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Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

A Weekly Summary of Events and Topics of Interest to Online Genealogists

Vol. 7 No. 41 – October 14, 2002

This newsletter was sponsored by, a leader in providing print and electronic research information to genealogists.

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Copyright© 2002 by Richard W. Eastman. All rights reserved.

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- Ahnentafel Explained
- Memorials of the Dead: Counties Galway & Mayo
- Order Washtenaw County, MI Vital Records Online
- "Thanks" from Mic Barnette
- New Executive Director Arrives at NGS
- A Great Family Genealogy Site
- Confederate POW To Go Home
- Another Genealogy Scam Goes Offline
- Correction: Sacramento German Genealogy Society Meeting
- How America Got Its Name?
- Home Pages Highlighted

- Ahnentafel Explained

Ahnentafel is a word commonly used in genealogy although it probably confuses most newcomers. Ahnentafel is a German word that literally translates as "ancestor table". It is a list of all known ancestors of an individual and includes the full name of each ancestor as well as dates and places of birth, marriage, and death whenever possible. It also has a strict numbering scheme.

Once the reader is accustomed to ahnentafels, it becomes very easy to read these lists, to move up and down from parent to child and back again, and to understand the relationships of the listed people. Ahnentafels are very good at presenting a lot of information in a compact format. However, the numbering system is the key to understanding ahnentafels.

To visualize the numbers, first consider this typical pedigree chart:

                                              8. great-grandfather
                     4. paternal grandfather-|
                     |                       9. great-grandmother
          2. Father--|
          |          |                       10. great-grandfather
          |          5. paternal grandmother-|
          |                                  11. great-grandmother
1. Person-|
          |                                  12. great-grandfather
          |          6. maternal grandfather-|
          |          |                       13. great-grandmother
          3. Mother--|
                     |                       14. great-grandfather
                     7. maternal grandmother-|
                                             15. great-grandfather

Carefully observe the numbers in the above chart. You will notice that every person listed has a number and that there is a mathematical relationship between parents and children. The number of a father is always double that of his child's. The number of the mother is always double that of her child's plus one. The number of a child is always one-half that of a parent (ignoring any remainder).

In the above example, the father of person #6 is #12 (the father is double the child's number). The mother of #6 is #13 (the mother is double plus one of the child's). The child of #12 and #13 is #6 (the child is always one-half the parent's number, ignoring remainders).

Now, let's take the above chart and write it in ahnentafel format:

  1. person
  2. father
  3. mother
  4. paternal grandfather
  5. paternal grandmother
  6. maternal grandfather
  7. maternal grandmother
  8. great-grandfather
  9. great-grandmother
  10. great-grandfather
  11. great-grandmother
  12. great-grandfather
  13. great-grandmother
  14. great-grandfather
  15. great-grandmother

Notice that the numbers are exactly the same as in the pedigree chart. The rules of father=2 times child, mother=2 times child+1, child=one-half of parent, etc., remain the same. This is an ahnentafel chart.

For a more detailed example of an ahnentafel, here's an excerpt from the ahnentafel of one well-known American:

  1. George Walker Bush, b. New Haven, Conn., 6 July 1946, m. 5 Nov. 1977, Laura Lane Welch
  2. George Herbert Walker Bush, b. Milton, Mass., 12 June 1924, m. Rye, N.Y., 6 Jan. 1945
  3. Barbara Pierce
  4. Prescott Sheldon Bush, b. Columbus, Ohio, 15 May 1895, m. Kennebunkport, Maine, 6 Aug. 1921, d. New York, N.Y., 8 Oct. 1972
  5. Dorothy Walker, b. near Walker's Point, York Co., Me., 1 July 1901, d. Greenwich, Conn., 19 Nov. 1992
  6. Marvin Pierce, b. Sharpsville, Pa., 17 June 1893, m. Aug. 1918, d. Rye, N.Y., 17 July 1969
  7. Pauline Robinson, b. Ohio, April 1896, d. Rye, N.Y., 23 Sept. 1949
  8. Samuel Prescott Bush, b. Brick Church, N.J., 4 Oct. 1863, m. Columbus, Ohio, 20 June 1894, d. Columbus, Ohio, 8 Feb. 1948
  9. Flora Sheldon, b. Franklin Co., Ohio, 17 Mar. 1872, d. "Watch Hill", R.I., 4 Sept. 1920
  10. George Herbert Walker, b. St. Louis, Mo., 11 June 1875, m. St. Louis, Mo., 17 Jan. 1899, d. New York, N.Y., 24 June 1953
  11. Lucretia [Loulie] Wear, b. St. Louis, Mo., 17 Sept. 1874, d. Biddeford, Me., 28 Aug. 1961
  12. Scott Pierce, b. Sparkville, Pa., 18 Jan. [or June?] 1866, m. 26 Nov. 1891
  13. Mabel Marvin, b. Cincinnati, Ohio, 4 June 1869
  14. James Edgar Robinson, b. near Marysville, Oh., 15 Aug. 1868, m. Marion Co., Ohio, 31 March 1895, d. 1931
  15. Lula Dell Flickinger, b. Byhalia, Ohio, March 1875

