Monday, February 16, 2009

Sevier County Marriage Books

There's a new 4 volume set of marriages available for Sevier County, Tennessee. Each volume costs $29.95 plus $5.00 for shipping/handling. Each volume is approximately 400 pages in length.

Volume 1: 1856-1923
Volume 2: 1914-1944
Volume 3: 1945-1971
Volume 4: 1972-1981

Those wishing to order the volumes should send payment to:

Smoky Mountain Historical Society
PO Box 5078
Sevierville, TN 37864

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Remembering Phyllis Harper

I grew up in Northeast Mississippi. The major daily newspaper in our area was the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal (Tupelo). There was one column that I never wanted to miss. That was the column by Phyllis Harper who shared about her beloved Fawn Grove, a small Itawamba County community in which she lived. While I have long since forgotten the specific content of most of her columns, there is a fondness in my heart for the community of Fawn Grove because of Phyllis' writings. It was a sad day when her last column was published. Phyllis had a gift for evoking a real sense of place in her writing. Those of us who read her felt that we knew Fawn Grove almost as well as the towns in which we lived.

Her obituary can be found here. Readers of the paper are sharing their memories of Phyllis here.

Monday, February 09, 2009

New History of Smyrna, Tennessee Available

It's often difficult for people to become aware of new items that are published locally, so I want to give a "heads-up" on a newly available history of the town of Smyrna, Tennessee.

Friends of Smyrna Public Library has re-released Walter King Hoover's History of the Town of Smyrna, Tenn. Copies are available for $40 plus $5.00 shipping for each copy. For libraries interested in ordering a copy, send a check made out to Friends of Smyrna Public Library to the address below.

Smyrna Public Library
Attn: History of the Town of Smyrna
400 Enon Springs Rd. W.
Smyrna TN 37167

More information about the book can be seen at the library's website:

Saturday, February 07, 2009

The Joys of (Re)-Filing

I spent most of the day reorganizing some of my files. I've recently begun trying a new system of filing that really seems to be helping me put my fingers on those documents that pertain to more than one family by filing them geographically and then by record type. I've got a few other twists on other types of documents that I'm using. As I've been going through my file folders, 3-prong notebooks, etc., I've run across several things that I had been unable to locate via my old system. I've also looked at some correspondence from early in my research that has yielded clues that may actually be useful in my current research on one of my families.

When I have been looking over my Taylor research, I knew that I had researched Cora Potter who had been taken in by my great-great grandfather Stephen Taylor in 19th century McLean County, Illinois. I had been unable to locate her information in my Taylor surname file, and I could not find a Potter file. I'd failed to record the research in my database although I could remember that her married name was Shoemake(r). When I found my research in an unmarked folder that contained mostly the research on Cora but had a few other miscellaneous items, I decided to at least make some notes in my database that would help me locate what I had found on her along with another family that was also headed by a Frank and Kora. (My Cora's husband was Louis or Lewis Francis "Frank" Sho(e)maker.) I made a note about the similarly named family along with my observations on why this was not "my" Frank and Cora in the 1920 census. All the documents are now filed in places where I should be able to locate them.

Another discovery was made by glancing over some correspondence on my Aldridge line that I had actually forgotten over the years. I had corresponded with a lady in Indiana who was descended from Francis Aldridge, a brother of Prince William and Isham Aldridge who ended up settling in northwestern Alabama. As I glanced through the correspondence, I noted that Francis had served in the Revolutionary War. I don't know why I had not paid attention to that fact years ago. I can only say that it was early in my research and that I either planned to get around to it one day or that I didn't realize the value of checking the pension files of siblings back then. I logged onto and had soon saved and printed off Francis' pension file. I haven't reviewed it all yet because I knew I needed to focus on my filing project, but I'm very hopeful that it will yield further clues about my Aldridge family that have been unknown by me up to this point. By the way, Francis was living in Pulaski County, Kentucky at the time his pension was granted. He served for North Carolina.

I'm excited to see what other "finds" or "rediscoveries" that I will make as I continue this filing project. It's hard to make yourself keep filing and leave the new leads alone until the filing for the day is done. However, the end result should be better organization of my documentation.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Genealogy & Vacations

First of all, let me say that I rarely take a true vacation. I did manage to take one last year, but it's the last time I've just "gotten away" in a long time. Almost all of my "vacations" involve some planned research. Whenever I go to Mississippi to visit my parents, I'm almost always working on some projects of my own and often take on a few clients.

One of my favorite vacation destinations is a genealogy conference. I almost always do some research in or around a conference. The year that NGS was in Chicago, I stopped along the way to do some research in McLean County, Illinois. I didn't have a lot of time, but I went to the courthouse, to the historical society, to a cemetery, and to the town where my ancestors lived so I could see where they had actually resided. After that conference, I was heading to the Association of Christian Librarians' Conference which was being held at Indiana Wesleyan University. I stopped along the way to try to locate the Amish Family Cemetery northeast of Kokomo where my great great grandmother and other family members were buried. I'm sad to say that despite repeated trips there and the section, township, and range, I never located those few markers. A friend of mine who had relatives in the area who were friends with some of those owning the farms in the area went back later with her relatives. They were also unable to locate it. The cemetery was included in a published compilation of cemeteries. I really do wish I had photos of the markers or could locate them, but it doesn't appear that will happen unless there is a miracle! That trip was a lot of fun because I was able to do research in two locations.

When NGS was in Richmond, I did research on some of my Virginia ancestors at the Library of Virginia. In fact, I was registered for the librarian's day. I got bored with the program and snuck out to do some additional research. I kind of felt guilty, but I sure enjoyed things a lot more.

Last summer the Association of Christian Librarians Conference was in the Boston area. I went an entire week early so that I could spend some time researching at NEHGS. I also visited some of my ancestral home towns such as Ipswich, Massachusetts and Hampton, New Hampshire. I visited many cemeteries, but not all of them contained the remains of my ancestors. (Of course, I was able to do some research at NEHGS when FGS was there in 2006 also.)

I've been working on some North Carolina projects lately so I've spent some time visiting Raleigh and the State Library and Archives there on some short breaks such as our fall break and right before I had to go back to work in January.

My next two vacations will also involve genealogy. During our spring break, I'm going to both North Carolina and Mississippi. I'm going to begin by heading to Raleigh where I'll do a little research. Then I'm heading to North Carolina Genealogical Society's Spring Regional Workshop. [Note: The link takes you to a PDF file.] It is being held in New Bern. The speaker is Craig Roberts Scott, and the theme is "Overcoming Brickwalls." In Mississippi, I will be gathering materials at a courthouse on a research project.

The next "vacation" after that will be for the National Genealogical Society Conference in Raleigh. There's a great conference blog for that also.

Of course, I'll be going to FGS in Little Rock later in the year as well. They have a blog as well. I'm not sure that I can count FGS as a vacation as I'll be working very hard that week!

So, as you can see, I really don't have "vacation" any more. I just find a little "down time" while I'm doing some genealogical research in these other locations. I do enjoy true vacations, but when you are work and have the genealogy bug, you find ways to do both.