Jul 162014
 

My great-grandfather William Earl Hall is one of my brick walls. I have 3, and only 3 confirmed pieces of evidence that document his life: his marriage license from Indian Territory, (now Oklahoma) in 1906, a newspaper article discussing said marriage (my great-grandmother was under-age at the time and lied about it! Oh, the scandal!), and his entry in the 1910 US Census from Gainesville, Texas. After than, he has vanished. The family lore goes that he died in some sort of railroad accident (he did work for the railroad.) Since my great-grandmother remarried in 1913, I can assume he died between 1910 and 1913. And that’s about all I know for sure.

According to the 1910 census, William was born in Kansas, about 1887. So I did a general search of the 1900 census, looking for a William Hall, born ca 1887 in Kansas. Lots of William Hills popped up, of course. But the one who seemed most promising, mainly because of his location, was William Hall living on Cherokee Nation land in Indian Territory, now Oklahoma.

Now comes the “tricky” part. This census image shows William at the top of what looks to be page 22A. He is listed as “son”, with 6 siblings and parents from Iowa and Indiana. Wouldn’t you think that his parents would be found at the bottom of the previous image, page 21B?

WilliamEHall-1900a.jpg

 

Not so!

Here is the previous page (labeled as 19B), no Halls to be seen!

WilliamEHall-1900b.jpg

 

But if you move on the page after William:

WilliamEHall-1900c.jpg

 

Here, at the bottom of the page (labeled as 20B), are William and Minnie Hall, from Iowa and Indiana, with 6 kids (the group of six children showing William, Jr as the oldest child on the previous page.)

Hummmmmmmmmmm…

So what you see on a census page is not always 100% true and correct? Oh, myyy….

Jul 162014
 

This Genealogy On A Budget series presents links to free online genealogy databases, software and other items.

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If you have ancestors from the Republic of Texas, before it became the 28th state to join the Union in 1845, then you might want to check out the Texas General Land Office Land Grant Database:

The Land Office Archives contains documents issued by the new Republic of Texas after winning independence from Mexico in 1836. Some of the most popular documents in the Archive relate to the land grant certificates issued to Texians who rendered military service in battle during the Texas Revolution, including William B. Travis, David Crockett and Sam Houston.

After annexation by the United States in 1845, Texas retained control of its public domain, unlike other western states, and continued to distribute its land. Prior to 1900, Texas was a cash poor state, and used land to secure and pay off debt, reward veterans, encourage economic development, finance public education and even in building the State Capitol.

I have one such ancestor: my 4th great-grandfather, John Hamilton, Jr, born in Ohio about 1810 and “arrived in this Republic in April 1836 as a Vol and has served a tour of duty in The Army of Texas…”

This document, dated 2 Apr 1838, notes John Hamilton’s arrival in Texas, his service with the Army of Texas, his subsequent entitlement of land… even his marital status.

JohnHamiltonLand.png

 

Priceless!

Jul 152014
 

This Genealogy On A Budget series presents links to free online genealogy databases, software and other items.

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I have several physicians in my RootsMagic database: 4 from Alabama, 1 from South Carolina and 2 from Texas.

The Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas maintains an institutional repository, the DigitalCommons @ TMC. Here can be found a massive database of Texas doctors, the Gazetteer of Deceased Texas Physicians (19th and 20th Century).

The Gazetteer lists physicians and information such as birth and death dates, date of graduation, specialty and primary location. Information is drawn from the Dallas Medical Journal (1920 – 1990), The Texas State Journal of Medicine (1905 – 1956), and the licensure records in the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners Collection. Obituaries from state, regional and local sources were used as sources from 1990- 2009. This list is as comprehensive as time and resources allowed and does not purport to be complete.

At this time, the database is not searchable online; it is presented as downloadable pdfs, divided alphabetically into sections by the first letter of the physician’s last name.

Below is the data for my second great-granduncle, Thomas Joshua Bennett:

TJBennett creds

As you can see, his date of birth & death, the medical school he attended and the date of graduation, profession membership and medical specialty, even his obituary, are given.

While technically an index, it is still a wonderful resource for Texas research.

 

Jul 142014
 

This Genealogy On A Budget series presents links to free online genealogy databases, software and other items.

