Category Archives: Courthouse

Hometown Tuesday ~ Lexington, Lafayette Co, Missouri

hometown tuesdayI thought I should probably do a Hometown Blog about my hometown, Lexington Missouri. When talking with other people I usually refer to myself as being “older than dirt” so I figure, with my advancing age it would be wise to write it now LOL!

Lexington was founded in 1822 and became the County Seat in 1823. It is locatedMadonna of the Trail along the bluffs overlooking the Missouri River. It became the largest city west of St. Louis in the 1830s and ’40s. John Aull built the first Mercantile store there in 1822 and it became a booming business. This quaint little city was the starting point for those traveling westward. The beginning of the Oregon, Santa Fe, California, and Mormon Trails was here. It is estimated that by 1843 there were over $450,000 of goods that had been sent west.

SONY DSCLexington boasts the oldest, continually used Courthouse west of the Mississippi. It was built in 1847. This building saw a lot of changes over its 173 years of standing guard over the town. It survived the Battle of Lexington 1861, with only a cannonball lodged in one of its columns. The cannonball is still there today.

There are numerous historic homes, buildings, and sites in this town, the most famous one is the Wentworth Military Academy which was founded in 1880. It drew students not only from the United States but from all over the world.

Now for a more personal take on this town. In the 1950s the population of Lexington was 5071. It was a close-knit community made up mostly of families who were farmers. I was born here at the Lexington Hospital. My family moved to Arizona a year after I was born for health reasons. SoHousein Lexington it is sad to say I was not raised here. I did live there shortly in the mid-’60s and I loved it there. It was so full of history and things to do. When we moved back there we rented the top floor apartment of a large historical home on Highland Street. The street in front of the home was made of original bricks from when the town was first built. I loved the sound the road made when someone drove over it. I played clarinet and I would take it out in the backyard and practice with it. The yard was on top of one of the many bluffs along the Missouri River and I could watch the activity on the river as I played. I had many relatives that lived in town and I finally got to meet them.

I guess it is now confession time. There was one thing I did not like about the town. It was the “chiggers”. I was raised in the desert and had never encountered those nasty little bloodsuckers before. I learned quickly to wear long pants and socks to avoid being eaten alive!


cropped-blog-pic1.jpgI am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Civil War, Courthouse, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, History, Hometown Tuesday, Lexington MO, Missouri, Personal Stories, Uncategorized

5 Genealogy Myths

mythThere are so many “truths” that we believe about the subject of Genealogy. When I first started researching mine, I believed everything I read or heard about the subject. I apparently was quite naïve.


Here are 5 Myths that most new Genealogists are told but they are not true.

1. Your ancestors’ name was changed when they can through Ellis Island.

This isn’t necessarily true. Passenger lists were created when your ancestor boarded the ship at their port of departure. When they arrived at Ellis Island their names were checked off that list. There were, however, some passengers who wanted to change their names, for whatever reason, and the attendants would sometimes accommodate them.


2. Your ancestors’ records were destroyed in a Courthouse fire.Chenango_County_Courthouse_May_09

Yes, a lot of Courthouses have burned to the ground, but this doesn’t mean all of the records were destroyed. Some Courthouses did not totally burn down so the surviving documents were transferred to another county close by. Most of them contacted the residents of the county and asked them to bring in any documents they may have so that they could make a note of them. Many States have archives where their staffs have prepared special helps for genealogists researching around Courthouse fires. They would have records of these notes or copies.


3. The 1890 census burned to a crisp.

Truth is it did not burn. It became waterlogged while the fire was being extinguished. The papers were left lying around and they rotted. Some unknown person gave permission for these papers to be destroyed. A fraction of the census’ did survive as well as about half of the Civil War Union veterans census records.


4. Everyone has a Family Crest.

crestHaving a coat of arms or family crest is much rarer than you might imagine. Having the hereditary right to use it is even rarer. While there are many companies out there that are willing to sell you all kinds of merchandise with your supposed “family crest” on it, the vast majority of these companies are not engaged in legitimate genealogical research. The coat of arms or crest you get may or may not belong to your family (and it might be made up completely by the company selling it to you), or you may not have the hereditary right to use it. Historically speaking, a coat of arms is a design on the shield of a medieval knight. The design was unique to an individual and not to a family. Sometimes, the individual only had rights to the coat of arms during his lifetime. Other times, he was allowed to pass it down to his descendants, and it became the family coat of arms. Google your last name i.e. Hughes Family Crest and you will see how many variations there are.


5. You can find your whole family history online.

Wouldn’t that be great? Unfortunately, errors abound in online indexes, transcriptions, and family trees. There is so much documentation out there that may never make its way online. Repositories still hold richly detailed, lesser-known records that haven’t been digitalized. It would really pay off if at some point you could visit a local library or courthouse.

These are only a few of the myths we have heard or believed. It is best to always verify any information that you may come across to determine the “truth” of it.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Courthouse, Documentation, Family Crests, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, Hints, Myths, Research, Uncategorized