12 November 2008, Vol. 11, No. 21
Table of Contents
Editor’s Desk: News and Notes
Using RootsWeb
Genealogy Tip
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
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Editor's Desk: News and Notes
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Using Rootsweb

By Joan Young

Connecting Across Continents and Generations Through RootsWeb

A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail from Marie who lives in Alsace, France. I was able to summon up enough memory of my high school and college French to understand that Marie was explaining we are distant cousins, and that she had found me as the result of messages I'd posted on a RootsWeb mailing list.

When RootsWeb was in its infancy, I was researching my maternal grandmother's KIGER ancestors. The surname had evolved in America from the original Germanic name, GEIGER. My research had proven that my fifth great-grandfather, Matthias GEIGER, had come to America in 1738 from Alsace, France. Through Alsatian Catholic church records I learned that my immigrant GEIGER ancestor had one sister, Teresia, who had married Frederick NEUSCH and remained in Alsace. Like many other genealogical researchers, I posted queries and success stories about my research on mailing lists and message boards.

In 1998 I made contact with Jill in Minnesota who is a descendant of the sister of my immigrant ancestor. I learned from Jill that Matthias NEUSCH and all but one of his siblings had immigrated to New York in 1846—more than one hundred years after my GEIGER ancestor had set sail for Philadelphia. Had Jill not found me I'd never have known about my NEUSCH (later NASH) cousins in America.

At the time Jill and I shared our research and posted to RootsWeb mailing lists, neither of us could have known that ten years later our messages would be found by another cousin living in France and that, as a result, we'd be contacted by Marie, a descendant of Jill's ancestor's sibling who had remained in France. Today's search engines are far superior to those available when we originally posted our messages, making it much more likely that we could be found by researchers today.

Jill and I are somewhat unusual in that we both have maintained the same e-mail addresses over the years, which made it possible for Marie to reach us despite the passage of time. Since mailing list archives are merely repositories of list activity on a given date in the past, e-mail addresses are not updated in list archives. There is a lesson to be learned here. Even after ten years, others may be able to respond to your posts if, and here is the catch, you keep your e-mail address current. This means for mailing lists that you need to repost information and queries using your new e-mail address when there is a change.

If you have posted messages on RootsWeb message boards, in many cases you can update your address of record for old posts by keeping your contact information current at My Account, thus eliminating the need to repost unless you have learned or seek additional information you wish to update in a new post.

In addition to keeping e-mail contact addresses current, another consideration is handling the language barrier if you are contacted by a cousin writing in a language unfamiliar to you. If you have difficulty translating a message, there are online translators that, although not perfect, can help you sort out the meaning of the words. One such resource is Babelfish.

If the message is more complex and you would prefer to have the assistance of a human, RootsWeb offers a Translators message board where you can request assistance from someone more familiar with the language.

For a genealogist, nothing can beat the exhilarating feeling of being contacted by newfound cousins—especially when they bring with them information on a branch of the family we have not explored—across continents and generations.

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Genealogy Tip
By Joan Young
Archaic and Unfamiliar Terminology in Genealogical Research
You have received your great-grandfather John MAIR's death certificate. The certificate tells you he died of "phlegmonous erysipelas." In reading your Grand-aunt Martha's diary you learn that her sister was afflicted with "ablepsy" and that your Uncle Alfred suffered from "dropsy." In the diary you also read that John MAIR worked as a "dyker" in his native Scotland. Martha's husband was a "cordwainer" and Uncle Alfred was working as a "huckster."

Genealogists frequently encounter archaic, foreign, regional, or merely unfamiliar terminology for causes of death and illnesses, as well as for our ancestors' occupations.

The following websites are among many I've used over the years to learn the meanings of terms no longer in common use or with which I wasn't familiar:
http://rmhh.co.uk/illness.html (Illnesses.)
http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~billingh/disease.htm (Diseases.)
http://www.neonatology.org/classics/old.terms.html (Terms concerning neonatology.)
http://www.antiquusmorbus.com/Index.htm (Archaic medical terms.)

Sometimes the factors involved in ancestral deaths could indicate that family members died as the result of a disaster. Disasters should be considered when multiple family members died at exactly the same time. A disaster could be an earthquake, flood, fire, shipwreck, mining accident, train wreck, etc.
http://www.cyndislist.com/disasters.htm (Disasters.)

Deaths of more than one person over a short time period (but not necessarily on the same day), especially when children are involved, might indicate an epidemic caused by the flu, typhoid, yellow fever, or any other contagious disease.
http://www.cyndislist.com/disasters.htm#Epidemics (Epidemics.)

Unfamiliar occupational terms and obsolete occupational terminology often varies from country to country or even from region to region within a country.
http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~wiashlan/occupations.html (American.)
http://www.olivetreegenealogy.com/misc/occupations.shtml (Medieval English and early New World.)
http://rmhh.co.uk/occup/index.html (United Kingdom.)
http://www.worldroots.com/~brigitte/occupat.htm (German occupations and illnesses.)

