Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Saturday, February 24, 2018

From Whence and to Thither -- Understanding Migration Patterns: Part Ten

When you are involved in learning about your historical family, as opposed to researching more recent relatives, you will inevitably come to a time when each of your family lines traces back to a geographical movement. The United States is a nation of immigrants and there have been vast movements across the world that have brought our ancestors to this country. All of us can trace our ancestors back to some "ancestral home" where that particular family line originated.

One of the ultimate challenges of genealogical research is tracing any particular family line backward in time as we discover these movements. The concept of "migration patterns" helps to flesh out the bare bones of your research efforts so that the families can be recognized and identified. Some of us living in America can trace our ancestry here on the American continent back hundreds of years. A few of us can find records dating back into the 1500s if our ancestors spoke Spanish. Even very few Native Americans can trace their ancestry here in America back further than the 1800s. My earliest American ancestors date back into the 1600s and I have to admit that doing the research into these families is extremely challenging, primarily because of the immense amount of inaccurate information and pedigrees that have proliferated over the years.

As your research takes you back in time, you will inevitably encounter more and more difficulty in finding records of your family. With exception of French or Spanish ancestry, your efforts in pushing back into early history will either end up with an immigrant living somewhere on the east or west coast or appearing, as if by magic, somewhere in the interior. These dead ends or brick walls are difficult to accept. When confronted with these common situations, the remedy is expanding your research to the surrounding community. The end-of-line ancestor, if still in America, had to get here somehow and it is only through extensive historical research, including a focus on migration patterns, that will start to give clues about where the person came from.

When you reach an impasse, it is time to broaden your research. Begin by verifying all of your existing information. Make sure names, dates, and places match and are supported by the historical records. You do not want to start searching in the wrong place. If necessary, come forward in time to the more recent generations before doing your research. Make sure of what you know.

For early American settlers, always check the dates of the establishment of the town or village and the dates of the establishment of the counties. This is usually done quite simply by doing a Google search for the name of the town or county. If your ancestor was an early resident of either the county or the town, then you should always look for local history information. Look for a local museum or historical society and contact them about early settlements.

While researching back in time, do not forget to check newspapers, court records including probate records, land and property records, school, and church records. All these, plus many other kinds of records may be the key to finding where your ancestors were coming from when the settled down.

Once the United States began to grow, the paths that settlers took when moving west continued to proliferate. Finding these pathways involves reading both national histories and local histories. Always look to the major industry in any given area. If your ancestor was a minor, he probably moved to a mining area. If the family were all farmers, then look for farm country. Remember big migrations and events such as the Gold Rush, the American Civil War, and other such events. Your ancestors may have been affected by these events.

After all is said and done, keep looking.

You can see the earlier posts in this series here:

Jonathan's Story: The Family History Guide Video
The Family History Guide has uploaded a very touching and inspiring video for its booth presentations at #RootsTech 2018. I have been watching and helping all of my friends at The Family History Guide almost since its inception. As I travel across the country and especially as I now serve in the Washington D.C. North Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I continually find opportunities to introduce people to The Family History Guide.

The Family History Guide's participation in RootsTech 2018 will move the website into the forefront of the genealogical community. There aren't a lot of fundamental changes in the genealogical community, but having a structured and sequenced tool for learning about and teaching genealogy is a major development. If you attend RootsTech 2018, take time to visit The Family History Guide booth and learn more about this fabulous website.

Friday, February 23, 2018

From Whence and to Thither -- Understanding Migration Patterns: Part Nine

Coming from the west, especially if you have lived in the Rocky Mountain states, you will not be much impressed with the "mountains" in the east. but historically, the interior mountains along the eastern part of North America were an imposing and difficult barrier to westward expansion. As I previously mentioned, the first settlers to cross the Appalachian Mountains were entirely unknown until early in the 1700s. Because of this vast 1,300 mile long mountain range, early settlements moved north and south rather than west.

In 1746, a group of Virginia investors formed The Ohio Company, based on land speculation to promote the sale of lands in what is now the State of Ohio. However, a major deterrent to western colonization was the threat imposed by Native Americans and later by the French. The conflict, usually referred to as the French and Indian War, was part of the Seven Years War between Great Britain and France. The war came about, in major part, because of the conflict between the British land speculators and the French traders. The War lasted from 1756 to 1763. Before and during this long war, travel into the interior was dangerous. Quoting from the Wikipedia article on The Ohio Company:
In 1749, the British Crown granted the company 500,000 acres in the Ohio Valley between the Kanawha River and the Monongahela. The grant was in two parts: the first 200,000 acres were promised, and the following 300,000 acres were to be granted if the Ohio Company successfully settled one hundred families within seven years. Furthermore, the Ohio Company was required to construct a fort and provide a garrison to protect the settlement at their own expense. But the land grant was rent and tax free for ten years to facilitate settlement.
Looking to the north, settlement in the area of Canada was facilitated by the Great Lakes and their connection to the Atlantic Ocean along the St. Lawrence River. Likewise, the area west of the Appalachians was open by means of the Mississipi River system. The French settled Quebec in 1608 and New Orleans in 1718 and it is always helpful to remember these dates and the date of the Louisiana Purchase which did not occur until 1803 when the French had been in America for almost 200 years.

