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

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Printed in the Taylor Daily Press - 26 April 2001

“Rocks, Pebbles & Sand”

Just when you think you’ve turned over every rock searching for your illusive family member, they appear as a grain of sand! Be prepared, your family research can take a turn in the road and you realize you zigged in another direction.

For years, we have search for William C. Decamp (b. 1818, VA- d. aft. 1860). Recently, a cousin in California remembered taking some notes when she’d talked to her grandmother before she died more than 25-years ago. In the margin of those notes was a statement the family had previously lived in Batesville. My cousin didn’t have any idea where Batesville was located or even if the community still existed and never followed-up on the comment.

So, I searched the United States Geographical Survey Mapping database at: http://geonames.usgs.gov/pls/gnis/web_query.gnis_web_query_form. The query resulted in finding a Batesville in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.

My next dilemma was where to start! Taking the 1860 U.S. Federal Census Indexes for all these states, I began searching for William. I hit gold in Arkansas! There he was, in Independence Co. with his second wife. Nothing in our research ever indicated he lived in Arkansas, everything pointed to Virginia, Louisiana and Mississippi.

My best advice is to never discount or disregard an off-hand comment, even if at the time it doesn’t make any sense. I want you to keep turning over rocks and looking in obscure places. Do not give-up, remember, they just took a turn in the road and you’re trying to catch-up.

“Arkansas History Commission”

In 1905, the Arkansas History Commission http://www.arkansas.gov/ahc/ahc.html was created as the official archives of the state, responsible for collecting and preserving the source materials of the history of Arkansas.

The collection includes: U.S. Census Records, Manuscripts, Newspapers, County Records, Photographs, Military Records, Maps, Booklets & Pamphlets, and Church & Cemetery Records.

Regretfully, the staff will not answer or respond to research questions. However, they will make photocopies if you know the exact date, location, ex., “I need an obituary for John Smith of Little Rock who died on Oct. 1, 1928.” In addition to paying the photocopy fees, all out-of-state requests must include a $10 non-resident tax. [Note: It is nice to know that anyone who requests research assistance or photocopies from the Texas State Archives & Library is never charged an out-of-state tax.]

To contact the Arkansas History Commission write: One Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201. They do not have e-mail.

“Texas Civil War Message Board”

Do you have questions about or researching Texas in the Civil War, if so, you’ll be very interested to learn about the “Texas in the Civil War Message Board” http://disc.server.com/Indices/109296.html. The message board has been in operation for approximately 1-year and contains a verity of topics and discussions.

Jim Martin who is a life-long Civil War buff operates the message board. It is important to note is the message board has a search engine to allow you narrow the scope to the specific topic, area, etc. you are interested in reading.

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/lks_friday/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 25 Apr 2001 and was last revised on 17 Apr 2001

Copyright © 1999, 2001 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604