A quick review of the websites referenced here reveals that your great-grandfather died of a severe inflammation and fever, Martha's sister was blind, and Uncle Alfred had swelling or fluid retention (edema). Your great-grandfather worked as a stonemason in Scotland. Martha's husband was a shoemaker and Uncle Alfred sold small wares.

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An Old Newspaper Ad Gives Insight

When I did a Google search for an ancestor of mine I came across a site by Mr. Richard Heaton, hosted by RootsWeb. He had kindly transcribed (among other things) the pages of the Salisbury and Winchester Journal for October 1817.

I found an advertisement that my great-great-great-grandfather, Thomas Odell, had put in the paper—he was looking for his lost white pointer dog.

Not only does it help my family research to know that Thomas Odell was in Andover that year—it also gives a poignant insight into one of my ancestors.

Thank you RootsWeb. I've already e-mailed Richard and thanked him!

Ann Devereaux
Perth, Australia
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Bottomless Mailbag: Readers Write In
Responses to "Census Records—For Demographics or Genealogy?" from the October 2008 issue of the "RootsWeb Review."
Many readers wrote in in response to Mary Harrell-Sesniak's article from last month, titled "Census Records—For Demographics or Genealogy?" Here are a few of the comments we received.

Richard Pence reminded us that the original purpose of the census was "apportioning representation in the U.S. House of Representatives, as set forth in the U.S. Constitution."

Marilyn Hamill noted that the 1890 Veterans census records do not include just Kentucky and Wyoming. They include the states of Kentucky THROUGH Wyoming, as well as the District of Columbia and the Indian Territory.

Chad Milliner commented on the meaning of the M2 marital designations in the 1910 U.S. census. He said, "The enumerator instructions for the 1910 census told the enumerators to write 'M2' for a 'second or subsequent marriage ... meaning married more than once.' (emphasis added). So a person married five times would also have M2 showing in the census record."

Thank you for the additional details and corrections.
Civil War Family Album Finds a Home

Thirty years ago I inherited a Civil War era family album of my great-aunt Minnie-in- law. I have looked and looked for someone connected to those people. Then, just last week, I found a family tree on a nationally known genealogy site related to the album. This week the album is going half way across the country to its new home. The new owner will download all the family photos to a public website and other photos will go to the state historical society. My Aunt Minnie would be very happy. I know I am!


Is An Inheritance Looking For You?

I have a part-time job helping an oil company find lost mineral owners. We had the name of a woman whose parents had given her mineral rights back in the early 50s. We discovered they had moved to another state, the parents had died, the girl had probably married, and we were unable to find further information. So, sometimes these trees can serve for more purposes than just genealogy. Maybe you have an inheritance awaiting, if you could just be found.

Elaine Dake

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

Editor's note: The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and are not necessarily those of the editor or of RootsWeb.com.

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

CALIFORNIA, Mendocino County. Mendocino County Marriage Index, 850 records.
Contributed by Phil Carnahan.

FLORIDA, Brevard County. TODAY newspaper obituaries 1966, 464 records.
Contributed by Jim and Bonnie Garmon.

ILLINOIS, Sangamon County. Springfield Junior College—Class of 1960, 64 records.
Contrbiuted by John J. Petterchak.

KENTUCKY, Martin County. Bailey births in Martin County, Kentucky, 65 records.
Contributed by Carol Crum.

MICHIGAN, Jackson County. Jackson County, Michigan, Civil War Burial Records, 243 records. Contributed by Linda Page.

NORTH CAROLINA, Martin County. Roberson Family Cemetery, Martin County, North Carolina, 13 records. Contributed by Annette Roebuck.

NORTH CAROLINA, Martin/Edgecombe County. African American Cemetery Records, 75 records. Contributed by Annette Roebuck.

PENNSYLVANIA, Armstrong County. Index to Land Records for George Painter, 1811-1941, 43 records. Contributed by Janece Carter Streig.

TEXAS, Harris County. Bear Creek Cemetery, 262 records. Contributed by Colin and Terry Malone.

VIRGINIA, Fredericksburg (independent city) County. Alumni lists, 121 records. Contributed by Paula Lucy Delosh.

VIRGINIA, Spotsylvania County. R.E. Lee High School,1923, Spotsylvania County, 11 records. Contributed by Paula Lucy Delosh.

