19 March 2008, Vol. 11, No. 12
Table of Contents
Editor’s Desk: News and Notes
Using RootsWeb
Bottomless Mailbag:
Readers Write In
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
RootsWeb Review Change
The past year has seen a number of changes to the RootsWeb Review. First, long-time editor Myra Gormley retired. Then, after ten years as a text publication, the Review was changed to an HTML format. One more major change is in the works.

As of April 2008, the RootsWeb Review will become a monthly publication; you will receive your copy on the second Wednesday of every month.

Although the frequency will change, you will still get the same great Review you're accustomed to. Jana Lloyd, Mary Harrell-Sesniak, and Joan Young will continue to contribute articles to the Review, and we will continue to keep you up-to-date with the latest and greatest at RootsWeb. And of course we still want to hear your experiences with family history: your stories, tips, photographs, and the fun and interesting things you come across in your research. In addition, we will also be adding a short, new section with genealogy how-to tips.

If you're anything like us, you receive tons of e-mail everyday, and it is sometimes overwhelming to sort through it all, let alone read it. We hope that by changing the Review to a once-a-month publication we will reduce some of that e-mail overload while still keeping you as up-to-date as ever with what is happening on RootsWeb.

Look for one more weekly issue on 26 March and for the first monthly issue of the Review on 9 April.

Bad Baby Names

Fanny Pack. Major Nutt. Warren Peace. These are real names, given to real people, and recorded in U.S. census records. And now you can find these—and other real, bad names from the U.S. census—collected in a humorous book.

If you've ever come across a name that made you say, "Huh?" while you were doing your research, you'll enjoy Bad Baby Names: The Worst True Names Parents Saddled Their Kids with—And You Can Too.

Bad Baby Names is a product of Ancestry Publishing, a branch of The Generations Network, Inc. I recommend it.

Find out more about the book, or purchase Bad Baby Names for $9.95.

Or, watch some interviews with the authors, Matthew Rayback and Michael Sherrod on
the Today Show, Channel Nine News, and Good Things Utah.

Book Notice

Reelfoot Lake: A Night Rider's Legacy
By Shirly Applewhite Moore

This book traces true events surrounding the New Madrid, Missouri, earthquake and the Applewhite family. More information can be viewed at www.reelfoot-lake-by-shirley-moore.com.

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Using Rootsweb
By Joan Young
Don't Let Name Spelling Stand in Your Way
My maiden name is MYERS. I can remember my parents telling me that the name had always been spelled MYERS in our family. What a shock when I began researching many years ago and found my great-grandfather's baptismal record with the name spelled MEYERS. Then I found that his father and grandfather are listed as MEYERS in the 1850 census as well. A couple more generations back the surname was spelled MEYER. Early generations of MEYERs are buried in Lower Bermudian Cemetery in Adams County, Pennsylvania. How can you argue with a name spelling carved on a tombstone?

In the Upper Conewago Brethren Cemetery in Adams County, my ARNOLD ancestors are surrounded by members of the STUDEBAKER family. This family's claim to fame is that they had a wagon shop and crafted Conestoga Wagons. Their descendants later manufactured the Studebaker automobiles.

One tombstone in this cemetery clearly bears the inscription "Sarah STEWTHEBAKER." Alas, Sarah was married to a STUDEBAKER, but she will forever be known to the world as Sarah STEWTHEBAKER. A photo of her tombstone can be found on the USGenWeb Tombstone Photo Project page, on the Adams County USGenWeb site.

Before the days of driver's licenses, Social Security numbers, and military registrations that require a fixed name spelling, people didn't give much thought to how their surname was written. Not all spelling variations you come across are permanent—some merely reflect a different spelling on a single record and not an actual change of name. (For more information on names, see the RootsWeb's Guide to Tracing Family Trees: Lesson 2.)

Budding genealogists tend to get bogged down looking for "correct" name spellings and overlook variant surnames, or even translations of their surname from another language. Such a rigid view of name spellings can keep you from successfully tracing your ancestors.

