14 November 2011, Vol. 14, No. 11
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: Newspapers and Digitization Projects
Everybody loves a freebie—a subject covered in the Review’s article on Genealogy Favorites and Freebies.

One area not spotlighted, was newspapers—a topic with vast resources important to family history. Not every newspaper has been scanned, but almost daily, digitized repositories expand. There are a number of free options, including at RootsWeb (which is always free).

Other Free Publications
One of the more ambitious digitization projects is through Chronicling America, which offers grants to organizations who wish to participate (see the National Digital Newspaper Program). Research is conducted through the US Newspaper Directory, 1690–Present database.

Co-produced by the National Digital Newspaper Program and the Library of Congress, the directory records a list of known historical U.S. newspapers (major), and a variety of digitized images from 1836–1922, representing:

Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington

While searching, investigate the Advanced Search Tab, which allows:

  • Searching by specific states, newspapers and / or date ranges
  • Limiting searches to specific pages or front pages
  • Entering keywords using "any, all or specific phrase" options
  • Specifying that search words must occur within 5, 10, 50, or 100 words of each other

Once a particular newspaper has been located, click on it to expand. You will then be free to save your selection to your computer.

In addition to Chronicling America, several projects exist for specific states, such as at West Virginia University Libraries, which received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to digitize West Virginia newspapers from 1836–1922.

Major Newspaper Repositories (subscription)
This article wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the largest newspaper repositories. Although there is cross-over, you’ll find each collection is unique—and searching is generally free. In many cases, you’ll see a snapshot of the image (called a thumbnail) and be able to determine if you wish to subscribe.

Some claim impressive numbers, such as GenealogyBank, with over one billion genealogical records, and NewspaperArchive, which advertises as the world’s largest newspaper collection. Most, including Ancestry.com and NewsBank, partner with an expanding number of publishers.

Other Links

Researchers often express frustration at finding newspaper records. Why? Notices may be missed by search engines, which misinterpret old type, particularly if there are obstacles to overcome, such as smudges, font, and spelling variations. The key to a successful search, is persistence.

Don’t assume a name was recorded as you would have preferred. Publishers are creative. They may have abbreviated, omitted portions of names or referred to people by titles or relationships. For example, daughter of our late president [assumes names are known], estate of Nat’l Greene, Gen. Smith, Mrs. Jones, relict of Mr. Adams, Sgt. M’Donald, Woman of Colour
Back to top
Genealogy Tip
By Joan Young
Remembering Military Veterans on Veterans Day
This year, Veterans Day is celebrated on Friday, November 11, in America. If you have living veterans in your family—siblings, parents, uncles, aunts, cousins—this is a perfect time to interview them about their experiences and memories. Record or transcribe what you learn. If they tell you they can’t remember details ask about their friends in the service, their training, any medals they may have been awarded, the uniform they wore, where they were stationed, and whether they saved any photos. Specific questions or photos can stir up forgotten memories.

Service records, pension information, or other mementoes of military service for deceased family members may have been passed down in the family. You can also send away for records and don’t forget to search military records online at Ancestry.com and Fold3.

Additional information about US military service with some helpful links may be found in RootsWeb Guide lesson #14.

I obtained the American Revolution pension file for my ancestor, Private Frederick LEADER, who served from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. His pension file includes affidavits from his fellow soldiers detailing how Frederick drove a wagon loaded with munitions from Pennsylvania to Connecticut. In addition to battling British troops there were encounters with Indians along the way. The detailed text gave me a much better understanding of what it must have been like to serve in the Patriot cause.

I have also obtained Private John M. KIGER’s (my maternal second-great-grandfather) Union papers from the US Civil War which informed me he was the fifer for his troop. (I have a BA degree in Music. Since finding this record I’ve wondered if this is where I inherited my musical inclination.) For a time, the muster rolls showed John M. to be AWOL. He was thought to be a deserter until he was located in the Army Hospital in Newark, New Jersey. Discharged for "debility and old age," John M. was vindicated and received an honorable discharge. He died two weeks later of service-related illness.