Another date to remember for migration is the traditional date of the beginning of the Revolutionary War in 1776. Those people who remained loyal to the British cause were called Tories, but this name was not very accurate because the Tory Party in Great Britain had been in existence since around 1678. The name was applied by the revolutionaries to the anyone who was loyal to the British Crown. By the end of the War, it is estimated that up to 70,000 of these Tories or Loyalists fled from the young United States to Great Britain or Canada. Additionally, southern Loyalists moved to Florida and some moved out into the Caribbean British possessions.

For more information see the following list of books:

Brøderbund. “Genealogical Records: Loyalists in the American Revolution.” Brøderbund, 1999.

Brown, Wallace. The Good Americans: The Loyalists in the American Revolution. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1969.

Callahan, North. Royal Raiders: The Tories of the American Revolution. Indianapolis [u.a.: Bobbs-Merrill, 1963.

Halsey, Francis W. The Old New York Frontier: Its Wars with Indians and Tories, Its Missionary Schools, Pioneers, and Land Titles, 1614-1800. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1901.

Martin, Thomas S. True Whigs and Honest Tories: A Green Interpretation of the Coming of the American Revolution. 2, 2,. San Francisco: Internat. Scholars Publ., 1997.

Myers, Theodorus Bailey. The Tories, Or, Loyalists in America Being Slight Historical Tracings, from the Footprints of Sir John Johnson and His Contemporaries in the Revolution. Albany [N.Y.: Press of J. Munsell’s Sons, 1981.

Phelps, Richard H. A History of Newgate of Connecticut, at Simsbury, Now East Granby: Its Insurrections and Massacres, the Imprisonment of the Tories in the Revolution, and the Working of Its Mines : Also, Some Account of the State Prison, at Wethersfield. Salem, N.H.: Ayer Co., 1984.

You might also want to check out The Online Institute for Advanced Loyalist Studies website.

After the Revolutionary War, immigration increased steadily and the pressure to move off of the coastal area and out into the wilderness. But the mountains still impeded settlement. As the area of the mountains was explored, passes or gaps through the Appalachian Mountains were discovered. Chief of these passages was the Cumberland Gap and the trail through the gap known as the Wilderness Road. The Cumberland Gap was utilized by another land speculation company called the Transylvania Company and in about 1774, the Company hired Daniel Boone to blaze a trail through the Cumberland Gap into what was called Kentucky. See Wilderness Road. Two other lesser known gaps were the Kane Gap and Moccasin Gap. There is now a Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.

By focusing genealogical research on the movements of early American ancestors, a researcher can begin to correlate their movements with historic routes. It is also important to take into account the various land promotional or speculative organizations that were formed to sell land in the west.

You can see the earlier posts in this series here:

#RootsTech 2018 Survival Guide
Having attended every annual #RootsTech Conference since its beginning in 2011, I am sure I have a different perspective and expectations than those attending for the first time. My very first suggestion is to make sure you have good, comfortable walking shoes. I also suggest carrying some kind of easily managed bag or pack for things you might need during the day and for gathering the handouts and such from the Exhibitors. I would also urge all who attend to visit the Exhibits. You may not realize it, but much of the instruction that goes on at #RootsTech takes place in the Exhibit Hall.

Some of these suggestions and many others dealing with registration and check-in are in the above-linked Survival Guide.

A couple of other suggestions include the fact that there are comfortable sitting areas in the Exhibit Hall and the food vendors are quite good. Expect line. Wear warm clothes that can be layered to accommodate a range of possible temperatures. It is a good idea to have the bag or pack to store your coat and other extra clothing.

Salt Lake City is sometimes very cold and windy. Don't count on good weather. As I have pointed out in the past, Salt Lake City blocks are very long and there are eight blocks to a mile. The Salt Palace, where RootsTech is being held is roughly two blocks long and two blocks wide at the north end. Do the math.

