Fayette County Texas Genealogical Society

Genealogy Research and Education

August 2011

      The Fayette County Genealogical Society will hold its next meeting on Saturday, August 27, 2011 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the conference room of the Fayette Heritage Library on South Jefferson Street in La Grange.

      For anyone interested in beginning genealogy, a one-on-one workshop, titled “Back to Basics”, will be offered following an introductory presentation by Neale Rabensburg of La Grange.  His large pictorial display on the von Rosenberg Family of Texas will be exhibited as an example of the collaborative efforts of several members of that family. Mr. Rabensburg will discuss the creation of this type of visual display as another form of genealogical documentation, in addition to published books and the use of software programs.  He will also give a brief overview of this family’s remarkable journey from Europe to Fayette County that was well-documented in a personal journal.

     Following his presentation, members of the society will assist visitors with their own personal genealogy queries, get them started with Ancestry.com, provide them with a list of other internet genealogical sites, as well as suggestions regarding additional research sources.

     Anyone interested in learning more about their family history is invited to attend.  A light lunch will be served.  For more information, contact Carolyn Heinsohn at 979-968-3806.



July 2011


June 2011


May 2011

Diana Houston

April 2011


March 2011  Carroll Scogin-Brincefield

     A presentation on the “Cultural Studies of Texas Cemeteries” will be featured at the Fayette County Genealogical Society meeting to be held on March 26, 2011 at 10 a.m. in the conference room at the Fayette Heritage Library on South Jefferson in La Grange.

     Carroll Scogin-Brincefield, a noted historian and lecturer, will present a program that will feature a comparative cultural look at Czech, German and Anglo cemeteries in Texas.  She will also discuss the art and symbolism found in those cemeteries.

     Brincefield has a Bachelor of Science in History and Anthropology and a Masters of Art in History and has continued her studies in Geography/GIS.  She was an adjunct professor at Central Missouri State University, Kansas City Community Colleges, Blinn Community College, and also served as an instructor of World History, World Geography and American Government and Economics for Corpus Christi ISD. In addition, she served as the director of the Lavaca Historical Museum

     Her published works includes a wide range of topics from Native American history and culture to Women and Children of the Civil War.  Her most recent publications and research have brought her into the 20th century with studies focusing on the military.  Her research and knowledge on Internment & P.O.W. Camps in Texas has received national acclaim.  She has a number of publications that are in process, covering a variety of topics that include German Internment Camps in Texas, the history of African American Women in South Texas from 1910-1945, and a pictorial history of Crystal City.

     After living abroad and traveling extensively throughout America and the world, Brincefield now lives in Burleson County and serves as the Chief Appraiser for Burleson Appraisal District.  She lectures throughout Texas on numerous historical topics and develops educational programs and curriculum for local historical commissions and for the Texas State Historical Association on local histories.  She is the director of the Oral History program and coordinator of the RIP program in Lavaca County. In addition, she is currently working on cemetery restoration projects for Lavaca, DeWitt and San Patricio Counties.  She has particular interest in those counties since her ancestral family settled in DeWitt and Lavaca Counties in the early 1800s, and she was reared in Corpus Christi, Texas.  She can trace her family history back to one of the first settlers of Jamestown and to some of the first settlers of Texas.

     She is an active member of a number of historical, genealogical and archeological organizations, including the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Daughters of the American Revolution and several county historical commissions. 


     The Fayette County Genealogical Society will meet on Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 10 a.m. in the genealogy library at the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center located at the Fayette County Fair Grounds on Hwy. 77 North in La Grange.  Following the business meeting, a review of the library holdings will be given, along with a tour of the Czech Center, including the museum and three of the homes in the Czech village. 

     The center’s genealogy library has a collection of over 10,000 books, many of which offer invaluable information to researchers, and also provides free access to Ancestry.com.  The museum presently has temporary exhibits until the installation of the permanent exhibit. In addition, a gift shop with a wide variety of Czech-related items will be open for business.  The three homes on tour include the 1880 Hoelscher Haus, which houses the Polka Lovers Club of Texas museum, the 1890 Hluchanek-Salas house, which is fully furnished to reflect the lifestyle of a rural Texas Czech farm family, and the 1890 Migl House, which displays Migl family memorabilia, furniture and housewares.

     Anyone interested in genealogy or local history is invited to attend.  For more information, contact Carolyn Heinsohn at 979-968-3806



The annual Christmas party for the Fayette County Genealogical Society will be held on Saturday, December 4, 2010 at 10 a.m. in the conference room at the Fayette County Heritage Library in La Grange.  All those attending are asked to bring items for a light lunch, such as sandwiches, chips and dips, fruit, desserts, drinks, etc. 

Anyone interested in purchasing an ornament to remember a friend or family member for the Tree of Remembrance should contact Connie Sneed at 968-4963.  Orders will be accepted until December 22nd.  They will also be sold at the organization’s booth at Schmeckenfest.  The ornaments, which are being sold for $5.00, are personalized with the names of those honored or memorialized.


