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

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Printed in the Taylor Daily Press & Thorndale Champion
- 9 January 2003

Holiday after the Holidays?

I work on my column in a home office after working all day in my "real" office. The holidays are a good time to remind ourselves that we need to balance our lives. However, the holidays can take on a manic tone as we race from one party or event to another.

Did you take time during this holiday season to relax with family and friends? Did you make a little time for yourself?

Well, the holiday hubbub has ended and I plan on spending a day or two simply reading and relaxing. It will be time well spent, as I promise to get all those loose papers filed into the right family folders, get my family tree database updated and design a few new webpages.

Gee, did I say I was going to relax? Oh, well, I promise to at least stop for a cup of Earl Grey tea and brace myself to face the challenges and opportunities of 2003!

Women Marines Association - 60th Anniversary

On Feb. 15th, the Gulf Coast Texas 2 Chapter of the Women Marines Association will celebrate their 60th Anniversary with a luncheon at the West Chase Hilton Hotel, 9999 Westheimer Road, Houston at 1200 hours (noon). The speaker will be General Carol Mutter, USMC (Ret.). For more information, contact: Beverly Franklin, 281-345-8216 or visit http://www.meplodet.com/.

North to Alaska

At the end of the Civil War, William H. Seward, Secretary of State under Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, offered Russia $7,200,000 or 2-cents per acre, for Alaska. The offer was accepted, but many Americans scoffed at the purchase calling Alaska "Seward's Icebox," and "Seward Folly." Nevertheless on Oct. 18, 1867 the Stars and Stripes flew for the first time over Alaska.

The presence of gold in Alaska had long been known, but not until the 1880s with the discovery by Joe Juneau and Richard Harris, would the gold rush era truly begin. Soon hundreds of prospectors were pouring into the area that would later be known as the City of Juneau. In 1897, gold was discovered on the Klondike River in Canada's Yukon Territory and there was yet another gold rush. During the following years, the U.S. government would be preoccupied with World War I in Europe and the Great Depression of the 1930s. But when America declared war on Japan in 1941, the nation was suddenly aware of Alaska's strategic position. When Japan invaded the Aleutian Islands in 1943, more than 140,000 American military personnel were stationed in Alaska. The Aleutian campaign, known as the "One Thousand Mile War," was the first battle fought on American soil since the Civil War.

Since early territorial days, many Alaskans favored statehood, but Congress was initially reluctant to act on the request of this vast, sparsely settled territory. Alaskans would not give up, however, and on June 30, 1958, Congress finally approved the Alaska Statehood Act and it became the 49th State to enter the Union.

The origins of state's name are based on an Aleut word "alaxsxaq" literally meaning, "object toward which the action of the sea is directed" or more simply "the mainland."

Alaska is not organized in the typical county configuration of the lower 48 Continental states. It is organized into 16 Boroughs that encompass less than 30% of Alaska's landmass and the other 71% of the land area is sparsely inhabited and known as the "Unorganized Borough." Information on Boroughs, cities, towns, and villages are is available on a Dept. of Community & Regional affairs at: http://www.dced.state.ak.us/cbd/commdb/CF_BLOCK.htm.

Websites of Interest to Students, Genealogists & Historians

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 5 May 2003 and was last revised on __________

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