Follow Friday: U. S. Military Collection, Fold3, and Veterans’ Service Records

It’s Follow Friday and I continue my tribute to Veterans by recommending three major websites  that I use to document my family’s service; enjoy!

U. S. Military Collection is one of my personal favorite collections at! Ancestry — noted for being the world’s largest online collection of family history resources — has millions of military records spanning from before the Revolutionary War all the way up to Vietnam. In this collection there’s draft records, service records, pension records, bounty land records, claim records, and military histories. There are search tips and sample images available to get you started. In addition to this collection, Ancestry’s paid subscribers have the ability to create public or private military webpages for all veteran ancestors in their family trees with the records they find as well as with their own photos, personal documents and stories. Now how cool is that? I say that’s very cool indeed. So check out this military collection for yourself!, formerly known as, was acquired by Ancestry in 2011 and is believed to be the Internet’s premier collection of original U. S. military records — including many from the U. S. National Archives. According to the website, “[t]he Fold3 name comes from a traditional flag folding ceremony in which the third fold is made in honor and remembrance of veterans who served in defense of their country and to maintain peace throughout the world.”  This website  truly does provide convenient access to US military records, stories, photos, and personal information about the men and women who served our country. I started using Fold3 for the first time last year when I was given a discount for joining the website because I am a member of the Houston Genealogical Forum. And if you’ve never used this website before, I suggest you report to the “Fold3 Training Center where there’s excellent tutorials and videos available to get you started with your military research there!

Veterans’ Service Records at the National Archives is the “go-to” place for all genealogists looking to document their family’s service. According to the website about the records at the National Archives, “[o]f all documents and materials created in the course of business conducted by the United States Federal government, only 1%-3% are so important for legal or historical reasons that they are kept forever. Those valuable records are preserved in the National Archives and are available to you, whether you want to see if they contain clues about your family’s history, need to prove a veteran’s military service, or are researching an historical topic that interests you.” What I particularly love about this website is the — get-to-the-point — “Genealogy Research in Military Records” section that highlights specific records that are important and tips on how to begin and be successful with our military records research via the National Archives!


Those Places Thursday: What was Life Like in Texas in 1940?

It is “Those Places Thursday” and this blogging prompt allows me a chance to reminiscence about how and where their ancestors lived and to write about “those places” via stories or photos. Today, I’m reminiscent about what life was like for my Texas ancestors in 1940. What really got me thinking about this particular decade in our country’s history was the new Texas infographic I saw online last week at’s Blog.

Check out the infographic below and tell me if you remember any, or all, of these 1940 events from Texas’ past!

Texas in the 1940s

Click to Enlarge

The 1940 Texas highlights according to this infographic were:

  1. ‘Corny” dogs arrive as Neil and Carl Fletcher serve their first at the Texas State Fair
  2. Tote’ms become 7-11s
  3. First beers sold with the Lone Star name
  4. 6,281,537 head of cattle means almost as many cows as people in Texas
  5. 1940 Population  – 6, 414, 824

Even though this decade was ten years before my time, there were some events from this decade that carried over to the next that I’m very familiar with. The first one is the Tote’m, or U-Totem, convenience stores that later became 7-Elevens, and then Circle K stores before leaving the Houston area completely. I sure miss those Big Gulps, don’t you? And I may not have been around when corny dogs were introduced to everyone at the State Fair of Texas, but that’s a food item I’ve enjoyed as a kid and still enjoy today!

Infographics like this one and the one I posted last year (Online Family History Trends at are all the RAVE with the Internet community. I must admit I like them too and love sharing those relevant to genealogy with everyone via email, social media networks, and on this blog! Those of you wondering what are infographics, Wikipedia offers a great explanation:

Information graphics or infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge. These graphics present complex information quickly and clearly such as in signs, maps, journalism, technical writing, and education.”

Once completed indexing the 1940 Census, they created an infographic for every state highlighting what life was like in that state in 1940. Visit the Blog to see all the interesting facts and images for each state. While you’re there you might as well download your state’s infographic and share it on your blog, website, or social media profile too!

Do you remember any life events in Texas during the 1940’s that this infographic didn’t capture? If you do, share that/those event(s) in the comment section below!

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Who has the most Census Records?

It’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun with genealogy extraordinaire – Randy Seaver — and tonight’s mission, should I decide to accept it is:

Determine which of your ancestors has appeared in the most census records – any census!”

After reviewing my Ancestry family tree online, it seems that my paternal great-great-grandmother, Mary Magdalene (Allen) Moten (1869-1951), has appeared (consistently) the most in U.S. census records than any of my ancestors. Her entries are:

1870 US Federal Census for Mary Magdalene (Allen) Moten

1870 U.S. Census:  Brenham, Washington County, TX she was living with her parents  Samuel and Lucinda (Flowers) Allen and her siblings – Joseph, Jennie, Ben, and Peggy; Mary Allen was 1 yrs old, born in North Carolina.

