Technical stuff

A long time ago, when I first became interested in my families' history, I thought that some day I would gather together everything I knew and write a book which could be read from cover to cover by anybody who was interested. I even compiled some small segments of that history and typed or printed them for this relative or that.

That wasn't really a satisfactory way to present family history information, though. The extent of our knowledge of our heritage is constantly increasing. Corrections are being made all the time to what we once thought was "carved in stone". Not all of what we know is of interest to all of our relatives. Computers, which have been with us for more than a half-century now, made it possible to preserve and archive data of all kinds more easily. With the advent of hypertext and the World Wide Web, the task of organizing, updating and presenting family history information became much easier than ever before.

The following quote, from our daughter-in-law's college textbook (HTML Basics, by Lynda Armbruster), describes why books are now obsolete, at least for purposes of recording and sharing family history:

Hypertext differs from the linear model of documentation that we have become accustomed to over the years. Linear progression is common to printed documents (such as a book), where the reader is expected to start on page 1 and progress through the document line-by-line and page-by-page until reaching the last page.

At first, progressing through a hypertext document might seem haphazard or random, jumping from topic to topic through a series of links... A particular link might connect the reader to another section of the same file, another file on the same computer or a file on a computer across the world! Anything is possible with hypertext on the Web.

With those thoughts in mind, I'll describe what went into the Carey Family Album.

Design Philosophy

I've tried to make the pages of this family album accessible to everybody who might come visiting. You'll see no warnings that "this page is best viewed with Browser X", or that "you need this or that plugin" to look at our family album. In the words of internet founder Tim Berners-Lee in Technology Review, July 1996:

Anyone who slaps a "this page is best viewed with Browser X" label on a Web page appears to be yearning for the bad old days, before the Web, when you had very little chance of reading a document written on another computer, another word processor, or another network.

I recognize that not everybody has the most powerful computer, the fastest connection to the internet, or the latest software, and I design accordingly. I heartily support the "viewable with any browser campaign". A lot of what you see here was developed on a 486 laptop computer running Windows 3.1 and the Opera 3.62 browser. If it looks good under those circumstances, it'll look good anywhere.

I regularly check with people who use a variety of computers and browsers to make sure they can see what I see. Sometimes I have to make corrections based on their input. Our daughter Alice has been especially helpful in this regard, pointing out things which don't work in the obsolete Netscape browser which came with her @home internet access software. I'd be especially interested in hearing from anybody who is visiting the Carey family album on a non-Windows platform, such as a Mac, or a Linux or Unix system. At some point, though, if you're running a very old browser or operating system, you should consider upgrading to more current levels. I can't guarantee that these pages will continue to look good in all environments.

I try to write pages which comply with the industry standards for HTML. I use the World Wide Web Consortium's HTML Validation Service to make sure my pages meet those standards. That doesn't mean they'll look any better or be any better designed than non-compliant pages, but that they should display correctly, regardless of what browser you're using.

Most of the Carey Family Album's content is text of one kind or another. I don't believe it's necessary to add extraneous pictures or graphics. The only pictures you'll see are those which are directly related to the story being told. I've tried to make them just the right size to be seen on most computer monitors. You'll see these pictures best if your computer's monitor is capable of 800 x 600 (or greater) resolution and you have your browser's window maximized. (Click on the little square or up-arrow in the upper right-hand corner to expand its window to the largest size possible.) It may also be helpful, when viewing photos, to take advantage of your browser's full screen option, if it exists. In some browsers, you can press the F11 key to turn on (or off) full screen mode.

After writing all of the above, I came across an excellent page of "Web Design Guidelines" at The author, who writes in Spanish, agrees with most of what I say, except that he has an unreasonable (to me) prejudice against frames. Oh well. If you dislike frames, and would like to try looking at our family album without using that little menu on the left, please see our Frames or No Frames page.

