20 February 2008, Vol. 11, No. 8
Table of Contents
Editor’s Desk: News and Notes
Using RootsWeb
Bottomless Mailbag:
Readers Write In
Ancestor Seekers
What’s New: Databases, Freepages, and Mailing Lists
The Darkroom
You Found It
Subscriptions, Submissions,
Advertising, and Reprints
RootsWeb Resources
RootsWeb Helpdesk
Check here for frequently asked questions about RootsWeb.
RootsWeb Newsroom
Check here for the latest RootsWeb news.
RootsWeb Store
Check here for the latest in genealogy books, software, photos, and more.
RootsWeb Spotlight
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RootsWeb Review Archives
Check here for previous editions.
Editor's Desk: News and Notes
The Death of Julia M. Case
Julia M. Case "Julie" was one of the founding editors of the RootsWeb Review and co-edited it with Myra Gormley from 1998 through 2001.

Julie passed away somewhat unexpectedly on 13 February 2008. You can view her obituary, written by Myra, at her website.

Also, I have included some thoughts on Julie from Joan Young, one of our RootsWeb Review columnists. Joan wrote,

"When Julie and I were both working together at RootsWeb back in the early days we discovered we were 'cousins' through her father's BORTON ancestry. We would chat through e-mail about our BORTON connection. Julie was one of a kind and possessed a quirky sense of humor that came through in her e-mails, which I will miss terribly.

"I only met Julie in person one time—at the National Genealogical Society Conference in Pittsburgh in 2003. She was a joy to be around. Myra Gormley was there too. Putting the two of them together was enough to entertain and amuse everyone who came in contact with them. What a pair they made!

"In her personal life, Julie doted on her daughter, Kris, and grandson, Christopher, who was born shortly before I met her at the Pittsburgh conference. Julie had a keen nose for good writing and could always spot an interesting article. Her newsletters, Missing Links and Somebody's Links, provided leads that helped many a genealogical researcher over the years. Her newsletters and favorite stories are archived at her website, which will be updated and preserved by her friends at www.petuniapress.com.

"What I remember most, and will miss most, about Julie, is her unique outlook on life. It always tended toward finding the humor in any story or situation she encountered."

Suveys, Surveys, Surveys

I know I've been asking you to participate in lots of surveys lately, but they just keep coming my way.

However, in my opinion, this survey is the most important one yet. It was created by the RootsWeb staff to find out what you like and don't like about RootsWeb, and how we can serve you better. Please take a few minutes to fill it out and let us know how we're doing at RootsWeb.

RootsWeb Feedback Survey

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Using Rootsweb
By Jana Lloyd
Search Thingy Is Back
RootsWeb users have created millions of websites. About 10 million, to be more precise.

Some were created by individuals; others by historical societies, libraries, or genealogical groups.

Some are hosted by RootsWeb (freepages), and some are hosted elsewhere but linked to RootsWeb (registered websites) so RootsWeb users can locate them more easily.

They contain everything from information on a particular family to cemetery burial indexes to instructions on how to create your own freepage.

One of these Web pages may have just the information you are looking for. But how do you find it?

Welcome Search Thingy.

In the early days of RootsWeb, Search Thingy was developed to search all of the websites and freepages hosted by and linked to RootsWeb.

However, because of a lack of hardware and server space, it was not possible to keep Search Thingy up-to-date with the thousands of websites constantly being added to RootsWeb. It has been out-of-date for some time.

That has now changed. Thanks to a special RootsWeb developer, I am happy to announce that Search Thingy is up and running—and indexing 10 million websites.

So if someone, somewhere has put information you need on a RootsWeb website, chances are better than ever that you will find it.

Search Thingy is not in the most intuitive spot. Here's how you find it.

Locate the "Search Engines and Databases" heading on the RootsWeb homepage. Click the "Index of All Search Engines and Databases" link below this heading. Click "Search Thingy." It's the second database listed under "Our Most Popular Searchable Indexes."

Besides using Search Thingy to search all of the RootsWeb freepages and registered websites, you can also browse them by categories such as locality, surnames, and major projects hosted by RootsWeb.

To browse through the millions of RootsWeb websites by topic, click "Web Sites" on the RootsWeb header (at the very top of RootsWeb.com). You will be taken to the "Registry of Websites at RootsWeb."

I was excited to try Search Thingy out for myself, so as soon as I heard it was up and running I typed in the place name for a locality I am constantly researching on my family tree: Scranton, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania.

Search Thingy returned an amazing number of hits. Some were more relevant than others, and I admit I had to do quite a bit of wading. But, eventually I located some great Web pages, including one for penny postcards of Scranton from the early 1900s, a fully scanned copy of the 1867-68 Scranton City Directory, and the fabulous USGenWeb county page for Lackawanna. I have visited this site many times, but when I revisited it this time I found some new leads, including an index to obituaries in the Scranton Republican, where I located an entry for my third great-grandfather.

I've put out a request on the PALACKAW Mailing List for someone to look up the obituary at the Scranton Public Library, so hopefully a kind soul will take pity on me and look it up (hint, hint).

I hope you will take ten minutes right now to try Search Thingy out for yourself. And, of course, to let me know what great treasures it unlocks for you.

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Caring and Sharing
I have only been doing research on my ancestors for about a year, and thanks to the generosity and kindness of others on the message boards, I have found distant cousins of both myself and my husband.

One search I was doing led me to another line of my husband's family, and although I cannot find the birth record for his grandmother, I have communicated with distant cousins who share some of the same family stories as my husband and his first cousins. If not for contact with these people I wonder if anyone would have sorted out the confusion that made them seem so elusive all these years.

Also, thanks to the message boards and the responses that I have received I have been able to view family trees that take us back several generations. And we have been provided pictures of ancestors that we otherwise would not have seen.