The above examples show information about 15 individuals, but ahnentafels typically contain information about many more people than this. You can often find ahnentafels that list hundreds or even thousands of individuals, all ancestors of person #1 in the list. For instance, a much longer ahnentafel for President Bush may be found at:

Notice that the mathematical rules about relationships shown in the pedigree chart still apply in the ahnentafel chart. Also, the true ahnentafel lists the person's full name, along with dates and places of birth, marriage, and death, if known.

All modern genealogy programs can produce ahnentafel charts. Of course, you could also create an ahnentafel chart by hand or by using a word processor. Whatever method you choose, an ahnentafel is an easy method of presenting a lot of ancestral data in a compact format.

To discuss this story further on the message board for newsletter readers, go to http://www.RootsForumcom and click on "Message Board."

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- Memorials of the Dead: Counties Galway & Mayo

Eneclann Publications has a new Windows CD-ROM disk with information of interest to many people with ancestry in western Ireland. "Memorials of the Dead: Counties Galway & Mayo" contains a lot of information that has not been published previously. I had a chance to use the new CD this week and was impressed by it.

Gravestone inscriptions and church memorials are an important source for genealogical research in any location. Their importance is even greater in the west of Ireland, where many of the handwritten parish records have not survived the ravages of time. On this CD-ROM, Ian Cantwell provides comprehensive coverage for the surviving memorials found in the 128 graveyards in the western half of counties Galway and Mayo. The CD also includes:

  • over 3,000 memorials up to 1901
  • over 8,000 names
  • detailed maps
  • indexes of names, addresses & occupations

Cantwell also states that many of the memorials were erected by American relatives. In these cases, Cantwell was able to included details about those who paid for the memorials, usually including their addresses in America. That information often is the only location clue available when later generations are trying to find their Irish origins.

The author also presents a statistical analysis of rates and dates of death, including the Famine period (1845-48). He also provides an entertaining commentary, a guide for further research, detailed maps, and introductory descriptions of each graveyard or church in the collection.

I found the new CD-ROM to be quite easy to install, although perhaps not quite as easy as some other CDs I have written about. It did not have an "autostart" feature to automatically launch when the CD-ROM disk is inserted into the computer. However, the printed instructions included with the CD-ROM disk were concise and easy to follow. The entire installation was done in less than two minutes.

I have written in the past about other CD-ROM disks produced by Eneclann. (See and .) However, this new release is presented in a new format that is somewhat different from previous Eneclann products. The CD’s operation seems to be a bit faster than the earlier titles. The company states that this is the first CD in a new series by Eneclann of Irish Memorial Inscriptions. They plan to publish all the surviving church and gravestone inscriptions throughout Ireland on CD-ROM.

I liked the new format as it is intuitive and easy to navigate at all times. You can see it for yourself and learn how to use the CD even before you purchase it if you look at:

You can search the data on this CD-ROM by any of several methods, including by surname, by place name, by the name of the church and/or graveyard, and even by the occupation of the deceased. You can also conduct a free text search, looking for any words in a record.

