Friday, April 30, 2010

Melungeon Historical Society Elections

The newly elected Melungeon Historical Society officer for the year beginning May 1, 2010 are:

Jack Goins, President
Penny Ferguson, Vice-President for Research
Dr. Jill Florence Lackey, Vice-President for Heritage
Becky Nelson, Secretary/Treasurer

Also, Connie Barber and David Gibson were elected to one-year terms as as at-large members of the MHS Board of Directors.

While other officers were re-elected to their positions, this is the first time Dr. Lackey has served as an MHS officer.

Dr. Lackey holds a doctorate degree in cultural anthropology. She recently retired from teaching anthropology and research methods at Marquette University. In addition to teaching, Dr. Lackey has founded and directed three organizations. The first, Repairers of the Breach, is a homeless self-help agency that today serves over 200 homeless individuals a day. The second, Jill Florence Lackey & Associates, is a research agency that conducted over 60 program evaluations and studies. One of the JFL projects was to create a curriculum on research methodology for the Centers for Disease Control that could be used by CDC scholars (this is online under the name of Delve!). The third organization, Urban Anthropology Inc., studies city cultures in Southeast Wisconsin and from these produces ethnic programs, documentaries, and tours.

Dr. Lackey is the author of The Culture of the Paper Program and over 20 peer reviewed articles. Her upcoming book is Ethnicity in the 21st Century. Dr. Lackey has also produced, directed, and edited 15 documentaries on Southeast Wisconsin ethnic groups.

Dr. Lackey has a group of family ties to East Tennessee (Hawkins/Hancock Counties and adjoining counties). These include the Alexanders, Lackeys, Cates, and Binghams. Her Moore and Cates lines were also in Melungeon progenitor areas of Orange Co., North Carolina in the mid-1700s.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tennessee Historians Search For Civil War Relics

By Blake Farmer
Vermont Public Radio

Bob Duncan hands a weathered three-foot sword to Tennessee archivist Wayne Moore.

Moore handles the weapon with white cotton gloves. "What information do you have about it, Bob?" Moore asks.

"It was captured in Tennessee during the war, taken back home to Wisconsin, hung on the mantle for umpteen years," Duncan says. "A friend of mine bought it from the family. And I went to see him and he said, 'Here, I've got something for you. Let this go back to Tennessee.'"

Moore concludes that the artifact is probably a cavalry saber. It will get photographed from every angle -- including close-ups of its ornate handle, which would have guarded a Confederate soldier's hand.

In downtown Columbia, about an hour south of Nashville, Moore is at the first stop of a multi-year Civil War memorabilia tour. Tennessee archivists are trying to beef up the state's library of Civil War documentation by asking people to dust off their brass buttons, old family photos and handwritten letters that have survived from the 1860s.

State historians plan to hit every county in Tennessee as part of an effort to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

To continue reading: Click Here.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

10th Annual Genealogy Book Fair Tazewell, Tennessee

May 15, 2010

The Genealogy Book Shoppe
261 Kyle Lane
Tazewell, Tn 37879

The MHS's Johnnie Rhea will be there, to discuss the Gibson and Collins families, as will 1400 books on various genealogical topics.

For more information call: 423-869-9580 or 423-489-4042

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Federation of Genealogical Societies to Digitize War of 1812 Pension Files

The following announcement was written by the Federation of Genealogical Societies:

SALT LAKE CITY — With the approaching bicentennial of the War of 1812, the Federation of Genealogical Societies, a non-profit genealogical organization headquartered in Austin, Texas, is pleased to announce a national fundraising initiative to raise $3.7 million to digitize of the War of 1812 pension files. The digitization process will enable online access by historians and family researchers to the memories and biographies of those who fought to protect our nation’s independence. This announcement is being made at the start of the National Genealogical Society’s 2010 conference, an event that will draw more than two thousand genealogists to Salt Lake City, Utah.

