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

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Printed in the Taylor Daily Press - 14 Dec 2000

"Why do I have this ‘compulsion?’"

Many times I have asked myself, “Why do I have this genealogy compulsion?” Haven’t you asked yourself the same thing? This past week, I found one of the answers!

As I related in a column several weeks ago, I am working on this history of the Jewish Cemetery in Rockdale, Milam County, Texas. One the individuals buried there was named Jacob "John" Kestenbaum. There was only one person with that surname in the Milam County telephone book, Dana Isaac Kestenbaum who lived in Cameron. I wrote him a letter and he replied on Nov. 10th. He answered all of my questions about the history of the Kestenbaum family and he sent me a photograph of his Uncle Jacob. Dana died on Nov. 21st. at 80 years of age.

What if I had waited a month to write Mr. Kestenbaum? There might have not been anyone who knew which photograph to send or the photos might have already been divided among family members or thrown out. Who would have known the history of the family?

Timing is sometimes the key to genealogy research. We go years looking for that one piece of information that will link us back another generation, more commonly known as “the brickwall.” And then, without warning, it all falls into place. Why?

Another aspect you should consider is what will happen to all of your genealogy material, documentation and research when you are gone? My dad is a garage sale nut and a while back he was at an estate garage sale and he saw several boxes of genealogy forms and material. After hauling mother and me around for years doing our research, he knew the importance of those boxes. He asked the lady what she was going to do with it and she replied, “all that is trash to be set out for the garbage.” My dad asked her how much she’d take for it and she said he could haul it off for nothing!

My dad loaded the back of the Suburban and brought it all home. We looked at it and then took it out to the Clayton Genealogy Library here in Houston. The staff will reorganize it and put it in their vertical files so that others in the future can use the material.

Please make arrangements to safeguard your genealogy research material. Make sure whoever you entrust your genealogy research to will allow other family members to have access to it. Many times I have run across the “it’s mine and I’m not sharing attitude” from people who were only given the material and didn’t actually do the original work.

"Internet Hint"

“Directory of Genealogy Libraries in the US” at: http://ancestralfindings.com/DGLUS.html offers the names and mailing address of just about every genealogy library in the United States. The list is broken down by national libraries and libraries in each state. This is a must have bookmark for your personal computer, for other researchers and libraries. Be sure and share this link with other genealogists, genealogy society newsletters and your local library.

"Free Genealogy Publication"

Heritage Quest is offering free subscriptions to “Local History & Genealogy Librarian.” Send your name, mailing address, telephone & fax numbers, and e-mail address to: History & Genealogy Librarian, P. O. Box 540670, North Salt Lake, UT, 84054-0670 or e-mail the same information to: tkemp@HeritageQuest.com. The second issue published in December 2000 included topics: Shanghai Library Hosts International Genealogical Resource Conference, If I Only Had 10 Books, Texas: First Annual Lock-in a Success, Veterans’ Oral History Project, and many more.

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 12 Dec 2000 and was last revised on 13 Dec 2000

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