Febuary 2011


     The Fayette County Genealogy Society will meet at the Fayette Heritage Library in La Grange on Saturday, February 26, 2011 from 10 a.m. – 1p.m.  After a short business meeting, there will be a work session to research additional information for the reprinting of the La Grange Cookbook, published in 1909 by Mrs. B.F. Harigel, the wife of the owner and editor of The La Grange Journal.  The recipes had been donated by the lady readers of the paper.   In addition to the original text and recipes, the genealogy society will include biographies of the recipe donors and histories of many of the business advertisers.  The length of the meeting is being extended to allow for additional time for research.

     Anyone interested in participating with this project is invited to attend.  For additional information, contact Carolyn Heinsohn at 979-968-3806. 


JULY 2010


JUNE 2010



"The next meeting held by the Fayette County Genealogy Society will provide those persons with an interest in Civil War memorabilia an opportunity to enjoy a presentation by George Gully, who has an extensive collection of firearms, swords, old bottles and other memorabilia of the Civil War era.  The meeting will be held on Saturday, May 22, 2010 at 10 a.m. in the conference room at the Fayette Heritage Library and Museum, located at 855 South Jefferson St. in La Grange .

Gully, a native of Fayetteville , Texas , attended Blinn Jr. College and St. Edwards University , where he received his B.A. in history with a teaching certification.  However, he chose to pursue a different career – he has been employed by LCRA for 31 years. 

His love of history, however, led to his hobby of collecting antiques with historical backgrounds.  After studying old Civil War photographs, he became interested in Civil War memorabilia and has amassed a sizeable collection of muskets, carbines, swords and other related items, some of which he will display and describe with their historical background.  Civil war items may also be brought by attendees to be analyzed or shared.

Information on genealogy research related to the Civil War era will be available for those attending.  For more information, contact Neale Rabensburg at 979-702-0525."


 “Every Picture Tells a Story – Using Historical Analysis”, an informative program by Doug Kubicek of Hallettsville, TX, will be presented at the next meeting held by the Fayette County Genealogy Society on Saturday, April 24, 2010 at 10 a.m. in the council chamber at the La Grange City Hall at 155 E. Colorado Street.


Many people have collections of unidentified photographs of ancestors who are long deceased, or of places or events that could tell a story if only the questions about their identity could be answered.  However, without identifying information, photographs are just images of unknown subjects.


Kubicek’s program will provide helpful information for family historians, so that they will be able to do a more comprehensive analysis of the photographic images in their collections.  Oftentimes, little bits of information are overlooked, but if identified, they can add pieces to a family history “puzzle”. 


A native Texan born and raised in Shiner, Texas, Kubicek is a 7th grade Texas History teacher in the Hallettsville ISD with 23 years experience.  He is a 44-year member of the Texas Historical Commission and Lavaca County Historical Commission, currently serving as the Archeological Steward.  In 2003, he was selected as Educator of the Year by the Sons of Republic of Texas, in addition to receiving many other awards throughout the years for his teaching expertise. 


Specializing in Lavaca County History and Cultural Geography, his many publications, articles and papers include Grand, Complete and Perfect: The Lavaca County Courthouse 1897-1899.  Kubicek is a popular speaker all over the state at genealogical and historical conferences and meetings.


The public is invited to attend this presentation.  One or two photographs may be brought to the meeting for analysis.  For more information, call 979-968-3806.



     For genealogists, census records can provide an enormous amount of invaluable information.  However, there may be “more than meets the eye”.  Billie Dupree Helton will present a program on understanding “The Why” of census records at the next Fayette County Genealogy Society meeting on Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 10 a.m. in the meeting room at the Fayette Heritage Library and Museum.  Mrs. Helton will provide tips on getting more out of reading census records and how to follow up on what is read.

     Helton, a native of San Angelo, Texas, was married to Sydnie W. Helton, Jr. of La Grange and lived in Andrews, Texas for 50 years, where she was employed as a bookkeeper until retirement.  Art being her passion, she has exhibited her oils and water colors in Texas and New Mexico, where she has received multiple awards for her paintings.  Helton has also been actively involved with the Permian Basin Hospital Auxiliary for 35 years, the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Commemorative Air Force Museum in Midland, and the Big Spring Veterans’ Hospital Board.

     After developing an interest in her family history, Helton did some “full time” traveling and researching with a special interest in Genetic Genealogy. In addition to her own family genealogy, she has researched 13 generations of her husband’s family, plus almost that many generations in her adopted daughter and son-in-law’s families, making her quite an expert.  Eventually, she began sharing her acquired knowledge by conducting genealogy workshops for participants with all levels of interest and expertise. After her husband passed away, Helton moved to La Grange to live with her daughter.

     The public is invited to attend this informative program.  For additional information, contact Carolyn Heinsohn at 979-968-3806.







     For the genealogists who are contemplating publishing their family history, but need assistance in determining which route to pursue, they can get their answers at the next Fayette County Genealogy Society meeting to be held on Saturday, February 27, 2010 at 10 a.m. in the meeting room of the Fayette Heritage Library and Museum in La Grange.

