Uruguay Civil Registration, 1879-1930 (; Index only (265,294 records), no images (was 263,014 records with 0 images), UPDATED 28-May-2021
Alabama Voter Registration and Poll Tax Cards, 1834-1981 (; 698,260 indexed records with 145,289 record images (was 689,056 records with 138,581 images), UPDATED 25-May-2021

Mexico, Michoacán, Catholic Church Records, 1555-1996 (; 462,082 indexed records with 5,283,986 record images (was 431,953 records with 5,283,986 images), UPDATED 26-May-2021
Jamaica, Church of England Parish Register Transcripts, 1664-1880 (; 449,122 indexed records with 37,199 record images (was 444,940 records with 37,199 images), UPDATED 27-May-2021
England, Hertfordshire, Marriage Bonds, 1682-1837 (; 5,231 indexed records with 5,225 record images (was 4,620 records with 4,617 images), UPDATED 28-May-2021
England, Lincolnshire, Marriage Bonds and Allegations, 1574-1885 (; 71,991 indexed records with 13,345 record images (was 71,923 records with 13,277 images), UPDATED 28-May-2021
England, Lancashire, Marriage Bonds and Allegations, 1746-1799 (; 4,988 indexed records with 4,986 record images (was 4,229 records with 4,228 images), UPDATED 28-May-2021

Mexico, Nuevo León, Catholic Church Records, 1667-1981 (; 857,648 indexed records with 447,381 record images (was 838,296 records with 447,381 images), UPDATED 26-May-2021
Italy, Verona, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1630-1946 (; Browse 2,976,910 Images only, no index (was 0 records with 2,976,910 images), UPDATED 28-May-2021
England, Gloucestershire Non-Conformist Church Records, 1642-1996 (; 133,226 indexed records with 49,280 record images (was 133,150 records with 49,260 images), UPDATED 28-May-2021
Puerto Rico, Catholic Church Records, 1645-1969 (; 447,438 indexed records with 191,547 record images (was 436,341 records with 191,547 images), UPDATED 25-May-2021
Nicaragua, Cemetery Records, 1922-2007 (; 189,604 indexed records with 6,098 record images (was 185,282 records with 5,957 images), UPDATED 24-May-2021

Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007 (; 5,068,411 indexed records with 1,259,299 record images (was 5,046,551 records with 1,259,299 images), UPDATED 27-May-2021
Washington, County Divorce Records, 1852-1950 (; 78,797 indexed records with 127,147 record images (was 78,787 records with 127,147 images), UPDATED 23-May-2021
South Africa, Church of the Province of South Africa, Parish Registers, 1801-2004 (; 680,541 indexed records with 355,318 record images (was 670,996 records with 355,318 images), UPDATED 28-May-2021
Illinois, Cook County, Birth Certificates, 1871-1949 (; Index only (3,401,844 records), no images (was 3,401,844 records with 0 images), UPDATED 28-May-2021
New Jersey, County Naturalization Records, 1749-1986 (; 764,904 indexed records with 791,233 record images (was 740,763 records with 791,233 images), UPDATED 28-May-2021

Mexico, Zacatecas, Catholic Church Records, 1605-1980 (; 2,309,795 indexed records with 1,663,800 record images (was 2,303,719 records with 1,663,800 images), UPDATED 26-May-2021
Utah, County Marriages, 1871-1941 (; 454,636 indexed records with 124,465 record images (was 454,612 records with 124,465 images), UPDATED 22-May-2021
England, Northumberland Non-Conformist Church Records, 1613-1920 (; 111,577 indexed records with 13,428 record images (was 106,970 records with 12,716 images), UPDATED 28-May-2021
South Africa, KwaZulu Natal, Vital Records, 1868-1976 (; 337,179 indexed records with 326,623 record images (was 327,341 records with 317,267 images), UPDATED 28-May-2021
Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016 (; 5,289,699 indexed records with 1,547,844 record images (was 5,281,255 records with 1,547,844 images), UPDATED 24-May-2021

