Friday, January 8, 2010

Characters In My Closet

I call myself a genealogist. I love the search for ancestors, the thrill of finding a new piece of information, and the pleasure of sharing what I have learned. When I began this blog, initially it was going to cover the Moore’s History in Texas, but has become so much more than that. Too many times recently I have heard that “Aunt Tillie doesn’t have an interest in family history and doesn’t want to be bothered.” Or “there are too many skeleton’s in my closet I would rather not know about.” My favorite though is when people tell me, “I don’t see how looking at microfilm after microfilm, or sitting in an old dusty courthouse can be called fun”. The truth is neither could I! I am so glad I don’t do genealogy that way!

This morning I was watching a rerun of the show “7th Heaven”. It is about a minister’s family who has five children and two parents, thus 7th Heaven. The episode today surrounded the Thanksgiving Holiday and Eric’s sister coming to spend the holidays. Everything seemed so normal on the outside, but inside was a different story. Eric’s sister, Julie had become an alcoholic and she became a person no one knew. She became hateful, selfish, mean, and it didn’t matter who she hurt to get another drink of alcohol. Each family member had to work through their own pain, and forgiveness to be able to get back to a point where they could once again become a family. I broke down when it was pointed out that “Aunt Julie was sick with a disease call Alcoholism”.

I guess it struck me so hard, because I realize I am still dealing with many things from my past, and in doing genealogy realize so many traits have been carried down from generation to generation. As a young child I watched my Dad give my brother a beer when I was 4, and my brother 6. I can still see my brother stumbling around after drinking it and my dad and his buddy laughing. They thought it was funny. I was a sophomore in high school and my brother was a senior, when one night he drove home drunk and stumbled up the stairs. It scared me then, and saddens me today.

Vernon Doak Moore Sr, Grace Linn Schoenbohm Moore, Vernon Doak Moore Jr.

When my dad died, there was an empty whiskey bottle found under his bed my dad was sick, very sick. He wasn’t sick with cancer, he was sick with alcoholism. Alcohol took over his life. Somehow I have gotten lucky, I don’t drink. A friend once asked me if I ever wondered what I was missing out on by not drinking and I said, “No, I do enough stupid things by myself I don’t need alcohol to help me.” I am glad I have taken this road, it is a bit safer. But just because I don’t drink doesn’t mean I don’t have an illness.

My “drug” of choice is food, and in particular, sugar. I love the chocolate, and most anything with sugar tied into it. But, I have also discovered that it is a battle with me and one I need to figure out how to deal with. Right now, I am off sugar until Valentine’s Day. Then I shall re-evaluate and setup another battle plan for the sugar war.

So what has all this got to do with Genealogy? Too often times we find the skeleton’s or as I like to call them the “characters” in our research and we either don’t know what to do with them, or ignore them and hope no one else will discover them. Too often times we slap a label on them, and turn a different direction expecting the problem to go away.

So what do we do with the “Characters in Our Closet?” I think it is important to tell their story as much as the hero story. For my Great Grandfather that I affectionately call “my character in the closet”, I can see his daughters had a great love for him. The person that is portrayed in the newspaper article of assassinating H G Dubose, is not the person they knew.

Genealogy is more than just finding names in a census, or a grave in a cemetery. It is truly finding out who that person was. One case in point deals with my grandfather Vernon Doak Moore Sr. As a child I remember him as a mean old man. Near by his chair was a spittoon that I remember him spitting his chew tobacco in a lot! He chased us with his cane, yelled at us to settle down, was gross when he spit and probably called us names. All the typical stuff of an ole mean person. But when I talk with the older relatives, they remember a different person when they were younger. One relayed to me that when my grandmother was asked why she married my grandfather, she simply said, “He was funny and a lot of fun to be around.” I could never see my grandfather as fun. But in my research I found listing after listing of grand parties held in Taylor, Texas and my grandfather and his siblings always being amongst the listed guests list. It wasn’t one or two parties, but several. Another article on his sister’s wedding stated that “Ellen and her siblings were quite popular the social events.” My grandfather, a socialite? What happened?

