Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Mansel Ghost Story from Wales

NOTE: Thanks to Roger Mansel. This story is from his late brother's website at:

There are a number of other Mansel references on this site, for those interested in the history of the Mansel family in Wales.


There is a legend attached to the bridge over the River Gwendraeth Fawr, near Kidwelly, which is worth while noting; not for the story itself, which is one of the ordinary or extraordinary romances so common in Wales; but on account of certain allusions to the Mansel family.

The legend recounts how that Nest, the beautiful daughter of one Elvidir Dhu, then in possession of Kidwelly Castle, fell in love with a young Norman knight. After the customary complications with rival lovers and so forth, the young man, meeting the lady at this bridge, was ambushed by a hired ruffian, transfixed with a long arrow, and hurled into the stream before the eyes of his sweetheart, who thereupon promptly threw herself after him. All this is quite in accordance with legendary precedent, as is also the allegation that her white spirit afterwards haunted the bridge and upon being approached, "vanished, with a piercing scream, into the dark waters of the river." The bridge, according to Mr. A. G. Bradley's "Highways and Byways of South Wales", is to this day known as "The Bridge of the White Spirit."

The interest of the tale, with regard to this present work, lies in the name and residence of the young Norman knight. Mr. Bradley, in the course of his narration, says: "Now at Margam, still a noted country house in Gower, there then lived one of the Mansel family, Sir Walter, young, handsome, and gallant, like all the gilded youth of those days. He had conceived an affection for the fair Nest, etc.

Margam is not, of course, in Gower, and Kidwelly is some five-and-thirty miles distant from it but the allegation that a certain Sir Walter Mansel dwelt at Margam in the twelfth century, for this is a legend of crusading times, and that there was then existing, not long after the foundation of Margam Abbey, a "country house" there, is interesting. The story may, of course, be an entire invention, the name of Mansel being subsequently introduced as a compliment to the family but on the other hand, it points to the possible existence of this Sir Walter, somewhere about the period at which the name of Mansel first appears in a Welsh charter, or a little later. It thus tends to confirm the theory already evolved from other sources, that the Mansels settled in Wales during the latter half of the twelfth century, or possibly at an earlier date.

-Adapted from *History of the Family of Maunsell (Mansell, Mansel)* by Edward Phillips Statham. London: Kegan Paul Trench & Co. Ltd. 1917

[Maunsell was our original family name in England; Munsell and Munselle are variations.]

Wednesday, May 2, 2007 Closed Down by Legal Threats

From: Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter
April 29, 2007 Closed Down by Legal Threats

If you go to the web site, you will find the following sad words:

The website "" was forced offline by The Generations Network, the parent company of was originally built with the approval of the previous affiliate marketing staff of, the same company before the name change to The Generations Network. They felt a site like was a great way to create a positive image and branding to the genealogical community by highlighting the free tools and databases available to the public. It was a way to show genealogists that was not just a big greedy cash cow that everyone seems to think it is, but a site that does in fact give back to the community.

But the new marketing staff didn't agree. They threatened us with legal action if we didn't take the site down. They claimed that the domain name, "" is a violation of their trademark, because it contains the word, "". AS IF they have rights to any and all domain names with the word "ancestry" in it.

Bottom Line

So, we've taken the site down, because The Generations Network is still the primary source of income on our flagship website, We can't afford to jeopardize that relationship. There just isn't another source of income that can provide us with the funds that requires.

- Steve Johnson, Clear Digital Media, Inc.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

FamilyLink: a New Social Genealogy Networking Site

From Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter
April 18, 2007

FamilyLink: a New Social Genealogy Networking Site

Here is an announcement of a new genealogy social networking site. Social networking is quite different from "regular" genealogy sites. Here is the announcement from FamilyLink:

FamilyLink: New Genealogy Collaboration Web Site Rapidly "Links" People at a Whole New Level Geographic and language barriers minimized to improve genealogy research with launch of FamilyLink

Provo, UT, April 18, 2007 - FamilyLink, the newest social genealogy networking web site created to rapidly link people across the world launched today.

"The recent surge in social networking sites demonstrates the need for people to connect around diverse types of interests" said Michael Tanne, Founder and CEO of Wink, a People Search Engine. FamilyLink provides a perfect venue for families, genealogists and family historians to share their common interests and heritage as they connect with one another and up;oad their photos, family tree, and family history."

FamilyLink has been created to facilitate genealogists in working together in ways that have never been attempted before in the genealogy world with a tool that is easy to use and understand.

"During the early years of Ancestry and MyFamily, I could hardly sleep. I was so excited about what we were building. I feel the same way about FamilyLink," said Paul Allen, CEO,

Using FamilyLink, geographic and language barriers are minimized as individuals connect with their loved ones, research their family history, and preserve memories.

"For the first time ever, if I'm looking for an ancestor in a particular part of the world, I'll be a click away from the expert researchers who live there, and from others who have done research there," Allen said.

