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28 May 2017

Chris' Genealogy Journey, First Stop: Albany, Texas

Leaving Liz's in Tucson, AZ in my new RV shirt

 by Chris Pattillo

Come along with me, a fellow California Genealogical Society member, and read excerpts from my blog as I begin a genealogy adventure focused on Texas, Virginia, Tennessee and Illinois.  Along the trail I plan to visit state and national parks too.  Ready? Let’s go!

The Why and the How
Inspired by my mom and dad’s camper trips when I was a kid, I’ve got my own small motorhome now, so I’m hitting the road. For many years I’ve wanted to spend time where my ancestors lived and to learn more about what they did, where they lived and what their lives were like. Now that I’ve recently retired, I can spend time seeing these places and doing research at local history libraries, state archives, courthouses and other places where historic records are kept.

In 1971 my parents Lottie and Ed bought a Ford pickup and a new camper 
Texas: My Ancestor Trail Begins
I’ve heard that people in Texas are friendly. Today I experienced the truth to that statement, and I would add they are helpful and generous. This morning I drove from Snyder, Texas to Albany, Texas (Shackelford County) and I started the genealogy part of this trip.

My great grandfather James William Pattillo left Mecklenburg, Virginia after the Civil War and migrated to Tarrant County, Texas. The earliest record I have for his being in the county is his marriage to Carrie Brooks Stover on 5 April 1879. On the 1880 Tarrant County census James was identified as a cattle dealer living in Handley just west of Fort Worth. By 1887 James and Carrie were living in Los Angeles, California but Carrie’s brother David Gaines Stover remained in Texas.

Saw this map in the Dawson County Courthouse.
At top center are Shackelford, Stephens and Tarrant Counties
There are footprints of this branch of my family in three counties all west of Fort Worth – Tarrant, Stephens and Shackelford. I started in Shackelford because I knew where Carrie’s brother, his wife and two of his sons are buried in the Albany Cemetery.

Saundra Nobles had surveyed the Albany cemetery and uploaded all her data and photos onto the Find-A-Grave site. The section, block and lot numbers were all listed on the site, so I figured finding them would be easy. It’s a large cemetery with very clearly labeled street names, but I didn’t see any section, block or lot numbers. I was stumped...for Chris’ complete story, click here.

Everyone I encountered today was warm, friendly, helpful and remarkably generous. Thank you Albany, Texas – a great town.  Stay tuned for my next genealogy adventure!

Photos courtesy of Chris Pattillo

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