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

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Printed in the Taylor Daily Press - 25 October 2001

“Black Sheep, Not Black Cats in Your Family?”

Are you interested in finding out about the black sheep in your family? Limited criminal history information about people sentenced to serve time or be supervised by Texas authorities now is available through the Texas Dept. of Public Safety's Website at: http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/. To begin your search, select the “Online Services” option.

Records contained in the Criminal History Database date back to the 1930's and individual criminal history records remain in the Criminal History System indefinitely.

A search for records for one of my cousins, Thomas Sheffield, shows that he was arrested in Houston on Nov. 15, 1934, for larceny and was sentenced to 2-years. He was paroled in Sept. 1935. He was next arrested on July 18, 1938 in Houston for forgery of a government check and was sentenced to 15-months. He escaped from prison on Oct. 1, 1938 and was recaptured on Oct. 27, 1938 and returned to prison. He was next arrested on April 6, 1940 for burglary and sentenced to 2-years in prison. On Nov. 19, 1941, he was charged with homicide for killing someone in prison and was sentenced to 45-years. He was paroled on March 5, 1953, to Bexar Co. but it was revoked on Oct. 15, 1953 and he returned to prison. He was finally released from prison on Oct. 1, 1970.

Now begins my search to document these events through criminal court records and newspaper accounts. Now, I know where Cousin Thomas disappeared to for so many years!

There is a $3.15 fee is charged for each query made through the website. Credits may be purchased by credit card through the website or by check through the mail. Users may purchase as many credits as they wish in one transaction. An additional 57-cent fee is charged each time credits are purchased over the Internet.

Individuals without Internet access also can obtain conviction information by mail. However, manual searches require more research time by DPS employees, so the cost is $10 for each person about whom information is requested. Written requests, including as much identifying information as possible, should be mailed along with checks for prepayment to DPS Crime Records, P. O. Box 15999, Austin, TX 78761-5999.

The DPS criminal history database includes other confidential information not available through this program. Anyone with a criminal history has access to his or her own complete files. This additional information -- including arrest data -- also is available to law enforcement and criminal justice agencies.

“Genealogy Workshop in Salado”

The Central Texas Area Museum is offering a genealogical workshop in conjunction with their annual Scottish Games & Gathering. The workshop will be on Friday, Nov. 9, 2001 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Museum, 1 Main St. in Salado. The fee is $30.00. All are welcome, beginners to experts. For more information, contact: W. Adrin Fletcher at e-mail afletch@brazosnet.com or the Central Texas Area Museum, P.O. Box 36, Salado, Texas 76571, telephone: 254/947-5232 or visit their website at: http://www.geocities.com/jonczar/ctammain.html .

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 1 Feb 2002 and was last revised on __________

Copyright © 1999, 2001, 2002 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604