11 May 2011, Vol. 14, No. 5
Table of Contents
Using RootsWeb
Genealogy Tip
Bottomless Mailbag:
Readers Write In
What’s New: Databases, Freepages, and Mailing Lists
Volunteer Opportunities
The Darkroom
You Found It
Subscriptions, Submissions, and
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 Mary Harrell-Sesniak
“Genealogy is not just a pastime; it's a passion.”

Digital Genealogist: Applying Watermarks to Documents and Images

A cousin once sent a document sharing a family lineage. This was exciting, except for one thing -- he had inadvertently e‑mailed my own research to me!

"How funny," I thought. "I did all that work, and didn't get the credit!"

We had a good laugh over the incident, but it taught me a lesson -- always identify documents and photos, as to authorship and ownership, before e-mailing. You can do this through a variety of methods, but one of the more common techniques is by adding a watermark.

Watermarks are text messages or images superimposed or placed behind documents and pictures. Some programs allow you to type the content and others require you to use a graphic image. The text can be anything you choose -- from a simple message to a full copyright.

            From the files of [your name] as of [date]
            Copyrighted by [your name], [date]

If you are required to use a graphic, then create one in a graphics program or purchase from a service. I created this graphic in OpenOffice.Org Draw - you are welcome to adapt it for your own purposes (no credit necessary).

Depending upon your software version, the steps should be similar to these.

Microsoft Word 2010:
(text or graphics)

Select the Page Layout Ribbon > Watermark > Custom Watermark > Select Picture > Locate a picture > Insert > Determine a percentage for scaling > Apply any additional options, such as Scale to change the size of the picture or Washout to dim the picture
To remove the watermark: Page Layout Ribbon > Watermark > Remove Watermark

For more detailed instructions, see
For information on early versions of Word, see

Microsoft Works 9:
(limited to graphics)

Insert > Watermark > Picture Watermark > Select Picture > Select desired size & position on the page
[You can also elect to fade the image or tile it (repeat) on the page.]
To remove the watermark: Insert > Watermark > No watermark

OpenOffice.org Writer 3:
(limited to graphics)

Format > Page > Background Tab > Select background graphic by changing "Color" to "As" > Graphic > Browse [select a picture from your computer] > Select position, area or tile
[You can select the position on the page, for the watermark to extend over the available area or to tile it (repeat) on the page.]
To remove the watermark: Format > Page > As Color > No Fill

Embedding watermarks in pictures can be accomplished through imaging software, such as PhotoShop, or by accessing a free online service, such as PicMarkr.com or watermark-images.com

If you choose an imaging program, the basic process involves manipulating layers (one for the image and one for the watermark), and then adjusting the opacity (brightness and see-through qualities), along with other options.

For those who do not plan to create watermarks on a frequent basis, I recommend trying an online service.

The watermark for this graphic was created in PicMarkr Beta,which allows you to upload an image from your computer or to interface with Facebook, Flickr or Picasa. The subsequent steps involved entering the desired text and selecting the location where it should appear on the image. In addition, I was able to adjust the size and appearance before saving the picture back to the computer. It was a straight-forward process, and I was pleased with the results.

Watermarks can also be applied to PDF (portable document format) files using Adobe Acrobat and a variety of other commercial programs. A general Web search uncovered several offering free trials prior to purchase. For those working with a large quantity of files look for the ability to "stamp" multiple files with the same watermark.

Beyond watermarking, consider adding identifying headers or footers (a message appearing above or below the text on each page), and adding your personal name to file names. And remember to always include yourself as preparer in genealogy reports!

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Genealogy Tip

By Joan Young

The Value of Original Records

If you are a seasoned genealogist you have probably heard the old joke about the new monk in the monastery who is put to work transcribing documents. He notices that all of the monks are diligently making copies of copies. He asks where the original documents are kept and is directed to the cellar where he sets to work copying from the originals. Later, he runs upstairs and excitedly proclaims "the word is celebrate!"

While the joke is to meant to make us laugh, for family history researchers there is a deeper lesson to be learned. While copies or undocumented family trees can be a starting point and show what records to look for; obtaining original records establishes proof.