Take the time to talk to those around you. You might make a few friends and get to know some fantastic genealogists. I am sorry I will not be there, but I am having too good a time serving as a Senior Missionary in the Maryland State Archives to feel too sorry about missing RootsTech this go around.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

How to Read and Understand a Product Review

Most of us are familiar with the five-star product review feature made into an institution by and other websites. Produce reviews have become a staple of almost any online purchase, so much so, that we sometimes look at the reviews before buying an item off the shelf in a store. It is also common to compare the price of an item in a store with the price online. I went shopping with one of my grownup children the other day in a brick and mortar store and every item he was interested in was instantly compared to the price online.

When reading a product review, even as genealogists, there are some important things to remember. Here are some of my thoughts as a consumer, a genealogist and an attorney with many years of experience. The suggestions are in no particular order.

Suggestion #1:
Making a decision to purchase a product, whether it be a genealogy program or online service, or some other product, should be made independent of either reviews or recommendations. In other words, you should decide what you need and what you purchase. For example, let's suppose you attend a class and the instructor recommends a particular program or service unless that service or program is entirely free, you should make up your own mind whether you will ever use the product of service. I have looked at and purchased hundreds of programs over the years. I mostly use the same kinds of programs all of the time. Right now, I probably have about a hundred programs on my computer. I use less than ten percent of them 95% of the time. I have a few programs that are useful when I need them and worth having for that reason alone, but I would guess that over the years, of all the programs I have purchased and installed, I have never really used. Some programs have a "free" version and using the free version might be enough to make a decision as to whether or not to purchase the full program.

Suggestion #2:
Always look for a product review. I have pretty much become review dependent. I don't look for reviews on day-to-day purchases, but anything out of the ordinary groceries and such, I look for a review. You can usually find a review by doing a Google search for the product plus the word "review," But once you find a review, you need to think about my next suggestions.

Suggestion #3:
This is probably the most difficult step in the purchase process: finding an independent reviewer who isn't employed by or related to the product's seller. I always discount reviews on a product website. For example, if I am going to buy a computer program, I do not give any weight to the reviews about how wonderful the program is that are prominently featured on the product website.  Some "review" websites are really only thinly veiled promotional websites. This includes most "top ten" of anything websites. As you probably know, there are a lot of websites (formerly magazines) that make money selling their reviews. The fact that a review costs money does not automatically disqualify it as a reliable review, but a paid review is not necessarily reliable.

Suggestion #4:
There will almost always be a few bad reviews. There is always the situation that everyone seems to love the product but one person gives it a one-star review. I usually discount a few bad reviews unless what they are saying makes a lot of sense. Here is an example from for a popular genealogy program.

Here is an example of a negative review.
This program is not at all intuitive to use and I keep making multiple entries without knowing it. I had read lots of reviews before buying it (not just the ones here), and I'm really disappointed. The way the program operates seems ancient. I'm not at all happy that I spent what I did on it.
This is not a helpful review. Apparently, the person did not want to learn how to use the program after purchasing it. The review is not specific about the "multiple entries" and seems based on some preconceived notion about how the program should operate, i.e. "ancient."

This type of discussion could go on and on. There always seems to be someone who is unhappy with any product or service. In the case of the program above, I happen to have used the product for years and understand some of the frustrations but would disagree with almost every one of the bad reviews.

Suggestion #5:
Always look at the number of total reviews and the proportions of positive vs. negative reviews. If a product only has one review, it is possible that the person reviewing product was somehow related to the product's developer. If there are a substantial number of reviews for a product or service, you are more likely to get a feel for the relative benefit and value of the product. Here is another example of a genealogically related product.

With this many reviews, you should be taking the negative reviews seriously. But remember, if there was only one review, you would not know what category it fell into.

Suggestion #6:
Look at the competing product's reviews. This may not be as easily done as it is to suggest. In the genealogical community, there may not be a competing product.

Suggestion #7:
Look for alternatives. This doesn't mean that you look for competing products, this means you look for different solutions. For example, maybe you have concerns about using an online program for your genealogy. Maybe you should look at desktop-based programs. In other words, there are often alternatives to one type of program or service.

Suggestion #8:
Do the math. Be careful to avoid any add-on costs. For example, a program may be "free" but only for a limited version. How likely are you to want the upgrade? This is especially true of programs presented in a class or at a conference. The presenters are likely to demo the complete, i.e. paid for, version of the program and not the free version.

Suggestion #9:
Write a review yourself when you find a good or bad deal.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

1000 Programs on GenSoftReviews
Almost everyone who has an internet connection recognizes the "star system" of ranking programs and other merchandise. has been doing this for years with reviews generated by actual users of various genealogy programs. What is amazing is that the number of such programs has grown over the years and has now surpassed 1000.

