Friday, December 31, 2010

Who is Sarah Savattur?

In the 1870 US Census for Salt River Township, Ralls County, MO is the following family:
Adams, Franklin 32 M W Farmhand $100 KY cannot read & write  citizen
Margaret 27 F W keeping house IN
Susan       5 F W                          MO
Newton    3 M W                         MO
Clay         1 M W                         MO
Savattur, Sarah  66 W               NC  cannot write

Clay is my maternal grandfather Cash Clay ADAMS. The others are his family, but who is Sarah SAVATTUR? I have long suspected that she is Margaret’s mother and thus my great-great-grandmother. I have looked in vain in North Carolina for surnames anything like SAVATTUR. If she is Margaret’s mother, why is Margaret’s maiden name (or at least her surname at the time of her marriage) listed as MOOR or MOORE?

It turns out that Sarah is indeed my gg-grandmother but I still don’t know what her maiden name was. I don’t know how I missed them previously, but in the 1860 Census for Ralls County, MO was the following family as indexed by
Name: William Savatier
Age in 1860: 67
Birth Year: abt 1793
Birthplace: Pennsylvania
Home in 1860: Salt River, Ralls, Missouri
Gender: Male
Post Office: Lick Creek
Household Members: Name Age
William Savatier         67  PA
Sarah Savatier             53  NC
Margaret A Savatier  18  IN
The writing on this census page is so faint it is possible the record actually says “Margaret A Moore.” Margaret’s recorded age is also open to interpretation.

In the 1850 census William Savatier was living in Hendricks County, IN:
William Savatier
Estimated birth year:
abt 1794
Birth Place:
Home in 1850 (City,County,State):
Liberty, Hendricks, Indiana
Family Number:
Household Members:
Note that his wife was not Sarah then and that his place of birth was listed as MD and not PA.

Sarah was also living in Liberty Township, Hendricks County, Indiana:
Sarah Moore
Estimated birth year:
abt 1805
Birth Place:
North Carolina
Home in 1850 (City,County,State):
Liberty, Hendricks, Indiana
Family Number:
Household Members:

Marriage records confirm that Sarah and William married in 1854 in Hendricks County before they relocated to MO. I have not determined whether Sarah was related to the White family.

Also living in the same township in unincorporated Belville during the 1850 Census was the Adams family which included 10 year old Benjamin who was to later marry Margaret Ann in MO.
Benjamin F Adams
Estimated birth year:
abt 1840
Birth Place:
Home in 1850 (City,County,State):
Belville, Hendricks, Indiana
Family Number:
Household Members:

Now I know who Sarah is. Well sort of. There is still much to learn.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Crash Course in Genealogy

Earlier this week I submitted the manuscript of my new book A Crash Course in Genealogy to my series editor at Libraries Unlimited. She is reading it now. The "Crash Course" series is aimed at providing a kind of basic training for library workers who need to get up to speed quickly in an unfamiliar area of library services. If any of you have been through the book publishing process, you know that it is much different than publishing a blog. This is my fourth venture with this publisher over the last decade. Therefore, we are beginning to learn to expect from each other; but every experience is different.

First of all negotiating the contract can be challenging. I'll leave the details of that for a later post. Then writing 60,000 words requires time and perseverance. Perhaps as challenging is the securing of permissions for the use of any of the work of others one wishes to include. When my series editor finishes with the manuscript, she projects, "I think it will take a week or so to do things like the plagiarism check, get marketing in the loop and then out to the LU copy editor. That person may take a month, so maybe by the end of February you will have the first draft back."

Then I will have to read the edited copy and negotiate any changes with the copy editor. After we  agree on those, then come "page proofs" from which I will create the index. Finally, the book goes into physical production. I wonder how many blog posts down the road all of this will take? I think it is safe to predict it will be a 2011 imprint.

Happy New Year

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Are Gopher's Finds the Teeth of Neanderthals or Homo Sapiens?

Yesterday I reported on published information about a discovery of teeth and other evidence of complex human like activity found by Prof Avi Gopher and Dr Ran Barkai of the Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University. The site of the finds is about 10 miles from Tel Aviv airport. Tentatively these finds have been dated as being 400,000 years old. If these finds can be documented as artifacts resulting from the activities of homo sapiens who were in the Middle East that long ago, this will cause us to rethink accepted concepts of human migration.