"Foreign" names were shortened, translated, and changed outright by families who wanted to fit into the American melting pot. But more often names simply evolved based upon their sound. In some countries where patronymic naming systems were used, permanent surnames were chosen after arriving in America. A Welshmen named Humphrey ap [son of] HOWELL may have become Humphrey HOWELL. Or, he may have become Humphrey POWELL, based upon the contraction of "ap" and "HOWELL."

Early Swedish immigrants to New Sweden (the area surrounding what is now Wilmington, Delaware) sometimes took their patronymic name as a permanent surname while others chose "aliases" such as RAMBO and MINK. Others shortened their patronymic names; JONASSON became JONES.

The evolution of surnames is not exclusively an American phenomenon. My French Huguenot ancestors left France and settled in Germany long before coming to Pennsylvania in the mid 1700s. The spelling of their surname changed over the generations from CHERDRON to SHETRONE and finally SHEDERON as they intermarried with Germans.

Whatever the cause of name changes and spelling variations, make use of all available resources in tracking your ancestors. That includes checking any and all possible spellings. Be creative and sound out the names. Consider translations in your hunt for your ancestors. Your German METZGER ancestors may have become BUTCHERs in America.

Many search engines allow you to use Soundex or Metaphone searches for surnames. WorldConnect's advanced search engine allows Exact, Soundex, or Metaphone searches. RootsWeb's Guide to Tracing Family Trees: Lesson 9 explains Soundex. Metaphone is similar to Soundex in that it is based upon the sound of a name rather than its spelling; however, some feel it is more accurate than Soundex. Try both to catch variant spellings of a surname.

RootsWeb's Surname Resource page is another excellent reference for finding variant spellings and may give you suggestions for additional spellings to check.

Take a fresh look at the surnames you are researching. Consider additional spellings and, above all, be creative in your searches.

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My Kiwi Relatives
I was very interested in the latest newsletter article about someone finding relatives in Norway. We, too, made a wonderful connection with my husband's relatives—ours in New Zealand.

We received an e-mail from a young New Zealander saying he had found our tree on RootsWeb and believed he was related. He had done a search for his great-grandfather, who had left England and gone to New Zealand in 1869 when he was only fourteen years old. At the time, his brother (my husband's grandfather) was only four. My husband's grandfather emigrated from England to the U.S.

In our research, we had made connections with those still in England, but we could find nothing about the fellow who had immigrated to New Zealand (in fact all we knew about him was his birth date). The young man in New Zealand was thrilled because he was finding out information about his English and American relatives, and we were equally thrilled to finally find information on William Thomas Weston Hughes, his great-grandfather.

In March of last year my husband and I went on a trip to Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji. While in Auckland we came face to face with more than fifty new relatives—all wonderful people who treated us to some wonderful gatherings. It was the first time in 138 years that the branches of the two brothers' family trees had come together, and what a wonderful time it was! Below is a photo taken at one of the gatherings. My husband is the bearded fellow in the second row—second in from the left. I'm the gal sitting to his left and the rest are our wonderful Kiwi rellies.

By Rose Mary Hughes; W. Henrietta, New York

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
Saving Local Cemeteries
Last week someone wrote in asking how to go about saving/preserving a local cemetery that was overrun and ignored.

One thing a person interested in saving a local cemetery could do is look for a local historical organization. I was part of a group that spent a long weekend cleaning a family cemetery, cutting out underbrush, etc. We then were able to have very plain white crosses made, which we put on the unmarked graves we found. This particular cemetery had both a Union and Confederate soldier buried in it.

Since you know so much about the history of the small cemetery, contact a local news channel that does human interest stories. February is African American History month and since so many in the cemetery are African American, they may be especially willing to do it then. Also, contact a local Masonic lodge and tell them about the grave for the Mason you found; they might offer assistance. Jackson Seminary (JSU) may also help, since one of their alumni was buried there—they might be especially willing if he was active in the community.

You can also contact the Department of the Interior and get the paperwork to have the cemetery placed on the National Register of Historic Places. I don't know what Mississippi's laws are like, but they may have a program to help protect such places.

