The USGenWeb Project, Free Genealogy Online
Home About Us States Projects Researchers Volunteers

The USGenWeb Project


Volume 2, Number 7
December 2005

Notes From The N.C.
Linda Haas Davenport
Some great people have volunteered for the Newsletter Committee, and exciting ideas are flying fast and furious for coming issues. If even half of the ideas are used, the December newsletter should be the best one yet.

After two months of waiting, the Grievance Procedure Committee finally received its e-mail list and the committee was seated. This committee will work to develop standard procedures for handling grievances. Although we can all wish there would never be a disagreement among any of us, with a Project of approximately 3,000 people, there will always be disagreements. This committee has the heavy responsibility of developing fair and equitable standards to be used when the only solution to disagreements is mediation. The GPC will be operating on an open list. Any project member may subscribe to the list, watch the GPC in operation, and offer suggestions. The list is archived if you prefer to keep up with the Committee's work without being on the list. If you wish to subscribe, the address is: or

Mike Jarvis, the webmaster for the Project's National Site, has resigned to devote more time to his other commitments. Mike, along with Julie McGrew-Ayres, was responsible for the National site's new look. Please join me in a big Thank You to Mike for all of his hard work for the Project and in wishing him the very best in the future. With Mike's resignation, the Advisory Board voted to appoint Julie McGrew-Ayres as the new webmaster. Please make her welcome.

Speaking of the National Site, if you haven't visited in awhile, you will find a lot of Project information, along with several helpful links ( Check out for articles and information to which you might want to link.

Some of our members have put together tutorials, along with samples and examples of great html help. Drop by

The Holiday season is rapidly approaching and it is the time of year when none of us seem to have enough hours in the day. Yet there are always Project members who find time to decorate their state or county sites for the holidays. If you decorate your site for the holidays send me the URL. I will post it on DISCUSS and the Regional lists for everyone to enjoy. My e-mail address is:

I wish each of you a wonderful Holiday Season, and may one of the family stories you hear be the one to knock down a brick wall.

Until next month.

USGenWeb Priorities - What Should They Be?
Mike St Clair AB RAL
Have you thought about what the priorities should be for The USGenWeb Advisory Board for the remainder of this 2005-2006 term? I assure you that this is something your board members consider frequently. The answers aren't always as clear cut as we would wish.

A relatively small number of project members pay close attention to what happens on the Board's discussion lists and provide suggestions and feedback from day to day. The vast majority of our project's membership does not. As a result, it can be a daunting task for the Board to either determine the Project's mindset on any particular issue or to decide what issues are the most important to be considered from the perspective of the project members.

I know for most of you the enjoyment of participating in The USGenWeb Project comes predominantly from actively working on your websites and serving genealogical researchers who come to visit. That is also true for me. Nevertheless, I'd like to propose that our Project would be better and the project leadership would do a better job for you, if you would pay some attention to what the Board is up to and provide your leaders with some direction about how you would like to see us spending our time. You don't have to think about this constantly, as we are obliged to; but as each new Board begins its service, it would be very helpful if more project members would consider what is important to them and then inform their Board representatives. It would also help the Project move in the direction you would like if, as each election approaches, you would think about those same priorities, discuss them with candidates in the upcoming election, and then vote for those candidates that best support your outlook.

In any organization as large as ours, it is inevitable that there will be a variety of opinions about what the priorities should be. It's just as inevitable that, if you don't speak up about what you think should be the higher priorities, your opinions will not be considered. I assure you that the members of this Board DO care what you think and WILL consider your input on the priorities for the project. I invite you to let your representatives know if there are any issues you would particularly like to see us discuss and make decisions about during the coming nine months. We would especially like to know if there is anything we can do that will make you more effective and help you accomplish what is important to you as a project member.

I've learned that Board members do frequently hear from a small number of Project members, particularly when they disagree with something the AB has decided. I realize you cannot please all the people all the time. Both negative feedback, when you don't agree, and positive feedback, in advance of decisions, are valuable. So please bring your suggestions to us, let us know if you feel we have strayed, and pat us on the back once in a while. Your participation will ensure your satisfaction and improve our project.

You can see the official decisions and voting records of the AB members at:

You will find more information on how to follow official discussions of your Board and the project-related discussions of your fellow Project members at:

You will find email addresses for your Board representatives at:

Assistant Web Master Needed - National Site
Linda Haas Davenport - NC
An assistant web master is needed for the National web site ( If you are interested in the position please send an e-mail to Linda Haas Davenport (National Coordinator) and include your experience and a link to some samples of your work.