I started by looking for any records for people named Brady. The CD-ROM found three such records, two in Castlebar Old and one in the Oughterard Church of Ireland. Here is the information from the first one that I will use to illustrate a typical record found:

Church/Graveyard: Castlebar Old
Surname: Brady

Description of the Church/Graveyard:

Situated just outside the town on the Westport road. It is the largest graveyard in this area of West Mayo. Of interest are the many memorials to the military; the Famine victims Rev Richard Gibbons and James McManus; and the cholera outbreak of October 1832. All the memorials have been transcribed and photographed by a local Government sponsored youth group in the 1980s and their results are in the Castlebar County Library. The transcriptions below were made independently.

County: Mayo

Memorial Inscription:

Erected by
John T. Brady
to the memory of his beloved wife
Maryanne who died on the 16th of May
1882 aged 28 years

Description: Graveyard

I experimented with other searches, including by location and by occupation. One occupation listed was "Air Force," a term I haven’t encountered often with genealogy searches. However, one of the entries in this CD-ROM cited a memorial in the graveyard of the Castlebar Church of Ireland:

In loving memory of
Major Harry Francis Chads M.C.
the Border Regiment
who was accidentally killed at Castlebar
on 28th August 1920
whilst flying on duty
Erected by the officers, non commissioned officers
and men of the 2nd Battalion

Searches on this CD-ROM were always fast; most data was displayed within a second or two on my aging Pentium III system. I also experimented with the maps and found them to be very useful. You can start on a map of western Ireland and then click on a location of interest. Each time you click on a map, you obtain a "zoomed in" image. Click again and it zooms in further, always centered on the point upon which you clicked. When you finally reach a level of detail where individual cemeteries and churches are displayed, clicking on a cemetery then produces a listing of the memorials located there.

Eneclann has a winner with this new CD-ROM disk. Ian Cantwell obviously has spent hundreds of hours in compiling and editing this valuable genealogy reference. Eneclann has published Cantwell’s data in a form that is quick and very easy to use. If you are searching for ancestors in western Ireland, this disk may be a valuable resource.

"Memorials of the Dead: Counties Galway & Mayo" on CD-ROM, by Ian Cantwell, requires Windows 95, 98, 2000, NT 4.0, ME, XP, or higher. It also requires a 166 MHz Pentium processor or faster and at least 32 megabytes of RAM memory. (I suspect that Windows XP and 2000 will require more memory than that.)

"Memorials of the Dead: Counties Galway & Mayo" sells for $29.95 (U.S. funds) or €29.90 plus shipping charges. For more information about the new Memorials of the Dead: Counties Galway & Mayo CD-ROM or to safely order it online using Eneclann’s secure shopping cart system, go to

To discuss this story further on the message board for newsletter readers, go to http://www.RootsForumcom and click on "Message Board."

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- Order Washtenaw County, MI Vital Records Online

The Washtenaw County, Michigan Web site provides a variety of online services. For instance, Washtenaw has put its property assessment database online, which means if you're armed with a street address, you can look up the assessed value or last sale price of just about any property in the county. You can also check out the history of sales over recent years and even view a legal description of the property. Other services include the capability to pay speeding fines online by charging them to a credit card.

Anyone with Washtenaw County ancestors will be pleased to learn that they can also order vital records online at the same Web site. Records available include:

Birth Certificates - 1867 to present

Death Records - 1867 to present

Marriage Records - 1833 to present

The charge for the first copy of a vital record is $13. Each additional copy is $4. A $2 convenience fee also applies for each record ordered. If you are 65 or older and ordering a copy of your own birth certificate, the cost is $5 for the first copy and $4 for each additional copy of the same record. A $2 convenience fee also applies.

In addition, more recent deaths and marriage records may be searched directly online:

Death Records - 1964 to present

Marriage Records - 1970 to present

Washtenaw County includes Ann Arbor and the towns of Chelsea, Dexter, Manchester, Milan, Saline and Ypsilanti. You can access the Vital Records section directly at:

My thanks to Thomas Cooper for telling me about the Washtenaw County Web site.

To discuss this story further on the message board for newsletter readers, go to http://www.RootsForumcom and click on "Message Board."

