13 February 2008, Vol. 11, No. 7
Table of Contents
Editorís Desk: News and Notes
Using RootsWeb
Bottomless Mailbag:
Readers Write In
Whatís New: Databases, Freepages, and Mailing Lists
The Darkroom
You Found It
Subscriptions, Submissions,
Advertising, and Reprints
RootsWeb Resources
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RootsWeb Review Archives
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Editor's Desk: News and Notes
Video Tour of the Allen County Public Library
The Allen County Public Library, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, has the largest public genealogy collection in the United States (only the privately-owned Family History Library in Salt Lake City is larger).

If you've never been to the Allen County Public Library, are planning a research trip there, or simply want to learn more about it, you can now watch a two-part video tour of the facility and learn more about its resources on YouTube:

Allen County Library Video Tour, Part 1

Allen County Library Video Tour, Part 2

Book Notice

Murder at Green Springs: The True Story of the Hall Case, Firestorm of Prejudices
By J. K. Brandau

This book documents the 1914 Virginia sensation that was repressed for nearly a century. The Hall murder trial crowned twenty-five years of outrageous history at Green Springs Depot in Louisa County, Virginia, and involved countless individuals throughout the region.

The book specifically mentions more than 100 Louisa County families and a lesser number from neighboring Albemarle, Orange, and Fluvanna counties.

Drawings, maps, photographs, endnotes, and a bibliography support the text. It is 497 pages.

The book is available in paperback and hardback from all on-line booksellers. For more information, visit www.murderatgreensprings.com.

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Using Rootsweb
By Joan Young
Brick Walls: The Value of Discussing Your Research with Others
After the publication of my article on reopening brick-wall research, I received e-mails from several readers who put the links and suggestions in the article into practice on their own brick walls, and a few who decided to see if they could help me with my elusive ancestor Abraham ROBINSON.

The e-mail discussions that followed reinforced my belief that no resource is more valuable in genealogical pursuits than having others with whom to discuss your research. Having another pair of eyes look over what you have checked and what you have not is invaluable.

I struggled for many years with my SMITHs from York County, Pennsylvania. I knew my great-grandfather James Henry SMITH was born in 1858 and baptized at First Moravian Church in York in January 1859. The baptismal record listed his parents as Samuel SMITH and Catharine DIETERICH. I had James's obituary from January 1920, which listed one surviving sister, Mrs. Samuel CORMANY of York.

I found Samuel CORMANY and his wife Minnie on census records, so I had a first name for James's surviving younger sister. However, repeated every-line scrutiny of census films going back to the days when doing so meant a trip to the National Archives in Philadelphia, or a two-and-a-half-hour journey to the York County Heritage Trust Library, failed to turn up any hint of Samuel and Catharine with young son James on the 1860 census. When I began my search, there were no every-name indexes to check. The head of household index turned up many Samuel SMITHs, some with wives named Catharine, but none with a son James of the right age. I searched until my eyes were bleary.

By 1870 the only possible James SMITHs I could locate in York or surrounding counties in Pennsylvania and Maryland were not with parents but were working as farm laborers in households of non-relatives. By 1880 James was married.

I knew if I could locate James's parents on a census record I'd have at least a clue about their ages, which could lead me to earlier records where I could possibly learn the identities of their parents and siblings. Nothing worked and I put the SMITHs aside until a couple years ago when I decided to post a query on the PAYORK Mailing List.

A list member who enjoys doing census lookups and sorting out problems found something I'd overlooked all these years.

She found a Samuel and Catharine SMITH in York County on the 1860 census with two sons named John SMITH. The first was John J. SMITH, age five. The younger one was John H. SMITH, age two--just the right age to be James. "Don't you think that is odd?" she asked. Was it an enumerator error? Could the second "John" really have been James?

I'd overlooked this oddity all these years because I was so focused on looking for a James, not a John. If this was the right family, I had a bit of good fortune: Barney SMITH, father of the head of household, was also living with the family in 1860. Plus, both Samuel and Barney were stone masons. When you are looking for a common surname such as SMITH, finding a unique occupation can help in your search.

I was able to find Barney SMITH on the 1850 census in York County living with his wife, Catharine, and his son Samuel (still unmarried in 1850). I hadn't found this Samuel SMITH in any of my previous searches due to an error on the census enumeration.

Barney SMITH, age seventy-one, was listed as head of household, and beneath his name was listed Ann REED, age twelve. She was listed as black. Everyone else in the household was listed as white. Beneath her name was Catharine, age sixty-seven (Barney's wife), and Samuel, age twenty-seven. The enumerator had used ditto marks under the name REED for the surnames of the other members of the household. The indexer had picked up their surnames as REED, not SMITH.

