RootsWeb Review, 15 December 2004, Vol. 7 No. 50
1. NEWS AND NOTES
1a. Editor's Desk:
"Foiling the Phishers"
"No Rich Uncles Either"
1b. Tips from Readers:
"Ciao, Ciao, My Cousins"
1c. Using RootsWeb:
"Information at your Fingertips"
2. Connecting Through RootsWeb:
"Finding Branches Years Later"
"Tracking Descendants Pays Off Handsomely"
3. New RootsWeb Mailing Lists
4. New Webpages at RootsWeb
5. New/Updated FreePages and HomePages
6. New User-contributed Databases
7. RootsWeb Review's Bottomless Mailbag:
"Tales of our Ancestors"
"Filling in the Blanks"
"Sorting Out Ancestors with Similar Names"
"Your Ancestor Was Born -- Where?"
"Juicing Up a Name"
"Creative Search by Locality Pays Off"
"Building Brick Walls"
"The Bottom Line"
8. Humor/Humour: "Martial Bliss"
9. Subscriptions, Submissions, Advertising, Reprints
1. NEWS AND NOTES
1a. EDITOR'S DESK:
FOILING THE PHISHERS. Phishing is a growing form of online fraud. It
blends old-fashioned confidence scams with innovations in technological
trickery. The best way to avoid becoming a victim is to remember that
real companies almost never send e-mail asking you to submit any
Phishers use "spoofed" [fake] e-mails and fraudulent websites designed
to fool you into divulging personal financial data such as credit card
numbers, account usernames and passwords, Social Security numbers, etc.
By hijacking the trusted brands of well-known banks, online retailers
and credit card companies, phishers can fool you.
They often include fancy graphics, trademark symbols, and an authentic-
looking e-mail address in the "from" line, but all of these things can
be faked easily. One of the easiest ways to tell that it comes from a
phiser is if the message tries to scare you into giving up personal and
financial information by saying that your account needs to be verified,
updated or confirmed. If you think a message might be legitimate,
contact the organization by phone or open a new Internet browser window
and type in the company's Web address. Do not cut and paste material
from suspicious e-mail messages and never reply to a suspected phiser.
Be smart. Be safe. Here's more on how to avoid these phishing scams:
* * *
NO RICH UNCLES EITHER. On another fraud front, many genealogists have
been contacted by perpetuators of what's known as the Nigerian Advance
Fee Fraud or "4-1-9" scheme -- so named after the section of the
Nigerian penal code that addresses fraud schemes. These are often quite
creative as family historians are discovering.
A large number of victims are enticed into believing they have been
singled out from the masses (often by using your family names) to share
in some multi-million dollar windfall profits. Don't fall for such
frauds either. Read this online public awareness advisory:
* * *
1b. TIPS FROM READERS: Ciao, Ciao, My Cousins
By Esther Aiani Behnke
Before going on a vacation to Italy, I called our local Italian
Consulate and inquired if it would copy pages from its Rome telephone
book that had a certain family name.
I received a page with six names. Then I sent a letter to each, stating
the reason I'm writing, my great-grandmother's name, and asking if there
is a connection. Within a week, I received a packet of information,
including my family tree back to 1422, a history of my family, and other
Then I received a telephone call from Rome, asking what day I'll be in
Rome, that my newfound cousins wanted to have a party for my husband and
me. What a joy! I was delighted to meet cousins who knew there was a
branch in the U.S. but had no way of contacting us. It is so lovely to
have a correspondence going with them.
* * *
Have you encountered and solved a pesky research problem? Share it with
the RootsWeb Review readers. Send to: Editor-RWR@rootsweb.com
* * *
1c. Using RootsWeb: Information at your Fingertips
Don Hayes recently began researching his family history. One of the
first suggestions made to him by more experienced researchers was that
he should subscribe to RootsWeb mailing lists for the surnames and
localities he had found thus far in his searches.
Well, Don is one of those guys who never reads the owner's manual or
asks directions. So he promptly trashed the "welcome messages" he
received after subscribing to the mailing lists.
This turned out to be a mistake. Don soon realized he didn't have a
clue as to how to post a proper message to the list when he received a
private admonition from the list administrator for posting an off-topic
message. When Don asked the admin how he was supposed to know that
posting a message about his HAYES ancestors was off-topic on the MILLER
list (unless he included information as to how his HAYESes were
connected to his MILLER family), the reply let him know in no uncertain
terms that the list rules were spelled out clearly in the welcome
message that Don had deleted unread. Uh, oh.
