December Celebrations


I was reviewing my family events in December and was surprised at the number of celebrations that occur within this 31-day month.

Everyone in my family looks forward to the Christmas celebration, but I noticed that there are quite a few other significant celebrations that should NOT be forgotten.

I knew that my grandparents were married on the 20th.

Happy Anniversary

(Don’t ever forget the wedding anniversary!!)

I am also aware of birthdays for my nephew on the 11th, my sister-in-law on the 15th and her husband on the 26th.

I thought I would have a bit of fun and find out about other relatives that have/had celebrations in December.  I had no idea that the search would result in EVERY day in December having a birthday. My search went from 2014 back to the 1850.


Aunts have birthdays on the 11th, 13th and the 25th; an uncle on the 25th and a niece born on the 23rd.

Cousins have been born on every day of December. Several days had more than one person celebrating a birthday. Two cousins celebrated on each of the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 13th, 19th, 20th, 24th and 30th. Three cousins were born on the 6th, 8th, 16th, 22nd, 23rd, 27th and 29th. Three cousins celebrate their birthday ON Christmas day.

Christmas birthday

Four cousins were born on the 11th, 12th, 15th, 21st and 28th.  Five were born on the 1st, 9th, & 10th.  December 7th was the one date with the most birthdays – six.

While all of this gathering was fun for me, I pause to remember that several of these celebrations were in very non-celebratory situations.  Several celebrations occurred during or after major wars.  Some were conducted in new homes or surroundings.  A few were literally “on the trail” when they were not certain where home was or would be located.

Each birthday belongs to an individual and each individual has a story. It is the stories of our ancestors and relatives that make our heritage a treasure to pass on to generations not yet born.

Perhaps your family tree is as popular with December events as ours. Maybe your family is crowded with June weddings or April birthdays or fall reunions.  Every month and each day is a wonderful time to celebrate.

During this season of family gatherings enjoy the visits. Keep all of the holiday cards and letters. Be sure to record all of the information – personal and event related –  while it is still fresh in your memory.

Your family tree will blossom with information and stories. Your past and present celebrations will be cherished events.

Good Hunting!


As I celebrate this season of Thanksgiving I am grateful for so many things.  The love and support of my family, my faith, my doctors and modern medicine are at the top of my list.

High on that list is my gratitude for all my ancestors.  Through their lives and examples I have come to know how their trials are very similar to mine. I have cried at their suffering and rejoiced in their successes.

I find through my research and then passing on those stories I am thanking each of my forebears. As I pass on their stories I honor them by keeping their lives and experiences in the memories of my children, grandchildren and students.

Being Remembered is a huge honor.

History is now very personal to me and I am trying to make it so for my family and students.

Valley Forge is not just a story, it is the location where 7Great-Uncle Joseph Robins died.  Voting in elections is important because 2Great-Grandfather William Robbins was the only man in the county to stand up and vote for Abraham Lincoln. Moving with today’s conveniences is nowhere near the challenge that faced  5Great-Grandfather John Fugate when he moved a family of 10+ from southern Virginia to northern Missouri by covered wagon and flatboat.

The crop failures, winning elections, playing on sports teams, attending college and various careers worked, all provide stories and means to relate ancestors to descendants. When my daughter played the flute in the marching band I told her how her 7Great-Uncle Lorin Robins was a fifer in the Continental Army. When my son became a bartender I told him of his 7Great-Grandfather Brintnel Robbins running a tavern on the Ohio river.

I am thankful for all of my ancestors, but I am also very grateful for all of you who support the Genealogy Center – as patrons, through donations of materials and requesting assistance in seeking out your ancestors both in person and online.

Thank you to each and every one.

May you all have a wonderful Season of Thanksgiving.

Good Hunting!

Did you ever get so excited that you made a BIG mistake?

Well that is exactly what I did.  I failed to verify the dates for next year’s Genealogy Lock-in and Great Family Search.

The CORRECT dates are October 21 – 22, 2016.

Please correct your calendars and make plans for a wonderful – NO COST – weekend of Genealogy research, education and fun.

See You There.

Our Lock-In on Friday, October 15th proved to be a very successful event.

We had folks coming in, attending webinars, on-site classes and doing research throughout the day.

Several Lock-In attendees also attended the Great Family Search on Saturday. It too, was a success.

Plan now to make PLANO your location for October 14 and 15, 2016.

Friday, October 14th will be the 6th Annual Texas Genealogy Lock-In here at the Genealogy Center in the W.O. Haggard, Jr. Library. The Great Family Search  will be on Saturday.

A Wonderful Weekend of Genealogy – Research, Webinars and Classes.

Thanks again for your support and

See You Next Year!

October 15 and 16, 2015 is one of my favorite weekends of the year.

On Friday, October 15th, at the Genealogy Center in the W.O. Haggard, Jr. library in Plano, is the 5th Annual Texas Wide Genealogy Lock-In. There will be webinars and classes for your education; genealogy volunteers to assist you in your family history research; or you can spend the day (and night) in the Genealogy Center doing your own research. The Genealogy Center will be open for research 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. See all of the details in the previous blog post.

On Saturday, October 16, at the Plano Stake Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is their annual Great Family Search Genealogy Conference. The conference is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. More information can be found at the Great Family Search website.

Both events are open to the general public. There is NO COST for either event.

There will be something for every genealogist/family historian during these two days.

Come on over to Plano, Texas and enjoy our Genealogy and Family History weekend.

Good Hunting!

gen test 2gen test

When I began to compile my family history 40 years ago, I wrote each grandmother a letter. I was very confident that my Grandmother Coleman would provide me with a good family tree because she rocked me to sleep and told me bedtime stories about our family and ancestry. I was very hopeful that Gram Fugate would provide at least a start.

Grandmother Coleman provided me a family tree sketched out on two pages of 5 x 8 stationery. She was always good about telling stories of past relatives – Colemans, Smileys and Robbins.

On the other hand, Gram Fugate told me more than once – “What do you want to know about them (my Fugate ancestors) for? They are dead.” Nevertheless, I sent the letter hoping I would receive a reply with her parents names and hopefully their birth and death dates.

Without realizing it, Gram Fugate provided the biggest surprise of my family history research.

She received my letter as she was on her way out the door to visit her sister-in-law, my Aunt Martha.  It just happened that Martha’s son Jack was moving and had asked his mother to hold all of his family history research so it would not get lost. My Aunt Martha copied our family tree and Gram Fugate mailed it to me. I now have a family tree on an 11 X 17 sheet of paper that completely covers one side and 1/3 of the back.

Gram Fugate was very good at letting me know what various family members were doing.  I find those letters, combined with her daily diaries, to be a wonderful resource.  She provided dates and places of births, marriages, hospitalizations, deaths and funerals. I know when and where various cousins, nieces and nephews went to college, what they studied and when they graduated.

Writing a letters to my grandmothers opened a floodgate for me and started me on my genealogy search.  I kept each letter that both grandmothers sent to me while I was in the Army.  Both of them had sons that served in the Army – Billy S. Coleman was in Germany in World War II and Charles M. Fugate was in Japan during the Korean War.

In 1991 I wrote a letter to two of my uncles that had served in World War II. – Pvt Billy S. Coleman and SGT Stanley E. Rush.  Their replies gave a very personal account of events that I had only read as history.

Do you have grandmothers or grandfathers? Aunts or Uncles? They are wonderful resources for family events and stories.

Take the time to write them a letter, send them an email or just call them on the phone and let them tell you their stories. Be sure to record these stories. Saving the stories will prove to be a treasure. Your family history will come to life and your research will be enhanced.

Good Hunting!



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