Kinsearching January 4, 2009




Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     Because genealogy and history are intertwined, researchers never know when a "trivial" fact may become an important clue that helps them locate a "lost" ancestor or relative, shed light on an incident or event mentioned in a family story, or provide insight into the lifestyles of bygone eras. Perhaps the selected items below will meet these criteria. The interesting tidbits come from the 15 December 1910 (Vol. 22, No. 50) issue of The Baptist Standard, published in Dallas, TX.

p. 24

     "On Dec. 8 the M. K. & T. railway brought 7,400 newcomers into Texas in six trains.

     It is said that a coterie of Boston folk have started a crusade against Santa Claus because he is a myth and urge the substitution of Benjamin FRANKLIN. We will risk all our reputation on the statement (?) that the crusade will be a d_____ (dire?) failure from the very start.
(Editor's Note: A couple of the words in item above were unreadable.)

p. 25

     The enrollment at the North Texas Baptist Academy at Westminster has already passed the 100 mark.

     The effort is now being made for funds to replace the boys' dormitory of the Bryan Baptist Academy recently destroyed by fire.

     In a recent election Lampasas County remained in the Pro column by a majority of 183. This is over double the majority with which it entered that column. The American Baptist Publication Society have begun a new publication entitled 'Home and School.' The initial copy presents an attractive appearance."


     One of the resources genealogists may use to locate a place is a geographical dictionary called a gazetteer. The term, however, can be used in a broader sense to include a publication listing geographical names alphabetically. Older gazetteers often have more detailed data regarding the history of a locality.

     Sometimes a gazetteer may be included in a larger work. An example is the section "Thompson's Vermont, Part Third, Gazetteer of Vermont" in the HISTORY OF VERMONT, NATURAL, CIVIL, AND STATISTICAL, IN THREE PARTS, WITH A NEW MAP OF THE STATE, AND 200 ENGRAVINGS by Zadock Thompson (Burlington: Published for the author by Chauncey Goodrich, 1842.) In addition to facts about name changes for a place, data may pertain to a variety of topics. For instance, the entry for the town of Sutton, VT (page 169 of the Thompson's gazetteer), contains the following information:

     "The religious denominations are Methodists, Baptists, and Freewill Baptists. Elder Amos Beckwith was ordained over the Baptist church in 1804. A meeting house was erected here in 1813. This town has been generally healthy. The epidemic of 1812, commenced about the tenth of February of that year. In the space of seven weeks, there were about 60 cases of the disease and six deaths."

     Using these facts, genealogists with forebears from the town of Sutton may be able to narrow down the religious persuasion of their ancestors. If an ancestor died there in 1812, perhaps he or she died from the disease that caused the epidemic. According to information on the website at, New England had an epidemic of "spotted fever" (or "malignant fever") during the spring of 1812 and 1813. The disease is believed to have been what is now called cerebro-spinal-meningitis.

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