I only knew him as Uncle Larry. He was Aunt Minnie’s husband. Aunt Minnie was my grandmother’s older sister.
Uncle Larry was a big man, taller than my grandfather, grandmother and my parents. I would learn later he was 5 feet 11 inches. He was also a World War I veteran.
Lawrence Taylor Ralston was born 15 September 1895 in Callao, Macon, Missouri. He would grow up in Wheeling, Livingston, Missouri.
He was a student at the University of Missouri – Columbia when he registered for the draft in 1917.
He entered the United States Marine Corps on 13 December 1917. Following his training he was sent to Europe.
On 21 July 1918 Corporal Lawrence T. Ralston was listed as Missing. His parents had been officially notified by the War Department.
On 19 August His parents received a letter from Uncle Larry stating he was in the hospital in Paris, France recovering from his wounds. Shortly after they received his letter, his parents received word from the War Department that Uncle Larry’s status had been changed from Missing to Missing In Action. His father then notified the Marine Corps that Uncle Larry was in the hospital in Paris, France.
I did not learn of his exact wounds until the World War II Registration files were made public. Lawrence Taylor Ralston, age 46, was noted as having “Gun shot wounds to the right arm, right thigh and left knee.”
Corporal Lawrence T. Ralston was released from service on 28 Feb 1919. He married Aunt Minnie in October of 1919. They raised a family of one girl and two boys. One son would serve in the Navy in World War II.
Uncle Larry was involved in advertising and founded Ad-Craft Line, Inc. where he was the Chairman of the Board.
Lawrence Taylor Ralston died 25 January 1977.
Not one obituary mentioned his military service. There is no marker at his grave site indicating his military service.
Today I publicly acknowledge and offer my appreciation, for his service and sacrifice.
My hope on this Veteran’s Day is that you will search out and pay tribute to Your Veteran’s.
Thank them for their service.
Good Hunting!

Today is September 11th, commonly referred to as 9/11.

Do you remember where you were and/or what you were doing when you saw or heard the Twin Towers were attacked?

When the Pentagon was attacked? When the plane crashed in Pennsylvania?

Some of us recall the assassination attempt on President Reagan.

For those over 50 years of age, we can remember President Nixon’s resignation. How about when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon?

A few of us over 60 years of age can tell you about the Kennedy Assassinations – both John and Robert.

HAVE YOU WRITTEN THIS DOWN or recorded these moments for your posterity?

I recall asking my great-grandfather, “Who was the first President you voted for?” His response was “Teddy Roosevelt.” I learned later that he had voted in the previous presidential election, but for the losing candidate – William Jennings Bryan.

I cherish my father’s memory of The Attack on Pearl Harbor.

He was outside playing with friends and ran inside to see his parents huddled around the radio.

These historical events are taught in American History classes.

Are they REAL to your descendants?

Help your posterity connect to each of these events with YOUR memories.

What were YOU doing?  How did YOU feel? How did this effect YOU, YOUR families, and YOUR way of life?

Take the time to record your memories – audio, video, or in writing.

Your descendants will cherish your memories.

Good Hunting! (Recording)

During a recent call at the Genealogy Center, a patron was attempting to locate an ancestor. She was unable to locate this person in several different documents.  A review of the documents found the ancestor’s name with various spellings.

Do not be overly concerned with spelling, especially prior to 1900 in the United States. I found one cousin and his wife in the mid-1800s through various books and records. Both names had various spellings

Breathitt County, Kentucky is a location of several branches of my Fugate line.

Here at the Genealogy Center we have several volumes from Breathitt County, Kentucky. One of the marriage volumes by Frances Ingmire[i], shows the marriage of HOUDLEY Fugate to PALLY Napier. I pulled out my Fugate family history[ii] and found HENLEY Fugate was married to MARY Napier.

As I compared the dates and locations of the marriage, both volumes noted 25 Mar 1852 in Breathitt County, Kentucky.

I located a second volume of Breathitt County marriages[iii] by Margaret Millar Hayes. Her volume shows the marriage as HENLY Fugate & POLLY Napier.

Knowing that Mary and Polly could refer to the same individual I sought other documents to prove the correct (or most used) names.

The 1860 Federal Census shows HENDLEY and POLLY Fugate with three children[iv].

The 1870 Federal Census shows HENLY and POLLY Fugate with four children, the oldest having married and moved out[v].

In five resources I found four spellings for Henley (Houdley, Henley, Hendley, Henly) and 3 for Polly (Pally, Mary, Polly).

Spelling or transcription of 1800’s American penmanship can result in a variety names for the same people.

Erase the thought “My name is only spelled this way..”, when dealing with genealogy research documents.  Only in very specific instances will spelling matter. You may find valuable family information (and connections) in documents where the spelling of your relative’s name was not what you expected.

