New Book Out About History of Parker County, Texas

April 7, 2010 by  

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

New Exhibits at Meadows Museum, DeGolyer Library (SMU)

March 28, 2010 by  

There is a new exhibit opening up at SMU’s Meadows Museum, focusing on King Charles IV of Spain and his twenty year reign from 1788 to 1808, which included parts of Texas (when it was called New Spain). The exhibit runs for three months and consists of furniture, paintings, and other artwork from the era.

Of particular interest to genealogy and history buffs, there is another exhibit at SMU running alongside this one, hosted by the DeGolyer Library at SMU. It’s the Mexico: Colony to Empire, 1519-1867 and it’s running from February 11 – May 20, 2010. Part of the exhibition covers the large hacienda land grants that helped shape this part of North America.

Among the items being exhibited at the DeGolyer Library of interest to genealogists:
– Manuscript collections concerning viceroyalty documents
– Land grants
– Nobility applications referencing purity of blood/lineage
– Catholic Church documents
– Assorted materials from the Mexican War and Texas Revolution
– Early Maps

Further Reading:
Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University
DeGolyer Library at SMU
Dallas Morning News

Presentation about Caddo Indians (March 28, 2010)

March 23, 2010 by  

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: Cemeteries Get New Life as Public Gardens

July 6, 2007 by  

The Dallas Morning News has an article, Cemeteries get new life as public gardens by Maureen Gilmer (Scripps Howard News Service) concerning cemeteries being used as basically public gardens. Maureen is a gardener instead of a genealogist, so it’s a unique take on the subject of cleaning up and preserving cemeteries.

Excerpt from the article:

There are a lot of folks worried about what they call “endangered cemeteries.” Many are being taken over by forest or urbanization. The gravestone markers are wearing down so their chiseled faces no longer record names and dates. For history and genealogy buffs – or anyone going back to the old hometown to look up the resting places of ancestors – this loss can be devastating.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of preserved cemeteries is in making history and ancestors seem more real to youngsters. Touching the stone of a famous man or woman buried nearby brings that human off the pages of a history book and into the 21st century.

Article: Texas Czech Group Working to Preserve Traditions

June 23, 2007 by  

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

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