Vivian Castleberry’s original Henderson Connections, an impeccably organized binder, was passed around among family members and brought to reunions.
Henderson Connections is now available as a PDF e-book for easier reading and printing. Download or view e-book here.
Vivian Castleberry with granddaughter Kerin Tate, August 2013
In the 1990s, my grandmother, Vivian Anderson Castleberry, compiled and wrote a book detailing the history of the Henderson family, including genealogy she and other family members had been researching and collecting for decades. It was organized into a giant blue three-ring binder, brought to annual Henderson family reunions in Lindale, Texas, and passed around to family members.
Publishing the book proved to be expensive, so only one copy of it existed. Fast-forward to 2014, when I decided the Henderson book was too important to be hiding in a binder. I’m always thankful when I find family history online, grateful that someone took the time to make it available, so I wanted to pay it forward.
With my grandmother’s blessing, I published her book online at HendersonConnections.com, so Henderson descendants all over can supplement their research and enjoy it as much as we have. No need to borrow the big blue binder!
About This Website
The Henderson book was originally written with family reunions in mind, and it contained many pages about currently living family members and several 1990s-era photos. For privacy reasons, I have not included those pages (with some exceptions). In most cases, I identified currently living people by first and/or middle name only.
I indicated my own contributions and notes with my name for clarity. Too often, family research is not accompanied by information on contributors and sources, and it simply “becomes fact” after a while. Genealogical research is subject to error, and I want to be precise about its origin and its researcher in case further questions arise. (And I wouldn’t want my grandmother blamed for an error that was mine!)
If you have questions, comments, corrections, or can contribute more information, please contact me. I want this history to be as accurate as possible, so corrections and clarifications are very welcome. It’s always great to hear from family, and I am really enjoying connecting with “new” family members who have stumbled upon this site!
An e-book version is available here (on my other website). With a steady stream of visitors to the website, I wanted to make it easier to 1) read on a portable device and 2) print if needed. It is the same content as the website, but a different format.
It is impossible to write a “short bio” about Vivian Anderson Castleberry. She has done so much. For 28 years, she was women’s editor of the Dallas Times Herald, and was the first woman named to the editorial board. She transformed “women’s news” from fluff into serious journalism, often covering heavy and controversial topics.
In 1984, Vivian was inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame. She founded Peacemakers Incorporated in 1987, organizing international women’s peace conferences, and she is the namesake for the Castleberry Peace Institute at the University of North Texas. Vivian is a graduate of SMU, which also awarded her with an honorary doctorate degree. She is a published author of books in the biography and history genres, including Texas Tornado, Sarah The Bridge Builder, and Daughters of Dallas. Vivian and her husband, Curtis Castleberry, reared 5 daughters. She lives in Dallas and has 14 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.
A quick online search will give you an idea of her many accomplishments, so I won’t list them all here. Instead, here’s my personal take. My grandmother is the most energetic person I know. She is constantly working, writing, professionally speaking and lecturing, leading organizations and conferences, being an activist, and accepting well-deserved awards for her contributions.
Yet somehow she finds time to relax and have fun—reading, cooking, being with family, and taking on projects she finds interesting. She’s never just slightly involved—she immerses herself. Her views are never old-fashioned or outdated; rather, they progress right along with the evolving world. She has the gift of always knowing exactly the right thing to say, and her advice is always spot-on. I am incredibly proud to call her “Grandmommy.”
For the sake of connecting with family members, I want to add a bit about myself. I grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, but my parents are from Texas. After graduating with a journalism degree in advertising from the University of Missouri-Columbia, I moved to Kansas City, Missouri. I’ve been here ever since, working in newspaper advertising sales for years, and then building a freelance career in research and publishing.
Thank you to my grandparents, Vivian and Curtis Castleberry, who traveled across America doing genealogical research, and who spent countless hours writing and compiling it. And thank you to their ancestors, for keeping records and handing down stories.
I admit, my interest in genealogy began in the Information Age. I can research digitized records from my computer, share information and clues via Ancestry.com, see gravestones on Findagrave.com, and “visit” towns on Google Earth. It’s incredible having these tools available to piece together puzzles and expand on past research.
But I am indebted to my grandparents and other genealogists who actually visited cemeteries, churches and libraries in the towns of their ancestors, tracked down clues, and collected material. The stories, photos, and information they gathered are treasures you wouldn’t find with a Google search today. Today’s online genealogy tools wouldn’t even be possible without the past hard work of family researchers and record keepers. Without them, Ancestry.com would be empty, and we wouldn’t know where to start Googling!
You may use photos from the website on your Ancestry.com tree if you credit HendersonConnections.com (just include it in the description box for the photo). Feel free to crop the photos as needed. I say this because I will never get around to adding many of these photos to my own Ancestry.com tree (kerint8). This way we can share our efforts. I am hoping you have your tree set to “Public” so you can easily share back with me and other Ancestry users.
You may also copy text from this site for your family-related website if you credit HendersonConnections.com. Please link to it if possible.
For any other use, please contact me.
If you're viewing this on your phone or iPad, you will likely see the mobile version of this website. In some cases, it works nicely, but in others, it puts things in the wrong order, and it won't allow me to fix that problem. If you like, try this: scroll to the very bottom of the page on your phone/tablet, and tap "View on Desktop" to view the regular version of the site. (That will also allow you to pinch-to-zoom on photos to see them better—something you can't do on the mobile version.)
This book has been a work in progress—for the last 30 years! Many family members helped me including but not limited to Sandra Coulter, Jean Ann Taylor, and James and Georgia Hensley. I am especially indebted to Roserma Hensley Arnold, Helen Crews Shores, and Elvira Ferguson Ford, who spent hours answering my questions.
—Vivian Anderson Castleberry, Dallas, Texas, 1999