Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Some dates are more significant to folks – birthdays, anniversaries, National Holidays, etc.

On 26 January 1944 – Lt. Audie L. Murphy, of Farmersville, Collin County, Texas earned The Medal of Honor for his actions in France.

On 26 January 2008 the Genealogy Center opened in the basement of the remodeled W.O. Haggard, Jr. Library.

Our collection has grown each year. We have books, maps, indexes and even some microfilm.  In addition to seven computers and a print/copier/scanner, we now have an oversize book scanner.

Our collection includes volumes on immigration into the United States, migration across the United States, Native American by tribe, Military history from the colonial period to present day, and genealogy material from over 35 countries.

Our largest state collection is TEXAS, yet we have volumes from all other 49 states and the District of Columbia. Each state section includes separate sections – alphabetical by county (by parish for Louisiana).

Along the back walls we have donated family histories.

Come visit our center. Peruse our materials. Our staff is always available to assist you in your research.

Good Hunting!

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20 January 1944 – The order was given.  The 36th Infantry Division


(The Texas Division – “T-Patchers”)

moved forward to cross the river and capture the bluffs of the Rapido River in Southern Italy. The object was to draw enemy forces away from the landing on the coast and make it easier to attack Rome from the south.

For the next few days the division would become target practice for the Germans. The Germans were dug-in, with a commanding view of the river and area leading up to it.

One Texas veteran said it was “…like shooting fish in a barrel, and we were the fish.”

Cities, towns and communities throughout Texas suffered sons killed and wounded. The official count of the division casualties was 143 killed, 663 wounded and 875 missing.

North Texas suffered some of the casualties:

PFC Seymour Todd of Anna, Texas, 143rd Infantry Regiment, was listed as Seriously Wounded in Action.

CPL. Carl of Whitesboro, Texas, 143rd Infantry Regiment, was listed as Lightly Wounded in Action.

PVT. Jess C. Hudson of Denison, Texas, 141st Infantry Regiment, was Killed in Action.

The people of San Angelo, Italy, have honored the sacrifice of the division. They erected a monument to the 36th Infantry Division.

Do you have heroes that served in the 36th Division?  World War II or another conflict?

We invite you to come and visit the Genealogy Center. Research our Military or Texas records.

(We have records from all U.S. conflicts and records from all 50 states.)

Good Hunting!


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In reviewing this past year I realize just how fortunate I have been.
Working here in the Genealogy Center of the Plano Public Library and representing the Genealogy Center and library at outside locations has allowed me to meet a large number of wonderful people.

Thank you to each of the family history researchers who have entered the Genealogy Center in 2017.
Thank you to everyone who read and/or commented on my blog posts.
Thank you to all who attended any of my presentations.

Looking forward to 2018:
1) The Genealogy Center will continue to add published material to our collection.
2) Genealogy classes on various subjects will continue to be presented monthly.
3) The DNA Interest Group will meet monthly.
4) The staff of the Genealogy Center will be available for one-on-one assistance through the Book-A-Genealogy-Librarian service.

Please check the http://www.planolibrary.org site or the library’s ENGAGE publication for dates, times, and locations.

I wish you all a very Safe and Happy New Year and look forward to your visits in 2018.

As you continue your family history research…..

Good Hunting!

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Today is December 7th, 2017

December 7th, 1941 – At 7:55 a.m. in Hawaii military forces from the Empire of Japan attacked United States military bases in Hawaii.

Several service members from Texas were killed or wounded that day.

The following sailors from the Collin County area died while serving on the USS Arizona:

Seaman Carl James (C.J.) Estep – Anna
Seaman 1st Class Harold Lemuel Patterson – Plano
Seaman 1st Class Richard Perry Rush – McKinney
Seaman 1st Class Raymond Clifford Tennell – Plano

Please take time to remember our service men and women who have served and are currently serving.

You are invited to visit the Genealogy Center. Allow us the opportunity to assist you in discovering your military ancestors.

Good Hunting!

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I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. My holiday week was fantastic. I spent Saturday, 18 November at the Frisco (TX) 1st Annual Genealogy Expo. I had a wonderful experience. I encourage you to make plans to attend next year’s event.