Could these be the remains of Neanderthals instead?  In a report on National Public Radio, Sir Paul Mellars, a prehistory expert at Cambridge University, questioned whether the teeth found in Israel by a team led by Gopher were directly related to modern humans. "'Based on the evidence they've sited, it's a very tenuous and frankly rather remote possibility,' Mellars said. He said the remains are more likely related to modern man's ancient relatives, the Neanderthals."

It will probably years or even decades before we can confidently conclude whether or not we had ancestors in the Middle East that long ago.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Where Did The Human Species Really Begin? Maybe Not in Africa?

In an article by Peter Hutchison in the Wednesday edition of The Telegraph, it is reported that new findings may turn accepted science of the origin of the human species on its head. Maybe we didn't migrate out of Africa after all. 

Hutchinson reports, that a research team in Israel has found teeth that appear to be 400,000 years old. He writes, "The latest findings, published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, said the size and shape of the teeth were very similar to those of modern man. Prof Avi Gopher and Dr Ran Barkai of the Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University also found evidence of the use of fire, hunting, and the cutting and mining of raw materials to produce flint tools, which suggested a sophisticated form of society."

This finding, if confirmed, will give one more example why---according to the "scientific method" model of research---no hypothesis is ever considered to have been proven. Hypotheses can be disproved, but that does not mean that the opposite has been proven. It just means that the opposite or another alternative becomes the new hypothesis set up to see if it can withstand any tests to which it can be subjected. 

Stay tuned. I have a feeling things are going to get interesting. However, maybe we should not get too far ahead of ourselves. The website for the American Journal of Physical Anthropology does not yet list such an article in its January paper issue or its February virtual issue. Science sometimes moves slowly.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Dr D's Paternal Grandmother Matches Your Genetic Genealogist's Mother

It looks like I am related to Your Genetic Genealogist. CeCe Moore, author of that blog, and I probably will never learn exactly how we are related. However, her mother and my first cousin, Ruth Addison, are exact Full Genome Sequence (FGS) matches. That means that the two match on all 16,569 locations on their mitochondrial DNA. Prior to getting this match last week, Ruth had three other exact matches. Two live in Finland and the third thinks his ancestors come from Finland or at least somewhere in Scandinavia.

For background on why I asked Ruth to test, read my blog post 

Testing Family Members As Surrogates, DNA Part 4 for April 17, 2010. My guess is that the match CeCe and I share is back in Finland in the 17th century or beyond. 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

UK Research Sites

What sites do the genealogy experts in the UK use? 
The instructors at Pharos have been keeping track of where they spend their research time online. Their results serve as a great guide for where the rest of us should be searching our UK ancestors. The general resources are listed at the end---after the country specific sites for England, Scotland, Wales & Ireland. Happy searching and Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 20, 2010

In the First Week of February

The first week of February 2011 will bring a trio of treats for genealogists on the California Central Coast. Mark your calendars now. In reverse chronological order these events are:

1. Family History Day Saturday, February 5, 9 AM to 4 PM, sponsored by the SLOCGS 
IOOF Hall, 520 Dana Street, San Luis Obispo, CA"Update your genealogical research skills with four great lectures from George Ott, a Salt Lake City-based professional genealogist who has been doing research at the Family History Library for clients for over thirty-five years."
10:00 AM: Immigration: before you dive in, learn how to 'think' about researching your ancestors' immigrant origins.
11:00 AM: Courthouse Records: the overlooked genealogical gems in civil and equity records.
2:00 PM: No smoking gun? Extending the family tree of your "brick wall ancestor" when no direct evidence exists.
3:00 PM: Enlisting military records in your research strategy: new ways to think about U.S. military records.
If you have never heard George, I can assure you that you will be in for a treat. 

2. Who Do You Think You Are?, Season 2 begins Friday February 4, 8 PM, KSBY Channel 6, (NBC). [See my post of December 16th for more information.]
[Season 1 episodes can be viewed online until January 10, 2011.]

3. European Genealogy Research: the first session of 6 Tuesday mornings will begin February 1, 10 AM in Computer Lab 4740 on the San Luis Obispo Campus of Cuesta College. The computer lab will be open for students from 9 AM to 12:50 PM each Tuesday. Parking is easier to find if you come early. Consultation and Internet research can be carried out before the formal class begins at 10 AM. George Ott's Immigration lecture should be a good supplement to this course. [See my post of December 18th for more information.]