USGenWeb at FGS 2006 Program
Josh Taylor - Parliamentarian
Members of the USGenWeb at FGS 2006 Committee have been working hard to organize The USGenWeb Project's participation in the 2006 Federation of Genealogical Societies conference to be held August 30-September 2, 2006 in Boston, Massachusetts. We are proud to announce the lecture topics and speakers who will be participating in the USGenWeb track at the conference. This 'team' will be presenting 20 events at the FGS 2006 Conference. Speakers for the track include past members of the Advisory Board, past National Coordinators, Professional Genealogists, and many others. In the coming weeks detailed information on each speaker will be posted at

The FGS 2006 Conference is the largest genealogical event ever held, totaling over 338 sessions. Please stay tuned for additional information on registration for the FGS Conference and more news from the USGenWeb at FGS 2006 Committee!

FGS Early Bird Registration
Josh Taylor - Parliamentarian
USGenWeb members planning to attend the FGS 2006 Conference in Boston, Massachusetts are encouraged to register early to take advantage of the "Early Bird Discount" offered by the Federation of Genealogical Societies for those who register for the conference before December 31, 2005. More than 330 sessions will include lectures, luncheons, and workshops covering both national and international topics. The complete program will be posted on the website in the next week. There will also be an exhibit hall featuring genealogical vendors from all over the world. Members can register online at

Newsletter Committee Formed - Wow
Sharon Rhodes - Editor
I am excited to announce that our new committee is formed. We have a group of volunteers who, as you can see by this newsletter, are amazing.

Let me introduce them.

1. Denise Wells - Assistant Editor
CC for the following counties: Broward County, FL; Hancock County, MS; Arapahoe County, CO; Denver County, CO

2. Morgan Johnson - Assistant Copy Editor
Parish Coordinator, Rapides Parish; Louisiana County Coordinator; Christian County, Illinois
Regional Coordinator; Eastern Region, Illinois

3. Anne J. Mitchell - Records Section
Co-Coordinator for the PhillyGenWeb Project (Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania)

4. Annette Bame Peebles - Website Spotlight
CC for Ashtabula Co., Ohio; Grundy Co., TN; Tennesseans in WWI; Tennessee Recipes; Island Co., WA; Kitsap Co., WA; Northampton Co., VA; Sumter Co., AL; and Unknown Co., KY

5. Daryl Lytton - In charge of Poetry and Prose
OHGenWeb Adams County CC

6. Kellie Crnkovich - undecided at this time
California Archive co-File Manager; Obituary Project for Alabama, Arizona, California, New Mexico, Idaho, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi; File Manager for USGenWeb Counties Lassen, CA; Alpine, CA; Cameron, TX; Aransas, TX; Deaf Smith, TX; Colfax, NM; and Union, NM.

Project Gutenberg
Daryl Lytton - News Staff
Our featured library is the online Project Gutenberg. You will find many types of eBooks at PG, including non-fiction historical items specific to certain topics and areas of the country. I interviewed Founder and Executive Coordinator, Dr. Michael Hart, Ph.D.

[Daryl] Dr. Hart, when and why was PG founded?

[Dr. Hart] PG was founded the night of July 4th, 1971, simply because I wanted to put something on the newly intercontinental network that would still be there a century or millennium later. . .something permanent. . .something all of the people in the world could find useful, valuable, etc. As far as I know, this was the very first effort to create something permanent on the Internet. After all these years, I've never heard of any other candidate.

[Daryl] What is the goal of PG?

[Dr. Hart] The basic goal has always been to provide a general library for the general public, instantaneously available, 24/7/365, books anyone could download in less time than it would take to even get to the door, should it have been delivered the moment they happened to request it, and it should all be free of any charges.

The original goal was simply to prove that it could be done, with the hopes that the world would realize the incredible value and create a world public library containing millions of books that anyone could have at the speed of the Internet.

[Daryl] What sort of items are available at PG?

[Dr. Hart] Name a dozen of your favorite authors from over 80 years ago, and you will likely find more books than you could carry if you printed them out...Light Literature, Heavy Literature, Reference Materials, Scientific Works. Even music, pictures, movies, etc.

[Daryl] How many books does PG currently have?

[Dr. Hart] 17,713 eBooks online as of December 7th, 2005.

[Daryl] How many are in the public domain? Are any copyrighted?

[Dr. Hart] 98% - We also have some 2% of our works copyrighted by the author, and we post those with permission.

[Daryl] How do they become available online?

[Dr. Hart] Most of the books are scanned and OCRed [Optical Character Recognition], then put through multiple efforts of error correction and proofreading. The final file is assembled by a "post production" volunteer to make sure all the parts fit nicely together, and then put online.

[Daryl] Where is PG?

[Dr. Hart] These are most of the PG sites: 47 languages 104 languages [Project Gutenberg Europe (PGE opened with 65 languages, multiple copyright laws)] [Distributed Proofreaders Europe]

Not to mention upcoming sites for operations in: Canada, The Philippines, Portugal.