Later when Don and wife decided to visit family over the holidays and he
would not have access to his e-mail, he realized that he didn't recall
what he was supposed to do to stop the list mail. Once again he was
coming to the belated realization that he might have acted too swiftly
in ignoring and deleting the welcome message.
The welcome letter you receive when you first subscribe to a mailing
list often contains customized text about the rules, policies, and
procedures for list members to follow on that specific list. Since
RootsWeb's volunteer list administrators are given a great deal of
leeway in administering lists, careful attention should be given when
you receive each new welcome letter. Each administrator's list rules and
instructions will vary. Save all your welcome letters and don't assume
"if you have seen one, you have seen them all" because many contain
unique information and customized introductions.
As Don learned when he crossed paths with the list administrator, if you
lose your welcome message for any reason, you can obtain a new copy for
any list to which you currently subscribe by sending an e-mail to
mode). Replace the generic word LISTNAME with the actual name of the
Put the word "archive" (without quotation marks) as the subject and the
words "get welcome.txt" (no quotation marks) on the first line of the
message body and no additional text. Turn off any signature files.
Since this is a command to a computer, your e-mail must be formatted
exactly as shown above in all lower-case letters with one space between
the command get and welcome.txt (the file you want the computer to send
Don subscribed to some mailing lists in mail mode, meaning he opted to
receive each individual list message as a separate e-mail. He soon
learned he could benefit by paying attention to the rotating taglines
the list administrators often place at the bottom of every list
message. The taglines contain such information as instructions for
subscribing and unsubscribing, how to contact the administrator, links
to the archives for the list, links to helpful webpages where list rules
or other pertinent information can be found, information about how the
message board gateway works, if applicable, and even a link to the
corresponding message board.
List taglines are set by the volunteer administrator and are as varied
as the interests and knowledge of the individual administrators. Tag-
lines are often changed from time to time, so it pays to look and not
assume you have read them before. While not all administrators use list
taglines, those who do put the reminders there for a reason -- to keep
list members informed of important information they need to know. Savvy
list members pay attention to taglines.
Don also subscribed to a few very active mailing lists in digest mode
and soon learned that list administrators also often customize
information contained in the list digest "administrivia." The
administrivia is the text that you find in every digest immediately
following the index that explains how to unsubscribe from the digests,
how to contact the list administrator, and often other helpful
information such as a link to a corresponding message board.
So, while Don still continues to toss out owner's manuals for new
products and refuses to ask directions while traveling -- much to the
consternation of his wife -- he has learned not to be so hasty where
RootsWeb mailing lists are concerned. He's discovered that he can
actually find hints and tips for making the mailing lists work better
for him by paying attention and not overlooking the information readily
at his fingertips.
2. Connecting Through RootsWeb. Thanks for sharing your stories.
Finding Branches Years Later
By Sherry Sherman from Aurora, Colorado, USA
In my family I'm known as the epitome of hope and patience. It all stems
from a practical joke my beloved uncle played on me when I was a wee
one, in which I spent years attempting to hatch "porcupine eggs" (a
story for a different e-mail -- this one is to encourage others in hope
Several years ago I placed an inquiry online in an attempt to discover
more about the death of a paternal young cousin. Several wonderful
people in that area responded and I gained what I was looking for and
more. After that initial discovery, I promptly forgot about my inquiry
-- until recently. Please note that my e-mail addy has not changed in
more than 10 years and that my maiden name is unique to my paternal
I received an e-mail from someone whose name I did not recognize,
claiming her children shared my maiden surname. Careful skeptic that I
am, I responded cautiously. Through multiple e-mails, I regained an
entire branch of my family that I had not had contact with since I was
16 years old. This included an elderly aunt, four first cousins, their
spouses, children and grandchildren. I am so thrilled and thankful that
my practical joker uncle taught me so many years ago to always hope and
practice patience and I am equally thrilled with technological advances.
* * *
Tracking Descendants Pays Off Handsomely
By Joanne Wilson in West Palm Beach, Florida, USA
After picking the "low-hanging fruit" on the family tree from the easy
sources, it didn't take long to figure out that there were distant
relatives out there who might well have information that I needed.
