Thursday, August 30, 2012

Overview of FamilySearch Family Tree

For those of you not yet following FamilySearch Family Tree, here is a short video with show me how demonstrations about it. Click Here

10 Million and Genealogy

What would you guess I am referring to, 10 million and genealogy? The answer: Last year the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints handled 10 million requests for help from people.

Elisha Cragun, My Great Great Grandfather

I find it curious that Elisha, Patricks son, married a woman whose grandfathers name was Caleb.
Caleb is supposedly Patrick Craguns fathers name. I have searched many places in Ireland for a Caleb tied to many derivites of Cragun (Crehgan ,etc) and do not find a Caleb. No facts here, just peeks my curiosity as I had already begun to doubt the name Caleb as Patricks fathers actual name. Darn.

Now the story of Elisha:

Elisha is believed to have been born at either Russell County, VA or Sullivan County, TN on February 22, 1786, the second child of Patrick and Rose Alley Cragun. While Elisha's birthplace may have been in doubt, his Virginia connection was certain through his wife. In 1811 he married Mary (Polly) Osborn, daughter of James and Mary (Whitaker) Osborn of Castle's Wood, then in Washington County, Virginia (now Castlewood in Russell County, Virginia). The Osborn's are recorded as being wealthy slave and land owners of the area. Polly's father, James Osborn(e), was a member of the second group of settlers to reach the Castlewood area of Russell County Virginia shortly after 1769. It was a part of the Clinch River settlements in extreme southwest Virginia. His father, Caleb, was owner of a plantation of over 579 acres in the area of Cedar and Dutchman's Creek at the Forks of the Yadkin, Rowan County, North Carolina. James' wife, Mary Whittaker, was (probably) the daughter of one of the Whittakers whose land adjoined that of the Osborn's.

James Osborn was listed as a soldier at Moore's Fort in 1777. It was located at Cassell's Woods and until 1775 had been under the command of Daniel Boone who at that time departed the area to make his second entry into Kentucky. The story of Moore's Fort and the names of its' soldiers on June 30, 1777 can be found in the Historical Sketches of Southwest Virginia, Pub#4, 1986, of the Historical Society of Southwest Virginia. James died on Dec 14, 1821 leaving to his widow the dwelling house, 1/3 of that tract of land and two Negroes. The remainder of his farm and eight Negroes were left to his son, Solomon. His other children, including Polly Cragun, Elisha's wife, were each bequeathed a certain undisclosed sum of money.
Polly was born in 1790, the youngest of nine children. Married at age 21, when Elisha was 25, they moved the fifty miles or so to join Patrick and the family in Sullivan County, Tennessee, where Rebecca was born to Mary in 1812 after Elisha had departed for army service.

Polly's older brother, Jonathan, migrated along with members of the Alley family to the area that became Franklin County, IN in 1811, the same year that the land was opened for settlement having been obtained from the Indians in 1809 by the Twelve Mile Purchase treaty. In 1813 he was among the first to draw land. The next year, in 1814, Elisha and Polly left Sullivan County, TN with their daughter, Rebecca, and on September 16th. entered four surveys of land near Jonathan's property and adjoining property of Peter Alley along Pipe Creek, at the junction of Metamora and Butler Townships in Franklin County, IN. Apparently, Elisha's entry into Indiana was delayed by service in the war of 1812 in which his brothers Isaac and John also served. Both John and Elisha are said to have served with the troops of General Andrew Jackson; however, Elisha's service can not be verified through records at the National Archives.

Later, on March 2, 1819, Elisha's younger brother, Caleb, twin of Joshua, entered a survey in the same area in Franklin County as Elisha and married the widowed Sarah (Alley) Jones with two children. By 1828, Joshua Cragun also settled in Franklin County; however, sometime between 1825 and 1827, Elisha and Polly moved on to Noble Township near Richland in Rush County after that land was opened for settlement following the St. Mary's Treaty with the Indians.

One can only be impressed with the way Elisha and his family kept following the frontier. As new lands were opened for settlement, they moved into them and developed farms bringing civilization along with them. They settled land and cultivated it in contrast to speculators of the time who claimed and simply held land against the hope of increased prices thus retarding both settlement and development of the frontier as it moved west.

With the exception of Rebecca, who had married and established her own home with Aaron Beeman in Rush County, in 1835 Elisha, Mary, and their nine other children claimed land in Boone County, cleared it of growth including the black walnut trees which grew in abundance and began to farm near what became known as the Pleasant View Community in Eagle Township between Zionsville and Whitestown. Not much is known about the family during this period. The record indicates that Mary died December 14,1844 at age 54 and daughter Abigail died three days later on December 17 at age 21. They were buried side by side on the farm in an otherwise unmarked grave where a large black walnut tree then stood.