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- "Thanks" from Mic Barnette

Recently this newsletter carried a couple of articles describing the threatened reduction or elimination of Mic Barnette’s weekly genealogy column in the Houston Chronicle. Those articles are available at and at This week Mic sent the following message to me and asked that I include it here so that he can thank everyone for their support:

Hello Dick and Dick's e-readers!

I would like to thank each of you for helping us out down here in Houston. Your calls and e-mails were very useful to our cause and very well appreciated.

I have written a genealogical column in the Houston Chronicle since May 1994. When the Chronicle changed format in September some of the managers did not feel there was enough interest to warrant a weekly genealogical column even though the column had run for eight years. It had been in a section of the newspaper that only went to people who live in the Houston Metropolitan area. I do not know the circulation of the Chronicle, but we have a population of slightly over 4 million.

I think the newspaper management was quite surprised at the response of the genealogical community. Charlie Gardes of the Houston Genealogical Forum created a website as an email launching pad for directing everyone to the Chronicle's Reader Representative. A number of people in the Houston and Southeast Texas area organized and got genealogists from their organizations to call or email the Reader Rep.

In addition Dick Eastman kindly let his readers know about the problem, and you came to bat for us as well. I expect the managers at the Chronicle were really scratching their heads wondering how a column published only in Houston could generate mail and calls from all over Texas and all or most of the states of the United States and a couple foreign countries.

While I do not know how many or who wrote or called, I do know the Chronicle was impressed enough to call and ask me to continue writing the column in their new section, Weekend Living. Weekend Living is published weekly and goes out as a regular part of the Chronicle. For the past two weeks they have had a very nice promo for the column on the front page of the section.

For those of you who would like to read the column, it is published each Saturday in the Weekend Living section of the Houston Chronicle. Each week the current column appears on the Chronicle deaths page at Just scroll down and click on the link for Mic Barnette/Your Family Tree. There is an archive of older columns which ended December 31, 2001 at When the URL for the columns archives ran in Dick's column, the website was taken down by Geocities-Yahoo due to too many hits. I plan on getting another website with more space and upload all 2002 columns sometime in the near future.

Again, Thanks to all of you.


To discuss this story further on the message board for newsletter readers, go to http://www.RootsForumcom and click on "Message Board."

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- New Executive Director Arrives at NGS

The following was written by Curt Witcher, President of the (U.S.) National Genealogical Society:

A Message from the NGS President

The Executive Director Search Committee and the Board of Directors join me in welcoming Wendy Herr as the new NGS Executive Director. Ms. Herr joined us on October 1st--and ushered in a new era of leadership here at the National Genealogical Society.

Wendy Herr is an extremely experienced and articulate association executive. She has more than twenty years of progressively responsible association management experience. For the last three years, Ms. Herr has headed her own association management consulting firm, specializing in assisting smaller associations with every aspect of their management activities, from strategic initiatives and member recruitment to fund raising and financial turn-arounds.

In her previous association experiences, Ms. Herr has been involved with property management, strategic planning, partnership development, fundraising and grant writing, as well as program and product development and delivery. She has written extensively and edited a number of publications, both publicity pieces as well as informational items for societies' memberships. She has also testified on Capitol Hill and is familiar with the details involved in general advocacy as well as legislative advocacy.

Ms. Herr possesses a tremendous amount of financial ability and savvy including more than seven years of experience as the chief financial officer and chief operations officer of a private, non-profit, community behavioral health provider based in Pennsylvania. She is very familiar with budgeting processes, writing grants, and building non-dues revenue sources. Her work with Price Waterhouse Coopers in Washington, D.C. from 1997 to 1999 provides her with a strong accounting background.

Ms. Herr has demonstrated abilities in working with many of the types of programs the National Genealogical Society offers. From online retailing to human resource management, from seminar and workshop planning to annual conference staging and execution, she brings much experience and fresh ideas to our important programs.

I know you will find Ms. Herr as interesting, competent, and pleasant to work with as I have. She is a people-oriented person and finds instilling that energy and enthusiasm for the customer service a keystone piece of her management style. In addition, she enjoys doing genealogical research and has a deep appreciation for the work it involves as well as the delight it brings! Please join me in welcoming her to the National Genealogical Society. It is great to have her on board!

