Origin and History of Lake Grapevine, 1919-1953, Part 1: Beginnings

Lake Grapevine is a reservoir situated approximately twenty miles northwest of Dallas and northeast of Fort Worth. Located on Denton Creek, a tributary of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River, it is a popular destination for Grapevine residents and others who come to enjoy fishing, boating, camping, and other outdoor activities. Its origin and history make for a colorful tale.  The lake known today began as the Grapevine Reservoir and Dam project with the breaking of ground at Denton Creek on December 5, 1947, but its origins actually date back to October 1919 in Dallas, Texas. Spanning both Tarrant County and Denton County, it was impounded on July 3, 1952 by the US Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) in order to control flooding from the creek and to provide an additional source of water for future Dallas, University Park, and Highland Park (known as the Park Cities) population growth....

Farm Directories

Directories are much like today’s telephone books except that they offer a better panorama or “bird’s-eye view” into the makeup of a community or an organization during a particular time period. They offer an abundance of terrific clues and research tips about finding people from the past. Much of this information cannot be found elsewhere. While city directories are a popular tool for finding urban ancestors, researchers should keep in mind that there are farm directories geared toward the rural population. Like city directories, their purpose was to be a tool for businessmen. Not only do farm directories provide valuable family information—especially for those years in between the federal censuses—they also offer a kind of “snapshot” of life on the family farm. Depending on the publisher, you may find various types of information in a farm or rural directory. There were several publishers of these directories, and in today’s blog,...

The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

OK, all you Civil War buffs and genealogists with Civil War ancestors; if you’re not familiar with the Official Records of Union and Confederate Armies in the War of the Rebellion, now is your opportunity to become acquainted with this important set of war documentation of events and persons involved in its military operations. The Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies in the War of the Rebellion, commonly known as the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies or Official Records (OR), is the most extensive collection of American Civil War land warfare records available to the general public. It includes selected first-hand accounts, orders, reports, maps, diagrams, and correspondence drawn from official records of both Union and Confederate armies. A second publication, Supplement to the Official Records of Union and Confederate Armies, is also available, which includes specific documentation omitted from the OR as well as...

There Were 102 Passengers on the Mayflower. Was Your Ancestor One of Them?

More than thirty million people can trace their ancestry to the 102 passengers and approximately thirty crew aboard the Mayflower when it landed in Plymouth Bay on 11 November 1620. Do you have a Mayflower passenger in your past? Have you heard family stories suggesting that you have one but nobody has done the research to try to prove it? The best way to find out is to begin researching yourself and work back, documenting the generations as you go. If you’re so fortunate as to identify one or more of these pioneers as an ancestor, you may also wish to join The General Society of Mayflower Descendants, founded in 1897. You’ll also gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the lives of these Englishmen and women who forged a new life on a new continent. The Pilgrims were a group of English people who came to America seeking religious...

Over There: World War I Genealogical Research

In Flanders Fields John McCrae – 1872-1918 In Flanders fields the poppies blowBetween the crosses, row on row,    That mark our place; and in the sky    The larks, still bravely singing, flyScarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days agoWe lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,    Loved and were loved, and now we lie        In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw    The torch; be yours to hold it high.     If ye break faith with us who dieWe shall not sleep, though poppies grow        In Flanders fields. History of US Involvement At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, a cessation of hostilities began with the signing of an armistice between Allied forces and Germany after a devastating war lasting over...

Historical County Atlases and Plat Books

Historical county atlases and plat books are bound volumes that include detailed maps of each township within a particular county. They contain maps of villages, cities, and county townships; a patron directory (those who contributed to the creation of the book); a reference business directory, illustrations, biographies, and a history of the county. They show property boundaries and land ownership for every parcel of land within a county. Besides physical features like rivers, roads, and hills, these maps showed schools, cemeteries, churches, railways, roads, and administrative boundaries. Each region had unique features; for example, some Wisconsin county atlases show locations of cheese factories. Physical features might offer reasons why residents chose to settle in a certain place. Since these books display property lines and owners as well as biographical information on some citizens, they can be extremely valuable to genealogists. County atlases and plat books contain cadastral maps. Cadastral maps...

Psychic Roots

If you’re a genealogist, October seems to be a good month to blog about psychic roots! Have you experienced coincidence or serendipity in your life? That chance combination of events over which you don’t have control but which nonetheless is beneficial to you in some unexpected way? This happens in genealogy, too! A researcher feels drawn to a particular place, or looks in a particular book or set of records for one thing, but instead discovers something very important to their research that he or she was not looking for, or even thinking about, at the time. Henry Z “Hank” Jones, Jr. has written two intriguing books on this very subject. The first is Psychic Roots: Serendipity & Intuition in Genealogy (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1993, repr. 2008), and the second is More Psychic Roots: Further Adventures in Serendipity & Intuition in Genealogy (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1997, repr. 2003)....

Resources for Hispanic Genealogy

In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Genealogy and Local History blog welcomes guest blogger Judy Everett Ramos, who will offer some great resources for beginning researching Hispanic genealogy. Judy started genealogy research in the sixth grade. She is a member of eleven lineage organizations, including National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, National Society Sons and Daughters of Antebellum Planters 1607-1861, and Descendants of Texas Rangers. She received the Mamie Wynne Cox Historical Research Award from the Daughters of the Republic of Texas for her article on early Texas history, as well as the national Spirit of 1812 award for her series of genealogy articles about the War of 1812. Judy is a Corpus Christi, Texas native, but she has traced her roots around the globe through several family lines. Her professional background includes newspaper, television, and radio reporting, and she currently works in public relations. When she is not...

History of the Grapevine Scholastic (School) Census, 1901-1970

Genealogists are well-versed in the use of federal census records to identify and document their ancestors, but did you know that school districts also made headcounts of their students? This blog is about the history of scholastic census taking in Grapevine. HISTORY OF THE SCHOLASTIC CENSUS IN TEXAS Scholastic census records document the counting of school age children by counties and districts so the state could apportion funds for their education. The first census of Texas school-age children was mandated by an act passed by the Fifth Texas Legislature, Regular Session, on 31 January 1854. From 1854-1905, annual censuses of school children were conducted in each county by its county tax assessor’s office. The law required that a list of the free white population between the age of six and eighteen years be made each year in every county. The age was lowered to six and sixteen in 1870. In...

Featured Database: HeritageQuest Online

In today’s blog, we’ll explore the HeritageQuest Online database. Thanks to the efforts of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, HeritageQuest Online is available from Texas libraries through the TexShare database program. It’s also accessible away from the library to residents with a Texas library card. If you want to access it from home, you’ll need to request TexShare login information from whichever library you obtained your library card. HeritageQuest Online is a comprehensive treasury of American genealogical sources, rich in unique primary sources, local and family histories, convenient research guides, interactive census maps, and more. It provides genealogical and historical sources for more than sixty countries, with coverage dating back as early as the 1700s. All titles are fully indexed and searchable. Search using First and Last Name, Event Year (e.g., birth year), Event Location, and Keyword (e.g., publication title, occupation, or religious affiliation). Hit terms are highlighted...