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

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Printed in the Taylor Daily Press & Thorndale Champion
10 June 2004

Are You On Target?

We are at the mid-point of 2004, are you on target to reach your genealogy goals for this year? You do have genealogy goals, don't you? What do you mean NO?

If you don't know where you're going, you won't know when you get there - and you won't know when you're lost, either.

Your goals should be specific and realistic. It isn't specific enough to say, "I want more ancestors in my family tree database or additional family group sheets." Instead, a goal might be to add one new fact or ancestor a week. Or you might decide to run one ancestor and his/her family in every possible census year.

A common mistake some researchers make is to only look at one or two census. There are clues in every census and a goal should be to search everyone possible for your ancestors!

But spending a few minutes everyday reading and review your notes or organizing your files, small goals are possible.

Set your goals, write them down and then track your progress. I use "To Do Lists" to help direct my goals. Even small achievements move you toward your goals. Keep focused, and you will turn those small steps into great big successes.

A Century of Law Making

Now on-line for genealogists, historians, researchers and all Americans is a new collection "A Century of Law Making For a New Nation, U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1775-1875" at: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lawhome.html. The Library of Congress is providing this amazing collection of on-line historical documents.

Beginning with the Continental Congress in 1774, America's national legislative bodies have kept records of their proceedings. The records of the Continental Congress, the Constitutional Convention, and the United States Congress make up a rich documentary history of the construction of the nation and the development of the federal government and its role in the national life. These documents record American history in the words of those who built our government.

This collection includes: Journals of the Continental Congress; Letters of the Delegates of the Congress; Bills; Resolutions; Statutes; American State Papers; House Journals; Senate Journals; Congressional Record, and much more including records of the Congress of the Confederate States of America.

In addition, the website offers an amazing search engine that allows to look for specific or wide-ranging facts or information.

Civil War Research

Now on-line, free for you to use, is the "Journal of the Congress of the Confederate States of America, 1861-1865" at: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwcc.html.

This seven-volume set was printed between 1904 and 1905 as Senate Document No. 234 of the U.S. Serial Seg, 58th Congress, 2nd session. A Senate Resolution dated January 28, 1904, directed the secretary of war, Elihu Root, to transmit to the U.S. Senate a copy of the Journal of the Provisional Congress and of the 1st and 2nd Congresses of the Confederate States of America.

The Journals document the proceedings of the House and Senate, including both open and secret sessions.

Texas Gammel's Laws

Early Texas Laws are also on-line and free to search http://texinfo.library.unt.edu/lawsoftexas/default.html. This seldom-used resource of early Texas history is an excellent source for odd facts and obscure information. Currently, I am researching Massilon Farley, the First Chief Justice of Milam County (the modern-day equivalent term is now County Judge).

By searching Gammel's, I found an entry stating that the Legislature was going to audit the Sheriff of Williamson County because of the enormous expense of taking the "convict" Massilon Farley to Huntsville.

This clue led me to the fact that the Hon. Judge Farley was convicted of rape in Williamson County in 1852 and he was convict number 91 in the Texas Prison at Huntsville. In 1853, Governor Bell pardoned Judge Farley a few days before he left office.

-- Texas Physicians

Do you have a doctor in the family? If so, you might be interested in checking out The John P. McGovern Historical Collections & Research Center at the Houston Academy of Medicine - Texas Medical Center Library located at 1133 John Freeman Blvd., Houston, Texas 77030-2809 and on-line at http://mcgovern.library.tmc.edu/.

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 24 Sept 2004 and was last revised on __________

Copyright 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604