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

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Printed in the Taylor Daily Press & Thorndale Champion
20 November 2003

A Tribute to a Genealogist

For days now I have been trying to put into words the sorrow I have experienced with the loss of a dear friend. There is no formula to measure friendship. Its kind of like love, you know it when you experience it and theres no way to define friendship.

Several evenings a week for the last seven years, I have spent doing genealogy research with my best buddy, Phyllis Gough Huffington. She and my mother had done more than 40 years of research at the Clayton Genealogy Library in Houston and Mrs. H, as many affectingly called her, and I would work together trying to find those elusive loose ends to our respective family tree lines.

When my mother died last year, Mrs. Huffington filled a big void in my life. Like many of you, my family does not understand our obsession with doing family tree research. I came by the obsession through family tradition, from my grandmother, mother, great-aunt and a very dear cousin. They all instilled in me the obligation to never forget our family.

By doing genealogy, we continue to remember our beloved family members who have preceded us in death and teach future generations to honor those who continue to live in our hearts and memories.

Many of us do genealogy to remember our loved ones or find lost and forgotten relatives. Why do I do genealogy? Do I have an entire page this week? No, but in my heart I choose never to forget even those family members I never knew personally but at whose graves I still cry at when I visit, even if it is only once in my lifetime.

My friend, Mrs. H was such a genealogist. Always seeking to find one more family member, trying to teach her grandchildren about their ancestors and helping others to appreciate their own family history. Most of all, Mrs. H was smart and taught you to appreciate each moment in life, even when lung cancer was slowly taking hers.

She instilled in me a promise to see that her legacy in family tree research would be finished and make sure her granddaughters knew about their family. Mrs. H wanted to share that history with the next generation of her family. There is one granddaughter she hoped would be the next torchbearer to catch the genealogy bug and continue her life work. But only time will tell.

Who is the torchbearer in your family? Have you found that one person who will continue the legacy of family tree research after you have gone? In our family, regretfully, no one has come to the bar to learn about our family heritage. Maybe at the next family reunion someone will find the desire to setout on that long road we all experience in our research.

There are many folks who only want to put a printed book on a shelf in the den but arent really interested making the effort to do the research or to learn about their family history. Mrs. Huffington was not one of those people! She not only wanted to know the facts, but she wanted to know about the people! She had a fantastic mind for research and had last worked with me on her family history only a few days before she was called home to her ancestors.

What a great blessing we have that she is now looking down on us and I will count her among my genealogy angels! You know what Im taking about. Some folks call it serendipity; I call it guidance by a genealogy angel.

Okay, Mrs. H, just where is Jerome buried?

Note: Last summer, Mrs. Huffington and the Huffington Foundation made a very generous donation to the Milam County Genealogical Society to purchase all of the Cameron Herald newspaper available on microfilm in memory of my mother, Betty Knight Shuffield. This microfilm is now available at the Milam County Genealogical Research Center at the Lucy Hill Patterson Memorial Library in Rockdale, Texas.

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