I had found an 1881 ship's list online which showed my great-
grandmother, her younger sister, and her parents as they came to New
York from Holland. So it was a surprise a few months later to receive
from my aunt an old formal portrait photo of the same great-grandmother,
her sister, her widowed mother, and her brother. The names written on
the photo by my grandmother included his: Cornelius VAN TILBURG.
Being male he would have passed the family name to any offspring.
Using the online white pages I got a list of several people by that last
name in the area of northern Jersey where my ancestors had settled and
where I had lived until moving to Florida in the late '70s. I wrote to
each one, giving what relevant information I had, and including my e-
mail address in my contact information.
A few days later my e-mail box contained several replies. Among them was
a man -- Gerry -- whose grandfather had had the name Cornelius VAN
TILBURG. There was also a woman, Sheryl, living in Missouri, whose
elderly mother had received my letter and phoned her with my e-mail
address. She, too, was a descendant of a Cornelius VAN TILBURG. I
doubted that it was "my" Cornelius, given the time span since the
1880s. However, after several e-mails it became apparent that the two
correspondents were likely to be related to each other, based on names
that both mentioned. Less than a week later, Gerry e-mailed me an
old family portrait of his grandfather Cornelius with his wife and
children. I almost came out of my chair as I recognized the same man as
the one in my own old photo. Cornelius, it seems, had come over a couple
of years before the rest of the family.
The benefits of the small mailing effort and subsequent e-mails were
many. Gerry had already done a large family chart of the descendants of
Cornelius and we traded information for our respective trees. Sheryl
put us in touch with another New Jersey cousin, Craig, who had
researched the VAN TILBURGs back into Holland for several generations.
He sent us photocopies of original birth, death and marriage
certificates -- treasures -- as well as some personal recollections that
filled in a number of family history details.
Perhaps best of all, we are in touch after the family lost track of each
other so long ago.
* * *
Do you have an online "connecting" story to share? Send to:
3. New Mailing Lists at RootsWeb
Request a New Mailing List: http://resources.rootsweb.com
Brand-new mailing lists can be found under OTHER/MISCELLANEOUS until
moved to their proper categories. For information and an index to the
more than 28,600 RootsWeb-hosted genealogy Mailing Lists and for easy
subscribing (joining) options go to: http://lists.rootsweb.com/
NEW SURNAME MAILING LISTS
COATES-UK -- The COATES families of United Kingdom
DRISCOLLS-TO-AUSTRALIA -- DRISCOLLs who immigrated to Australia,
with emphasis on those from County Cork, Ireland
NEW ETHNIC AND SPECIAL INTEREST MAILING LISTS
TEXAS-HOODS-BRIGADE -- Genealogical discussions of the members of
the Texas Hood's Brigade
4. New Webpages at RootsWeb
To Request a Free Web Account: http://accounts.rootsweb.com/
Some of these webpages might not yet be accessible. 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 Ross and Cromarty County (Scotland) website is at:
sctrocfc -- Ross and Cromarty County (Scotland) Free Census
arwccs -- Washington County (Arkansas) Confederate Soldiers
gatroup3 -- Troup County (Georgia)
wvkanaw2 -- Kanawha County (West Virginia)
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5. New/Updated Freepages and Homepages
Has your website ever been mentioned here or do you have a new, updated,
or substantially revised website located at RootsWeb (it will have
"freepages" or "homepages" in the URL)? Send the URL (Web address),
along with a brief description, including the major pertinent surnames
and what is available on your site, to: Editor-RWR@rootsweb.com
* * *
ENGLAND. Further update of the index to local 18th- and 19th-century
newspapers; now contains more than 35,000 names with further issues of
the Salisbury and Winchester Journal (some 1782, mostly 1825) which
cover Wiltshire, Hampshire, Dorset, Somerset, plus a few from the
Northampton Mercury's (covering Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire,
Buckinghamshire) and some London Papers, 1725 and 1751, which featured
local and well as London news reports. Includes the execution in
Hampshire of David Tyrie, the murder of "Witch" by a mob at Tring in
Hertfordshire, plus plenty of more light-hearted events and the usual
blend of local adverts (from tradesmen, parish officials, etc), and the
parish local news (inquests, lists of marriages and deaths, court cases,
individuals to transported, etc.). Also updated is the "favourite"
section, which contains a small selection of some of the webmaster's
favourite stories taken from the papers. Click on the link to: Local
Newspapers Index (excluding Windsor and Eton Express) at:
NEW YORK. Names of orphaned children in Roman Catholic Orphan Asylum,
Manhattan, from the 1900 census. Includes year and place of birth.