Each country determines its own copyright laws, so that depends on where you are. and are tailored to U.S. copyright: rule of thumb, anything before 1923 is legal, and some after if not renewed.

[Daryl] Thank you for your time, Dr. Hart.

[Dr. Hart] You could be the first to publish my prediction that there will be a million eBooks of various kinds on the Net in the next few years. We would be only too happy to help contributors of books in both directions, either to or from your subscribers, including books on genealogy, and I hope all kinds of books.

[Daryl: The Project Gutenberg License comes with each book. It is also online at and says, in part, for the public domain books, ""This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever....If you strip the Project Gutenberg license and all references to Project Gutenberg from the ebook, you are left with a public domain ebook. You can do anything you want with that." You do not have strip the eBook in order to put it on your website. Many eBooks are available in both plain text and HTML format, some audio. Some HTML books also include pictures and graphics found in the original print versions.]

Veterans Records
Annette Bame Peebles - News Staff
With the holidays here, this would be a great way to celebrate our veterans, past and present. Below are a few tips / links to get you started. While we're on the subject, have you thanked a veteran today?
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration Grave Locater search engine.
The National Archives for requesting service records.
The National Archives main page.
Use the search engine to find Information on all the Wars including lists of casualties by state. Cyndi's List
In their continual effort to put genealogy on line they have many of the "Military Schedules from the 1890 Census" and most of the "WWI draft cards" scanned and indexed. This is a for-money site but many Public Libraries and Family History Centers belong to this organization and you can use their subscription free.

The above links submitted by Darilee Bednar in an email to the USGW-Discuss mailing list 7 Nov 2005. Used with her permission.

Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System Search

Memoirs & Diaries of WWI

National WWII Memorial Search

USGenWeb Special Projects - Military

And also don't forget to check each state as they usually have military info as well as the county sites. Remember to always cite your source!

Genealogy Records Make Great Holiday Gifts
Anne J. Mitchell - Records Reporter
Looking for a unique and personal holiday gift for someone who has everything? Why not treat your family and friends to gifts only a genealogical researcher can give? Here are some ideas:

#1 Census Records
Census records are available from 1790 through 1930. Census records from 1790 through 1840 provide little details about the family. However, census records from 1850 through 1930 provide information about every member of a household. Some examples of the information that can be found on census records include: name, age, country of origin, year of immigration, country of origin of parents and the address.

Census records can be researched in person at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and at many other repositories. Census images can be researched and printed from online databases like If you would like a copy of the microfilmed record instead of a scanned image, write down the information from the online database and order the record online at:

#2 Military Records
Military records from the American Revolution through 1912 are available from the NARA in Washington, D.C. Records after 1912 are available at the National Military Records Personnel Center in Saint Louis, Missouri. You will need the name, date of birth and military identification number of the family member, the branch of military in which he or she served and the dates of service if known. If the ancestor is interred at a national cemetery, most likely the cemetery would have some of the information. If the military identification number is unknown, provide the social security number instead.

Some of the background about the ancestor can be searched in online databases. Once you have enough information, records can be ordered online through the NARA.

Gift ideas include: military records, pension records and unit or regimental histories. Sometimes you might get lucky and find a photograph of your military ancestor in a repository. Two of the best places to search for photographs are the state archives and the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress has many prints and photographs in their catalog.

#3 Immigration or Naturalization Records
Many immigration indexes are available through online databases like, and the AAD database located on the NARA website. If the family member is not located in an indexed database, microfilm records can be searched at NARA or at state and local repositories. Immigration records can be ordered online through the NARA website.

Naturalization records can be located by searching indexes at the NARA and at many state and local repositories. The naturalization index will provide the name of petitioner, the date of petition, the court where the petition was heard. If the petition was heard in federal court, NARA will most likely have the record. If the petition was heard in a state or county court, check with the state or county archive.

For naturalization records after September 1906, contact the nearest Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) office. Some of the records that may be in a naturalization file are: Declaration of Intention, Petition for Naturalization, Certificate of Naturalization and additional correspondence.

United States Congress enacted several laws after 1940 that made it a requirement for all aliens over the age of 14 to register with the government. These files may be located at the Immigration and Naturalization Service office as well.

#4 Articles from the newspaper
Articles from the newspaper can be researched online through several online databases like Although the entire article may not be provided in the search results, enough information should be available to obtain a photocopy from your local library. In addition, many newspapers have searchable archives on their website. Many local libraries give patrons access to material through the Interlibrary Loan Program. The Interlibrary Loan Program is a good way to obtain articles from newspapers throughout the country. Death notices and obituaries may be located at, or through your local library.

