First Annual Black Family History Day Event at TSLAC on Saturday, February 13th

Kudos to all my Austin, Texas genealogy friends who will be attending the Texas State Library and Archives Commission‘s first event devoted to black family history research Saturday, February 13, 2016, from 12 noon – 3 PM! This event is in collaboration with the Austin History Center and the Carver Genealogy Center

1st Annual Black Family History Day

Attendees will learn best practices and tips for starting their family research, as well as, learn about area resources, and have an opportunity to ask questions related to their research.

Sessions include:

Noon – 12:45 pm – Documenting Your History workshop led by LaToya Devezin, African-American Community Archivist at the Austin History Center.

1 pm – 1:45 pm – Resources for African-American [sic] at TSLAC presented by Tonia Woods, Senior Reference Archivist at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

2 pm – 2:45 pm – Genealogy Discussion forum moderated by Cynthia Evans, Genealogy Coordinator at the Carver Genealogy Center.

Seats are limited. Parking is available at the Capitol Visitors Garage and metered parking along San Jacinto Blvd. For more information or to reserve a space, email Ashley Stevens, Education and Outreach Coordinator at or call at 512-463-9807.

I hate I won’t be able to attend this event this year. But trust and believe, if this is an annual event, I plan to be there next year!


Black History Month 2016 at the Clayton Library for Genealogical Research

It’s Black History Month 2016 and the Clayton Library for Genealogical Research will host some excellent programs that I plan to attend this month. So check out the information below, and if you live in H-town, or you plan to travel this way soon, be sure to add the Clayton Library on your list of “places to visit” this month!

Guest Speaker Sharon Gillins

Saturday, February 6, 2016 | 10:30 AM – 12:45 PM
Clayton Library is proud to offer a series of classes presented by professional genealogist Sharon Gillins in honor of African American History Month. Light refreshments will be served. Reservations required, please call 832-393-2600. Adults/Teens.

Sessions include:

  • Harvesting Ancestors – Lessons from the Garden
    10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
    Practices learned from the garden are compared to genealogical practices and illustrated with examples from genealogical research. The content is suitable and accessible to beginners who are building good research habits and will be equally entertaining and informative to more advanced researchers.
  • Louisiana Conveyance Records – A Rich Resource for Researching Enslaved Ancestry
    11:45 AM – 12:45 PM
    This presentation uses Louisiana conveyance records to illustrate the record types and methods for analysis that researchers can use to locate details about their once-enslaved family members before 1870. Although the case studies are based on Louisiana records, the methodology is transferable to any state.

From Post to Pre-Civil War: The African American Experience in Records

Saturday, February 20, 2016 | 10:30 AM – 12:45 PM
In celebration of African American History Month Clayton Library is proud to offer a series of classes presented by Clayton Library staff members Rodney Sam and Franklin Smith. Light refreshments will be served. Reservations required, please call 832-393-2600. Adults/Teens.

Sessions include:

  • First Louisiana Guard: The Life of a Free Man of Color in a Southern Union Regiment
    10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
    This program will show how the life of Casimir Sam, a Louisiana Creole and a free man of color who served in the Civil War, can be reconstructed through the use of military records. This session will be presented by Clayton Library staff member Rodney Sam.
  • Researching Pre-Civil War Slave Ancestors – Identifying the Slaveholder
    11:45 AM – 12:45 PM
    Learn tips and strategies for identifying the slaveholder using post-Civil War records and information. Use the surname and location approach with the 1870 community to narrow down the potential slaveholder candidates. This session will be presented by Clayton Library staff member Franklin Smith.

Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research
5300 Caroline Street
Houston, Texas 77004
Phone: 832-393-2600

Library Hours are:
M Closed | T 10-6 | W 10-8 | Th 10-6 | F 10-5 | Sa 10-5 | Su Closed

To search the Houston Public Library catalog for Clayton’s materials, choose the “Advanced Search” option here:, then limit your search by libraries to Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research.