1880 US Federal Census for Mary Magdalene (Allen) Moten

1880 U.S. Census:  Justice Precinct No. 4, lying south of the Old Brenham and Evergreen roads, Washington County, TX with her parents Samuel and Lucinda (Flowers) Allen and her siblings – Joseph, Zina, Benajmin, Louis, Davey and Jonas:  Mary Allen was age 11.

1890 U.S. Census: These records were either lost, or destroyed by fire in the National Archives in 1921.

1900 US Federal Census for Mary Magdalene (Allen) Moten

Click to View

1900 U.S. Census
:  Burton, Washington County, TX, wife of Eli Moten and children – Isaac, Olivia, Rose, Emma, Joe, Cornelius, Lucinda, and Amanda:  Mary (Allen) Moten is 31 years old.

1910 US Federal Census for Mary Magdalene (Allen) Moten

Click to View

1910 U.S. Census
:  Burton, Washington County, TX, wife of Eli Moten and children – Cornelius, Joe, Lucinda, Amanda (Mandy), Willie, Mariah, Eli, Jr., Jennie, Phillip, and grandson Ben Williams; Mary (Allen) Moten was 41 years old.

1920 US Federal Census for Mary Magdalene (Allen) Moten

Click to View

1920 U.S. Census
:  Brenham, Washington County, TX wife of Eli Moten and children – Maria, Eli, Lela, Phillip, Ruby and grandchildren – Maggie and Lillian; Mary (Allen) Moten was 51 years old.

1930 US Federal Census for Mary Magdalene (Allen) Moten

Click to View

1930 U.S. Census
:  Brenham, Washington County, TX wife of Eli Moten and children – Phillip, Meeky, Ruby and son-in-law, Ben McBride,  and granddaughter Lillian Solomon; Mary (Allen) Moten was 61 years old.

1940 U.S. Census: The indexing for Texas is not complete at this time, but I feel fairly certain that I would find her listed when they’re ready. And since she passed away 19 December 1951, it’s a good possibility I may find her listed in the 1950 U.S. census records if I’m around when those are release to the public too!

If you have a — Mary Magdalene Allen Moten — in your family tree from the Washington County, Texas area, let me hear from you because –  I’m Claiming Kin!


Surname Saturday: Chapple

It’s Surname Saturday and this series is intended to give genealogy bloggers a chance to discuss a family surname by giving details about its origin, its geographical location(s), and how it fits into their family research.


According to, the meaning of Chappel/Chapple is,

English: variant spelling of Chappell. French: from a diminutive of Old French chape ‘hooded cloak’, ‘cape’, ‘hood’, or ‘hat’ (from Late Latin cappa, capa), hence a metonymic occupational name for a maker of cloaks or hats, or a nickname for a habitual wearer of a distinctive cloak or hat.”Even though the surname may suggest that Chapels may have been makers of cloaks or hats, I believe ‘my’ ancestors were more of what the nickname suggest — habitual wearers of cloaks or hats — because majority of the Chapel immigrants who were living in the United States during the 1880’s, and my ancestors in particular, were farmers.


One of the challenges I’ve had with my maternal family research has been with the various spelling of the surname (Chapple, Chappell, Chappel, Chapel) in birth, census, death, marriage, and social security records. But what I have observed is that the variations in the spelling actually occurred with my ancestors around the the turn of the 20th century. They seem to prefer to spell the surname with an “e” at the end, instead of with the 2 (l’s) or 1 (l) as so many of my ancestors’ did prior to the 20th century.


In the 1840’s, majority of the Chapels that were living in the United States (25% – 47%) were located in New York and Connecticut. But by the 1920’s, the largest number of Chapels (27% – 51%) were located in the states of Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Texas. So when exactly did my Chapple ancestors arrive in Texas? I have no idea – LOL! Finding out how and when “my” Chappel ancestors arrived in Texas will be my main focus this summer. So stay tuned . . . there’s more fact-finding and information to come!


  1. Me

  2. John Taylor (1927-2010)

  3. Carrie Chapple Taylor (1928-2019)

  4. Willie Taylor (1909-1985)

  5. Louise Newsome (1909-1975)
    6. Jopseh Chapple, born 2 June 1902 in Eagle Lake, Colorado, Texas, USA; died 23 August 1966 in Houston, Harris, Texas, USA. He is the son of #12 – Louis Chappel and #13 – Carrie Blanton. He married Estella Smith on 23 May 1921; then he married Ethel Abram Thompson on 19 Jan 1939.

7. Estella Smith, born about 1903 in Houston, Harris, Texas, USA; died 3 Jul 1930 in Houston, Harris, Texas, USA. She is the daughter of #14 – Richard Snith and #15 – Mary Joyce White.

