12 August 2009, Vol. 12, No. 8
Table of Contents
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
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 Review Archives
Check here for previous editions.
Using RootsWeb

By Joan Young

Sending an Effective Bug Report to RootsWeb or Ancestry

Occasionally, you will encounter a Web page not displaying correctly at Ancestry or RootsWeb, or have problems with an e-mail (perhaps to a RootsWeb mailing list) that doesn't go through as it should. Possibly, search results don't return the responses you expect. Whatever the issue; how, where, and when to report a presumed "bug" will determine whether or not the issue can be promptly addressed and remedied.


1) The first item to consider is whether the problem is reproducible. The Internet and e-mail can be quirky and have kinks at times. Temporary problems can make us think there is a bug in a program when, in fact, the Internet backbone or our e-mail or service provider is the source of the issue. Before reporting a bug, ensure that you are not merely experiencing a temporary issue. 

2) Determine how wide-spread the problem is. Is it only one page or network (a single RootsWeb page or every page at RootsWeb), or are you unable to access any site on the Internet? The inability to connect with any Web site or send any e-mail is usually a temporary outage on the part of your service provider and not a bug in a program.

3) If you have trouble accessing a specific site, try another browser to determine whether the problem might be browser-related. Clear your browser’s cache to see if that helps and try refreshing a page that doesn't load or display properly the first time. Click the refresh button on your browser or hit the F5 key. In some cases, you may need to force a page to refresh by holding down the control key while refreshing.

4) If you can't send any e-mail, the issue is most likely on your end, but if problems exist sending to a specific address or addresses (such as subscribed RootsWeb lists) there could be a problem at RootsWeb. If you get a bounce notice after sending an e-mail, check the notice for the reason the e-mail bounced. Be sure to double-check the address to which you sent the e-mail for typos or spelling errors.

Note: Occasionally, you may get a bounce when attempting to send an e-mail to a RootsWeb mailing list with the explanation that the message was blocked by SORBS. SORBS is a spam fighting tool used by RootsWeb and sometimes for a brief period of time a legitimate server at AOL, EarthLink, or elsewhere may be briefly blocked by SORBS. If you should receive a SORBS bounce, try resending your message until it goes through successfully. A SORBS block shouldn't be reported to RootsWeb as a bug.


Determine the source using the steps listed above before reporting a bug. If your ISP or e-mail program appears to be at fault, consult your service provider for assistance. If you are relatively certain the problem is not on your end and actually appears to be with a specific Web site or RootsWeb e-mail address, check the Help page, to see if there is an announcement regarding the issue.  Please note the date of the announcement and the areas that are affected.  If you encounter a legitimate error take the time to draft a proper bug report for RootsWeb's HelpDesk or Ancestry Customer Support based on the specific area giving you trouble. Rest assured that the developers at Ancestry and RootsWeb want to learn about (and fix) bugs.


Bug reports that say "I can't access RootsWeb" don't help much to clue the developers in on the issue at hand so that they can fix the problem. Be specific yet concise in your report.

1) Include information as to the operating system you use on your computer (Windows, Mac, Linux) and the version of the system. For example: Windows Vista Home Premium 64 bit.

2) If your problem relates to a Web page, include information as to the times and dates you encountered the problem, the exact URL (web site address) you were attempting to access, and the nature of the problem you encountered. Explain that the problem was repeatable. If the page displays an error report, copy the error message into your report.

3) If you already have made the usual corrective attempts such as clearing your browser cache and attempting access using a secondary browser, explain precisely what you have attempted and your results.

4) Put yourself on the receiving end of your bug report and ask yourself what information you would need to understand the problem.

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Genealogy Tip

By Mary Harrell-Sesniak
"Genealogy is not just a pastime; it's a passion."

How to Create Clickable Links

Sometimes Web applications allow linking, but do not produce clickable links when addresses are entered. Some of RootsWeb's free webpage users encounter this, so they use HTML, or hypertext markup language, the programming language of the Web.

To create a link to WorldConnect, you would write this string:

<a href="http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/">WorldConnect</a>

When displayed on the web page, the HTML code isn't visible, just this clickable reference to WorldConnect. You don't need to be an HTML programmer, but it's easier if you understand how anchors, tags (formatting codes), attributes, and target URLs work.