Curt B. Witcher
President, National Genealogical Society
Manager, Historical Genealogy Department
Allen County Public Library
P. O. Box 2270, 900 Webster Street
Fort Wayne, IN 46801-2270
Fax: 260-422-9688

The following was written by Wendy Herr, the new NGS Executive Director:

A Message from the Executive Director

On October 1, 2002, I had the great honor of taking over the Executive Director position at the NGS. I look forward to meeting the membership and welcome the opportunity to hear your views on issues facing genealogists today. One of my plans is to sponsor events at Glebe House, a beautiful historic building where NGS is housed, where I can meet as many volunteers as possible. As a diehard tea drinker, I was thinking of sponsoring "High Teas" on occasion, and also using the lovely silver punch bowl that was so generously donated several years ago.

By way of background, I wanted you to know that I have been a professional association executive for nearly twenty years, and prior to that was a chief financial officer in a healthcare organization. My undergraduate degree was from Davis & Elkins College in West Virginia, and my Master in Public Administration is from the Pennsylvania State University. In recent years I have headed my own firm specializing in association management consulting and non-profit financial management.

I've always been interested in genealogy. My early appreciation for the field came from a very determined mother that shared her love of the search, as well as an appreciation for the historical heritage of her family with me. I look forward to combining my fondness for genealogy with my professional expertise in fostering and managing a value-driven, thriving society with a growing number of members. I welcome your support as NGS enters the Second Century of service with new and exciting projects and programs!

Wendy W. Herr, Executive Director NGS

Comment: It is great to hear of Wendy Herr’s appointment. I suspect she will be a great asset to NGS.

To discuss this story further on the message board for newsletter readers, go to http://www.RootsForumcom and click on "Message Board."

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- A Great Family Genealogy Site

Because of this newsletter, I get to see thousands of personal Web sites in which people publish information about their own genealogy. I have seen some great ones, some good ones, and some not-so-good ones. I am no longer easily impressed. I thought I had "seen them all" until this week, when I encountered a family Web site that made me sit up and pay close attention.

Carlos Vanni in Santiago, Chile, has created a terrific memorial to his ancestors and the small villages in Italy where they originated. Carlos is a descendant of Alessio Vanni, who emigrated in 1858 from the Tuscan village of Fabbriche di Vallico, Garfagnana, as a plaster figurine maker. The family tree has 13 generations, starting in 1560.

Carlos has created a multimedia tribute that is difficult to describe. It has maps, music, pictures, and more, all created with artistry. In fact, there are three sites: one in Italian, one in Spanish, and the third one in English, all at the same URL. The Macromedia Flash files are huge; I found they were slow to download, even on my cable modem. I suspect they will be glacial on a dial-up modem. However, if you have some time, you have to see this one. I don’t have an award for "the nicest looking genealogy site on the Web." However, if I did, The probably would receive the award.

You can view Carlos Vanni’s efforts at: Click on the American flag to view the English version.

To discuss this story further on the message board for newsletter readers, go to http://www.RootsForumcom and click on "Message Board."

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- Confederate POW To Go Home

Lt. Edward J. Johnston was the first assistant engineer on the CSS Atlanta when it was captured by the Union. Its officers arrived at Fort Warren prison on George’s Island in Boston Harbor in late June 1863. Johnston died there on Oct. 13, 1863. On October 12, 2002 his remains were exhumed and will be reburied alongside his wife in Fernandina Beach, Florida, on Oct. 26.

This is not the first time that Johnston has been reburied. In fact, it is the fourth time. He originally was buried on the prison island where he died. When the fort closed, Johnston was reburied on Governor’s Island and then later on Deer Island, which also closed. Johnston was then re-buried in Ayer, Massachusetts at the Fort Devens Army cemetery in 1939.

In the 1930s, when Johnston’s wife was still living, a grandchild found and visited the grave. The family wanted to rebury him, but the cost of moving the steel box that held the remains and the 1500-pound gravestone was too costly.

