in a story by Writer Bob Tedeschi for the New York Times,
dropped off by Dot Fowler for this NewsLetter there are some interesting
facts and figures on the increasing prof-itability of genealogy software
In the late 1900s genealogical websites
began a subscription charge for the use of their more desirable family
information they were collecting from users and other sources. Since that
time, they have amassed more than a million paid subscript-ions, and
annual revenue nearing $100 million. Family history is now among the
fastest growing and more profitable niches of the commercial Internet..
National Genealogical Society President
Curt Witcher is not alone in believing that the internet has truly fueled
this activity because it's made easy the transfer of data, collaboration
and research without traveling around. Ancestry services experts believe
there are at least 60 million people engaged in creating family histories
in the United States alone. Few other categories of service have been able
to induce consumers to pay for subscriptions in as great numbers as
Largest beneficiary of the genealogical
parent company of Ancestry.com . They began offering
subscriptions in 1997, and presently have about 850,000 paid subscribers.
About half of Ancestry.com's information is free, while users
annually pay up to $190 to access data such as census taker's completed
forms from 1790 through 1930. [Ed: of course they need to keep some
information free, since their family database is so dependent upon freely
given family charts and data from new and old users]
CEO, Tom Stockham, is former President of a dating service. He
helped implement their e-mail registry where prospective dating partners
could match up. In similar fashion, early 2003 will see Ancestry.com's
new matching service searching genealogical records on behalf of
its users and notifying them when it finds relevant information.
MyFamily.com expects to report around
$60M in revenue this year.
A&E Television Networks'
Genealogy.com is another genealogy site that appears to be making money.
The History Channel, also owned by A&E, airs the commercials for
Genealogy.com and appears to be a vital factor in their profitability.
It is said that the more information a
service provides, the closer its operators must monitor pricing.
WILKES COUNTY AREA GRAVESITES:
are being hunted down, grave by grave, for the past 22 years by 88 year
old J. Russell Slaton. A former farmer, with no other hobbies, he hopes to
catalog every grave in Wilkes County by "sifting through deeds and wills,
interviewing neighbors, and poking around remote woodlands with his
walking stick." [gotta', get me one of them sticks that walks along with
Head Librarian, Celeste Stover, at
Wilkes Co's Mary Willis Library says that she sends people to Slaton every
week to talk and get his help in tracking down their family history. Many
of his tips come from hunters who have stumbled across a grave or an
interesting pile of rocks in the woods. Slaton feels compelled to take a
Mr. Slaton compiled and published a
pamphlet, Vanishing Sites of Old Wilkes, in 1996 which they say is
available at the library [what they don't say is whether or not the book
is available for sale there]. When he helps someone, he does it without
One facet of Wilkes County history that
Slaton likes to quote is the fact that explorer Meriwether Lewis once
lived there with his stepfather [and we didn't even know Meriwether Lewis
had a stepfather].
- adapted from an Associated Press story in the Oct.31st
THEY MOW IN THE AFTERGLOW:
Former CGGS member Joyce VanMeter, who moved sometime
ago to Virginia's Shenandoah County, sent us her once-a-month Bryce
Mountain Courier with an interesting story on local restoration of a
former slave burial ground, Kipps Cemetery.
Volunteers enjoy the cleanup work, and
agree, "When we come up here after work to mow, we sometimes sit and watch
the sun go down. It's a peaceful spot." Massanutten Mountain and the
Shenandoah River "fill your vision" from there.
The land which Jacob Gips (Kipps), son
of German-born George Gips, purchased to farm in 1784, following his
service in the Revolutionary War, had a cemetery on it for the family
slaves who kept the farm running. The whites and the blacks have always
been close in the local community, and when the Kipps Cemetery was
rediscovered during a Smithsonian archeological study of another New
Market, Virginia cemetery, they decided to work together to protect and
restore Kipps. The new owner of the land became involved, and even built a
new fence to protect the cemetery from his cows.
A memorial marker is to be erected to
honor those graves that are without markers.
[This story by Bill Vaughan, one of the white "movers
and shakers" of the project, has this to say about the story: "This
information is published here in the hopes that some of their ancestors
may learn of their burial site and the effort to restore it. It's not my
place to change anything, says Bill. If we can find ancestors, we would
like to work with them."].
MELUNGEON ANCESTRY EXPLAINS IT:
most of us have heard of those early American settlers,
the Melungeons, claimed by some to be the descendants of stranded Spanish
and Portuguese left behind at the Santa Elena Colony near present-day
Beaufort, SC in 1586, some 20 years before the founding of Jamestowne.