Heiner described the land in 1965 as being lush and green with a stream called Jackson's Run flowing through the Pleasant View Church yard. This is now the location of Hutton Memorial Cemetery East of Whitestown where several family members have been buried. Heiner also reports that Elisha sold all or part of his holding to Washington St. Clair on September 8, 1845. This perhaps marks the breakup of the homestead done in preparation for the next shift to the west, which is explained by Heiner as follows: "During their moves from one county to another, Elisha encountered two Mormon missionaries - Nathan T. Porter, and Wilber Earl. Their doctrine appealed to Elisha and his wife, Mary. A very good friend, Henry Mower, a Methodist minister, had been converted to the Latter-day Church of Jesus Christ and he also influenced their faith and baptized Elisha 15 March 1843 at Jackson's Run."

After the death of his wife and daughter and sale of his property, Elisha made his way to Nauvoo, Illinois, to be near the head of the church there receiving a Patriarchal Blessing on November 10, 1845. Heiner also reports that Elisha was accompanied by several members of his family. With him at Nauvoo were his sister, Elizabeth, and brother, Syren. The record also shows that all of his surviving children except Hiram departed for the west. Two sons, James and Simeon and three daughters: Mary, Tyresha, and Tabitha ultimately completed the treck and settled in Utah. Rebecca Cragun Beeman and her family were reported by her son, Elisha, living in 1909 near Elizaville, Indiana, to have gone as far as Council Bluffs, Iowa, and then turned back for unknown reasons.

Elisha Cragun's fifth child, Enoch, and his wife, Molly (Peters), got as far west as Missouri then went north to Minnesota establishing a branch of the family which still lives in the area of Brainard, Minnesota.

Sara Jane, Elisha's youngest child, is reported to have died in 1847 or 1848. Nothing further is known of her.
Elisha is believed to have departed with a party from Nauvoo headed for Utah and got as far as Council Bluffs, Iowa or Winter Quarters, Nebraska where he died during the winter of 1846-47 at age 61. No record of his grave has been found, but he may be burried in one of the nearly 800 unmarked graves at the cemetery near the encampment at Florence, Nebraska on Rt.#75, north of Omaha, a victim of a cholera epidemic that winter.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bertha Cragun Death Sourced Birth Commented On

Per my sister Nancy Day: My mothers Birth:  Pocatello, Bannock, Idaho, USA   In unwed mothers home. I have searched & found no evidence of an unwed mothers home. Perhaps she went to a Relief Society midwife in Pocatello. 

Larry Cragun: She was haunted with low self esteem her entire life over this. Her mother died when she was about 14 and she was raised by her grandmother Electa Elizabeth Porter in Porterville, Utah. She  was not treated well as a child there, basically being shunned by the community.

 Social Security Death Index
 U.S. Public Records Index, Volume 1
 Web: Obituary Daily Times Index, 1995-2011
 Web: Washington, Find A Grave Index, 1853-2011

1916   Name Bertha had no middle name. Used her birth father's name=South & her step father's=Salinas. E.R. Wanted her named Eddra, her mother called her Little Bird. 

My mother, Bertha Cragun died of a sudden heart attack. It took place early in morning, I think about 4 AM. My sister Peggy was able to contact me and I arrived at the Hospitol in Bellevue, Wa. about 10:30 AM and she was unconscious. She died a few hours after I arrived. Photobucket

Hey Kids, Stop Stumbling, Have A Research Plan

I plan on writing several articles on this topic. It is so normal to get excited, go on line and start researching. Almost eveyone makes the rookie mistakes mentioned in this article: Click Here Having a research plan corrects rookie human behavior.

So I encourage you, stop stumbling to discovery. Search with a purpose. Take the time to determine what you goal is going to be, then determine what is available for your research, then go get it.

Research plans are not merely a chronological log of your research. (I made this mistaken assumption)

Research plans involve: thoughtful planning, setting goals, working to achieve those goals, and recording your findings.

In implementing a research plan you will choose a project, set a specific goal, decide what questions need to be answered, list what you already know, seek out research guidance, and write down the steps to achieve those goals.

Now this may sound complicated, but what it is is planning. It is saving time in the long run.

TIPS: Keep your goal narrow and specific. Limit the plan to one surname. (One individual or  family group works best). 

Determine how easy it is going to be to solve the goal. This means you might avoid one of the common rookie mistakes of researching the farthest back where there is the least data. (I did this too)

Ask a whole bunch of questions: Where events were, were there disasters or epidemics, what were the migration patterns, where is my ancestor likley buried, did he have property and leave a will, was he in the service, and think of other important facts you can persue.

It is time saving to seek out research guidance. Two suggestions here: family history librariers, and the FamilySearch Wiki. has a redbook in hard cover or on line. Family History Centers Library Catalog. Then organize these findings into a document of your own for future research in similar instances.

Going through this planning process is likely to motivate you, it has me. As much as I love discovery in this meningful detective game, I much more love being focused and see goals accomplished. There are so many dead ends and so many bunny trails we can take, this process keeps you from chasing bunnies and leads to successful hunting.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Latest On Family Tree

I wanted to update you on the project status and share a couple of minor enhancements.

