Last Thursday I was privileged to present a class on Military Records Research.

I made two specific points:

1. More and more records are becoming available all of the time. If you don’t see the the records you want online today, wait a week or two and check back.

2. Often, records are being uploaded before they are indexed and so, you may have to “Browse” the collection. Don’t be put off by the 1,000,000 plus images, as they are broken down into searchable segments.

That was Thursday. Saturday was a whole new day.

http://www.Fold3.com announced that they have added nine states to the World War II Draft Registration Cards collection. These nine states – Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming – are no longer in the “Browse” category. They are now indexed and available to be searched without having to “Browse” through a number of images.

Periodically check the “Last Updated” column in http://www.FamilySearch.org, The “Updated” records at http://www.Ancestry.com, and the “New & Updated Collections” at Fold3.com.

This in just in time for the Memorial Day Weekend


Often, from Memorial Day through the 4th of July, various sites offer access to military databases free of charge.

Keep an eye out and take advantage of these offers. You may find military records of previously identified ancestors, or military records of  previously unknown ancestors.

(Remember – with your Plano library card you can access several “pay sites” free of charge YEAR-Round at http://www.planolibrary.org.)

Good Hunting!

Gladys Harrington and the Federation of Church Women of Plano began a library in 1955. It was based on donations of books and money. May 24, 1965 the City Council passed an ordinance to create the Municipal Library and appoint a Board of Trustees.

The first library was opened June 2, 1969 and named Gladys Harrington Public Library. The library began with 15,033 volumes which includes books, magazines, and whatever else they checked out at that time. Today, we have over 767,000 items in the 5 libraries, Municipal Reference Library, and the Genealogy Center – books, audios, DVDs, periodicals, eBooks, kits of all kinds, reference, local history, and more. This is just the items we have. We also offer many services – all kinds of classes and programs for all ages, 3D printing, Book a Librarian, Book Scanner, Research assistance, Computer Skills, Digital Creation Spaces, eLibrary, Foreign Language, Genealogy, Interlibrary Loan, Notary, WiFi, Rent a Room, and the list goes on.

Schimelpfenig Library opened May 25, 1980. On May 1, 1989 the Haggard Library opened. August 17, 1998 Davis Library opened and April 1, 2001 was the Parr Library. The Municipal Reference Library opened in the Municipal City Hall in July of 1991. The Genealogy Center moved from the Harrington Library to the Haggard Library in January 2008. Come visit one of the libraries today or checkout our ENGAGE brochure online to see what we are offering. Summer Reading and programs are just around the corner.


How many times have you come to a “Brick Wall”

in your research and been stuck for months if not years.

I have have found an online site to be of benefit to me in opening new avenues of research.

http://www.relativefinder.org is a site created by Brigham Young University Family History Technology Labs. It requires you to have an account at http://www.familysearch.org. The account at http://www.familysearch.org is free. You also gain access to resources not available to “guests”.

(CAUTION – Relativefinder requires you to have your family tree on http://www.familysearch.org. My supervisor has minimal information on http://www.familysearch.org and uses http://www.ancestry.com as her primary online family tree.  We found that she did not have sufficient information on her family tree at Familysearch to utilize Relativefinder.)

I have found that as I click on the various individuals Relativefinder claims as my relations, I have found both New Leads and INCORRECT information.

My best example – There was a claim I was directly related to a MAYFLOWER immigrant. As I viewed the information, I found someone had my 5th G-Grandfather as the son of his illegitimate daugther’s husband. I corrected this information in Familysearch.

Once corrected, this new claim provided a suggestion (previously unknown to me) as to who might be my 6th G-Grandfather. (I am still seeking documentation and verification, but prior to this he was one of my brick walls.)

Relativefinder lists several categories of individuals – Movie stars, Mayflower, Composers, Authors & Poets, Famous Americans, European Royalty, U.S. Presidents, Wives of U.S. Presidents, and Entertainers just to name a few.  This site has linked me to President U.S. Grant, John Wayne, the wife of President James Monroe, Mickey Mantle, King Henry II and several other famous individuals and celebrities. Each line has provided suggestions for me to extend various family lines. All I need to do now, is seek out the information that proves what they show is indeed a fact.

