Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Friday, November 13, 2015

Did the Ridings family live in Smith County, Tennessee?

Did the Ridings family who moved to Monroe County, Mississippi live in Smith County, Tennessee prior to their arrival? Plenty of online genealogies say that they did. Most say their children were born there from about 1816 to 1826. I only got to spend about 3.5 hours yesterday afternoon in the State Library and Archives. I mostly used abstracts for the county which are plentiful due to hard work of the Works Progress Administration employees involved in the Historical Records Survey Project for Tennessee. (I am sure many researching other states wish their state librarian at that time had been Mrs. John Trotwood Moore. I know when I work in another state's records I become even more appreciative of her foresight to have so many records abstracted for use.) I utilized not only the WPA records but other published abstracts for the county. My main focus was on court records, land records, and wills/probate records. I knew I needed to get to the tax records, but I put those off. I kept my focus on the years 1800 to 1840, even though I knew the family was probably only there a few years on the other side of the range of the children's births. I was also looking for two other allied families as I was researching the records.

What were my findings? I did not discover a single Ridings family in all the abstracts. I suspected one of the allied families (Anglin) might not be present in that county. I thought it possible that another might show up in an occasional record since they were allegedly in a nearby county in the early years of that same period. I did find records with this surname (Sheppard/Shepherd) in the county, but I am unable to link these persons with my ancestral family at the present time.

It does not currently meet the standards for a reasonably exhaustive search. I need to look at those tax records, and I may need to eventually go back through the records themselves for this period to see if names were omitted in the abstracts. Legislative petitions also need to be checked.

So did they live in Smith County? Yes. How do I know? Because he appears in the 1830 census for Smith County. [1830 U.S. Federal Census, Smith County, Tennessee, p. 112 (written), line 22, James Ridings; digital image, ( : accessed 13 Nov 2015); citing NARA microfilm publication M19, roll 181.] The maiden name of James Ridings wife is sometimes seen as Tubb or Tubbs, but most records place a question mark at the end of it. If this is her surname, I did spot references to persons with the Tubbs and Tibb or Tibbs surnames (which could be typographical errors because of the proximity of the i and u on a keyboard). Several Tubbs families are enumerated on the same page. I need to do a more exhaustive search of that name in the county as well. In my rush to create a research plan at the last minute after discovering a few hours would be available to research, I neglected to include that surname on my list. So many records, so little time!

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