Project StatusWe are quickly reaching the point where we will turn on Family Tree for all users. (Until now, users needed to go through an invitation portal to gain access.) This means that all members of the Church who have access to, as well as all publicly registered users, will be able to see the Family Tree link and access the product.

We expect this transition to happen within the next month.

To prepare for this significant step, we have been busy working on a number of features. They include: Coming Feature: Merge PersonThis feature compares two people. If you determine that they are in fact the same person, you can select which data to preserve, and then you merge them. If you determine that these two people are NOT the same person, you can indicate that they are "Not-A-Match." This is a powerful new feature. It will prevent improper merging.

Coming Feature: Reserve OrdinancesUsers will be able to start the temple reservation work flow by selecting the Ordinances Ready link. 

Coming Feature: Language SupportUsers will be able to use the product in their local language (we support 10 languages) and enter names in their native script (I.e. Chinese, Japanese, Cyrillic, etc.).

Coming Feature: Improved Site IntegrationAs we continue to unify our site, there are a number of improvements you will notice. The first is our authentication. You will be able to sign in and stay signed in for up to 2 weeks. The second improvement is browser navigation. Among other things, the use of the browser back button will now be consistent. 

Source Box Availability from the HeaderYou can now access your source box directly from the header!   History List and Other Preferences to be ResetUnfortunately, your history list will be reset, as will several other preferences. This is a one-time action that is necessary to unify our user and preferences databases.

The Porters From England, John Porter and Descendants

In doing Porter family history research I conclude that there were many of the Porter family who were of wealth in England. In the 1600's to 1800's there were hundreds of thousands of them that moved to America in the search for a chance to become wealthy.

I have found in my mothers records this biographical genealogy of the descendants of John Porter of Windsor Vermont. Its title says it was given by Marlow Rich Porter to his son Aubrey on his birthday in 1856,

You can read it here on this site or double click the document and go to I have turned the download feature on so you may download it. I am also attaching it to FamilySearch Family Tree to John Porters name for any descendant or site visitor to find.

This biographical genealogy is an interesting study of how names came to pass, especially the Porter name. It has a history of Porters in England. It discusses coats of arms. The history part goes back to arund the year 1066.  It discusses the political and religious strife in England, Great Brittain. It identifies Peter Porter as the first American Porter. There is a lot about Peter Porter, including a tragic killing of his wife by the Indians, his attempt at revenge, and his murder.

I at one time, searching around, had found a relationship to Abraham Lincoln. I thought it was the Cragun line where I had found it. (best to keep a research log or journal, that wouldn't happen if so). But it is here in the Porter line we connect to Abe's grandmother and the Porters.

I hope you take the time to read this Porter story, Marlow Rich Porter obviously put a lot of effort into it. It's 29 pages long. It is an interesting read.

PS: Marlow Rich Porter is my grandmother Nancy Athena Porter's oldest sibling/brother.

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Short Example Of A Lifes Lesson Gone Legacy

I received this by email from my Aunt Ruth Wood Cragun. I thought it important that I share this. She has given me permission to post it and to link this to her fathers file in FamilySearch Family Tree for all their posterity to find.

My grandfather (Edward Sterling WOOD) died many years ago. He and my grandmother had one child  (my father (Archibald Arnold Wood...known as Archie his entire life). Grandpa and Grandma (Ruth Esther Reynolds WOOD) also had a daughter who died at birth. Grandpa carried this verse in his wallet right up until the day he died. It was then given to me by his sister and I've saved the original, but have carried THIS  in MY wallet ever since I received it.
        I had been raised to believe my Wood lineage were Cherokee Indians (and now I realize a LOT of people think they are). All the family pictures I have of the Wood family  certainly LOOK Indian! IN ANY CASE, here's the verse he (and now I) have carried  with us ... lo these  many years. I feel it says a SO MUCH, because it is SO TRUE. Maybe someone you know. might need a 'lift' or a 're-think' concerning his/her life!
An old Indian grandfather told his grandson, "There is a battle
between two wolves that live within you. One is 'evil' and has anger, envy,
sorrow, regrets, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment,
inferiority, lies, superiortiy and ego.

  The other wolf is 'good' and has joy, peace, love, hope, serenity,
humility, kindness, empathy, generosity, faith, courage, honor and
The grandson asked his grandfather, "Which one wins"?
      The old Indian simply replied, "The one you feed".

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Here It Is, The Instruction Site For FamilySearch Family Tree

I have noticed they are working on the training site, this is a beta period, and the site is occassioanlly down. Please come back if it is.

Why am I excited about FamilySearch Family Tree? In a nutshell, it is an awesome concept. Click here and read this article on how Family Tree Will Change Genealogy Research Forever. This site, Family Tree is incredible, the Church will provide it to the public for free. It is a multiple million dollar investment and a witness to their commitment to the family history mission for all mankind, past and present.