     “Publish Your Family”, a power-point presentation by Cathleen Witt Dunne, will give helpful advice for establishing a genealogical research database, preparing it for publication, choosing a publisher, as well as help in deciding what type of book to publish, using either traditional publishing methods or the newer method of “cyber-publishing”.  Mrs. Dunne will cover the choices of books that are available in both publishing methods, define everything from paper to print, show samples of different books, and will also provide copies of her bibliography.

     Born in rural Fayette County, Dunne received her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Texas Woman’s University, worked as a public health nurse for the City of Houston, and then as a school nurse for many years in the Houston Independent School District.  After her children became old enough to be independent, she began work as a research nurse at Baylor College of Medicine, managing research projects in Texas and Canada on Myotonic Dystrophy and Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.  She also did lipid research and worked at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center helping to research blood diseases, as well as managing the research for a large population of kidney transplant patients at the University of Texas.

     Along the way, she developed an interest in her own family history, so gathering information on inheritable diseases gave her the experience she needed to do genealogy research on her family.  Dunne published her first book on her Brandt family in 1999.  She took early retirement and returned to Holman, Texas and her family homestead in 2000.  Presently, she serves as the secretary for the Fayette County Genealogy Society.

     The public is invited to attend this informative meeting.  For more information, contact Carolyn Heinsohn at 979-968-3806.



For those genealogists who want to validate their ancestral origins, a program on the use of DNA to assist that process will be presented at the Fayette County Genealogical Society meeting by Patrick W. Dunne, PhD on Saturday, January 23 at 10 a.m. in the meeting room at the Fayette Library and Archives in La Grange .  Dunn’s presentation, “Finding Our Deep Roots”, will be an elementary introduction to genetic genealogy, the study of genealogy that exploits the information contained in our DNA to make connections to distant relatives that family surname searches may have missed. But more intriguingly, it provides insight into our “deep roots”, our direct relationship to particular groups of ancient peoples who migrated out of Africa and the Middle East to populate all the countries of Europe tens of thousands of years ago. The course will first cover the basics of DNA structure, its copying mechanism and the infrequent errors that accumulate as mutations. This information will be used to understand how harmless mutations in our Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA define gene clan membership. This clan identity is then used to find DNA matches to people in our extended family, as well as where and when our ancient clan originated.

     Dr. Dunne is a native of Toronto , Canada , where he received his undergraduate education in philosophy, followed by a Master’s degree in economics at York University . After emigrating to the U.S. in 1993, he attended Ohio State University where he graduated with a Master’s degree in microbiology and a PhD degree in molecular genetics.  Thereafter, he received a post doctoral fellowship from the Muscular Dystrophy Association to support his research at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston , Texas where he was appointed to the faculty.

     In 1997, Dr. Dunne joined a research team at Texas A&M University and has been a member of the faculty of the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences since 1999.  He recently retired from active research at TAMU and now teaches a course, Modifying the Mammalian Genome.  In 2007, he founded a biotechnology consulting company, Chimera Transgenics.

     In addition, Dr. Dunne has published scientific articles in leading journals, including Science, Nature Genetics, Genomics and Biochemistry among many others.  He was a member of the team that discovered the gene that causes myotonic dystrophy in humans.  Among his current research interests is regenerative medicine using human stem cells for the generation of models of human diseases for drug development and cell-based therapies. As a retiree, he now is pursuing a link between the risk of common diseases and an individual’s genetic inheritance by gene-typing a cross section of Texans of diverse backgrounds.

     Dr. Dunne and his wife, Cathleen Witt Dunne, who serves as the secretary for the genealogy society, live in Holman Valley , which was the ancestral community of one branch of Cathleen’s family.

     The public is invited to attend this interesting presentation on a current innovative technique used in genealogical research.  For questions, please contact Carolyn Heinsohn at 979-968-3806.    

December 2009

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November 2009

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Family History Month Celebration- October 2009

Do your children know where your grandparents grew up?  Do you know your father’s favorite childhood memory?  Does your family hail from other parts of the world?  If you or your children don’t know the answers to these questions, October is the perfect time to celebrate Family History Month and explore your family’s past.  By learning more about our heritage, we learn more about ourselves.  Sharing these stories with your family is a remarkable  activity that can help them better understand their roots and shape their own identities.

Millions of Americans are researching the history of their families.  Experts say that in the United States , genealogy is now the second most popular hobby next to gardening.  It is believed that more than 80 million Americans are currently actively searching for more information about their ancestors.

It is only natural that we want to find out more about our ancestors.  What better way to bring families closer together than by discovering more about the story of their own family?  Like it or not, who we are today is in large part a product of our ancestors.

Essentially, we are immigrants to this country.  Our ancestors came from different parts of the globe.  By searching our roots, we come closer together as a human family.

Researching ancestry is a very important component of identity.  It can lead to long sought after family reunions or allow for life saving medical treatments that only genetic links will allow.  For all of those reasons, we encourage people across this nation to find out more about where they came from.