Papua New Guinea, Vital Records, 1867-2000 (; 165,284 indexed records with 137,643 record images (was 101,683 records with 75,164 images), UPDATED 28-May-2021
Mexico, México, Catholic Church Records, 1567-1970 (; 3,843,420 indexed records with 4,823,124 record images (was 3,838,926 records with 4,823,124 images), UPDATED 26-May-2021
Spain, Catholic Church Records, 1307-1985 (; 26,795 indexed records with 3,008,340 record images (was 0 records with 3,008,340 images), UPDATED 26-May-2021
Mexico, Tlaxcala, Catholic Church Records, 1576-1994 (; 338,527 indexed records with 1,012,693 record images (was 335,870 records with 1,012,693 images), UPDATED 26-May-2021
Mexico, Puebla, Catholic Church Records, 1545-1977 (; 2,273,784 indexed records with 6,124,553 record images (was 2,256,331 records with 6,124,553 images), UPDATED 26-May-2021

Argentina, Misiones, Catholic Church Records, 1874-1975 (; 9,323 indexed records with 9,155 record images (was 5,778 records with 9,155 images), UPDATED 23-May-2021
Argentina, Neuquén, Catholic Church Records, 1883-1977 (; 6,178 indexed records with 11,873 record images (was 0 records with 11,873 images), UPDATED 23-May-2021
Maine, County Naturalization Records, 1800-1990 (; 178,854 indexed records with 207,883 record images (was 176,207 records with 207,883 images), UPDATED 24-May-2021
United States Census, 1930 (; 125,180,344 indexed records with 2,957,015 record images (was 125,180,394 records with 2,957,015 images), UPDATED 26-May-2021
Venezuela, Catholic Church Records, 1577-1995 (; 4,654,405 indexed records with 1,899,876 record images (was 4,583,359 records with 1,899,876 images), UPDATED 28-May-2021

Argentina, Santiago del Estero, Catholic Church Records, 1581-1961 (; 1,707 indexed records with 102,368 record images (was 4 records with 102,368 images), UPDATED 26-May-2021
France, Saône-et-Loire, Parish and Civil Registration, 1530-1892 (; 7,216,343 indexed records with 1,970,012 record images (was 7,215,903 records with 1,969,937 images), UPDATED 28-May-2021
South Africa, Dutch Reformed Church Registers (Cape Town Archives), 1660-1970 (; 455,429 indexed records with 45,728 record images (was 450,250 records with 45,728 images), UPDATED 28-May-2021
Mexico, San Luis Potosí, Catholic Church Records, 1586-1977 (; 340,970 indexed records with 2,162,812 record images (was 314,247 records with 2,162,812 images), UPDATED 26-May-2021
Italy, Matera, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1809-1925 (; Browse 1,323,614 Images only, no index (was 0 records with 1,323,614 images), UPDATED 28-May-2021

England, Herefordshire Bishop's Transcripts, 1583-1898 (; 1,505,960 indexed records with 112,701 record images (was 1,482,900 records with 110,859 images), UPDATED 28-May-2021
Argentina, Buenos Aires, Catholic Church Records, 1635-1981 (; 2,106,083 indexed records with 978,396 record images (was 2,092,569 records with 978,396 images), UPDATED 24-May-2021
Mexico, Jalisco, Catholic Church Records, 1590-1979 (; 1,839,978 indexed records with 5,797,486 record images (was 1,788,094 records with 5,797,486 images), UPDATED 26-May-2021
Samoa, Vital Records, 1846-1996 (; 14,934 indexed records with 39,228 record images (was 14,934 records with 38,564 images), UPDATED 28-May-2021
Norway, Oslo Census, 1901 (; 224,779 indexed records with 7,982 record images (was 224,662 records with 7,921 images), UPDATED 24-May-2021
Brazil, Santa Catarina, Civil Registration, 1850-1999 (; 459,573 indexed records with 1,038,133 record images (was 458,115 records with 1,038,133 images), UPDATED 28-May-2021

Washington Voting Records, 1876-1940 (; 197,084 indexed records with 21,867 record images (was 159,958 records with 17,699 images), UPDATED 24-May-2021
Massachusetts, Boston Tax Records, 1822-1918 (; 2,457,855 indexed records with 586,834 record images (was 1,981,027 records with 586,834 images), UPDATED 26-May-2021
Paraguay, Military Records, 1870-1965 (; 66,147 indexed records with 65,123 record images (was 60,953 records with 49,313 images), UPDATED 24-May-2021
United States, GenealogyBank Obituaries, 1980-2014 (; 30,047,337 indexed records with 46,885,461 record images (was 30,047,338 records with 46,885,461 images), UPDATED 28-May-2021
Netherlands, Limburg Province, Civil Registration, 1792-1963 (; Browse 2,487,392 Images only, no index (was 0 records with 2,487,392 images), UPDATED 25-May-2021