The War of 1812, often referred to as America’s second war for independence, significantly shaped this country’s identity both internationally and domestically. Many remember the War of 1812 as the war that give us the “Star-Spangled Banner” and the burning of the White House. Some of the great leaders of our country, including three presidents, took part in this conflict. Nearly 300,000 men served, including members of at least eighteen Native American tribes.

The pension records for the War of 1812 consist of more than 7.2 million documents in 180,000 files. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) receives more than three thousand requests per year for War of 1812 pensions, placing them among the most requested sets of records. Digitizing these valuable records will preserve the originals by removing them from continued heavy use. It will also make the images of the records much more widely available. NARA reports these important historical records already have been conserved and readied for digitization, so scanning could start as soon as funds are received. With the cost for digitizing and saving a single page from a pension file being fifty cents, supporters will see progress from the earliest days of the fundraising initiative.

Genealogists, historians, and scholars of military history have long appreciated the value of pension files. A typical pension file may contain documents that describe a veteran’s service as well as why he, his widow, or his dependents qualify for a pension. In the cases of widows’ and dependents’ filings, there are typically a number of documents proving the claimant is related to the veteran. The testimony of a veteran’s comrades can provide unique and valuable data on what military life entailed, the rigors of everyday camp life, and details of particular skirmishes and battles. One may discover numerous details of an ancestor’s life in these pension files, some of which may be many dozens of pages long.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies is committed to projects that link the genealogical community and advance the cause of preserving records and making them more accessible. The Federation will be working with the genealogical and historical societies nation-wide, particularly in states where War of 1812 activities took place, as well as the many War of 1812 societies and bicentennial commissions, to raise awareness about this vital preservation and access project and to raise the funds necessary to complete the project.

Those interested in contributing to the Preserve the Pensions! Project or wanting additional information should contact the Federation of Genealogical Societies via their website at, or contact Curt Witcher at 260-421-1226 or

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Lumbee Indians: An Annotated Bibliography

Welcome to The Lumbee Indians: An Annotated Bibliography, a site designed to provide a comprehensive, scholarly, online resource for information on the Lumbee Indians and related topics.

The Lumbee tribe, with 53,800 enrolled members, was in the early 2000s the largest of North Carolina’s American Indian groups and the ninth-largest tribe in the United States. The Lumbee have been identified by a number of names during the history of their official relationship with the state of North Carolina. Native historians believe that the modern tribal name originates from the Lumber River, which traverses Robeson County and is an important historical, cultural, and spiritual symbol for many tribal members. Most Lumbees live in Robeson County and the adjacent counties of Cumberland, Hoke, and Scotland, and these counties are considered by the Lumbee Tribal Council to be the tribe’s home territory, although there are also sizable communities of Lumbee people in Greensboro and elsewhere. Some Lumbees resided in the Bulloch County, Ga., area from 1890 through 1920. The Robeson County communities of Pembroke, Prospect, Union Chapel, Fairgrove, and Magnolia have long been predominantly Lumbee.

To visit the online bibliography: Click Here.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Discover Tennesse Trails & Byways

Venture forth...

Wander your passion through the trails of Tennessee, be it an historic town square, an idyllic nature or a trek to one of the Volunteer State's inimitable distilleries, all are steeped in legend, each one a gold mine of exploration.

This is a highly interactive providing maps, itineraries and travel information for a large number of Tennessee trails and byways. Downloaded high resolution maps and brochures are available in PDF format, but a PDF reader is not required to use the site online.

To visit: Click Here.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

American Museum of Science & Energy

Oak Ridge, Tennessee

In its halcyon, pro-nuke buzz days, it was called the American Museum of Atomic Energy. Visitors were encouraged to have their dimes turned into "atomic dimes" -- irradiated in a special "isotope cabinet." But the museum stopped that after 1968, and changed its name in 1978.