Johnston was born in Dublin, Ireland, and came to the U.S. when he was 3, but the exact date of his birth is not known. When he was about 14, Johnston went to sea and became an engineer. He returned to Ireland when he was about 17 and stayed for a couple of years, then returned to the United States and married. He was about 39 when he died. According to the 1860 census he had four children.

A military ceremony was held by Civil War reenactors at Fort Devens on Oct. 12. The ceremony included remarks by officials, a pardon and return of citizenship, eulogy, rifle salute and drummer and fifer. More than a dozen of Johnston’s great-great-grandchildren were among the guests. His remains will be driven to Florida in a cortege that includes a funeral home van and vehicles for the gravestone and honor guard. State police escorts will accompany the procession through each state during the three-day drive to Florida.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans, United Daughters of the Confederacy, reenactors and area officials are going all out "to welcome this man home." A Confederate honor guard will be posted for 11 days at the Oxley-Heard Funeral Home in Fernandina Beach, which for years has handled burials for Johnston’s descendants.

On the morning of Oct. 26 the casket will be moved to the CSS Belle, a navy reenacting boat, which will carry it up the Amelia River to a docking point near Bosque Bella Cemetery. The Confederate military ceremony will begin at 2. Johnston’s casket will be covered with two flags — a copy of the CSS Atlanta flag made by Chapman and the bonnie blue flag from the casket of his granddaughter who was president of the Florida UDC.

For information about the route and opportunities to view the procession contact George Hagan at Bob Hall can be reached at and Dana Chapman at for information about the ceremonies. Information will also be posted at

To discuss this story further on the message board for newsletter readers, go to http://www.RootsForumcom and click on "Message Board."

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- Another Genealogy Scam Goes Offline

A few weeks ago thousands of genealogists received "spam mail" that proclaimed:

We're sending this e-mail to inform you that you can receive Unlimited Access to billions of genealogical records connecting to your family within seconds for a low One Time Access Fee & Never have to Pay Anything Again!

The ad went on with glowing words about the number of records available. It even proclaimed, "…search billions upon billions of genealogy records all across the Internet all at once." Billions upon billions? That sounds like an incredibly large number to me!

All of this was to be accessible for a "One Time Access Fee of Only $59.00," and the advertisement cautioned that the offer was only good until October 15, 2002. It looks like the person or persons that sent the e-mail messages encountered a bit of a problem before the deadline date: has now been offline for several days, apparently shut down after the hosting provider received complaints about the site’s "services."

The "billions upon billions of genealogy records all across the Internet" that were advertised apparently are the same records that you have access to right now at no charge. The only "service" that this Web site provided for $59.00 was a bunch of links to other Web sites. That’s ironic, given that you can find a much larger list of links at Cyndi’s List, a well-known free service.

Similar offers have appeared in the past few months from other company names. They all claimed to offer access to huge numbers of records but never gave details about where these records were obtained. In each case, the company disappeared within a few weeks after their first e-mails were sent.

I suspect this latest outfit and others will soon reappear under new names. The names will be slightly different each time, but the spam mail messages will all be quite similar. Each e-mail message will claim to offer access to huge numbers of genealogy records but will not mention the actual origin of those records. is simply the latest name used, but I am sure new names will pop up in future "offers."

If you paid money to one of these "services" and were disappointed with the results, contact your credit card company to obtain a refund. You are entitled to your money back. Most credit cards have the appropriate toll-free customer service telephone number printed on the back of the card. The same number will also appear on your monthly credit card statement. Call them.

To discuss this story further on the message board for newsletter readers, go to http://www.RootsForumcom and click on "Message Board."

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- Correction: Sacramento German Genealogy Society Meeting

I am told that there was an error in last week’s "Upcoming Events." It listed the wrong date for a seminar in Sacramento, California. The listing should have stated:

The Sacramento (California) German Genealogy Society (SGGS) offers "Marriage in Germany: A look at practices from 1500 to 1900, including such aspects as age, inheritance, illegitimacy, wedding ceremonies, and the roles of feudal lords and the church", by Roger P Minert, A. G., Ph.D. The seminar will be held October 22 in Sacramento. Details are available from or

To discuss this story further on the message board for newsletter readers, go to http://www.RootsForumcom and click on "Message Board."