Prior to my presentation, a gentleman approached me and asked, “Do you remember my wife and I visited you in the basement?” (The Genealogy Center of the Plano Public Library is located in the basement of the W.O. Haggard, Jr. Library.) “She is a FUGATE and may be a cousin.”

With this bit of clarification, I DID remember they visited about two years ago. I told him I had my Fugate Family history book in the car and would be able to retrieve it during our lunch break. After lunch we searched the volume and sure enough, we both share our 4th Great-Grandfather – Colbert Fugate (1759-1819). I gave him my card and encouraged him to contact me so we could share family research.

After my presentation, another gentleman approached and stated, “I also have HUGGANS relatives from West Virginia.” I am grinning from ear to ear. Another possible cousin. I gave him one of my business cards as well and encouraged him to also contact me.

Not a bad start to the holiday week.

On Monday I traveled to New Braunfels, Texas to attend a Thanksgiving family reunion. On Tuesday, I had the pleasure to take my daughter and grandson to visit the Fannin Memorial in Goliad, Texas.

I showed them on the memorial where one of their cousins – William J. Cowan

– was one of the slain Texas Heroes. My grandson was excited to run around and climb the on the cannon.

On Wednesday, I saw my nephew and did not recognize him. (The last time I saw him he was five. He is now in his early 30s.) He asked for a copy of the family history.  I was prepared for such a request.  I told him I would be able to present him a copy tomorrow (Thursday), which I did.  Wednesday evening I was able to share our family history with a few of my nieces.

Did you visit family?  Take pictures? Share memories?

I hope you were able to share family history experiences.  If not, please record your activities for the day or week so your descendants will one day be able to share your story with their family.

The Holiday Season is upon us. Family gatherings are a perfect time to establish and/or share family stories. Please keep a record of your events.  Your descendants will one day be as excited to see / read / view these memories as we are to find those of our ancestors.

Good Hunting!

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Saturday, November 11th, 2017 is Veteran’s Day. For the first time in my life I plan on visiting the National Cemetery ON Veteran’s Day.

During my early years of family history, I requested my 4th Great-Grandfather’s Revolutionary War record. I have since, found a picture of his grave on http://www.findagrave.com.

During my research I have been successful in finding several relatives who have served in conflicts throughout the settlement, establishment and life of this nation.

I had the privilege and honor to be able to interview my Uncle Bill Coleman

who fought in Europe in World War II.

I was just as honored to receive a letter from Uncle Stan Rush

who served in Italy during World War II.

Perhaps you also have ancestors who served. Seek out your living veterans and allow them to relate their experiences.

Come in and visit the Genealogy Center and we will assist you in seeking out your deceased veteran ancestors.

Good Hunting!

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Working in the Genealogy Center is fantastic on regular days. But, every once in a while, someone comes in and makes the day truly exceptional.

This morning a patron came in to do some work in a quiet location. As she entered she noticed the genealogy display. From her questions and her accent I could tell she was originally from Europe. As I assisted her, it became clear she was born in Uzbekistan. Her father was killed in the Second World War. Her mother was 36 years old when she was born. Within two years, her mother had a second child.

Throughout the conversation, she described her desire to trace her ancestry for her grandchildren. They are not interested in her history at this time. From time to time I would encourage her to make a record of what she was telling me, so they would have it in the future.

She described life under the U.S.S.R. She was very excited to tell me about the significance of today’s date. 7 Nov 1918, the fall of the Tsar.

Russian history taught by an American high school teacher 40 years ago, came to life, as she described events her mother experienced. She also described life during World War II and after under Soviet control.

Each of us have a personal history. We are all unique in our upbringing, our ancestry, our experiences.

Take the time to record your experiences, feelings, and memories. They are the true treasures we pass on.

It is the stories, as well as the vital statistical information, we seek when we search out our ancestry.

Come in and visit the Genealogy Center. We can assist you in seeking out your ancestry or assist you in recording your life history.

Good Hunting!

