26 March 2008, Vol. 11, No. 13
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
RootsWeb Review Goes to a Monthly
For those of you who missed last week's announcement, starting in April the RootsWeb Review will go from a weekly to a monthly publication. You will receive it on the second Wednesday of every month.

Although the frequency will change, you will still get the same great Review you're accustomed to. We hope the change will reduce some e-mail overload while still keeping you as up-to-date as ever with what is happening on RootsWeb.

Look for your first monthly issue of the Review on 9 April.

Book Notice

The Heritage of Chattooga County, Georgia 1838-2006

This 440-page book is a compilation of approximately 882 stories sent in by individuals with ancestral or contemporary ties to Chattooga County.

Besides family stories, it also includes group pictures, individual photographs, church histories, and profiles of military service by Chattooga veterans.

The price is $60 if picked up at the Chattooga County Library in Summerville, Georgia; $67.00 if shipped. Anyone interested in receiving further information should contact Charlotte Mason at 706-866-0912 or by e-mail at charlotte2nd2@juno.com.

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Using Rootsweb
By Jana Lloyd
Orphan Heirlooms: Returning Flea Market Finds to Their Families
Every couple of months I get an e-mail like the following, which a reader sent me several weeks ago:

"I went to a flea market in South Dakota and some people were getting rid of some genealogy-type materials, so I bought them. One is a 1921 yearbook from Ainsworth, Brown County, Nebraska, called the Prairie Schooner. The back lists graduates from 1887, 1890-94, and 1898-1920. There is also a senior booklet for the class of 1922, Ainsworth High School, and a graduation photo of Luella Williams. I would love to pass these on to someone. How can I do this?"

It seems genealogists just cannot pass on the opportunity to snatch up some bit of historical evidence—whether it pertains to their family or not. For those of you with flea market finds cluttering up your research area, here are a couple ideas on how to return those heirlooms to their rightful families.

Megan Smolenyak, chief family historian for Ancestry, has a hobby of returning orphan heirlooms to the owners' descendants.

In fact, she writes a regular column titled "Found" for Ancestry Magazine; each column details the story of an heirloom that she has managed to reconnect with its family.

Readers are encouraged to visit her website, www.honoringourancestors.com, and submit information about an heirloom they've found. If it catches Megan's attention, she may be willing to adopt it as the project for her next column. If you want to submit your heirloom to Megan, go to her website, click on the Submissions menu, and select Orphan Heirlooms.

If you're new to this kind of sleuthing, you may want to read a couple of Megan's columns as well. She gives detailed descriptions of what she did to find each heirloom's family member; it may give you some ideas of how to start your hunt:

"Freeing the Freeman Bible"

"No Longer Missing in Action"

"Something Squirrelly Going On"

The RootsWeb community is the perfect place to advertise a lost find. In the case above, I would post information about the yearbook and photograph on a message board for Brown County, Nebraska; or, on their related mailing list.

Brown County, Nebraska, Message Board

Brown County, Nebraska, Mailing List

There is also a Yearbooks and Annuals Message Board, a Found Family Heirlooms Message Board, and an Heirloom Mailing List. I would post the information in all of these places as well:

Yearbook and Annuals Message Board

Found Family Heirlooms Message Board

Heirloom Mailing List

If the surname of the woman in the portrait was more unique than Williams, I might also post on the appropriate surname message board or mailing list.

The best part about posting something like this on the message boards is that it stays there indefinitely. Even if someone doesn't immediately respond, you may be surprised a year or two down the road to hear from someone who found your message in the archives.

You can send yearbook donations to Ancestry at the following location:
Ancestry Yearbook Donations
4800 North 360 West
Provo, UT 84604

There are other websites that collect yearbooks, or gather information on where to find yearbooks, and they might also be willing to take donations. Or, you could always list your find on www.amazon.com or www.ebay.com. Some examples are

Mr. Sanders Store

Yearbook Genealogy


Old School Yearbooks

There are many, many other sites dedicated to finding and posting lost heirlooms as well. One is www.HeirloomsLost.com.

