Research Services Available


Research Genealogy and History

TXGenWeb Conference - Guest Speakers

Services are available for research in counties within a 2 hour drive of Canton, Texas for nominal fees. Distances that require longer trips can be discussed.

Will do searches at courthouses, cemeteries, churches, libraries and from newspaper microfilm. We can take pictures, also.

Some of the Counties: 29 North Central Texas
Cass........................... Ellis........................Fannin


Websites & Basic Computer Skills


Beginner Computer Genealogy: A basic beginner class on Genealogy software programs and how to enter the data you have gathered through the years. Family Tree Maker is one of the software programs we will be discussing and explaining how to enter data into the program. This workshop was held sometime in September. For more information, email us at: or you can contact Patsy Vinson at:


Transcription of old documents

We also have a large scanner that we use at the courthouse to scan old books such as probate, commissioners court, etc. We can transcribe your old documents pages for you.

Contact us at the email address below for more information.

Qualifications of Charter Members of OPHGR 2007-2014

Joan Rash Pappa - Qualifications as a Genealogist – Researcher & Archivist

Started family research (45 years to date)

Joined James Butler Bonham Chapter, Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT).

Member #5418, primary qualifying ancestor – William Bailey Standifer. I have since added supplemental lines for: Elizabeth James, Lanty M. Armstrong, Martha Elinor Armstrong, Merit Branum, Eliza Ellen Finley, Alzada Harrell, William Anderson Standifer, Mary Ann Branum, Emily Young Armstrong, Jesse Finley and Rachel Finley.

Served two years as the chapter registrar for the Children of the Republic of Texas (CRT).

Served two years as the CRT Registrar General (State Board) of the DRT. I was responsible for approving application papers for the children (birth to 21 years).

Served two years as the 3rd Vice President General (State Board) of the DRT. I was the director of the CRT and responsible for their annual convention.

Charter Member #583805, Michael Stoner Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).

1985 – 1987

My mother, Martha Plummer Rash, was serving as President General of the DRT and I was on her State Board serving as Corresponding Secretary General. That gave me six years on the State Board.

Beginning in about 1995, I taught at least (can't find my records) eight six-weeks courses on "Beginning Genealogy" for the Rockwall ISD Continuing Education for Adults. One class in the spring and one in the fall. I usually had 15 – 20 students.

I have spent 15 weeks in Salt Lake City researching at the Family History Library.

I am currently a member of: James Butler Bonham Chapter, DRT; Dallas Genealogy Society; Rockwall County Genealogical Society; Van Zandt County Genealogical Society and OPHGR. I am currently an Archivist for OPHGR.


Betty Miller Qualifications as a Genealogist – Researcher, & Archivist

My qualifications aren't much except in the technology/archiving area. I have been doing research since 1994 and have researched my mother's lineage and my husband's lineage. Daddy, B. J. Teal, of course researched his family and started in 1994 as well.

I have been studying and training on various types of computer technology since 1986 and am proficient in MSWord, Excel, WordPerfect, PaperPort, MSDigital Image, Adobe Acrobat Pro, and Adobe PageMill, as well as other peripheral software pertaining to the digitalization of photographs and documents and converting them to digital media such as CD and DVD.

I am also capable of holding tutorials on web site building and digital photo transformation as well as the restoration of old pictures both color and black and white.

I gathered materials and published the Van Zandt County Old Tyme Recipes for the VZGS of Canton, Texas. I held a Web Site building tutorial for about 10 people in 2007.

Currently, I am Vice President & Archivist for OPHGR as well as a Charter member.


Laverne Wyatt - Qualifications as Genealogist, Researcher & Archivist

2005 -2015 Just getting started in researching and being an archivist.


Estelle Lindsey Shipp----
Genealogist & Reseacher & Archivist for OPHGR (Bowie Co. TX)

Started research the year I retired from being a NURSE. Little did I know that I would meet so many folks! I started by first attempting to locate my Father- In-Law's; Mother's Roots. To this day it is not finished.

I am a member of the Texarkana USA Genealogical Society- I walked many cemeteries recording headstones to be put on line by our society, we took pictures of headstones and listed the cemetery's in Texarkana, Arkansas and Texarkana, Texas and other nearby cemeteries around us to put online. Please visit:

I served as Recoding Secretary and illness has forced me to resign the office and surveying cemeteries. I assisted in extracting 25, 000 Obits and transcribing them as well as various other articles also. We have gone to the two courthouses for our city and copied information for our web site also.