Historical knowledge is important, while historical ignorance can be dangerous. Philosopher George Santayana famously said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

History should be studied because it is essential to individuals and to society, and because it harbors beauty. There are many ways to discuss the real functions of the subject—as there are many different historical talents and many different paths to historical meaning.

The Fayette County Genealogical Society will show many different aspects of genealogy, family and area history on Sat. October 24, at the La Grange Public Library in the conference room from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.  Refreshments will be served.  This is open to the public and all ages are encouraged to attend.  

Each guest that attends will be entered in a door prize raffle and receive a free ornament for our Christmas Tree of Remembrance.  Some of the booths that will available are the DRT, DAR, SRT, Fayette County Historical Commission, Marie Watts, Christmas Tree of Remembrance, and several others.  The Fayette County Genealogical Society will be having a research booth set up with computers, transcribing, another computer will be available to check out the FCGS website and a scrapbook will be available as well.  Donna Baker, treasurer of the Society will be on hand for those interested in becoming a member or those just seeking more information about the group.  Come and see what makes history fun and exciting.  

For more information please contact the President of the Fayette County Genealogical Society, Connie Sneed at 979-968-4963.



September Meeting 2009

The Fayette County Genealogical Society met at the Texas Heroes Day at Monument Hill in La Grange, Texas.

Texas Heroes Day: A day of honoring Texas Heroes including those who fought and died for the Republic of Texas. The event specially commemorates the men of the Dawson Massacre and the Mier Expedition. Enjoy pioneer craft demonstrations, re-enactors, cannon and musket salutes, dulcimer music, historic flag display, a special presentation, and guided tours. Main program is from 10am-12pm September 19th. Free Admission.


August Meeting- Jenny Fagg

 Jenny Fagg will be our guest speaker at the Aug. 22 meeting.

Biography of Jenny M. Fagg

Jenny is a member of St. Bartholomew Chapter DRT has served as President. She served the Huguenot Society of Texas as State President and State Registrar.

Mrs. Fagg has served the Texas State Society Daughters of the American Revolution as a State Chairman for the last 20 + years. The past administration she served as Chairman of Revolution Soldiers Buried in Texas committee.

She is a past Regent of Alexander Love Chapter NSDAR, Houston, TX and a volunteer genealogist. Mrs. Fagg is the past President of Col. John Alston Chapter Colonial Dames 17th Century, Deacon John Tenney Colony New England Women, Campbell Society USA, and life member of the National Genealogical Society.

Jenny M. Fagg has published The Family History of Thomas Martin, Sr., a North Carolinian American Revolutionary Soldier, the Index to Marriages License Carrol County Georgia, Volume I and II, Register Medical Practitioners – Carroll County, Georgia, and co-authored How to Start Tracing Your Family Tree, and for three years co-compiled Genealogical Compendium of Books and Articles in Print.




Fayette County Genealogical Society Open House-June 2009

The Fayette County Genealogical Society will be holding an open house on Saturday, June 27 at the La Grange Library in the Conference room from 10:00 a.m. until 1 p.m. The open house will include door prizes, refreshments and other group activities. The public is invited and all ages are welcome. New membership registration will be going on that day as well as membership renewal for current members. Please make plans to stop by and take a look at some of the current projects we are working on. This will also be a good time to meet some of the members and become acquainted with the La Grange Library and how it plays an important role with our society.

Have You Found Your Past? A civil war hero, a pirate, an African tribe, or an Indian Princess - all of these people of the past could be in your family tree. For those who know all about where your family comes from or has a written history, you are very lucky. The truth is, that most people only have an idea of where their ancestors came from and don't know much about any of them. Knowing where your ancestors came from and who they were is a great way to help you learn more about your family tree. No matter if you are interested in genealogy or not, the time has never been better for you to search out your long-lost ancestors.

So, if you want to know about your past, the best way to do it is to get into genealogy and seek out your ancestors. Search and see what you can find, no matter what, you will always find something interesting that you didn't know before. Who knows, you might find a long-lost member of royalty or a great hero in your past!

The members of the Fayette County Genealogical Society are happy to share their knowledge and experiences with you and perhaps point you in the right direction to get the information you seek. The members of the group are researching ancestors from La Grange to basically anywhere in the world and includes all levels of research experience from novice to expert. Even if your ancestors don’t live where you do, joining the Society can be fun and helpful. Join us and find out how to sharpen your skills and make colleagues in the hobby.

For more information please contact Connie Sneed at 979-968-4963 or Neale Rabensburg at 979-968-5306.


May Meeting on Cookbook Update

The Fayette County Genealogical Society met on Sat. May 23 at the La Grange Library in the Conference Room.  The group held the meeting about the future pulication of the cookbook and any updates that were need.  The group looks forward to Fall when the Cookbook should be finally published and ready for sale.

FCGS Bake/Taste Preview of Cookbook Items

The Fayette County Genealogical Society held a bake/taste sale in the front of the La Grange Library.  The recipes were from the Cookbook that the group has been trying to work on and get re-published by the Fall.  The baked items were quite delicious and everyone who tasted the items seemed to be in agreement that anyone can adapt the recipes that are 100 years old and make them enjoyable for today's time.  The group looks forward to another bake/taste sale.