This means that there have been over 1000 different genealogy programs developed. I must admit that I have not kept up with all of them. Time and old age take their toll. Actually, I am way too busy to try all the programs like I used to do. But with some notable exceptions, such as the strange case of programs that are highly rated but no longer supported or available from their developers, the rankings are quite accurate. Low ranked programs have some serious issues. Higher ranked programs have a lot fewer issues. Many programs have a dedicated fan base and some of these fan bases are like the people who are still looking for Elvis. They apparently expect really old programs to continue living long after they are officially dead. is more than another website. It is a real window into the history of genealogy software and the attitudes and opinions of thousands of genealogists around the world. If I were rating genealogy websites, I would give five stars and a place in the Genealogy Website Hall of Fame.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Genealogy and the Courts Continued: Copyright Chaos

This post isn't really series, but from time to time, I address any legal changes that may affect the genealogical community. Sometimes a random court decision about a case that seems to have no relevance to genealogical research or anything else becomes a deal changing blockbuster. The latest controversy involves a case from the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The case citation is as follows:

Justin Goldman v. Breitbart News Network, LLC, Heavy, Inc., Time, Inc.,Yahoo, Inc., Vox Media, Inc., Gannett Company, Inc., Herald Media, Inc., Boston Globe Media Partners, Inc., and New England Sports Network, Inc., Case 1:17-cv-03144-KBF, S. District of New York, 2018.

Here is the court's own summary of the facts which includes a footnote.
On July 2, 2016, plaintiff Justin Goldman snapped a photograph of Tom Brady (the “Photo”), Danny Ainge, and others on the street in East Hampton. (ECF No. 149, Goldman Declaration (“Goldman Decl.”) ¶ 2.) Shortly thereafter, he uploaded the photograph to his Snapchat Story.1 (Id. ¶ 5.) The Photo then went “viral,” traveling through several levels of social media platforms—and finally onto Twitter, where it was uploaded by several users, including Cassidy Hubbarth (@cassidyhubbarth), Bobby Manning (@RealBobManning), Rob H (@rch111), and Travis Singleton (@SneakerReporter). (Id. ¶ 6–10; ECF No. 120, Defendants’ Statement of Undisputed Facts Pursuant to Local Rule 56.1 (“Defs.’ 56.1 Statement”) ¶ 28.) These uploads onto Twitter are referred to as “Tweets.”

1 Snapchat is a social media platform where users share photographs and messages; a Snapchat story is a series of photos a user posts—each photo is available for twenty-four hours only.

Defendants in this case are online news outlets and blogs who published articles featuring the Photo. Each of defendants’ websites prominently featured the Photo by “embedding” the Tweet into articles they wrote over the course of the next forty-eight hours; the articles were all focused on the issue of whether the Boston Celtics would successfully recruit basketball player Kevin Durant, and if Tom Brady would help to seal the deal.

It is undisputed that plaintiff holds the copyright to the Photo.
The key to understanding this controversy is that the photo was undeniably subject to a claim of copyright and then used by commercially oriented websites without a license or even the courtesy of attribution.

The court goes on to examine the process of "embedding" a photo in an HTML document. To make this part of the case as simple as possible, the photo at the beginning of this post is "embedded." All that means is that it is used in the context of this post and copied here by reference to another copy of the same photograph. By the way, the photo above is in the Public Domain and not subject to copyright claims.

Apparently, the defense raised was that no actual "photo" was copied and that the "original" was never used. This is a pretty lame defense from my perspective. I would probably have claimed that the "viral" photo had passed into the public domain by virtue of the fact that the "author," here the photographer failed to take steps to protect his copyright from use by millions of people. He could have watermarked his photo with a claim of ownership, for example.

This case has implications for anyone who copies a copyrighted photo because, at least in this early phase of the litigation, the court did not discuss the issue of abandonment.

The discussion by the Judge is a good summary of the status of U.S. Copyright law as it relates to technology such as the internet. However, many of the statements quoted by the Court demonstrate the lack of sophistication of the various judges who are quoted.

It should also be noted that this lawsuit is far from over. The order referenced above is only a decision on part of the case and the final decision or judgment of the court is still a long way off. After the decision is made, the parties could always appeal to the Court of Appeals and ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court.