NEW YORK. Names of orphaned children in Hebrew Orphan Asylum, Manhattan,
from the 1900 census. Includes year and place of birth.
NEW YORK. Names of orphaned children in Hebrew Sheltering Guardian
Society of New York, Manhattan, from the 1900 census. Includes year and
place of birth.
NEW YORK. Names of orphaned children in Orphan Asylum Society,
Manhattan, from the 1900 census. Includes year and place of birth.
NEW YORK. Society for Relief of Half-Orphans and Destitute Children,
Manhattan from the 1900 census. Includes year and place of birth.
NEW YORK. Names of orphaned children in Albany Orphan Asylum,
Albany, from the 1900 census. Includes year and place of birth.
6. New User-Contributed Databases at RootsWeb
SHARING OPPORTUNITY. Does your alma mater, old military unit, church,
parish, province, county or state have material available that you think
would be of interest to genealogists and historians? Do you have any
compiled lists of names or databases (other than your personal
genealogy) that you would like to share and that you think would be of
value and interest to others? In most cases, RootsWeb would be proud to
host such material. http://userdb.rootsweb.com
The following databases have come online recently. They are searchable,
but not browseable.
Search: To look for specific data or occurrence of text in a file.
Browse: To view the entire contents of a file or a group of files.
CANADA. Ontario. Perth County. Natives of Ireland buried in Roman
295 records; Thomas J. Hunter
CONNECTICUT. New Haven County. Southbury. White Oak Cemetery;
437 records; John Whalen
ILLINOIS. Effingham County. Effingham. Jackson Township.
Little Prairie Cemetery; 191 records; Russell W. Zears
MICHIGAN. Wayne County. Dearborn. Fordson High School Class of 1939;
476 records; In memory of Christina Heelen
Assorted Cemeteries on Anguilla, Saba, Saint Eustatius and
Saint Martin (Sint Maarten) islands; 205 records; Heather Nielsen
Selected death records, 1883-1910 on Anguilla and Antigua islands;
117 records; Heather Nielsen
7. FROM ROOTSWEB REVIEW'S BOTTOMLESS MAILBAG
[Editor's note: The opinions expressed herein are those of the
authors and are not necessarily those of the editor or of
Tales of our Ancestors
By Pat Bowmaster
I would urge caution in researching someone "born at sea." My husband's
great-grandfather, Wolter BOUWMEESTER, supposedly was born at sea
between Holland and America. He even stated this to a reporter who
interviewed him on the occasion of his 61st wedding anniversary.
I was able to find the ship on which his family came to this country.
Wolter was listed, but there was no notation of birth at sea. After much
searching and some help from Willem KAPPER of Holland, I found the
record of Wolter's birth in 1847 in Staphorst, Overijssel, Netherlands.
It turned out that he was four months old when the ship embarked.
Before you give up on finding record of births at sea, be sure to check
birth records in the residence country for several months prior to
embarkation to the destination country.
[Editor's note: Since about 1820, U.S. Customs officials have been
responsible to see that the ships' manifests listed crew, passenger, and
cargo, and the ships' logs provided statements on the conditions of the
passengers, and births, marriages, and deaths at sea. This information
is sometimes found at the end of the microfilm of what's commonly called
ship passenger lists of the vessels entering the United States].
* * *
Filling in the Blanks
By Betty Ramsey
A few years ago, my friend and I had recently started our genealogy
research online. Her teenage son came in wanting her to do something for
him while she was searching for ancestors on the Internet. Getting
impatient with waiting for her to finish, he asked what she was doing.
When she replied "genealogy research," he asked for more specifics. She
said she was filling in the blanks in her family tree with the names of
her ancestors. He said "Move over and let me fill them in, I can put
names in all those blanks in a few minutes and then you can help me."
Sometimes, I think that is what happened to some online genealogies that
I find with wives called "Mrs. John Doe."
* * *
Sorting Out Ancestors with Similar Names
By Justin Kirk Houser
Regarding Kaye Powell's item, "Wildcarding for Ancestors," about the
BROWNs in last week's RootsWeb Review, the Valentine BREON she mentioned
as a success story was not a BROWN at all, but a separate individual in
his own right who started out life in Berks County, Pennsylvania, in
1778, as a BRION, and ended it as a BREON in 1866 in Centre County,
Pennsylvania. He was my 5-great-grandfather, and I've proven his lineage
through wills, deeds, and church baptismal records.
