My Kindle Books



Saturday Night Genealogy Fun — Your School Yearbook Photos

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) updated their School Yearbook collection and it is FREE to access until 2 September.  Use

2)  Show us your school yearbook photos from the Ancestry collection, or from your personal photo collection.  Tell us the school and year.  Add your spouse or best friend or children if you wish!

  3)  Tell us about it in a blog post of your own, in a comment on this blog, or in a Facebook post.

Here’s mine:

1)  I was a 1961 high school graduate of San Diego High School in San Diego, California.  Here is the entry in the 1961 SDHS yearbook:

I think I wrote that myself trying to be funny.  I had to check a YouTube video yesterday to check out the Hully Gully song and dance.  I don’t recall what Boys Federation was.  I recall Veni Vidi Vici.  I was skinny then – 5’7″ and 120 pounds… I really didn’t enjoy high school.  Math, Latin, Social Studies, Physics and Chemistry were great, but gym was terrible.  The only sport I was good at was handball.  Gym ruined my GPA.   I had no social life being smaller than every girl but one at the school.  

2)  Here is my wife, Linda Leland, in her 1960 yearbook of Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco:

And in the 1964 San Francisco State yearbook:

I showed you mine – please show me yours!!


The URL for this post is:  

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, Google+ or Pinterest using the icons below.  Or contact me by email at

Recently Added and Updated Collections on

From the list of recent additions at

Genealogy News Bytes – 16 July 2019

Some of the genealogy news and education items across my desktop the last four days include:

1)  News Articles:

Announcing the Polish Genealogy Conference 2019

*  Announcement – Laura G. Prescott Scholarship Winners

*  Vivid-Pix Announces Adding Metadata Zoom/Transcribe Feature to its RESTORE Software

2)  New or Updated Record Collections:

*  Upcoming Family Tree Webinar – Wednesday, 17 July, 11 a.m.:  Research Your Newfoundland Ancestors, by Tessa Keough

*  Upcoming SCGS Webinar — Wednesday, 17 July, 6 p.m. PDT:  More Power: Genetic Genealogy Apps and Extensions, by Shannon Christmas

*  Archived Family Tree Webinar:  Lesser Used Records for Research in the Netherlands, by Yvette Hoitink

4)  Genealogy Education – Podcasts:

*  Fisher’s Top Tips:  #88 — Write Your Story

*  Extreme Genes:  Episode 290 – The Georgetown Memory Project / Lambert On Researching Revolutionary Ancestors

*  Research Like a Pro:  RLP 53 – U.S. Homestead Records

5)  Genealogy Videos (YouTube):

6)  Genealogy Bargains:

7)  DNA Success Stories:

8)  Did you miss the last Genealogy News Bytes – 12 July 2019?


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

"A Mother’s Love ….. or Something Else" by Peter E. Small: Part VII

Genea-Musings reader Peter E. Small solved a family genealogical mystery and wrote a report about it, and I offered to publish his work on my blog.

This will be a multi-part series posted over several weeks – probably on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Earlier parts were published in:

*  Prologue:
*  Part I:
*  Part II:
*  Part III:
*  Part IV:
*  Part V:
*  Part VI:


A Mother’s Love…..or something else?
 A True Genealogical Mystery Solved

 Copyright © 2019 Peter E. Small, All Rights Reserved


Pleased to meet you, Hope you guess my name. But what’s puzzling you, Is the nature of my game… “Sympathy for the Devil” – The Rolling Stones

Finding Paul C. Dormitzer, Jr’s birth record was a very satisfying result to what seemed to be an
insurmountable impasse.
Many hours were devoted to searching every possible resource I could think of to find yet one more
person that didn’t exist, Paul C. Small.
Now I had documented proof of his actual name, date and place of birth and parentage. Things were
beginning to fall into place. Smooth sailing, full speed ahead. One would think.
But something unexpected happened. It was “deja vu all over again” to quote Yogi Berra.
As I began researching young master Dormitzer it became evident that there were a limited number of people with that surname. The majority of them were either in the Midwest or an area centered on Boston, Massachusetts. A standard search on for Paul Clifford Dormitzer born 1905 +/- 2 years, etc. returned no results. Changes were made to the search criteria which, in turn, gleaned the same negative results. Similar searches were performed on the Family Search and Google websites and they too did not find my prey.

“One step forward, two steps back” was not exactly the phrase I was thinking of after several hours of
searching and finding no results at all for Paul C. Dormitzer, the younger.

