Notes from the past…


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National Archives research room opens in Fort Worth today!

And today is my day off!

The National Archives branch that is located in Ft Worth is opening its downtown (well, Montgomery Plaza on West Seventh Street) research room today. How exciting!

For decades, the research room has been housed in a bleak 1940s-era brick warehouse ringed by barbed-wire fences at the Federal Depot off Felix Street in south Fort Worth.

“We’re going to get a lot of walk-in traffic at Montgomery Plaza — that just didn’t happen before,” Huff said.

The new research room will house microfilmed and digitized records used primarily for family history research. It will have 10 public-access computers for searching online genealogical information.

The big plus for researchers is free access to paid genealogical sites like Ancestry.com and Footnote.com, which are partners with the National Archives in digitizing records.

Another draw will be help in navigating the maze of public records from the archives staff and 15 trained volunteers.

The room will be open Mon-Fri 8aa to 4pm  and every 3rd Saturday.

I used to work just about 3 blocks from Montgomery Plaza, which woulda been great, but I still think I’ll manage to stop by once in a while…. :)


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My great-granddad and the WPA

But first… who am I and where have I been for the past several months?

I am Ruth Stephens and my (former) blog Bluebonnet Country Genealogy has been a part of the genealogy blogosphere for almost 5 years.

However, in an effort to both update and simplify my blog and jump-start my research and writing after an extended lay-off, I have changed a few things, including the name and location of this blog.

For several months I have been up to my eyebrows (and then some!) in trying to do a job that I am really not cut out for, and it was taking absolutely all of my time. Fortunately, that situation has been resolved and I am now back to my old job, and delighted to be there!

So I can once again bury myself in my favorite past time (besides spoiling my grandkids!) and chase those elusive ancestors!

But I digress…

James Dixon Carr (1883-1958) was my great-grandfather on my Dad’s side. Born in Alabama, he and his family came to San Saba County, Texas about 1900, where he generally made his living as a carpenter.

Here is his WWII Draft Registration card from the FamilySearch database United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942:

JDCarr WWII

It lists his employer as “W.P.A.” From Wikipedia, The Works Progress Administration (renamed during 1939 as the Work Projects Administration; WPA) was the largest and most ambitious New Deal agency, employing millions to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads, and operated large arts, drama, media, and literacy projects.

Looks like another family member had an interest in genealogy, or at least cemeteries. My great-grandfather may have spent his time with the WPA by taking care of Oakwood Cemetery, founded in 1879 and as such one of the oldest cemeteries in Fort Worth!


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Your own genealogy website?

Interested in creating your own genealogy website or maybe need some great ideas for the site you already manage? Check out this post from Pat Geary at her Computer Tips & Tutorials blog:

Planning a Genealogy Website EBook 2nd Edition

Just released, Planning a Genealogy Website 2nd Edition by Pat Geary Microsoft MVP Expression Web is a FREE 42 page EBook. The EBook is a great resource for anyone who is interested in creating a genealogy website especially if you are using RootsWeb hosting. It has been revised and updated with several entirely new sections. The Table of Contents is listed below. This Ebook is FREE and my gift to the genealogy community.

I downloaded and quickly skimmed through this little gem and I am impressed! Pat really knows her stuff! At 42 pages, it is packed with valuable information on the whens, wheres and hows of creating and maintaining your genealogy website. A definite GOTTA HAVE!