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- How America Got Its Name?

Every American school child learns that America was named after Amerigo Vespucci of Florence, Italy. In 1499, Vespucci sailed with Alonso de Hojeda as an astronomer and navigator to a previously-unknown land that is now called Brazil. On that trip, Vespucci derived a valid astronomical method in determining longitude, replacing the previous method that relied upon dead reckoning.

Millions of people have been taught that Amerigo Vespucci also gave his name to the new lands although nobody seem to be able to refer to any documents as proof of this act. Now a British writer has claimed that America was named not after the Florentine navigator. Instead, he claims that the newly-discovered lands were named after an anglicised Welshman named Richard Amerike.

Although the Vikings and possibly others had visited the Western Hemisphere for centuries, Europeans were generally unaware of these lands until Giovanni Caboto landed there in 1497. (The Italian Giovanni Caboto later changed his name to John Cabot, apparently to more easily obtain funding from his English sponsors.) Cabot sailed from Bristol, England, which was his home for 15 years. His voyage was sponsored by a group of the city's businessmen, who wanted to make more money through the discovery of the fabled route to the spices and silks of the Orient by sailing westwards.

Writing for the BBC, author Peter Macdonald writes that Richard Amerike was one of the more prominent Bristol businessmen. Descending from the Earls of Gwent, Richard Ap Meryk - Welsh for Richard, son of Meryk - was born in 1445 at the family home, Meryk Court, Weston-under-Penyard, near Ross-on-Wye. (Elizabeth, granddaughter of one of his ancestors, Hywel Ap Meurig, married Sir John Poyntz in 1343. Queen Elizabeth II is descended from their Tudor lineage, as was Diana, Princess of Wales, via the Spencer family connections.)

The Welsh name of Richard Ap Meryk became anglicized to Richard Amerike. He contributed the most money towards financing John Cabot’s voyage of discovery. Oak trees from Amerike’s estate were used to construct Cabot’s ship, the 21-metre-long Matthew. He also arranged that Cabot's family should live in a house belonging to one of his friends until Cabot returned. But, as the main sponsor of the voyage of discovery, he wanted something more. He asked Cabot that any newly discovered lands should be named after him.

Peter Macdonald then goes on to write about the naming of the lands after the Bristol merchant. He also notes a similarity between Richard Amerike’s coat of arms and the flag of the United States, created nearly 300 years later. Is this story accurate? Was America named after an English merchant of Welsh descent? I’m not sure, but I did find this to be an interesting story.

Peter Macdonald’s article on The Naming of America" can be found on the BBC’s Web site at:

My thanks to Anne Lehmkuhl for telling me about this story.

To discuss this story further on the message board for newsletter readers, go to http://www.RootsForumcom and click on "Message Board."

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- Home Pages Highlighted

The "Home Pages Highlighted" section consists of new genealogy-related home pages that you, the readers of this newsletter, nominate for publication in this newsletter. While anyone may nominate any genealogy-related home page, the process seems to work best when the webmaster for a home page nominates his or her own work. Nominations are now done online at

The following is a list of some of the genealogy-related World Wide Web home pages that have recently been listed by newsletter readers at

Database of obituaries from Washington and Oregon. Searchable by name, maiden name, birthplace, year of birth, year of death, high school, college, or military:

Peck Pioneers, a genealogical site for researchers of the surname PECK. Includes a database with a lot of information about people named Peck:

Dalrymple Miscellanea is a collection of stories, anecdotes, and biographical data of Dalrymple namesakes who have influenced their life and times:

The Devine Surname DNA Study, aimed at identifying localities in Ireland where Devine families with particular DNA signatures originated, with links to other sites about genealogical DNA testing:

Early families from Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania; Washington Co., Maryland; and Ogle Co., Illinois:

Appleby, Floyd, Groves, Hodgkins, Remington, and other related surnames - covers deceased family ancestors and some of their collateral lines, some going as far back as about 1540, and geographical localities from England to Canada and the U.S., Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Michigan, and California:

Featherstone World wide One Name study with the variants Fe(a)therston((e)haugh) and a few more. Containing indexes of births, deaths, marriages, and a lot more:

Fergus, Francis Descendants site - research beginning in 1752, Co. Tyrone, Ireland, immigration to America by 1775, Rev. War soldier, father of 9 children of whom there are living descendants from 8 of the children! Photos of ongoing cemetery restoration where Francis Fergus is buried. Listings of all lineages other than living descendants. Descendants' guest book. Reunion information and guest book.

