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

red, white & blue line

Printed in the Taylor Daily Press & Thorndale Champion
- 14 February 2003

Sticking with the Basics

Recently I was asked, "Where do I start with my genealogy research?" The simple answer is "with yourself."

You write down everything you know about your family. Asked older family members what they remember. Get a "how to" genealogy book at the library and copy some forms out and start filling them in with what you find.

The most overlooked tool for genealogy research are census records. I asked people if they have searched each and every census for the family members were alive. Generally, the answer is no, "I've only looked at 1880" or something similar.

If you have Excel spreadsheet software, I strongly recommend you download a copy of "Census Tools" created by Gary Minder of El Cajon, CA to help you to manage your census data. This is available at website http://censustools.com/.

The spreadsheets have a separate page for each census year from 1790-1920, as well as Soundex pages for 1880-1920. This is a remarkable tool for tracking your families through the years. The spreadsheets are blank except for the formatting on each page to match the particular census year data fields; no actual census data is included.

Lastly, join your local genealogy society, as it is a great source to learn and network.


Colorado was first claimed by Spain in the 16th Century and by France in the 18th Century.

In 1803, the area of land that now encompasses the State of Colorado was acquired by the United States as a part of the Louisiana Purchase and in 1806, U.S. Army started exploration of the plains and mountains.

Later, the area was home to trappers and fur traders who worked for the large fur companies of the eastern United States and Canada. The real settlers of Colorado arrived about 1858, thus making the state the last to be occupied by permanent settlers. Many of the first came to look for gold and other metals. Most were not successful in their fortune hunt, so they turned to the land to live and raise their families.

The Territory of Colorado was recognized 28 February 1861 and the 1860 census showed a population of about 33,000 men and 1,500 women. This census was taken when Colorado was still a part of Kansas. On August 1, 1876, Colorado became the 38th State.

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

red, white & blue line

Return to Main Page

This webpage was last created on 10 June 2003 and was last revised on __________

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