In addition to containing no unnecessary graphics to slow your browsing, these pages were written as simply as possible. No "web design package" was used to "generate" HTML. Everything you see was written in Notepad or similar editors. The result is that the pages consume as little space as possible on the web server where they reside and will download as fast as physically possible to your computer.

For something with a few more features than Notepad, we often use HTML-Kit. It's free and you'll definitely find it helpful if you do your own web design work.

Related Page:
Sources of information

There are a lot of links in these pages. They should appear in RED before you click on them, and BLUE once you've visited them. Please take full advantage of these links to explore "related" (pun intended!) topics. I've tried to keep repetition of information to a minimum to save space, so if you find a person or topic of interest, most of the links on the page you're looking at will also be worth checking out. You'll also see, near the top of some pages, a little "related page" box (see sample on the left!) which will direct you to additional material in our family album about the same person or topic which may not be listed in our table of contents. If you happen to click on a link which causes a "Not Found" message, let me know right away.

Accuracy of Data

Please don't accept anything you might see in these pages, or anywhere else, as being 100 per cent accurate. I've made every effort to include only "correct" information. Most of what you see which pertains to people who have lived during the 20th Century is based on my own first-hand knowledge or what reliable persons (you wouldn't doubt your own grandma, would you?) have told me. But memories are often hazy or confused. If you see something that doesn't look right, question it! Consider what you see in these pages to be clues to a truth which we may never know completely.

Don't accept everything you see in writing, whether it's in a court record, birth or death certificate, family Bible, or newspaper, or even on a tombstone! A contemporary account, or record created at the time of an event, is usually the most reliable kind of information, but it's still subject to the whims of the person recording it. Records which have been copied, transcribed, scanned, republished, or uploaded to web sites are prone to being garbled in transmission. See my comments below on spelling if you think I'm spelling your ancestor's name wrong or if you come across different spellings of it somewhere.

Please visit our Sources page for a list of just a few of the many books and web sites we've drawn upon while compiling this family album. Your feedback on the accuracy of anything you might read here is most welcome!


Don't pay too much attention to differences in the spelling of given names or surnames in our families, or of the places where they lived. The spelling of the English language didn't become standardized until late in the 19th Century. Hence we see both Carey and Cary, and Langton and Langdon. Our relatives who came from countries which spoke languages other than English often had their names reinvented by clerks and officials in this country. Many of our ancestors were illiterate and couldn't have told you how to spell their names anyway. The literacy level of county clerks and census takers wasn't much higher! I found the following article, which discusses the spelling and pronunciation of one of my ancestral surnames, to be illustrative of this point.


by James Irvine (pronounced ervin)

This is often an emotive issue. Compiling lists of different spellings has been an intriguing challenge. In 1988 our Seneschal, Harry Irwin, claimed he had nearly 200 spellings of our name; some years ago I suggested a further 18 to him, and I am sure even more could be found. Even the town of Irvine in Ayrshire, from which some believe our surname was derived, had over 30 spellings (A. McJannet, "The Royal Burgh of Irvine", 1938.)

The most important point on this subject is to recognise that our forbears were much less concerned about spelling in general, and about the spelling of their own names in particular, than we are today. Dictionaries were only introduced during the 18th century, and when it came to surnames the clerks often had to rely on phonetics and their own preferences. As Sam Weller said in reply to the judge's query on whether his name was spelt with a "V" or a "W" (Charles Dickens, "Pickwick Papers":) "That depends upon the taste and fancy of the speller, my Lord." Even amongst the literate there were often variations within an immediate family; for example, D.M. Mackintosh noted ("The Irvines of Drum and Their Cadet Lines, 1300-1750", 1998, page 319):

"In a feu charter of 1665 the clerk spelled the name consistently as 'Irving', but throughout the five times in the signing of the paper, the father John of Murthill signed as 'John Irwin', his wife (born as an Irvine) 'Issobell Irving', their second son 'Alexr. Irvin Jr', and the third son 'Rot. Irvine', each spelling his surname differently."1

Yet another example of spelling differences was mentioned in The Mother Tongue, by Bill Bryson:

More than 80 spellings of Shakespeare's name have been found... Shakespeare himself did not spell the name the same way twice in any of his six known signatures and even spelled it two ways on one document, his will, which he signed Shakespere in one place and Shakspeare in another. Curiously, the one spelling he never seemed to use himself was Shakespeare.