This demonstrates the importance of always checking out possible
"matches" you find in online searches and not taking for granted that an
individual you may find in a record is the same as your ancestor,
especially when the details do not fit exactly. I have Valentine's
lineage back to the late 16th century in France and there is no known
tie to BROWN in his ancestry.
I would, however, love to know who Valentine BREON's elusive wife, Anna
Maria, was, before her marriage -- some speculate that she was a BATDORF
but I have never found proof of this.
* * *
Your Ancestor Was Born -- Where?
By Mac Hayes
My own data has a non-blood relative who was "Born in an airplane."
This has not been a problem so far, since the "airborne" party is no
longer related to my line.
* * *
Juicing Up a Name
By Sharon Fowler in Pleasanton, California, USA
While researching the Schlosser families who migrated from Pennsylvania
to Stark County, Ohio, and then on to Indiana and Illinois, I came
across an interesting person.
His name was probably either Orange Lemuel SCHLOSSER or Orange Lenias
SCHLOSSER (phew!). The indexers had quite a time it seems and the name
was treated quite variously, but my favorite is "Orange J. SLUSHER."
* * *
Creative Search by Locality Pays Off
By Janet Nevling
I was looking for my husband's ancestors. I thought they had arrived in
Monticello, Illinois in 1866. I did not find them listed in the 1870
county census and thought it very strange. I knew that they had
arrived in New York in late May 1866, thanks to "Germans to America"
I also knew that they were from Saxony, thanks to an ancestor's
genealogical research, so what I did was to look at the letters behind
each head of household name, and when I came to the three-letter code
for Saxony I found them. The family name was Schloeffel, headed by
Christoph GOTTHILF (Christopher the God-helper). But in the census the
surname was listed as Christophschloeffel. I suppose the German accent
threw off the census taker.
In 1987 we moved from a Chicago suburb to Monticello, Illinois and I
have been able to find the locations of houses in which the Schloeffel
family lived, and to find in the courthouse that their older son had
filed his intent to become a citizen in October 1865. So they had sent
him over first, and had stayed in Saxony until the American Civil War
* * *
Building Brick Walls
By Diana Szatkowski in Connecticut, USA
As an amateur genealogist for the past six years, I have continuously
tried to overcome what I call my brick wall. From the very beginning of
my research I knew that my 2-great-grandfather, Asher S. CRAY, had been
born in Vermont as well as his son Asher L. CRAY.
His family was on the 1810 and 1820 census of Swanton, Vermont, but
Asher CRAY was born in 1808 and I could never find any record of his
birth or marriage in Vermont.
Later he moved his family to Palmyra, New York and ran a brick-making
business. Hoping to find some record in Palmyra that might indicate
where Asher was born, I went there. Nothing could be found in Palmyra's
records indicating where the family had come from other than Vermont.
I was talking to the town historian telling her about Asher CRAY, the
brick maker, and how I could not locate where he was born or married
other than Vermont.
Hoping that she might be able to help me, I explained how I had searched
for six years and it seemed I could not overcome this brick wall. She
looked at me and quite seriously explained, "Yes, and he obviously built
the brick wall too."
* * *
The Bottom Line
By Scott Aaron
It's funny how over time, names can take on meanings that probably
weren't intended when given. While researching one of my family lines
on the 1900 Census, I found a niece living with them by the name of
I'm hoping for her sake that in 1900 that name wasn't as humorous as
most would probably find it today.
8. Humor/Humour: Martial Bliss
Thanks to: Allison L. Ryall
In recent mail I received an American Civil War pension file for an
ancestor I am researching. There was a form which asked several
questions of the soldier, such as: Are you a married man? When, where
and by whom were you married, etc.
One of the questions was: What record or proof or your marriage exists?
The soldier's written response was: "She still lives."
* * *
Found a humorous sign or entry in census, parish, church, etc. records?
Send to: Editor-RWR@rootsweb.com
9. Subscriptions, Submissions, Advertising, Reprints
Visit our newsletter management center any time at:
The RootsWeb Review is a free publication of MyFamily.com, 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. All mail sent to the RootsWeb Review editor is considered
to be for publication — send in PLAIN TEXT (please, no attachments)
* * *
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REPRINTS. 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: 15 December 2004, Vol. 7, No. 50.