It's an extension of which in itself is an amazing delivery. To give you an idea of how FamilySearch is growing, one zone in our mission - the vault - has a daily quota of uploading 1.2 million entries a day into They don't end their shift without the quota being met. Serious genealogists go back to FamilySearch weekly to see what is new.

And Family Tree - my oh my - this week in the training zone we change out curriculum to start teaching each new missionary family tree. Click here to check an article about documentation and Family Tree.

The photo below is from the training site for Family Tree. This is the link to the training and sign up instructions, click here. There are videos and exercises. It just went live. Included is the instructions on how to turn Family Tree on. Once turned on, and when you sign in, the Family Tree option is part of your Family Search menu bar.

Currently only LDS Church members can sign on. Soon waves of the public will be able to join. Limiting access in the beginning is mostly a matter of controlling the traffic on the servers. The projections is that 2 million new users will join Family Tree in the first two years. We have already bought the space for that volume.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday Is For Fun: Did You Know That?


How about this? Knowledge is knowing that tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

The Evening News: They begin with "Good Evening", then proceed to tell you why it isn't.

To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Families Can Have Their Challenges, The Craguns Have

It's quite a paradox that with the concept of  "families can be forever" that the fabric of a family can be so easily torn apart. It often doesn't have to go very far up line to see it happen. Even in my case, my siblings and parents, all of us, have had our challenges. Even with that, I sense a bond and a quiet love for one another.

I wanted to make this point using my grandparents. Here in Utah, there are numerous Craguns, almost all with a grandfather, Simeon Cragun. Simeon was my dads dad, my grandfather. I thought of writing this after a brief Facebook interaction with a young woman who is married to a Cragun who likely is also  a descendant of Simeon. This picture is one of grandfather Simeon:

Prior to marrying my grandmother, Simeon was married to Mary Ann Clifford. Mary Ann died after 17 years of marriage, leaving Simeon and 6 children. (I think it was 6). Simeon was 41 at the time. Our family stories have it that Simeon was a successful farmer and businessman.

Eight  years later, Simeon married this cute young lady, my grandmother Blanche Bingham.

So, Simeon was headed toward the age of 50..... and Blanche?
She was, well she was almost 21. In our days we might call grandmother Blanche a trophy wife.

Simeon still has one son that is alive, Howard. Howard is a good man, flirting with the age of ninety. I have known Uncle Howard to always be a positive and understanding man. He looks for the best in others, and is patient with the seemingly negative. As that as his character, he doesn't say negative things about people, especially his family. Uncle Howard doesn't want to talk about his father in a bad way. He did infer there was a lot of strife between his brothers. I am guessing that included his half brothers, Mary Ann's children.

My grandmother had at that young age had already had it rough. Her first husband wasn't faithful to her and the discovery and stressed led to miscarriage of twins. So was Simeon a rescue to Blanche?

Simeon eventually ended up starting a dry farm in American Falls Idaho. One lesson I have personally learned, having personal financial success one time does not guarantee a next time. So went it with Simeon. The American Falls farm was a bust. The family lived in a dug out area in a hillside. Their living environment was terrible.

Now this family thing, long term, is complicated. There is a lot we don't understand. What we do know is that we live beyond this life on earth, and that the family unit is the foundation to that next estate. My grandmother told us she did not want to be sealed in the temple to Simeon. She said he promised her he would take her to the temple and didn't. Will her perspective change, has it? We don't know.

What we do know is that while we are here  on earth we have the choice regarding our hearts and attitudes. What impact that has beyond the grave, we shall find out. What impact we can have for good while we are here is significant.

We can't become best friends with all of our long lost cousins, but we can be friendly with them and end the traditions strife we may have inherited. Even as siblings we may not be bosom buddies. But we can love each other and overlook our issues for the benefit our our children as well as ourselves. Nothing but good can come from our doing good.

There are many reasons I write the blog, one being an effort to have a positive effect on the Craguns and their attitudes.

Back to Simeon. His dying words were to my father. They were regretful words of how he let his son Levi and him be separated because of his anger toward Levi. This article goes into that, click here.

Here is a link to the 1910 Census showing Simeon, Blanche, Hazel, Levi, adopted Reuben, and new baby Ella Viola, click here.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Genealogy Links On This Blog

New links are added today.

Most of what goes on, on the right side of this blog are various links to or from other websites. The photo in this article shows examples of links going to other sites.

When I find websites that I think will help in my research, I add them to the sidebar and categorize them. It is a way I keep them organized and keep from forgetting them. I have pioneer ancestors as well as from Ireland, England, maybe Scotland, Kentucky, Indiana, and Virginia.

I can't focus on all of these at once, but by placing them in my sidebar they are there for me when I am ready.

I also hope they are of interest to others who might have ancestors from the same localities.

Some of the links are incoming, in that as they are of  a related topic their most recent articles come to the blog.