I've encountered many instances in my personal research and research I've done for others where obtaining originals solved long-standing mysteries and provided different information than the copies or hearsay evidence provided.  Some examples follow:

  1. Recently I was helping a DAR applicant with her papers when I noticed she hadn't included a birth record for her grandmother. She had submitted other evidence of birth but there was always the possibility that the birth record which should have been available for her mother's birth year might disagree with the evidence we had. Sure enough, when the birth record arrived it disagreed with the other evidence. Grandmother had been born one year earlier than all other records indicated!
  2. A long-standing brick wall in my own research was my York County, Pennsylvania ancestor, Henry LEIB. There were several LEIB families in the area. Who were Henry's parents? I had a book of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania will abstracts and in the book was the abstract of the will for Ulrich LEIB. Henry was not listed among the heirs of Ulrich LEIB. On a hunch (or maybe out of desperation) I obtained the original will. There was Henry mentioned only in passing as being the eldest son who had been given land by his father, Ulrich, in York County when he married.

One final word of caution if you are obtaining an original document for the purpose of making a signature comparison with other records, be sure to specify you need the signature because not all "originals" actually include the signature and could have been written by a scribe.

Obtaining original records to support the facts in your family tree can have you celebrating cracking through many a brick wall.

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Connecting Across Time

In the late 1940's, when I was a young teenager, my family moved to Delaware.  The house we moved into was in a vibrant part in a substantially larger city, and I quickly made friends or at least the acquaintance of almost all of the young people in the neighborhood. We only lived there for a year and a half, but some of the people connections I made while living there have lasted into the present.

Now flash forward 30 years. I was married, had three children, and was living in a another small city in Connecticut.  We had recently moved into our first purchased home, which was in a neighborhood quite similar to the place I had lived in Delaware.  One day my younger son mentioned that the mother of one of his newer friends had grown up in the same Delaware city where I had lived. Curious, I asked him to find out what her family name had been before she married.  I had to remind him to ask that question because my curiosity had been piqued.

A day or so later, while driving him to school one morning, he told me what her name had been. It was an uncommon name, but I recognized it immediately! (I was so excited that I nearly ran the car into the one in front of me.)  It turns out that she and her older sister had lived just two houses away from mine in Delaware, and I clearly remembered how they would often sit on their front porch and tease me as I walked back home from the local supermarket or drugstore. A few days later, while watching both boys play in a Little League baseball game, I spent the entire time of the game talking to his friend's mother...only a few years younger than me...and we've become good friends even though we've again both moved on in our lives.

The one thing we still can't recall, but do remember, is the silly name that she and her sister teased me with every time I walked by their home.  Could it have been "Dorky?"

Thanks to Bob Wilson Jr. in Beaufort, South Carolina
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Bottomless Mailbag: Readers Write In
An Email Tip

With the advance in technology, your ISP provider may change over time to a better service provider.  To remain consistent in my postings, I use a public email address for all posts.  Either GMAIL or Yahoo mail provide the sufficient functionality for contacting people.  Also, in either system, you can auto forward the messages to your regular email address or Outlook on your local PC.  I use gmail and when I have switched ISP’s I did not have to change my email address anywhere.

Thanks to Dennis Piccirillo

Four Siblings Marry Four Siblings

I thought it unusual, as did someone in your April 13 newsletter, (see http://ftp.rootsweb.ancestry.com/pub/review/2011/0413.html ) that three brothers would marry three sisters. This happened in our family also. My great grandfather and his two brothers had done this in the 1870's.  I think it was due to close proximity to the ladies house since no cars existed at the time.  Then I found in my research on my other side of the family that four siblings (male & female) married four siblings of another family.  Other neighbors must have been scarce.

Thanks to Doug Kretzer
Another Search Tip Switch

Last month’s issue (see http://ftp.rootsweb.ancestry.com/pub/review/2011/0413.html ) recommended switching the number, 1, with the letter, i, when searching for the phrase, “war of 1812”.  I also used the letter, l, in place of the number, 1, and found 6,320 more hits.  Thank you for giving me a new idea in looking for “hidden” information.

Thanks to Anker Simonsen

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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42nd Annual Southern California Genealogy Jamboree

42nd Annual Genealogy Jamboree. Friday to Sunday, June 10-12, 2011. Over 100 speakers and exhibitors and 130+ class sessions will help conquer even your most stubborn brick wall. Sessions will cover classic research techniques and introduce the newest online information resources. You’ll learn old and new methods of finding your ancestors, and you’ll have fun too!

Thursday’s Family History Writing Conference will jump start the process of writing your family history.

Jamboree is sponsored by Southern California Genealogical Society, Burbank, CA. Check out our mobile app!