Mexico, Sinaloa, Catholic Church Records, 1671-1968 (; 620,291 indexed records with 521,512 record images (was 607,144 records with 521,512 images), UPDATED 26-May-2021
Papua New Guinea, Birth Records, 1888-2004 (; 74,968 indexed records with 47,531 record images (was 72,994 records with 47,346 images), UPDATED 28-May-2021
England, Essex Non-Conformist Church Records, 1613-1971 (; 112,155 indexed records with 12,485 record images (was 108,358 records with 12,320 images), UPDATED 28-May-2021
Georgia, Tax Digests, 1787-1900 (; 1,173,021 indexed records with 31,213 record images (was 944,547 records with 46,333 images), UPDATED 25-May-2021
Michigan, Saginaw County, Biographical Card File, ca. 1830-2000 (; 1,941 indexed records with 19,116 record images (was 1,941 records with 18,719 images), UPDATED 28-May-2021

United States, Enlisted and Officer Muster Rolls and Rosters, 1916-1939 (; 48,981,646 indexed records with 1,580,333 record images (was 37,859,839 records with 1,160,745 images), UPDATED 27-May-2021
England, Cambridgeshire Bishop's Transcripts, 1538-1983 (; 912,811 indexed records with 106,613 record images (was 847,077 records with 61,909 images), UPDATED 25-May-2021
Sweden, Kalmar Church Records, 1577-1907; index 1625-1860 (; 30,025 indexed records with 619,894 record images (was 30,025 records with 619,894 images), UPDATED 25-May-2021
United States Census, 1870 (; 40,350,030 indexed records with 1,049,047 record images (was 40,350,110 records with 1,049,047 images), UPDATED 27-May-2021
Zambia, Archdiocese of Lusaka, Church Records, 1950-2015 (; 191,367 indexed records with 16,292 record images (was 184,432 records with 15,906 images), UPDATED 28-May-2021

--- Collections with new images ---

Uruguay, Passenger Lists, 1888-1980 (; 3,641,119 indexed records with 156,231 record images (was 3,641,119 records with 148,098 images), last updated 19-Nov-2020
New York, State Death Index, 1880-1956 (; 4,749,222 indexed records with 84,805 record images (was 4,749,222 records with 84,749 images), last updated 20-Aug-2019
New York, Church Records, 1660-1954 (; 127,105 indexed records with 6,354 record images (was 127,105 records with 6,339 images), last updated 07-Apr-2021
South Africa, Pietermaritzburg Estate Files 1846-1950 (; 441,574 indexed records with 316,616 record images (was 441,574 records with 316,347 images), last updated 05-Aug-2020
Sweden, Stockholm City Archives, Index to Church Records, 1546-1927 (; 1,080,820 indexed records with 71,610 record images (was 1,080,820 records with 69,860 images), last updated 20-May-2021

--- Collections with images removed ---

Illinois, Military Discharge Records, ca.1862 - ca.1965 (; 18,436 indexed records with 4,414 record images (was 18,436 records with 7,418 images), last updated 05-Apr-2021
North Carolina, Military Discharge Records, 1915-1981 (; 3,903 indexed records with 1,835 record images (was 3,903 records with 2,070 images), last updated 18-May-2021
Germany, Saxony, Church Book Indexes, 1500-1900 (; 103,120 indexed records with 40,620 record images (was 103,120 records with 54,262 images), last updated 12-May-2021
Germany, Rhineland, Diocese of Trier, Catholic Church Records, 1704-1957 (; 2,967,130 indexed records with 306,393 record images (was 2,967,130 records with 307,298 images), last updated 03-Nov-2020
France, Rhône, Military Registration Cards, 1865-1932 (; 363,754 indexed records with 321,700 record images (was 363,754 records with 362,859 images), last updated 21-May-2021

Kiribati, Vital Records, 1890-1991 (; 6,741 indexed records with 602 record images (was 6,741 records with 2,668 images), last updated 14-May-2021

--- Collections with records removed ---

Mexico National Census, 1930 (; 12,910,796 indexed records with 377,456 record images (was 12,913,257 records with 377,456 images), last updated 21-Mar-2014
United States Census, 1940 (; 134,827,281 indexed records with 3,841,151 record images (was 134,827,283 records with 3,841,151 images), last updated 21-Oct-2020


My friend and SDGS colleague, Marshall, provides this list to me from a program he wrote that compares the current FamlySearch record collections list to the previous week's list.

