Sometimes things don’t go according to plan. Normally, I prepare for a genealogy research trip for months in advance. I know all the libraries and ancestral places I will visit. I have my research logs printed with the books/documents I will be looking for. I have a schedule almost down to the hour and maps with instructions for how I will get from one place to the other. I even have print outs of selected restaurants that have 4-5 star reviews and a good wine menu. Well, I didn’t have anything like that before my trip to Texas. There were all sorts of valid reasons why I wasn’t prepared, but basically I had other priorities that took precedence. Even the fact that I was going to Texas was fluke…my friend Valerie and her sister Gail were going to visit distant relatives and they invited me along.
My plan consisted of 1) Friday – I would go to the Dallas Public Library which has a very good genealogy collection and 2) Saturday – I would try to visit something out in the countryside where my Hollingsworth and Turner families had lived.
The trip to the library was moderately productive. I found a birth certificate for a great uncle and some derivative sources for a few marriages. Mostly, I realized that I would have to return to Texas and go to county courthouses and the State Library in Austin. Darn my lack of planning!
Saturday, I headed out to Bosque and Coryell counties in Central Texas where my families had lived. I don’t have land records yet and I really only had references to towns near where they were born and the cemetery where the Hollingsworth’s were buried. Bosque and Coryell are about 2 1/2 hours south of Dallas (next to Crawford, Texas if that helps you have a reference point) Luckily, Valerie was with me on the adventure or I never would have found anything! We had 2 i-pads that would come and go with internet reception and we drove in circles for awhile looking for a country road, but 3 1/2 hours and 2 dirt roads later we finally found Prairie View Cemetery in Coryell.
It is a lovely cemetery that is in use today with Hollingsworth’s still being buried there.
We found the graves for Addison Hollingsworth (1824-1892), Clarissa “Cassie” McCullen Hollingsworth (1829-1917), Alford McCullen Hollingsworth (1856-1925) and Julia McCrary Hollingsworth (1864-1895). The trip was totally worth it! I started to feel connected to these ancestors by traveling through the countryside they lived in and walking in the cemetery where they are buried among so many of their descendants. I am excited to continue the research into their past. However, it was an expensive lesson reminding me that doing my homework ahead of time would have increased my results tremendously. I won’t let this happen again. Let that be a lesson to you too…always be prepared!