Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What's In A Name & Upcoming Events

What's In A Name?
Are you curious about the origin of your name? We have two new books that delve into this subject.

American Surnames by Elsdon C. Smith divides this subject into six broad categories:
Classification of Surnames
Surnames from Father's Name
Surnames from Occupation or Office
Surnames from Description or Action (nicknames)
Surnames from Places
Surnames Not Properly Included Elsewhere
Mr. Smith also provides a list of the 2000 most common surnames in use in the United States, ranked in order of frequency.

Clues to Our Family Names by Lou Stein lists hundreds of surnames; many of these have a description of their use or origin and the root from which they rose.  Chapters in this book include:
How Our Family Names Began
Family Names from Nicknames
Family Names from Occupations
Family Names from Parents' First Names
Family Names from Address Names

Upcoming Events:
Thursday, November 10 at 7:00 at the Roy and Helen Hall Memorial Library: The North Collin County Genealogical Society will host Paula Perkins, a Professional Genealogical Consultant, Lecturer, and Instructor of genealogy classes.  Ms. Perkins will present Secular, Denominational, Ethnic & Trade Newspapers: Location of the papers, records to be found and how to retrieve these under-used sources locally.  This program is free and open to all.

Saturday, November 19 at 10:15 - 11:45 am in the Roy and Helen Hall Memorial Library:  If you or someone you know has wanted to start tracing their family tree, but don’t know quite how to get started, then our FREE Genealogy 101 Workshop is for them.  If you are an experienced Genealogist, please let your beginning genealogy friends know about this program.  We will discuss the different forms to be used, what resources can help with the start of a family tree and a tour of the Genealogy section of the Library.  For more information, contact Susan at or 972.547.7343

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Collin County Needs Your Help and Upcoming Events

The folowing is reprinted with permission of th Dallas Morning News:

Collin County looking to preserve historical record — before it’s too late

Staff Writer
Published: 16 October 2011 in the Dallas Morning News Metro section, page 1
A small army of amateur historians is racing the wave of development sweeping Collin County.
With expanding highways, new homes and future retail nipping at their heels, these folks are on a mission: Find every historical site in the county. They’re looking for old school buildings, cemeteries, farms, cattle trails — anything with historical significance.
And they need help before it’s too late.
The project, a massive “historical asset” survey, is an attempt to document the county’s history before it’s erased by development, said County Commissioner Joe Jaynes.
“The first casualty can be your local history,” he said. “It’s real easy to lose.”
Jim Ryan, director of the Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation, said the Collin County Historic Asset Survey Project started a few years ago with the simple goal of finding and documenting sites.
Then members of the historical commission had the idea to take the project online and make it interactive. The result is what Ryan hopes will be an in-depth look at every nook and cranny of the county.
Already, visitors to the online map can find details of a barber shop in McKinney that’s been cutting hair since 1892. Check out the story behind the 1844 Muncey Massacre in Plano, site of the county’s last fatal Indian attack. Or learn about the Spanish Oaks in Frisco where the Shawnee Trail cattle drive passed.
Ryan, a retired computer consultant, admitted that the word “hobby” barely described his fascination with history. The Plano resident has mapped his family’s genealogy back to the first century A.D. and is working with The History Channel on a documentary about the Santa Fe Trail.
Now he’s going on a treasure hunt in his own backyard
“You get absorbed. You get obsessed,” Ryan said. “Or at least I do.”