Today I am adding several sites I discovered in a class during the monthly Riverton Saturday Seminar. a free site, a directory of where to write for vital records. another database of  U S Vital records.  Online Searchable Death Indexes for the USA Includes Obituaries, Cemeteries & the Social Security Death Index (Search leads to a pay site) Free for death Directory County, City: US Vital Records

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Incredible Evenings At The Conference Center

Friday, Kathleen and I were able to attend the 85th Birthday Celebration for President Thomas Monson. It was held at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City. Three guest singers accompanied the Tabernacle Choir: Rebecca Luker, Stanford Olsen, and Dallyn Vail Bayles. Wow. Steve Young and Jane Clayson Johnson were the moderators.

It stands out to me that when the Church holds an event with the Choir, such as this or the Pioneer Day Celebration with Katherine Jenkins that it will be an incredible experience.

I can't find the full video of th concert, but did find the Happy Birthday to President Monson. It's short, but good. Take a look, you might get a sense of what the evening was like.

Below is one of the songs Katherine Jenkins sang at the Pioneer Day Concert. I'm telling you, you have to come and serve at this mission or at least attend an event here.

Katherine Jenkins and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing "Habanera" from Carmen.

And finally, Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas Danced the Paso Doble , perhaps our favorite part of the evening.

I'll post the full 85th Birthday event when I find it.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

It Isn't All Going To Be Good Folks

Nancy Athena Porter
There are skeletons in every families history. We are likely to be descendants of parents or grandparents with flaws. Many of us hope that won't be the case in our family tree, but perhaps there is a lesson for us in accepting the fact that our grandparents weren't perfect.

This bright beautiful girl is my grandmother, Nancy Athena Porter. Although little is written by or about her I have come to know her well.

Grandma Nancy was a daughter of the local Bishop. She grew up in Porterville, Utah, named after her pioneer ancestors.

Nancy messed up and had my mother out of wedlock. After years of being persued, she gave in to the persuasion of her employer, Edward Rich South. They either didn't marry, or had an illegal marriage in Mexico. You see, he was married at the time and had to use polygamy to persuade her.

I've spoken with cousins who's fathers alcholism had a huge effect on their family life.

The message I want to share about this is that we all have weaknesses and our grandparents did too. I've learned that Nancy suffered many hardships over her mistakes. She was shunned from Porterville. She died young, likely brought on by what she went through emotionally. Her life wasn't great.

Not so positive facts we discover about our ancestors might discourage us. But they may not tell us the complete story. My mother lived her life feeling shame for her mothers errors. We children  probably sensed that and embraced that same attitude. But as I have pondered and studied my grandmothers life I have learned to love her and understand her better.

I have decided that what my dad often said is true, "there is always two sides to a story". In researching grandmother Nancy I have been able to find out much about her that is virtuous. Knowing her has caused me to love her. In all cases, rather than condmening my ancestors errors I hope to seek to understand them. I suggest that for all of us, and hope that my descendants seek that in me.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Is For Fun

 I hope your week is going better for you than it is for these guys.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Nancy and Sister Wilding Destroy Excuses For Not Serving Others

Meet Sister Wilding, I just did.

She is the lady in the yellow dress. That is her hand walker just right of the man she is helping. Sister Wilding is a missionary, serving at the Salt Lake City Family History Library, helping patrons. The man she is helping is stuck. Sister Wilding knows how to help him. (Missionaries are Elders or Sisters)

Sister Wilding knows her stuff, she should, she has been a missionary here since 1979. Sure it is a little difficult for some and she is an example. She struggles to walk, her speech isn't as fast as it once was. She rides to the library on the Trax rail system. She uses a scooter to make it the final distance.

As I met her I wondered what excuses do we sometimes make that keep us from serving others? People from all walks of life and all denominations come to this library in hopes of finding an ancestor. I am here with Elder Price who is looking for his mothers birth certificate. It is likely here on microfilm.

Too busy might be an excuse to avoid serving. Too difficult to move around isn't one for Sister Wilding. Too busy with the grand kids is one I have heard. I heard that as a Bishop.

As I am here writing this post I hear Sister Wilding chuckling. A man just left the counter with a printout in hand. He seems to have left with what he came for and she is obviously pleased.

Oh, the excuse of too old. I think that just went out the door. Sister Wilding is 97 years old. Take that.

The entire time I have taken to write this I think of my sister Nancy, who handicapped with MS tirelessly struggles along to do genealogy research (thousands of names found) feeling, knowing in her heart that she is providing something of value for mankind.

Nancy and  Sister Wilding, destroying all excuses. Thanks for your example. 

Are You A Descendant of Patrick Cragun?


One of the main reasons I blog for genealogy is to connect with unknown relatives. This happens a little bit  already. As more people start researching and as the blog gets stronger with Google it will happen more often.

Patrick Cragun was not a Mormon, some might think he was due to the number of children he had, 13 it seems. Actually, some of them died young, and many families in the 1700 - 1800's had large families.

