Arbuthnot(t) Family Association Newsletter

Officers of the USA Arbuthnot Family Association:
As of the Gathering in Orlando, May 2002

Chairman: Caroline Burtt

Vice Chairman: Russell Parker

Chairman Elect: Alfred Arbuthnot

Treasurer: John Orsborn

Secretary: Phyllis Jones

Newsletter editor: Vickie Jones

Genealogist: Betsy Henry

Website administrator: Lani Erie

Arbuthnot(t) Family Association Newsletter

July 2002 

A word of Warning:

According to the by-laws passed in Omaha in October 2000, no newsletters will go out to members after a member is six (6) months in arrears. This is becoming increasingly important, as postage has gone up again. As a courtesy, we are sending this newsletter out to members who have paid through 2001. To renew your dues, please contact John Orsborn, Association treasurer. He will contact Vickie when dues have been received. The officers' addresses are printed above. The address label indicated the state of your membership. For instance: L 02 indicates that you are listed as a life member paid through 2002. A 03 indicates that you are an annual member paid through 2003. If your records differ please contact John Orsborn. 

This is your newsletter! Send us any information you want included: marriages, promotions or stories of extended family. We will print as many as space allows. The more stories we get the more newsletters you will get. 



The meeting was called to order by Chairman Allan Arbuthnot at

5:13 PM. The officers were introduced. The minutes of the gathering in Omaha were accepted as published in the November 2000 newsletter. As per our bylaws 2 members were appointed by the board to review the Treasurer's report. They were Elizabeth Hunt and Al Arbuthnot. The two auditors found the books to be in excellent shape. The Treasurers report was read and accepted. 

Treasurer's Report

Beginning balance September 2, 2000   3013.98 Receipts       5028.00

Disbursements       4158.56

Ending balance      4650.14 

Dave Arbuthnot was concerned that at some point the Association would not be in a solvent position. He moved that a simple treasurer's report be printed semi-annually in the newsletter. This will be done. 

Betsy Henry read the Genealogist's Report, which was approved. 


I am working on updating my material for the next editions of Arbuthnots in North America.  When I did this in 1994, I found that many of the addresses I had were no longer correct, and much mail was returned as undeliverable.  This time I checked over 750 names and addresses on the Internet, and came up with a list of about 420 people in the United States whose addresses seemed to be current.   The first week in April I started sending family group sheets to these people, in some cases asking that they send sheets on to others in their immediate families.   I have set a deadline of September first, and when I return in October from another trip east, I will get things together for the new books. 


Because I’ve changed to genealogy software from a word processing program, I will be able to present information in outline, generation, and family group formats.  There will also be an index to each book.  I have brought a sample of how a book may appear, but I have not made a firm decision as to how I will assemble each book.  I am considering the possibility of assembling each of the genealogy tables into its own book, and basing the price of each on the number of pages.   When my plans are more definite, I will notify members of the Association, as well as others who have helped me by sending information, that the books are available. 

 The issue of privacy has been a problem in my dealings with Sir William Arbuthnot, the genealogist for the UK Arbuthnot Association and Webmaster for the official Arbuthnot Web site.  William has established and is running a very comprehensive Web site with much commendable material. However, my perception that he did not intend to include post-1900 genealogy material on the official Web site was wrong, in that he changed his mind after telling me that was his plan.  He has set up his own Web site, not under the control of the UK Arbuthnot Association.  On this site he has uploaded most of the U.S. genealogy, material he obtained from my records and then copyrighted to himself.  As you probably know, he does not consider identity theft a valid concern and has refused to remove people’s information even when they request it, telling me that his genealogy Web site has no privacy policy.  I regret that I was so na´ve as to trust Sir William with other people’s information.  After almost a year of acrimony, during which he blocked e-mail from me for several months, in April he established yet another Web site, this one with the genealogy section accessible only by a registration system.  I am hopeful that this will protect the information that is already on the Web site.  Nevertheless, because of William’s disdainful attitude toward my concerns, I am not inclined to resume sending him information. Sir William's response to all this is at   question 58


The USA Arbuthnot Web site, managed by Lani Erie, is in the process of uploading the early generations of each table, which is considered responsible genealogy.  Progress on this is slow, because of my other commitments and Lani’s move across the country this spring.  Meanwhile, Sir William continues to refuse to link to our Web site because he says on his Web site that ours has nothing of value. 

 Because of these actions and several other attempts on his part to interfere in the business of the US Association, I feel I can be more efficient and effective in my position as genealogy compiler if I do not have the frustrations of trying to work with a person who does not appear to respect the capabilities of others.

 I hope to continue to enjoy the projects associated with compiling genealogy for Arbuthnots in North America.  It has been a great satisfaction to have the cooperation of so many family members in this work.

 Respectfully submitted,

Betsy Henry



The privacy policy of the USA Arbuthnot Family Association was discussed in some detail. Great concern was expressed over allowing personal data to be published on the web. Several members mentioned their concern over the fact that Sir William still has birth dates of living individuals, as well as mother's maiden name and place of birth all on the web. These are the very facts that an individual needs in order to access bank and other financial information. Identity theft becomes all too easy for some one who wishes to make use of this information for his own purpose. Betsy Henry stated that she has not and will not include such personal information about a living individual. She feels that it is a real invasion of our member's privacy. Jo Ann Mardis told of how hard it is to get information out of Indiana , even with a legitimate reason to know. Charles Arbuthnot said that it is easy to get license numbers and even addresses off the web. Betsy explained that she does not want to make information gathering any easier for the mischief-makers. 

Betsy Henry introduced a resolution stating our position on this matter. 