Good Hunting!


[i] Breathitt County, Kentucky Marriages, Frances T. Ingmire, Mountain Press, Signal Mountain, TN, page 2.

[ii] The Fugate Family of Russell County Virginia, David Faris, Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD. 1986, pp 74-75

[iii] Reconstructed Marriage Records of Breathitt County Kentucky 1839-1873 Including Marriages from Breathitt County Marriage Book 1 – 1874-1877, Margaret Millar Hayes, Heritage Books, Inc., Bowie, MD. 1994, pg 55.

[iv] 1860 Federal Census, Kentucky, Perry County, page 27, family #174.

[v] 1870 Federal Census, Kentucky, Perry County, Lost Creek District, page 2, family #9.

A coworker Grace, (not her real name) stopped me all excited, and stated she had been in contact with a previously unknown cousin.

Grace took a DNA test and recently received the results. A relative showed up as a probable first cousin. Grace was a little apprehensive.

Grace grew up with one brother, an uncle with four children and another uncle who was married twice, but did not have any children. She is in contact with her brother and the four cousins. The uncles and aunts are deceased.

Grace contacted this unknown relative. The cousin (female) stated she was the daughter of the uncle who did not have any children.

Through email and voice communications, the whole story came out.

Grace’s uncle sired a child with his soon-to-be second wife while still married to his first wife. This is during the early 1950s. The soon-to-be second wife gave birth while Grace’s uncle was in the process of divorcing his first wife. The divorce proceedings went on for several months.

The second wife was about to be a “single-mother” with a child “born out of wedlock.” She placed the child up for adoption and had no contact with the child for 50 years.

Grace’s cousin never met her biological father. He died almost 30 years ago. She was able to meet her biological mother prior to the mother’s death in 2015.

Grace’s new cousin gave permission to pass her information on to others. One of Grace’s oldest cousins stated the uncle in question was “his favorite” uncle and will be able to pass on information about him to this new member of the family.

Not all DNA tests result in connections. Not all of the connections turn into positive / favorable associations. However, the majority of folks who test with DNA companies and share their family trees are looking to connect with other relatives.

Have you tested with a DNA company? Are you seeking other currently unknown cousins?
You may have success similar to my co-worker Grace.

Good Hunting!

You are invited to join the DNA Interest Group that meets monthly in the Genealogy Center in the W.O. Haggard, Jr. library. Our next meeting is 14 August at 7 p.m.
All are invited.