[Beth Gay uses the Melungeon story for her column for
September 1stPrime Time News-magazine for the
Florida Times-Union.] Here's how she begins:
"Here's an idea for you to explore if your family has
an Indian grandmother/grandfather story that you've been unable to prove.
This idea is even more explicitly for you if those ancestors lived in
North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia or West Virginia. The answer
to your own genealogical mystery may be 'Melungeon'. What is that?
Dr. N. Brent Kennedy says 'Intriguing
evidence accumulated by the Melungeon Research Team (co-sponsored by the
University of Tennessee at Knoxville and VanDer Kloot Film and Television
in Atlanta) strongly suggests that they were who they had always claimed
to be : the descendants of stranded ....settlers left behind at the Santa
Several hundred additional Iberian
prisoners, including a large number of Moors who used their own word -
Melungeon - to describe themselves, were set ashore at Roanoke Island in
1586 by Sir Francis Drake. It is possible this second population made its
way to Santa Elena Colony, since it almost certain they would have known
of the existence and location of Santa Elena and it would have been
nat-ural for them to seek refuge there'.
Dr. Kennedy's personal story is an
interesting one. A profesor at Old Dominion University at Wythville,VA,
[are there two ODUs in Virginia? We had an ODU in Norfolk,VA, and
your Editor attended there after Highschool] Dr. Kennedy became unwell and
sought medical help. He was told he had a disease possible only if you
were of Mediterranean descent. He was flabbergasted, as his name is
Kennedy, and he always assumed he was of Scots-Irish ancestry.
This was the beginning of his book,
The Melungeons: The Resurrection of a Proud
Dr. Kennedy's book says that the
Melungeons were a people who almost certainly intermarried with Powhatans,
Pamunkeys, Creeks, Catawbas, Yuchis and Cherokees to form what some have
called, perhaps a bit fancifully, a new race.
I strongly suspect, says Beth, that I am
Melungeon, and my first inkling of this came at the beauty shop. My hair
is baby-fine and absolutely will not curl. After years of permanent waves,
sleeping on curlers, hair spray, hair mousse and tortuous curling irons, a
kind beautician said, 'Why do you try to have curly hair? You have
Indian hair and no matter what you do, it won't curl.'
Beth's doctor confirmed that those of
Native American heritage and Asian heritage have hair that is flat like a
piece of paper when studied under the microscope. Europeans have hair that
is round like a pencil.
Beth declairs that in her years and
years of genealogy, she never found a clue as to where this hair came
from, until she came upon Dr. Kennedy's book. She says, "Imagine my
amazement when I read that some of the common Melungeon surnames are
Gibson, Howell, Mullins, Hendrix, and Clemmons. All of these names
appear in my father's genealogy, and all are common Melungeon names.
My father, Daniel Clifton Palmer,
told me that his family was Spanish. Remember those Portuguese? Recent
research says that the Melungeons have Turkish, Spanish, Portuguese, Moor,
Berber, Jewish and Arab ancestry.
You might want to read Dr. Kennedy's
book for insight on your own heritage."
Beth says there is a website on
Melungeon-Demail@example.com where you can subscribe.
Today there are many books available on
Melungeons, including a work of fiction first published in 1965 by Jesse
Stewart entitled Daughter of the Legend Write to The Jesse Stewart
Foundation, PO Box 391, Ashland, KY 41114 for information.
OBITS FOR A CHARTER CGGS MEMBER:
Jean White Hotch May 2, 1920
Interment - Palmetto Cemetery
Your editor was able to attend the
beautiful service and meet Jean's family. She had three sons, John, Doug
and William. John flew from Rotorua, New Zealand with his spouse. Doug and
William came from McDonough and Atlanta, respectively, with their spouses,
Shirley and Carol and some of the children. Jean's sister JoAnn came from
Jekyll Island. CGGS will miss Jean.
FEDERATION OF GENEALOGICAL SOCIE-TIES
RECORDS PRESERVATION AND ACCESS WEBSITE
(Launched on November 4, 2002):
"....to keep delegates and all
genealogists informed of world-wide issues relating to the preservation
and access of records of genealogical and historical value. (The new FGS
site) will feature the following main categories:
Who we are and How we serve you.
Formal actions, opinions and
Stratigies for Records Preservation.
Strategies for Access.
At the State level, the information
will continue to narrow in focus.
1. Background Information.
2. Record Retention Schedules.
3. County-by-County reporting.
4. State Liaisons.
5. Current Issues.
7. Core Records to be Retained.
8. Vital Records information.
9. Panic Button.