***

Do you have ancestors who entered marital bliss in Denton County, Texas? The Denton County Clerk website offers free search and download of marriages licenses:

The Denton County marriage records go back to 1875. In 1875, the courthouse burned and the records were destroyed. Marriage records are recorded in the county where the marriage license was purchased, not the county where the marriage took place.
You are welcome to search the marriage license records on our website for free at: Real Property Records Search website. You will need to select “Marriages Name Search” from the Search Criteria menu located in the top left corner of your screen. On this site you are able to research, view, and print copies of marriage licenses for free.

Note that the actual marriage search page is located at the Real Property Records Search site, so don’t be confused when you arrive.

Here is an example of a marriage license that I downloaded from this site:

Hall-Schad marriage license

 

This is the marriage license of my grandfather Victor Earl Hall and his second wife, Agnes Schad, dated 29 Feb 1936.

The site isn’t clear about the dates of the available licenses, and I have only the one couple that I know to be married in Denton County. However, a random search for the surname Turner returned records (images!) from 2013 and before, including a license for Alonzo Turner and Nannie A Wilson, dated 17 Apr 1876!

I wish I had more ancestors from Denton County, Texas!

Jul 072014
 

JanMStanley (1)Tonight, I was just finishing up on the file update for my Aunt Jan, reviewing everything, making sure I had the dates, locations and source citations correct. Trying to be thorough and wondering where else I could find information about her life. Let’s see: birth, education, marriage, residence, census, death, funeral. I think I got all of that.

Hummmm…. education. I know the name of the high school and the year of graduation. I even found her high school yearbook on Ancestry.com. Wow, check out those hair styles…

(Focus please!)

I did a quick online search for the high school + the year of graduation and I discovered that the R L Paschal High School Class of ’56 has a website. This site contains all sorts of tidbits about the Class of ’56, including yearbook photos (which I already had from Ancestry) and…digital images of the 6-page graduation program!

And there on the last page, with all the other S’s, is my Aunt Jan Marie Stanley.

Adds a personal touch to the file, don’t you think?

Jun 262014
 

The starting over work with my RootsMagic database is progressing nicely. But it’s not the quantity, it’s the quality. I have only edited a few of my ancestors’ files so far, but I have been really digging and scratching, in search of new data. As much as possible, I am trying to present a complete picture of that person, birth to death and everything in between.

The work on my grandparents is done (for now…). Particularly with these two people, I remember so much “first person”, especially with my recently-deceased grandmother. But the only documentation I have for some of these facts is “personal knowledge”, which is really not the most dependable of sources.

As an example, I entered several residence facts (dates and locations) for my grandmother. I knew these facts to be true, as I had visited the sites hundreds of times throughout my own lifetime. The locations were accurate, the dates for some where “ballpark” figures.

I needed more than personal knowledge and estimations to vouch for these facts!

So start off, I went to the Tarrant (County) Appraisal District website. As I knew the street addresses for my grandparents’ homes (those that I remember visiting), I searched for those addresses. This database shows recent previous owners, as well as the legal descriptions (subdivision name, block number, etc) of the property locations.

Armed with that knowledge, I next went to the Tarrant County Clerk home page, and searched for real property records for my grandparents that correlate with the legal descriptions. Most of the documents don’t show the actual street addresses, only the legal descriptions of those locations.

I found and downloaded about 40 pages of documents, containing the legal property descriptions and my grandparents’ names, dating from 1950! I’m not quite sure what all of these documents show, as I am not terribly familiar with the “legalese”, but they do all relate in some way (deeds, mechanics liens, etc) to the legal descriptions and ownership of my grandparents’ homes.

MilesFStanleyII (82)This document from 7 Mar 1950 shows that my grandparents paid $1950 for:

certain improvements, to-wit: Convert existing garage into a room, repair entire house, construct garage…

That $1,950.00 in 1950 had the same buying power as $19,256.17 in 2014! (Annual inflation over this period was 3.64%)

Interestingly, from the Tarrant Appraisal District site, I learned that this house was built in 1946, yet by 1950 it needed significant repair work.

An added bonus from these many documents: my grandparents’ signatures on every one!

While these resources deal with Tarrant County, Texas, I’ll bet many other localities have similar records available online, just waiting to be found!

 

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