  • The string shown above is an A element, which defines an anchor: either a link, or something that can be linked to.
  • HTML elements start and end with tags, enclosed by < >.  This example has two pairs of < >: the start and end tags for the A element
  • The start tag begins with < and the element name, a.
  • In order to make this A element into a link, the tag continues with the href attribute, indicating that a hypertext reference target will follow (e.g., WorldConnect's Web address).  The href attribute consists of href= followed by the web address, enclosed in quotes.  The web address is also known as the URL or Universal Resource Locator.
  • Since the start tag is complete, it has a closing >.
  • The content, which is the only part shown to the user, follows.  Typically, this is a description of the link (e.g., WorldConnect).
  • Lastly, the </a> end tag completes the element.

To use this for other addresses, replace the URL and description with any of your choice!

<a href="http://searches.rootsweb.ancestry.com/wap.html">World Archives Project</a>
<a href="http://resources.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~rootslink/search.html">RootsLink URL Registry Search</a>

Users of RootsWeb's free web pages may find this tip useful. To request a free page, click here.

For more ideas on webpages, see Maggie Stewart-Zimmerman's Free Webpage Tools.

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Message Boards Make A Difference – 3 Examples

I would like to tell the whole world how much I appreciate several people who took time to come to my rescue.  I have been looking for my son-in-law’s family for years. His father died when he was young and he does not have any information from the family.  Three people answered the plea I posted on a message board and all went far beyond what I would ever have asked.  They helped me find records and referred me to others who could also help.  I am most grateful. 

Frances Muckelroy

I found a distant cousin on the RootsWeb message boards.  We were looking for the same family.  When we compared information on the Dobbs family we found that we were related. He lived in England and I in the United States. He first came to the U.S. for a visit and then I went to England and spent time with his family.  They took me to all the places I had found for my ancestors. We found a grave marker in one churchyard as far back as 1739. We walked down the same aisle where my great grandfather and grandmother were married. I had the most wonderful time of my life. 

Mary Lee McCann

I live in Minnesota. For three years or more I have been trying to locate information on the wife and daughters of my great great uncle's son who was killed in a mining accident on November 4, 1887 in Maryland.   His wife's name had various spellings and the only reference to her daughter, Mary Annie, was that she was living with her maternal grandparents in 1900 with another girl, named Leah.  They were apparently sisters.   I received a note from a very distant cousin from West Virginia, who has been working on the same family and had spotted another inquiry on a message board from a year earlier about a familiar family name from the same town in Maryland.   The person who responded to that inquiry was contacted and we discovered that her husband was a direct descendant of Mary Annie and had the entire 20 page family tree of both daughters plus some photos.   Without that message board inquiry and the person who graciously responded, I doubt I would ever have been able to locate the information I needed to complete the family history.

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Bottomless Mailbag: Readers Write In
Dates Are Important

When writing articles (or queries) that will be on the internet, it would be good to keep in mind that some of these things have a very long life. I have read many that had no date and no obvious way to determine when they were written. Let's all train ourselves to date whatever we create. Somebody down the road will thank us for it.

Amy Martin Wilson

Funeral Home Records Can Help

I immensely enjoyed the article on death certificates in the 11 March 2009 RootsWeb Review.  I have just gone to work at a local mortuary. I've been shinnying up my own family tree for more than 30 years, so I've seen quite a number of death certificates with little or no information on them.  We receive decedents from two adjoining states, so I've been learning the task of entering the information onto the official death record. Both states ask the relationship of the informant to the deceased. Only one asks where the parents were born. 

I'm amazed at how much paperwork goes into the gathering information and making sure that everyone that needs to be notified is notified.  This includes the person who actually picks up the decedent, the funeral director, the next of kin, doctor, coroner or medical examiner, State Vital Records offices, Social Security, County Health Dept., Veterans Administration, cemetery, insurance companies, and so on. That's in addition to all that goes in to helping a family during their time of grief, trying to write an obituary, planning a memorial service, etc. Every step of the way must be documented, and signatures attached. Sometimes I shake my head in wonder that it all gets done!

I can tell you that you'll likely never get information about a will on a death certificate: probate and trusts are handled long after the paperwork has left our hands. County health departments must be notified of a death within 24 hours of our receiving the decedent, and death certificates go to the State as soon as we have the signature of the attending physician, or medical examiner.