For more information, visit the Clayton Library web page at

Women’s History Month 2014 at the Clayton Library for Genealogical Research

March is Women’s History Month and a perfect time for us to pay tribute to our female ancestors! But as you know, many of the historical documents we use to find our ancestors were created for men and it is the male’s surname carried on — generation after generation. Therefore finding and following our female ancestors, at times, is not easy. That’s why if you’re in the Houston, Texas area on Saturday, March 15th you should think about celebrating Women’s History Day at the Clayton Library for Genealogical Research where strategies and techniques for “rooting out” those female ancestors is the focus of the day! So check out the classes below. RSVP is required for all classes. So please call 832-393-2600 to register and for more information!

Women’s History Day at Clayton Library
March 15, 2014
1:00PM – 3:30PM

As part of National Women’s History Month, Clayton Library will hold a day of classes focused on researching female ancestors by not only demonstrating important research techniques, but also applying those techniques through a case study featuring a mysterious widow. Adults/Teens.

Second Wives Club!
Saturday, March 15, 2014
1:00PM – 2:00PM

This talk is all about proving second marriages for female ancestors. Here we will explore the resources that will confirm a second marriage, even if you know for a “fact” your ancestor only married once. Or so you thought!

The Mystery of Lillie Mae Ford: Documenting Husbands and More
Saturday, March 15, 2014
2:30PM – 3:30PM

Genealogy involves using multiple sources to analyze and create a family narrative. This presentation is a case study about the discovery of documents and paper trail left by Lillie Mae Ford and her unexpected name changes. Multiple research strategies will be discussed as well as the importance of primary and secondary sources. This class may be useful for both beginners and advanced researchers!

Black History Month 2014 at the Clayton Library for Genealogical Research

It’s Black History Month 2014 and the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research will be offering an excellent weekend of seminars with Tony Burroughs and Franklin Smith. So if you love genealogy or need help with your slave ancestry research, and you live in or near the Houston area, this is a weekend you don’t want to miss!

Follow Your African American Roots with Tony Burroughs/ Buffalo Soldier’s Museum
Date: 2/21/2014
Time: 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Sponsored by the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research

This events will begin with a presentation on the research of Buffalo Soldier ancestry by Mr. Burroughs, which will take place on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. at the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, 3816 Caroline, Houston, TX, 77004. While reservations are not required, space is limited.

Visit the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum online!

As part of Black History Month, Clayton Library is proud to offer a weekend of seminars presented by Tony Burroughs and local author Franklin Smith. Mr. Burroughs is an internationally known genealogist, author and lecturer and author of Black Roots: A Beginners Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree. He is often interviewed by local, national and international media for his genealogy expertise. Mr. Smith has published several articles in genealogical periodicals and co-authored the book entitled Discovering Your African-American Ancestors: How to Find and Record Your Unique Heritage.

African American History Month
Age Group(s): all ages
Date: 2/22/2014
Time: 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM

On Saturday, Burroughs and Smith will discuss a variety of subjects in the field of African American genealogical research. This event will take place on Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. in the Auditorium at the Julia Ideson Building, 550 McKinney, 77002. This event is free and open to the public; however, RSVPs are requested. You may reserve your space by calling the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research at 832-393-2600. Self-Pay Parking will be available beneath the library or on the surrounding streets.

The day’s class schedule is as follows;

Black Roots: Tracing the Family Tree 9:15 AM – 10:15 AM

This is a fun, inspirational talk for beginners and people with no knowledge of genealogy research. It contains humorous stories of research and how an important 100-year-old riddle was solved, mending bad family feelings. It has easy, practical methods and sources that anyone can use the next day to begin researching their family history.

From Census to Slavery 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM

Most African American researchers try to leap from census records to slave research, bypassing a multitude of records in between. A broad foundation after the Civil War will increase the probabilities of success during the slavery period.

Follow Your African American Roots to Clayton Library 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM

This is a Lunch and Learn presentation by Franklin Smith. Learn about the many resources at Clayton that will help you find the information you need when researching African-American Ancestors.

Methods and Sources of Identifying Slave Owners 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Everyone is not fortunate enough to have had the name of the last slave owner passed down from generation to generation through oral history. Therefore, if this name is unknown, research must be conducted to identify the former slave owner – essential to researching slave genealogy. Many texts and many researchers overlook this crucial question. Identifying the slave owner is based on evidence, not assumption. There are many records that show the name of the former slave owner. Learn how to prove who the last slave owner was. This presentation will also cover some of the unique problems associated with African American surnames, which sometimes lead our research astray.