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.

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.


The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2021, 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

Friday, May 28, 2021

Genealogy Book Review: "Call Me John," by Michael Schoenholtz

 I love genealogical mysteries, and historical fiction too.  Recently, I read Call Me John, A Genealogical Mystery Based on a True Story, by Michael Schoenholtz and loved the story, and the book.  

The publicity for the book says:

New Jersey, 1928. A 14-year-old boy disappears from his home without a trace - almost forever. Ninety years later, a series of chance DNA matches reveals what became of him. 

John had to grow up quickly - changing his identity, earning a living the hard way, and navigating love, friendship and death during some of the toughest times in American history.

With nothing more than an 8th grade education, his journey takes us through Prohibition, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, the gold mines of Colorado and the Second World War to eventually become a success in his own right.

Based on a true story.

And some reviews: 

"Michael Schoenholtz blends genealogical research with historical fiction as he tracks the mysterious disappearance of his long lost uncle who forged a seamless new identity to hide his darkest secret. A fast-paced, adeptly told story." - Syril Levin Kline, author

"He has deftly woven together fact and fiction to create a fascinating tale that explores the influence of fate and family through a slice of 20th century history that's punctuated by the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl and World War II. We never escape our roots. But the events of life batter and build us in our drive to shape our own destiny. The book is a page turner. I highly recommend it, especially if you, like so many of us, have a family secret." Lynne Terry, editor of The Lund Report, former NPR correspondent in Paris and reporter for The Oregonian/OregonLive

"I couldn't put this book down. At every turn I looked forward to seeing where "John" would go next. Schoenholtz knows how to keep your attention and keep you eager for more." Helen Raptis, TV Host of AM Northwest, Portland, Oregon.

"A compelling story about how we make a life of the bits and pieces of DNA, decision-making, and circumstance. The main character's life is shaped by all three. The author transports his readers into the lives of his characters and their struggles, plunking them down in the middle of  World War II and other historical events that tested the human spirit. Schoenholtz is one of those rare storytellers who paints with words so effectively, the reader becomes lost in the telling of the tale. I did." Carol Sveilich, author of three books, including: Reflections From a Glass House: A Memoir of Mid-Century Modern Mayhem.

"Call Me John is a story born out of genealogical sleuthing into a decades-long mystery about Great-Uncle Isadore Katz, who at 14 walked away from home and disappeared. Using DNA and other records to begin to unravel the mystery, Schoenholtz provides a fictionalized re-creation of his great-uncle's life. He raises questions about the mutability of identity. Yet, the thread that runs throughout is the human yearning to belong and to make our families proud." - Daphne Bramham, columnist for The Vancouver Sun, author of The Secret Lives of Saints

 It is different, because Michael had only the "facts" - the records - of his father's uncle to use, and could not find all of the details about the man's life.  

Consequently, the author has this disclaimer:

"Although various parts of the book are inspired by real events and people, this is a work of fiction. In order to respect the privacy of the people in John's life, names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner.  All of the names and identifying details of characters are fictitious, except for his immediate family prior to the age of fourteen."

This is a genealogy research story - one based partially on family lore from the author's father and siblings, partially based on painstaking research in a wealth of resources from New Jersey to California, partially by the DNA clues used to find close family relatives and the family ties, and then the author's ability to meld all of that into a believable story that fits the facts of the known family history.

The Introduction to the book notes:

"A few years ago, when I began putting together a family tree, my father, Richard, asked me: 'Why don't you find out what happened to my Uncle Isadore?'  He hoped that I could simply Google his name and find all the answers, but there was no digital trace of him."

If it were just that simple!  But we know that each person has a unique life story, and this one is very different from the stereotypical "born to loving parents - married a wonderful spouse - died a happy man" story.  All of that was true, but the journey was eventful.