In the case of a more recent death (or a town where a funeral home has been in business for many years) folks might check with their local mortuary. Our files have a sheet with a list of siblings & spouses, aunts & uncles, etc. There's also a place for hobbies, things they enjoyed doing and awards received. Sometimes that information is included in an obituary.  This depends on the knowledge of the informant.  We sometimes get calls for genealogical information and other details.  Occasionally folks who call just wonder if we've handled a death when they can't locate a friend they haven't heard from in a long time!

Happy Ancestoring!  

Name withheld

Census Records Mystery Solved

I searched and searched for my husband’s Pombert ancestors in the census records for Kankakee County, Illinois.  I knew the family was there and had been in the area for decades and yet they just didn’t show up.

I decided to search by the first names of the wives Olivina (Olivine) and then Delia.  And there they were.  In the 1910 census Louis Pombert was listed as Louis Comber.  In the 1880 census Edward Pombert is listed as Ed Pamber and in the 1900 census he is listed as Edward Pombo.

It is important to not only try every spelling variation you can think of, but also sometimes search just using the first names.

Bonnie Bergeron

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


Submit Your Genealogical Data to a RootsWeb Database.

New/Updated Freepages by Individuals

The New Zealand History pre-1846 Database of European Contacts  database now contains about 20,000 names.

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

CAR = Children of the American Revolution
DAR = Daughters of the American Revolution
DUVCW = Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War 1861-1865
FreeCEN = Free Census Project
SAR = Sons of the American Revolution
SUVCW = Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
UDC = United Daughters of the Confederacy


  • arglsar — Gen. Lafayette Chapter (AR) SAR
  • arssar — Arkansas Society (AR) SAR
  • azcwdar — Cactus Wren Chapter (AZ) DAR
  • comldar — Mt. Lookout Chapter (CO) DAR
  • flacdar — Allapattah Chapter (LA) DAR
  • flbhhdar — Bertha Hereford Hall Chapter (FL) DAR
  • flcshdar — Cora Stickney Harper Chapter (FL) DAR
  • flgmbdar — Col. George Mercer Brooke Chapter (FL) DAR
  • flgsdar — Gemini Springs Chapter (FL) DAR
  • fljrdar — Jean Ribault Chapter (FL) DAR
  • flkysdar — Kan Yuk sa Chapter (FL) DAR
  • fllwdar — Lake Wales Chapter (FL) DAR
  • flockdar — Ocklawaha Chapter (FL) DAR
  • flpdldar — Ponce de Leon Chapter (FL) DAR
  • flslrdar — Saint Lucie River Chapter (FL) DAR
  • gashdar — Sukey Hart Chapter (GA) DAR
  • ilshdar — Signal Hill Chapter (IL) DAR
  • injcdar — John Conner Chapter (IN) DAR
  • laewhdar — Elizabether W. Harrell Chapter (LA) DAR
  • mecar — Maine State Society CAR
  • mehcgs — Hancock County (Maine) Genealogical Society
  • meyork2 — Private Cemeteries in York County, Maine
  • misagigs — Saginaw (Michigan) Genealogical Society
  • mncook2 — Cook County (MN) Cemeteries
  • ny9vihza — 9th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Hawkins Zouaves Assoc
  • nysccdar — Southampton Colony Chapter (NY) DAR
  • ohchcgs — Champaign County (OH) Genealogical Society
  • ohhocki3 — Hocking County (OH)
  • okdobson — Dobson Museum (OK)
  • pacwwdar — Col William Wallace Chapter (PA) DAR
  • padcdar — Delaware County Chapter (PA) DAR
  • pagcdar — Great Crossings Chapter (PA) DAR
  • paihdar — Independence Hall Chapter (PA) DAR
  • palandar — Lansdowne Chapter (PA) DAR
  • palcdar — Lycoming Chapter (PA) DAR
  • pamcdar4 — Mahantongo Chapter (PA) DAR
  • pangcdar — National Gettysburg Chapter (PA) DAR
  • papbdar — Phoebe Bayasrd Chapter (PA) DAR
  • papedar — Penn Elk Chapter (PA) DAR
  • patcdar2 — Triangle Chapter (PA) DAR
  • pawvdar — Wyoming Valley Chapter (PA) DAR
  • sccdjsuv — Charles Devens Jr. Camp No. 10 (SC) SUVCW
  • scgcudc — Greenville Chapter 51 (SC) UDC
  • scscdar — Snow Campaign (SC) DAR
  • tx1duvcw — Latha Jane Boyd, Tent # 1 (TX) DUVCW
  • txgw1812 — George Wells Chapter (TX) Daughters of 1812
  • txltbdar — Lt. Thomas Barlow Chapter (TX) DAR
  • txmcgs — Mid-Cities (TX) Genealogical Society
  • txmidcgs — Mid Cities Genealogical Society (TX)
  • vabuchah — Histories of churches in Buchanan Co, VA
  • vahcdar — Henry Clay Chapter (VA) DAR
  • vatndar — Thomas Nelson Chapter (VA) DAR