Three of Patricks children found the Mormons and joined them. One was my 4th great grandfather Elisha. Elisha and two of  his siblings went west with the Mormon Pioneers. Elijah Cragun died on the way in Winter Quarters.

Utah has many descendants of the Cragun pioneers. Simeon Cragun, Elisha's son being the grandfather to most of them, including myself.

There are many things we would like to know about our grandfathers Patrick and Elisha.  We have stories which we would like to verify with written backup. We would like to know more about Patricks father.

There are non mormom Cragun's with rootes in Indiana, Virginia, and Kentucky we would like to connect with. Hopefully some of you will discover this blog and connect. It could be fun and valuable in knowing more about our Cragun legacy.

Larry Cragun:

Friday, August 10, 2012

Friday Is For Fun: What About Luke Skywalker?

How Vader REALLY knew!All sorts of people are getting involved in Genealogy.

It's amazing what they discover.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Family Search Wiki, Your Number One Research Source

Below are links to a complete presentation on the Wiki. It may seem like the least interesting post as an article that I have published. However, if you study the content in each of these links it will likely become the most important genealogy research article you will have read.

The Wiki won't have the answers to your family history search, it will likely have the answer as to how to find the information you are seeking.

The content in the Wiki is growing daily. The good news is that it is possibly, even probably, your number one research source.

I encourage you to take the time to review everything in the following links. It just may multiply your research success and eliminate a whole bunch of wasted time.

Researching in the Wiki ~ Student Handout
Researching in the Wiki ~ Teaching Guide
Researching in the Wiki ~ Case Study with links
Researching in the Wiki ~ Case Study without links
Researching in the Wiki ~ Beginning Wiki User Page Links

Researching in the Wiki ~ Powerpoint (view online, click to advance slides)
Researching in the Wiki ~ Powerpoint (download, begins when you click on the link)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Collaborating To Document Mankind

Collaborate and Document, The Future of Effective Family History Research.
What a gift my mother and sister have provided me, a legacy of research recorded. Through them I have a head start. If only there were more at my fingertips. Thankfully there were others who ignited a fire of interest within me that emboldens me to carry forward, to move forward. Now, will this flame pass on to my children? My children who are busy raising their families? I hope so, I believe so.
There is a new gift coming, for my posterity and for all of us. The gift is a website and a focus. The focus is to have us document mankind. The gift is FamilySearch Family Tree. Family Tree addresses the question, "why should my children have to duplicate the research I have done"? For that matter, why should anyone so interested in a particular ancestor have to duplicate research already done? Š¢he answer is simple, they shouldn't have to.
This concept is going to be a shift in thought for some who think, "I did the research, it’s mine, you can’t have access to it." Isn’t that a selfish point of view? Aren’t private trees selfish?
Oh well, here comes FamilySearch Family Tree. Like it or not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are soon to see a message when they login to their genealogy website The message, “we are forwarding you to Family Tree”.

A signifcant change is that Family Tree is one tree. To illustrate: when I change or add a date of birth of an ancestor, I change it for all. Note, we are expected to document that change in Family Tree. Don't change unless you can document. Think of how awesome that is.

Also besides the document, those of us who have a story, a photo, or something of value – we can load that precious information for all to view. Up to 1000 items per ancestor.
Perhaps these followers, children, cousins, relatives will move on to breaking down our brick walls. They won’t waste time doing what has been done. I keep thinking how cool is that? This is the collaborating part.

Some thoughts and insights on Documentation

Family tree has a piece called conversations. We can communicate together. We can upload what we have. What we will want to is upload all relevant documentation and decide together what the best documentation is. As an example, the only documentation I have on a cousin Ray Spaulding is his funeral program. It provides birthdates and place and death date and place. It’s better than no documentation. However, if another person or relative has a birth or death certificate with a different date, we would probably decide it is a better source. We would most likely use the certificate. Notice the we in this concept? How cool is that?
In addition to uploading the document we will be asked to share where we found it. Why? So future researchers have access to the source we used. They should have the ability to verify, analyze, or discern the accuracy or ramifications of what we have provided. The rule of thumb should be that we “cite our sources”.

Primary Evidence:

Primary evidence is the “Best Evidence” available to prove the fact you are addressing. It could be an original document or record. It could be a first hand testimony in writing or in an oral interview of an eye-witness or participant. (Family Tree will provide the ability to upload oral interviews) Primary evidence might include writings that were done at the time of an event.
Examples of primary evidence would be an original will, a baptismal certificate, a marriage application, or a diary entry.

Secondary Evidence:

Secondary evidence would be materials that are copied or extracted in some form. It would be something taken from an original. Examples: taken from a book or family history, an obituary, or a compilation of: vital records, tombstone recordings, etc.

Direct Evidence:

This is evidence, that standing alone, should show proof to a fact. An example would be a will in which a father states that a particular person is his child. Another example is a marriage application the bride states her maiden name. Another, a family bible entry entered at or near the time of the event.