I found land head rights that my father-in- law's father bought. They were in Bowie County. John Henry Shipp, and wife Mary Susan Stringfellow, had 12 children. Each child was given land out of these head rights. I have copies which are priceless finds to us. Wishful that we could find more but have not. I am still searching of my Mother's relatives. This has thus far come to a dead end in the road but I still try to search everyday for a trace of Murray A Underwood, need his mother and father- indications are that they were in Serville, Tennessee. Census records are almost unreadable for searching.

I published for five Shipp children still living 2 notebooks full of family photos tying all families together and stories furnished by each kid about their family and the roots that they can remember. Our relative and anchor for this line of Shipp is RICHARD C. SHIPP he had 40 acres+ 80 acres in separate land grants--in close vicinity of the Harmony Grove Baptist Church. This is also where Richard C. Shipp is buried.. Richard G. Shipp sold this land and moved to Texas---Then known as Eyalu. It is very rewarding to tromp these cemeteries and record history and heart touching every time I stand at the foot of a grave to read each line on that stone. Today illness has kept me from doing what I would like to do, I love research and finding
so many things in our past.

I am also webmaster of: Estelle's Dogwood Patch.
I also am a Charter member of OPHGR .


Dorothy Mae Williamson - Qualifications as a Genealogist-Researcher & Archivist


Started doing family research (59 years to date)
I went to my maternal grandmother and ask her to help me make a list of all her mother's family and their birthdates. Then I asked about the dates for her brothers and sisters. She helped me with by using the family Bible and we made a list. I didn't know at this time how to do research, so I just kept this information for later.

I moved into a Morman community and had a Morman lady for a neighbor. She shared her information on research and took me to the genealogical library and showed me how to start my family genealogical history. At this point I began to write letters to older family members and ask for all the information they had. I was surprised that they were so eager to help me with this information.

I did further research at the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library, San Antonio, Texas. Also, at Multnomah County Library, Portland, Oregan, East Texas Genealogical Society, Tyler, Texas, Van Zandt County Genealogical Society, Canton, Texas and many other organizations. I have researched many libraries, courthouses, cemeteries, etc. I have my mother's maternal family back to 1820, my mother's paternal family back to 1600 and my father's maternal family back 6 generations and his paternal family
back to 1500's.

I have attended many seminars on how to search different forms of data. I have attended 2 day seminars. Gathered lots of information and used it to gather this information.

I volunteered as an assistant librarian at the Van Zandt County Library of Genealogy and Local History for 4 hours a week in 2006-2007.

I am currently a Charter member of: OPHGR (Organization for the Preservation of Historical and Genealogical Records) serving as Treasurer in 2007 thru 2014. I also work as an Archivist traveling to courthouses to transcribe documents into books for fellow researchers.


Patsy Finley Vinson – Qualifications as a Genealogist – Researcher & Archivist


Started Family research of the Finley and Vinson allied lines (before I married).

1965 – 1980
Worked on the family lines of both Robert and myself by gathering information from both my grandmothers, Marthana Jane Walker Finley (d. 1983 age 97 yrs) and Ola Lee Smith Conway (d. 1998 age 94 yrs); siblings of both families and Grandma Mildredge Mae Scroggins Vinson (d. 1994 age 92 yrs.) Both of my family lines have had family gatherings which helped locate information.

Traveled to many of the county courthouses in the State of Texas, have spent many hours viewing the census and newspapers on microfilm. I visited the BonhamFavorite before it closed down and was able to look through their old ledgers of newspapers and to make copies of information on our family.

My Baker/Spence lines arrived in Texas before it was a Republic settling in Fannin Co. Texas. James Slaton Baker was given a Republic of Texas Certificate. The Hinshaw line first settled in Smith Co. Texas ca 1847. Norris Finley arrived in Fannin Co. about 1855 from Izard County Arkansas.

Located my Dad's first cousin on the Walker side, June Walker Staton, and we traveled to courthouses all over Texas looking for more information. Have in my possession the Walker abstract done on my 3rd Great-grandfather, Joel Walker's land in Tarrant county received from a Peter's Colony Certificate. He had given the county the right–of-way through his 640 acres (the old Ft. Worth/Grapevine Rd near present day Birdville) but Ft. Worth never filed the papers so in ca 1887 an abstract had to be completed. The abstract has over 40 pages with 150 + heirs listed and I had to transcribe the abstract from its original copy as it was hard to read.

