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

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Printed in the Taylor Daily Press & Thorndale Champion
16 October 2003

What an Idea??

Last week, the Shuffield/Sheffield family had their annual reunion in Cameron, Milam County. Over 125 attended and there weren't too many disagreements, which is an outstanding accomplishment in our family of fuss-buckets!

Seriously, it was a great event and Saturday night topped-off the weekend with our cousin A. T. Shuffield and his band "Milam County" performed at the Cameron VFW before an audience of over 230 folks.

On Friday before the reunion, I was able to take a day of vacation from my full-time job and spent the day at the Milam County Clerk's Office. So, I had an opportunity to sit down with LaVerne Soefje, the Milam County Clerk and discussed with her what was her first priority for records preservation in her office.

Without any hesitation, LaVerne stated that the loose probate/estate papers, including original wills, estate inventories, and other papers for the administration of estates in Milam County have never been microfilmed. There are over 4,700 probate/estate packets, beginning in 1874 that need immediate attention! The cost to put each packet into a flat probate style file-folder used by the Clerk's Office is $1 per estate.

Trying to come up with a creative approach to raise this money, I hit on an idea that LaVerne has agreed to: "A Saturday Lock-In at the Milam County Clerk's Office."

However, before we begin organizing such an undertaking, we would like to see if there would be an interest in this type of event. LaVerne has agreed to allow the Milam County Genealogical Society sponsor this event on a Saturday in the Spring of 2004 where her office would be open to researchers only for a 4-hour period (9 am to 1 pm). There would be a $15 or $20 per person donation requested.

This has never been tried and I'd like to hear from researchers about whether there would be any interest. How many of you remember when County Clerk Offices use to be open a half-day on Saturday? How many researchers would like to take advantage of having an opportunity to research at the Clerk's Office on a Saturday?

Texas State Library On-Line Exhibits

The Texas State Library is now hosting on-line exhibits that contain a wealth of information for genealogists, researchers and students at: http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/exhibits/

Texas Treasures - highlights the greatest treasures of the Texas State Library and Archives, from Travis' Letter from the Alamo to the original Ordinance of Secession, from historic flags to wanted posters for Sam Bass and Clyde Barrow. New treasures and topics will be added on a periodic basis.

Texas Governors - Biographies of all of the governors of Texas, complete with official portraits, timeline of events, revealing documents, and rare photos.

The Henry McArdle Notebooks - battle paintings, Dawn at the Alamo and The Battle of San Jacinto, have become Texas icons. The painstaking detail of the paintings was reflected in exhaustive research. McArdle's notebooks are packed with letters, notes, and photographs documenting the paintings and the events they depict.

Forever Free - 52 African-American men served Texas as either state legislative members or Constitutional Convention delegates during the last half of the 19th Century, representing the first significant political achievement by the African-American citizens of this state.

Votes for Women - Diaries and letters of Texas women, political cartoons, government documents, and photographs and postcards tell the little-known story of the women activists who fought to overcome societal attitudes and entrenched power and won the rights of full citizenship.

Texas Pioneer Architects - In the years from 1877 to 1900, the "Gilded Age" in American history, F.E. "Ernst" and Oscar Ruffini were part of the first wave of professional architects to practice in Texas. A large collection of their drawings, specifications, and correspondence can be viewed on site at the Texas State Library and Archives. Representative examples of their work are included in this exhibit.

Hazardous Business: Industry, Regulation & the Texas Railroads Commission - Government documents, photographs, political cartoons, and other artifacts help tell the story of the agency founded in 1891 on a tide of populist resentment of the railroads that went on in the 20th century to wield legendary power over the supply and price of oil and natural gas.


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 Mar 2005 and was last revised on __________

Copyright 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604