Category Archives: Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Interview a Relative Who Was at a Family Event with Me

I love when Saturday rolls around because it’s time to participate in Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge. (Yes, I do realize that this is Monday, but better late than never, as my mother always used to say.) This week’s challenge – to choose a relative who attended a family event with me and to go back in time to interview is an opportunity I wish could really happen.

I didn’t have to think but a moment to wish that I could return to Easter Sunday 1958 at my grandparents’ home in Needham, Massachusetts.

My Aunt Barbara had come down on the train from Massachusetts to New Jersey to bring me to my grandparents’ home for an Easter holiday visit.

Grandmother and Grandfather were there, along with Aunt Barbara and Aunt Carole and Uncle Cal and my baby cousin, Scott. However, two other people were there – Charles Chadwick and his mother, Pearl. I was told that Charles was my cousin, which I thought was odd because he was my mother’s age, and his mother was my Aunt Pearl, which I thought even odder because I had never remembered meeting her before and, even at six years old, I knew that aunts and uncles were sisters of brothers of my parents. This lady was OLD and she certainly wasn’t a sibling of either of my parents.

Many years later, I understood the relationship of these two people to me. Aunt Pearl was my grandfather’s aunt and Charles was his first cousin. They lived in Providence, Rhode Island, which was only about an hour’s drive from my grandparents’ home.

Aunt Pearl is the relative I would love to be able to interview for two reasons. First, she was the original owner of all the family photos which predated my grandfather’s time and which I am lucky enough to have in my possession for safekeeping until they pass to on to future generations. There are a few photos with unidentified people in them and Aunt Pearl could tell me who they all are.

Aunt Pearl, probably in the 1940s

Second, Aunt Pearl apparently loved to keep up with all the local goings-on, also known as gossip, and, even better, having been born in 1887, she knew and would remember not only my grandparents, but my great grandparents, my great great grandparents AND three of my great great great grandparents – her own grandparents – who were alive during her lifetime.

I would ask her about each and every relative – what they were like, what life was like growing up in the 19th century, where they traveled – and I know they did because they were not only ship builders, but master mariners – and how they spent their leisure time. I’d want to know about all the extended family, too, some of whom remain mysteries today.

Oh, and I’d ask her one other question.

Calais Academy Class of 1905

Who are all her other senior classmates in this picture? I have the names of all the graduates from her commencement exercises program, but only five of these young ladies and gentlemen have names matched to their faces.

Boy, oh boy, oh boy! I really, really wish time travel was possible!


Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – How Many Surnames in Your Family Tree?

Time once again for some Saturday Night Genealogy Fun. This week’s topic from Randy Seaver’s Genea-Musings is to figure out how many surnames are in our family trees?

Thankfully, there was no need to count them all by hand on a pedigree chart, as RootsMagic 7 has a surname statistics list that did all the work for me.

I have 1,692 surnames in my family tree. Here are the surnames with the most family members in them and this didn’t really surprise me at all, given that some took a lot of collateral research to piece together, some are families from which I descend 2, 3 or even 4 times and a few are just very common surnames.

  1. Adams – 132 people in the tree
  2. Carlisle – 98
  3. Coleman – 86
  4. Tarbox – 80
  5. Hicks – 78
  6. Bucknam – 72
  7. Molin – 69
  8. Brown – 65
  9. Haskell – 66
  10. Wilson – 64
  11. Scerbak – 62
  12. Burt – 60
  13. Redding – 59
  14. Patorai – 56
  15. Parker – 53
  16. Wheeler – 51 – Tie
  17. Lakin – 51 – Tie
  18. Smith – 50
  19. Pratt – 49
  20. Scripture – 47

My husband’s family tree has slightly more names – 1,749 and there is but a single duplicated surname in the list (Smith)  when compared to my family tree and, no, the Smith families are not related at all.

  1. Williams – 744 people in the tree
  2. Miller – 154
  3. Fritts – 133
  4. Pryor – 130
  5. Nation – 89
  6. Stufflebean – 67
  7. Mahon – 66
  8. Woodruff – 61 – Tie
  9. Spear – 61 – Tie
  10. Brasher – 57
  11. Hudnall – 56
  12. Smith – 54
  13. Nance – 54
  14. Brown – 51
  15. Jones – 50
  16. Davis – 47
  17. Bandy – 46
  18. Sturgell – 45 – Tie
  19. Lewis – 45 – tie
  20. Shoemaker – 42

In my family tree, there are four surnames which I would consider unique in terms of one progenitor – Tarbox, Bucknam and Scripture in colonial America and Patorai in Slovakia.