From that point on, it was clear sailing. I found Samuel Leander SMITH's baptismal record at Christ Lutheran Church, York, listing his parents as Bernhard and Catharine SMITH. But I found conclusive proof that I had this family sorted out properly in the 1910 census entry for Samuel and Minnie CORMANY. Who should be living in the household with them but Minnie's older brother, John J. SMITH. Bingo!

And all it took to find the information was a helpful list member who took the time to do a bit of checking and notice an inconsistency that I'd overlooked for many years. Oh, the incalculable value of a second pair of eyes.

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Ancestors That Go Bump in the Night
My story about "Connecting" is the ultimate example of how helpful other people can be.

My grandmother's maiden name was Bump. My mother did years of genealogy research in the old days when it was all done the hard way—by writing letters, visiting graveyards, talking to family members, or going to courthouses. She had tried to trace the Bump line with little success.

When I finally got hooked on genealogy I started entering the material she had into Family Tree Maker. She had proposed that her grandfather was named Cyrus Bump, and that he was born somewhere in Indiana around 1850, but I could find nothing to prove it.

Finally I posted a query on GenForum, and within one hour, I received a reply. The kind individual not only gave me the proof I needed about Cyrus Bump, but he gave me three generations of Bumps going back, and also listed his website address so I could get more data.

Imagine my joy when I visited his website and found seven generations going back to Edouard Bompasse, who came on the first ship following the Mayflower. This ship was named "Fortune" and arrived at Plymouth on 10 November 1621. It contained mostly young, strong men who were partially responsible for saving the struggling colony from starvation.

The amount of information I gleaned from this one act of kindness far exceeds any other I have encountered. Thank you Lynn.

Since that experience, I have never hesitated to share my data with anyone who has a legitimate family connection and is looking to information that I was able to supply.

Bob Roy, California

Did someone find your genealogy query on the message boards and come to your rescue? Did you find five more generations of your family in WorldConnect? We want to hear your genealogy success stories. Send your family history triumphs to Editor-RWR@rootsweb.com.

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Bottomless Mailbag: Readers Write In
RE: The Watkins Man
Regarding the photograph of the Watkins man submitted two weeks ago, and Watkins products, my aunt sold Watkins products door-to-door in the late 1950s.

She had a squarish blue sample case that held spices and flavorings and skincare products. My favorite was a lanolin hand lotion. J.R. Watkins is still in business selling all natural products. Target stores carry some of their skincare line and recently began selling Watkins all natural cleaning supplies and dishwashing liquid.

Dead Fred Website

Last week, you recommended visiting the Dead Fred genealogy photograph website. I can certainly recommend checking Dead Fred. The first time I looked I found a picture of my grandfather's uncle, William Barkley, who lived in Kingman, Kansas.

Since a more direct family member never claimed the picture, it was sent to me at no charge after a year. It was made doubly important to me because Uncle William had inscribed it with a note to a cousin and his signature was on the back. The man who started the site found the picture in a second hand store.

There is no charge to use the site, but they do appreciate donations.

Frances Barkley Willess
RE: Comments and Corrections on Ancestry.com

I appreciated Mike Walton's contribution last week on sending in corrections to Ancestry.com. I thought I would add that I also occasionally find these transcription errors and use the provided correction facility. When making the correction I try to add some other identifying information, such as the individual's date of birth and/or the names of his parents. I can also occasionally direct attention to a preceding or following census in which the name is more legibly written and/or spelled correctly.

Read Mike Walton's article.

Richard B. Gilbert
Family Health Histories

In my years of doing genealogical research (since 1972), I have also recorded a health history for my ancestors. By keeping track of health problems, I have been able to confirm that various health concerns have indeed been passed from one generation to another (e.g., diabetes, stroke, various cancer types, physical disabilities, migraines [sick headaches, as my grandmother called them], and speech impediments).

As family trees branch out, so do health concerns. When our oldest daughter (forty-seven) was recently diagnosed with diabetes and the physician questioned about a family health history, she was able to relate the various generations that had this health problem.

[Editor's Note: To read an interesting article on creating family health histories, visit "Building a Tree of Prevention," from the January/February 2007 edition of "Ancestry" Magazine.

Also, check out the My Family Health Portrait tool available from the Surgeon General's office.]

Have a story, question, genealogy resource, or tip you'd like to share with RootsWeb Review readers? Send it to Editor-RWR@rootsweb.com.