Exploring Portuguese Hawaiian heritage through genealogy. This site includes articles, indexes, message board, and more.

Ancestry of Michaud, Gendreau, Bouchard, Dube, and related families from 1570 to the present.

Green(e) Genealogy - 77,000 people in a database. Primary families are Green(e), Bowen, Lape and Graham with special concentration on the Green(e) families. References are found in the notes for each individual:

Dyer Families of New England; includes the descendants of five different Dyer colonists; also genealogies of Braintree & Weymouth area of Massachusetts:

London's Metropolitan Police Service – a commercial service with an online database of police orders from the years 1899-1929 in a searchable database. The database contains over 400,000 entries:

Beal Surname DNA Project for Soundex B400 surnames. The organization has been successful in proving several lines of ancestry, e.g. William Beale, (1664) York, ME: Ninian Beall of Prince George's Co., MD; Richard Bell, Chester Co., PA, back to Archibald Bell, circa 1590, Dumfrieshire, Scotland. The organization also has disproved other assumed relationships:

Guile - Gile - Guiles Genealogy::Descendants of Samuel Guile, one of 12 Founders in 1640 of Haverhill township, New England. Nearly 10,000 descendants, 16,800 connected names. Practically all people of the surnames Guile, Gile and Guiles in America are his descendants.

The Hastrich Family lists members of the family and their relatives with their genealogical connections. It also features a project to transcribe German churchbook pages;

Solum, Lower Telemark, Norway genealogy site - Mostly in Norwegian, but with a short intro in English. Source transcripts of census, probates, church records:

"Curlin Branch Of The Curling Family" traces Curlings from Isle of Thanet, Kent, England to Lower Norfolk Co., VA. Names associated with the family include Savills, Cooper, Perkins, Galloway, Barth.

Perryman (Creek Indian) Clearing House - The Creek Indian Perryman's were in Indian Territory (Oklahoma) in 1828. The site also shows their beginnings in Alabama and Georgia:

Singer family history in England, Poland, Canada, USA, Australia - Includes over 1000 pictures:

Hubbard Gleanings - a searchable website that chronicles 7 Hubbard lines that began their sojourn in the New World in New England or New York:

Raney Historical Society, a meeting place for researchers of the Raney surname. Included are: Forum, newsletter and volunteers to assist you in your research.

Strutton Family Connections is a resource center for all Strutton/Stratton genealogy researchers. Contains multiple databases for Struttons and related surnames - Bailey, Luttrell, Stone, Womack;

Murphy's Public House is dedicated to the Irish and German families of Ohio and contains many searchable databases, family stories, photos, and links to related genealogy subjects.

Comprehensive genealogy resources for Marion County, Indiana, by GenExchange:

Comprehensive genealogy resources for Delaware County, Ohio, by GenExchange:

Comprehensive genealogy resources for Union County, Ohio, by GenExchange:

Comprehensive genealogy resources for Hardin County, Ohio, by GenExchange:

To submit your genealogy page to this newsletter, enter the necessary information at: Due to the volume of new Web pages submitted, I am not able to list all of them in the newsletter.

To discuss this story further on the message board for newsletter readers, go to http://www.RootsForumcom and click on "Message Board."

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About the author: Dick Eastman is a frequent presenter at major genealogy conferences. He has published articles in Genealogical Computing and Family Chronicle magazines and for a number of Web sites. He was an advisor to PBS' Ancestry series and appeared as a guest in one of the episodes. He serves on the Advisory Board of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and is a past Director of GENTECH and of the New England Computer Genealogists. Dick is the author of YOUR ROOTS: Total Genealogy Planning On Your Computer published by Ziff-Davis Press. He also manages three Genealogy Forums on CompuServe. He can be reached at: Due to the volume of e-mail received, he is unable to answer every e-mail message received.

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