In my husband’s tree, the only unique name is Stufflebean. All of the Stufflebeans/Stufflebeams are related as far as I can tell.

What surnames are in your family trees?

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Survey of Genealogy Activities

It’s time once again for Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun on Genea-Musings and this week’s challenge is to complete a Survey of Genealogy Activities.

Here are the survey questions and my answers:

1)  Answer these questions in my survey about your genealogy resources and usage:

a)  Which genealogy software programs for your computer do you use (e.g., Family Tree Maker, Reunion, GRAMPS, etc.)?

I was a long time user of Family Tree Maker, but now am mainly using RootsMagic 7. However, I also have Legacy 8 and Family Historian 6, both of which I like and I play with when I have some free time.

b)  Which online family trees have information submitted by you – in either a separate online tree (e.g., Ancestry Member Tree) or a universal (collaborative) online tree (e.g., WikiTree)?

I have online family trees on My Heritage and Ancestry. I’ve never participated in the one-world-tree sites because I don’t like that anyone can change data that might, or might not be, incorrect. I don’t suffer from high blood pressure, but I think I might if somebody wiped out part of a tree I had submitted and THEY were wrong.

c)  For which subscription genealogy record providers (e.g., Ancestry) do you have a subscription?

I have subscriptions to MyHeritage, American Ancestors, Ancestry and, from time to time when there are special deals, to ArkivDigital. I also subscribe to Find My Past because they are working on updating PERSI.

d)  Which FREE genealogy record providers (e.g., FamilySearch) do you use regularly?

I use FamilySearch every day and Find-A-Grave nearly daily. I also use Arkivalieronline, the free Danish National Archives website, to access vital records and censuses when I am working on that branch of the family. I use Google to locate online data and to access digitized books. When I need Missouri death records, I spend a lot of time on Missouri Digital Heritage, as they have free digitized records. Chronicling America has been great for my husband’s family tree, but not so much for mine, as they have no newspapers for Maine or New Jersey. Last, but certainly not least, I use the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick for my Loyalist branches of the family.

e)  How much time do you spend each week doing actual genealogy research online?  [Note:  not reading, or social networking, but actual searching in a record provider].  Estimate an average number of hours per week.

Lately, I’ve been spending about 30 hours per week researching online, but that amount varies greatly depending on my focus person or family at the time.

f)  How much time do you spend each week doing actual genealogy research in a repository (e.g., library, archive, courthouse, etc.)?  Estimate an average number of hours per month over, say, a one year period.

There are no repositories here in Arizona that have the types of records I usually need, so my own opportunity to search at a library is in Salt Lake City at the Family History Library. I probably get in about 20 hours before and during RootsTech. If I am able to get to Salt Lake on a second visit during the year, I accomplish about 30 more hours of research time there for a total of roughly 50 hours per year.

g)  How much time do you spend each week adding information to your genealogy software program (either on your computer or online)?  Estimate an average number of hours per week over, say, a one month period.

I spend maybe 5 hours per week adding information into RootsMagic 7. It’s hard to estimate because I am usually updating and looking for new resources on an ancestor while I am putting together a blog post and dealing with the software. That totals a short 20 hours per month.

h)  How much time do you spend each month at a genealogical society meeting, program or event (not a seminar or conference)?  Estimate an average number of hours per month over, say, a one year period.

I belong to the Pima County Genealogical Society and spend about 3 hours at each meeting. They don’t meet in July and we’re often traveling so I usually miss about 2 meetings. That leaves about nine meetings that I attend or 27 hours per year.

i)  How much time do you spend each month on genealogy education (e.g., reading books and periodicals, attending seminars, conferences, workshops, webinars, etc.)?   Estimate an average number of hours per month over, say, a one year period.

I attend many webinars each month, at least 10 hours per month for maybe 10 months of the year. That would be 100 hours per year. This year, I went to both RootsTech and SCGS Genealogy Jamboree and I teach a genealogy class and read up to prepare the lessons. I can probably add in about another 40 hours per year, for a grand total of about 140 hours a year.

j)  How much time do you spend each week reading, writing and commenting on genealogy blogs, websites, and social media?  Estimate an average number of hours per week over, say, a one month period.

I spend at least 25 hours per week reading, writing and commenting on genealogy blogs, so easily 100 hours per month.

Can you figure out what my favorite hobby is???