8 Jun 2011, Vol. 14, No. 6
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
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RootsWeb Review Archives
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Using RootsWeb

By Joan Young

Bits and Pieces: Don't Forget to Include RootsWeb Lists and Boards

We all have them...loose ends, bits and pieces of possibly significant genealogical data that are a mystery to us. These tidbits may be significant or they may be a minor item that nags at us and leaves us wondering why they were important to our family member who kept them. They may be photographs of unknown people grandma lovingly tucked away in a drawer. They may be clippings from old newspapers containing unfamiliar names. In my case, it was a Christmas card with a note from 1956. My father had saved it over the years and I uncovered it when cleaning out the house nearly twenty years ago.

The note was enough to tantalize me with questions and clues. The sender was a relative of my dad, Robert Earling MYERS--that was easy to ascertain. But how were they related? Why and how did they remain in contact (albeit rarely from the gist of the note) over the years? The note writer was a lady named Mildred HALL. The return address on the envelope was a house on Summit in Wheaton, Illinois. The note included the following genealogical information: "Mother, Hannah MYERS is 86 years old" and mention of "Perry's son Robert."

When I first found the Christmas card, I had very few resources available online. Census records were not yet digitized and even at a nearby branch of the National Archives, the films were not searchable...it would have been a daylong effort to scroll through them.

As soon as RootsWeb mailing lists became viable resources, I subscribed to the MYERS surname list and posted a query to see whether anyone was researching this family. Even though the information I had gleaned from the note was sketchy I was able to include details about where the family lived, the specific names in the note, and the obvious connection to my MYERS family from Adams County, Pennsylvania. Since MYERS is my maiden name, the MYERS list has long been of major interest to me. I subscribed from the beginning and later took over as administrator.

DuPage County, Illinois, where Wheaton is located was not even a blip on my research radar aside from the puzzle involving the card and note. So, rather than subscribing to a mailing list of minimal interest to me I posted a query on the county message board.  You don't need to subscribe to make use of a message board. When posting on the locality board the focus and wording of my query centered on Wheaton and what resources I might find there to learn from them about the MYERS and HALL families.

I didn't get any nibbles to my list post about the MYERS family but I did get a response on the board from someone in Wheaton who offered to help me in my quest for information about the HALLs. He found that Mildred and her husband Cloyde HALL had managed a linen supply business from the Summit address. They were now becoming real people to me and not just names in a note!

As I've stated many times over, the greatest resource we have in our research is other people. RootsWeb mailing lists and message boards provide an audience that includes experts on specific families or surnames, as well as knowledgeable researchers about resources available for localities. Sometimes, as in this instance, these experts have access to resources you may not. Responses sometimes come immediately or years in the future as new family historians find your posts in a search.

Surname message boards were introduced at RootsWeb in 1999 and I posted on the MYERS board at that time. Message boards and mailing lists often reach a different audience and the availability of surname boards opened up a new opportunity to reach a wider audience.

When census records came online at Ancestry.com, there was Mildred HALL, age 31, with her family in 1930 in Cook County, Illinois. She was born in Illinois. Her father was born in Pennsylvania. The household also included Randall E. MYERS, (brother-in-law). So, Mildred (MYERS) HALL's brother was living with them in 1930!

I checked the earlier census records and found Mildred with her parents, Edward and Hannah MYERS, and learned that Perry is Mildred’s older brother.  However, my breakthrough came when Illinois death records came online at FamilySearch.org.  Edward MYERS' death record from Lee County, Illinois (1942) showed that his parents are: Conrad MYERS and Maria ZINN (Henry MYERS' parents). Bingo! Edward is Henry MYERS' brother listed as John E. MYERS in Pennsylvania--I now had proof. My dad was, therefore, Mildred (MYERS) HALL's first cousin once removed. Mystery solved after twenty years but it isn't the end of the story. In genealogy one fact always leads to another question or search.

Now I'm turning once again to RootsWeb mailing lists and boards to see if I can locate living descendants of this branch of the family. The HALLs had at least one daughter and the MYERS in the census listings had children I haven't yet investigated. As you learn new information, remember to update your posts with your newfound data. While RootsWeb alone may not solve all of your genealogical loose ends, they can play an important role when used along with other resources at your disposal.  

