05 March 2008, Vol. 11, No. 10
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
Know someone who has gone above and beyond in the service of RootsWeb? Nominate them for recognition on our Volunteer Spotlight page.
RootsWeb Review Archives
Check here for previous editions.
Editor's Desk: News and Notes
New Feature on Message Boards

If you've visited the message boards recently, you may have noticed some surnames showing up as light green hyperlinks. Here's why.

A new tool searches the boards and when it recognizes a last name, it links the name to additional resources, such as the message board for that highlighted surname or to a free page on Ancestry.com that offers family history facts and resources. (We have done our best to identify surnames but you may occasionally see words that are not surnames with links.) It's a quick way to see what else is out there about your family.

If you have any specific feedback about this new feature please e-mail it to feedback@rootsweb.com.

Subscription Confirmation Now Required on the Mailing Lists

We've implemented a new safety feature for the mailing lists.

After sending your subscription request, you will receive a message titled "Complete your Subscription to [listname]." The e-mail will contain a link that leads you to a confirmation page.

By making you confirm that you subscribed to a list, we can make the lists less susceptible to spammers. (Some people use e-mail spamming software to subscribe fake e-mail addresses to our lists.)

Book Notice

Compiled and edited by Bettie W. Sarver and Reverend Jim Tom Ainsworth

Started in 2004 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the First Presbyterian Church of Crockett, Texas, this book contains registers, pastoral notes, marriages, baptisms, funerals, church minutes, and other records from the First Presbyterian Church and more than forty-seven other small churches—most no longer in existence—in Houston County and surrounding counties.

The book is now a three-volume set, hardback, 1,760 pages, with an every-name index.

The cost is $165.00 (plus shipping) per set.

For information about the book or about ordering, please contact Bettie Sarver at bwsarver@gmail.com or Jim Ainsworth at bwsarver@gmail.com.

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Using Rootsweb
By Mary Harrell-Sesniak, "Genealogy is not just a pastime; it's a passion."
Tips and Tricks: Using Search Engines to Search RootsWeb and Other Genealogy Sites

I remember my first "Ah-ha" RootsWeb moment. I located the David Hubbell Bible transcription, uploaded by Judy Wright to the Washington County, Virginia, USGenWeb site in 1997.

There it was—the birth date of David and his twin sister, Sally, along with information about their parents, Eliphalet and Elizabeth Hubbell/Hubble.

"Eliphalet Hubbell was born July 7th in the year of our Lord 1769"
"Elizabeth Hubbell was born June 18th 1772"
"Sally and David Hubbell were born May 25th 1808"

Sally is my ancestor, and this discovery helped me prove I descend from the first Hubbell in America, Richard Hubball of Ribbesford Parish, England, and his wife, Elizabeth Meigs.

However, there is one problem—Elizabeth Hubbell's maiden name remains a mystery. Many guesses about the name abound, including that it is Ransom or Whitehouse, but no proof has ever presented itself. So, this couple still remains on the list of dead-ends that I search for on a periodic basis.

I like to start my searches with RootsWeb—the newly updated Search Thingy (read the article on Search Thingy from two weeks ago) is great for searching all the Web pages created by RootsWeb users, and Meta Search is great for searching WorldConnect, the SSDI, the RootsWeb Surname List, vital records, and more, all in one place.

But frequently I search outside of RootsWeb and use Google or Yahoo. A simple search can produce an overwhelming amount of results, so I limit my results by using advanced search options.

To find advanced search options at Yahoo.com enter a query, select "Web Search," and then select "Options" to the right of the Search field. In Google, select "Advanced Search" prior to entering your query.

Both engines have individual nuances, but some features are identical. You can limit your search to specific genealogy sites on both—and use exact phrases or eliminate undesired words.

To limit your search to a specific site, type the domain name (e.g., RootsWeb.com) in the "only search in this domain/site" field (Yahoo) or "Domain" field (Google). Notice the language the search engine uses to perform this search:

hubbell bible site:rootsweb.com

You can type this language straight into the search field as a shortcut.

Also, the order you enter the items is optional, and the search engine ignores capitalization and punctuation, so type the words as you prefer. For example, you could have typed the previous example as follows and gotten the same results:

Site:RootsWeb.com Hubbell Bible

Entering "Hubble" and "Bible" as shown in the previous examples produces results only when the two terms occur on the same page, but not necessarily when they are adjacent to each other.

To search for words next to each other, enclose items in quotes. This forces the search engine to search for the exact phrase in the quotation marks. Repeat the search with spelling variations. Try a reverse order, so alphabetical lists aren't eliminated.