Since then the AMSE has had to please two different camps, one wanting to celebrate America's nuclear prowess and the other wanting to stick it in a dark corner somewhere and celebrate biodiesel and wind turbines. This creates odd juxtapositions and omissions. A life-size replica of the Hiroshima bomb hangs next to a sign that reads, "Protecting Employees and Community."

Atomic stuff is still here, but so are solar panels on the museum's roof ("One of the largest solar power arrays in the Southeast."). There's a big exhibit on Einstein ("he laid the groundwork for splitting atoms") and the letter that he wrote to President Roosevelt in 1939, urging development of atomic fission -- but no mention of his equally urgent letter of 1945, begging FDR to stop.

Oak Ridge was born in 1942, when the U.S. government told the people who lived in these hills and hollows to pack up and get out. Their small farms were replaced by a gigantic industrial complex that refined useless uranium 238 into fissionable uranium 235 -- the explosive that packed the bomb that vaporized Hiroshima.

To continue reading: Click Here.

Note: I am blogging this review mainly because I visited this museum when I was twelve and it was still called the American Museum of Atomic Energy, and I received one of the irradiated dimes mentioned above. I was much impressed with it at the time, and it seems from the review that it was a better, and certainly better focused, museum in those days than it is now. But the story of the residents displaced by the atomic plants and the locals who worked in them is relevant to the story of Southern Appalachia.

A Technical Note: Uranium 238 is not "refined" into uranium 235. Uranium as it occurs naturally contains both isotopes and the fissionable uranium 235 was extracted from uranium ore in the Oak Ridge atomic plants. Also, uranium 238 is far from useless: It can be transformed into fissionable plutonium through bombardment by neutrons in a breeder reactor. Both approaches were used successfully by the Manhattan Project to create atomic bombs near the end of World War II, the one dropped on Hiroshima having been a uranium 235 bomb and that dropped on Nagasaki a plutonium bomb. Yes, I know, that's more than you ever wanted to know about that!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Blog of the Archivist of the United States

David S. Ferriero, the Archivist of the United States, who describes himself as the Collector in Chief, has recently begun a blog. To quote from its first entry:

We risk losing our memory as a country if we cannot meet the challenges of electronic records management. The fact is, without good records management, it is impossible for us to learn from the past and plan for the future. This concern is deeply American. At the conclusion of the Continental Congress, the Massachusetts delegate, Rufus King, advised that the records of the proceedings either be destroyed or given to the President. He feared that if the records were scattered or corrupted by those with an interest to do so, they could be used to distort history and deceive future generations. He understood the vital importance of records management.

We understand that electronic records are now a fundamental part of our documentary record. We will work to find and develop cost-effective IT solutions needed to meet our electronic records challenges. We will bring together leaders in records management and information technology to collaborate on our most pressing issues. Toward that end, we are sponsoring the first combined meeting of the Chief Information Officers (CIO) Council and the Federal Records Council to discuss electronic records management issues. Additionally, we will explore incentives for rewarding agencies that best demonstrate improvement, innovation, and use of technology in their records management.

At the same time, we intend to vastly improve our online capabilities in order to foster the public’s use of our records. Included in this effort will be a redesign of, with streamlined search capabilities for the research section of our website. Further, we intend to explore ways to develop our current catalog into a social catalog that allows our online users to contribute information to descriptions of our records. And although we have developed a number of successful social media projects in the last year, we now need to develop a comprehensive social media strategy for the agency, which will include internal and external communication efforts using new media tools. In these efforts lie the seeds of change that will alter the course of our agency.

I expect the principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration to change the way we do things, the way we think about things, and the way we deliver services to the public.

To go to the blog: Click Here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

NARA Microfilm Publications and Original Records

National Archives and Records Administration

List of Microfilm Publications and Original Records
Digitized by Digitization Partners

Our digitization partners, and, have digitized selected NARA microfilm publications and original records and made them available on their web sites for a fee. Each partner allows free searches of some or all index terms for each title. Access to and is available free of charge in all NARA Research Rooms, including those in our regional archives and Presidential libraries.