Finding Lost Cemeteries

I have been helping a friend find cemeteries for many years. We have located some rural cemeteries by using U.S. Geological Survey Maps of the areas we are interested in. The cemeteries are marked on the map with a cross.

If the cemeteries are extremely rural, you might need four-wheel-drive; that, or you need to be prepared to walk or hike in. Also, keep in mind that sometimes there may have been logging or mining in the area and the cemetery may have been moved as a result.

We have spent some very pleasant times cemetery hunting.

By Cheryl Nail
Success Story

In 1994 when my aunt became quite ill, she gave the family Bible (published in 1874) to my father, instructing him to give it to me.

When I eventually inherited it, the binding was in bad shape but the pages were perfect. I put it on the closet shelf in my guest bedroom and there it sat for five years. In 1999, when I got my first computer and went online, I thought I would do some genealogy. My son gave me a family tree program for Christmas and I was off and running.

I took the Bible from the shelf and began to explore its pages. I found a picture of an Emma Flanigan, but had no idea who she was. There was also a list of people from the Blackmore family. I knew that there was a connection between my grandfather Frank Gamin and the Blackmores, but was not quite sure just how they were related.

I began looking on the Internet for free genealogy help and discovered RootsWeb. The first thing I did was post my family names on the surname list. Then I started looking for Blackmore connections. I sent two e-mails to people in England. Both answered.

One said he was not familiar with the people I had written about. The other started his e-mail with, "Hello cousin!" How wonderful that my very first attempt netted me not only information on the Blackmores but also the Gamins in my family. I can now trace the Blackmore family back to the early 1700s. I also know that Emma Flanigan—the woman in the photograph—was my great-aunt, a sister of my grandfather, Frank Gamin. A few years later my genealogy benefactor came to the United States and spent a couple of days with us at our home in Michigan.

I have discovered in the almost ten years I have been searching for my family that it isn't always as easy as that first attempt. The brick walls are sometimes insurmountable, but every once in a while a breakthrough occurs and the pieces all fall into place.

I have since put some of my GEDCOMs on RootsWeb and also uploaded much of my information at Ancestry.com. I am not a genealogist; I do not plan to write a book; I don't always have source information for each fact (although most of the information on my family is substantiated by census or other information).This is only a hobby—although sometimes I admit it is more of an obsession.

Thank you RootsWeb for all the help you have given me over the years.

By Mary Watkins; Ludington, Michigan

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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Discovering Family History—Download a complete issue, FREE!

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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
Orange Research. By Dawn Orange. This website contains information on the Orange family Huguenots. Other surnames include the Coulthard, Clark(e), Cook(e), Dowson, and Williamson families from Westmorland, Yorkshire, Durham, North East England; the Newtons of Flintshire Wales and Durham; and the Stevens, Hallett, Page, Puttick, Hackett, Galloway, Smith, and Baigent families—all from the London and Sussex areas. There are more than 6,000 individuals listed on the website.

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

No New/Updated Freepages by Counties, States, and Genealogical/Historical Societies

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

  • No New Ethnic or Special Interest 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 is my grandmother, Alice Elizabeth INWOOD. She was born in Birmingham, UK, in 1881. What a hat for a three-year-old.

Submitted by Barb Stacey; Solihull, UK

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
Everyday Surnames

In the 12 March 2008 issue of the RootsWeb Review, Audrey Burba told about her problem doing family research because her mother's maiden name was Driver. I just want Audrey to know she is not alone. I am trying to find out where my great-great-grandfather's middle name Washman came from. Try putting that into a search engine. I am learning a lot about washing and not much about families with the surname Washman.

Thanks to Sandy Williams
Text Slip-Up

I was helping my friend compile a book about her family. We gave the printed version to someone else to scan into her computer, which we could use to give the book a more professional finish.

The scan was not successful—many words were changed, including the name of a cemetery. What should have been "Collinsville Cemetery" was transformed into "Coffinsville cemetery." Needless to say, we used the original printout.

Thanks to Margaret Ebert

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: 19 March 2008, Vol. 11, No. 12