Monday, February 1, 2010

Hunting Williamson County Records

I wanted to share with all of you a couple of things I have found in the last few weeks. It all started with the challenge of Geneabloggers that I made a trip to the Round Rock Library in search of books that may be helpful to others who were researching in Williamson County, TX.

I may have mentioned this before, but I am mentioning it again because it is important to remember when you are researching to think OUTSIDE THE BOX. My grandfather Vernon Doak Moore was with his grandparents Richard and Virginia Forehand in the 1900 census. Who was Richard and Virginia and how did they fit into my MOORE line other than they had the five grandchildren was a mystery for many years. Probates indicated that the children's parents were Jack and Minerva Moore and both had died after 1894 and before 1900. The last child was born in 1894 so this was the approximate death dates I came up with In my search I could find no death record for Jack or Minerva. Also I found Minerva's with Richard Forehand as the father, but none that fit the criteria I had. Where is my dang family if they are in Williamson County!!! Grrrr It was a vicious cycle.

I had come to learn than Minerva was actually the former Minerva Cain and finally poor Virginia was able to have a surname put with her other than MOORE. However, there was still alot of mystery in this family and I did not understand why in Census records they seemed to be in Williamson County, but when it came time for death and marriage there were no records. So back to looking at the books in the Round Rock library. On the other side of the shelves from Williamson County are the Travis County books

Travis and Williamson County border one another, but I guess in my mind I kept them separate because to travel that far in the late 1800's or 1900's seemed unlikely to do. Imagine my surprise to pick up two different marriage record books from Travis county and fine two separate marriage records I had been searching for. Searching for as in for over 30 years. I was not the only one, another gentleman told me he had been chasing Virginia for over 20 years. She was a sly little rascallette!

In Travis County I found Richard and Virginia's marriage record!! I had a marriage record!!! I had her married name from her first marriage!!! Why couldn't I have found this 30 years ago! I also learned from my research that my great grandfather Jack Moore had been married twice. The second marriage was to my great grandmother Minerva, the first to a Rebecca Burleson. I had searched for that record as well, and also in Rebecca's home county (I thought) of Bastrop County. But I did not find it, till I pulled out the Travis County Marriage Records and shazam there it was!!!

Sometimes we forget the obvious in our search. I know I had been told to search neighboring counties, but there are several counties that neighbor Williamson County!!! And somewhere in all this it slipped through the cracks!!! With the finding of marriage records I went to see what else I could find in Travis County.

Imagine my surprise to find Nathaniel and Rebecca Moore (my great great great grandparents) living next to Thomas and Mary Moore (my great great grandparents) and next to them was the Burleson family. Thomas and Mary's son Robert married Martha Jane Burelson and there she was living next door. A farm or two away were the Williams Family, Mary's parents. And so it goes on.

The next thing I had to do was document this all so I remember where I found them. As I was reminded in a genealogy class on Saturday, county boundaries change. Learn about the county your are researching. If you go to you can learn about the county

So your lesson for the day is: If you cannot find your ancestors where you think they should be, step back and approach a different way.

  • Have you checked the neighboring counties for records?
  • Have you looked at genealogical societies in the area to see what they may have online. It was through the Austin Genealogical Society that I found some records and started digging a bit further to see what else I could find on my ancestors.
  • Do you know what newspapers were available for that area? Newspaperarchive, Genealogybank are both good resources.
  • Have you checked family trees to see if someone else is searching your line?
  • Are you a member of your public library? Many public libraries offer databases on line to patrons that could assist you in your research.
  • Still at a dead end.....have you take a recent genealogy class? It is always a good way to step outside the comfort zone and maybe get into uncharted territories.
The other thing I wanted you all to know that are doing research in Williamson County, TX is that you can find many land records ONLINE and Free!!! How you ask?
Williamson County Records Online. One thing to note is that you can save a copy of the document to your PC and when you do, you will get a watermark across the document that states UNOFFICIAL COPY. To get that taken off, you would need to get a copy from Williamson County. It was a very sweet feeling to see my ancestors in Book 1 of the records. Not all records are online yet, I know they are working on them. But there are alot of cool things that are and maybe assist you in your research.

So there you have it some more options that may assist you in your research in Williamson County, TX!!!

Happy Hunting everyone!!!!

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