To understand where things might have changed for my grandfather, you would have to understand his past. He was born on April 4, 1886 and raised on a cotton plantation. He was only 14 years old when both his parents had passed away and he was left to his grandparents. From the numerous of probate records there are, there was much time spent in courts dealing with the large sum of money the children had been left. Some of the siblings had moved on to the Dakota Territory, my grandfather seemed to have stayed in Texas. In 1917 he married my grandmother and seemed to kind of move around, finding them in at least three different census records in three different counties. His first child was a baby girl, who died at only twelve days old. The house I remember them living at in Corpus Christi was bought for them by their daughter Kathy. Kathy’s husband was a WWII fighter pilot and died doing a test maneuver.

I look at the labels I have put on my grandfather and ask myself, why? Why do we put labels on anyone? I find when I do, then my compassion, love and sympathy for people seem to disappear and I become that other person. I become that person I don’t want to be remembered as. So in my quest for researching my family history, I am striving to find those characteristics that make them who they are. They say everyone has one good thing about them, but often that is overlooked as anger takes over.

I hope today my grandfather is looking down smiling as I try to tell his story. My favorite of him is one of him and his cat Frisky. The shortened version of the story is my grandfather always yelled to my grandmother, “Women there is no chicken in my chicken and dumplings.” My grandmother would sweetly reply, “Yes there is keep looking!” Oh did I forget to tell you my grandfather was blind? You guess what happens to the chicken when a blind man sits down to dinner with a cross eyed Siamese cat nearby!

We always hear to collect your family stories now while you can. By talking with relatives that knew them, you will be able to get a better picture of who they were. What were their loves and passions? What kind of music did they like? What were their hobbies? There are so many things that can clue us in on what things changed their lives to make them a part of our history. My grandfathers are definitely “The Characters in My Closet”. But none the less, they get a spot in my history. After all they have earned them.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Williamson County Library Resources

I have learned from being here in Williamson County, TX to do research there is a learning curve to finding what you are looking for. In my few trips to the Taylor, Georgetown, and Round Rock libraries, here is some info that will hopefully help you if you come to Williamson County to do research in person. It has been trial and error with me, so hopefully this info will help you save some precious time.

Taylor, TX Library-- has some scrapbooks, city directories and a few other things that can only be found in the Taylor Library. If you ancestors lived in Taylor, and you have extra time on the agenda, it is a place to go. You might just get lucky. I have been twice now, and have been a bit disappointed, but on the other hand found something I would have not found any where else. The main problem in Taylor is nothing is indexed. The library does house microfilmed copies of the Taylor Press, but it is not the best source due to being hard to read and not being indexed. Normally when I get to the Taylor Library, it has been in the afternoon and I am only able to spend a few hours. However, I have found the cattle and horse brands listed earlier in my blog. That was cool!

Georgetown, TX Library---Now, I do have to admit I LOVE going to the Georgetown Library. They are limited on resources, but there are two things there I cannot find anywhere else. The first thing would be the Williamson County Sun. I did not know about this paper until Mr. Love (my second reason for loving the Georgetown Library) told me about it. Mr. Love is a cute little guy who is a walking encyclopedia of Williamson County. You can give him a surname, and if they were prominent in the county, he can tell you about them. He talks about “continuity” of a family, which I find quite intriguing

I have aunts who are much older than me and talk about their growing up years and how close they all were. But in asking about my MOORE line, they never met any of them. I also sense that when my Great Grandparents died, and the children became of age, they all went their separate ways. There were seven children, and two of the seven I have found no substantial records of. I have few pictures of some of the siblings as adults, and John never seems to be mentioned again. Bell, is mentioned sparsely in a letter from his sister to his brother. Grady it seems died at an early age, and Lee died in the 60’s. Jack, I have no clue where he went or is today. My MOORE family for the most part is a huge mystery in my life. There is just no “continuity” or closeness in the family, and it seems to go back from generation to generation.

But as mentioned above, the Williamson County Sun has provided some details. My great grandmother’s obituary in the Williamson County Sun dated April 12, 1894 simply stated, “Mrs. Minerva Moore, widow of an old settler from this county is dead.” Got to love those old obituaries! So the Williamson County Sun is informational, if you have a date to search. As I gather dates for my family, I will search the Williamson County Sun. It is a fascinating paper as it encompasses all of Williamson County and has been in publication for over 100 years. The drawback for all of you—currently it is only available as far as I know in the Georgetown Library.