If this case is finally decided on the basis of the reasoning set forth by the Court, it will become a landmark decision and a very good reminder to all of us to be extremely careful when copying and using content from the internet.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Personal Blogging is still Fading Slowly Away

I noticed an article in the news stream that indicated that Facebook's traffic is down 50 million hours per day. See "Facebook's traffic is down 50 million hours per day as Zuckerberg demands fewer 'viral videos'." There aren't equally as clear statistics for blogging because the trend is that blogs are becoming almost exclusively marketing vehicles. A not-so-recent article entitled, "52 Incredible Blogging Statistics to Inspire You to Blog" makes the statement, "Over the past five years blogging has evolved into a serious online marketing activity." Yes, my blogs are becoming an endangered species.

Of course, you are more than welcome to buy any of the books I have authored or coauthored. You are also welcome to use or purchase any of the programs I mention. But I do not view my blog as a marketing activity. I still present at conferences when I am available. But this year, I am only scheduled, so far, at two very local events. I would be at #RootsTech 2018 this year, were I not volunteering at the Maryland State Archives and working every day at digitizing records so all of you out there will have records to search.

The reality of blogging is that rather than disappearing, it has become the main news and marketing vehicle for what was previously the publishing and newspaper industry. I haven't read a paper newspaper for some time. Although, I did read the paper editions of the Universe, the student newspaper at Brigham Young University while we were there at the BYU Family History Library. I also read the paper edition of the Deseret News' National Edition, the local Salt Lake City, Utah newspaper. I read both because they were free and distributed at the entrance to the Library. I could read both online, however.

Facebook users, especially younger users, are migrating to Snapchat and Instagram. Bloggers have been migrating to Facebook for some time now and will probably follow the lead of the younger users to Instagram. Quite frankly, Facebook has simply become another junk mail outlet as have many of the blogs.

There are still some dedicated genealogy bloggers out there and a few new ones, but they are mostly drowning in a flood of commercial blogs, some of which post dozens of times a day. My blog aggregator,, and my news and blog aggregator,, can both have over a thousand posts listed in a little more than one day. In one sense, blogging is dying from success.

I am no longer actively promoting blogging as a genealogy activity. I do have occasion to talk to genealogical entrepreneurs from time to time, and I do suggest that they use the media to promote their activities and include blogs and Facebook posts, but now the field also includes Pinterest, Instagram, and other such outlets. Promoters or all kinds are also exploiting Twitter, YouTube, and Google+.

Of course, I post to all those outlets. However, my Instagram account is family oriented and not generally public.

Will I keep blogging? I was speculating about the amount of time I might have to blog here in Annapolis, but it turns out that I just work more and do some of the same things I did before coming here. My question was if I was going to work for for over 40 hours a week, what would I do with all my extra time. I guess I am finding out.

We have our five MyHeritage Party Winners

I would like to congratulate the winners of free passes to the Roaring Twenties party after #RootsTech 2018 which is quickly coming up. They are:
  • Bev Bremness
  • J Ray Scott
  • Dave & Manja Midgley
  • David Farstead
  • Linda Lenhard
Thanks to all those who submitted entries. Sorry again, that I won't be there to enjoy this great party. 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

From Whence and to Thither -- Understanding Migration Patterns: Part Eight

Representation of Thomas Hooker's Settlement of Connecticut
This highly stylized image of early colonial travel and settlements is far from accurate, but it does give an idea of the obstacles facing early travel in the Colonial Era. When moving, the early settlers of America had to carry everything they needed to survive. The least realistic aspect of the above image is the lack of equipment and supplies carried by the people shown. There were no opportunities to seek out local food or shelter when they reached their destination. As roads and settlements increased the wilderness simply moved further west and north.

The main access to the interior of the American continent was by following the rivers upstream. It is no coincidence that most of the major cities in the United States are built along rivers. The most obvious access point is the vast Chesapeake Bay. Technically, the Bay is really an estuary. An estuary is a flooded river valley where the tides from the ocean meet a river stream. Here is a satellite view of the Chesapeake that shows its size.

Satellite (Landsat) picture of Chesapeake Bay (center) and Delaware Bay (upper right) - and Atlantic coast of the central-eastern United States.
Just north of the Chesapeake is the Delaware Bay, another estuary. Some of the cities along these to great waterways are Washington, D.C., Baltimore in Maryland, Dover in Delaware, Wilmington in Delaware, Philadelphia in Pennsylvania and ultimately upriver, Trenton in New Jersey. New York, did not have a huge estuary, but it did have the protected bay and the huge stretch of protected water on the north side of Long Island. Here is another satellite view showing the area around New York City.

New York STS058-081-038
This second satellite image also shows the impact of the Hudson River as a pathway into the interior of the country. The amount of goods and equipment that could be carried by boat far exceeded the capacity of wagons during all of the early history of America.