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Today is the anniversary of the founding of the organization that would come to be known as The Daughters of the Republic of Texas.

Here in the Genealogy Center we have several books about members of the organization and their relatives.

Have you discovered ancestors who were residents during the time before, during or after Texas Independence?

Here in the Genealogy Center I discovered a relative killed at Goliad.  I had no idea that my family tree extended to the Texas Revolution.

Come in and allow us to assist you in your family history research. You may also discover a Texas relative.

Good Hunting!

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It is now November. The beginning of end of year holidays.

November and December are loaded with various holidays that encourage family gatherings.

Perhaps you will be a part of a historic family moment.

In 1974 I had the privilege to attend my great-grandfather’s 100th birthday celebration. Will R. Coleman was born in November of 1874.

U.S. Grant was President of the United States.

I was able to ask Grandpa, “Who was the first President you voted for?” His response, “Teddy Roosevelt.”

I was amazed. When I thought about it, I realized I had asked the wrong question.

“In which Presidential Election did you first vote?”


He voted for William Jennings Bryan. Bryan did not win the election.

Grandpa had answered my first question correctly. The first PRESIDENT he voted for was Theodore Roosevelt.  His first vote was cast for a gentleman who lost the election.

Grandpa’s father Reuben Coleman was born in 1843 when John Tyler was President of the United States.

Texas was still an independent republic.

Grandpa Will’s birthday celebration included stories and memories that spanned 131 years.

Later this month our family is planning a get-together.  I hope (and our plan) is to have four generations present – my father with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His memories include his grandfather, Robert M. Fugate, (1863-1950).

So our reunion, with memories, could possibly span 154 years.

Photos will be taken. Family stories will be shared. Memories will be made.

As you gather with your families this year, take photographs, record the stories (video or audio or at least write them down) for your posterity.

Come visit the Genealogy Center where we can assist you with planning a family reunion, identifying questions to ask relatives/ancestors or recording oral histories.

Who knows, you may find clues to long sought-after ancestors.

Good Hunting!

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The 3rd Sunday in October, the Smiley Family Reunion – Wheeling, Missouri.

On Friday I left home in Texas, drove through Oklahoma and up to northern Missouri. The drive took a little over 11 hours, but the weather and picturesque views made the trip very enjoyable.

My plan was to visit cemeteries on Saturday prior to the reunion on Sunday afternoon. The forecast for Saturday was not what I had hoped – overcast, clouds and rain.

I stayed in Livingston County and planned on visiting the cemeteries in Putnam County, Missouri. (What’s another hour drive if you traveled 11 the day before.) I sought out the Putnam County Library in Unionville to verify the locations of the cemeteries I would visit. Since the library is open from 9-12 on Saturday that would give me the afternoon to walk the cemeteries.

Best Laid Plans.

By the time I reached Unionville the rain had started. However, inside the library it was dry and I found a gold mine of family information. The library has three (3) volumes on cemeteries in Putnam County. (I was able to purchase one volume.) I was elated to find all three volumes contain photographs of the headstones in each cemetery.

As I departed the library the rain was just a mist, light enough to still walk the cemeteries. I headed out. By the time I reached the first cemetery, having turned off the paved highway and traveled two (2) different dirt roads, the rain had increased to thunderstorms with lightening. I opted to forego the cemeteries and return to my motel room. The remainder of Saturday saw increased rain, thunderstorms and lightening throughout northern Missouri.

Sunday was beautiful! Light clouds and lots of sunshine.

The reunion was a gathering of 18 descendants from 3 of John A. and Nancy C. Smiley’s 13 children.

The BEST part of the gathering was the stories shared. My favorite story was about Amber Vanbuskirk. Amber was a granddaughter of John and Nancy Smiley.  She raised turkeys. In the area covered with corn, wheat, and soy beans, Amber was known for her turkeys.

My weekend was a success. I returned home with a volume of cemetery photographs and records. I have anecdotes of family members who were previously only names on a page. I also have new and renewed associations with cousins.

I encourage you to make the time, and attend a family reunion when the opportunity arrives. The associations, information and stories are priceless.

Good Hunting!

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