I had the privilege of walking through part of the Plano Mutual Cemetery the other day.  During my walk among the headstones, tombstones and markers, I found the George Washington Weaver family.  He is buried next to his wife Susan Katherine (Benton) Weaver.


What caught my attention and has remained in the forefront of my memory is the sadness and grief I felt for the parents. Their personal loss is blatantly apparent.

At the foot of the parents are four headstones, lined up, side by side.


Colcuitt B. son of G.W. & S.K. Weaver born Dec. 28, 1874 died Sep. 4, 1879

Luke P. son of G.W. & S.K. Weaver born Oct. 16, 1878 died Sep. 23, 1879

Infant daughter of G.W. & S.K. Weaver born Feb. 5, 1882 died Feb. 6, 1882

George Washington B. son of G.W. & S.K. Weaver born Dec. 7, 1885 died Nov. 21, 1886

Here are four children; the longest life was just short of four years.  All were born and died within the short span of 12 years.  The sadness of the parents fell on me as though I walked into a fog.

Since two of the four were born and died between the 1870-1880 Federal Census and two of the four were born and died between the 1880-1890 Federal Censuses they would not be in those documents. Their names could possibly appear on county birth or death records.

In this situation cemetery, newspaper and family records (if available) are often the only source of information.

Further research found that George and Susan had three other daughters who all grew to be adults, married and had children. They are each buried with their husbands and families in other parts of the cemetery.

Findagrave.com and Billiongraves.com are both very good resources if you cannot visit the cemetery.  Often counties have their own listings of cemeteries.  Historical or genealogical societies are also a very good resource.

In my opinion, nothing can compare with walking the cemetery to feel the spirit and especially the joy of discovery when you find that one piece of information or locate that special individual or family which you have been seeking.

It is worthwhile to go out of your way to visit and walk the family or city cemetery.  You too, can feel the spirit and just might find that piece of information that brings joy to you and your family.

Good Hunting!

Lizzie Smoot lived at 909 E. 16th St. in Plano. She kept a journal from January 1898 to January 1914 just before her death. The Collin County Images, http://glhtadigital.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/p15915coll14, has photographs of her family and the journals will be added soon. Below is a photograph of Lizzie Smoot and her house in 1900 and 1997.

Jim Edwards

James Edwards was Mayor of Plano for two, two-year terms from 1978 to 1982. He was the founding President of the Plano Preservation Association. During this time he helped with the Plano, Texas Preservation Plan. He helped preserve the Carpenter House which he owned at one time and helped with the George House being moved. He also was President of William Carey College in 1990. The documents in the James Edwards Collection represent his life during that time, http://glhtadigital.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/p15915coll8.

Erline Aline

Charlie and Birdie Mayes were married in Collin County, Texas in 1909. Erline was born in 1911 and Aline (pictured with headband) born in 1914. By the 1940s Charlie was running the Mayes Cafe. Aline was the last surviving of her family. She died in 2012. She had been active in the Plano Business and Professional Women’s Club and First United Methodist Church. Find out more about this family through the Mayes Family Collection, http://glhtadigital.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/p15915coll2.


A young lady asked for assistance in finding the death certificate of one of her ancestors. She said his name was George Christian and had served in the U.S. Colored Troops out of Missouri. Her notes stated George Christian had served in Company A, 3rd Regiment, MO Colored Troops.

My search in the Missouri section here at the Genealogy Center came up empty. In the Military section I found three possible George Christians in the Union Roster of Union Soldiers 1861-1865. This led me to search Fold3 at http://www.fold3.com,  the National Park Service – Civil War Records at http://www.nps.gov/civilwar, and Ancestry.com at http://www.ancestry.com.

We found a pension index card at Fold3.com.


Clearly the death date is shown as October 2, 1913. Also noted is his place of death. He died at the National Military Home, Kansas.

Having found the death date, her next question was “Could I get more information from each of these application documents?”  I answered – YES.