Relativefinder allows you to create your own group –  classmates, friends, family, social media, etc.  You may find you are related to folks you have known for a long time or someone you just met.

Relativefinder may assist you by providing leads to breaking down your brick walls. You may also find incorrect information that needs updating.

If you are having trouble with brick walls you are invited to visit the Genealogy Center. We are always glad to assist you in your search.

Good Hunting!

Plano C of C002aThe completion of Highway 75 brought many changes to Plano. Highway 75 connected McKinney to Dallas and included Plano. New subdivisions were being built near Plano High School now Williams High School. People from Dallas wanted to move to a quieter area to live and picked Plano. Most of the streets were paved in 1925. 15th Ave. was widened in 1959 for a smooth flow of traffic to get to 75. The first zoning ordinances began in August 1956 to help with the haphazard placement of businesses and residences. New boundaries were created for appropriate land uses.

The city marshal was the only law enforcement until 1957 when the Police Department was organized. The mayor was still the recorder of citations to traffic violators and misdemeanor cases. He would receive a portion of the fines he assessed. In 1959, Mayor David McCall, Jr. saw that this was an obsolete system and created an ordinance creating the position of the first corporation court judge. Attorney Byron Schaff was the first judge and paid a salary. In 1961, the home rule City Charter was adopted. This made Plano on par with other major cities in Texas.

The City of Plano population in 1870 was 155. Between 1870 and 1950, it fluctuated from 1000 to 2000. People moved into and out of Plano during this time. The population began to increase from the 1960s once Highway 75 was built. In 1960 the population was 3,695 and was known as the fastest growing city of Collin County. By 1970, the population had increased 384% from 1960 to 17,872. There was another 304% growth over the next 10 years to 72,331 in 1980. By the year 2000 the population was 222,030. During the 1960s and 1970s the city council and school board were working very hard to keep up with the demands for school buildings, roads, water and sewers, and so much more. New businesses were moving into the area. This growth caused the boundaries of Plano to grow from the east side of 75 to the west and further north and south.

The Genealogy Center has many documents, books, and photographs to give you an idea of the growth and life in Plano and Collin County. Be sure to visit the Haggard Library and come downstairs to see the Genealogy Center. Many items can be viewed online at Collin County Images, http://glhtadigital.contentdm.oclc.org/.

National DNA Day

Today is National DNA Day. This day commemorates the completion of the Human Genome Project in April 2003, and the discovery of DNA’s double helix in 1953.

DNA results help locate distant relatives; break down brick walls, and  expand their family trees.

In some cases family mementos are shared and family ties are strengthen.

Check out the comparison of the different companies at https://isogg.org/wiki/Autosomal_DNA_testing_comparison_chart

Good Hunting!

Why do you research your family tree? Are you planning on writing a book? Are you looking for “outlaws” in the family? Are you trying to connect to a celebrity or person of great wealth?  Perhaps you, like me, just like to collect relatives.

Grace Smiley Coleman

I thank my maternal grandmother Coleman for the family stories she told me as she rocked me to sleep or presented as a bedtime story. With each subsequent visit she kept me up-to-date on Uncle Frank or Aunt Minnie or maybe what had happened to the building where Grandpa Smiley had his general store.

Originally I had dreams of writing a family history.  Forty years later, I have no interest in penning a family history for publication. My children and grandchildren will find volumes of material – some of which I have actually labeled with the appropriate family name.  But I am always on the lookout for possible relations and material I can add to what I have already compiled.

Thursday I was caught completely by surprise. A friend surprised me with a two-volume collection – My Dearest Sister – The Hunt family of Lexington and the Civil War: their correspondence, 1856-1880. She knows I am a Civil War buff.

However, the biggest surprise may be the editors – Edwin G. Millis and his daughter Beverly Millis Haskin.
I saw their names and immediately wondered – Are they Kin?

My paternal great-grandmother is Lola Helen FAUCETT (1880-1919). She married Ira Charles Huggans (1882-1945). Our Faucett family came from North Carolina, through Indiana to Missouri.  In Indiana, Faucetts married members of the MILLIS family.