  • englrfc — Lincolnshire and Rutland (England) FreeCEN
  • engybols — Bolsterstone (Yorkshire, England)
  • nirtyr4 — Co Tyrone, N. Ireland
  • nswchfhs — Coffs Harbour District (New South Wales) Family History Society
  • zafgersa — German immigrants to South Africa

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 Gen. Lafayette Chapter (Arizona) Sons of the American Revolution website is at

Request a Freepage (Free Web Account).

New Mailing Lists

New Surname Mailing Lists

New Regional Mailing Lists

  • None

New Ethnic or Special Interest Mailing Lists

  • NEW-ENGLAND-RAILROADS — The research and discussion of genealogy and historical information pertaining to New England railroads and the people who built and operated them at any time in history

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 picture may have been taken near Randolph County, Alabama, possibly at a tent revival, and may have originally been a tintype. I found this picture in a collection of genealogical information I inherited when my father died. The notation on the back of the picture reads:
Left to right
1. Unknown
2. Dr. Gaunt – father in law of Robert W. Traylor, who married Winnie Lula Gaunt. Both are buried in the Greathouse Cemetery between Heidenheimer and Temple, Texas.
3. William Traylor (b. Dec 18, 1844 d. Dec 8 1894) married Mariah A Merrill. Both are buried at Wedowee, Alabama.

My mother’s maiden name was Reeves and I know that her parents (Warner Lemuel Reeves and Edna [Owensby] Reeves) are also buried in Greathouse Cemetery. Greathouse is noted as a historical site by the State of Texas.

Dr. Gaunt is the father in law of Robert W. Traylor who is the son of the William Traylor shown in the picture. Robert was born in 1866. Thus the picture was probably taken between 1886 and 1894.

Lamar Traylor

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
An Unusual Death Record

Several years ago I was searching for the death record of a woman who had died in New York City. The records were arranged alphabetically by first letter of the last name, on a monthly basis. After having gone through several months of these I finally found what I thought was the woman's death record. However, the names of her parents were all wrong. According to this her mother had the same name as the deceased. Her father seemed to have the same name as her husband. I copied the record and went over it several times. Finally I saw what happened. The woman who had filled out the form had been this woman's daughter. The form asked for father's name and mother's name. Instead of putting her mothers parents names in, she put her own parents names. Sort of new twist on "I'm my own grandpa."

Thanks to Vaughn L Simon in Palm Springs, California
Bedtime Story

I guess every family has one, but how about this for an unusual first name?
Gotobed MITCHELL  Born 1842, Ely, Cambridgeshire, England, died 1877 Hailsham, Sussex, England.  I first found him on the 1851 census and thought maybe it was a nickname for a boy that would "never go to bed," but after further research I found his birth and death registrations under that name!

Unfortunately I've been unable to trace him on either the '61 or '71 census.  He is probably there but, not surprisingly, wrongly transcribed, as he was on the '51.  I did find a G. Mitchell in a workhouse in a likely area, but haven't been able to follow that up yet.  

Thanks to Sandy Mitchell in Waverley, Nova Scotia, Canada
A Baking Censation

I friend of mine was looking through some Alabama census records. In one woman's entry, her occupation was listed as "tart."      

Thanks to Ron Joullian
Rough and Ready

Here is a unique entry from the 1860 US Census for Bell Co., Texas. One of the 12 children was called "rough & ready."

Thanks to Alice Taylor

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 August 2009, Vol. 12, No. 8
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