From the home in New Jersey, to the streets of New York, across the country on the train through Pittsburgh to Colorado where he married, and finally to California where he lived out his life, except for a stint in the U.S. Army in France during World War II and a vacation with a visit to his old family home in 1960.

The life vignettes are believable, include historical accuracy of events, places and times.  The ending is how we all hope it all ends...

Because of the name change, this story would not have been known except for the DNA testing that led to identification of blood relatives that solved the research challenge.  All family historians face the potential challenge that names were changed throughout time to protect the person involved, and we should always remember that as we do our genealogy research. 

I loved this book and the story.  While it is relatively short (152 pages in the printed version), I recommend it to your reading pleasure! 

NOTE:  The book is available on Amazon in Kindle or Paperback ($9.99) - see


Disclosure: I was contacted by the author several weeks ago and offered a free download of the book in return for a review,  and read it in three days.  I've re-read it twice since.  I was not compensated for this review, and the opinions are all mine.  Thank you, Michael!

Copyright (c) 2021, 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

Genealogy News and Education Bytes -- Friday, 28 May 2021

  Welcome to Genealogy News and Education Bytes, posted on Tuesday afternoon and Friday afternoon, where we try to highlight the most important genealogy and family history news and education items that came across our desktop since the last issue.    

1)  News Articles:

2)  New or Updated Record Collections:

3)  Genealogy Education -- Conferences and Institutes

*  We Are Open! The 51st Jamboree Conference! (4-5 and 11-12 June 2021)

*  THE Genealogy Show - Virtual (25-26 June 2021)

4)  Genealogy Education - Seminars, Webinars and Online Classes (times are US Pacific):

*  Upcoming Family Tree Webinar - Tuesday, 1 June, 7 p.m.:   Ngā aho tāne o Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa: Revitalising connections across the Pacific with Big Y, by Elena Fowler

*  Upcoming Family Tree Webinar - Wednesday, 2 June, 11 a.m.:   Solving Family Mysteries with mtDNA Projects, by Mags Gaulden

*  Archived Family Tree Webinar:  How Testing Multiple Relatives Can Turbocharge Your DNA Research, by Michelle Leonard

*  Archived Family Tree Webinar:  What to Call That German Place?, by James Beidler

5)  Genealogy Education - Podcasts:

*  The Genealogy Guys Podcast:  #391

*  Fisher's Top Tips:  #279r - WikiFamily Trees

6)  Genealogy Videos (YouTube and Facebook):

*  BYU Family History Library:  Discovering Your Ancestors in Spain - James Tanner

*  BYU Family History Library:  Finding your Ancestors in New Zealand - James Tanner

*  Family History Ron:  Q&A with Family History Ron

*  FamilySearch:  FamilySearch is Live!

*  Lisa Louise Cooke's Genealogy Gems:  How to Find Your Family History on YouTube

7)  Did you miss the last post in this series -  Genealogy News and Education Bytes - 25 May 2021?


Copyright (c) 2021, 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

New English and Welsh Parish Records Added to Findmypast

I received this from Findmypast this morning:


New English and Welsh parish records added to Findmypast

Delve into thousands of new British parish records this Findmypast Friday.

Middlesex Baptisms

Findmypast have added thousands of new records to this collection. Will you unlock a new family connection?

The latest additions cover the parishes of:
  • Ealing from 1802-1812
  • Harrow from 1841-1876
  • Hayes from 1557-1812
  • Hillingdon from 1559-1876
Baptism records are some of the most important resources for every family tree. They reveal essential details like addresses, baptism and birth dates and parents' names.

Carmarthenshire Parish Records

Privacy rules have Findmypast to expand this Welsh collection with baptisms from 1921 and marriages from 1936.

Each record comprises a transcript and black and white image of the original register. The amount of information listed may vary but, along with essential dates and locations, most records will enable you to discover the names of your ancestor’s parents and spouse.


In case you missed the news, Findmypast have renewed their long-term partnership with the British Library, so you can expect millions more historical newspaper pages to be published online in the coming years.

Hot off the press this week are:
While thousands of new pages have been added to:

Disclosure: I have a complimentary subscription to Findmypast, and have accepted meals and services from Findmypast, as a Findmypast Ambassador. This has not affected my objectivity relative to Findmypast and its products.

Copyright (c) 2021, 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