Using Maps to Explore Your Ancestors’ Lives


Using Maps to Explore Your Ancestors’ Lives

 LA GRANGE -- Teri Flack will present "Using Maps to Explore Our Ancestors’ Lives," a program that may lead your genealogical research in a new direction, at the March 28 meeting of the Fayette County Genealogical Society. It will be held from 10-12 noon in the meeting room at the Fayette County Library and Archives in La Grange.

"Maps can illuminate our ancestors’ lives by providing clues to the land on which they lived, the likely routes they traveled, their neighbors and neighborhoods, and the geographic obstacles they faced," Teri notes. "Maps can help us ‘fix’ an ancestor in a specific place, thereby enabling us to narrow our search and eliminate alternatives. Maps also can show us whether we’re looking in the right place. They can reveal the identity and location of things we care about, such as churches and cemeteries."

A sixth generation Texan, Teri has been researching her family history for over 25 years. She is the treasurer for the Austin Genealogical Society and a member of the society’s teaching faculty. Teri also serves on the Board of the Texas State Genealogical Society as the District 13 Representative and chair of the Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC). She is the Texas state liaison to the national RPAC. She has completed the Advanced Methodology Course at the National Institute for Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University and the National Institute of Genealogical Research at the National Archives in Washington, DC. She also is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and the Genealogical Speaker’s Guild.

Teri retired in May, 2007 after a 26-year career with the State of Texas - most recently as Senior Advisor to the Commissioner of Higher Education and Deputy Commissioner of Higher Education. Previously, she was Director of Governmental Relations and Public Information for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and Chief Investigator for the Texas Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division. She holds a B. S. in Education with History major, an MBA, and a graduate Paralegal Certificate from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University-San Marcos).

For more information about the Fayette County Genealogical Society, email President Connie Sneed at lggensoc@yahoo.com or visit the website at www.faycogensoc.webs.com.


Faison Home

Annual Christmas Party

The Fayette County Genealogical Society will hold its Annual Christmas Party on Saturday December 6, 2008.  It will be held at the Fayette Public Library in the conference room from 10 am until noon.  Everyone is asked to bring a dish to share for our brunch.(bring your recipe to share)  Tea and coffee will be furnished.  Please bring a favorite Christmas Story of yourself, your family or even your grandparents.  You may also bring a favorite Christmas Recipe to share.  Plan of lots of fun and good food.

Fayette County Genealogical Society

To Embark on a Sentimental Journey

LA GRANGE – With the holiday season right around the corner, saving and preserving family stories is a timely topic for the next meeting of the Fayette County Genealogical Society scheduled for Saturday, November 22 from 10 a.m. to noon in the Fayette County Library and Archives meeting room in La Grange.

La Grange area business writer and personal historian Elaine Thomas invites those attending to each bring a keepsake or memento that they treasure. The program will appeal to those researching their family trees and anyone who has an interest in safeguarding their family stories, personal histories, photos, memorabilia and cultural traditions so they don’t vanish in years to come.

"Every single person on our family tree has a story and if we’re lucky, some of those wonderful life stories get passed down. When we know more about an ancestor than the basic birth, marriage and death dates, that person becomes someone we can relate to and that’s exciting," Elaine says. "All too often, though, the stories fade with each passing generation and, sadly, over time are forgotten and lost forever. What we end up with is a pedigree chart with names in the slots of the different generations. It may be 100% accurate but, for some of us, that’s not enough. We want to know what made them tick!

"Whether your dream is to compile a complete history or take the first steps in becoming the guardian of your family’s life stories and customs, we’ll explore ideas on how to get started and discuss ideas on next steps. There’s no better time than the holiday season to start thinking about this," she adds.

Elaine has enjoyed considerable success in discovering fascinating traces of her ancestors’ lives in Canada, England and Ireland. Starting with a box of miscellaneous letters, documents and photos that her grandmother introduced her to when she was a small child in Canada, she has compiled a family tree on her mother’s side dating back to 1490 but more importantly, she has discovered letters, diaries, books, newspaper clippings and websites that have brought some of her ancestors to life. She is bringing some of those treasures to the meeting.

During her research, she has met distant cousins from around the world over the Web and is thrilled to have reunited the members of three different branches of her family tree.

Elaine and her husband, Emil, live between Ammannsville and Holman in Fayette County. She has more than 30 years experience as a business writer and in public relations. Her articles on family history have appeared in publications in Canada, the United States and Great Britain. She also has researched and written histories for Freyburg United Methodist Church, Fayette Electric Cooperative and Houston’s oldest and largest social service agency, as well as for individuals and families, including her own. For more information, visit her website: www.callacommunications.com.

Remember! Bring an item to the Fayette County Genealogical Society November meeting to share a sentimental journey with others who have a similar interest in family history. There is no charge to attend the meeting. For more information, contact Fayette County Genealogical President Connie Sneed at 979-968-4963.




