12 March 2008, Vol. 11, No. 11
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
National Burial Index Available on FindMyPast.com
Now you can find the National Burial Index for England and Wales on FindMyPast.com. The National Burial Index is an ongoing project of the Federation of Family History Societies. To date there are about 13 million names in the index, transcribed from various parish and civil records by member societies.

For more information about the index and the individual records it contains, visit FindMyPast.com. Searching is free, but you must pay to view the full results.

Publish Your Blog

Do you keep a blog? Want to publish it? Visit Blog Books to see how you can turn your blog into a book.

Book Notice

Some Descendants of Ralph Braddock of Maryland and Virginia, ca. 1695-1766
By Allen and Margaret Beatty

This book will be published in late March by Gateway Press. It traces six generations of Braddock descendants through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, and elsewhere. It includes information on more than 1,800 individuals and has more than 3,000 citations, a bibliography, and an index. It is 240 pages, with a laminated cover. The price, including shipping, is $35.00.

To order, send checks or money orders to

Allen Beatty
1740 Key West Lane
Vienna, Virginia 22182

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Using Rootsweb
By Mary Harrell-Sesniak, "Genealogy is just not a pastime; it's a passion."
Obits and Tidbits: The Obituary Daily Times and Other Newspaper Resources
Want to find an obituary for your ancestor? Not sure how to start? Maybe some RootsWeb resources can help you out.

Thanks to Denis-John Savard, a massive effort to generate an obituary index is occurring at the Obituary Daily Times (ODT), hosted on RootsWeb. There is an older interface with an explanation and instructions, and a newer one with only a search field:

Founded in 1995, ODT has more than 13,000,000 indexed obits, and the list is increasing at the staggering rate of 2,500 a day. It is entirely supported by volunteers, numerous submitters, and a host of moderators.This free index is among the largest in the world, and searching is easy.

You can also subscribe to the related Obituary Daily Times Mailing List for a regular index update. To subscribe, send an e-mail to GEN-OBIT-L-request@rootsweb.com.

The Obituary Daily Times is in need of volunteers to index (or coordinate the indexing of) your local paper. More than 2,800 newspapers are on the publications list—a list of papers that are now or once were being indexed. If a newspaper is no longer being indexed it will have "Adopt Me" next to it. You are also welcome to index papers that are not currently on the list. To learn more about volunteering, consult the Contributor Handbook.

The Obituary Daily Times does not record full obituaries—it is only an index to names found in newspaper obituaries. You will have to use the date and publication information from the index to order the full obituary from a library or from the newspaper itself.

However, volunteers are encouraged to keep all obituaries they index for ninety days and volunteers can make requests of one another for full obituaries. This is one of the privileges of being a volunteer.

In addition to the Obituary Daily Times, RootsWeb has numerous Newspaper Abstracts Mailing Lists. These are mailing lists for the submission of abstracts, extracts, and links from newspapers published prior to 1931. A compilation of these mailing lists can be found here.

Many RootsWeb users have also compiled extracts and newspaper archives on their own freepages. The contributors' names are on their pages, and we'd like to send along a heartfelt thank you for their endeavors. Here are some sample pages to get you started:

The West Briton and Cornwall England Advertiser

Newspaper Abstracts from County Clare, Ireland (The Clare Freeman)

Abstracts of the Mountain Echo Newspaper of Yellville, Arkansas

Shelby County, Kentucky, Newspaper Abstracts

Taylor County, Iowa, Newspaper Extracts

Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Newspaper Abstracts

Old News Abstracts from Early Frederick County, Maryland, and Surrounding Areas

Atchinson County, Missouri

Orleans County, New York, Newspaper Abstracts

Abstracts of Newspaper Articles for Hyde County, North Carolina

Morgan County, Ohio, Newspaper Abstracts

Wyoming County, Pennsylvania, Historical Society Newspaper Abstracts

Pages from the Past, The States-Democrat of Brownsville, Tennessee

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Finding Our Family in Norway
This is a short note to tell you that through the RootsWeb message boards, we located our extended Norwegian family for both of my mother's parents. My mom is eighty-three and had the joy of connecting with huge numbers of relatives that none of the family had been in contact with for generations. One of her first cousins was still alive at age eighty-eight. I met many second cousins and, despite growing up across the ocean, there were many family similarities. It was thrilling to find that my grandma's family has been on the same farm since medieval times. Here is a family reunion photograph with some of our Norwegian family members.

