Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Travel Tuesday – Texas and Oklahoma Road Trip!

Every year my sister Jennifer takes a week of vacation at Halloween, and I schedule a trip to Texas to visit if I can. Although Jennifer is not as interested in genealogy as I am, she makes a great research assistant. We usually take a 2-3 day road trip while I’m there to visit cemeteries and courthouses. This year we focused more on visiting family.

We started on Tuesday with a drive up to Lone Grove, Oklahoma, where several nieces and nephews live. We stopped in Denton for breakfast and my sister showed me the county courthouse there. (They refer to it as the "Kremlin"!)

I had emailed my nieces in advance and they gathered up birth, marriage, and death certificates, as well as photos, to be scanned. (I took my FlipPal Mobile Scanner along on this trip.) I was amazed at the documents my sister and her husband had saved throughout their lives together! We also visited Lone Grove Cemetery where my father, my sister and my brother-in-law are buried.

On Wednesday, we headed south. Our first stop was at Richland Springs Cemetery in Richland Springs, San Saba County, Texas. Charles W. Spurlock, our 1st cousin once removed, and most of his children are buried there. I had planned to take pictures with my phone, using the BillionGraves app. I was disappointed because reception in the area was poor and, as a result, the GPS wasn’t working. It was the first time I had tried to use BillionGraves in a remote location and didn’t realize I could take pictures without the GPS recognizing the cemetery. I later found out that I could still upload the pictures to the site once I was back in range. So only one picture will be uploaded to BillionGraves and the other photos I took will be uploaded to FindAGrave.

From Richland Springs, we drove to Dripping Springs (just east of Austin) to visit my brother Arny and his wife Elaine. Arny had pulled out many photos and albums to share with us. He had some great photos of our Yawman grandparents! He even had class pictures from his elementary school days, all his high school yearbooks, and numerous photos from his bowling days and military service! While I scanned pictures and documents, I turned on a digital voice recorder to capture all the memories and information he shared. That evening, we enjoyed dinner at the Creek Road Cafe in Dripping Springs.

On Thursday, we traveled to Round Rock (just north of Austin) to visit cousin Loretta Spurlock whom we had not met before. Her father and our grandfather were half-brothers, 30 years apart in age! Loretta has been working hard to gather information on all the descendants of John Spurlock (our common ancestor). She gave me a stack of documents, emails, and notes she had collected so that I can update my database. She also gave me several photos. We had a lovely afternoon, listening to all the stories and memories Loretta shared and which she allowed me to record as well.

On Friday morning, we left Round Rock and traveled east to Milam County to visit Lilac Cemetery. Our great-granduncle George M. Spurlock is buried there. I already had a picture of his tombstone, but there was an inscription at the bottom I couldn’t read. The GPS in BillionGraves app was working and I took several tombstone photos to upload. And I transcribed the inscription on George’s tombstone! Lilac Cemetery is a Texas historical site and I took a photo of the marker.

Before I left on Saturday, we visited the Dallas Public Library to go through microfilms of the Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel. My hope was to find the marriage announcement for my grandparents. I have a copy of a newspaper article, but there is no indication of what newspaper it was in or the date it was published. We didn’t find it, but we did find an announcement regarding my granduncle’s marriage.

As always, I enjoyed the time I spent visiting my sister, her children, and other family members in Oklahoma and Texas. Now comes the work of organizing all the information and photos. I’ll be sharing more over the coming weeks!

© 2011 Denise Spurlock


  1. Lovely post! It's wonderful when you can spend time with family AND do genealogy!
    ~ Regina =^)