Accordingly, the migration patterns of American immigrants were governed by geographic reality: mountains and rivers. To begin to understand how your ancestors moved, you need to look to both the mountains and the rivers.

One of the basic motivations for movement from the Atlantic seaboard was the constant increase in population. One major motivating factor in moving to America was to obtain land ownership. Even though many immigrants came as enslaved people or indentured servants, those who came voluntarily were interested in land. Even among the well-known Mayflower passengers, some of the immigrants were not motivated by a desire to have religious freedom but were merchants and craftsmen. There were also some orphaned children and indentured servants. See Mayflower Compact.

It was over a hundred years after the first settlements along the Atlantic Coast before the interior began to be settled. As genealogists, before assuming that our early American ancestors were born in places like Kentucky or Tennesee, we need to be aware of the availability of transportation into these inland areas. One example is the Susquehanna River; the longest river on the East Coast. Here is a map of the Susquehanna River Basin.

By I, Karl Musser, created it - Own work: based on USGS data., CC BY-SA 2.5,
Primarily, because of the access to the interior afforded by the Susquehanna River, in combination with the Ohio River,  Pennsylvania was settled from east to west by about 1830. But to get an appreciation for the impact of migration routes, it is necessary to focus on the time each of the western states was first settled. Here is a partial list of what is considered the first European settlements for some of the states that do not have Atlantic sea coasts.
  • Vermont 1724
  • Ohio 1788
  • Kentucky 1774
  • Tennessee 1768
  • Arkansas 1686
Kentucky and Tennesee were first settled from Virginia. Vermont's first settlers came from Massachusetts. Ohio was settled because of the river systems as was Arkansas. It is important to understand how the pattern of settlement in each of these states continued after the first settlement.

The largest interior town in America, for many years, was Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The main road from Philadelphia to Lancaster was the Lancaster Turnpike. Here is a description from Wikipedia: Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike.
The Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike, first used in 1795, is the first long-distance paved road built in the United States, according to engineered plans and specifications. It links Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia at 34th Street, stretching for sixty-two miles. However, the western terminus was actually at the Susquehanna River in Columbia. The route is designated PA 462 from the western terminus to US 30, where that route takes over for the majority of the route. The US 30 designation ends at Girard Avenue in the Parkside neighborhood of Philadelphia, where State Route 3012 takes it from there to Belmont Avenue. At Belmont Avenue, State Route 3005 gets the designation from Belmont Avenue until the terminus at 34th Street.
Note that the road ran to the Susquehanna River. Genealogical research becomes more manageable as you begin to realize that your ancestors lived in the context of their own history and that movement in the earliest times was dramatically restricted from what it is today.

You can see the earlier posts in this series here:

Friday, February 16, 2018

Stories and Histories of Black Mormon Pioneers

My daughter and blogging partner, Amy Tanner Thiriot, in celebration of black history month made a standing room only presented a lecture at the Church History Museum’s series titled, "Evening at the Museum," on February 15, 2018. The above article appeared online on the LDS ChurchNews section of the Deseret News website. Quoting from the article:
Professor Paul Reeve, from the University of Utah, introduced Thiriot as a “thorough and meticulous researcher.” He quoted Thiriot’s own description of her work as having been prompted by “the little known black pioneers of the Utah territory” and said that “theirs are stories that have largely been forgotten, so researching their lives has been like a second emancipation; freeing these men and women from historical obscurity.” 
And while Thiriot’s research can be looked at as an exciting new turn that brings to light truths lost or hidden by history, the quiet and somber manner with which she told the histories of 19 different black pioneers who played various roles in settling the Utah territory created a memorial-like atmosphere during the presentation.
The article is quite long and was merely a summary of the research Amy has done in writing her upcoming book, "Slaves in Zion: African American Servitude in Utah Territory."  The article goes on to comment about the stories Amy told during her presentation:
These stories, and other detailed examples of documents and records uncovered by Thiriot, are just part of what makes her research groundbreaking for the black Mormon community.
Well done Amy. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Old Genealogists Never Die

If you were spending eight or more hours a day digitizing documents this might not be funny.

Win A Free Pass to the MyHeritage RootsTech After Party

MyHeritage has given me 5 complimentary tickets to their annual After-RootsTech party. Here is their description of the party:
Dust off your dancing shoes and fish out your fedoras!
MyHeritage invites you to travel back in time to the Jazz age — The Roaring Twenties — for our exclusive RootsTech After-Party 2018.
1920s costumes are welcome but optional. Don't worry, we'll have plenty of loot (pearls and rhinestones) to adorn yourselves with at the event.
Light food and drink will be served. All guests will receive tickets for the prize raffle.
The event will be held on Friday, March 2, 2018, from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM (MST) at Salt Lake Marriott Downtown at City Creek, 75 South West Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101

I tried to think of something simple to do. To win one of the 5 tickets, email me a screenshot of a Record Match from your family tree on The first five people to respond as shown by their email time and date stamp will win. Simple as that. Be sure to include your email address and I will send the first five people a link to register. If you don't get a response from me, you did not win. 