Family Reunion Photograph
By Carolyn Vincent

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
Found Graves
I had information that my great-grandfather was buried in the Cameron, West Virginia, city cemetery, and the funeral home records agreed, but the plat at the city hall did not show the grave. I looked on two different occasions for the stone with no luck. I decided to make one more try, and when I got to the cemetery there was a crew cleaning up downed limbs and cutting up trees that had fallen during a recent storm.

While talking to one of the workers, I told him I was looking for a lost grave and he told me they had found several headstones when clearing out some of the big cedar trees that the storm took down. He led me over to one sight and there, all cleaned up, was the headstone of my great-grandfather, great-grandmother, and their daughter. There was another unmarked grave right next to theirs that we later discovered in the funeral home records was my grandfather's grave—according to the same records, my grandmother did not opt to have a gravestone installed.

Question About Vulnerable Cemetery

I'm very concerned that my family's overgrown cemetery in Macomb, Pike County, Mississippi, will be a casualty of sprawl.

There are just a dozen or so graves with headstones there dating from the 1870s to the 1940s. All are for African Americans and some are for former slaves. One was a country physician with a degree in medicine. One was a minister with a degree from Jackson Seminary (now JSU). And one was a very prominent Mason with a beautiful headstone. I think that gives the gravesite some kind of protected historical status.

Only a few people know about this cemetery and it's not registered with anyone. I'm the only one that will do something to protect it. How do I get it protected so it is not accidentally (or deliberately) razed to build homes? It is in the middle of a forested area on my family's former land and the only way to get there is by following the emergency tape we tied to the trees as a trail. Every time I visit (every three to five years), it is harder to get to as the surrounding forest is growing more and more dense.

I appreciate any thoughts or suggestions.

By Joy Downs-Young, Southfield, Michigan
Four Clues and 140 Years

Four small clues, apart from his parents' and siblings' names, were all that my father, John Joseph McDonald, born in Apple Hill, Glengarry County, Ontario, in 1888 left about his ancestry when he died in 1942. For years my mother kept those few clues to our Scottish Catholic roots in Glengarry County alive.

Those precious clues were as follows: 1) that McDonell/McDonald ancestors were buried in St. Raphael's Parish Cemetery in Glengarry; 2) that our grandfather, Angus Hugh McDonald, had been a mule skinner in California; 3) that Angus had at one time been associated with the town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin; and 4) that there was a man named Dougal McDonald somewhere in our ancestry.

After receiving those clues as a young boy in the 1940s, I retained them for more than forty years without taking much action. We did walk the Raphael's Parish Cemetery several times but were never able to find any of the headstones. Most local folks suggested the stones had been removed and lost forever. We also wrote numerous letters and made calls to several Dougal McDonald families, but found no relationships.

In 2002, my daughter wanted to tell her children more about her roots and after she nagged me for several months, I sent her all the information I had. Within a brief time she discovered the family graves at St. Raphael's; the stones read "McDonald," rather than "McDonell," which our name had been changed to.

There was Grandfather Angus Hugh; Grandmother Mary Ann McPhail; my father's young brother, Duncan John; Grandfather's second wife, Annie McLelland; and an elderly Hugh McDonell, deceased 1883, whom we had never heard of. It was not much, but it was a start, and thus began a series of daily updates and conference calls between me and my daughter.

Using census and marriage records we soon found out that Hugh McDonell was my great-grandfather, and that he was married to a Catherine McDonnell. We also found the name of all of Angus's siblings. With this information we thought we would soon be in contact with descendants of my grandfather's siblings. However, for two years we were at a dead end.

Hugh's grave was in St. Raphael's Cemetery, but Catherine's was not and there was no sign of her after the 1881 census. Where was she buried? And what had happened to Hugh's siblings? We could find no records for his nine brothers and sisters anywhere in Canada.

In 2003, my daughter entered all of the information we had accumulated on a RootsWeb message board, but no one responded. So, it was a deeply emotional morning in early 2005 when a lady from Wisconsin sent an e-mail to my daughter wondering if it was possible that the Hugh and Catherine and their children named in her 2003 RootsWeb query might be her great-grandparents, who had originated in St. Andrews West, Ontario, and arrived in Peshtigo, Wisconsin, in 1866.