Children of Joseph & Estella Smith Chapple are:
Dorthey J Chapple – b. Sep. 10, 1921 d. Nov. 13, 1921
Ella Louise Chapple Marshall – b. Sep. 18, 1923 d. Apr. 2, 1969
Joseph Lee Chapple – b. Dec. 26, 1924 d. Jul. 5, 1994
Estella Chapple Thomas – b. Aug. 24, 1926 d. Aug. 30, 1954
Josephine “Josie” Chapple – b. Jan. 11, 1927 d. Apr. 24, 1928
Living Chapple
Richard Mary Chapple – b. May 9, 1930 d. Jun. 3, 1930
Child of Estella Smith Chapple is:
Altha Mae Banks Sheffield Scott – b. Dec. 27, 1919 d. Sep. 5, 1987

  1. Luke Taylor (1885-????)
  2. Birdie Green (1889-1977)

  3. Henry Newsom (1869-1952)

  4. Olivia Moten (1891-1967)

  5. Charles Lewis Chappel (1883-1952)

  6. Carrie Blanton (1883-1944)

  7. Richard Smith (1865-1925)

  8. Mary Joyce White (1868-1920)

Are any of my pedigree ancestors in your family tree? Yes?! Then, let me hear from you because . . .
I’m claiming kin!

Source Citation:

  1. Ancestry. (n.d.). Chappell Family History. Retrieved June 2, 2012, from

Tuesday’s Tip: Five Online Resources to Jump-start Your Family Research

A conceptual look at the family and its members.

I want to thank family and friends for all the positive feedback I’ve received about my post, Five Steps to Getting Started with Your Family Research! Since I’m asked about my research process all the time, I decided to share those “how-to” instructions on this blog. Now whenever I’m asked how did I get started with my family research, I can just refer everyone to that information!

Now that you’ve been interviewing family members about your ancestors and locating home sources to gather names, dates, and places to fill-in your pedigree charts and family group sheets, you’re probably ready to turn to a variety of online and offline resources to round out your research. When considering the Internet as a place to start your research, there are hundreds and hundreds of excellent websites out there you will use and enjoy along your journey. Just the thought of  listing all the ones I frequent would be impossible . . . WHEW! But if I were to select just five websites to recommend for jump-starting your family research, I would recommend the five below because I visit them over, and over, and over again!

This website, filled with billions of digitized records, feeds my need for searchable census and military records, as well as, birth and death indices. Anyone who visits this site can launch an electronic family tree for FREE by typing in your name. Once you’ve found information you want to attach or save to family members of your tree, you will need to become a paid subscriber of the website. I’ve been using Ancestry’s FamilyTree Maker software to manage and organize my family history for quite some time. But, I became a paid subscriber of in 2011 and totally enjoy the syncing capability I now have with my software and the entire Ancestry online community.

This is my favorite “go-to” website to search for death certificates to download and attach to my family tree. Being able to download and closely review ancestors’ death records have allowed me to fill in some pretty important gaps in my research. I have also been able to dispel rumors, as well as, shed light on assumptions and truths about some of my ancestors. Be sure to read a post I wrote about how helped me to reveal that my grand-father, Joseph Chapple (who grew up as an only child), wasn’t the only child my great-grandmother, Carrie Blanton, gave birth to!

USGenWeb and RootsWeb

Knowing where your ancestors lived, worked, and died in the US is very important to your success in locating information about them. So when I’m not able to physically visit states, counties, and towns where my ancestors lived right away, I turn to two great websites – USGenWeb and The RootsWeb Project – for help! Both of these websites, maintained by wonderful volunteers, provide free resources for the genealogy community. USGenWeb focuses on resources and information that you may find about your ancestors at the state level, while RootsWeb allows researchers to access searchable database and indexes for ancestors at the county level. Both of these websites have played an important role in me successfully locating obituaries, deeds, wills, and affidavits of heirship about my ancestors.

Once I’ve had a chance to carefully review an ancestor’s death certificate, I usually head over to, a very valuable online community dedicated to recording the final resting place of individuals around the world.  The content at this website, mainly transcriptions and actual photos of tombstones, is provided by volunteers who are more than happy to transfer the management of your ancestor’s memorial page over to you to complete if you contact them.  I truly appreciate this community a lot and show my support by sponsoring family members’ pages when I locate them. Sponsorship is a one-time payment of $5 which goes to helping them sustain the website, as well as, remove all the flashing banner ads on memorial pages.

This massive and wonderful website, personally maintained by the one and only Ms. Cyndi Howell, consist of over 300,000 links to online genealogical resources organized in to 188 categories! WOW! Actually, I call this website –  the genealogist playground – because anything genealogy you can think of is probably linked at this website! If you’re looking for specific online genealogy resources relevant to your ethnicity, then this website is a great point of reference. Finding what you’re looking for is not difficult at all; just use the site’s custom Google search box, or click “Categories” along the site’s left sidebar to explore!