Here is a photo of the party from last year. 

Unfortunately, I will not be at RootsTech or the party this year because my wife and I are serving a mission for FamilySearch at the Maryland State Archives as Record Preservation Missionaries. We will be here for a year from last December. Here is another photo of the party last year. 

Oh, my email address is 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

From Whence and to Thither -- Understanding Migration Patterns: Part Seven

By Datawheel - Interactive Visualization: Data USAData Source: Census Bureau - ACS 5-year Estimate, CC0,
English: United States Map of Population by State (2015)
   580k - 2.8M
   2.8M - 5.28M
   5.28M - 8.26M
   8.26M - 11.6M
   11.6M - 19.6M
   19.6M - 26.5M
   26.5M - 38.4M
   38.4M - 38.4M

Obviously, many of the families that migrated to New York state in the early 1800s stayed there and By 1820, New York had become the most populous state in the country. See Wikipedia: List of U.S. states by historical population. Today, New York is the fourth most populous state and it is outranked by California, Texas, and Florida in that order. This fact alone shows a definite migration pattern to the west and south.

My Tanner family line moved from Rhode Island to New York, leaving many relatives in Rhode Island who have since spread across the U.S. and around the world. My Fourth Great-grandfather, Joshua Tanner, died in Reeds Corner, Washington, New York. His son, John Tanner moved further north and settled along Lake George in Bolton Landing Warren County, New York. Many of the migrants who moved across the country stayed put and their descendants still live in the place where their ancestors stopped their migration. But my ancestors moved again, several times eventually ending up in Arizona.

These movements were not random, they are based primarily on external influences. Of course, the decision to move is made by the individual, but when hundreds of thousands of individuals and families decide to make the same move, the movement ceases to become random. It is true that some migrations, such as the 1930s Dust Bowl and the Irish Potato Famine are examples of situations that forced migration, but the motivations underlying most migrations are more complex and involve a spectrum of economic, social and cultural incentives. These patterns of movement and the background incentives for their existence are the keys to discovering our ancestors, especially those who are elusive.

Early migrations in North America were limited to the Atlantic seacoast. One early road is called the Boston Post Road. This road was actually a system of mail-delivery routes between New York City and Boston. Quoting from a Wikipedia article entitled, "Boston Post Road,"
The Boston Post Road was a system of mail-delivery routes between New York City and Boston, Massachusetts that evolved into one of the first major highways in the United States. 
The three major alignments were the Lower Post Road (now U.S. Route 1 (US 1) along the shore via Providence, Rhode Island), the Upper Post Road (now US 5 and US 20 from New Haven, Connecticut by way of Springfield, Massachusetts), and the Middle Post Road (which diverged from the Upper Road in Hartford, Connecticut and ran northeastward to Boston via Pomfret, Connecticut).
It is likely that the Tanners traveled this road from Rhode Island up to Boston in their trip north to New York State. They would have then traveled north and west to what is now Warren County.  It may also be the case that they traveled up the Hudson River Valley because both Warren and Washington Counties are near that river.

In the early 1700s, the rough post roads were consolidated into what has been called the King's Highway. It was far from what we would call highway today, but by 1750 there was a continuous road from Boston to Charleston, South Carolina. By the end of the 1700s and the Revolutionary War, the road had been extended from Maine to Georgia.

In looking at these dates and places, you can see that travel, except by boat on the ocean, was extremely limited until the end of the 18th Century. It was only when the economic and social forces after the Revolutionary War, including the increase in immigration, began pushing the population off of the coast into the wilderness of the interior.

From time to time, I will see careless genealogical research that assumes an early 1700s connection between people living in New England or the South where children are born in North Carolina and Connecticut or even in Vermont. Given the ability that people had to travel in these early times, these speculative connections are highly unlikely. Travel throughout the 1700s by land was very difficult and if the records seem to show a connection between to disparate geographical areas of America, it is time to reexamine the records and make different conclusions.