The Six Phases of African American Genealogy 2:15 PM – 3:15 PM

This is an overview of the methods and sources in the six distinct phases that are the building blocks of African American genealogy. It progresses from beginning to more advanced research, highlighting some of the problems and complexities of African American genealogy along the way. It is designed for beginners, intermediates and advanced researchers

Library: Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research
Registration Ends: 2/20/2014 at 12:00 AM

Other Information:
Visit the Julia Ideson Building online!

Road Trip: The Galveston and Texas History Center (GTHC)

Its been a while since I’ve been on a genealogy road trip and it seems the only facility near Houston that has Galveston City Directories (from 1856 – to current) for me to continue my search for Lewis Chapple is the Rosenberg Library in Galveston. So Friday (9 August 2013), my genealogical journey took me to Galveston!

Map to the Rosenberg Library, Galveston, TX

My Map to the Rosenberg Library, Galveston, TX

The Rosenberg Library, named after the city’s prominent business leader and philanthropist, Henry Rosenberg, is a very nice facility! According to the library’s website, [1]

[t]he building itself was dedicated on June 22, 1904, . . .[and as] successor to the Galveston Mercantile Library, which was founded in 1871, Rosenberg Library is the oldest public library in Texas in continuous operation.”

Rosenberg Library, Galveston, Texas

Rosenberg Library, Galveston, Texas. Photo Credit: Rosenberg Library

As soon as I arrived, I was directed to the Galveston and Texas History Center (GTHC) located on the 4th floor of the Moody Memorial Wing.

The Galveston and Texas History Center

The Galveston and Texas History Center, Rosenberg Library. Photo Credit: Rosenberg Library

This center – [2]

preserves and organizes archival materials that document the history of Galveston and Texas, focusing on Galveston from the city’s incorporation in 1839 through the present. The collection also relates to Texas from the Spanish period to the end of the Civil War.”

After signing the guestbook, Archivist Carol Wood gave me a brief overview of the center and helped me locate the city directories that I needed. Because so much of what is archived in this center is unique and fragile, before I could use any of the machines and materials, I had to agree in writing to the guidelines and regulations of the center. A list of the GTHC’s guidelines for patron behavior are online at –  Once my purse and the steno tablet I brought with me were stored away in a locker, Ms. Wood provided pencils and note paper for me to jot down notes as I perused Galveston City Directories in search for Lewis Chappel!

So what are some of the resources available to genealogists at the Rosenberg Library and Galveston and Texas History Center (GTHC)? LOTS! Here’s a quick sampling of what’s you’ll find and more below:

  • Census Records
  • Tax Records
  • Birth Records
  • Death Records
  • Marriage Records
  • School Records
  • Funeral Home Records
  • Cemetery Records
  • Passenger Lists
  • City Directories
  • Church /Temple Records
  • Newspapers

You can view their Special Collections online

To learn more about the various resources available at this facility, feel free to download the handout I received when I visited the center:
Genealogical Research Materials at the Rosenberg Library and GTHC

If you are unable to visit the Rosenberg Library and the GTHC in person, limited reference service is provided for a fee. Visit this link – – for more information regarding research requests.

So was my road trip a success? Did I learn any new information to assist with my search for Lewis Chappel?

Most definitely! The Galveston City Directories were enlightening, but I believe searching the library’s newspaper databases provided me with the most interesting information regarding my great-grandparents’ relationship during the mid to late 1900’s. I sure hated to leave this library – LOL! Lucky for me, I learned that their library cards are also free to residents of the State of Texas . . . woo-hoo! So with my new Rosenberg Library card, I’ve been able to pick up where I left off at their facility in the comforts of my home and I cannot wait to share my findings with you!

So stay tuned for there’s more to come in my search for Lewis Chappel!

Source Citation:

1. Library History. (n.d.). Rosenberg Library. Retrieved August 10, 2013, from

2. Rosenberg Library – The Galveston and Texas History Center. (n.d.). Rosenberg Library – the Cornerstone. Retrieved August 10, 2013, from