Sunday, December 19, 2010

SLOCGS January Meeting, Saturday January 8th

Those of you who make a New Years resolution to do more on your family history in 2011 can get a good start if you live on the California Central Coast. On Saturday, January 8th, the San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society will have its first monthly meeting of the new year. Featured will be two presentations by our own Cafi Cohen: 
Up Your Game: Genealogy Educational Opportunities; and   
What I Learned at Samford.

For directions and more information, visit the SLOCGS site. 

Unfortunately I will be unable to attend because I will be at the Midwinter meeting of the American Library Association in San Diego. I'll have to make do with attending a day long workshop for genealogy librarians on Friday, hosting the semiannual genealogy dinner on Saturday night and chairing the meeting of the Genealogy Committee on Sunday morning. The Friday session will be an opportunity to hear nationally know speakers:
Drew Smith, MLS, faculty at University of Southern Florida and one of the “Genealogy Guys”; 
David Rencher, MLS, Director of the Libraries Division of the Family History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; 
Ron Arons, Author of WANTED! U.S. Criminal Records; and
Curt Witcher, MLS, Manager, Historical Genealogy Department, Allen County Public Library

I hope to see all of my Central Coast genealogy colleagues in early February.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

New Family Search Portal

With no drum rolls or other fanfare Family Search has combined its beta portal into its original one. This happened early this week. An explanation of why it was handled this way can be found on the Family Search blog. As with most changes not everyone is happy. At least for now you can find the old portal.  You can still visit the previous version of by clicking on

National Roots Day - Dec 23rd

Hi Dave!

Just recently learned that next Thursday, Dec 23rd, is National Roots Day! Had seen it mentioned on a calendar and looked it up. It did appear on quite a few sites! What a nice promotion for the holidays - summarized from a couple of websites:

The holiday season is full of family functions & get-togethers. Many of us are returning to our roots today as we head home for Christmas, so what better time than now to celebrate your roots!

Take the time to learn about the struggles and triumphs of your ancestors and the history of your family name. Sit down with your older relatives & talk with them about their pasts. You may hear some funny stories & learn a few things about your family that you never knew before!

Returning to our roots is a warm, cozy and comfortable feeling, a sense of belonging.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to all!


Spring 2011 European Genealogy Research Class @ Cuesta College

My Spring 2011 Genealogy Research class at Cuesta College will focus on European research using Internet resources. It will begin on Tuesday, February 1st and run for six weeks. To reserve a computer workstation click on the following link:

We will visit a different part of Europe each week. The specific focus will depend on the areas of interest of enrolled students. In past years we have covered:
England & Wales
Scotland & Ireland
Eastern Europe
Romance Europe (Italy & France)

If you are enrolling please email me at the areas of Europe in which you have an interest and the surnames of your immigrant ancestors. I will try to incorporate as many of the areas and surnames as possible in our lightning fast tour through Europe.

Between now and February you can polish your research skills by following this blog.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Who Do You Think You Are Stars Announced For 2011

NBC has announced that Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kim Cattrall, Lionel Richie, Rosie O'Donnell, Steve Buscemi, Tim McGraw and Vanessa Williams will be featured in the 2011 season of Who Do You Think You Are (WDYTYA). In case you missed the 2010 inaugural season, each week a celebrity is featured. The person goes on a journey back in time as his or her family history is discovered. More information can be found at NBC News.

The second season will begin airing on Friday, February 4th at 8:00 PM (7:00 PM Central). To review the shows from season one go to the show's website. Much of the research for the stories of the stars is provided by principal corporate sponsor As many of you know, family histories are not uncovered as easily as it may seem on TV. Ancestry has estimated that that each episode in the 2010 season required from 400 to 700 hours of researcher time. 

Google Your Family Tree

Google Your Family Tree is an award wining book by Daniel Lynch. Before I read the book I thought I knew a lot about searching Google but I found out I still had much to learn. I now have a searching exercise that I use in my Genealogy Research class that is based on some of the tips Lynch gives in the book.  

Thanks to Martha Graham I just discovered a website that introduces researchers to some of the power searching techniques of this book. Check it out and see if the site does live up to the subtitle: Unlock the Hidden Power of Google for Family History Research.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Cousin Candy Hill passed along information about a site that was new to me. It is called Ancestorville and its "town historian" Debra Clifford describes it as "a town with over 4,000 lost family photos, antique paper, and identified genealogy antiques for sale. There are 13,386 surnames" in the town.

Candy reports that she has been able to find two pictures from her mom's line on this site and encourages anyone looking for family pictures to check it out. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010 offers 7 Day Free Access

If you have been wondering whether or not would be useful in your family history research, this may be an offer you would find useful. Of course these free offers are not always free. If you really don't want a full subscription, you must make sure you cancel it within the "free" period.