Traveled to Arkansas and found the funeral records of my great-grandmother, Sarah E. Stringfellow and it listed her father William A. Stringfellow. She is buried in an unmarked grave along with her husband, Nenward Edward Conway in the Dayton Cemetery in Dayton, Sebastian Co. AR. I have also made a trip usually once a year to Washington, Hempstead Co. AR which was the original county seat before Hope of which my Stuart and Conway family were some of the first settlers, merchants, commissioners, Judges, tavern owners to settle that area. The town isnow a State Park and has guided tours.

Traveled to many States with different cousins searching for information.
Visited cemeteries, courthouses, State Archives, libraries & distant cousins in
any place that might help us. (Years-1991, 1994, 2003, & 2005)
The States visited were: Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, North & South Carolina, Georgia (several times), Alabama, and lower part of Illinois.

Summer of 1997 -Helped with organizing some of materials at the
Tri-County Library in Mabank while it was located in the Mabank Bank building.

I worked as a volunteer at the Van Zandt County Library of Genealogy and Local History from 2000 until 2007. I served there as a Volunteer Librarian, member-at-large, was Acquisitions Chairperson, ordered books and worked on the new technology being installed. I helped Betty Miller with a Web Site building class in 2007. I have attended many workshops dealing with Genealogy. Betty Miller and I worked on burning 100 sets of 3 - DVDs for the Grand Saline Main Street Project. The quarterly for 2007 VZCGS was another project that I worked with others to publish.

In 2002 & 2003, worked with a college on-line toward getting my certified Genealogist degree.

Lines I have worked on with family, in-laws & friends.
Families of Patsy…Finley, Walker, Hinshaw, Baker, Spence, Crutcher; Conway,
Stringfellow, Shipp, Walraven, Smith, Fulkerson, Stuart, Dobson.
Families of Robert: Vinson, Cox, Meador, Scroggins, Lemon, Lewis; Werner,
Garvin, Walcott/Wolcott, Witherspoon, Billingham,
Daughter-in-Laws family: Armstrong, Nocar, Pliley, Stringham, Koelsch, Prothe, Sitar, Carvelle
Friend (Joan Harkrider Winkelvoss) Harkrider, Harris, Maddox, Altmon, Winkelvoss

I have published 8 family books & 2 cookbooks...helped transcribe & publish 2 books listed with the Library of Congress....I am working on 2 other books.

Books I have Published.
1986 – The Finley Clan Cookbook
2002 – Levi Alfred Smith & Allied Families (includes Conway & Walraven)
2002 – Downhome Finley Recipes with a Texas Flair Book II
2004 –Ancestors & Descendants of Joel Walker (1794-1866) & Celia/Celah
(Petty-1794-1856)………..Jesse Hinshaw (1800-1878) & Nancy Miller (1820-1884)
2004 –History of the Baker/Spence Families of Fannin Co. Texas
2004 – Finley Legends – Tales from the Past (this book contains legends/ stories that happened as told by the children, grandchildren and parents in this family).
2006 – Compiled 2 sets of DVD"s - Compiled of pictures from my mother, grandmothers, cousins, aunts and uncles and my pictures.
Smith & Walraven Memories – set of 2…….Finley Memories…Set of 2
2007 – Van Zandt County Treasurer's Ledger 1870-1875…..................I transcribed from the original book and donated the proceeds from the book to OPHGR.
2008 - Wood County Unclaimed Marriage Certificates from 1890-1970....worked with other members.
2008 - Working on Brands of Wood County and Loose Papers of Wood County.
2009 - transcribed and compiled - Misdemeanor Guilty Pleas of Wood County, Texas 1892-1946

2010 - transcribed Wood County, TX Surveyor's Notes 1878-1910

I am the Webmaster of Patsy's Primrose Lane ( and OPHGR
(Organization for the Preservation of Historical and Genealogical Records). I am working in Wood County, Texas transcribing old documents with fellow Archivists; Betty Miller, Joan Pappa, Laverne Wyatt, Dorothy Williamson, Wilma Pinola and Mary Ganey.


Webmaster of Hill, Kaufman, Nolan, Red River and Rains Counties of the TXGenWeb project.

I am a Charter member of OPHGR and serve as the President and Archivist.
(2007 - Present) Publish & compile the newsletter with other Charter members for OPHGR; published four times a year.

I am currently working on compiling marriage records from my family files along with other members of OPHGR to put into a book or digital formats.

Workshop Held -- Family Tree Maker 2006 was held in September 2010.

Created in: 2007

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Disclaimer: OPHGR is not responsible for the quality of work that is provided for services of individuals doing research. Most of these researchers have 30 to 40 years background in genealogical and historical research. The researcher you select with be in contact with you personally to handle your research.