I had located his birth in a 1905 Washington State register. He was enumerated as Paul C. Small in the 1910 and 1920 Census’. He was too young to have registered for the WWI draft in 1917/18. Was the name Dormitzer mangled beyond recognition by an enumerator or a transcriber? Had he relocated to, and died, in a state whose records were not available? For whatever reason, my new found fish had gotten away.

I put Paul Clifford Dormitzer on the back burner and turned my attention to Austin Manford Small’s
oldest son Lester. A copy of the newspaper clipping which reported him missing in action during WWI sat on top of a stack of papers on the corner of my desk. The reference to Lester being the half-brother of a Lieutenant J.S. Smith still intrigued me and I initiated a search to find their family ties.

I started by reading both books, about trench warfare, which were authored by Lieutenant J.S. Smith.
Neither mentioned Lester Austin Small. His obituary in The Canadian Statesman newspaper dated 31
August 1950 made no mention of family members other than his father and mother. They were referred to as “the late W.R. Smith (sic) of Port Hope and Mrs. Smith.

A search for Carrie Mason’s first husband Wallace Burdick Smith produced many results. They included documents supporting his birth, marriages and death, etc. Several Family Trees, on both the Ancestry and Family Search websites, were also included as a result of the search.

As previously reported Wallace and Carrie had one daughter and two sons. The Family Trees, in the
search results, included a third son Paul C. Smith. The Tree owners recorded his birth as 24 November 1908 or 1907 in Seattle, Washington without a primary source citation.”

So, Paul C. Dormitzer, Jr.and/or Paul C. Small had not died, as I had hypothesized. Instead, the two had some how morphed into a Paul C. Smith with a different year of birth. What was the impetus of this metamorphosis?

There are 16 births for 24 November 1908 recorded in the State of Washington Birth Register. None of them has the surname Smith or anything which might be misconstrued to be Smith.

I had performed a cursory review of several “Public” Family Trees on Ancestry which included Paul C. Smith. Carrie A. Smith being Paul C. Smith’s mother was the closest thing to reality in the trees I reviewed. 

Reviewing unsubstantiated information was a waste of time. It also may have resulted in me spinning my wheels by chasing another non-existent phantom.

I tried inputting various search criteria in Ancestry’s “Search” function. When asked for a “Place your ancestor might have lived” I alternated between Washington State and California.

The search using Washington State yielded a California Death Index, 1940-1997 result for Paul C. Smith who was born 24 November 1908 in Washington State and died 15 June 1976 in San Mateo, California. This was, possibly, the source for his birth date in some of the Family Trees. Not an unusual transgression. I plead guilt to using birth dates from the Social Security Death Index when a legitimate source could not be found.

I do record a comment in the “notes” section of my genealogical database program highlighting that fact. Using California as part of the search function resulted in a 1940 enumeration of a San Francisco entry for a Paul C. Smith who was born in Washington State in 1909. He was single and worked as a journalist for a newspaper.

A light came on and I remembered that one of the Family Trees I had reviewed included 28 “facts” and one of those “facts” for Paul Clifford Smith was that he was the Editor and General Manager of the San Francisco Chronicle.

I returned to the tree for a second look. Most of the “fact” entries were not your usual BMD (birth,
marriage and death) type entries. Instead, the tree owner recorded almost every major event in his life, year-by-year, in chronological order. When he graduated high school, all the different jobs he had worked, his military service, etc. were all listed. Unless Paul C. Smith and the Tree owner were very closely related, which didn’t seem probable, where were all these “facts,” which were not sourced, coming from?

If Paul Clifford Smith had been the San Francisco Chronicle Editor and General Manager our friends at Google would most likely know about it. Within a few minutes I was reviewing pages of items which referred to my “wayward son.” Evidently, in 1964 Mr. Smith had written his autobiography, the title of which was Personal File. This was likely the source for all those “facts” in the family tree I had perused.

My next stop was to where I found and purchased a copy of Personal File. Once the book was in my possession it would not take much of a detective to unravel the mystery surrounding Paul Clifford Smith.


Randy’s NOTE:  Stay tuned for the next installment of this multi-chapter report.  I will add all of the chapters to this post, and the other chapter posts, as they are published. The chapters to date are:

My thanks to Peter for sharing this mystery and its’ solution with me and the Genea-Musings readers.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2019, Peter E. Small

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

Professional Genealogy Research Advantages: The Gift of Learning Your Ancestry

Professional Genealogy Research Advantages: The Gift of Learning Your Ancestry

Many people are eager to find out their ancestors as well as where they come from. Thus, learning the history of your family becomes a popular objective. It can start from a hobby during weekends to everyday pastime and even to a regular job. In fact, a very attractive alternative for a day job or incomplete research is to rely on a genealogy research done by professionals. The advantages that it provides can be a gift for you.

