14 September 2011, Vol. 14, No. 9
Table of Contents
Using RootsWeb
Genealogy Tip
Bottomless Mailbag:
Readers Write In
What's New: Databases, Hosted Sites, and Mailing Lists
Volunteer Opportunities
The Darkroom
You Found It
Subscriptions, Submissions, and Reprints

RootsWeb Resources
RootsWeb Helpdesk
Check here for frequently asked questions about RootsWeb.
RootsWeb Review Archives
Check here for previous editions.
Using RootsWeb
By Mary Harrell-Sesniak
"Genealogy is not just a pastime; it's a passion."
 

Genealogy Favorites and Freebies
Everyone has favorites, and I am no exception, especially when it comes to free genealogy websites. They don't completely replace subscription sites but are a wonderful starting point for your research.

RootsWeb, of course, is my top pick, not because I am associated with it, but because it is rich with genealogical tools and has an extraordinary network of user-contributed content, mailing lists, and message boards.

There are too many features to cover them all, but my top picks include the Obituary Daily Times and family trees at WorldConnect, along with these additional resources.

When asked which sites are best outside of RootsWeb, I typically answer, "It depends what you are looking for." Try to focus on locations, events, or specific topics. A nice site for surname and location links is Linkpendium, developed by Karen Isaacson and Brian (Wolf) Leverich, co-founders of RootsWeb. And these are some military links of interest.

A nice selection of vital record transcriptions and images can be found at FamilySearch, the website for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).



And here are some more free sites, organized by categories.

Books: Cemetery Databases: Immigration & Passenger Lists: Land Records: Queries and Message Boards: Videos: In addition to these suggestions, look to state archives and local genealogical and historical societies. Many will feature content specific to their area or direct you to related sites.

Finally, there is one more freebie, which may surprise you. Many subscription sites, such as Ancestry.com, offer free databases, which are located by entering the keyword free into the card catalog. Among the freebies you'll find at Ancestry.com, are a variety of census records, New York Passenger Lists, 1820–1957 and the U.S. Naturalization Record Indexes, 1791–1992 (indexed by the World Archives Project).



A search of the Internet will uncover additional lists of favorites and freebie genealogy sites, including ProGenealogists list of the 50 Most Popular Genealogy Sites for 2011. Your lists of favorites may differ from these, so feel free to let us know what your favorites are at RootsWeb and around the Web!
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Genealogy Tip
By Joan Young

Using Tax Records for Genealogical Purposes
In a previous tip on using obituaries in genealogical research, I mentioned the old adage about death and taxes being inevitable. Let's take a look at how and why you might want to use tax records in your research as well as where to find them. Taxation is a hot topict today, but genealogists know that paying taxes leaves a paper trail that can help locate your ancestors at any given time and place.

How Tax Records Can Help:

1) Tax records occur at more frequent intervals than a census. To make use of most tax records (personal property and real estate) you will need to have some idea where to locate your ancestors.

2) Census enumerators could have missed your ancestors, but your ancestors are far less likely to have evaded the tax man.

3) You can gain information about property that your ancestors inherited by following tax records.

4) You can track your ancestors' migration patterns and dates by following when they disappear from tax lists in one area and reappear in another.

I have been able to use property tax records to trace my ancestor, Conrad MYERS, as a single man owning an undeveloped plot of land. A few years later he was listed as a married man and he had built a house on the land. Later he sold that property and paid taxes on a nearby farm. Many years later, his wife, Maria MYERS, appeared on the list as a widow helping to establish the year of Conrad's death. Later, the eldest son, Henry MYERS (my great-grandfather), inherited the farm and appeared on the tax lists. When Henry retired and moved to another county he disappeared from the tax lists.

There are a few additional fun facts you can learn from the tax records. What possessions and animals did your ancestor own? How many hogs and sheep did he own? Was he financially well off? Do the possessions being taxed give you a clue about his occupation (for example: carpentry tools or farm equipment)?

My Swiss Mennonite ancestor, Ulrich LEIB, appears on the Mennonite Census in 1724 in Friesenheim (Baden) taken for the purpose of taxing the Mennonite settlers there after the Thirty Years' War. I learned that he "has lived on the von Sickingen estate for three years, but does not pay to the gracious masters nor to the community. No wealth."

For more detailed information about taxes, the various types of tax records available and what you can learn from them, see the RootsWeb Guide Lesson 11, Taxing Tales.

While many tax records are available only at local courthouses and archives, some can be found online at Ancestry.com (search historical records) and FamilySearch.org. (FamilySearch.org can also help you locate a FamilySearch Center near you where tax films may be obtained and viewed)

Regardless of your personal views on taxation, the records generated as a result of taxes can be used as a valuable genealogical resource.
 
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Bottomless Mailbag: Readers Write In
Connecting
My sister-in-law has always been a bit of a collector with childhood toys and Grandma's treasures, but little did I know that she had a lot of family photos. She held on to them through multiple moves and different storage units, at least until this last month (July), when she handed them over to me.

I was so excited!

I got them home and started scanning them. Having never seen these before, I couldn't identify anyone unless there were names on the back. A few were labeled, like a small photo with 22 people in it dating from about 1932. Even then, there were many with just first names. I am, however, the genealogist in the family. After scanning a few and transcribing anything on the back, I used my genealogy records to figure out things like "A. W." was Ambrose Wade DUNN, "Aunt Sister" was Amelia Mae FUQUA Ashton, "Judy" was Jura Frances DUNN Roberts, and "Aunt Mid" was Gladys Mildred DUNN Fuqua.

