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

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Printed in the Taylor Daily Press & Thorndale Champion
2 December 2004


The artist Henri Matisse once said, "Exactitude is not the truth." Matise felt that conviction does not depend on "the exact copying of natural forms ... but on the profound feeling of the artist before the objects that he has chosen, on which his attention is focused and the spirit of which he has penetrated."

What is exactitude? It is being precise and accurate and strictly and complete in accord with fact. It also means the meticulous observation to a standard.

No, we are not having an art lesson today. We are however, having a discussion about how you look at your family tree research. But remember, it is often said that life imitates art or is it art imitates life?

Leonardo DaVinci called it "the best and the most noble" of our senses. He asked, "Do you not see how the eye embraces the beauty of the whole world?"

That is how some people view their family tree research. They print it out, they study it and they embrace their creative senses in trying to find their elusive ancestors.

It is sort of like thinking outside the box, problem solving or brainstorming to create a new direction in your research.

Embracing the exactitude of your family tree can also mean accepting that sometimes it will not support the conclusions you want or believe to be true.

My great-great-grandfather, Henry Read Williams, always says it was born in Tennessee but never once have I found a county location nor the names of his parents. After having research every Williams family in Tennessee in 1850 and 1860, my conclusion is that one he is either not to be found in the census or he is one of several possible households.

After researching those targeted households, my hopes and conclusions are shattered, as he could not possible be the child of these families. While I was exacting in my meticulous research of all the Williams families in 1850 and 1860 Tennessee he is either not to be found or I have misidentified the target families to be researched.

So, after the holidays, I will have to re-focus my attention to new families and create a new spirit of adventure seeking the illusive parents of Henry Read Williams.

El Camino Real de los Tejas Symposium

In April 2005, Milam County, Texas, will host the first ever El Camino Real de los Tejas International Symposium & Conference: A Texas, Louisiana, Mexico Legacy.

On Friday, April 22nd, the City of Rockdale will be the site of the El Camino Real Tourism Workshop, which is being sponsored by five state agencies and on Saturday, April 23rd, the Yoe High Performing Arts Center in Cameron will be the location of the Symposium and Conference.

The conference will focus on the significant history of the trails and the shared history between Texas, Louisiana and Mexico. Noted historians will present discussions on the contributions of Spain and France to the history of the trails and the communities along its route. The trail systems started by the Spanish in 1691 using ancient Indian trails, who sought to thwart French incursions by establishing missions and presidios along the trails. Sites for three of these missions are located in Milam County.

On October 18, 2004, President Bush signed legislation making the El Camino Real de los Tejas, a network of roads the Spanish blazed from Mexico City to Natchitoches, LA, a National Historic Trail, which will be administered by the National Park Service.

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, 2004 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604