What is your inspiration to do genealogy research? My inspiration was my mother, Betty Doris Knight Shuffield.
Back in the early 1960s, my mother became interested in family history. She used spiral notebooks to keep information she’d collected during her research and family interviews. She never seemed to get around to putting the information neatly onto family group sheet forms; she’d just get another spiral notebook and kept writing.
During the week, after work, we’d go to the Clayton Genealogy Library and she’d spend the evening reading census microfilm. Those were the days before there were printed census indexes and you had to read line-by-line to find family members.
I learned genealogy before I even knew what genealogy was! She’d take me to the library and set me down in front of a microfilm reader with a spiral notebook and tell me to start copying down the information. Or she’d take me to a courthouse on Saturday and sit me down with a deed book and tell me to copy down this or that deed. Those were the days when courthouses were still open a half-a-day on Saturday and a photocopier was 10-years or more in the future!
I have mother’s spiral notebooks full of her handwriting, as well as my own from when I was about 12-years old. I guess it was good handwriting practice and I gradually began to understand and fit the pieces together.
Other times, we’d pile into the old family station wagon with my great-aunt Althea, my grandmother and Cousin Ivy and head-out for a day in an old cemetery. Those were the days before there were cemetery books published and indexed.
Mother loved genealogy and talking about family history. We’d sit outside in a porch swing with some old family members and she’d be taking down whatever information they remembered. I was impatient and ran around the yard and played. But now count my lucky stars that I have mother’s old spiral notebooks where she’d written down the “old timer’s” memories.
I should have paid more attention. I should have taken more notes. I should have …. But I sincerely appreciate the great love of family history my mother had and the legacy she left in her old spiral notebooks.
My mom died Monday morning, May 20, 2002. Her interest in genealogy continued to the end of her life. She’d ordered some microfilm, via inter-library loan, to the Texas Room (Houston Public Library) and it was waiting for her when died. She didn’t tell me she’d ordered the film or what she was looking for.
However, she now knows all the answers to her brickwalls and will continue to serve as an inspiration in my genealogy research. To read a full obituary of my mother, go to the Milam County, Texas - Message Board, URL link found at http://www.geocities.com/milamco/. She requested no flowers at her funeral but established the “Betty Knight Shuffield Memorial Fund” with the Clayton Library Friends, P.O. Box 271078, Houston, TX 77277-1078.
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: email@example.com
This webpage was last created on 22 August 2002 and was last revised on __________
Copyright © 1999, 2001, 2002 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604