The list below includes all microfilm publications and original records that have been digitized by the partners as of March 2010. The list will be updated when additional materials are digitized.

To view this extensive list: Click Here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

2010 Census Forms to be Preserved as Digital Images

By Dick Eastman
Eastman's Online Genealogical Newsletter

Nn 2082, your descendants will be able to check your handwriting. For the first time ever, original census forms filled out by residents will be preserved and scanned. Digital images will be kept and will be released to the public in 72 years.

The original pieces of paper will be scanned, then shredded. The digital images will be preserved.

130 million household forms will be converted into permanent electronic records. The images will even include notes scribbled in the margins. You DID write some extra information that will benefit your descendants, didn't you?

Another 50 million forms will come from places like group homes, prisons, temporary housing facilities and, starting in May, from 700,000 census workers in the field.

To visit Eastman's Online Genealogical Newsletter: Click Here.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Census Bureau Concerns

Census Bureau concerned about head count problems

By HOPE YEN, Associated Press Writer
Thu Apr 8, 3:41 am ET

WASHINGTON – As the U.S. census nears its final stages, the government is preparing for possible debacles that could derail its $15 billion head count, from mass identity theft and lawsuits to homeowners who refuse to answer their doors.

Census Bureau documents, obtained by The Associated Press, underscore the highly fragile nature of the high-stakes population count before the government dispatches some 700,000 temporary workers to visit homes, beginning in May.

The preparedness efforts are not entirely new. Previous censuses had contingency plans in place, at least conceptually, and the Census Bureau has never failed to meet its constitutional mandate of delivering population counts by Dec. 31 each decennial year.

But this is the first time the Census has detailed — in 300 pages of internal documents released under the Freedom of Information Act — specific risks to the once-a-decade government count.

To continue reading: Click Here.

Note: This year's census form is the shortest, simplest and least intrusive in many, many decades; and yet it appears that reluctance to participate is at an all-time high.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ancestry Magazine Discontinues Publication

For 25 years, Ancestry magazine has been a valuable, timely resource for family history professionals, hobbyists, and novices alike. For a variety of reasons, the time has come for us to discontinue publication. Over the last few years, we have found that with the expanded accessibility of terrific family history content published online at we can reach a larger and broader audience than the limited distribution of a print publication.

The March/April 2010 issue will be the final issue of Ancestry Magazine. Subscribers to Ancestry magazine with current subscriptions that will not be completed by the mailing of the March/April 2010 magazine will receive prorated refunds. Subscribers will find a letter enclosed with their final issue informing them of these details. We are also no longer selling new magazine subscriptions nor renewing those that have expired. Single copies of past issues, including the upcoming March/April issue, will be available for purchase in our online store.

With Ancestry Magazine we have loved the opportunity we’ve had to write about the best of what we found in the world of family history. We thank our readers and contributors for sharing our enthusiasm for all things genealogy.


The Ancestry Magazine Staff

Back issues of Ancestry Magazine are available online from Google Books.

To access: Click Here.

To visit Ancestry Magazine's web site: Click Here.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Museum of Appalachia - Perpetual Motion Machine

A Review by Roadside America

To be frank, we expected the Museum of Appalachia to be dull. Another "rural life" museum; quilts and baskets and millstones. Yawn.

Happily, our expectations were far too low. The Museum is a satisfying surprise -- a credit to its creator, John Rice Irwin, who understands that an historical attraction needs exhibits with a little pizzazz.

This place indeed does have plenty of saw blades, oxen yokes, and even an obligatory moonshine still. But it also has a giant wood burl shaped like the devil's head; a postman's coat made out of a bear; a display of mysterious feather balls found in the pillows of the dead; a mocking "Monkey Town" Tennessee license plate, issued during the 1925 trial of a local schoolmaster for teaching evolution.