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Genealogy Tip

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

Digital Genealogist: Applying Watermarks to Documents and Images Q&A

My recent article on Watermarks generated several interesting comments, a few of which I would like to share and respond to.

Q. from Lorna D.
If you add a text watermark to a picture and later find a mistake or typo, is there a way to delete the watermark and start over?

A. It is always advisable to make a backup before applying a watermark to an image. However, most online services avoid this issue, by applying a generic name, such as "image1.jpg", to a modified photo.

Q. from Carolyn C.:
I read your article about copyrighting material that you send to others. Yes this is very helpful so that they will give you credit later. However, what do you do when you help someone get started (many years ago) and they don't give you credit in a book they have printed?

A. Aside from asking for credit or a retraction in future publications, the U.S. Copyright Office advises:
"A party may seek to protect his or her copyrights against unauthorized use by filing a civil lawsuit in federal district court. If you believe that your copyright has been infringed, consult an attorney. In cases of willful infringement for profit, the U.S. Attorney may initiate a criminal investigation."

Q. from Carolyn C.:
Usually with old photos there are many copies of the photo shared with members of the family. Therefore many copies of a photo may have survived and been passed down to other family members. Just because you scan a photo and type your name on the bottom of the photo does not make you the copyright owner of the photo now. It is definitely helpful to have the person's name on the photo but maybe a more appropriate tag would be "in the possession of____________" or "owned by ____________."

A. Carolyn, I agree totally, and should have made a distinction between historic and original photos. In the case of the illustration, the copyright notice has been changed to one identifying it as part of my family collection.

I would like to add a word of caution to readers. Not all historic images found on the Web may be freely republished, and it is best to ask permission or establish the originator of the image. In the case of many archival collections, such as those belonging to Historical Societies, licensing fees and terms of use agreements, may apply.

For more information on related topics, see the Circulars and Factsheets.

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An Unexpected Connection

I was recently contacted by someone through the message boards, indicating that there was a relationship between two of the three trees that I was working on. One tree is my brother-in-law’s family, the other is my husband’s family. Amazingly, within just a couple of hours, I had found a direct relationship between the two lines. Not only had these two men married sisters, they were already distantly related to each other.

Thanks to Kay Kendrick in Oklahoma
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Bottomless Mailbag: Readers Write In
Thanks for RootsWeb’s Guide to Tracing Family Trees

I'm writing to tell you that your RootsWeb's Guide to Tracing Family Trees page was such a help to my classes! I've bookmarked it as well. Our class is currently working on a family genealogy project.

As my way of saying thank you, I thought I'd share another resource I found It's called, "People Search: Genealogy Resources". It's a great resource page. I thought your readers might find it valuable.

Thanks to Mrs. Lynn Burns of the Monument Charter School

Ask For a Copy of the Ledger Page

IMany of us while researching write to various government institutions, such as court houses, looking for information to prove our ancestry. Some of the most common requests are for copies of birth, marriage, or death certificates. There is nothing wrong with such requests but you must realize that many of these items are not recorded as certificates. Many are just recorded as entries in a large ledger book. When you request a "copy of a certificate" the person in the courthouse goes to the ledger, copies the requested information and enters the data into whatever standard form is currently being used at that particular courthouse, etc.
This method allows for transcription errors and usually supplies only the very basic information such as names, date, and place where the event took place.  But, if you ask for a photocopy of the page in the ledger where the information was originally recorded you will receive the information as recorded and you may receive much more information than what is placed on the standard certificate.

Thanks to Larry Heffner in Lewisburg, West Virginia
Original Records Can Be Wrong

LWhilst agreeing with the need to obtain full copies of original records, even those can not be trusted absolutely.

In a death record, the informant, son of the deceased, gave the names of the wrong persons as being the parents of the deceased, i.e. the informant did not know the correct names of his paternal grandparents.

The names given did occur in the family; but they were not married and there is no evidence of extra-marital relationships.

The correct persons disappeared from the records, with a last mention some 25 years before the informant was born; and the deceased died about 27 years later.  So a large time gap prevented any direct contact across the generations.  This provided a possible reason for the error.


In a separate case, a bride gave the names of her parents to be a genuinely married couple; but both would have been under 10 years old at the birth of the bride.

