The impulse to gather and record family history has led to a parallel trend, namely to share that information via the Internet. One of the most useful — and influential — of the Web sites for such sharing is Rootsweb.com. This free site helps you find family information contributed by others as well as ways to share what you have gathered.
The first feature is the most obvious — the Search Rootsweb.com search box on the home page, adjacent to a search box for the well known pay-to-use service, Ancestry.com.
If you are searching for an ancestor with a common name such as Robert Brown or Mary Jones, you will get many individuals on the results page. At the bottom of the results page, however, is an advanced search tool that allows you to narrow the scope of the search using birth place and year or similar biographical facts.
If you seek an ancestor with a less common name, you will get just a few results. For example, I did a search for Clara Hachez, one of my maternal great-grandmothers. That turned up just one result, but exactly the person I sought.
The result for Clara Hachez includes three helpful facts: the name of her father Ferdinand Hachez, the name including maiden name of her mother Eliese Boie, and the name of her husband Wilhelm H. Luehr, more typically known as William H. Luehr.
A result screen may also include the date and place of birth and date and place of death. It all depends on the information the contributor has to share via Rootsweb.com. When you click on the name of the person you want, you will get a more detailed page that may include some or all of the person’s children.
And, you typically will find the name of the contributor and their email address in a graphic format. This provides an individual you may want to correspond with to share more information.
You can also view the individual pages for related persons, in this case Clara’s father, mother, husband and two children: Lucille M. Luehr and Robert W. Luehr.
When using these Rootsweb.com results, remember that these are not original source documents. Often there is no source given for the facts stated. But you will now have a wealth of information to guide your continued research — a set of facts that you can confirm via vital records and other documents.
There are many more tools at the Rootsweb.com site, to be discussed in future entries on Relative Musings.
This is one in a series of genealogy and family history research ideas to help you find your family and ancestors for modest or no cost.