FamilyLink users can view the profiles of other individuals, communicate with individuals who have researched or are currently researching in their area of interest through the City Link feature, meet new individuals who also participate in the service, share photos, genealogical information, and post comments.

"One thing that is really interesting right now is that there really is nothing out there on the Web to help someone who lived in a certain city gather information from another city, unless they fly there. The need for this type of social networking definitely exists. FamilyLink allows people who are in different cities to connect with each other in an amazing way," said Jason McGowan, Product Manager,

Additional features include a news feed system, Ancestor Pages, announcements pages, email features, shared connections between and, and will soon include a family tree.

"Putting and together is a great way to preserve, share, and grow your family tree," said Barbara Renick, professional genealogist, nationally known lecturer, and author.

In the past genealogists were able to make connections with other genealogists. However to do so required a lot of time, and effort, two scarce resources for genealogists. FamilyLink is a tool that connects people in such a way that it makes everyone and everything more efficient, and will become even better as people join the site.

"As with other social networks, the more people that use FamilyLink, the more useful it will become to everyone else. So we invite you to join and encourage others to join as well, so that we will soon have members in all of the cities of the world - all helping each other to find and preserve their heritage," Allen said.

NOTE: This is a free site. However, it is still in beta, so expect some temporary glitches.

Munselle gedcom on RootsWeb: an easier URL

Here is an easier URL to use to find the Nancy West Munselle gedcom on RootsWeb:

Thanks to Nancy Cunningham.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Tuesday, April 17, 2007 Celebrates 100th Anniversaries of Ellis Island Celebrates 100th Anniversaries of Ellis Island's Largest Day and Year of Immigration, April 17, 2007

Free Access to Only Complete Online Collection of Ellis Island Records, 1892-1957;

Explore Ellis Island at the Click of a Mouse at:

PROVO, Utah, April 12--To honor the 100th anniversaries of the largest year and single day of immigration through Ellis Island,, the world's largest online resource for family history, is offering free access to the only complete online set of Ellis Island passenger arrival records (1892-1957) from April 12 to April 30. In addition, is inviting users to relive the remarkable journeys of their gateway ancestors at the click of a mouse at:

--an interactive, multimedia tour of this national landmark....'s easy-to-use search and navigation tools help users find their ancestors' passenger lists. Users can view a digital image of the actual passenger list document, save to their online personal family tree, print for future reference and share via email with their family members. From April 12 through April 30, is offering free access to the entire U.S. Passenger List Collection, which includes the Internet's most comprehensive set of Ellis Island records....

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Ancient Faces

I have just posted a history of the Munselle family in Texas to Ancient Faces. Now you can add family photos, stories and recipes. Just visit:

This is another free website.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Linkpendium Surpasses Five Million Links

From Internet Genealogy
Oct/Nov 2006

...Linkpendium,, has announced that it now boasts more than five million genealogy links. Founders Brian Leverich and Karen Isaacson, also founders of RootsWeb,, said they have categorized close to 550,000 links relating to US localities. The bulk of links on Linkpendium, though, are categorized by surnames worldwide, with nearly 4.5 million entries.
"Linkpendium is by far the largest directory to genealogical resources on the web," said Leverich in a release. "It is, to our knowledge, the second largest human-edited directory of any kind on the web."
Genealogists and regular visitors are encouraged to recommend websites to add to the growing list. In general, websites are reviewed and, if accepted, added within two weeks.
Leverich also said that as the database of links continues to grow, Linkpendium is looking to expand its localities listings to other countries. The site also plans to add more categories, offering links to websites that do not fit into the Surname or Locality sections.
- John Mather

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Footnote, Inc. Free Account

March 25, 2007
National Archives and Footnote Launch Project to Digitize Historic Documents
Signing of Agreement for Footnote, Inc. to Digitize Holdings of NARA

Washington, D.C. and Lindon, UT...Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein and Footnote, Inc. CEO Russell Wilding today announced an agreement to digitize selected records from the vast holdings of the National Archives. The 4.5 million pages that have been digitized so far are now available at

...About Footnote, Inc. Founded in 1997 as iArchives, Inc., Footnote is a subscription based web site that features searchable original documents that provide users with an unaltered view of the events, places and people that shaped the American nation and the world. At all are invited to come to share, discuss, and collaborate on their discoveries with friends, family and colleagues.


With a free Footnote membership you can:

Add annotations and comments to things you find on Footnote.

Create your own story pages.

Maintain a gallery of your favorite Footnote images.