And these are just in the first building.

The seemingly endless supply of oddities can be partly attributed to Irwin, who enlivens otherwise undistinguished items with their back stories. He does this with often lengthy explanatory signs -- a Herculean task, given that the Museum of Appalachia has over a quarter-million exhibits. For example, the birthing forceps of Dr. John Moore somehow become interesting when you read that he died while trying to steal an egg. An old grandfather clock is labeled as possibly being owned by a witch; a wooden church pew -- "The Murder Bench" -- has a stain from the victim of a hillbilly feud who bled to death on it; a Civil War rifle ball is "The Bitten Bullet," with human teeth marks "certified by a dentist who examined it." One exhibit, simply titled "And What Might This Be?," turns out to have been a stack of hundreds of half-rotted drug store prescriptions from 1940s.

To continue reading this colorful review: Click Here.

To visit the Museum of Appalachia: Click Here.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Official 2010 Tennessee Transportation Map

The official 2010 Tennessee Transportation Map is now available to assist travelers in their planning efforts. The map is formatted in with large, easy to read information and includes a listing of Tennessee’s Biofuel Green Island Corridors, information about emergency reference markers, Tennessee 511 and attractions throughout the state.

Low resolution images of the front and back of this map can be seen above and below. For very high resolution PDF images, each more than five megabytes in size, follow these links:

For West Tennessee: Click Here.
For East Tennessee: Click Here.

For road mileage between Tennessee towns and cities: Click Here.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Core Melungeon DNA Project

By MHS President and Project Administrator Jack Goins

In order to have a legitimate Melungeon DNA program, core names must be established with written records from men who lived in the days of the first known Melungeons.

# 1-Lewis Shepherd attorney for the Bolton’s in the 1874 celebrated Melungeon case. “The term Melungeon is an East Tennessee provincialism; it was coined by the people of that county to apply to these people. It is derived from the French word “Melange,” meaning a mixture or a medley, and has gotten into the modern dictionaries it was applied to these people because it was at first supposed that they were of mixed blood.”

# 2-Captain Lewis Jarvis tells us they were given the name because of the color of their skin and names the following. Vardy Collins, Solomon D. Collins, Shepard Gibson, Paul Bunch and Benjamin Bunch and many of the Goodmans, Moores, Williams and Sullivans, all of the very first settlers. Jarvis states and some he has forgotten. Where did these dark skin people Jarvis names live?

This journalist 1848 in Littrell living age describes the area of the Melungeons “You must know that within ten miles of this owl's nest, there is a watering-place, and Mineral Springs in Vardy, Hancock County, Tennessee known hereabouts as 'black-water springs.' It is situated in a narrow gorge, scarcely half a mile wide, between Powell's Mountain and the Copper Ridge, and is, as you may suppose, almost inaccessible. Now this gorge and the tops and sides of the adjoining mountains are inhabited by a singular species of the human animal called MELUNGENS. We stopped at 'Old Vardy's, who is the 'chief cook and bottle-washer' of the Melungens, and is really a very clever fellow.

To continue reading: Click Here.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Newmans Ridge: What's in a Name?

The ridge on and near which most Melungeons lived was usually called either Newmans Ridge or Newman's Ridge in the 19th century and in much of the literature on Melungeons. Heretofore it has been the custom of this blog to use Newmans Ridge since apostrophes are usually omitted from geographic names. However, according to the US Geological Survey and the US Board on Geographic Names, and now, it has just come to my attention, the Tennessee Department of Transportation, the official name is Newman Ridge. Therefore, this blog will henceforth use that name. Unless I forget! The name will, of course, remain unchanged in quoted material.

The information from Tennessee DOT came to me by way of a very detailed, large-scale map of Hancock County which is now available online. This is not a pretty -- it is a black and white line drawing map -- but it is very detailed, showing all the public roads in the county and many points of interest, including cemeteries and historical sites. This map is in the form of a two megabyte PDF file, so a PDF reader is required.