You can see the earlier posts in this series here:

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

#RootsTech Announces Broadcast Schedule

Here is the #RootsTech Streaming Schedule. You might want to check for any changes on the FamilySearch NewsRoom blog. You can watch these broadcasts on No registration is required to view the live streams. All times are in Mountain Standard Time (MST). Check the website for descriptions of the presentations and classes. 
RootsTech Streaming Schedule  
Time (MST)
Class Title
Class Description
Speaker or Speakers
Wednesday, February 28, 2018
9:30 a.m.
Family History in 5 Minutes a Day
Explore 20 ways to effectively do your family history in as little as 5 minutes a day.
Deborah Gamble
11:00 a.m.
DNA: One Family, One World
(Sponsored by Living DNA)
A new project by Living DNA is mapping the world's DNA, building one world family tree through genetics. Gain insight into how this will impact your family history.
David Nicholson
1:30 p.m.
Organizing and Preserving Photograph Collections
Step-by-step direction in organizing, preserving, and cataloging photo collections for future generations and identifying, digitizing, and sharing collections using family trees and social media.
Ari Wilkins
3:00 p.m.
Finding the Answers: The Basics of WWII Research
Fire destroyed many US military and civilian service records. Alternative record sources exist to reconstruct service history. Learn how to research World War I and II records.
Jennifer Holik
4:30 p.m.
Wednesday General Session and Innovation Showcase
Steve Rockwood explores where industry giant, FamilySearch, has been and is going. Introduction of the all-new RootsTech Innovation Showcase.
Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch International
Thursday, March 1, 2018
8:30 a.m.
Thursday General Session
Brandon Stanton started Humans of New York, a photography and storytelling blog. HONY has built a devoted following of over 20 million fans across several social media platforms.
Brandon Stanton, founder of Humans of New York
11:00 a.m.
MyHeritage DNA 101: From Test to Results
(Sponsored by MyHeritage)
Learn about the MyHeritage DNA service and how the process works, from taking the test to the lab analysis. Learn about MyHeritage DNA's over 40 ethnicities and how to optimize your DNA matches.
Yaniv Erlich
1:30 p.m.
Google Photos: Collect, Organize, Preserve, and Share
Google Photos is a powerful, free app for storing, organizing, and sharing. Learn how to edit and create photo projects and automatically add your photos to the app from digital devices.
Michelle Goodrum
3:00 p.m.
Unlocking Roman Catholic Records
The Catholic Church is essential for uncovering the lives of millions of immigrants from many nationalities. See how findmypast and the Catholic Church are working to make these records easily accessible.
Brian Donovan
4:30 p.m.
A Gift of Life: Who's Writing Your Story?
Only you can tell the real stories of love, loss, forgiveness, and change. Don't leave the task of finding the answers of your life's history to someone else. Take the time to write your life story.
Deborah Abbott
Friday, March 2, 2018
8:30 a.m.
Friday General Session
Scott Hamilton is the living example that good guys CAN finish first! He is an Olympic champion, cancer survivor, television broadcaster, speaker, author, husband/father, and eternal optimist!
Scott Hamilton, Olympic Skater
11:00 a.m.
findmypast's British and Irish Hidden Gems
(Sponsored by findmypast)
Explore some of the wonderful collections that can help you break down your British ancestry brick walls, go back further in your family research, and add untold color and detail to your family story.
Myko Clelland
1:30 p.m.
Finding the Right DNA Test for You
DNA testing is becoming an integral tool, but what is it and what does it do? How can DNA actually help your genealogy? If you are brand new to genetic genealogy, this is the class for you.
Jim Brewster
3:00 p.m.
How Not to Leave Your Genealogy Behind
Nobody wants their genealogy research to end up in a landfill. Hear a few horror stories of genealogy materials destroyed and how you can avoid those mistakes.
Amy Johnson Crow and Curt Witcher
4:30 p.m.
Finding Elusive Records at FamilySearch
Learn new skills and techniques used by the experts and lesser known record identification tools and features of the FamilySearch website.
Robert Kehrer
Saturday, March 3, 2018
8:30 a.m.
Saturday General Session
Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., host of popular PBS Finding Your Roots series, and Natalia Lafourcadeone of the most successful singers in the Latin America pop rock genre, will keynote this opening session.
Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Natalia Lafourcade
11:00 a.m.
Civil Registration Indexes of England and Wales
England and Wales national indexes and recent innovations at the General Register Office have opened up new possibilities and completely new indexes.
Audrey Collins
1:30 p.m.
Advancing Your Genealogy Research with DNA
(Sponsored by Ancestry)
Learn what new tools AncestryDNA has to advance your research and get more out of your DNA results.
Anna Swayne
3:00 p.m.
Pain in the Access: More Web for Your Genealogy
Library, archive, government, and specialized websites have much to offer. Discover these sites and strategies for getting more online data.
Curt Witcher