Indirect Evidence: This is also Circumstantial Evidence.

Sometimes this is all you can find. Even though it is circumstantial it is of value. It may be temporarily the best evidence that leads someone else to a path for more credible discovery.
Indirect evidence may be a fact that is inferred from other evidence. It may be a clue that leads one to further study. It may intimate you go to a particular other reference to verify a fact. A census may name people in a household without stating the relationships of each. Nice clue, not evidence. A census may state an age, not a birth year. Even better it might name a state of birth. More clues, right? A death certificate may give some information, not complete information. A document you have may infer the location of a family plot.
Get excited about how you can be a provider of family history via FamilySearch Family Tree. Anticipate connecting with cousins unknown. Go forward with an attitude of being the giver of the gifts of knowledge and attitude. Be kind as you convert your relatives to the value of collaboration. Always remember, that is not your grandfather, he is our grandfather. You've been given family history gifts, now it's your turn. How cool is that?
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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Transferred To The Training Zone - Where To Start A Trainee?

Joseph Smith Memorial Building
Josseph Smith Memorial Building
Up on the 3rd floor of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building is the mission training zone. That's where I have been transferred. Yes, after 3 months on loan I finally get transferred there. I really enjoy training new missionaries on Family History.

Each new missionary receives two weeks of basic training. The trainers are great people to be associated with. The whole mission is this way actually, people committed to serving and helping.

Yesterday was the new groups first full day. My trainee this time is more experienced than the last ones I have trained. He and his wife are back after a years absence. Since the training is to be customized or individualized based on their experience and interests we basically teach the same things but some advance further in the two weeks than others.

I share what we were able to do yesterday as a blueprint you might follow. We covered a lot of ground, but will have to go  back into more depth on: The family search Wiki, a brief intro to Family Tree, and the over 100 Facebook pages on research and how it makes Facebook more than play. We spent a lot of time discussing and exploring whether these would be beneficial to him and his family.

He already had a 5 generation chart we could print out so we took a couple of those names and started looking for them on line. The goal: starting to further document his ancestors histories. Our first search was in We found that person in a 1930 census. We copied that as documentation on several things: this mans birthplace and probable birth year, his parents birth places, and it verified his spouses first name. It showed us their location in 1930. A lot can be gained from a census, but they are likely only supporting facts rather than hard proof. They help a lot. Soon he will be able to press a button on Family Search and the document will be sent to his Family Tree to be attached to those ancestors. Quick and easy - and awesome.

The second person we searched was a great great grandmother. She wasn't in Family Search, but we found her in She shows up in a public member tree. No documentation was attached but it did list the same 14 siblings in this family. This ladies mother had a different last name than he had. We spent time looking to determine who had the correct last name for this grandmothers mother. We printed copies of all we see for him to file and work on later. He now should ponder whether or not he should subscribe to The main reason, as a member he could communicate with this person. He could discover how she is related. They could collaborate.

The Church has a partnership arrangement with that provides a free version in the family history centers and church headquarters. That won't provide him the ability to communicate or create a family tree in

Even though he has been here before, and is an experienced genealogy fan, he learned a lot of new things today, and that is rewarding to me his trainer.

NOTE: ON day 2 we added searching with and

10 Questions to Ask a Research Facility Before You Visit

You can only accomplish a portion of your research on line. You can add to your success by using local sources such as an LDS Family History Library.

Eventually you will likely have to visit a local source to your ancestors: a historical society, a cemetary, or other facility. Make sure you study these 10 items found on, click here.

1. What are the regular research hours?

This may seem like a no-brainer, but some people still neglect to ask. By asking, you may learn that the facility is open late on certain nights for research, or that some areas of the facility keep separate hours. While the main library may be open daily 9-5, the microfilm room or local history room may have more limited research hours.

2. Are there any holidays or special closures?

It's not that uncommon for archives, courthouses and other research facilities to close for a few weeks during the summer or winter to give their staff a break, or to do some housekeeping. Holiday closures may also include days you didn't expect, or portions of a facility may be closed for repairs or remodeling. Some smaller courthouses may even close for lunch!

3. In what form are the records available?

Monday, August 6, 2012

England And Wales Historical Directories

There are links to some really good blogs that are listed on the right sidebar of this blog. I am regularly updating these links. Please comment if there is one you think should be added. In addition to offering it to you I use this as a way for me to organize sites I think relevant to my research.

One of them, Tangled Trees, click here, brought my attention to a useful directory for England and  Wales. Here is a portion, click the link above for the full article.
Free Digital Library of Historical Directories

Historical Directories is a digital library of local and trade directories for England and Wales, from 1750 to 1919. It is a free website produced by the University of Leicester and is very user friendly being searchable by location, decades, or keywords.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, "Come Thou Fount"

Have a nice Sunday. Kathleen and I saw them sing this song in a pioneer days concert last month. Join us in spirit as we are heading over to the conference center for todays live broadcast. Love Larry

Irritating Ads When VIewing This Site On Firefox

FYI: I understant those who view this blog on Firefox get irritating banner ads. They are not sponsored by me. I have turned this over to Google and complained to Firefox.