#5 Genealogy records from county courthouses or repositories
County courthouses and repositories have vast collections of records. Vital records (birth, death and marriage records) were recorded beginning in the late 1700's in New England states and in the mid-1800's for most other states. City Directories can be searched in books or on microfilm from the late 1700's through the mid-1900's. Deeds and related documents (mortgage books and surveys) may be available as early as the late 1600's through the present. Wills and related probate documents were recorded as early as the late 1600's through the present.

In order to obtain copies of these records, research would have to be conducted at the courthouse or repository. If you know exactly what you are looking for, you can order a copy via snail mail, telephone or email and pay a research and photocopy fee. Remember, you do not need to have a completed family tree to give the gift of genealogy. Be creative and have fun creating a memorable gift that can be passed down and appreciated by future generations.

Poetry and Prose
This little nook is managed by Daryl Lytton.

Twas the Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, and everyone slept,
Except the Genealogist, who out of bed crept,
To check the computer and regular mail box,
To heck with the ties, and chocolates and sox.
Everyone else is sleeping like a log.
Oh, oh, be careful, I fell over the dog.
Whoops, just listen, what's that on the roof?
Santa has caught me, being a goof.
I'll hide under the desk, till he goes away;
If he caught me up, what would he say?
Hurry up Santa, what did you bring?
Drop it and run--let me see everything!
I want Aunt Sadie, and great Uncle Bert,
Also Grandma Blitzen-that wouldn't hurt.
Cousin Gertie's a mystery, where did she go?
And old Uncle Cyrus, who walked really slow.
Will I ever find them, in the next 20 years?
Or have they disappeared?-that's one of my fears.
Wow! Santa's gone, it took him a while;
Why did he laugh, instead of just Smile?
Oh, he left me some papers! what do they say?
Great Uncle Bert fell into the Bay!
He was drinking vanilla and dancing like crazy,
When all of a sudden, things began to get hazy.
Well, that settles that, I'll quit looking for him,
Why in the world, couldn't he swim?
Aunt Sadie was a sinner, and she ran away,
With the Parson, no less-what can I say?
Grandma Blitzen was bitten by a big yellow snake,
She picked it up-and thought it was a rake.
Cousin Gertie ran a bar, away out in the West,
A stray bullet got her--no bullet proof vest.
Uncle Cyrus was a hermit, in a cave on the coast,
Threw his money in the ocean, or so he did boast.
So, thanks for the answers, Santa, my friend,
I'll quit looking for them, it's been a dead end.
I'll go back to bed and turn out the light,
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night.


The 12 Days of Christmas, 1999 vs 2005 submitted by W. David Samuelsen
My true love gave to me,
Twelve census searches,
Eleven printer cartridges,
Ten e-mail contacts,
Nine headstone rubbings,
Eight birth and death dates,
Seven town clerks sighing,
Six second cousins,
Five coats of arms,
Four GEDCOM files,
Three old wills,
One Bible entry
And a branch in my family tree.
-- Author unknown --

Here's the 2005 version of the Twelfth Day of Christmas
Twelve paid-up access Databases
Eleven headstone digitized photos
Ten digitized birth certificates
Nine state laws allowing easier access to birth and death certificates
Eight 5th cousins
Seven U3 flash drives, with 2 gb each, each with launchpad
Six 200gb external hard drives
Five dozen rechargeable batteries
Four laptops with 60 gb each
Three more new branches in my family tree
Two books by Elizabeth Shown Mills
One lifetime subscription to EOGN

Author: W. David Samuelsen
Anyone care to revise it better?

Coming Next Month: Site Spotlights by Annette Bame Peebles
Sharon Rhodes - Editor
Beginning in January we will be highlighting websites created and maintained by our own USGenWeb volunteers. You won't want to miss these great sites! To recommend a site for spotlighting contact Annette at

The views expressed in this newsletter are those of the contributors, including newsletter staff, and are not necessarily those of the USGenWeb Project.

You are receiving this newsletter because you are a member of The USGenWeb Project. For address changes, or to be added to or removed from the mailing list visit the EC WebSite and contact your EC Rep. To submit articles, letters and ideas, write to The USGenWeb NEWS is archived at
Editor: Sharon Rhodes
Copy Editor: Greta Thompson
Assistant Editor: Denise Wells
Assistant Copy Editor: Morgan Johnson
Annette Bame Peebles: Site Spotlights
Anne J. Mitchell: Records Reporter
Daryl Lytton: Poetry and Prose Section
Contributors: Linda Haas Davenport, Mike St. Clair, W David Samuelsen

2005, The USGenWeb Project. Permission to reprint articles from this newsletter is granted when the author and The USGenWeb Project News are credited.

Return to Newsletter Archive