Archive for the ‘Pictures’ Category

From the Texas State Historical Association:

“On this day in 1917, the United States War Department issued orders mobilizing the Thirty-sixth Infantry Division (known as the “Texas Division” or the “T-Patchers”) at Camp Bowie in Tarrant County.The division, initially composed mostly of Texas National Guard troops, fought in World War I and again in World War II. During the latter conflict, one unit of the division, which became known as the “lost battalion,” was captured at the fall of Java. The men of the battalion spent the war in Japanese prison camps, and many died building the Burma Railroad. When the War Department made national guard units available to the governors of the states in 1946, the Thirty-sixth Division was reactivated. The Thirty-sixth was called to active duty during the Cuban Missile Crisis, but was eliminated by January 1968. In 1946 veterans of the unit founded the Thirty-sixth Division Association.”

On a more LOCAL note – PFC Seymour Todd – Anna, Texas – served in the Texas Division in World War II. He was seriously wounded on 24 January 1944 during the “Battle of the Bloody River” in Italy. He was one of about 20 North Texans killed or wounded during this battle.  Seymour Todd survived the war, returned to Collin County and married Matilie Harper in 1945. Seymour Todd died 8 Dec 1978 in Jacksonville, Texas and is buried in Resthaven Memorial Park of the same city.

Come in and visit the Genealogy Center.  Let us assist you in finding your heroes.

Good Hunting!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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During both the California Gold Rush and the Alaska Gold Rush, miners were continually searching for the gold nugget or big strike.

Genealogists and family historians are not unlike those gold miners of old. We seek after nuggets of clues seeking for the gold mine of family information that adds to our tree. In some cases this information breaks down previous brick walls.

I was continuing my search for the marriage document of my 3rd Great-grandparents – William Robbins and Agnes Sloan – from Pennsylvania. I entered a parent search at http://www.familysearch.org. I found the marriage document of their son Morrison.

The document shows M. Robbins from Pennsylvania with parents Wm Robbins and Agnes Sloan married in June 1876 to Mrs. E. Ranger from London England with parents George Goodman and Frances Chambers.

To verify that I had the correct Morrison Robbins I did a search in http://www.ancestry.com of the 1880 Federal Census.

Sure enough, Morrison Robbins and wife Elizabeth were together as a family.  Morrison was from Pennsylvania and Elizabeth from London.

From a hint at http://www.ancestry.com I found a link to http://www.findagrave.com. A picture of the monument to both Morrison and Elizabeth Robbins follows.

There is verification of Morrison Robbins birth and death dates along with the note carved in stone “A Native of Westmoreland Co., PA.”

On the side of the stone with Elizabeth’s information I found my own “gold strike!”

The information on her stone states Elizabeth Ranger Robbins – born London, England on Dec.24, 1832. She married Richard Ranger Sept. 19, 1850. She married Morrison Robbins June 30, 1876. She died in New Orleans, LA. Feb. 13, 1912.

During my search I found verification of Morrison’s birth date & place and parents (to include mother’s maiden name) and death date. THE GOLD STRIKE was Elizabeth’s birth date & place and parents ( to include HER mother’s maiden name); both of her marriages including full names of husbands and dates of marriage and her death date and place.

I have been researching my family tree for over 30 years. Seldom have I found so much information, including photos of source documents, in such a short period of time. With the resources available today, both in libraries and online, family history gold nuggets and gold strikes are obtained easier and in a shorter period of time than ever before.

If you are searching for the missing clue to break down your brick wall, do not despair. Keep searching. The marriage record that started this search had been added online 8 March 2017. (Only 20 days ago!)

While the photos of the headstones had been added 26 Dec 2012, I was not aware that New Orleans cemeteries was where I should be looking. The 1880 Census has been available either on microfilm or digitally for several years, again I would not have had a reason to look at Jefferson Parish, Louisiana for any Robbins ancestors.

If  the information you seek does not appear in library material or online, check back from time to time. Genealogy and family history materials are being published – in print or online – at an amazing rate. Your information may be available today or in the near future.

Having trouble? Seek out assistance here at the Genealogy Center. We are always glad to assist you in your search.

Good Hunting!


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It is February and the Scottish Society of Dallas (www.scotsindallas.org) has provided a spectacular display in the Genealogy Center.


Not only do we have a wonderful display that includes original Scottish military uniforms and weapons…


We also have new books on Scottish military units including personnel rosters and Scottish military burial memorials and gravesites.

Our collection has recently added over 30 volumes of records from Scotland,


and both Scottish and Scots-Irish immigration records.

Here a the Genealogy Center we have records preceding the Great Migration from areas all over Scotland.  Also in our collection are immigration lists from Scotland to various localities in the Americas – New England, Georgia, and all points between. Volumes regarding Scots moving to Barbados, Jamaica and other locations in the West Indies.

There are volumes of Scottish Episcopalians, Scottish Presbyterians, Scottish burghs and specific regions of Scotland.

Come view the display.

While you are here, seek out your Scottish or Scots-Irish ancestors.

Our staff is always available to assist you in your search.

Good Hunting!


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Sometimes reading history books can lead to your finding family history information.

When I was in high school I read a book about the 36th Infantry Division (known as The Texas Division or “T-patchers”) during World War II.


Recently, I was researching a project where I sought out World War II Texas veterans. It turns out the 36th Infantry Division (The Texas Division) which fought in Italy in World War II had several possible relatives.

According to the published roster of the 36th Infantry Division I have located the following soldiers who I am now confirming as distant relatives:

Captain George C. Fugate from Hazelhurst, MS., was Commander of Company C, 1st Battalion, 142nd Infantry. He was killed in action 27 Aug 1944 and is buried in Hazlehurst, MS.

Private First Class George C. Fugate from Waco, TX, served in the Anti-Tank Company, 143d Infantry. He survived the war and died in 1971 and is buried in the Colorado City Cemetery, Colorado City, TX.

Private Robert L. Fugate, served in Company F, 141st Infantry.

Sergeant Russell E. Cowan from Horseheads, NY., served in Company B, 141st Infantry. He was killed in action May 29, 1944 and is buried in the Sicily-Rome-American Cemetery and Memorial.

Private Cecil C. Cowan from Vernon, TX., served in the Medical Detachment, 142nd Infantry survived the war, died in 1967 and is buried in Crestview Memorial Park, Wichita Falls, TX.

Private First Class Arthur Cowan from Cleveland, OH., served in Company F, 142nd Infantry.

Private First Class Burton M. Cowan from Deckerville, MI., served in the Service Battery, 155th Field Artillery Battalion survived the war, died in 1979 and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Sanilac County, MI.

Pvt. Carlton R. Cowan from Wichita Falls, TX., served in Company C, 111th Engineer Combat Battalion survived the war, died in 200 and is buried in Maple Springs Cemetery, Camp County, TX.

Quick searches using my Plano library card to access http://www.fold3.com  and then browsing http://www.findagrave.com, resulted in additional information.

I am now able to expand my search for other possible relatives – Fulton, Faucett, Huggans, Fryrear and others who may have served in the 36th Division.

Sometimes, reading history books, can give you a better understanding of the time, the place, the environment and activities of ancestors.  In my case, I have a better idea of where these men served and when they were in Italy during World War II. I can now research unit reunion websites and other unit information.

In each case, I am expanding my family tree, finding previously unknown relatives and getting connected with present-day living cousins.

Expand your reading and you may also be successful in expanding your family tree.

Good Hunting!

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