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

INDIANA, Hendricks County County. Stilesville Band Boys – 1882, 8 records; Karen Oghalai

MINNESOTA, Pine County. Lakeview Cemetery, Rutledge, Pine, Minnesota, 338 records; Connie, Pine County Genealogical Society

MINNESOTA, Pine County. Recorded Births of the Village of Sandstone, 1894 – 1953, 1105 records; Connie Glattly, Pine County Genealogical Society

TEXAS, Eastland County. Russell Creek Cemetery, 16 records; Amy Maxey

Submit Your Genealogical Data to a RootsWeb Database.

New/Updated Freepages by Individuals


Request a Free Web Site Account.

New/Updated Websites for Counties, States, and Historical Societies

DAR = Daughters of the American Revolution
DUVCW = Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War
UDC = United Daughters of the Confederacy
USGW = US GenWeb
TTTP = Trails To The Past


  • comonttp — Montrose County (Colorado)  TTTP
  • coparktp — Park County (Colorado) TTTP
  • corhs  — Rifle Historical Society (Colorado)
  • gagwobit — Georgia Archives Obituaries USGW
  • ilmhtduv — Dr. Mary Harris Thompson Tent 102 (Illinois) DUVCW
  • ilmtlduv — Mary Todd Lincoln Tent #48 (Illinois) DUVCW
  • msharrtp — Harrison County (Mississippi) TTTP
  • nycandar — Canandaigua Chapter (New York) DAR
  • ordhdar — David Hill Chapter (Oregon) DAR
  • pabeddar — Bedford Chapter (Pennsylvania) DAR
  • tnscott — Scott County (Tennessee) USGW
  • tnwcobit — Washington County (Tennessee) Obituaries
  • txtjsudc — Thomas Jefferson Stubbs Chapter 2523 (Texas) UDC
  • vaevlduv — Elizabeth Van Lew Tent #1 (Virginia) DUVCW
  • wimccwrt — Manitowoc County (Wisconsin) Civil War Round Table


  • engclpg — Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall, England Gravestones
  • ontghc — Greenbay Heritage Cemetery (Ontario, Canada)

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. These sites are accessible at www.rootsweb.com/~xxxxxx, where xxxxxx is the account/site name.

Note that the ~[tilde] before the Web account name is required.
For example, the Montrose County (Colorado) Trails to the Past web site is at

Request a Free Web Site Account.

New Mailing Lists

New Surname Mailing Lists 

New Regional Mailing Lists

  • None

New Ethnic or Special Interest Mailing Lists

  • DIGITAL-ARCHIVES — A mailing list for the discussion of and mutual help in understanding the digital forms on the Internet Archive, including what is there and how to find it.

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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Volunteer Opportunities

Are you looking for an opportunity to give back to the genealogy community?
Check this section to learn more about some of our hosted projects and other projects you can participate in.

The World Archives Project is helping to keep the world’s stories alive. You can too by typing information from historical records into searchable online collections that are available to the public for free. Learn more.

For a complete list of projects to key, and search click here.

If you know of genealogically related volunteer opportunities please email Editor-RWR@rootsweb.com.

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The Darkroom

This picture is of my mom, Marcia (Biddle) Lear on the left, and her sister, Mona (Biddle) Harrold on the right.  They are standing in front of their father’s Studebaker.  He sold Studebakers in the 1950s.  The pictured is dated, 1953, and was taken in Kokomo, Indiana.  My grandfather sold many different types of cars for many years and passed away in 1984.

Thanks to Shane Lear

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
Honesty is the Best Policy

When registering for the 1863 US Civil War draft, Chester Sackett, 34, of Brown Township, Paulding County, Ohio, was described as a "loafer". Either he was a very honest young man or maybe it was his wife who answered the door to the enumerator.

Thanks to Chris Sackett
Don’t Get in His Way

My aunt, Mozell Williams, found a Cannon Ball Phelps while researching our Phelps line in Virginia and Georgia in the early 1800s.

Thanks to Joan Hawkins
The Large and Small of It

I had a great uncle named Bigger Ratliff from Pikeville, KY.  His son's name was Little Bigger.

Thanks to Diane Estridge

In searching for any source of my ORANGE ancestry I found a family in Derbyshire, England, children of Lemon ORANGE.  I thought this might have been a nickname.  But then I located him in FamilySearch - Lemon ORANGE , son of Samuel ORANGE , christened 28 July 1723 at Newcastle under Lyme, Staffordshire, England.

Thanks to Bob Jennings in Yorkshire, United Kingdom

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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