I almost died laughing when I read this:


Ever wonder why you can't translate or understand some census reports? Perhaps this will help.

"I am a census taker for the city of buffalo. are city has groan very fast in resent years and now in 1865, it has becum a hard and time consuming job to count all the peephill. Thur are not meny that can do this work, as it is nessarie to have an ejachashun, which a lot of pursons still do not have. Anuther atribeart needed for this job is good speling for meny of the peephill to be counted can hardly speek inglish, let alone spel there names!"

-- Madison Co. Genealogical Soc., Winterset IA 50273, 1987 Newsletter


I used to get more than 50 e-mails per day from people I didn't know and didn't want to know. This unsolicited e-mail, better known as SPAM, tries to sell things that run the gamut of pornography, get-rich-quick schemes, computer accesories and software, and even bogus genealogical services. Perhaps you receive SPAM in similar quantities.

I must confess that I was probably responsible for causing some junk mail to be sent to you and me. In my zeal to communicate with people who share my research interests, I used to include my own address, and the addresses of fellow researchers, in many of the pages in this Family Album.

SPAM happens because the evil, sleazy people who generate it use programs called spiders2 which search through every page which is accessible on the World Wide Web, looking for e-mail addresses. The Center for Democracy & Technology released a report entitled Why Am I Getting All This Spam? which analysed this phenomenon. CDT suggested encrypting all e-mail addresses which appear in web pages. One common scheme is to disguise an address such as as something like joeblow AT somewhere DOT com, forcing the persons who wish to send Joe Blow e-mail to manually correct his address in their e-mail headers.

But I don't want to make my cousins go to extra work to communicate with me or with each other. So I took an alternative suggestion made by CDT to use West Bay Web's e-mail address encryption page to encrypt addresses as a string of numeric characters. For example, Joe Blow's address will appear as

j o e b l o w @ n o w h e r e . c o m

to those evil spiders, but it'll look okay to you and me and his correct address will be passed from your browser to your e-mail program when you click on his "mailto:" link in one of my pages.

Aug 2003. With our switch from EarthLink to Adelphia (which later became Time-Warner Roadrunner), we started using a special address for genealogy or family history research, which you may find on our Researchers page. Once you get in touch with us, I'll give you my "personal" e-mail address, which you're welcome to use, but not to mention in a web page. We also finished the encryption project, begun in April 2003, which makes anybody else's address hard to use for spam. Let's hope these efforts will help keep us all SPAM-free!


I'd like to hear whatever you have to say about any aspect of this family album, the information presented in it, and the way it's presented. Please be specific if you wish to make corrections, or report problems viewing a page. Let me know the title of the page and what is wrong with it, as well as what kind of browser you're using. If you're not sure, identify your browser, jot down the information, or better still cut and paste it into an e-mail to me.

Thank you for visiting the Carey Family Album. I welcome your comments!

Charles Warren (Chuck, Charlie, Carlitos) Carey.

1 Taken from The Holly Leaf Chronicle of the Clan Irwin Association, Volume XVII, Number 1, First Quarter 2001, page 14. There's also an excellent and at times amusing discussion of name spellings in RootsWeb's Guide to Tracing Family Trees.
2 A spider program isn't necessarily evil. The services such as Google and Yahoo which people use when searching for topics on the Web all use some kind of spider to crawl through billions of pages all over the world and create indices for use by their search engines. Our own search facility uses an index created by a spider to help you find whatever you're looking for in the Carey family album.
This page was last updated 30 Jul 2014.