"David Hubbell" site:RootsWeb.com
"Hubble David" site:RootsWeb.com

You can search for spelling variations by using "OR":

"David Hubbell" OR "David Hubble" site:rootsweb.com

To search for two ancestors at the same time, try these variations. You can include "AND", but it is understood by most search engines and may be omitted.

"Richard Hubbell" "Elizabeth Meigs" site:rootsweb.com
"Richard Hubbell" AND "Elizabeth Meigs" site:rootsweb.com

RootsWeb has an abundance of archived files stored with the word "archiver" in the url. To include them, add "archiver" to the search. To eliminate them, include a minus sign (-).

For example, to view or eliminate all Bible files mentioned in the RootsWeb archives, enter the following, respectively:

archiver bible site:rootsweb.com
-archiver bible site:rootsweb.com

Some search engines have Safe Search Filters to filter out adult content. And Yahoo has a new Beta feature that has the ability to query some subscription sites. Right now the subscription sites it will search are not genealogy-specific (they include Consumer Reports, Factiva, Lexis Nexis, the Wall Street Journal, and others), but they may be useful for locating data on living persons.

Google and Yahoo permit you to search by specific languages or locations, and by websites that have been updated within certain time periods. With Google, you can also return results that are not filtered by a license, or that are free to share or modify, even commercially. You can also search for pages similar to ones you have located or for pages that link to pages you have located.

This last option may lead you to others following the same research topic.

Two other useful searches are Google Book Search and Google News Archive Search.

To try out Google Book Search, enter "vital records" followed by a state, such as Massachusetts:

Vital Records Massachusetts

Numerous out of copyright vital records through 1850 have been digitized here. You can only view those books that are historic, public, and no longer copyrighted, although you may be pointed to where you can locate other copyrighted books.

An interesting search to try with Google News Archive Search is to enter "obituary" followed by a surname. This is especially useful for locating obituary clippings that have passed through the family without the newspaper name or date of publication on them.

Obituary Hubbell

A small fee is required for obituary reprints, but this service is more affordable and less time-consuming to use than other sources.

Popular search engines are constantly evolving, so take time to explore their advanced search features on a regular basis.

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Help from an Anonymous RootsWeb "Angel"

I was recently overwhelmed by the generosity of a researcher on RootsWeb. I do not know who it was that helped me, but I certainly appreciated the help and wanted to share my story.

My mother had an Uncle Bill, who died before I was born. I knew little about him other than his name—William Gordon. But when I found an address for a Mrs. W.R. Gordon in the Atlanta, Georgia, area in my father's old address book, I thought perhaps I had found mention of his wife. I did not know Bill even had a wife.

I located Bill in the 1920 North Carolina census, where he was listed as 35, married, and living in his mother's home with his wife, Mrs. W.R. Gordon, 32, born in Georgia. Her father was also listed as born in Georgia, her mother in North Carolina.

I found another clue about them in an old letter from my grandmother to her mother saying it was nice that Bill and Elizabeth could be with her for Easter. It was possible that this was referring to my Uncle Bill and his wife, but I wasn't sure.

In the 1930 census Bill is listed as single, 45, and living with his mother in North Carolina. A cousin sent a tombstone photo showing Bill died in August 1930. Now I was really intrigued.

At this point I went to the RootsWeb message boards with my address book listing. I could not tell if the area of Atlanta this Mrs. W.R. Gordon was in would have been enumerated in DeKalb or Fulton County.

Within a week of posting my query I had four marvelous answers from a very kind, anonymous RootsWeb researcher. First, he/she gave me information from city directories from 1923 to 1931 listing an Elizabeth Gordon living in a home at the address I had. I now knew for sure her name was Elizabeth. I also knew Elizabeth's job and that the home was owned by Mrs. K.S. Hellams. Additionally, in one year Elizabeth is listed as the widow of W.W. Gordon. By 1931 she no longer seems to be in Atlanta.

This kind RootsWeb angel then found my Elizabeth in the 1930 census living in Illinois with her mother and checked older censuses and found Elizabeth as a child with her parents. Within the next two days my "angel" had checked marriage records and obituaries and had found an obituary for Elizabeth's mother, which he/she mailed to me.

Within a week's time I had a full picture of a great-aunt who I had not previously known existed. Many thanks to this kind but anonymous researcher.

Nancy M. Smith

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
Unclaimed Tombstones

I read the story about the Halls in San Antonio who had a tombstone but no grave to go with it.

My great-great-great-grandparents are buried in a rural cemetery in Calhoun County, Michigan. Their tombstone is a granite tree trunk with their names and dates on it. I always admired it.

