>Good reads from feeds on Texas, Mississippi and genealogy blogs

>I went to my Texas map link and was a bit worried. They moved the county map page. It is now at the URL: http://www.txgenweb.org/tx/txmap.htm Whew! I found it. Brazoria County is just around the bend. I just love maps. Wandering around Texas without one wouldn’t be wise. There are too many counties in Texas to take this move lightly. Give ’em a “look see” as the following story is from the area.

Event offers tips on pulling up roots

By Erin McKeon
The Facts

Published April 4, 2008
WEST COLUMBIA — A trek into the past can be as addictive as a drug, but there is no prescription for the “disease” rooted in the minds of amateur genealogists.

“It’s kind of like a disease,” said Emma Womack, founder of the Columbia Historical Museum. “Once you get into genealogy, you kind of can’t stop it.”

And since the genealogy bug can be contagious, the museum and United Daughters of Confederacy Lamar Fontaine Chapter 33 in Alvin are offering a seminar for those seeking tips on how to navigate records that can be hundreds of years old.

The seminar will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Columbia Historical Museum, 247 E. Brazos Ave. in West Columbia. It will include guidance on researching the Civil War era, newspapers, 20th century military records and those killed in war, said event coordinator Judy Bernard, who is a member of both sponsoring groups.

Womack said she began her research in genealogy before there were computers and started by getting phone books from the local chamber of commerce in the towns she was interested in.

“I called various people who had the same last names to see if there was any relation and a lot of times it did work,” Womack said.

In the 21st century, the Internet is the first place many people go to research, and genealogy is no different.

“The easiest is to start with yourself and your birth certificate,” Bernard said. “Look at things you already know and can prove with your birth certificate, or birth or death certificates of your parents and grandparents. These show names of parents and the state where they were born.”

Often, people researching their genealogy find something in their family history they didn’t know, Womack said.

“One thing that was interesting is that my grandmother, about five grandmothers back, her name is Rachel Paxton and her sister was the mother of Sam Houston,” Womack said.

Bernard found someone she knows in West Columbia, where she now lives, had a connection with her family about 200 years ago.

“I found that my great-great-great-grandfather bought property from Mason Locke Weems in Virginia,” Bernard said. “Although Mr. Sands Weems of West Columbia is a Texan, and I am from Missouri, we have no ties whatsoever, yet our families did business together in Virginia.”

Researching genealogy can be a long, often difficult task to undertake, Womack said, but she advises anyone who starts researching their genealogy to not be discouraged no matter how much time it might take to find information.

“You’ve just got to stick with it,” she said. “If you don’t, if you leave it alone for a few weeks you’ve got to start over with what you learned when you come back to it.”

Though the seminar almost has reached capacity, anyone interested in attending can call Bernard at (979) 345-2638 to check for availability. The cost to attend is $15, she said.

Erin McKeon covers West of the Brazos communities for The Facts. Contact her at (979) 237-0152.

Adams County Mississippi is North of Wilkenson County and West of Franklin County, Mississippi. This story wound up in my genealogy feeds this morning.

Natchez, Mississippi

Forks face lift to be unveiled Saturday

By Mary Hood (Contact) | The Natchez Democrat

Published Thursday, April 3, 2008

NATCHEZ — For those who remember the Forks of the Road before it was touched by the hand of Ser Seshs Ab Heter-C.M. Boxley, an image on an unkempt property might come to mind.

Boxley has been researching and working on the Forks of the Road since the mid-90s and it will all culminated to the unveiling of four new interpretive signs at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

It all began as a beautification plan funded by private donations made by citizens. A total of $7,777 was raised for the project.

This led to the Mississippi Department of Transportation clearing the lot.

“The whole right of way just looked ugly and overgrown from top to bottom,” Boxley said.

Trees were then planted and public works leveled the uneven portions of the lot.

A historical marker was placed, as was a bench that sits between two crepe myrtles, which Boxley admits to pruning himself.

But he is most appreciative of the new signs.

“The crowning moment was the installment of the four interpretive signs,” he said.

For years, Boxley said people have complained that there is not much to see at the site.

“This is a 500 percent increase in educational material for the public to consume in depth without a tour guide or a docent,” he said.

These new signs that are both pictorial and narrative allow a visitor to have a self-guided tour.

An outdoor exhibit was erected a few years ago, but people have said it makes the site look like a bus stop, Boxley said.

The new signs will clearly distinguish the site as a historical landmark.

“This addresses the hallow ground and the sacredness of the site,” Boxley said. “That’s what the beautification plan proposed and that’s what it achieved.”

The four signs depict several different things and each will be unveiled with the designer of the signs, Renee Shakespeare and other guests.

One sign lists the names of the 58th United States Colored Infantry Regiment, which was stationed in Natchez.

A re-enactor for the first colored infantry will assist Shakespeare.

Boxley said this sign is important to black genealogy and he encourages black citizens to study this sign.

“It’s an appeal to African American descendants in the community, they might read the names and discover that their great-great-great-great-grandfather was a freedom fighter during the Civil War,” he said.

Students of Ronald Davis, a professor from California State University, Northridge will help Shakespeare unveil the second sign.

The significance of the sign and the professor is that its an eyewitness account of dealings at the Forks of the Road in the 1850s, which Davis had researched and condensed.

His students are currently here doing research and will represent him as they unveil the sign.

The third sign is simply about the Forks of the Road.

“It’s a sign that speaks to the Forks of the Road as the United State’s second largest domestic slave trading hub of the Old Southwest,” Boxley said.

Shakespeare will be assisted in this unveiling by Clarence Randall Jr.

“At 90-some-years-old, he remembers seeing ex-slave persons in his lifetime and he’s a member of Friends of the Forks of the Road,” he said.

The fourth sign tells about Franklin and Armfield, which was the largest domestic enslavement trafficking firm in the United States.

It was stationed in Virginia but operated in Natchez.

Boxley hopes to have the co-coordinator of the Forks of the Road assist in unveiling.

In addition to the unveiling ceremony, there will be African dancers and drummers and also a blessing of the ground.

“As an African priest, I will personally bless the grounds and offer libation,” Boxley said. “(I will be) declaring those g rounds as sacred and commemorative to the (people) who built American and Natchez.”

Boxley himself will also make a special announcement.

“I will disclose why I chose the Forks of the Road versus any other historical site to carry out an advocacy planning campaign for equal historical commemoration in the Miss-Lou area,” he said.

Here are a few links that I found interesting from my blog reads today.


About Louisiana Genealogy Admin

I manage several RootsWeb mailing lists and message boards, support Louisiana Cemetery Preservation, am a former Louisiana and Mississippi librarian, have been researching genealogy of my family since 1988, and write and promote several blogs supporting either Louisiana genealogy or Louisiana cemeteries.
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