I have previously mentioned www.DeadFred.com, a site specifically for posting photographs.

And there is also a RootsWeb freepage dedicated to finding family bibles: http://email.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin13/DM/y/hA0VP1eK0A0lNg0G2.

Do some searching and you will probably be able to locate other sites as well.

You may want to contact a local historical society if, as the case with this yearbook, you know where the item is from. You could also contact the local library or even high school-if it still exists. Both may keep yearbook collections.

Local libraries and historical organizations might also be good options for photographs, when you know their origins.

I can't tell from this query whether Luella graduated in 1922 or some other year. Or whether there is more identifying information about her.

Conducting a search with such little information on Luella would be difficult, but might be fruitful. (I did find a Luella Williams listed on the 1920 census for Brown County, Nebraska, but in a different city.) This type of search is more time consuming than just posting information somewhere, but it is more likely that the item will end up with a rightful owner if you do some proactive digging, rather than just posting your information online and hoping someone comes looking for it.

I hope this has gives anyone with an orphan heirloom a few ideas about where to get started. Also, I hope the next time some of you are at a flea market or garage sale and see an old, labeled photograph or a box of signed and postmarked letters, you decide to rescue them and do your best to return them to their rightful families.

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Adopted Family Found
In 1978, I found out I was adopted; it was not a legal adoption. I started doing genealogy to find my biological family. I made a post on RootsWeb asking if anyone knew my adopted parents (I gave their names), who lived in the Denver, Colorado, area in the mid 1940s.

I think it was in the 1990s that I made the post. In 2001, my biological sister contacted me. She had a letter from my adopted mother, which she sent me, and so I knew the connection was real. I had found my family! I have four sisters and one brother. They had been looking for me, but of course did not know where my adopted family had moved or what my married name was. My mom and dad had passed away before I got in contact with my sister, but the reunion with the rest of the family was wonderful. Thanks to that post I now have my family and found out I look like my mother. One of my sisters and I are so much alike it is unbelievable. Thanks RootsWeb.

By Sue Pryor

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
Researching Unusual Surnames
My sympathy goes out to Audrey Burba, who is researching the surname Driver, and also to Sandy Williams, who is researching the surname Washman. One of my family names is Search, which leads to a lot of frustration when I am searching, although I have been able to trace the family back to William Search, who was an indentured servant born about 1710 in the vicinity of Edinburgh, Scotland.
By Beverly Uhl
Re: Everyday Surnames

Try looking up the Graves surname. It's pretty difficult. Once I went to a cemetery in Indiana and asked to look for "Graves" and the man jokingly said, "We have a lot of graves."

Re: Everyday Surnames

My surname is Sales. Search engines return millions of us, ranging from Apple Sales to Viagra Sales.

By Keith Sales
Search Tip for Problem Surnames

After reading about users' problem searching for the surnames Driver and Washman, written up in the 12 and 19 March 2008 RootsWeb Review, I thought I would share this tip. Try typing the following into your search engine: "'surname' ~genealogy" (e.g., "Washman ~genealogy"). I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how much stuff has been eliminated.

When I heard this tip, I tried it out and up came a link to information on one of my families, which turned out to be a fifth cousin.

[Editor's Note: The tilde [~] is used with Google to search for synonyms. So, searching for "~genealogy" would also return results for pages with words like family history, genealogical, family, and so forth. The tilde should be placed immediately before its associated word, with no space.]

By Karen Glass
Chasing Odd Surnames

In the Rootsweb Review, 19 March 2008, a reader mentioned the problems involved in chasing surnames such as Washman and Driver. I thought it would be worthwhile to pass along something I learned from "ComputerActive," a UK computer magazine.

Better results with the search engines can usually be found by using a colon instead of a "+" or "and."

For example, when I searched Yahoo as follows, I got just 527 hits, and none of the early hits I checked looked as if they had anything to do with an occupation.