Find a site and its story
He is coordinating the efforts of 120 volunteers across the county as the director of the asset project. He takes their information, formats their data and inputs the information into a database that feeds the online map.
The volunteers are doing all the footwork.
They start with a set of simple instructions — find a site, document its location, classify it into a category and gather as much of the site’s story as possible.
Of course, it’s not that simple, said Diane Miller, the captain of volunteers in the northeast quadrant of the county. While some can find what they need in libraries or on the Internet, the most interesting pieces of information come from folks who have lived in certain areas for decades — or longer.
“We’re looking for stuff not in the history books,” said Miller, a fourth-generation cattle rancher in Melissa. “We’re looking for what’s in the hearts and minds of people.”
She raises cattle on more than 500 acres hidden behind a canopy of trees and unpaved roads. Just five minutes from her house, Miller is overseeing the archaeological excavation of the remains of the Wysong Blacksmith Shop, which dates to 1850.
Miller and other volunteers visit the site three days a week to dig. They’re in a race against a new highway that will come straight through the blacksmith shop’s remains.
“We’ll dig until the bulldozers come through,” Miller said. “It’s a race to get it before it’s gone.”
Her small band of amateur archaeologists has found more than 2,000 artifacts — everything from brands, tongs and nails to a coin from 1864, barrel rings and wagon parts. The items belonged to Charles Hopkins Wysong, a tanner, wagon maker and blacksmith who lived and worked at the site in the latter half of the 19th century.
Wysong settled in Collin County in 1850. His blacksmith shop was a stagecoach stop and one of the first post offices in the area, serving the Highland Community that would later become the town of Melissa.
Losing the site to the new highway is exactly the type of situation that drove Miller to volunteer for the survey. She said she hates the development changing Melissa but knows she can’t stop it.
“I’m 64, and I can remember going to the old ladies in town to hear stories about what was here,” she said. “Now they’re gone, and it’s kind of weird to think that what’s left is in my head. If I don’t write it down, it’ll disappear.”

‘History is who we are’
Joy Gough, who is the project’s cemetery expert and author of Cemeteries of Collin County, said those who do remember are generally older and aren’t always able to fill out the project forms on their own. So it falls to the volunteers to take down an oral history. But even that can be difficult because specific details have faded.
“Back in the 1800s, people were buried in their backyards,” Gough said. “Now someone will start developing land, and they’ll find a cemetery no one knew about.”
That’s why the project needs help. Gough said she hopes more people will send in stories or — even better — become a volunteer.
Ryan understands the project is daunting — and probably never-ending. One story always seems to lead to another, he said.
For example, while researching the massacre in Plano, Ryan discovered two mounds in a nearby flood plain. The size and location of the mounds indicated they weren’t made by a farmer. His hunch: They could be Caddo Indian burial mounds from before the massacre.
He can’t wait to conduct tests and add the find to the survey map for future generations.
“A community is known by its history,” Ryan said. “History is who we are.”

If you are interested in submitting site suggestions or volunteering for the Collin County Historical Asset Survey project, contact:
Jim Ryan
2724 Bengal Lane
Plano, Texas 75023

Upcoming Events:

This Saturday, Oct. 22 10:15 - 11:45 at the Roy and Helen Hall Memorial Library - Genealogy 101.  This FREE two - part program is for people who want to start tracing their family tree, but aren't sure how to get started.  The second part will take place on Saturday November 19.  You can attend both parts for the full program or you can choose which date fits into your busy schedule and we can update you on the part you miss.  Please contact Susan at or 972.547.7343.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

New Items for September and Upcoming Events

New Items Received in September 2011:

  • U.S. Military Records: A Guide to Federal & State Sources, Colonial America to the Present
  • Flora and Fauna of the Civil War: An Environmental Reference Guide
  • Tartan for Me
  • Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England: Volumes 1 through 4
  • Female Index to Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England
  • Records of the Accounting Officers of the Department of the Treasury Inventory 14
  • The German Element in the Northeast: Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey & New England
  • Land Records of Sussex County Delaware 1789 – 1792
  • Index to Sussex county Delaware Wills 1800 – 1851
  • Historic Georgia Families
  • Jasper County Yankee Campaigns of the 38th Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Company K
  • Doniphan County, Kansas Records of Deaths 1898 – 1908
  • Marriage and Death Notices Caddo Parish, Louisiana and Environs 1843 – 1871
  • The Tents of Baltimore: Ohelim in the Jewish Cemeteries
New Jersey:
  • Old Times in Monmouth, New Jersey
  • Bergen County, New Jersey Deed Records 1689 - 1801
New York:
  • Guide to Genealogical and Biographical Sources for New York city (Manhattan) 1783 – 1898
  • Index to Marriages and Deaths in the New York Herald: Volume 1: 1835–1855, Volume 2: 1856–1863, Volume 3: 1864-1870
  • New York Marriages Previous to 1784
North Carolina:
  • Mecklenburg County, North Carolina Deed Abstracts 1763 – 1779
  • Iredell County, North Carolina Cemeteries: Volumes 1 through 7
  • Iredell County, N.C. Abstracts of the Minutes of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions 1789 – 1799 (donated to the Library by the North Collin County Genealogical Society)
  • Iredell County, N.C. Abstracts of the Minutes of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions 1800 – 1814
  • Iredell County, N.C. Abstracts of the Minutes of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions 1815 – 1822, 1826 – 1834, and 1839 – 1850
  • The Monongahela of Old or, Historical Sketches of South-Western Pennsylvania to the Year 1800
  • Biographical and Genealogical Sketches from Central Pennsylvania
South Carolina:
  • Slave Records of Edgefield County, South Carolina
  • South Carolina Deed Abstracts 1773 – 1778 Books F-4 through X-4
  • South Carolina Deed Abstracts 1776 – 1783       Books Y-4 through H-5
  • Marriage and Death Notices from the Up-Country of South Carolina as taken from Greenville Newspapers 1826 – 1863
  • Index to 1860 Mortality Schedule of South Carolina
  • Abstracts of Records of Secretary of the Province South Carolina 1692 – 1721
  • South Carolina Revolutionary War Indents: A Schedule
  • Hawkins County, Tennessee Circuit Court Minutes 1810 – 1821
  • Hawkins County Tennessee Circuit Court Minutes 1822 – 1825 and Fragment for the Period     November 1827 – August 1828
  • Wilson County, Tenneessee [sic] Tax Lists 1830 - 1832
  • Historical Markers of Palo Pinto County, Texas With Additional Historical Information of the Sites
  • Historical Markers of Parker County, Texas With Additional Historical Information of the Sites
  • Murder, Mayhem and More: Palo Pinto and Parker County Early crimes
  • Parker County, Texas Index of Extractions of Criminal Causes District Court, Civil Minutes Volume One Through Volume Six June 1874 – March 30, 1897
  • Texas News 1901 Violence, death and Disaster January 14 Through June 29
  • Marion County, Texas in the Civil War
  • Texas Land Survey Maps for Upshur County
  • Texas Land Survey Maps for Mason County
  • Texas Land Survey Maps for Leon County
  • Texas Land Survey Maps for Medina County
  • Texas Land Survey Maps for Navarro County
  • Texas Land Survey Maps for Smith County
  • Collin County Texas in the Civil War
  • Titus and Franklin Counties in the Civil War
  • Essex County, Virginia Marriage Records: Transcripts of Consents, Affidavits, Minister Returns, and Marriage Licenses Volume 1: 1850 – 1872
  • Essex County, Virginia Cemeteries Volume 1: County Church Cemeteries
  • Virginia 1850 and 1860 An Amherst County Index to the U.S. Slave Schedule
  • Albemarle County in Virginia
Upcoming Events:

October 12 at 7:00 pm: Peggy a. Radshaw, PhD will present "the 1918 Flu Strikes Sherman, Texas" at the Haggard Library located at 2501 Coit Road, Plano.  This is a free program - all are welcome.

October 13 at 7:00 pm: The North Collin County Genealogical Society will host Shirley Apley.  Ms. Apley will present "Fred Knows: An In-depth Look at Texas Death Certificates.  This program will take place at the Roy and Helen Hall Memorial Library located at 101 East Hunt Street, McKinney.  This is a free program - all are welcome.

October 15: Registration 8:30 - 9:00 am, Sessions begin at 9:00 am at the Family History Centers located at  2700 Roundrock Trail, Plano.  This is a free program, but you must register at   Session 1: What's New With FamilySearch 2011  Session 2: FamilySearch Research  Resources

October 22 and November 19 10:15 - 11:45 am: Genealogy 101 for those starting to trace their roots.  This is a 2 part program that will take place at the Roy and Helen Hall Memorial Library located at 101 East Hunt Street, McKinney.  This is a free program open to all.  To register or for more information, please contact Susan at or 972.547.7343.