Many year ago, when we were selling my grandmother's home, I discovered that the doorstep at her back door was the original tombstone for those great-great-great-grandparents. It was of marble and difficult to read. I can only suppose that at some time the family decided to replace the old stone with a much nicer, newer stone, and being frugal, converted the original stone into something useful. It is possible that the stone the Halls have was one like that.

Kate Randall Reeves
Mountain Center, California
RE: Tombstone, No Body

In regard to the Halls's story about the tombstone in their flower bed—would the people who maintain the cemetery where the body is buried allow the stone to be placed somewhere in the cemetery (not on a grave) to show that the man is buried there? When I visited a cemetery in Indiana several years ago several broken stones had been set against the fence where they could still be read.

RE: Tombstone, No Body

Regarding "One Tombstone, No Body"— if you have ever watched HGTV's "If Walls Could Talk" (and I suspect most RootsWeb Review readers have certainly seen this show), they occasionally feature folks that have uncovered stray tombstones near old houses they are renovating. Almost always, research reveals the reason for the stones being where they are.

Good luck and keep looking.

Central Virginia
RE: Finding Lost Cemeteries

I wanted to quickly comment on the recommendations for finding "lost" cemeteries by Pat Bell.

While searching for some ancestors' burial spots in a rural part of upstate Pennsylvania, my father and I had about given up when we passed through a small town and I noticed a store that carved and sold gravestones.

We went in and talked to the owners, who were able to tell us where various cemeteries were located, whether they were continuing to be tended or were abandoned, and even some alternate names of some of the cemeteries we were seeking. In one case we spent hours walking a large cemetery row by row, but we ended up finding all of the stones we were seeking.

Neil Boyden Tanner
Wyncote, Pennsylvania

It's a Small World—Genealogically Speaking

Back in the early 1970s, my wife and I were stationed with the Air Force at RAF Bentwaters in Suffolk, England. My wife enjoyed the hobby of brass rubbing and visited churches all over the surrounding counties, making copies of tomb effigies with paper and hard crayon.

One of the churches she visited was St. Mary's Church in the rural hamlet of Letheringham, Suffolk. There she rubbed the likeness of Sir John Wingfield, aka the Letheringham Knight. The rubbing was about three feet tall and came out beautifully. We had the brass rubbing professionally framed and it has been hanging in our home ever since. Little did we know at the time, but we would one day have a family tie to Sir John Wingfield.

About a month ago I was doing some research on the family of my daughter-in-law and turned up the name of John Wingfield of Letheringham, Suffolk, England, who died in 1389. I pulled out the old brass rubbing guide book, and sure enough, the Letheringham Knight was my daughter-in-law's twentieth great-grandfather. I took a photo of the brass rubbing and forwarded it to my daughter-in-law, her mother, and her grandmother. Not many people have a likeness of one of their ancestors who died 619 years ago.

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

Image of the Brass Rubbing
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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 www.ancestorseekers.com/research/

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

FLORIDA. Brevard County. Titusville, Florida Star. Index of Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1880-89. 667 records. Contributed by Jim and Bonnie Garmon.

VIRGINIA. Albemarle County. 1855 University of Virginia alumni, partial listing. 21 records. Contributed by Paula Lucy Delosh.

VIRGINIA. Roanoke (Independent City). December 2007 Roanoke Times. 2,448 records. Contributed by Lisa H.

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

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@rootsßweb.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



  • tnrober2 — Robertson County (Tennessee) USGW

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 Robertson County (Tennessee) USGW website is at

Request a Freepage (Free Web Account).

New Mailing Lists

No New Mailing Lists

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 is of my grandparents, Albert Rose Pace and Bettie Rose Pace, holding their first two children: Cecil Pace and Bessie Pace. The photograph was taken in Meridian, Mississippi, in 1899.

Albert C. Pace
Girard, Illinois

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

My ancestor, Isaac Steel, went into business with a man named Benjamin Ware. They were in the pawnshop business.

The name of the business was the "B Ware I Steel Pawnshop."

Thanks to Nevelle Nebeker
Search Evasion

Last week Steven and Susan Hall wrote about their second cousin carrying a headstone around in her trunk and getting strange looks. They will probably appreciate the experience I had when my car's trunk was being searched before entry to a Royal Navy Dockyard.

"What's in that box?" they asked.

"My late aunt's ashes," I replied.

Abrupt end to the search.

Thanks to Alex Dow, Cowdenbeath, Kingdom of Fife, Scotland

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: 5 March 2008, Vol. 11, No. 10