Because of Sir William Arbuthnot's lack of respect for our requests that he privatize our personal information and his insistence that identity theft is not a valid concern, I move the adoption of the following resolution: 

Whereas, the Internet website maintained by Sir William Arbuthnot as a link to the official Arbuthnot website has published genealogical material on living individuals without their permission; therefore, be it 

Resolved by the United States Arbuthnot Family Association in convention assembled, That we are opposed to the uploading of information such as dates of birth of living people without the specific permission of each individual; and 

Resolved, That we request Sir William Arbuthnot to remove birth dates of living persons, and to upload any additional birth dates of living persons only with the permission of the individuals involved. 

The resolution was passed unanimously. Several members spoke in praise of Betsy's efforts. This has been sent to the Arbuthnotts in the UK to let them know of our concerns.

 Dennie Byram (past chairman) and his wife Judi had intended to come to the gathering. However, on their drive to Orlando, Dennie suffered chest pain and they had to return to their home in Spokane to seek medical care. Those in Orlando signed a card for him and wished him a speedy recovery. He has since reported that he is still having tests but feels better and thanks the family for our expressions of care and concern. He appreciates our calls and notes. 

We discussed needing a new chairman for 2008. Betsy Henry nominated Alfred Arbuthnot. She said that she would be willing to do the legwork required for the gathering if we wanted to have it in Denver. That part of the country has not had a gathering for many years and several thought that spreading the gatherings around the country would foster interest in other members. Roy McCracken closed the nominations. Al was elected. 

Mark your calendars! The next gathering will be in Sacramento, CA in 2004. Caroline Burtt is our chairman and will host. Russ Parker is the next chairman and the 2006 Gathering will be in Georgia. 

Betsy extended greetings from our extended family in Scotland and Canada. David Arbuthnot wants notice of the Canadian Meetings. We have written to Joyce Arbuthnott in Canada asking for this information. 

The meeting was adjourned for the cocktail hour. 

In Memoriam

It is my sad duty to report the death on June 1, 2024 of my sister Ellie Slocum, third daughter of Margaret Arbuthnot Ridall.  Ellie battled lung and liver cancer for over a year.  She maintained her normal activities as much as she could, continuing to see friends and family, and putting everyone at ease with her matter-of-fact attitude.  Although it subsequently spread to her lymph nodes and brain, she participated in a recent charity walk and was out for dinner the night before she died.  We are sad to lose Ellie, but thankful that she died peacefully and did not suffer greatly for a long period at the end.  Ellie was 61 years old.


One of her good friends wrote these words to me: "I admired her strength and courage...she made a big difference in many people's lives and I was happy she was my friend."


Ellie's daughter Sarah Hamley predeceased her, having been killed on duty as a flight attendant in a plane crash near Pittsburgh, PA in September 1994.  She is survived by her son Jeff, his wife Melissa, and their son, Ellie's beloved grandson Gabriel.  Also surviving are our parents, Margaret and Earle Ridall, sisters Peg Davis and Amy Ridall, and brother Ted Ridall.


I will miss Ellie the rest of my life.

      Betsy Henry


Margaret Ridall moved in May to the assisted living facility, Woodbrook, where she lived several years ago.  This time she plans to stay, and to sell her house.  (Her husband, Earle, has been in a skilled nursing facility for several years.)  Although she has very little remaining vision, she still enjoys listening to books on tape and was also interested in news of the Orlando gathering.  Margaret's new address is 1250 Maple Avenue, Elmira, NY 14904, and she would enjoy hearing from people who remember her as one of the original members of the USA AFA and the association's first genealogy compiler. 


Alfred Arbuthnot David and Marion Bonts Roylynn Jones
Allan and Marie Arbuthnot Keith and Linda Brooker Stephanie Jones
Charles Arbuthnot Caroline Arbuthnot Burtt Victoria Jones
David Arbuthnot Mat and Rachel Domber Robert and JoAnn Mardis
Ed and Deb Arbuthnot Elizabeth Hunt Roy and Marcia McCracken
Guy Lane and Joann Arbuthnot Edith Arbuthnot Hayes John and Ruth Orsborn
John and Michelle Arbuthnot Betsy Henry Russ and Libby Parker
Guy Lane Arbuthnot III June Jones Stephanie Smith
Ray and Brenda E. Bedingfield Phyllis Jones Eric Tallbacker and guest

Danny Vasquez

Bret Clancy--Bag piper 

Many of the members went on the day trips. One was to the Cypress Gardens. We had great weather and a lovely day. 

Our trip to Kennedy Space Center was informative and the weather was wonderful. We could not go out to the launch pad, as many tour groups usually do, because they were getting ready to launch the Endeavor. Yes, they were taking extra security precautions. 

On Friday night 18 or 20 of us went to the Italian restaurant for dinner. We brought along our own unofficial taste tester. For details ask Alfred Arbuthnot. 

Some of the young (and young at heart) drove to Kissimee to the Medieval Times Theme Restaurant A castle complete with arts and crafts of the times, a falconry exibition, and black smith shop make up the Village surrounding the castle. Knights in Shining Armor, Horses and eating with your fingers made up the food and entertainment portion of the evening. While several of us were rooting for "The Blue Knight" only one yelled loud enough to catch his attention and thus, catch a flower upon defeating another knight in battle. It was another opportunity to talk with other people and enjoy the beautiful spring evening. 

The banquet at the Ming Court was lots of fun. Following the cocktail hour, the family was seated in a private dinning room at 4 large tables. Our piper met the board members on the patio and piped them in through the bar and the main dinning area to the room where we were to have the dinner. The surprised, puzzled looks on the faces of the other patrons were priceless! What is a bagpiper doing in a Chinese Restaurant? Who are these people? The seating arrangement gave us a chance to visit more with some of the other family members. Several guests joined us and we were glad to have them there.