The bride’s birth record gave a differently-named couple as being her parents.  There was other evidence to confirm the likelihood of the birth record being correct.


In both of these cases, only the parental surname was correct.  Thus one should always try to confirm such secondary information from other records and sources.

Thanks to Alex Dow in Cowdenbeath, Fife, Scotland

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


Request a Free Web Site Account.

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

DAR = Daughters of the American Revolution
KHHP = Kansas History and Heritage Project
USGW = US GenWeb
TTTP = Trails To The Past


  • alhcdar — Huntsville Chapter (AL) DAR
  • cogarftp —Garfied County (CO) TTTP
  • comofftp —Moffat County (CO) TTTP
  • coouratp —Ouray County (CO) TTTP
  • kahhp — Kansas History and Heritage Project
  • ksclohhp — Cloud County, KHHP
  • ksmarihp — Marion County, KHHP
  • ksrepuhp —Republic County KHHP
  • kypatdar —Kentuck Path Chapter DAR
  • kypowgw —Powell County (KY) USGW
  • lashgs —Scott (LA) Historical and Genealogical Society
  • moozarks — Ozarks Genealogical and Historical Information
  • ncrshm — Red Springs Historical Museum (NC)
  • ncscghs — Swain County (NC) Genealogical & Historical Society
  • nesbcem — Scotts Bluff Cemeteries (NE)
  • njowhdar — Old White House-Gen Frelinghuysen-Col Lowrey Chapter (NJ) DAR
  • patths —Tinicum Township (PA) Historical Society
  • tnsevitp — Sevier County (TN) TTTP
  • txhchc2 — Houston County (TX) Historical Commission
  • usnsnew —National Society of New England Women


  • autascon — Tasmania (Australia) Convicts
  • nzlfhs — Family History Society of New Zealand

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 Garfiled 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

  • ALNTGS — A mailing list for discussing various programs and services offered by the Alabama Natchez Trace Genealogy Society.

  • AUTOSOMAL-DNA — A mailing list for discussing the various aspects of using autosomal DNA testing for genealogical purposes.

  • IRISHTYPEIII — A mailing list to discuss topics of interest to an Irish DNA cluster presently known as Irish Type III. The cluster is defined by the SNP L226. Surnames found in the cluster are Dalcassian and include O'Brien, Bryant, Casey, Kennedy, Hogan, McGrath, and Butle.

  • SPEARIN-DNA — A mailing list for discussing and sharing of information regarding the specific group DNA testing that is currently being done by the descendants of those bearing the SPEARIN surname and variations.

  • TWINS — This list is for discussing the implications of tracing family trees involving twins.

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.

USHMM - Palestine, Illegal Immigration from Nazi-Occupied Europe, 1938-1946

USHMM - Poland, Jewish Prisoners of War in Lublin, 1939-1941

USHMM - Poland, Jews Displaced from Biała Podlaska to Mie̜dzyrzecz Podlaski, 1942

USHMM - Romania, Family Questionnaires for Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Victims, 1945

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

My Aunt was a “pack-rat” and saved everything. After her death my cousin spent 3 years going through her collection and recently sent me this Exhibitor's Badge for the 1893 Columbia Exposition in Chicago.  The picture is of my great grandfather, Jesse D. McDonald, who, with his sons, was the original explorer of the Wind Caves in South Dakota.  He was in Chicago to exhibit and sell samples of the rock formations found in the Wind Caves.  I have donated the picture to The Wind Caves National Park, and they state that it is the best photo of Jesse they have in their collection.

Thanks to Phil Mooney in Bozema, Montana

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
A Favorite Recording Error

My favorite recording error was when an ancestor, who had the given name Xerxes, was listed in the census as HERPES.
Thanks to Sharon Middleton

Thanks to Chris Sackett
What a Paine

My wife’s uncle filled me in on the family history of his wife.  Her maiden name was Paine and she had an uncle named Major.  I wonder if his birth was a difficult delivery.

Thanks to Richard Strickler

I wonder if the man whose occupation was listed as “loafer” worked in a bakery? Bigger.

Thanks to Jean Lesslie
Rock My World

Mrs. Reuben Burd was presented with a handsome rocker for her birthday.
From the Trenton Evening Times (Lambertsville, NJ) on January 15, 1907

Thanks to judysphil

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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