I posted a blog recently about a photo of my great-grandfather, Jack Gooch, and the mysterious “sheriff’s” badge he was sporting.
One reader suggested it might be a Texas Ranger badge, so I looked up the history of Texas Rangers and found some interesting resources for this unique segment of law enforcement.
The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum exists in Waco, Texas.
It has a number of online resources plus a research service. Some of the interesting links on the site are oral histories, links to e-books, and “A Short Course on Fantasy, Replica, and Toy Texas Ranger Badges,” among others.
The Armstrong Texas Ranger Research Center, a is an excellent starting place if you are trying to identify an ancestor as an early Texas Ranger. You can schedule an on-site visit for individual help, or download a research request form for long-distance help. I was prepared to do this before I looked at the short course on Ranger Badges. I found an image of one that could possibly match Jack’s, and decided to scan my photo at a much higher resolution to see if I could identify the words on the badge.
Do you see what I see? The image is reversed. This means the photo I have was developed reversed, because I scanned it as it was originally found, encased in a cardboard frame. And can you determine what it says? After adjusting the colors and contrast I believe it says, “Private Detective.”
Well, well, whaddyaknow? It is not a sheriff’s badge or even a Texas Ranger badge. It is, in fact, a genealogist’s badge! >wink<