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Welcome to Traces of Texas! Please Read This First


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Thank you so much for clicking on the link and visiting this page.   NOTE: This forum is very visual and is best viewed on a computer, laptop or tablet. Phones work okay, but are kind of cluttered and not all of the options are visible. I thought I'd do this in a question-and-answer format. That way, as y'all ask questions, I can answer them by editing this post.

Where am I? 

You are at the brand-spanking new home of the Traces of Texas forum.  Actually, you are just on one post in the forum. To see the rest of the forum, click here:  https://forum.tracesoftexas.com/

What is this?

This is the place where, from now until the day I die, I'll be posting photos and stories and videos and links about Texas. I have high hopes that you'll join me by adding your own stories and photos and helping me create, for posterity, the best place on the internet for Texas lovers, which would naturally make it the best place on the internet, period. 😎

How can we support you, Traces?

1) The biggest way is by clicking on this link and buying me a coffee or two every month.   https://www.buymeacoffee.com/TracesofTexas  

You can also choose to make a one-time donation. Buy Me a Coffee is completely safe, and if I can get a couple of thousand of the one million people who follow Traces on social media to support me this way, that money will go toward hiring an administrative assistant to help with the huge torrent of direct messages, emails, inquiries etc.. that I get. There have been times that I've been so overwhelmed/burned out by the sheer volume that I wanted to jump off my horse into a prickly pear.  And I know that I've missed a lot of good stuff that y'all have sent in over the years just because it blows through so fast and gets too far down the river and something else comes along that demands my attention. If possible, I'd like to hand off the administrative duties and just concentrate on content creation. I've often imagined how great it could be if I didn't have to spend 70% of my time communicating about Traces and could spend 100% BUILDING Traces.

2) You can help by continuing to send in those fantastic photos and unbelievable stories about Texas.

3) You can help by volunteering to be a moderator of this forum. The good thing is that it won't require much work. The bad thing is that it's volunteer work.

4) You can help by reporting any spam, porn, vulgarity etc... to me.


Why are you doing this, Traces? 

These are the  primary reasons:

1) This is my lasting legacy, my gift to Texas.  I had two serious health scares last year, both requiring major surgery. I've healed, but coming face to face with my mortality was a real comeuppance for me.  It made me realize that, if I'm going to do this, the time is now.  I read a quote a long time ago that really stuck with me: "To plant a tree, to have a child, to write a book, these are the things that make a man immortal." This is my tree/child/book. When I die, this entire forum and everything that y'all post here will move to one of the large state archives to be preserved online in perpetuity.  I'm in negotiations with three of them. Actually, my hope is that it lives on past me and allow y'all to keep posting. That idea --- that the forum would keep growing even after I'm gone ---- tickles me to no end.

2) Y'all don't know this, but on June 11, 2021 I posted something on Facebook that was totally relevant to Texas history (a photo of a lynching) but it nearly got me banned. I was in Facebook jail for a year. My posts weren't being seen by many people and every day I was getting 10-15 messages/emails from people asking if I had banned them because they weren't seeing my posts in their feed anymore.  I realized during that time that, at any moment, Facebook/Twitter/Instagram could take my account away, delete my content and all the work I'd put in and all your photos and stories would be gone forever.  Talk about your reality checks!

3) The constant barrage of people arguing politics on social media is unavoidable and it wears me out. Don't get me wrong: I'm as political as the next guy, but I'd like for this to be an oasis away from all of that and a peaceful place.

4) This forum is so much more capable, aesthetically, than typical social media. You can enlarge your font. You can color it. You can give it a background color. You can italicize, make it bold, etc... You can create a bulleted list. You can create a poll asking others anything you want. You can share individual posts or comments via Email, posts on Facebook and Twitter because each comment has a share button. You can send private messages to other readers.   If you go up to the top-right hand corner and click the paintbrush icon, you can even change the color scheme. And I will be adding so much functionality over time.  My hope is that you come here and decide this is so much more compelling and so much more FUN than that dang 'ol internet that you don't want to leave. Also, you can search it by keyword and the search function is great. Don't believe me? Type in the word "Dallas" and see what comes up.  Mind you, I am just at the very beginning of this journey. Imagine how much content will be here to search in, say, five or 10 years.