1.Speed. Using trained and certified genealogists in conducting research can allow you to take the advantages of their previous experiences and expertise. Certified genealogists already know what they are going to do thus their research are efficient. Let their efficiency and speed work for you.

2.Training. Trained genealogists always have systematic plans. Their tasks are listed from the very beginning of the research until the end. They get the most relevant and the best information rather than sifting over countless census, probates, and other records. Their experience combined with a thorough training is effective for knowing what to find, where to find, and how to find. Researching your family history requires knowledge of various resources, from books to microfilms to computerized records, from correspondence indices to probates to censuses.

3.Geographical access. Even though the internet has become a good source for plenty of records, some information are not yet entered in the computer. To obtain these records, you need to send money and letters to archive offices located in far places. When you choose a professional research service, make sure that the location is closer to a huge resource such as the Family History Library, or the National Archives, each stores millions of important documents.

4.Accuracy. Many years of genealogy practice exposes you to a lot of conflicting information. For example you have learned from your mother that the birthday of your great grandmother is in June however the official record reveals that it is February. There also instances that the documents disagree. You should be able to determine the right source. Say, John Smith is your great grandfather and he passed away in 1995. So, how would you be able to find the true John Smith?

Trained researchers already know everything on how to analyze conflicting sources as well as identify the individuals accurately. Based on their experience and training, they are able to judge the date that appears to be more accurate. Likewise, they can determine your ancestor with the name of John Smith.

Assessment of source material takes several years of experience in the field of genealogy. Professional genealogists can ensure that their works have accuracy.

5.Qualified access. Most resources are very sensitive. Some have even restricted access. Many archives have strict rules regarding the use of their resources. It can include the person who wants to access particular information, the procedure of accessing the materials, the researcher’s return incentives, and others. Certified genealogists are familiarized with these restrictions already. They have the expertise in researching in such environments and handling documents. Moreover, only professional genealogists are permitted to do the research in archives with only limited access.

Learning your ancestry is fun as well as a unique gift. Remember, to avoid any hassles, ask for the help of professionals.

Online genealogy research to understand family history and ancestry

Life is lived onwards but understood backwards. Indeed, there are lot of things to learn in history, more so, with the people for whom you own your heritage. Those people whom youve never ever heard of, the forgotten souls of your great, great, great, great grandparents were the reason why you are on earth right now. Because of this, many peoples interests were captured on studying their own roots, their genealogy.

Over the years, the supreme records that serve as the best research tools on the study of genealogy are held in microfilm reels. The members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints were the major collectors of family trees as part of their religion and belief. Because of this, most family researchers seek for their help in tracing their line of ancestors.

Aside from the records of the Mormons, there also other excellent sources to find names of the people. One of which is the newspaper. Newspapers can contain articles about or obituaries of your relatives who lived decades ago. Funeral cards are also powerful tools for researchers. These could be found from the closets of your parents or libraries. Also, you can interview your living relatives about the names of your ancestors, their stories, and their way of living during the time. Nevertheless, all these sum up to the laborious chore of studying your genealogy. And to add to the difficulty is the financial concern. The old methods of tracing the family genealogy are undoubtedly expensive. Tracing the genealogy requires an investment. The introduction of internet to the world of genealogy is a great technological spec.

Because of the online genealogy system, all the records and files from the primary documents, to newspaper articles and obituaries down to the funeral cards were all embedded to the vast sea of knowledge. This online system allows the researchers to an easy access to the resources. All the capabilities and authentications of the recorded documents are posted at the internet. And everyday, more sets of information are entered to the web to keep its record updated and reliable.

There are free genealogy search engines that require only certain information such as surname, name, and/or location of your ancestry. In an instant, you can readily find your line of ancestry. However, if you are not satisfied with the results reported by search engines, you can conduct further study of your genealogy. To help you in this quest, you can post at the online message board the specific surname that you are tracing. In this manner, you will be able to meet fellow genealogists who are working on the same surname.

For genealogists, the online research for resources is beneficial. It helps cut the cost of expenses and the time allotted for genealogy research. Aside from this, they can share their documents with other researchers online. The exchange of information speeds up the tracking of heritage.

