Finding roots in the Battle of Palo Alto

HARLINGEN — Karen Weaver talked about her new research database that lists hundreds of names of soldiers and information about their fight at the Battle of Palo Alto, the first major battle of the U.S.–Mexican War.

“It was fascinating and it’s appropriate to the type of research we do,” said Susan Francis, president of the Tip O’ Texas Genealogical Society. “Genealogy is like one of America’s popular pastimes.”

Frances said genealogy is getting more and more popular and the Harlingen-based group tries to get information out to the community on how to research a family’s history.

Recently at their monthly meeting at the Harlingen Public Library, the Tip O’ Texas Genealogical Society hosted Weaver, a Park Ranger with National Park Services at the Palo Alto Battlefield.

Weaver presented “Telling Their Stories: The U.S.–Mexican War Soldiers & Sailors Database.”

The Federation of Genealogical Societies and the National Park Service’s Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park entered into a partnership in 2016 to develop a searchable database of more than 130,000 soldiers of the U.S.–Mexican War.

The database was created by volunteer indexers. It allows descendants of the U.S. soldiers to connect to their personal history and help Palo Alto commemorate and tell the stories of the thousands of soldiers who served in the U.S.-Mexican War.

In the future, unit histories, digitized documents and information on soldiers will be added to the database and efforts will also be made to include names and information about Mexican soldiers in this war.

“What she is doing genealogy-wise is really neat,” Francis said.

She said you would have to know who your great grandparents are to go that far back.

“She is dealing with documents that are hard to come by,” Francis said about Weaver.

The Tip O’ Texas Genealogical Society was founded in 1962 when a group of eight women met in Harlingen to explore their roots back to pre-revolutionary times. The nonprofit organization meets regularly at the Harlingen Public Library for programs designed to enhance members’ abilities to research their family history.

Francis said the Tip O’ Texas Genealogical Society offers workshops and forms of family research strategies to get people started tracing their family history.