5) As gently as I can say it, I don't like the way social media follows us around the internet and uses our data. I don't have anything to hide, but it bothers me. Also, my dad said something to me that was sort of pointed: "You're doing all that work and Mark Zuckerberg, who doesn't need any money, gets richer."  I hadn't thought of it like that.

6) This forum will allow me to exalt the things things that I love about Texas, believe in, and want to create more awareness of: the archives, the museums, the food, the  music, the breweries, the BBQ places ... in short, the greatest things about this amazing place.

7) My 7th grade Texas history teacher, Edwin "Boots" Simmons might give me a failing grade if I don't.

Why should we join you, Traces? 

I promise to treat you like a Texan should, in the way we were raised to do.  I'll do my best to be fair.  I won't invade your privacy. I won't sell your email address to anybody for any reason or use it to saturate your inbox with advertising SPAM. I may start a newsletter and send it out occasionally but you'll have the option of opting out.


As y'all ask questions or as I think of more I'll edit this post, putting the edits in a different color so you'll know what's been added.  I'll also write a "how do I do X"  thread.

Again, thank y'all SO, SO much. You've been amazing over the last 12 years, giving me so much more than I ever expected or deserved. I hope that researchers 100 years from now are reading the things that we all write and using them to tell the story of Texas. It's my way of giving something back to this remarkable place, this wide-open landscape that allowed me to prosper.  My friend Thomas winkingly once said to my group of friends "All of us should be glad we're here in the Lone Star State.  All the respectable ones would probably have kicked us out a long time ago."  

I kind of feel that way.

God bless Texas.

Oh, almost forgot! I've been smoking a brisket and it's just about ready.  Pull up a chair.  I've got iced tea in the 'fridge and some jalepeno cornbread in the oven.  Are you hungry?

Jac aka Traces of Texas

P.S. I'll be posting a link to this thread at the bottom of each of my Facebook posts for awhile. I hope y'all understand.


JD in blue light.jpg

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Congratulations on your new venture.  Actually, your expanded venture.... You have had a significant and direct effect on how our state and our history is seen and felt.  I had never heard of Russell Lee.  Had not seen the small communities out West.  Indians, outlaws, weddings, funerals, missions..... well, the list goes on and on.  

Thank you for what you do.

Vicke Bailey

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I am happy to follow along on whatever forum you move to. You have been a wealth of knowledge, putting a spotlight on reference and resource materials that would take a lifetime for us to uncover. I’m thrilled to continue learning what Texas life was like as I dig into my genealogy. And yes, this is too good to let MZ reap the benefits of your hard work. See you around the forum! ️ 

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3 minutes ago, ElaineD said:

I am happy to follow along on whatever forum you move to. You have been a wealth of knowledge, putting a spotlight on reference and resource materials that would take a lifetime for us to uncover. I’m thrilled to continue learning what Texas life was like as I dig into my genealogy. And yes, this is too good to let MZ reap the benefits of your hard work. See you around the forum! ️ 

I have nothing against MZ and I hope Facebooks lives for a long, long time but he's got the sweetest deal in the universe: a bunch of content creators working for free while he charges advertisers to advertise on his platform.    It's kind of crazy, right?  Any media model is immediately more profitable when those creating the content are working at no charge.

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Thanks for opening this forum. I have friends all over America and farther afield asking me questions about Texas...now I can refer them to this forum when they don't believe my outlandish answers. Looking forward to many happy hours of exploration and conversation here. Thanks and best of luck in your new venture!!

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  • Traces changed the title to Welcome to Traces of Texas! Please Read This First
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