October is Family History Month for Fayette County, Texas


Fayette County Judge Ed Janecka signs a proclamation naming October as Family History Month in Fayette County. With him are Fayette County Genealogy Society President Connie Sneed, Treasurer Donna Baker and Secretary Susie Jackson. The genealogy group was organized this year to learn more about their family histories. Their goal is to encourage the citizens of Fayette County to gather family lore, customs and tradition of their ancestors and to appreciate the richness of the lives of their ancestors. Members meet on the fourth Saturday of each month at the Fayette Library conference room. The next meeting on Oct. 25 at 10 a.m. with Ella Sheffield of Smithville presenting a program on how to get started doing family research.

Texan Genealogist Ella Evadna Lee Sheffield of Smithville

Fayette County Genealogical Society Celebrates

Family History Month With Noted Texan Genealogist


LA GRANGE – October is Family History Month and to celebrate, the Fayette County Genealogical Society has invited Ella Evadna Lee Sheffield of Smithville to lead a two-hour session on starting your genealogical research on Saturday, October 25, 2008 at 10 a.m. at the Fayette County Library Meeting Room in La Grange. 

Ella is a noted genealogist who has taught genealogy at College of the Mainland in Texas City, Galveston College in Galveston and Smithville High School. She has served as an Elderhostel genealogy instructor for College of the Mainland and made presentations at workshops and seminars thoughout the United States.

Born in the Watterson community of Bastrop County, Ella and her parents moved to Austin during World War II.  In Austin she met and married Travis Sheffield.

Ella participated in planning the Houston Genealogy Institute for three years and completed the courses presented namely "New Frontiers in Genealogy," "Exploring American Genealogy" and "American Trails." She has also completed the national Genealogical Society genealogy course. Ella has also attended several national Genealogical Society Conferences including those held in Biloxi, Mississippi; Washington, D.C. and Houston, Texas where she was Chairman of the Vendors.

She served as the Texas Gulf Coast Office Manger for Southern Historical Press for more than ten years, where she formatted, compiled, indexed and supervised the typing of genealogy books.

Ella is a member of many historical and lineage societies including Colonial Dames of America, Colonial Dames Seventeenth Century, National Society Daughters of the American Colonists, National Society of the Dames of the Court of Honor, Flagon and Trencher: Descendants of Colonial Tavern Keepers, National Society United States Daughters of 1812, Daughters of the Republic of Texas and National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, Lost Pines Chapter.  Ella has served the Texas State Society NSDAR as an officer twice and has been State Chairman of several Committees. She has been on the National Speakers Staff and the State Speakers Staff for DAR. She is serving as TSDAR Markers Book Chairman.

Ella has compiled several books including Grainger County Tennessee Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions Record Book No. 3 1812-1816 and Grainger County Tennessee Letters of Administration 1842-1854. She is co-editor of the three volumes of 35,000 Tennessee Marriage Records and Bonds 1783-1870 and compiled Port of Galveston Ships Passenger List for the Galveston County Genealogical Society. She is in Whos Who in Genealogy and Heraldry and her books are available on Amazon.com.

Ella is founder and past President of the Texas City Ancestry Searchers, Galveston County Genealogical Society and helped start the Smithville Genealogy Group.  She has served on the Galveston County Historical Commission, Galveston County Museum Board, Galveston Childrens Home Board and Lay Representative for Moore Memorial Library in Texas City.

Anyone who is interested in starting their pursuing their genealogy is invited to attend this meeting.  Please bring the information you have already collected and questions that you wish to research.

The Fayette County Library and Archives has several computers that offer access to the paid database Ancestry.com.  Demonstrations on how to utilize the wonderful resource will be available.  For more information, please contact Fayette Genealogical Society President Connie Sneed at 979-968-4963, email lggensoc@yahoo.com or visit the website at www.lggensoc.webs.com.


  Here are some interesting thoughts from About.com.

"To understand a nation, one must first understand its history. The history is more than the laws and dates of major events. History lies in the daily life of the people for it is the people who make a nation. To ignore the lives of those who have gone before us is to negate their ideas, dreams and accomplishments. It robs us of the warp in the fabric of our own lives. And, each person's life is a thread woven into the tapestry that is that nation.

“Essentially, we are all immigrants to this country. Our ancestors came from different parts of the globe. By searching for our roots, we come closer together as a human family. Researching ancestry is a very important component of identity. It can lead to long-sought-after family reunions or allow for life saving medical treatments that only genetic links will allow. For all of these reasons, we encourage people across this nation to find out more about where they came from."

            If you have been curious about your family tree but just aren't sure where to start then you don't have any more excuses. The Fayette County Genealogical Society is a great place to start with resources and simple advice on how to begin researching your family tree both on and off the web.

