All 254 Counties Surveyed for Their Records

April 12, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Yesterday, the Houston Chronicle ran a very welcome story about documenting some of our most irreplaceable documents in the state of Texas. Soon, county clerks from all 254 counties in Texas will be receiving a survey asking them to document the records they have in their possession, along with the condition of the documents and any preservation plans they have for the documents.

This is due in part to an order last November by the Texas Supreme Court to create the Court Records Preservation Task Force, which is a volunteer group dedicated to documenting and preserving court documents. Some of these may not have even been seen before now, at least by the public:

Old court documents contain valuable information, much of it never seen by historians, said Kroger. Topics include slavery, the Texas Republic, immigration, genealogy and many others.
Many such records, some dating from 1836, have been stolen, lost, destroyed or left to decay. The task force plans to identify where the most valuable records are located and develop procedures for preserving them.

Part of those plans include digitizing/scanning every document and making them accessible to the public, and looking into the possibility of creating a permanent group dedicated to guiding the preservation and documentation efforts.

While it covers court-related documents, from what I’ve been reading and people I’ve been talking to, the plan is to hopefully extend it further to other county documents (and city) of interest to the public and the state.

Very welcome news!

Source: Houston Chronicle

New Book Out About History of Parker County, Texas

April 7, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Earlier this week, Jon Vandagriff, an author and local historian from the Weatherford/Parker County area, spoke about his new book at the Weatherford Public Library. Crystal Brown has an article up on the Weatherford Democrat about it as well.

The book is called The Story of Parker County, Texas: 1852-1956 and covers the efforts of Mr. Vandagriff to collect information about Parker County over the past 50 years (yes 50 years). The information comes from newspapers (Vandagriff worked at the Weatherford Democrat), local family histories, related books, and genealogy resources.

The book is structured such that it starts shortly before the founding of the county and covers the history on a year by year basis up through 1956. It contains stories and events related to local folks and includes photographs, both old and new.

There will be a copy available in the genealogy department of the Weatherford Public Library (website), or you can buy one for yourself through the Doss Heritage and Culture Center (website or call 817-599-6168).

Further Reading:
Weatherford Democrat

Presentation about Caddo Indians (March 28, 2010)

March 23, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

This coming Sunday (March 28) at 2:30pm, Cecile Elkins Carter will be giving a talk about Caddo Indians at the Cleburne Conference Center (website, 1501 Henderson Street) in Cleburne, Texas, in conjunction with the Layland Museum (website). Carter is the author of Caddo Indians: Where We Come from.

Pete Kendall has a nice write-up at the Cleburne Times-Review about about Carter’s talk and Caddo Indians in this part of Texas. The Caddos were not a nomadic group, unlike some of the more well-known Indian tribes that have made their homes in Texas at one time or another, and were present in large numbers in East Texas and along the Red River before the settlers came along.

Further Reading:
Cleburne Times-Review

Article: Texas Czech Group Working to Preserve Traditions

June 23, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

Radio Prague has published an article by Ian Willoughby , Texas Czech group working to preserve traditions, about John Polasek, a member of the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center’s Board of Directors, who traveled to Prague to receive an award. Ian spoke with John about Texas’ Czech heritage and what’s being done to preserve and enhance it.

Excerpts from the article:

“We’re re-establishing some of the old Czech farm homesteads. Most of the Czechs that came to Texas settled in farm areas. So we’re rebuilding the farmsteads.

Tell us also about the collections you have at the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Centre of Czech historical artefacts.

“We have numerous pictures, books and all that that our ancestors brought over from the Czech Republic. We have a genealogy section where people can research their family history, and most of the people there know where there roots are in the Czech Republic, believe it or not.”

For more information about the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center, visit

Article: A&M Researcher Digs up History in Cemetery

February 14, 2006 by · Leave a Comment 

Jen Sansbury writes about an archaelogical team from Texas A&M looking for unmarked graves dating from the Mexican-American war and Civil War in a cemetery in West Columbia. Her article appears in The Facts (Brazoria County).


The second archaeological dig at the historic Columbia Cemetery on Saturday unearthed the corner of a 19th-century coffin and evidence of up to six other unmarked graves.

It did not, however, uncover the resting places of 248 Mexican-American War soldiers and 16 Civil War soldiers believed to be buried there.

Still, those involved with the dig pronounced it a success.

Source: The Genealogue