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

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Printed in the Taylor Daily Press - 24 May 2001

“Clayton Genealogy Library’s New Website”

Clayton Center for Genealogical Research (Clayton Library) of Houston Public Library is reaching out to the world and embracing the growing phenomena of family history research with its new website located at http://www.hpl.lib.tx.us/clayton/.

According to the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc., over 113 million people in the United States are actively engaged in genealogy and family history research. Millions of dollars are spent, thousands of miles of travel are undertaken and endless conversations are engaged in, all revolving around genealogy.

The City of Houston is proud to showcase Clayton Library’s abundant genealogy and historical resources. During the year 2000, it was ranked as one of the “Top 10” genealogy libraries in the United States and over 70,000 individuals and students visited to learn about their families.

Clayton Library was founded in 1921 as a special collection for genealogical research at Houston Public Library. The collection was originally housed in the Julia Ideson Building in downtown Houston. In 1968, the genealogical collection was renamed the Clayton Library and relocated to the Clayton Home at 5300 Caroline Street in Houston's historic Museum District. The Clayton Home is a three story brick Georgian style house built in 1917 and designed by Birdsall P. Briscoe. The house was the home of Houston businessman and statesman William Lockhart Clayton and his wife Susan Ada Vaughn Clayton until 1958, when it was deeded to the City of Houston to be used for library purposes.

The growth in the physical size of the genealogy collection created a need for an expanded location for Clayton Library and a new facility was built in 1988 in a style designed to complement the Clayton Home. Furniture and equipment for the new building was funded by a grant from the Houston Endowment Inc. through the Clayton Library Friends.

The Clayton Library hours of operation are Monday through Wednesday, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

“Marriage Bonds & Licenses”

In 1660, because of the scarcity of ministers, the Virginia colony enacted a law that required individuals who wanted to be married by license had go to the County Court Clerk and give a bond with sufficient security to ensure there was no lawful reason to prevent the marriage.

The bond was posted by a “bondsman or surety” who was to be “able and knowne.” This person was usually a member of the bride’s family, a brother or uncle, but not necessarily a parent. The bondsman could be related to the groom, but that did not occur very often. No money actually changed hands at the time the bond was issued. If the groom were ever sued for violating the marriage contract, the bondsman had to pay any legal damages if the groom defaulted.

After the bond was posted, a marriage license was prepared by the Clerk and presented to the Minister who then performed the ceremony.

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 15 May 2001 and was last revised on ___________ 2001

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