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

red, white & blue line

Printed in the Taylor Daily Press - 19 Oct 2000


Migration seems to be the “hot topic” in genealogy these days! Everyone is discussion migration patterns and how they apply to your specific family history. Well, how did great-great-great-grandpa get to Texas or Mississippi or America?

The topic and interest of migration are finding their ways into mainstream American cultural and discussions. In the September 2000 issue of the National Geographic magazine, there was an article entitled “The Way West” written by John G. Mitchell. This article discusses the 2,000 miles of trails from Missouri to California.

As a genealogist, one of the most fascinating statements I found in the article was, “By one estimate 20,000 people died on the California Trail between 1841 and 1859—an average of ten graves for every mile.” I immediately began to wonder, “Where are all these graves?” The regrettable answer is probably, for the most part, they are unmarked and lost and only known to God.

The article also includes a large map of the migration trails across the West and would be an important resource tool for anyone doing family history research related to families who migrated. Remember, there were no highways; there were no alternate routes. If you family traveled West, in all likelihood they traveled these very trails and pathways.

If you do not subscribe to the National Geographic magazine, ask a family member or friend to borrow their copy. Visit your local library and read their issue. Or, if you can visit the National Geographic website related to “The Way West” at: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0009/feature2/index.html. The website includes “Related Links,” a Bibliography, and a listing of “National Geographic Resources.”

Not to be outdone, the October 2000 issue of the Smithsonian magazine has an interesting article on the “Bozeman Trail” that would connect the Oregon Trail to new gold-strike country in what would later become Montana.

If you do not subscribe to the Smithsonian magazine, visit your local library to see if they have a copy of the issue or visit the website related to the article at: http://www.smithsonianmag.si.edu/smithsonian/issues00/oct00/bozeman.html.

“Cyndi’s List of Genealogical Sites on the Internet” has a listing of resources and links under the topic, “U.S. – History, Heading West” located at: http://www.cyndislist.com/hist-us.htm. Additionally, RootsWeb has several mailing lists dedicated to various trails or migration topics, including the Santa-Fe-Trail Mailing List, Southern-Trails Mailing List, and Migration-Patterns Mailing List. For information on how to subscribe to these e-mailing lists go to: http://lists.rootsweb.com/.

LDS has Improved the FaimlySearch Website

This past week, I clicked on one of my standard internet genealogy search sites, “FamilySearch” that is operated by the Church of Latter Days Saints (LDS). It is located at: http://www.familysearch.com/. I was very surprised when I saw the new graphics and easy to follow instructions on how to utilize the information and genealogical resources on the LDS website.

Not only does the FamilySearch Internet Genealogy Service 2.0 have a new look, there are new capabilities for the website. It has been updated to allow for future growth, to accommodate translation into other languages, and to make features more visible to users.

Over 111,000 people per day visit FamilySearch to determine if their family members are listed. Yes, I admit I am usually one of those people. I generally find a need to search the International Genealogical Index (IGI), the Ancestral Files, or the LDS Library Card Catalog.

One of my favorite resources is the Glossary that includes abbreviations, foreign words and terms, arcane or old fashion words or terminology and historical points in history. I also enjoy the Step-by-Step Research Guides that are available for every state and country.

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

red, white & blue line

Return to Main Page

This webpage was last created on 16 Oct 2000 and was last revised on ________ 2000

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