"Surname: Washman"

Since I ran across this hint a few years ago, this format has saved me a lot of search time; it returns much more specific hits. A few other tricks for finding definitions and locations is to use the following syntax:

"Define: genealogy"

"Place: Annan"

I hope this helps other searchers as much as it has helped me.

By Jerry Rutter
Confederate Soldiers Get Free Headstones

With the help of the Internet I was able to track down my great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents, along with numerous other cousins, uncles, and aunts. I went to visit the graves of my great-grandparents, John Wesley Martindale and Francis (Fraiser) Martindale. They were marked with two blocks of Oklahoma sandstone and we didn't know who was under which rock.

I contacted the Veterans Administration and since John was a Confederate soldier, they furnished a marker for his grave at no cost. I contacted a genealogy society in Oklahoma and they furnished me an address of a headstone company that would furnish a nice headstone for a very reasonable price, if you were willing to wait awhile.

I live in Michigan, so I had to get a cousin in Oklahoma to accept the two headstones when they came in. I then went to Oklahoma, met new cousins, and helped them lay the markers.

Let your readers know that you can get a grave marker for a Confederate soldier at no cost. I used his pension papers as proof of the fact that he was in the service.

Question About Tintypes

I have found a lot of questions and answers about preserving pictures. But I haven't seen any about tintypes in particular.

The obvious tip is to keep them dry, but I have some on which the picture itself is beginning to come off the tin. Is there anything I can do to stop this? I have scanned them and made copies, but the originals are priceless. The pictures are still in the albums or the paper frame they came in. Thanks in advance for any help that I receive.

By Joyce Norris, Earlville, New York

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

TENNESSEE. Davidson County. Graduates of Peabody College, 1877 to 1909. 3,315 records. Contributed by L. Risen.

PENNSYLVANIA. Schuylkill County. Port Carbon Methodist Church Marriages.
1,030 records. Contributed by Barbara Bensinger Welch.

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
"Remembering the Sounds of My Grandfather's Footsteps," by Joe Hartwell. This website is the history of my grandfather, a WWI veteran, and of the U.S. Army Coast Artillery Corps and Ordinance Department.

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

DUVCW=Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War
DAR= Daughters of the American Revolution


  • ohmwdvcw — Mary Walker (Ohio) Chapter DUVCW
  • gahnkdar — Hanksville (Georgia) Chapter DAR
  • padmphs — Dauphin-Middle Paxton Historical Society (Pennsylvania)
  • ohbcgs — Butler County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society

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 Stark County (Illinois) USGW website is at

Request a Freepage (Free Web Account).

New Mailing Lists

New Surname Mailing Lists

New Regional Mailing Lists

  • CRAYTON-DNA — This list will gather information and encourage discussions on subjects pertaining to the Crayton surname DNA and its variations.
  • MILLETT-DNA — This list will gather information and encourage discussions on subjects pertaining to the Millett surname DNA and surname variations.
  • MULKEY-DNA — This list will gather information and encourage discussions on subjects pertaining to Mulkey surname (and variations of the Mulkey surname) DNA.

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

My great-great-grandfather, Augustus Dionne, was a showman and had his own show called "The Carlton Comedy Company." The show traveled a circuit from Maine to Florida in the early 1900s.

Valerie McClung

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
What's In a Name?

I have a relative whose name was Tennessee Schoolfield, which is a little unusual by itself. Then she married a man with the last name of Billingsley. Her name became Tennessee Billingsley. The best part is that she lived in Billingsley, Tennessee!

Thanks to Lynne Kokenes
Sick Headstone

While visiting Key West in 2007, my husband and I came upon a humorous gravestone that read, "I told you I was sick." The grave belonged to B. P. Roberts, born 17 May 1929 and died 18 June 1979.

I had often heard this gravestone existed, but never knew where. Imagine my interest when I happened to come upon it at Key West Cemetery.

Thanks to Jan Mitchell

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: 26 March 2008, Vol. 11, No. 13