Round Rock, TX Library – It was decided many years ago that the Round Rock library would house the Williamson County genealogical records. They have a small section on Williamson County records, such as Marriage records, cemetery records etc., but there is a descent amount of information available for the state of Texas and many of the counties. Again, there are a few odd things there I have found most helpful. One was a book titled “Taylor and its Neighbors” that had some interesting information and pictures in it. There is also the Pioneer Settlers information IF it has been submitted by a descendant. To become part of the Williamson County Pioneer sector, you must prove your ancestor was in the county before December 31, 1880. There is a cost of $10 in which you get a pioneer certificate and your ancestor listed in the Williamson County Pioneers.

So those are pretty much our choices for library resources here in Williamson County. As I said earlier depending on what I am looking for, is which library I will head for. Of course, there are other resources I will list as time goes on, of cool things (I think anyways!) I have found in my research. Have you seen the map of Williamson County that lists the land plots NAMED!! Very cool!!!

Don’t forget to sign up as a follower of TexasMooreHistory, then you will know when I update my blog! Again Happy Hunting, and if you have ancestors in Williamson County, Texas please tell me about them!!!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Williamson County Public School Teachers 1893-1894

Williamson County Public Schools for 1893-1894
Apportionment and Post Office Addresses
Extracted from the Williamson County Sun; Georgetown, TX – Dec 7, 1893

**Note: For some schools, there are teachers and post offices missing. This is the way the article read. I am guessing they may did not have all the information when they went to print and so they printed what they had. I will try and remember to look for the following weeks paper and see if the additional names are there. I would love to hear if your ancestors were found on this list. Happy Hunting! Laura

FOR 1893-1894
Apportionment and Post-Office Addresses
Dist. Name of
Amt for
Teachers Post Office

1 N Georgetown 58 292.05 C A Lord Georgetown
1 Philadelphia 36 166.30 Miss Sallie Smith Georgetown
2 Berry's Creek 60 277.15 S A Chapman Georgetown
2 Strickland Grove 48 218.76 Miss Josie Brown Georgetown
3 Leander 32 144.00 Miss Annie Pickle Leander
3 Strickland Grove 89 400.50 J O Owen
Miss Anna Lowrey
4 Cedar Park 59 225.00 G H Mays Cedar Park
5 Pond Springs 84 379.00 W M Houghton Buttercup
6 Liberty Hill 180 886.00 D L Hamilton
J E Hamilton
Miss Moss Richardson
Phenie White
Liberty Hill
6 South Gabriel 50 225.00 Miss Clara Bowmer Leander
6 Silent Grove 38 177.30 Miss Virginia Hall Liberty Hill
7 Concord 53 175.50 Miss Addie H Faublon Gabriel Mills
7 Sycamore 35 157.50 I W Horton Gabriel Mills
7 N Gabriel 42 193.20 Miss Jennie Wilson Liberty Hill
7 Mt Horeb 22 99.00 Frank Lair Gabriel Mills
7 Seymour 48 207.00 Miss Cora Williamson Gabriel Mills
8 Rock House 57 256.50 J E Porter Liberty Hill
8 Hunt 44 198.00 S J Matthews Liberty Hill
9 White House 50 225.00 J C Carpenter Florence
9 Wales 36 153.00 Miss Minnie Harvey Florence
9 Centre Grove 39 190.50 Jno. T Hall Liberty Hill
10 Florence 130 586.00 H Mowrey
Miss Della Scott
Miss Lou Hall
10 Prairie Lea 89 401.20 W T McGee
Miss Mattie Faublon
10 Centre Point 37 166.50 Miss Neely Price Florence
10 Gravel Hill 57 256.50 J B Chapman Florence
10 Wade 39 175.50 Miss Angie Bridgewater Florence
11 Owens 60 270.00 Miss Jennie Skaggs Corn Hill
12 Corn Hill 143 655.40 A L Smoot
Miss B K Skaggs
Corn Hill
12 Primrose 50 225.00 W W Jenkins Corn Hill
12 Flat Rock 46 201.01 Mis Sula Watson Corn Hill
12 Theon 21 157.50 Alex Pate Corn Hill
13 Axe 61 274.50 T D Erwin Granger
13 Walburg 63 290.50 W D Weimers Walburg
13 Robbins 54 243.75 O H Robbins Walburg
14 Circleville 44 198.00 N W Garner Circleville
14 Maravia 47 211.50