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Due to the continued success of their Research Service, Ancestor Seekers are currently seeking researchers with skills in researching records from the United States, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Holland, France, Austria, Switzerland, Scandinavia, Italy, and Poland to conduct research at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

For further information contact www.ancestorseekers.com/about/researchers.php

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What's New: Databases, Freepages, and Mailing Lists
New User-contributed Databases at RootsWeb

VIRGINIA. Westmoreland County. Westmoreland Seminary, 1832 Alumni. 16 records. Submitted by Paula Lucy Delosh.

TENNESSEE. Madison County. City of Jackson. Hollywood Cemetery. 1,359 records. Submitted by Cristie Sanders Wright.

These databases have come online recently. They are searchable, but not browseable.

Submit Your Genealogical Data to a RootsWeb Database.

New/Updated Freepages by Individuals

If you have a new or substantially revised freepage at RootsWeb and would like to see it mentioned here, send the URL, the title, and a BRIEF description, including major surnames, to Editor-RWR@rootsweb.com.

Audet dit LaPointe Web page. By David L. Moody. This page contains information about Nicolas Audet dit Lapointe, born before 13 Jul 1637 at Saint-Pierre-Maille, Poitiers, Poitou, France.

Edmund Web page. By David L. Moody. This page contains information about Edmund Moody, born about 1495 in County Suffolk, England.

Matkovic Web page. By David L. Moody. This page contains information about Johann Matkovic, born 1871 in Tanca Gora, Slovenia.

If your genealogy- or history-related site is located somewhere other than RootsWeb, you can add the link to RootsWeb here.

Request a Freepage (Free Web Account).

New/Updated Freepages by Counties, States, and Historical Societies

DAR = Daughters of the American Revolution


  • cacvgg — Castro Valley Genealogy Group (California)
  • mdcemete — Maryland Cemeteries
  • mevhs — Vienna Historical Society (Maine)
  • mncemete — Minnesota Cemeteries
  • nhcemete — New Hampshire Cemeteries
  • tnpchgs — Polk County Historical & Genealogical Society


  • canharri — Harrigan Cove (Nova Scotia)

Some of these Web pages might not be accessible yet. They are created by volunteers, so if one that interests you isn't up yet, please check again in a few days or next week.

Note that the ~[tilde] before the Web account name is required.
For example, the Castro Valley Genealogy Group (California) website is at

Request a Freepage (Free Web Account).

New Mailing Lists

New Surname Mailing Lists

New Regional Mailing Lists

  • PUGH-DNA — A mailing list for discussing and sharing information regarding DNA testing of Pugh descendants.

New Ethnic or Special Interest Mailing Lists

  • KEFALONIA — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in the Greek island of Kefalonia (Cephallenia, Cephallonia, Kefallinia, or Kefallonia) and ancestral lines originating on this island.

To find or subscribe to a mailing list, or to search archived posts to more than 30,000 RootsWeb-hosted genealogy mailing lists, go here.

Request a Mailing List.

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The Darkroom

This photograph was taken on the wedding day of my great-grandparents, Howard Edgar LeCompte and Josephine Francis Palcher. The wedding took place on 28 April 1920 in Baltimore City, Maryland. The best man and maid of honor, also in the photo, are James Miles LeCompte (brother) and Anna Marie Palcher (sister), both of whom also married shortly after.

Kim Sumek, Temecula, California

For a chance to see your ancestor's photo in the RootsWeb Review, send it to Editor-RWR@rootsweb.com. Make sure to include your name and a brief description of the photograph.

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You Found It
Deceased Members

We know genealogy is all about dead relatives, but here's one that goes a bit far.

As the new historian of the Southern Genealogist's Exchange Society of Jacksonville, Florida, I have been reviewing the binders of historical material, and I came across this binder title from the Society's formative years of 1965-66:

"Opinion Survey for Deceased Members of the Southern Genealogy Exchange Society."

This was actually a survey of the very living members of the society, on the subject of how to extend condolences to the families of deceased members.

Thanks to Karen Rhodes
Odd Name

I work regularly with naturalization records for three Wisconsin counties. The oddest name I've found is one from Jefferson County—Ortgies Bulwinkel.

Thanks to Karen Weston, University Archivist, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

Found a funny name or humorous tidbit in old records, or an amusing entry in census, parish, church, or other records? Send these and other genealogy-related humor/humour items to Editor-RWR@rootsweb.com.

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Permission to reprint articles from RootsWeb Review is granted unless specifically stated otherwise, provided:

  1. the reprint is used for non-commercial, educational purposes; and
  2. the following notice appears at the end of the article: Previously published in RootsWeb Review: 13 February 2008, Vol. 11, No. 7