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Genealogy on the Road

Cousins Road Trip! 

Lots of people go on road trips. They might drive to a scenic area and picnic, go to the lake or park. Normal-people stuff. Right?

Ruby and I love to go on road trips together. Ruby is my first cousin on my mama’s side (gotta read that with a southern twang). We enjoy going on genealogy research road trips together. For fun.

As genealogists, our road trips are a bit different. We don’t go to the usual tourist areas. Instead, we will take the back roads, we might have a picnic but it will be in a cemetery, surrounded by our dearly departed relatives, and the only time we’ll get wet is if we get caught in the rain (or on this particular trip, snow).  

Spending the day at courthouse archives, cemeteries and trudging through cow pastures to find a long-forgotten gravesite, is our idea of entertainment. Not “normal-people” stuff.

Destination: Texas County, Missouri

William Scyler and Myrtle Odessa Stogsdill Langley
William Scyler Langley and Myrtle Odessa Stogsdill Langley our grandparents.

We wanted to go to Texas County, Missouri as it was home to many of our ancestors for several decades. 

Determining our research goals.

We began by determining our research goals individually and collaboratively.
One of my goals was to document and visit the property of our family members, another was to locate my Great Grandmother Adeline Winn Stogsdill’s burial plot.

One of Ruby’s goals was to see and take photos of our 3rd great-grandparents Joseph and Julia Langley’s graves.

Number one on both of our lists was to visit and learn more about the old town that our great-great-grandfather, William Braz Langley, helped establish in the late 1890s to early 1900s. Old Success, Missouri.

Tag Team Researching

Ruby and I are a good research team. Ruby never met a stranger and she will talk to anyone. ANYONE. But me, not so much, I prefer to stand back, watch and listen.

My contribution is planning the trip and research priorities, then together we document and organize our discoveries.

We used online tools to plan and organize.

To plan the trip, I plotted out the places we wanted to visit on a Google Drive map which allowed Ruby and I to collaborate. We also used the Marco Polo app to make it even easier to plan. Lots more fun than just texting or talking on the phone. Google Drive has so many tools that you can use to organize your genealogy and collaborate and there are many YouTube video tutorials on the subject. Check it out!

Google Drive Map is a great travel planning tool and especially helpful to the genealogist.
Google Drive map showing a few of the places we wanted to visit. Attaching documents or pictures to the entries is a helpful reminder of the events that occurred in the area.

Research Tip: Search Facebook for a local group focusing on your area of research interest.

Facebook group focusing on Houston, Missouri history.
Houston, Missouri Area Then & Now Facebook Group

Through a Facebook group, Ruby found a gentleman that knew a lot about Old Success and was even compiling a book on the old town. He agreed to take us on a personal tour of the area and share his expertise with us. I’m so glad she reached out to him or we would have never known where the old townsite was located. We worked our plans around his schedule as we did not want to miss talking with him.

Get a room.

While she was making arrangements to meet him, I found a fabulous Air BnB called the Swedish Country Hideaway near Rolla, Missouri. If you need a place to stay in the Rolla or the Ft. Leonard Wood area we highly recommend staying at the Swedish Country Hideaway. We used it as our home base for our daily research outings.

Use common sense when booking an Air BnB. I read all the reviews and the “about me” page about the Swedish Country Hideaway before I made any reservations and made sure we would feel and be safe. We were very safe and felt at home during our visit and will definitely stay there again when we are back in the area.

Goal setting is done, now what?

My goal of finding where my Great Grandmother Stogsdill was buried, was most likely to be found at the Genealogical Society. She is probably buried in an unmarked grave, as there is no photo of a marker on Find a Grave. If we can locate her grave, we would like to place a headstone in her memory.

Based on our goals we decided that the Texas County Genealogical Society was a priority as well as the Texas County Recorder of Deeds at the Texas County Courthouse in downtown Houston. 

Research Tip: Always call ahead to local archives and courthouses.

However, by calling ahead we discovered that we could only visit the Genealogical Society Friday morning from 10-12. I’m so glad Ruby called ahead because the Society had not updated their Facebook page on the days they were open and we would have missed visiting the Society. We adjusted our schedule to be able to visit the society.

So after a few tweaks, we had our plan.


  • Drive to Houston, Missouri
  • Texas County Public Library
  • Check-in at the Swedish Country Hideaway


  • Recorder of Deeds at the courthouse at 8 am
  • Texas County Genealogical Society at 10 am until 12.
  • Lunch
  • Back to the Recorder of Deeds until closing.


  • 9 am Meet Rick to go on our tour of the Old Success townsite and visit the cemeteries nearby.


  • Depending on what we find at the courthouse on Friday we would spend Sunday visiting the areas where our relatives owned property and cemeteries we’ve located on Find A Grave.

We had a plan and headed off to Missouri


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1 Comment

  1. ruby brands says:

    Always great to travel in pairs, everyone see’s/hears something sightly different. But we made great memories and I think we came home with a new understand about our family…. But also left us wanting more and more.

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