As you may know was recently acquired by For now it appears these two data rich sites will continue to operate as separate subscriptions. Footnote's strength is its association with the treasure trove of historical documents held by the US National Archives. Currently featured are Revolutionary War items which include pension records, war rolls, service records and papers of the Continental Congress.

Lots of people do not realize that fee-based services like Ancestry and Footnote offer some of their resources free as a way to attract potential customers. See my post of March 26th about free areas of Ancestry. Footnote also has portions of its database which are also accessible even if one does not have a paid subscription.

If you decide to pursue this 7 day free trial, visit this link

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Genealogy Happens in San Diego

Librarians seeking genealogy reference skills or those hoping to aid their personal family history research can now register for “Genealogy Happens! At the Genealogy Reference Desk,” a 2011 Midwinter institute offered by the American Library Association genealogy experts, the History Section of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA).
This full-day event, sponsored by ProQuest, is a not-to-be-missed learning experience for reference librarians of all levels of expertise, with coverage of both basic genealogy reference skills and more detailed topics, including social networking for genealogists and military research. Speakers include “Genealogy Guy” Drew Smith; David Rencher, director of the Libraries Division of the Family History Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Ron Arons, author of “WANTEDU.S. Criminal Records”; and Curt Witcher, manager, Historical Genealogy Department, Allen County Public Library. ProQuest provides lunch for all event attendees.
The event will be held 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 7, 2011, at the Valencia Park/Malcolm X Branch of the San Diego Library, 5148 Market Street, San Diego. Interested participants can register for this event only (event code RUS1) or can register in conjunction with Annual Conference registration by adding it as a ticketed event. For institute-only registration using the online form, select “SO-Institute and Ticketed Events Only” as the registration type and proceed to select this event from the list. 
Lunch is included in the registration fee. Registration will be available online until Sunday, Jan. 3 2011. All interested participants must register by this date—no seats will be available at the door on the day of the event. More information about the Midwinter Meeting is available at

National Genealogical Society Preconference


NGS’s special pre-conference program for librarians, sponsored by ProQuest, will be held Tuesday, 10 May, 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m., at the Charleston County Public Library, 68 Calhoun Street, Charleston. Librarians who work with family history patrons are encouraged to attend this outstanding program.

“How Did that Yankee Get in the Family?”—Michael Hall is a BYU graduate who has worked for FamilySearch for more than twenty years. He is currently strategic relations manager working with libraries and genealogical societies worldwide.

“Putting All Your Library Resources to Use”—George Morgan, president of Aha! Seminars, Inc., a training company providing continuing education for libraries and library consortia.

“Solving African American Brick Walls”—Toni Carrier, founding director of University of South Florida, Africana Heritage Project.

“Social Networking”—Drew Smith, academic librarian with the University of South Florida, Tampa.

ProQuest will provide lunch for registered attendees and will be available to answer questions about their
products. The program will conclude with a tour of the Charleston County Public Library. For more
information visit

Registration is free to those working in libraries serving genealogists. If you can make it of Charleston, consider attending the entire conference. At the very least, visit the many vendors who will be exhibiting there. Entrance to the Exhibit Hall is free to everyone.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Dr D added to

I found a nice surprise as a comment to my post of December 3rd concerning my computer crash. Some of you may not have noticed that there are occasionally comments posted to my posts on this blog. I welcome such comments whether they add to or correct what I have said, Either way I'll probably learn something new. The full comments don't appear automatically but an unobtrusive link does appear below the post. There have actually been three comments added to that particular post. Thank you to all who commented.

One of the comments was from Tom MacEntee. If you like reading my blog, check out the links to which Tom refers below, There is a search box on his site which now searches this blog and the almost 1,500 other ones he has listed on his blog of genealogical blogs. Thank you Tom for including Dr D Digs Up Ancestors on your list.

geneabloggers said...

Hello there!

You’ve got a great genealogy blog and we’ve added it to the list of over 1,400 genealogy blogs at GeneaBloggers (

We will announce your blog in our weekly New Genealogy Blogs on Saturday, December 4, 2010. In the meantime, please visit the About ( section at GeneaBloggers to learn how you can display your GeneaBloggers badge on your blog and also how you can participate in activities such as the Daily Blogging Themes.

If you need technical assistance, please check out Bootcamp for GeneaBloggers (


Thomas MacEntee