15 Granger 165 799.00 J H Morse
Misses Fannie Graves and Templeton
15 Macedonia 64 288.00 George E Critz Granger
15 Yankee Branch 49 237.20 D G Booth Granger
15 Lone Elm 75 350.72 Miss Sarah Laughlin Granger
16 Puryear 58 261.94 Mrs V Avery Gano
17 Eckman 48 261.77 J B Heanell Beaukiss
18 Rices Crossing 82 369.00 Miss Lillian Webster Rices Crossing
18 London 54 243.00 Miss Annie Lucas Taylor
18 Coupland 26 183.50 John Goetz Couplan
19 Rouund Rock 225 1097.36 J M Hale
Miss S E McKinney
Ethel Jones
Lenora Hudson
Mrs M E Cunningham
Round Rock
20 Stony Point 46 210.35 J A Hudson Hutto
21 Stiles 43 193.50 Miss Florence Horn Thorndale
21 Long Branch 70 335.35 G B Mays Taylor
21 Turkey Creek 28 126.00

22 Allison 85 382.50 F M Johnson Granger
23 Robertson 58 265.70 B G Lane Georgetown
23 Bell 39 175.50 Miss Alice Love Georgetown
24 Hopewell 61 274.50 Miss Lena Hickman Liberty Hill
25 Bartlett 191 858.50 S E Gidney
J B Phillbeck
Miss Minnie Lee Charles
Annie Roberts
26 Jonah 70 315.00 T E McDaniel Jonah
26 Salyer 58 279.24 J M Patterson Jonah
26 Prairie Springs 48 216.00 J S Dunn Georgetown
27 Chalk Ridge 34 153.00 P P Smith Corn Hill
28 Chandler Branch 16 71.00 Sallie Stubblefield Georgetown
29 Cedar Valley 2 9.00

30 Pleasant Hill 57 256.50 W I Rowe Leander
31 New Hope 24 108.80 G H Mays Cedar Park
32 Conoway 56 282.00 A B Corder Florence
32 Yarbrough 28 144.00 Miss Mary Corder Florence
33 Georgetown 452 2089.65 F P Layerett
Miss Julia Levernett
Nellie Palm
Kate Lavell
Mamie Howrer
Mrs M B Johnston
34 East View 36 162.00 C A Leverton Georgetown
35 Cedar Point 24 108.20

35 Fisher 30 165.00 Thos Gullett Georgetown
36 Union Chapel 22 99.00 Miss Iona Middleton Leander
37 Beyersville 71 319.75 Miss Willie Marshall Beyersville
38 Wilson Springs 55 237.50 Miss Laura Porter Taylor
39 Tyler 78 351.00 Miss Ada Aldredge Taylor
40 Huddleston 58 157.50 B H Lane Georgetown
41 Palm Valley 53 180.21 Miss Sallie Stephens Round Rock
42 Ranger Branch 62 279.00 T C Weir Georgetown
43 Somerset 67 301.50 Geo W McKee Circleville
44 Yakay 46 207.36 Miss Matilda Sayles Taylor
45 Siloam 66 303.41 C A Lecroft Beaukiss
45 Condron 23 90.45 R L Vance Elgin
45 Pear Palley 31 141.50 W D Reeves Couplan
46 Laneport 54 243.50 W R Parker Laneport
47 Alligator 26 123.90 Miss Nellie Cates Bartlett
47 Fowler 8 36.00 Miss Ida Wade Bartlett
48 Lone Star 56 252.02 J A Brewster Bartlett
49 Easley 63 303.50 Miss Lillian Griffin Circleville
50 Burnap 33 148.50 Miss Annie Flinn Hutto
51 Whittle & Harrel 42 189.65 Miss Mattie Chapman Hutto
52 Walnut Spring 69 310.50 Miss Maggie Sillure Rices Crossing
53 Mt Prospect 75 341.20 W A Barlow Corn Hill
54 Gattis 34 153.00 Miss Effie Rowe Round Rock
55 Shilo 84 423.45 W W Wilson Beaukiss
56 Gordon 15 67.50

District Name of
Amt for
Teachers Post Office
1 Chapel Hill 20 90.00

2 Miller 55 250.70 W H Passon Liberty Hill
3 Florence 14 63.00

4 Corn Hill 20 90.00

5 Damascus 49 220.50

6 Mt Pleasant 19 85.50

7 Kimbro Valley 28 248.32

8 Hopewell 154 693.00 J H Kerley Round Rock
9 Walker 10 45.00

10 Rocky Hollow 24 113.00

11 St Paul 156 702.00 E W Clark
L N Norris
12 Bailey 14 63.15

13 Jonas 9 40.50