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

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Printed in the Taylor Daily Press - 15 June 2000

Brickwalls and Pruning the Problem

Last week, I discuss how to analyze brickwalls. This week, I am going to work through my first brickwall project for the summer and see what questions I can resolve. Sometimes just talking it out will help. Ideas and comments from others are important.

Problem: Located the exact date of birth and death for my great-aunt, Alta Raye (or Lee) Shuffield.

Birth Date Problem: Alta was born at home in Milam Co., TX and there was no delayed birth certificate filed. She died before Social Security Administration was created and therefore no records are available. There are no family records or Bible. Out of six brothers and sisters, her only living sister does not know her exact dates of birth or death. She was married twice but did not have any children.

Birth Date Solution: Check School Census Records. According to the Texas State Library in Austin, “between 1905 and 1970, county superintendents conducted censuses of all school-age children in their counties. Information was then extracted from the census forms and compiled in census rolls. Since the mid-1980s, the Local Records Division (of the Texas State Library) and the Genealogical Society of Utah have attempted to locate, list, and from the census forms in each county. Efforts continue to be made to locate and film the census records of those counties in which filming of other records has already been completed. Censuses of schoolchildren of a different type, conducted in the 1880s and 1890s by county tax assessor-collectors, are also filmed, although in many counties these early census have been lost.”

Since I do not live in Austin, I was able to order the School Census on microfilm through Inter-Library Loan Dept. at the Houston Public Library. I choose the years 1915 through 1923 when she would have been approximately 7 to 15 years of age.

To check what County Records are Available on Microfilm through Inter-Library Loan from the Texas State Library go to: http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/arc/local/index.html .

Death Problem: Alta’s gravemarker at the Little River Cemetery in Milam Co., TX only lists the year of her birth as 1908 and death as 1933. She committed suicide while living in Houston, Harris Co., TX and there is no death certificate on file. Nor were there any Will or Probate actions filed in Harris or Milam Counties. According to family members, she was taken to Hermann Hospital where she died. After checking with the hospital, I learned they do not have any records back to the 1930s. Another family member thought she died after Christmas 1932 but before March 1933.

Death Solution: The Houston Public Library has microfilm copies of the Houston Post, Houston Chronicle and Houston Press newspapers for 1933. Her body was shipped to Cameron for burial; the funeral home does not have records back to the 1930s. The Texas State Library has the Cameron Herald newspaper on microfilm for 1933. My only hope is that by reading these newspapers I will locate an article related to her death.

To check what Newspapers are Available on Microfilm through Inter-Library Loan from the Texas State Library go to: http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/ref/abouttx/news.html.

So, wish me luck on my brickwall for this summer. I would enjoy hearing from readers about their brickwalls. Remember, I offer readers the opportunity to place queries in this column related to Central and East Texas counties.

Texas State Library & Archives Webpage has New Look and New URLs

I was pleasantly surprised this week when I click on my Favorite Bookmarks for the Texas State Library & Archives Webpage. I received a message “we have moved.” When I clicked on the new URL: http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/general/index.html, what a wonderful surprise!

The webpage is organized into eight areas of research interest and pages are more colorful. There are pages: (1) About Texas; (2) Archives and Manuscripts; (3) Federal Government Information; (4) Genealogy; (5) Talking Book Program; (6) Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center; and, (7) Texas Treasures.

Take some time to visit the Texas State Library & Archives Website and explore the new webpages. Be sure and update any URL links you might have in your Favorites Bookmarks and on your personal webpages. Also, mention it to your local library, genealogy society or Texas GenWeb page so they can update the URLs on their webpages too.

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 14 Jun 2000 and was last revised on ________ 2000

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