Texas Heroes Day at Monument Hill

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Officer Election

Fayette County Genealogical Society Names Officers



The Fayette County Genealogical Society recently named its first slate of officers.  They are (front row, left to right): A. Neale Rabensburg, vice president; Connie Sneed, president; Elaine Thomas, public relations chair; and Susie Jackson, secretary.  (Back row, left to right): Donna Baker, treasurer; Stacy Sneed, webmaster and scrapbook chair; and Judy Matejowsky, historian.  In September, the group will not be meeting at the Fayette County Library and Archives.  Instead, members of the organization will be hosting an information table at Texas Heroes Day at Monument Hill State Park.  For more information about the Fayette County Genealogical Society, please email Connie Sneed at lggensoc@yahoo.com, call her at 979-968-4963 or visit the website at https://www.freewebs.com/lggensoc/inthenews.htm.


Linda Dennis        August 23, 2008

Fayette County Historical Commission Speaker

LA GRANGE – Linda Dennis, Chairman of the Fayette County Historical Commission, will be the guest speaker at the Fayette County Genealogy Society on Saturday, August 23, 2008 at the Fayette County Library Conference Room.  A brief business meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. followed by Dennis’ program from 10:30 to 12 noon.

She will be discussing the role of the Fayette County Historical Commission in preserving our local heritage, as well as an overview of current projects. 

Dennis, who moved to Fayetteville in 2004 and renovated an old farmhouse built in 1890, also is heading up the Old Jail Project in La Grange and is active with the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce and the Senior Citizens Group at St. John's in Fayetteville.  The mother of two grown children, she worked in the airline industry for 26 years before taking early retirement.  Before making Fayette County her home, she lived in Euless, Texas. 

Dennis is an enthusiastic volunteer with a penchant for local history. 

Visitors are welcome at the meeting.  For more information about the Fayette County Genealogical Society, please contact Connie Sneed at 979-968-4963. 



Yesterday's News  July 26, 2008

Fayette County Genealogical Society

Transcribing Old Newspapers

“Yesterday’s News”


The Fayette County Genealogical Society will meet on Saturday July 26, at the Fayette Public Library Conference Room from 10:00 am until 12:00 pm. At short business meeting will be held the first thirty minutes of the meeting. Afterwards the Society will begin transcribing pages from old historic newspapers for the Library. The articles will be sent to Rox Ann Johnson who is the coordinator for the Fayette County GenWeb project and will be put online at the GenWeb site.

In historical and genealogical research, newspapers play an important role in gathering information. Old newspapers offer the researcher a glimpse of daily life contemporary to the times being studied. Such old newspapers offer so much more than obituaries and the like. They offer a narrative of the happenings of the times and such narratives includes tremendous historical and genealogical information.

Old newspapers are sometimes the major or only source of genealogical information for a given locale at a particular time. Newspapers have played an important role in American life. They also served as important historical sources for scholars of all disciplines, librarians, teachers and students.

Reading these old newspapers is interesting and rewarding. You can learn and laugh in the course of doing transcribing, however it does take time and patience. The preservation of these articles are an important part of the Fayette County history.

You don’t need to be a fast typist or a highly skilled computer person to lend a hand in the project. Those interested in helping in the volunteer opportunity can call Connie Sneed at 979-968-4963.

 June Guest Speaker Carolyn Kubos Roberts

Fayette County Genealogical Society



For more information, please contact:

Connie Sneed, 979-968-4963


Fayette County Clerk Carolyn Kubos Roberts to be Guest Speaker

at Fayette County Genealogical Society’s June Meeting


LA GRANGE – The Fayette County Genealogical Society will welcome Carolyn Kubos Roberts as its guest speaker on Saturday, June 28 at the Fayette County Library Meeting Room at 10 a.m.  She will be discussing the types of records that are found in the county clerk’s office and how to use them. 

            These official records include deeds; deeds of trust; oil, gas, and mineral leases; probate cases; misdemeanor criminal cases; civil cases; marriages, births and deaths of Fayette County; commissioners’ court minutes; uniform commercial code filings; assumed name records; election records; marks and brands, and naturalization records.

            A native of Fayette County, Carolyn graduated from La Grange High School.  She began working in Fayette County Clerk's office in 1977 as a deputy county clerk.  She was chief deputy county clerk for 13 years before running for the position of Fayette County Clerk in 1994.  She has served in that position since January 1, 1995.  Carolyn is married to Marvin Roberts and they have one daughter, Caitlin, of La Grange.

The office of the county clerk has been in existence in Texas since 1836, superseding the escribano (secretary) of Spanish-Mexican rule.  Today the county clerk serves a four-year term and is the recorder for the county court and the commissioners’ court.  In addition the county clerk records and keeps records pertaining to the county courts, real and personal property, and personal records.   Other responsibilities include recording vital statistics, issuing marriage licenses and administering other miscellaneous licensing and recording

The mailing address for the Fayette County Clerk’s office is P.O. Box 59
La Grange, TX  78945 and the physical address is 246 W. Colorado Street, La Grange.  The office phone number is (979) 968-3251.

Fayette County Genealogical Workshop May 2008

Get Started Tracing Your Ancestors



LA GRANGE – If you’ve always thought you’d like to trace your ancestors and learn more about your family history but didn’t know where to start, the La Grange Genealogical Society invites you to a special workshop on Saturday, May 17 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon in the meeting room at the Fayette County Library. 

