Notes from the past…

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A morning of volunteering

I am a proud member of Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK) and my act of kindness involves taking digital photographs of headstones in cemeteries in Tarrant and Hill Counties, Texas. A person from somewhere besides Tarrant or Hill County (usually out of state) sends a request to me through RAOGK for photos, and I do my best to find that headstone and get a picture of it, and send it back to the requesting person. It is a lot of fun and it gives me a way to “pay back” the efforts of the many vounteers who contribute so much to the genealogical community.

So, this morning I made a trip to a local cemetery, one that is also the final resting place for many of my own ancestors. It is a quite large cemetery, so my first stop is usually at the office, to get a map for the exact location of my headstone. The ladies in the office are always very kind and helpful, and I certainly appreciate their assistance.

I also stopped by the gravesite of my Uncle Ladd, who died last September. I was very pleased to see that his permanent headstone is now in place. It is a simple headstone, containing on either side of his name the image of a cowboy holding a saddle. Very appropriate, as Ladd was the embodiment of The Cowboy. I think he may have been born 100 years too late:

Ladd Clark stone1
After paying my respects to Uncle Ladd, I then found my 2 RAOGK headstones (after I waited for a nearby funeral to conclude), snapped the pix, and returned home and emailed the images to the gentleman who requested them.

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I'm so excited!

Thomas MacEntee from our Facebook group GeneaBloggers and Destination: Austin Family has very graciously taken time away from all of his many activities and obligations to help me save an online video of my uncle Ladd Clark. Without his invaluable assistance, I doubt I would have this video safely tucked away on my hard drive!

Uncle Ladd was an eccentric and wonderful man. A brittle diabetic since early childhood, he still managed to live his own life and do things his way. As a young man, he was a bareback bronc rider, and as such took numerous trips to the hospital! He was also a gifted and talented craftsman, an artist really, and owned his own leather business. He made saddles, wallets, belts…everything by hand. This was his life’s work.

Last summer, a local newspaper interviewed and videotaped Ladd and published the video on the newspaper’s web site. It is a wonderful interview, with many still photos, and most importantly, Ladd talks about his life and his passion for leather crafting. In his early 60′s, he looks much older, thanks to the diabetes and probably his wild younger days! He has become quite thin and frail-looking, yet still is able to demonstrate some of the techniques he used to create his beautiful saddles. His humor is also apparent, as he discusses his housekeeping skills!

Only a few months after this video was created, in September of 2007, Ladd died. He left a wonderful legacy of beauty and a life lived well.

Ladd was my Dad’s youngest half-brother, about 15 years his junior, so he looked up to my Dad almost as an uncle. They were very close, and my Dad was devastated when he passed on. This video was very special to my Dad, and I have been afraid that it would disappear from the Internet before I could save it. Thanks to Thomas, it is now safe on my hard drive… but not safe enough…

As the video’s format is as a flash video, I downloaded a free video converter program, converted it to a .mpeg file, created an account on Youtube, and uploaded it there for extra-safe keeping:

Samual Ladd Clark


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I have been having severe ragweed allergy problems for the past couple of weeks, and my eyes are so irritated that it is difficult to read, use the computer or even watch TV some days. So, I haven’t been doing much genealogy. I just got back from the eye doctor, who gave me some drops for my eyes. They are feeling some better, so I’m gonna try to get everything caught up here.
I have gotten a couple of calls from a real estate lady about my Uncle Ladd. She found me through this blog! Anyway, apparently, Ladd didn’t leave a will and this lady is trying to find his daughter Shawna, something to do with his estate, I suspect. So I have been using some of my genealogical “sluething” skills to try to find her. With the help of my daughter, I thought we had located her last night, and I sent her an email. But I got a message back from her today, and it wasn’t the right Shawna. Back to the drawing board, as they say!
When the September issue of the Fort Worth Genealogical Society’s e-newsletter arrived last week, it said they were looking for volunteers to transcribe some Texas marriage records from the 1850′s to early 1900′s. Actually to transcribe another lady’s handwritten transcriptions of the records. Sounds like fun, so I volunteered. I wanted to do Hill County, since I have so many ancestors from that county, but someone else beat me to it. So yesterday, I met a gentleman here in Benbrook and got a CD with the records from Limestone County. 34 pages to do. Yummy! I don’t have any folks from Limestone County (that I know of, anyway), but this will still be fun. I’m so excited and happy to do this. Thanks to so many other volunteers, I have gotten a lot of info for my own research, so I am more than happy to do this job! The man who is coordinating this work promised me that I can proofread the Hill County transcriptions when they are ready, so I’ll still get to look at the records!