My daughter phoned me at work with this exciting news. The names and dates matched too closely to be a coincidence. However, we still needed more proof to be certain of our connection. We soon found Hugh and Catherine and their children in the 1871 U. S. census in Peshtigo, Wisconsin. A brain cramp must have prevented us from previously searching out the Peshtigo clue left by my father, but it had never seemed to be that important.

Final confirmation was made when a descendant, while going through the effects of her recently deceased father, discovered a handwritten document dated 1971 that provided the details of Hugh and Catherine's children, including their spouses, children, and approximate whereabouts, all in the United States. The document even indicated that the eldest child, Angus Hugh, my grandfather, had remained in Canada.

We soon located and contacted a few living descendants in the U.S. Most knew of their origins in St. Andrews West, Canada, but had no details. We also found Catherine McDonell's grave, along with several of her descendants' graves, in Seymour, Wisconsin.

In June of 2006, my son and I visited the homestead worked by Dougal Hugh—my great-uncle—near the McDonell Hills named after him. We also visited his grave.

And, finally, in the fall of 2006, a descendant of my grandfather's sister met me in St. Andrews West for a weekend reunion. On that Sunday descendants of Hugh and Catherine McDonell attended mass together in the same church their ancestors had worshiped at 140 years before.

By Gerry McDonald

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

NEW JERSEY. Cumberland County. Millville High School Class of 1935. 147 records. Contributed by Paul Christensen.

NEW JERSEY. Cumberland County. Vineland High School Class of 1936. 201 records. Contributed by Paul Christensen.

POLAND. Poznan Province. Marriage Index, 1766-1904. 12,146 records. Contributed by Alisa Loeper.

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@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

DAR = Daughters of the American Revolution


  • irlbeara — Beara Peninsula (Ireland)
  • pachest2 — Chester County (Pennsylvania) USGW
  • paclearf — Clearfield County (Pennsylvania) USGW
  • tndpotc — Desc. of the Pioneers of Old Tennessee County (Tennessee)
  • txburths — Burton Heritage Society (Texas)

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 Beara Peninsula (Ireland) 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

  • AL-PRHGS — A mailing list for the Coffee County, Alabama, Pea River Historical and Genealogical Society. This list will be used for communication between members and officers.
  • HARPER-DNA — The Harper-DNA mailing list is for sharing information regarding the family DNA study for the Harper surname and its variations.
  • OH-TRACERS — This mailing list is for the Ohio Tracers, a group of individuals who meet monthly to learn/teach techniques for tracing ancestry. The Tracers group meets at the Fairview Park, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Senior Center.
  • WV-NA-TRIBES — This mailing list will be used for researching the Native American Indian tribes of West Virginia—predominantly, the Cherokee and Delaware, Allegheny nation. This list is open to all Native American tribes of West Virginia.

Find archived posts to RootsWeb's 30,000 genealogical mailing lists or find and subscribe to a list

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

My grandfather, Henry Ladd Stickney (1871-1948), is the soldier on the far right. He was stationed at Camp Greenleaf in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 1917, during World War I. While there he visited Lookout Mountain and Umbrella Rock, shown in this photo.

Submitted by Anonymous

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
Driver Family Name

My mother's maiden name is Driver. Needless to say, it is a hard name to research on the Internet.

I kept looking around and getting all kinds of sites for every kind of driver imaginable. Finally, I went to a genealogy list server and sent a message asking if anyone had any information on a Driver, not specifying that it was a family name.

The coordinator of the site sent me an e-mail saying that she was going to take me off the list because I was asking computer-related rather than genealogy-related questions. I e-mailed her back and explained that my mother's maiden name was Driver and I was asking for information on the family name.

I laugh every time I think about it.

Thanks to Audrey Burba
Cemetery Swap

I am omitting the names and place to protect the guilty in this story, which I heard about ten years ago.

It seemed that a religious congregation was growing and needed to expand their building. It was an old one and was surrounded very closely by its cemetery.

When they applied for a town permit to build their extension, the congregation learned that regulations required at least twenty-five feet between the building and the nearest grave. On measuring, they discovered that there would be only eighteen feet available if the new extension was built as planned.

So, in the wee hours of the morning, a group of stalwart members of the congregation crept into the burial ground with shovels and flashlights and moved the first two rows of tombstones eight feet back.

When you look for ancestors' graves, you never know quite what you will find.

Thanks to Joy Weaver

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:

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  2. the following notice appears at the end of the article: Previously published in RootsWeb Review: 12 March 2008, Vol. 11, No. 11