Upload your own images to your gallery.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Allen County Public Library and Announce Partnership

From: Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter
March 27, 2007

Allen County Public Library and Announce Partnership

I wrote about last year. It is a great online service that has the potential to provide a lot of genealogy information at no charge....Now has announced a partnership with the second-largest genealogy library in the country. Here is the announcement:

The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library (Fort Wayne, Indiana) and the Foundation for On-Line Genealogy, Inc., announce a partnership in operating, a new social networking website for genealogy. is totally FREE and makes it easy to upload family trees and images, find and connect with other family members, share research easily, and extend lines. is now the largest English language genealogical wiki in the world. In the past few weeks, has uploaded over 73,000 ancestral wiki pages. also has more than 430,000 wiki pages for current and historical inhabited places, 115,000 given and surname wiki pages, and 1.3 million wiki source pages. WeRelate is now the largest English language genealogical application. Please watch our new video at:

...The Foundation for On-Line Genealogy, Inc. will continue developing the software and hosting the web site, and the Allen County Public Library will provide administrative and support services. WeRelate is a FREE public service supported by tax-deductible donations. The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library houses over an acre of genealogy materials under one roof and is the second largest genealogy library in the world. The Foundation for On-Line Genealogy is a non-profit organization dedicated to making family history research easier, faster, and more rewarding.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Illinois Web Sites

Are you researching Illinois families? Here are two Illinois web sites that may be of help to you.

Main archives (IL):

This site contains maps that can be ordered on CD's:

Thanks to Nancy Cunningham for providing this information.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

NEHGS Records: Maunsell

From the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) Database: Index to Marriage License Bonds of the Diocese of Cloyne, Ireland

Year Last Name Record
1683 Maunsell John and Anne Foulke
1692 Maunsell Margaret and John Widenham
1709 Maunsell John and Elizabeth Campion
1720 Maunsell Alice (widow) and William Brereton
1767 Maunsell Elizabeth and John Carey
1793 Maunsell Margaret and Thomas Franks

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Free On Ancestry regularly posts items on their website that are "in the clear". In other words, you don't have to have a subscription to access them. However, these free databases are often difficult to locate, as they are scattered amongst many other databases that are not free. These databases typically don't stay free, but change as Ancestry's promotions change.

Now Clear Digital Media, Inc., best known for their site, has posted a new site entitled Free On It's a portal to Ancestry's free databases. Check it out at:

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Genealogy Central on MySpace

I have created a new group on MySpace called Genealogy Central. It is a place where you can post queries, data and general information about genealogy. It is open to anyone worldwide. Visit:

Or just visit my site on MySpace:

Monday, February 19, 2007

More Information on Munselle

For more information on the Munselle family, check out the following websites:

Munsell/Munsell Yahoo Group
Co-Moderators: Bil Munsil and Nancy West

Munselle website
Nancy Cunningham

Friday, February 16, 2007

A Brief History of the Munselles in Texas

A Brief History of the Munselles in Texas

by Nancy West

Most members of the Munselle family now residing in Texas can trace their ancestry back to LORENZO DOW MUNSELLE, born January 1, 1828 in Licking County, Ohio. Lorenzo came toTexas about 1889 from Mt. Vernon in Jefferson County, Illinois.

Lorenzo was married first, 1848, to Phydelia SMITH. By this marriage there were seven children:

1. Thomas Tillotson (Doc), also known as T. T., of San Saba, San Saba County, TX. He married Sarah Jane ESTES.

2. Mary A. (Sis), of Mt. Vernon, IL. She married Jeremiah KING.

3. John Raleigh of Mt. Vernon, IL, who married Lusetta HOLLIDAY.

4. Luna Alice of Mt. Vernon, IL. She married William GREGORY.

5. William Alexander (Bill) of Bangs, Brown County, TX; married Nancy Elizabeth SHELTON.

6. James Lawrence (Jim) of Gonzales County, TX. He married first, Ellen Katherine COWEY; second, Margaret (Maggie or Mag) PATTERSON.

7. Harriet Victoria (Hattie Vic), married Frank BROOKMAN.

Several of these children remained in Mt. Vernon, IL, when Lorenzo moved to Texas.

Lorenzo married 2nd, April 5, 1870, Margaret Emily Derickson BODINE. They also had seven children:

1. Lorenzo Dow, Jr., married Winnie L. BOLINGER.

2. Lawrence Bratton, married Viola McARTHUR.

3. Harvey, died young.

4. Louisa Julia, married Ernest E. WILLIAMS.

5. Joshua Walter (Josh), married Heba H. RANSOM.

6. Rosetta Joan, married Rufus SMITH.

7. Laura Orlena, died unmarried.

Lorenzo was a farmer who resided in Richland Springs until his death on April 13, 1907. He planted a large pecan grove there which is still standing. Lorenzo and Margaret Emily Derickson BODINE are both buried in the Richland Springs Cemetery, San Saba County, TX.

The history of the Munselle family dates back to Sir Philip de MAUNSELL, a companion of William the Conqueror. The founder of Lorenzo Dow's branch of the family was:

THOMAS MUNSELL. He was on record as a resident of New London, Connecticut, in 1681. He died in New London, Connecticut, in 1712. Most MUNSELLES in the United States today are descendants of his eight children. In England, the family dropped the "u" from MAUNSELL in the 1600s. MUNSELL, with a number of variations, is the traditional American spelling. Lorenzo Dow's branch adopted the spelling MUNSELLE while living in IL, sometime during the 1800s.

From printed booklet for Munselle Family Reunion, Colmesneil, TX, June 1994

revised March 1, 2002