"Our Loose Ends" Genealogy Column
by Lynna Kay Shuffield
Houston, Texas

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Printed in the Taylor Daily Press - 9 Mar 2000

"The Spelling Rut"

We all have dead ends in our family tree research, lines which seem to end and you can only assume the people appeared on the face of the earth from an UFO. My mother and other family members have worked several of these lines for over 30 years without any luck. I have worked these same family lines for over 20 years without any luck.

One evening this week, I decided I didn't have anything else to do, so I thought I would play with a couple of these family lines. Little did I think I would have any breaks with my dead ends.

One of these lines was Sarah Ann LaFarlick, my great-great-grandmother. Everyone in the family has always told me her maiden name was spelled "LaFarlick." It was even written in the Family Bible with that spelling. I have looked in every book, database, surname list, query page, LDS, or file possible for this surname. No luck. Have you been there to, the frustration of dead ends?

I decided to try the RootsWeb Surname Helper search engine, thinking that someone else might have a similar spelled surname. This website is located at: http://surhelp.rootsweb.com/srchall.html and I selected the option, "Surname and selected soundex equivalents." The first hit was the spelling of a similar surname, "LaFarlett."

Then my world kept spinning! Because for the first time, I had a major break through in researching this family line. I found my cousin; Linda Kay Davis in Ft. Worth who has done research and on her webpage had a photograph of Sarah and her husband, Henry Read Williams and their children, including my great-grandmother, Allie Bama Williams, about age 8 years. I just sat at my computer and cried. Need less to say, I was on the telephone to my newfound cousin within minutes.

And, my luck didn't stop! Next, another great-grandmother, Maude Eva Kinsley DeCamp Baylor had her maiden name spelled as "Kinsley" on her death certificate. Again, my mother and I have looked for years for any scrap of information on Grandma Maude. Using the same technique, I found Maude and her parents, Frank Kinstley and Mary E. Smith. Again, a simple change in spelling brought me an additional three generations! Most importantly, I found another cousin who sent me a copy of a newspaper article, which told me that Frank, who was a Constable in Hairston, Marshall Co., AL was shot and killed in the line of duty in 1913.

So, please take my advice, don't get stuck in a spelling rut. Be creative! Step back and take a new look at things. This simple lesson has had me rethinking every surname I have. I just wish it would work with my common names, which are dead ends, William Johnson, Mary Smith, James Ramsey and Mary Farmer. Oh, well, another night at the computer searching for these dead ends! You just never know what you are going to find on the Internet or by just taking another approach to the problem.

Williamson County Genealogy Seminar

On Saturday, March 11th, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. the Williamson County Genealogical Society will hold their annual seminar at the First United Methodist Church at 1004 N. Mays in Round Rock, Texas.

Global Surname Search

Global Surname Search, located at http://cgi.rootsweb.com/~genbbs/genbbs.cgi? search allows you to search an entire country or the entire world for queries related to the surname you select. It also allows you to perform a more extensive county search within the country. All you do is select your country and then enter the surname. If any queries containing your surname exist, they will be listed in Country, State, then County order. If no queries containing your surname exist, try an alternate spelling. Remember, the Global Surname Search only searches those counties or states connected with the Reconnect at RootsWeb.

In this column, I will be glad to highlight and review any family history, genealogy, county history, or similar book, free of charge, if you donate a copy of the book or item. After it has been highlighted and reviewed, on a space available basis, it will be donated to the genealogy section of a library. You will receive an acknowledgment of the donation from the library. Mail item or book to me at the below address.

Lynna Kay Shuffield has written several books related to Texas genealogy and military history. She has spoken before numerous genealogy and veterans groups. Also, is a County Coordinator for the Texas GenWeb Project. Regretfully, she cannot help with individual genealogical research. Please visit the website for this column at: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Academy/2670/ COLUMN-001.htm or if you have any questions, comments, suggestions for column topics, genealogy or historical society announcements, please contact her at: P. O. Box 16604, Houston, Texas 77222-6604 or e-mail: lksfriday@sbcglobal.net

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This webpage was last created on 5 Mar 2000 and was last revised on __________ 2000

Copyright 1999, 2000 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604