To view it: Click Here.

For similar maps of other Tennessee counties: Click Here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Virginia Chancery Records Online

The Chancery Records Index (CRI) is a result of archival processing and indexing projects overseen by the Library of Virginia (LVA) and funded, in part, by the Virginia Circuit Court Records Preservation Program (CCRP). Each of Virginia's circuit courts created chancery records that contain considerable historical and genealogical information. Because the records rely so heavily on testimony from witnesses, they offer a unique glimpse into the lives of Virginians from the early 18th century through the First World War.

The original court papers are flat-filed, indexed, and conserved using a set of standards developed by the LVA. Since the tri-folded records are often in poor condition, special attention is paid to preparing them for digital reformatting. This laborious process is undertaken so that the best quality images can be captured in one effort. The valuable original records are then retired to secure storage.

The reformatted images—whether digital scans or microfilm—can be viewed at the Library of Virginia, at the circuit court clerk's office, or, in the case of digital images, from any internet connected computer.

There are over 191,000 cases indexed in the database and a total of 4,292,871 images of chancery causes available online.

To consult the index: Click Here.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Study of the Posteskeet Indians

By Penny Ferguson, MHS VP for Research

While pondering why some of the Melungeon people would say they were Portugee, I thought I'd share some of the notes I've made on the Posteskeet Indians. This isn't in a time line, it is presented to show where and when they were mentioned, and to show their connection with the Nasemonds. The Nasemonds were associated at times with the Saponi, and no matter what tribe of American Indian occupied Fort Christiana they all seem have been recognized by outsiders as Saponi. It is possible people who became known or were called Melungeon were saying the name of an Indian tribe. Notice in the notes below a band of Nansemond was sometimes called Pochick or Porchyackee. Mooney says the Posteskeets "occupied that portion of North Carolina north of Albemarle sound and extending as far westward as Edenton, between Albemarle sound and Pamlico river and on the outlying islands were the Secotan of Raleigh's time." This places them close to the "Lost Colony" which is interesting to me.

To continue reading: Click Here.

Monday, April 12, 2010

MHS Second Annual Conference Program

Melungeon Historical Society
Second Annual Conference
Saturday June 19th & Sunday June 20, 2010
Sneedville High School, Sneedville, TN.

Saturday June 19, conference schedule.

9:30 am: Registration welcome committee; Becky Nelson, Johnnie Rhea, Penny Ferguson, Tamara Hogshead. No admission charge; we ask for a reasonable donation.

9:45 am: Jack Goins MHS President. Introductions. Also attention to the displays, some to be auctioned off later.

10:00 am: Mayor Greg Marion, if he is agreeable, to welcome the Melungeon Historical Society to Sneedville.

10:20 am: Dr. Scott Collins, foremost Melungeon researcher who has shared with others his research for over 40 years.

11:15 am: Kathy James, Were there many Gibson (Collins) lines or were they all related? Establishing relationships using DNA with genealogy.

Noon-lunch break.

1:00 pm: Dr Richard Carlson Jr. Presentation “Who’s your People.” Questions and answer session after presentation.

2: 30 pm: Roberta Estes, Core Melungeon DNA Advisor, all you need to know about the various DNA test, including the latest “Family Finder”. Questions and answer session.

Vice-president for Research Penny Ferguson will have a table set up to administer DNA tests and answer any questions you may have on the various DNA tests, through Family Tree DNA.

Sunday June 20, conference schedule.

10;00 am: Registration welcome committee; Becky Nelson, Johnnie Rhea, Penny Ferguson, Tamara Hogshead. Donations requested.