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

AHGP = American History and Genealogy Project
ALHN = American Local History Network
CAR = Children of the American Revolution
DAR = Daughters of the American Revolution
SCAWV = Sons of Spanish-American War Veterans
UDC = United Daughters of the Confederacy
USD 1812 = United States Daughters of 1812
WGW = WorldGenWeb


  • arclacem — Cemeteries of Clark County (AR)
  • cadfcusd — David Farragut Chapter (CA) USD 1812
  • flbakehs — Baker County (FL) Historical Society
  • flggrg — Southwest Florida Germanic Genealogy Research Group
  • gaccudc — Catoosa Chapter (GA) UDC
  • gawalke2 — Walker County (GA)
  • gawilki2 — Wilkinson County (GA) AHGP
  • gawilki3 — Wilkinson County (GA) ALHN
  • iljbcdu — John Butler Chapter (IL) National Society Daughters of the Union
  • kscar — Kansas Society Children of the American Revolution
  • mebhccar — Blue Hen Chicken Society (Delaware) CAR
  • mimarqgs — Marquette County (MI) Genealogical Society
  • mnbchsm — Benton County (Minnesota) Historical Society and Museum
  • morl2udc — Robert E. Lee 1567 Chapter (MO) UDC
  • msnatama — Mississippi Native American Ancestry
  • ncyadvha — Yadkin Valley (NC) Historical Association
  • nylssawv — Joseph Melvin Leonard Camp 167 (NY) SSAWV
  • nyschdar — Schenectada Chapter (NY) DAR
  • nyslhs — Sand Lake (NY) Historical Society
  • pabuckgc — Lower Bucks (PA) Genealogy Club
  • smbv1916 — Sons of the Mexican Border Veterans of 1916
  • tndealhn — DeKalb County (TN) ALHN
  • tnjaalhn — Jackson County (TN) ALHN
  • txconudc — Conroe Chapter (TX) UDC
  • txhesbca — Historic Eagle Springs (TX) Baptist Church Association


  • canbccem — Cemeteries of British Columbia, Canada
  • inddelhi — Delhi, India, WGW
  • stlucia — Island nation of Santa Lucia (Caribbean)

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 David Farragut Chapter (CA) USD 1812 website is at www.rootsweb.com/~cadfcusd

Request a Freepage (Free Web Account).

New Mailing Lists

New Surname Mailing Lists

New Regional Mailing Lists

  • ENG-SSX-KIRDFORD—A mailing list for discussing persons and records related to the Kirdford Parish in Sussex, England.
  • SCOTCH-IRISH-IN-PA—A mailing list for discussing genealogical topics for the Scotch-Irish that moved to Pennsylvania at any time.
  • WV-OBITS—A mailing list for posting obituaries from West Virginia.

New Ethnic or Special Interest Mailing Lists

  • MEDIEVAL-GEN—A mailing list for discussing the time period roughly from AD 500 to AD 1600 in the general area of Europe.
  • MCQUEEN-DNA—A mailing list for the discussion and sharing of information regarding the DNA Project for the McQueen surname and variations (including McQuinn) worldwide.
  • MEEK-DNA—A mailing list to use in conjunction with the Meek-Meeks DNA project, including passing information to members and prospective members about testing results and how they relate to the genealogy of the Meek and Meeks families in any place and at any time.
  • VGS—A mailing list for the Virginia Genealogical Society.

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.

The Darkroom

This photograph is of my grandma's friend Bob (we haven't figured out who Bob is) during his WWI service.

Since I am a motorcyclist I sent this photo to Wheels Through Time (www.wheelsthroughtime.com) for more information. They loved the photo so much they asked if they could put it in their WWI display.

They also told me the motorcycles are 1916/1917 Indian Powerplus—you can tell by the "cradle frames" (indicated by the leaf-springs extending from below the seat to the middle of the rear fender) and the rounded tanks. The motor is a 1000cc Indian Powerplus, which was one of the premier power plants of the day.

What’s more, this motorcycle was the "other" American-made motorcycle of its time (besides the Harley). During WWII it became important to the war effort and then lived on even after the servicemen came home.

I love this picture; it’s a fun blend of my passion for genealogy and motorcycling. And now Bob is more than just the friend Grandma didn't marry!

Submitted by Kitty Huddleston, Washington

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

While researching a woman who had married into my family, I noted that she had a previous marriage to a man with the surname Short. A little more research revealed that his name was Cummings Short. Little wonder that he usually went by his initials.

Thanks to Wayne Till
Census Handwriting

Some years ago, while checking out the 1900 U.S. census images for my great-grandfather's family in Jasper County, Missouri, I finally came across the correct page. I usually log the date the census was taken when recording it, but didn't right away this time. I was too busy complaining, as I typically do, about the handwriting. Finally, I looked at the top of the sheet and discovered the enumerator was my own great-grandfather, C.P. Gallienne.

Be careful whom you complain about.

Thanks to David Winston
Getting Soaked

Some years ago I came across an amusing headline in the local Bath, Somerset, paper. It was, "Bath man dies in bath in Bath."

Thanks to John Parfitt

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: 12 November 2008, Vol. 11, No. 21