This is probably a good reason to change your browser to Google Chrome.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Welcome To The Family History Center Portal

One of the great sites people that most people are unaware of is It has links to some of the most important websites for those interested in research. It's classes and workshops are outstanding. There are classes for those interested in specific areas or localities.

Most of the links are those that you can use at home, the premium sites are only usable at LDS Family History Centers. Some of you may have subscriptions to some of these sites, this is a quick way to access them.

Please take a look at the classes and workshops. They are available to you 24-7.
 Notice some of the research courses they have for you: 
One of the more important topics we will cover soon, is the importance of knowing the resources available to you in the areas your ancestors lived or died. Notice the classes that might help you with that. Take note that the FamilySearch Wiki is the number one resource for that. 

The courses section in the Family History Center Portal has new training added on a regular basis. Can you believe the commitment made here? Returning often is a good idea.

This site is usually the main site you see when you open a browser at a LDS local family history center. There is likely a family history center near you.  
One of the features in this site is to find a local Family History Center. For that you would click FamilySearch Help Center as pictured below. Clicking Local Assistance in the Help Center gives you access to a directory of family history libraries, some self help questions and answers, and other assistance options.

This website has similar links to information that you find on the home page of Both sites are musts. There are many more to select from on the Family History Center Portal.

About - This site is what it looks like, a search engine. But it is a whole lot more. As a search engine it is recognized as having the most data of any genealogy database out there. It is free. Each week millions of entries new data is loaded into Family Search. Partners are adding data. Billion Graves is a new partner with all of their data now coming up in search results. The 1940 census is there. All of the indexing the church is doing is placed there.

I learned a neat trick yesterday. I know, you already know it. It is a parent search on FamilySearch. Don't fill in the name of the person you are searching for, rather the parents of the person. It just might pull up the name you want, + his or her siblings. 

PS: As in most websites I write about I have added the links to these two sites in the right sidebar. They are under the category of "Primary Research Sites"

Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday Is For Fun

Wrong Number!
Wrong Number by Pete Labrozzi on Flickr
Smile, you are on Candid Camera. Not really.

Did you know that: Where there's a will, I want to be in it? That the last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it's still on my list? Are you aware that since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak?

Go play, the weekend is comin fast. Larry

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Lorenzo Freeman Bingham as told by his daughter Blanche

89 - Lorenzo Freeman BinghamBlanche Bingham is my dads mother, my grandmother. I share this story with you and it points out a couple of important things. 1- Even a short story left for posterity has value. 2- This article is now linked to Family Search Family Tree for anyone to find. Until now it has been in a file my mother left to me, not to be seen unless you had the file.Other information is in the same hidden state. Blanche is the daughter of Lorenzo, she is my grandmother. He has 2 grandchildren still living. I copy it exactly and have not corrected any grammatical errors.

My father was a very kind man. He always could find time to help a neighbor. After working from 10 to 14 hours a day. There was no union at the time and there was street cars and horses and carriages. So most of the time they could ride as far as the street car went and then walk. My father was a lovely tenor singer. When we children were little he would sind, or read to us and and one or the other ofus would keep him busy getting drinks of water. It didn't matter how tired the poor dear was he would wait on us and I know he wasn't so thirsty as we enjoyed him to wait on us. He always fixed our shoes by half soling them. When  we had company mother was getting dinner he would tell that what a good dumpling she could make. He liked to tease my mother. She would tell him after company was gone that she would like to see and taste his dumplings. He would just laugh, put the smallest child on his knee and sing funny songs to them. He loved the church but never went very often but always upheld the principles of the church. I think on account of his smoking his pipe that kept him from going to church; and maybe his work. Most of the time he worked as a laborer. He cut annd put up ince for the summer. That was the only way at that time to have ice in thie summer. My father said that that when he was a young man that there wasn't money for everything so they would all take soemthing they had grown such as squash or a pples or potatoes or onions to pay ones that furnished music to dance by. The dances were always church dances and they would dance all night or until 4 o'clock in the morning every one turned out --old and young-- they would bring their babies, put them to bed in the windows or in corners on chairs. single ones came on horses with a sack of whatever he had and the families came in wagon and buggies wrapped up in quilts and hot rocks and straw. My father said next morning Grandpa would call them to get up to do the chores and he owuld say he was so sleepy and grandpay would say, "those that danced had to pay the fiddler", for his to get up. Father was a man of love for every one and he had charity. It's a shame that he hadn't worked on genealogy for as soon as he talked to anyone he'd ask them who their parents were. He would laugh and tell them he knew them very well and then he would have a long talk about some of the fun things they had done. He always enjoyed living over his childhood days.