10:15 am: MHS board member Johnnie Rhea will hold a genealogy discussion and will have her family display set up for all to view. A panel discussion, questions from audience on everything arranging from genealogy to DNA. MHS board members who are present will form this panel. Our present MHS board members are; Becky Nelson, Beverly Walker, Roberta Estes, Dennis Maggard, Janet Crain, Dr. Jill Florence Lackey, Jack Goins, Joy King, Tamara Hogshead, Kathy James, Kevin Mullins, Penny Ferguson, Elizabeth Smiddy, Tari Adams, Cleland Thorpe, Wayne Winkler.

11:00 Jack Goins, A few words about the latest Stony Creek Church minute books 1,2 and 3, which will be shown.

11:15 am: Bob Davis will set up his display depicting his Melungeon Grandparents and give a presentation on them.

Noon. Lunch Break

1:00 pm: Kevin Mullins presentation on his famous great-great-great-great-aunt Mahala Mullins.

2:00 Summing it all up.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Southern Appalachian Radio Museum

Museum exhibits range from Atwater Kent, Philco, Silvertone, Edison phonographs, Crosley, Hammarlund, Harvey Wells, test instruments, spark gap transmitters, keys, ancient QSL cards and more! Our staff are volunteers with an interest in radio history and electronics - the museum provides a wonderful opportunity to interest young folks in radio. The web site features many pictures of early radios and related electronic gear.

To visit: Click Here.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

I have been informed that the "We Are the Chosen" piece blogged here on Wednesday was written by Della M. Cummings Wright, rewritten by her granddaughter Dell Jo Ann McGinnis Johnson, and edited and reworded by Tom Dunn in 1943.

With so many cooks in the kitchen, I am not sure who really should get credit for it or even if this is accurate, but there you have it.

To read "We Are the Chosen": Click Here.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Historic Atlanta Newspapers Online

A new digital database providing online access to 14 newspaper titles published in Atlanta from 1847 to 1922 is now available through the Digital Library of Georgia, housed at The University of Georgia Libraries. The Atlanta Historic Newspapers Archive contains more than 67,000 newspaper pages and provides historical images that are both full-text searchable and can be browsed by date.

To visit: Click Here.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The US Census on

An Announcement from

A few weeks ago, we granted all visitors to Footnote free access to the Interactive Census Collection. Due to the positive response we received, we have decided to keep this collection open to the public through the month of April.

To proceed to the Interactive Census Project on Click Here.

Note: is a commercial web site but is a good one and does have significant information available for free.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

We Are The Chosen

We are the chosen. In each family there is one who seems called to find the ancestors. To put flesh on their bones and make them live again, to tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve.

Doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead, breathing life into all who have gone before. We are the storytellers of the tribe. All tribes have one. We have been called, as it were, by our genes. Those who have gone before cry out to us, "Tell our story!" So, we do. In finding them, we somehow find ourselves.

How many graves have I stood before now and cried? I have lost count. How many times have I told the ancestors, "You have a wonderful family; you would be proud of us." How many times have I walked up to a grave and felt somehow there was love there for me?

I cannot say. It goes beyond just documenting facts. It goes to who am I and why do I do the things I do. It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever to weeds and indifference and saying, "I can't let this happen." The bones here are bones of my bone and flesh of my flesh. It goes to doing something about it.

It goes to pride in what our ancestors were able to accomplish, how they contributed to what we are today. It goes to respecting their hardships and losses, their never giving in or giving up, their resoluteness to go on and build a life for their family. It goes to deep pride that the fathers fought and some died to make and keep us a Nation.

It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us. It is of equal pride and love that our mothers struggled to give us birth. Without them we could not exist, and so we love each one, as far back as we can reach. That we might be born who we are. That we might remember them. So we do. With love and caring and scribing each fact of their existence, because we are they and they are the sum of who we are.

So, as a scribe called, I tell the story of my family. It is up to that one called in the next generation to answer the call and take my place in the long line of family storytellers.

That is why I do my family genealogy, and that is what calls those young and old to step up and restore the memory or greet those whom we had never known before.