Obtaining these records gave me an understanding of my ancestors’ military service and the period of their lives while in the military. We’ve all heard the famous George Santayana quote "Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it." (from: The Life of Reason Vol. 1). Armed conflict has been a part of history in every generation that my ancestors have lived in America. For this reason if no other, it is important to learn about, and from, the veterans in our families.
Back to top
My father died in 1954, his sister in 1972, and his maternal great aunt in 1973, so we had very little information about family history. When I began looking for information on his family who had lived in Des Moines, IA, I was able to obtain extensive information from the internet on his mother's line (Garmers originally Gaumers from Pennsylvania) fairly quickly but could not make any progress on the McFarland side. The only information I had were the names of my grandparents and their parents from a page in my baby book and the knowledge that my great grandmother died in 1953. A few years ago, a McFarland cousin gave us some information about the family in a letter. According to him, “Grandma” McFarland (Mary Patterson McFarland) had come with her two children to Des Moines from Julian, North Carolina. He did not mention her husband, Addison Terry McFarland, so I concluded that he had died in North Carolina.

I searched for them online for many hours in North Carolina but with no success. Later, my sister found out that Addison Terry McFarland died in 1931 and was buried in Des Moines so I knew that he had also come to Des Moines. A few months ago I was able to search some Des Moines city directories from the early 20th century and found that A. T. McFarland and his two sons, Lewis E. (my grandfather) and Guy E. (who later became a founder of the McFarland Clinics in Iowa), owned an ice cream company in Des Moines. I also found that there were other siblings in the household, but with no leads on the family prior to 1900 in Iowa, I assumed they were recent arrivals from NC as my cousin had written in his letter.... The breakthrough came just a month or so ago. To my surprise, not only had my grandfather, Lewis E., been born in Iowa in 1882, but his father, A. T. McFarland, had also been born in Iowa and was living in High Point, Decatur, IA in 1870 with his birth family!

Cousin Bob was only half right and two generations off. This experience shows that some leads which appear to be reliable can completely misguide us in our family searches and as new or improved sources come online we can break down brick walls if we keep our minds open to all possibilities and persevere.

Thank you to Phyllis Correa
Back to top
Bottomless Mailbag: Readers Write In
Name Change Explanation
Marilyn Underwood wondered why her Swedish ancestor would change his name from Carlson. I know a Norwegian family who had to change their name from Hansen in the 20th Century because there were too many people with the same name. This was a government requirement. Maybe the same thing happened in Sweden. She might try communicating with someone who knows about government-directed name changes in Scandinavian countries.

Thank you to Louise
The name change from Carlson to Rohlen may not have been actually required, but rather it may have been a helpful suggestion. The story about a similar name change in our family which immigrated from Sweden in 1868 was that "father told their minister in America that he wanted to add a name to his name as there were so many Andersons that he might not get his mail. The minister wanted to know what name he had thought of taking. Father said he had not decided so the minister proposed "Slattengren", as he was from the farm of Slathult. So he went with him to the court house and had it changed to Slattengren."

Carlson would have had the same problem in terms of being a common name in America.

Thank you to Mary Ferm

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.
Back to top
What’s New: Databases, Hosted Sites, 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 Website Account.

New/Updated Websites for Counties, States, and Historical Societies
  • arbccpg—Benton County (AR) Cemetery Preservation Group
  • flbdmgl—Brooksville Depot (FL) Museum and Genealogy Library
  • flclaytp—Clay County (FL) TTTP
  • flswobit—Southwest Florida Obituaries
  • gaforsy3—Forsyth County (GA) AHGP
  • ilkhduv—Keturah Hoover Tent #10 (IL) DUVCW
  • indekal2—DeKalb County (IN) AHGP
  • ksjewehp—Jewell County Kansas History and Heritage Project
  • ksstafhp—Stafford County Kansas History and Heritage Project
  • kssumnhp—Sumner County Kansas History and Heritage Project
  • njctrdar—Col Thomas Reynolds Chapter (NJ) DAR
  • nychautp—Chautauqua County (NY) TTTP
  • nymandar—Manhattan Chapter (NY) DAR
  • txjucd17—Joseph Underwood Chapter (TX) Colonial Dames of the 17th Century
  • walsdar—Lady Stirling Chapter (WA) DAR
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.

Request a Free Website Account.

Mailing Lists
New Surname Mailing Lists

New Regional Mailing Lists
New Ethnic or Special-Interest Mailing Lists

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.
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 Ancestry World Archives Project is a collaborative effort that has allowed thousands of people around the world to help preserve history that would otherwise be lost. Would you like to give back to the genealogy community? Help families discover more of their stories and share them with future generations?