Thank you all for your sharing and concern. You make it a pleasure to have this hobby, and it is a joy to share the research with so many people who are interested in genealogy.

Robin Hunter

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
Shadrak Dixon
I found an interesting story about one of my ancestors, Shadrack Dixon, who died 13 January 1869. It was in Jackson County, Indiana, volume one, by Turner Publishing Company. I thought maybe some RootsWeb readers would enjoy it as well.

"Shadrack is buried, not in a grassy plot near his home, but in the center of a huge boulder on his farm. The boulder measures sixty feet across and is fifteen feet above the ground. His grave extends six feet down in the center of the massive stone. He felled a large walnut tree and worked out the boards he wanted for his coffin. After he became ill and had a limb amputated, a stone mason was called to chip out the grave. The job was superintended by none other than Shad Dixon himself from his bedroom window overlooking the sight. A huge flat and seamless stone about 8" thick was sledded by a team of oxen to the house and shaped to fit. After working by lantern light to finish, the stone mason went to the house and announced that the grave was done. In a few minutes Shadrack, content in the knowledge that his chosen resting place was ready, died. A head and foot stone of white was erected."

Although the farm has changed hands and no longer belongs to the family, Shadrack still rests in that boulder to this day.

Roger Schumacher
Ancient Faces

You mentioned the website DeadFred.com in a recent newsletter, where you can find and post pictures of ancestors. A similar website is AncientFaces.com.

Here I found a really good sketch of a great-great-great-grandfather, Charles Thrasher, born 1795. Like Dead Fred, it is free but contributions are welcomed. Just thought your readers might want to check it out also.

Stuck Photographs

Ever since reading RootsWeb Review articles on detaching photographs with dental floss and acid-free paper, I have been wondering if either of these would work with my problem.

I made the ignorant mistake of borrowing my uncle's wedding photo from his living room on a hot summer day and placing it in view of the sun in the back of my Jeep. By the time I started to remove the photo from the frame to scan it into my computer, it had accumulated some condensation.

I don't know if I was fortunate or unfortunate, but the photo slid about 1.5 inches off the glass then became very stuck. The image remained intact enough for me to do a scan. However, I ended up returning the wedding photo and frame to my uncle unassembled— with profuse apologies.

Is there a safe way to remove the photo from the glass? My uncle was married in April 1985, and I borrowed the framed photo in 1999.

Secondly, what is the proper method of moving photos from one place to another (i.e., how do you package them properly and how do you insulate against temperature or humidity changes)? This question applies to framed photos, photo albums, and loose photos in a box or envelope.

Marilyn T. Burkle
Finding "Lost" Cemeteries

Sometimes the rural burial places of long-dead ancestors have been named, but they are difficult to find for various reasons. Sometimes the sites are on private land and the graves are untended. I offer two potential sources of information, which may or may not be helpful.

One is the local fire department (though admittedly this didn't work for me the last time I tried it). Of necessity they know the roads in the area.

Another resource, suggested to me by a friend who also has rural graves of interest, is the mail carrier.

These sources may or may not have direct knowledge of burial sites in the area. However, they will certainly know the roads.

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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ANCESTOR SEEKERS researchers at the Family History Library in Salt
Lake City will search this vast collection for your ancestors from
the U.S.A., Canada, Australia, or Europe. Friendly service, affordable prices.

For a no-obligation research assessment visit

For help from professional genealogists in England or Scotland visit www.britishancestors.com/research/

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

No New User-contributed Databases at RootsWeb

Submit Your Genealogical Data to a RootsWeb Database.

New/Updated Freepages by Individuals
No 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.

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

UDC = United Daughters of the Confederacy


  • mahhs2 — Hopkinton Historical Society (Massachusetts)
  • necemet2 — Nebraska Cemeteries
  • tngfcudc — General Forrest (Tennessee) Chapter UDC

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 Hopkinton Historical Society (Massachusetts) website is at

Request a Freepage (Free Web Account).

New Mailing Lists

New Surname Mailing Lists

New Regional Mailing Lists

  • No New Regional Mailing Lists

New Ethnic or Special Interest Mailing Lists

  • MSOG — A mailing list for the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists and others interested in the society to keep up-to-date on meetings, activities, and issues affecting the society.
  • NE-GEN-SOCIETIES — A mailing list for discussing genealogical and historical societies in Nebraska, and announcements of meetings, topics, and programs concerning the various societies and what they can offer the average researcher.

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 picture is of my grandfather, Carey Carniff Gore, who worked at two movie theatres in Birmingham, Alabama. It was his job to hand paint the signs advertising the movies. He used a large piece of board, and when the movie changed he just painted over it. This was the sign he painted for Charlie Chaplin's movie Modern Times, which was released in 1936.

Submitted by Donna Gore

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
An Odd Pair

I grew up in Waynesville, in central Illinois, and the newspaper I always read was the Bloomington Daily Pantagraph.

As it happens, Bloomington had a "twin city" named Normal, Illinois. It got its name because the town was built up around the state teacher's college, then known as a "Normal School." There is another small city about a hundred miles to the south of Bloomington named Oblong.

So, when a local girl from the Bloomington-Normal area was engaged to a young man from Oblong, the Pantagraph ran the following headline: "Normal woman to marry Oblong man."

Thanks to Steven C. Barr, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
Unusual Cemetery Name

As you drive along Highway 50 in Franklin County, Missouri, you pass through the little town of Useful. On the north side of the highway is the cemetery. Its name is Useful Cemetery.

Thanks to Millie Ponzer

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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The RootsWeb Review does not publish or answer genealogical queries, and the editor regrets that she is unable to provide any personal research assistance or advice.

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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: 20 January 2008, Vol. 11, No. 8