While you seek to learn more about many things, dont you think it is also fulfilling to know your roots?

Culture Genealogy Society: The Best Ancestry Resources in the Net

Culture Genealogy Society: The Best Ancestry Resources in the Net

Families are the most important members of society. You have to consider that there are quite a lot of people today who wants to know more about their family’s history to know where they came from. You have to consider that finding about your genealogy is quite fun. Some people even said that they were surprised that they found out that they had a lot of relatives and that they are even related to their friends. You have to consider that genealogy can give you a lot of discoveries about your family.

There are even families that discovered that they had American Indian blood running through their veins and they didnt even know about it until they had their genealogy traced. Today, the internet is one of the best tools that you can use to find your ancestors or your genealogy. You have to consider that researching about your genealogy is a fun activity for the whole family. Although you may see that it can be hard to trace your family’s genealogy and you may sometimes encounter dead ends to finding important documents that are important when tracing your ancestors, you will still acquire information about different distant relatives you have.

There are quite a lot of websites available in the internet that specializes in genealogy and you can use one of these websites to trace your family’s genealogy. One such website that can provide you links to genealogy website is the Culture Genealogy Society website. In this website, you will find reputable genealogy website links that specializes in different cultures. There are websites for American Indian DNA genealogy, and there are even European genealogy websites where you can retrace who your ancestors were.

The genealogy websites in Culture Genealogy Society will provide you with copies of original documents for viewing and it will also furnish you with a virtual family tree where you can easily retrace the origins of your family. There are also websites included that can provide you enough information to search for your genealogy on your own or with the expertise of a genealogist.

Although it can sometimes take a lot of time finding your ancestors, you will still have a lot of fun rediscovering your family’s proud and sometimes shameful history. For example, the incumbent President George W. Bush genealogy traces that he is a very distant cousin to his political rival John Kerry and he is even a distant cousin of the Playboy founder Hugh Hefner.

As you can see, genealogy can provide you with interesting information. After finding out about their genealogy, some people even said that it’s hard to believe that they were related to someone famous. There are even Hispanics who said that they found out in their genealogy that they had some African American blood running in their veins and they didnt even know about it.

Culture Genealogy Society will provide you with different kinds of information about your family. Who knows, maybe after rediscovering your genealogy you will find that you are related to someone famous.

Automated Genealogy: Finding Your Ancestry in Canada

If you want to find out about your relatives who lived in Canada in the years 1901 or 1911 the Automated Genealogy website is for you. This particular website contains comprehensive information about people who lived in Canada during the years 1901 and 1911.

A lot of people who have Canadian ancestry are curious about their family’s past. If you are one of these people then the Automated Genealogy website is for you. In this website you will find your Canadian ancestors who migrated, born and lived in Canada in the years 1901 and 1911. However you have to consider that this website is made by volunteer who are working very hard to complete the 1901 and 1911 census and put it in their database. In the 1901 census alone, there are over 5.6 million lines. As you can see, it can take quite a while to complete the entire database and put it in the website.

The genealogists working with the Automated Genealogy website works very hard to find all the documents about the people who lived in Canada in 1901 and 1911. You should consider the fact that a lot of people migrated during these two years and if you think that your ancestors lived in Canada during these years and want to find out more about the lineage of your family, then you should consider using this website. It’s free and they made links to original documents for viewing. The interface is also easy to use for your convenience.

Some people even testified that they found out about their great grandmother’s sister and her spouse after only a few seconds upon arriving in the website and searching. Here you will find marriage, death, migration and even birth documents that is both easy to find and also easy to read.

The volunteers here are also developing other census, such as the 1906 census of Canada, 1872 Kings County census and even the Canadian soldiers of World War I. They made the site easy to understand that even people who knows only a little about genealogy can understand how to search for their Canadian ancestors. You should consider that this website is relatively new and the researchers and genealogists along with the website developers involved are still improving the website and completing their data gathering efforts to provide quality services for their visitors.

So, if you are interested in knowing about your Canadian past, or if you think you have ancestors living in Canada and want to know more about your long lost extended family, you should consider exploring the Automated Genealogy website. If you are successful with your search, you may even organize a family reunion where every member of your family can exchange stories about your long lost relatives and know more about what’s become of your family.

Indeed, finding out about your family can be fun. With the Automated Genealogy, you can be sure that you will find your ancestors who lived in Canada in 1901 and 1911.