The Ancestry World Archives Project lets you help us bring free historical record collections to the public. Contributors become the first to see new collections as they type in information that creates searchable record indexes. Learn more on how you can contribute here.

New Projects:

California, American Biography and Genealogy, Volumes I-II, 1912
Dorset Militia Lists 1757–1799
London, England, Poor Law Removal and Settlement Records
Warwickshire, England, Occupational and Quarter Session Records—Flax Bounty Lists
Warwickshire, England, Occupational and Quarter Session Records—Game Keepers
Warwickshire, England, Occupational and Quarter Session Records—Jurors Lists
Warwickshire, England, Occupational and Quarter Session Records—Tax Return Lists

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
This is a photo of my great-grandfather Hyman Samuel Simon’s family taken in 1901 in Leeds, England. Sitting in the lap of my great-grandmother Etty is my great aunt Rose Simon, (Newman). We have a copy of her birth certificate dated August 25, 1900. Most of the family, except my great-grandfather, who died in 1910, emigrated to Rochester, New York over the years. My great-grandmother Etty, together with her daughter Rose, arrived in New York on the Lusitania on Dec 21, 1912.

Thank you to Ronald Simon

Walter C. Clark was born in 1867 and he married about 1900, Grace Elizabeth Wilson who was born in 1874. They were my great-grandparents. They lived in Goldfield, NV for a time before moving to Los Angeles. Their sons were gold miners and prospectors. My great-grandfather also helped build many of the buildings in Goldfield, Nevada. At the time they lived there, there were several thousand people living in that tiny town and prospecting during the gold boom.

Grace was the sister of Albert Wilson a silent movie actor who played the "Wing Walker" and who was an aviator of the first passenger airplanes in Southern California.

When I was a child I remember my grandmother May Blanche Clark telling me the stories of her uncle, Al Wilson doing those daring flights out on the wings of the old first airplanes. Al Wilson, died in 1932 when at the National Air races in Cleveland, Ohio his little airplane was blown off course by a dirigibles’ strong engine gusts knocking his plane to the ground. Dirigibles were just coming into the air scene. Al died, a day later from his injuries.

My family remembers him as kind and loving and very thoughtful of all people he met. He was not the guy "living on the edge" as he was portrayed in the movies he made. I wanted to add that, because people tell me that they believe he lived dangerously. But from family lore he lived carefully, but got unlucky one time.

Thank you to Kimberly Capps

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.

Back to top
You Found It
Where did that name come from?
When looking through a volume of petitions to change surnames, I found a Nokie Lillicrap wanted his name changed. I wonder why?

Thank you to Michael Lenard

You just have to smile
The 1881 census for Lichfield, Staffs, England shows that the head warden of St. Matthews Mental Hospital is a Mr. Daft—how apt is that?

Thank you to Phil

Parents with a sense of humor
While I was searching for my husband’s ancestors on Ancestry.com, I found a man that I just had to feel sorry for. Can you imagine going through life, even ‘way back when,’ with a name like Preserved FISH? That poor man.

Thank you to Joyce Norris
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
Back to top
Subscriptions, Submissions, and Reprints
To manage your e-mail communications (i.e., to subscribe or unsubscribe to this newsletter, or to sign up for others), visit our newsletter management center at any time.

If you use a spam-filtering program, in order to receive the RootsWeb Review please make sure that you’re allowing e-mail from rootswebreview@email.rootsweb.com. The RootsWeb Review is a free publication of Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 360 West 4800 North, Provo, UT, 84604.

The RootsWeb Review does not publish or answer genealogical queries, and the editor regrets that she is unable to provide any personal research assistance or advice.

RootsWeb Review welcomes short (500 words or less) articles, humor, stories, or letters, and reserves the right to edit all submissions. The announcement of books and products is provided as a community service and is not an endorsement in any way. Pictures for "The Darkroom" should be at least 72 dpi, preferably jpgs.

All mail sent to the RootsWeb Review editor is considered to be for publication—send in plain text (please, no attachments, other than images for "The Darkroom") to Editor-RWR@rootsweb.com and please include your full name and e-mail address in the text.

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: 14 November, 2011, Vol. 14, No. 11.
© 2011 Ancestry.com