            Please bring as much information on the births, marriages and deaths of your parents, grandparents and great-grandparents because the first rule in tracing your ancestors is always work backwards in time.  You’ll find out how to fill in genealogical charts and keep track of critical information starting with yourself.  We’ll also be sharing tips on computer programs where you can store your data and how to take advantage of the Fayette County Library’s subscription to Ancestry.com.  You can use the database at the library at no charge but if you purchased a personal annual subscription it would cost over $300.

            Bring your questions and brick walls if you’re already well on your way to finding your ancestors!  Please RSVP if you plan to attend to Connie Sneed at 979-968-4963.



April Article for the Fayette County Record


Donna Baker will be guest speaker! 

LA GRANGE – Donna Baker of Warrenton will present a program on the societal impact of prohibition and its historical affects at the Fayette County Genealogical Society on April 19 at Fayette Library Conference Room from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.

Donna has deep southern roots and her husband, Tommy, is a native Texan. Through her genealogical research, she discovered that a few of her ancestors apparently ran moonshine in Mississippi. She will discuss the roadblocks that she encountered during her genealogical research into this branch of her family tree.

At the March business meeting, the group voted to charge $20 per person or $30 per couple for a one-year membership in the Fayette County Genealogical Society.

The society’s speaker in March was Burnie Cowan of Bastrop who presented a very informative program on YDNA and answered many questions about this scientific approach to determining common ancestors.

For more information about the Fayette County Genealogical Society, please contact Connie Sneed at 979-968-4963.



Fayette County Genealogical Society

News Release



LA GRANGE -- Burnie Cowan, an associate-group administrator of the Cowan yDNA Project, will conduct a program at the Fayette County Genealogy Society on March 15 at Fayette Library Conference Room from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.

  Genealogical yDNA tests have become popular due to the ease of testing at home and the tremendous contribution they provide to genealogical research. Genealogical yDNA tests allow for an individual to determine with 99.9% certainty whether a person is related to another person or with 100% certainty that he or she is not related. 

  The most common complaint from yDNA test customers is the failure of the test companies to make results understandable and meaningful. This class will help the genealogist remove the mystery from the numbers and make the test a tool to open closed doors and move the researcher around some genealogical "brick walls."

  Cowan’s ancestors immigrated to the Americas (Virginia) as early as the 1600s. They fought in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and came to Texas as early as 1824 while it was a possession of the Mexican government. In 1846, they fought in Mexican-American War. And, in 1861, they fought in the Civil war with Terry’s Texas Rangers.  Six were Texas Rangers and one was a Deputy US Marshall in the Nueces Strip. 

  Genealogy and history has been a hobby of Cowan since his early youth when his great-grandmother told him stories of her family coming to Texas in a covered wagon and of their frontier life on the old Comanche trail.

  Cowan is a native of the Austin/San Marcos area and has a degree in Computer Science. After 37 years, he retired from BASF Corporation of Freeport, Texas, a company which focused on nylon technology. In 2005, Cowan and his family moved to Bastrop, where, as associate director of the Bastrop ‘Old Town’ Visitor Center, he conducts genealogy classes.

At the Fayette County Genealogy Society’s February meeting, the group decided on a permanent name, Fayette County Genealogy Society, that better reflects the organization’s scope. Also, Connie Sneed was appointed acting president and Elaine Thomas, acting secretary. The group’s February guest speaker was David L. Collins, who presented am excellent program on his ancestors, who once were slaves in Fayette and Lee Counties.




Christmas 2007

The holiday season is now upon us, and regardless of whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or simply the arrival of the new year, this is a time to share with family and friends. What that means, too, is that you have many opportunities to share family traditions and stories. Now may be a good time to start keeping your family records.

During the holidays, you will find yourself in many one-on-one and group situations when it may be appropriate to share family history information with others. Discussing holidays past is appropriate to the current holidays; it adds to other people's enjoyment of the occasion and still affords you with the opportunity to impart family history.

Time spent traveling to relatives' homes presents opportunities for building new memories and sharing old ones. Not only can you enjoy the trip and the sights you see, but you can also recount stories about other trips you have made, perhaps for other holidays.

Time spent traveling to relatives' homes presents opportunities for building new memories and sharing old ones. Not only can you enjoy the trip and the sights you see, but you can also recount stories about other trips you have made, perhaps for other holidays.

The kitchen is always a focal point of family get-togethers and is one of the places where great memories (and meals) are made. You can use the opportunity to "remember" a special dish prepared for another holiday meal or to tell a story about the kinds of holiday meals you or your ancestors may have enjoyed. Share your recipes with the family as the reminder of the time spent in the kitchen.

If you are staying with relatives, the quiet time at the end of the day, just before bedtime, can be great for reminiscing. Try to talk about all the nice things that happened that day and recall past holidays and family members who are gone. These times strengthen our family relationships and reinforce the memories we share.

The next meeting of the La Grange Genealogy Society will be January 19