After identifying a few photos the best I could, I posted them on Facebook. Immediately, my sister-in-law added comments telling me who all the people were, but even she was at a loss for several. My husband knows stories about a few photos. My other sister-in-law had a few stories. They invited their only surviving uncle and his cousins to join in. Currently, I have 90 photos in one Facebook album and for every photo I have uploaded, I am getting 5 to 10 comments each. We are getting these people identified and labeled! Hopefully, I can impress upon these people that a date, even a wild guess, is better than nothing.

Social media. Who would have figured it would help so much with family photos? Did I mention that these people helping me are from Cairo, Egypt, to Berlin, Germany, to Texas and California, USA?

Thanks for allowing me to rave about Facebook as a genealogist's helper.

Thanks to Rebecca Ann JORDAN

"Concrete" Wall
Here is my ancestor research story and, I'm sorry to say, I don't think it will have a successful or happy ending!

I knew my grandfather as William Thompson, my grandmother as Amy Louisa Thompson and my mother's maiden name as Lillian Caroline Elizabeth Thompson. So imagine our surprise when we found out his original surname was Reid.

William (I don't think he would have adopted a false Christian name) Reid ran away from home, added a year to his age, adopted the name Thompson and joined the 3rd King's Own Hussars in June/July 1913.

I have his spurs, his medals, a few photographs of him in army uniform and bits of his WW1 history from French silk postcards, but his pre-1913 days are a complete mystery.

His wedding certificate from 1919 gives his father's name as "William Thompson", (not much imagination there), deceased, occupation Shipwright. I doubt whether he would have made that up either.

So, I have a Reid, not 100% of the spelling, no father's name, no mother's name, and no place of birth, and I'm at a complete loss!

Thanks and good luck to David Marshall

Thank You
I have many stories but right now I want to thank you especially for the recent issue as it contains much valuable information, (i.e. I never knew one could review the names of the Lists to which we had subscribed.) Thanks again and we appreciate all the good work you do.

Thanks to GMF
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, Hosted Sites, and Mailing Lists
New User-contributed Databases at RootsWeb
NEBRASKA, Webster County. Blue Hill High School Graduates 1891-1914

VIRGINIA, Spotsylvania County. James Monroe High School, 1949

VIRGINIA. Hector Military Records

VA: Roanoke Co: McGuire Kingery Buckner Cemetery

VA: Roanoke Co: Amos I Cemetery, Boones Mill, VA

MD: Baltimore Co: John Hopkins Hospital School for Nurses

Submit Your Genealogical Data to a RootsWeb Database.

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USA
  • ksbourhp—Bourbon County Kansas History and Heritage Project
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  • casutttp—Sutter County (CA) Trails to the Past
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  • almaple—Maple Springs Chapter (AL) DAR
  • ilgwpcdu—Gen. William P. Carlin Chapter (IL) Daughters of the Union 1861–1865
  • mnojibwe—Ojibwe People (MN)
  • moaacdac—Aux Arc Chapter (MO) Daughters of the American Colonists
  • ncencgs—Eastern North Carolina Genealogical Society
  • nedchs—Denton Community (Lancaster, NE) Historical Society
  • neobits—Nebraska Obituaries
  • txrvhdrt—Rev. John Haynie Chapter, Daughters of the Republic of Texas
  • txwbtsrt—William B. Travis Chapter, Sons of the Republic of Texas
  • vtcaled2—Caledonia County (VT) USGW
International Sites
  • bcprgc—Prince Rupert Genealogy Club (British Columbia)
  • engderby—Derbyshire (England) History and Directories
  • nirdown—County Down (Northern Ireland)
  • nsrhs—Rockingham Heritage Society (Nova Scotia)
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.

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Mailing Lists
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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.

The Darkroom
Here are two old pictures of my father, Edward Gunnar Johannes Dahlstedt. He was born in Malmö Sweden on 5 May 1897. The first picture was taken a few months after his birth. The second picture was taken at age seven, just before they left Sweden for New York City.

His father had made the journey to America the year before, with about $25 American dollars in his pocket. My father and his mother went to New York with no money at all. My father told the story that on the boat they were given bananas. They had never seen a banana and did not know what it was. When he got off the boat his father asked him what he had in the paper bag? The paper bag was already wet and smelly. He told his father that he did not know what it was and did not want it. He died in 1984, having never eaten a banana!

Thank you to Betty Dahlstedt

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 Spicy Combination
In England a Mr Salt married a Miss Pepper...to add some spice to their lives!

Thank you to SM, Connecticut

Strange Things Do Happen
I learned that my maternal g-g-g-grandfather was named Strangeman B. Hutchins. I found the origin of that name two generations previously when my g-g-g-g-g-grandfather John Hutchins married Polly Strangeman.

Thank you to Louis Athey

Luck Times Two
In the 1920 Census for Cedar Grove, Randolph Co., NC, Abram LUCK was there with his wife Luck LUCK. Now that is doubly luck(y).

Thank you to Josephine Rosenblum, Cincinnati, OH

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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Subscriptions, Submissions, and Reprints
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