  • Genealogy Standards
  • DNA & Genealogy
  • More Brickwall Solutions to Genealogy Problems
  • Choctaw By Blood Enrollment Cards 1898-1914 Vol. 15-17
  • Map Guide to German Parish Registers – Free City of Hamburg Vol. 56
  • Map Guide to German Parish Registers – Cities of Bremen, Luebeck and Kiel
  • Map Guide to Swiss Parish Registers – Canton of Bern I & II
  • Map Guide to Swiss Parish Registers – Canton of Zuerich
  • Map Guide to Swiss Parish Registers – Canton of Fribourg
  • Map Guide to Swiss Parish Registers – Canton of Aargau
  • Map Guide to Swiss Parish Registers – Cantons of Sankt Gallen, Appenzell-Ausserrhoden and Appenzell-Innerrhoden
  • Map Guide to Swiss Parish Registers – Canton of Vaud (Waadt)
  • Logan County (AR) Marriage Records Book B – F, Books 1-2, 1874-1890, 1893-1910
  • Sevier County, Arkansas U.S. Census of 1850
  • Marriages on Record In Marion, Williamson County, Illinois Courthouse III, 1878-1888
  • Oakwood Cemetery, Warsaw, Indiana – An Alphabetical Listing of Internments for the Years 1978 Through April 2001
  • Names of Taxpayers in Kentucky in 1790
  • Breathitt County, Kentucky Birth Records 1852-1859 & 1874-1878
  • Breathitt County, Kentucky Death Records 1852-1858 & 1874-1878
  • Breathitt County, Kentucky Marriage Records 1852-1855, 1857-1859, 1875-1878
  • Franklin County, Kentucky Birth Records Vol.1-2
  • Franklin County, Kentucky Death Records
  • Franklin County, Kentucky Marriage Records 1852-1857, 1859-1862, 1875-1877
  • Greenup County, Kentucky Birth Records 1852-1859, 1875-1878
  • Hardin County, Kentucky Wills 1793-1866
  • Hopkins County, Kentucky Cemeteries Vol. 1-7
  • History of Hopkins County, Kentucky
  • Mason County, Kentucky Death Records 1852-1859, 1874, 1904
  • Mason County, Kentucky Marriages
  • Abstract of Account Information of Freedmen’s Savings and Trust New Orleans, Louisiana 1866-1869
  • Mississippi Marriage Records Thru 1900 vol. 16-17, Ma-My
  • Jasper County, Missouri Deaths from The Joplin Daily News & News Herald 1 March 1878 to 31 December 1910 Vol. 1 – 3
  • Lewis County, Missouri Deaths from Miscellaneous Canton, Missouri Papers (includes Marriages) 16 June 1848 to 27 June 1902 Vol. 1 – 2
  • Lewis County, Missouri Deaths from Miscellaneous LaGrange Papers (includes Marriages) 29 August 1857 to 29 December 1904 Vol. 3
  • 1850 Federal Census Linn County, Missouri
  • 1850 Federal Census Livingston County, Missouri
  • 1850 Federal Census Macon County, Missouri
  • Monroe County, Missouri Deaths (includes Marriages) from The Paris Mercury 24 August 1844 to 10 May 1912 Vol. 1 – 2
  • Monroe County, Missouri Deaths (includes Marriages) from The Monroe County Appeal 24 February 1874 to 26 December 1913 Vol. 3 – 4
  • 1850 Federal Census Scotland County, Missouri
  • Douglas County, Oregon Delayed Birth Applications Files 501-1000, Book 2
  • Marriage Records of Multnomah County, Oregon May 1873 – Jul 1890, Vol. 3-7
  • Military Casualties and MIA’s – State of Oregon – World War II
  • Polk County, Oregon Marriage Records 1849-1879
  • Land of Tuality – Washington County, Oregon Vol. 1-3
  • Charleston County, SC Court of Equity Petitions 1789-1821
  • Tennessee Genealogical Research
  • Dance Halls of Central Texas
  • Texans in the Confederate Cavalry
  • Texas – The Dark Corner of the Confederacy
  • Texas Sketchbook
  • The Alamo – Long Barrack Museum
  • The Alamo
  • Cass County, Texas Pedigrees Vol. 1-2
  • Cass County, Texas Records of 1890
  • Queen City’s 100 Birthday, Cass County, Texas
  • It These Walls Could Speak… A Story of Early Settlement in Texas
  • A Pictorial History – Texas City Explosion 1947
  • First United Methodist Church – Elm at Mulberry, Sherman, Texas
  • Fort Richardson, Texas (1867-1878) and The Mackenzie Trail
  • Early Marriage Records Kittitas County, Washington 1883-1910
  • Cemetery Records of Whatcom County (WA) Greenacres Cemetery
  • Cemetery Records of Whatcom County (WA) Enterprise, Mt. View, Zion Cemeteries
  • Whitman County, Washington Probate Records 1-1000, 1869-1902 Edition 1

18 Jun 1812 President James Madison signs the Declaration of War as passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate.


The war would last almost three years. The most famous battle of the war will occur before word of the signed peace treaty reaches America.

Do you have ancestors who are veterans of the War of 1812?

The Mexican-American War?

The Indian Wars both before and after the Civil War?

The Philippine Insurrection?

This summer the Genealogy Center will have classes on locating military ancestors that tend to be a bit more difficult.

28 June – Locating Native American Soldiers

12 July – Locating African-American Soldiers

19 July – Locating Ancestors Who Fought in Lesser Known Conflicts

There are Genealogy Classes almost every week this summer.

There are classes on U.S. Census records, Fold3 and Archives, Obituaries and more.

Check out the Plano Library website – http://www.plano.gov/203/Library

Attend one of our classes and you may find a trick or two that allows you to identify that missing ancestor, military veteran or not, to break down that brick wall.

Good Hunting!



Today is known as the anniversary of D-Day 1944 – The Allied Invasion of France during World War II.

6 June 1944 was also my grandmother’s 40th birthday.

Grace Smiley Coleman had a very emotional day.  Birthday celebration was overshadowed by invasion news. Her only son, Billy S. Coleman, was serving in the U.S. Army.  He was NOT part of the invasion forces, but would soon be joining the forces on the European continent.

Grace wrote a letter to her son every day  Thirty years later she remarked, “I don’t know how I was able to make each letter different.”

My uncle, PFC Billy Smiley Coleman, served in Europe and was injured in a vehicle crash, along with his lieutenant, heading to the Battle of the Bulge.

Another uncle, Sgt. Stanley Edwin Rush, served with the 2nd Armored Division in Italy.

Both uncles rarely talked of their time in the war.  In the early 1990s I wrote a note of thanks to each uncle.  Both uncles replied with letters that included a few memories of their wartime experience.  I treasure both letters.

Take time today to remember those in YOUR family tree that served – in the military or kept things going here at home. Share those memories.

Here in the Genealogy Center we have histories, yearbooks, and other records of several men and women who served from Plano, from Collin County, from several locations in Texas and several other states.

Let us assist you in seeking out your Military Heroes or those who supported them from on the home front.

Good Hunting!