On http://www.familysearch.org I found a marriage document for Enoch Millis and Lydia H. Faucett. (Lydia is Lola’s aunt).

Knowing that Kentucky and Indiana share a state line, I am interested to see if the Millis authors are distant relations.

For me genealogy or family history started as a hobby, became an addiction and I have had the good fortune to turn it into a profession.

I am constantly on the lookout for Fugate, Coleman, Huggans, Smiley, Faucett, Robbins, Fryrear, Stilabower, Stone or Fulton relatives.

When I find that one or more has military ties, I am enthralled.

Because my first career was a soldier, (I retired from the U.S. Army) I have found military records and military jargon very easy to read and understand. I also know something of government red-tape and government records. What others may find challenging I find “old hat.”

So I keep an eye out for family names, family histories and folks that may be relations – near or distant cousins. This two-volume gift today seems to be right up my alley. Who knows, perhaps I may find both HUNT and MILLIS relations.

I have found several branches of My Family Tree from the volumes of material here in the Genealogy Center. One of my favorite successes was finding the names of two brothers – both killed in the War Between the States – who were only known as “son of David and Frances Cowan” and “son of David and Frances Cowan” on their headstones. Another favorite success was being able to find the abstract of my 7th Great-grandfather, Charles Swan’s will where he lists his sons and daughters to include the daughter’s married names.

Whatever the reason you seek out your ancestors, be it hobby, genealogy addiction or some other reason, I invite you to come in and visit the Genealogy Center.

Our collection has grown. You will find volumes from each of the 50 states and District of Columbia; over 30 foreign countries, a vast military section, as well as our immigration and colonization section.

Come on in and see what you can find. You may find or connect with a relation which was previously unknown.

Good Hunting!

In January 1923 the work of the city is divided into – city marshal, city engineer, and commissioner of streets, water and sewerage. City Marshal makes $50 per month, he is the peace officer and assesses and collects city taxes. City Engineer is paid $200 a month, he takes care of the water supply. The Commissioner of Streets, Water, and Sewerage is paid $100 per month, he drags the streets as needed, repairs bridges and culverts, check for water leaks, reads meters, looks after sewers, and bills and collects them. The City Engineer and Commissioner were employed by the city and could be removed by them if they failed to do their jobs.

In 1931 the city was in excellent financial condition. Mayor J. T. Horn recommended a raise for the aldermen to $60 and the mayor $144 per year. The city needed more water. A second well was drilled at a cost of $7,500.


A group of boys in the late 1920’s known as the Twenty Tough Tamales or T. T. T.’s were well known. The Tamales did many kind deeds in secret so as not to blow their tough image. They were never destructive just mischievous. A stop sign was erected during Mayor J. T. Horn’s terms. He instructed the City Marshal to “nab” people running it. The Marshal tried to catch the T.T.T.s running the stop sign. But he never could so he tried bringing them to court. They couldn’t prove anything.

Not long after this, Mayor Horn went to open his store and found a farm wagon on the metal awning of his store. He had to dismantle it to get it down. He couldn’t prove it was the Tamales although everyone suspected them. They were all in school that morning but did look sleepy.

A. R. Schell (Alex) Schell Jr. - pic (3)

The city’s next mayor was Alex Schell, Jr. He was mayor from April 5, 1932 to April 1948. He did many things for the city. “New water mains were laid, a disposal plant was built, he appointed the first Planning and Zoning Commission, he and City Council hired the first professional property appraisers for tax purposes, the first industry came to Plano, and he was instrumental in the development and acquisition of Lavon Reservoir as the source of water for Plano.”

Mr. Schell continued to work on Lavon Reservoir project. In 1951 the North Texas Municipal Water District was organized and he served on the board from 1951-1964. Plano began getting its water from Lavon in 1957. Mr. Alex Schell, Jr. was elected the first Outstanding Citizen by the Chamber of Commerce.

Next week we’ll look at the completion of Highway 75 and the changes that brought to Plano. If you want to learn more about the city council, mayors, and aldermen, check out the Plano, Texas Early Years found at the Plano Public Libraries to buy or checkout.