In the Military records of Ancestry.com, I found another index card in the US Civil War Pension section.

Ancestry.com - Civil War pension - Christy, George (Christian, George)

We then tried to find any of these application files online.  We tried The National Park Service site and again ended up at the Fold3.com index card. Several different Google searches repeatedly lead us back to Family History Library (FHL) microfilm. (FHL microfilm is only available through the Family History Centers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.)  I also indicated that these application files may be available at the National Archives (either actual files or microfilms of the originals). Our closest National Archives branch is in Fort Worth, Texas. (Our search of the http://www.nara.gov online records took us back to the http://www.nps.com/civil war site.)

Thus far we have not be able to find any application record (enlistment, service or pension) for George Christian ONLINE. Obtaining  a copy of each of the applications  will require writing to the National Archives or possibly viewing them on microfilm at either the National Archives or the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. (Family History Centers may have the means to obtain some of the microfilm from Salt Lake City.)

George Christian died at the the National Military Home in (Leavenworth) Kansas.  We searched the Leavenworth National Cemetery listing on Findagrave.com at http://www.findagrave.com. There was not a George Christian listed.

Since her information indicated that he had enlisted in Kansas City, Missouri (not far from the National Military Home in Leavenworth, Kansas).  It is possible that he was buried in the vicinity of where he had enlisted. This will require further investigation.

Tracing your ancestry – especially if it involves “Black”, “Colored”, “Negro” or “Slave” entries on Federal, State or local documents, can prove to be very difficult. With the use of the internet and with the large number of documents continually being digitized daily, information is increasingly available to assist in your personal research.

You are invited to get involved. There are two ways to assist in increasing the materials online – The Freedmen’s Bureau Project at

http://www.discoverfreedmen.org/ and Family Search Indexing at http://www.familysearch.org/indexing/.  Both ways will add a tremendous volume of African-American genealogical material available online.

You may be successful in indexing information on your family. You may even index George Christian’s pension applications.

Good Hunting in this New Year – 2016!

  • Blue and Gray Navies – The Civil War Afloat
  • Illinois Blue Book 1963-1964
  • History of Laclede, Camden, Dallas, Webster, Wright, Texas, Pulaski, Phelps and Dent Counties Missouri
  • Marriage Records of Clark County, MO 1837-1884, Vol. 1-2
  • Marriage Records of Jackson County, MO 1827-1850, Vol. 1
  • Marriage Records of Livingston County, MO 1837-1863, Book 1
  • Sullivan County, MO Marriage Records Vol. 2, 1859-1880
  • Methodism Moves Across North Texas
  • Baylor Milestones: Remembering the Past – Embracing the Future (Dallas, TX)
  • American Diaries – Volume 1: Diaries Written from 1492-1844
  • Japanese American History An A-to-Z Reference from 1868 to the Present
  • Methodism in Arkansas, 1816 – 1976
  • Transylvania – Tutor to the West (KY)
  • Flatbush Church Records (NY) Vol. 1, 1677-1720
  • Centennial History of Davidson County, NC
  • Texas Rangers – Sesquicentennial Anniversary 1823-1973
  • Navarro County, TX Cemetery Records Vol. 2 – 11
  • Colonial Caroline – A History of Caroline County, VA
  • The Spencers of the Great Migration – Volume 1: 1300 – 1783

Wed Jan 6 9:30-11 am — Genealogy Databases Why do they make it so hard? Learn how to navigate Ancestry and Family Search

Thu Feb 11 9:30-11 am — Genealogy 201 Learn about finding & using vital records

Wed Mar 30 9:30-11 am — Obituaries: Ideas for Finding Them Learn good sources for locating your ancestors’ obituaries

Thu Apr 21 9:30-11 am — Libraries, Museums, Societies The computer isn’t the only answer. Learn how these sources can help

Wed May 18 9:30-11 am — Papers in the Attic Learn about important family documents & how to preserve them


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