Wednesday, March 21, 2007

fame at last

RootsWeb Review: RootsWeb's Weekly E-zine
21 March 2007

Note: Thanks again to Hugh Watkins for making me aware of this site. See Hugh's blog at

actually I learn much more from the RootsWeb Review (and boards and lists see Home Page ) over the years
so do go to and subscribe

By Joan Young

As far back as I can remember I was always curious about where I came from and who my ancestors were. I didn't know it at the time, but I was growing up in the same area of southern New Jersey that my maternal ancestors, English and Welsh Quakers, had inhabited as early as the 1670s. I asked my mother whether the streets and landmarks carrying her maiden name of BORTON were connected to our family. I also asked her why she occasionally received letters from a family historian updating "the LIPPINCOTT family tree?" She didn't know--all she knew was her father had been a birthright Quaker. She knew nothing of the rich heritage I was later to uncover.

The fact that I never knew my paternal grandparents (both died before I was born) made me even more curious about that side of the family. I knew Dad was Pennsylvania Dutch and I knew that meant Germanic ancestry.

Dad was born and raised in York, Pennsylvania, and it wasn't until his passing, in 1990, that it dawned on me. I was going through family photos, and although I knew one picture was of his mother's mother and the other his father's mother, I didn't know which was which. That was the tipping point that made me dig in and find the answers.

I had worked in a job that provided a great training ground, teaching me how to obtain and evaluate genealogical data, and I used that to my advantage in my retirement. At first, I spent countless hours at the local historical society library, the LDS Family History Center, and in courthouse basements, not to mention walking many a cemetery. When I was a novice, seasoned genealogists marveled at the fact that I knew how to complete a pedigree form. Twenty years as a hobby dog breeder and exhibitor had taught me all about pedigrees.

My searches led me to discover two American Revolutionary War ancestors, connections to William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, plus a whole boatload of poor farmers and tradesmen striving to make a better life for their families in America. They were German, Alsatian, English, and Welsh, with some Scotch-Irish thrown into the mix, and a bit of early Swedish blood for good measure. My research led to membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution, Colonial Dames XVII Century, Descendants of Founders of New Jersey, and the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic (LGAR).

I had never used a computer before 1995, and decided then that it was "now or never." I dove in and before long found ROOTS-L and a few of the early mailing lists that were "the gleam in the eye" that was later to become RootsWeb. It didn't take long to appreciate that a constantly increasing amount of my research could be accomplished without ever leaving my home.

The volunteer spirit of the growing online community sucked me in. I soon joined the ranks of those administering mailing lists and message boards. It didn't take long to realize that even with all the resources that could be found on the Internet the greatest resource of all was the people: people looking for the same ancestors I was, and people who were volunteering their time and energy by submitting information to online databases to benefit future researchers.

My people-oriented volunteer efforts eventually led to employment with RootsWeb from July 1999 to July 2001. During that time and since then, I have continued to delight in figuring out how all the features and programs work at RootsWeb and how to make the most of the various resources offered there. I enjoy, even more, explaining RootsWeb resources to others and watching new researchers grow their own "wings" and soar on their own as they, too, learn to make the most of all that is offered.

I plan to continue in that capacity through future columns to teach both new and experienced family history researchers to better understand the wonders of RootsWeb. Together we'll explore every nook and cranny of the site and learn to use every resource to its fullest capacity.

see also Joan's tree RootsWeb's WorldConnect Project: Borton-Kiger Families of Salem County, NJ

and - jmyoung365's Public Profile with a portrait and - Messages Posted by jmyoung365

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: 21 March 2007, Vol. 10, No. 12


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