Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Letter About Melungeons

May 8, 1897 Mr. M.R. Buttry, Sheriff Hancock County, Tennessee, wrote a letter to a gentleman in South Carolina talking about Melungeons. This letter is currently featured on our sister blog, Historical Melungeons.

To see it: Click Here.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The New River Frontier Settlement

On thr Virginia-North Carolina Border

By Paula Hathaway Anderson-Green*

Published in the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, V86: pgs. 413-431 (1978).

Analysis Of the eighteenth-century frontier in the New River Valley, on the western Virginia-North Carolina border, illustrates significant factors of the settlement pattern in the antebellum Piedmont and Appalachian South. Particularly notable is the leadership role exercised by individuals class termed "plain folk,"1 a group whose contribution to the Old South is sometimes overlooked. The industry and self-sufficiency of this group is especially evident in the New River settlement, which was geographically remote from the East, at the southern end of the Valley of Virginia, on the western side of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Although some historians, notably Frank L. Owsley, have devoted careful attention to the plain folk, in general writers continue to focus on the antebellum South in terms of only three classes: planters, slaves, and poor whites. Indeed, there still is particular danger or such misinterpretation in regard to the Southern back country, i.e., the western hill and valley section running from Virginia through the Carolinas to Alabama, generally viewed as populated predominantly by poor whites. Although recent historians have issued some correctives to this misunderstanding of the Southern frontier, few detailed studies of individual Southern back-country pioneers, and their settlements, have yet been published. It is hoped that this study of one such settlement, the New River frontier border community, will help fill the gaps in our knowledge of a notable people and era.

To continue reading: Click Here.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tennessee Floods Expose Graves to Robbers

May Flood Exposes Ancient Burial Grounds and Looting

By Mark Bellinger

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - There has been unexpected consequences of the May flooding including an increase in looting of ancient Native American graves along the Cumberland River.

It's easy to see the impact of the May floods walking along the Cumberland River; an eroded bank line where dozens of Native American grave sites are now exposed.

Archaeologist Aaron Deter-Wolf with the state of Tennessee showed us where looters have dug hole after hole looking for artifacts they can sell for a profit.

For more of the story: Click Here.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Overmountain Victory Trail Association

The Overmountain Victory Trail Association was formed in 1975 to gain recognition for the route the Overmountain men took to the Battle of King's Mountain South Carolina. The OVTA's mission is to Protect, Preserve and Interpret the route of the Campaign to the Battle of Kings Mountain

Our protection efforts include everything from maintaining the Pemberton Oak; a 600 year old oak tree that was the mustering point along the trail, and until its fall in 2006, was the only living remnant from the 1780 campaign; to working with civic organizations to develop the trail in their community or to oppose projects that would damage or destroy the Trail at any of the historic sites. We also work with landowners to Certify their property. Certification is a contract between the land owner and the National Park Service to protect the trail.

We manage the Trail by clearing and marking the trail corridor, meeting and negotiating with landowners and working cooperatively with the National Park Service to install and maintain certification signs and the system of road signs that mark the trail's motor route.

Our promotional efforts are intended to keep the story of the Campaign to King's Mountain alive. We do this by giving presentations and programs, working with Chambers of Commerce and tourism bureaus, community-based organizations and writing news articles to report on trail projects and activities.

Our biggest trail promotion is the annual re-enactment. Each year since 1975, the OVTA has sponsored a "march" on the route of the campaign to King's Mountain. As much as possible we walk the original route and camp in the same campsites. While the reenactment is NOT a primitive backpacking experience, but rather, a combination of trail and road walking along with car camping, it provides a great opportunity to relive one of the important moments in America's history. As we move down the trail, we reenact the historical events that occurred during the original campaign. We give programs to school children and conduct historical sketches for community groups showing what happened on that very spot in 1780.

To visit the OVTA web site, including many photographs of its members in period dress: Click Here.

For more on the Overmountain Men: Click Here.

For more on the Battle of Kings Mountain: Click Here.

Friday, August 27, 2010

North Carolina Land Grants in Tennessee, 1778-1791

Transcribed by Virginia L. "Ginny" Keefer

When North Carolina gave up her claim to TN, the Secretary of State of the U.S. requested a list of the lands that had been granted in that territory so the right of ownership could be protected. Microfilm # 68, Roll # 1 is a microfilm copy of this report as it was reported to the President by Thomas Jefferson. ( The original report from NC has not been found). There is also a note that 2,275 more warrants had been issued to officers and soldiers of the Continental Line for which grants had not yet been made.

From Goodspeed's History of TN -1887- the following information was given on the grants. A soldier received 640 acres; Non Commissioned Officer 1,000 acres; Lt Col. 5,700; Commandant 7,200; Col. 7,200. Brig. Gen. 12,000; Chaplin 6,200; soldier who had fallen in the defense of his country received the full amount of his grant.

Any family that had previously moved into the area reserved for grants was given a grant of 640 acres. Nothing indicated that residence was required to receive a grant, therefore, it is possible grants were given to many people who never were residents of TN. There were also many peolpe who lived in TN but received the title to their property in some other manner and do not appear on this list; i/e purchase or other land acts.

Location of grants was very vague, such as on the back of Lick Creek.

Grants were list by the counties exiting at that time:

* Davidson County
* Greene County
* Hawkins County
* Sullivan County
* Sumner County
* Tennessee County
* Washington County

Remember that these countries were then larger than they are today.

Grants outside the organized counties at that time were listed by district:

* Eastern District
* Middle District
* Western District

To see grantee names listed by county or district: Click Here.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

National Archives to House Infamous Nazi Papers

By JOHN ROGERS, Associated Press Writer
Wed Aug 25, 3:53 am ET

SAN MARINO, Calif. – During the final days of World War II, as American soldiers were returning from Germany with swastika-inscribed helmets, flags and other Nazi memorabilia, Gen. George Patton was packing up his own set of souvenirs.

The legendary field commander took four pages of documents signed by Adolf Hitler that laid the legal framework for killing 6 million Jews — the so-called Nuremberg Laws.

On Wednesday, The Huntington Library, a sprawling complex of libraries, museums and botanical gardens in this leafy Los Angeles suburb, plans to hand over the documents to the government-run National Archives, thus concluding a 65-year-old odyssey.

The papers, which among other things rescinded the citizenship of German Jews and forbid them to marry non-Jews, are the only original pieces of Nuremberg trial evidence missing from the collection, said National Archives spokeswoman Susan Cooper.

For the rest of the story: Click Here.

Note: This is very tangentially relevant to Melungeon studies in that the Nuremberg Laws were based in part on Virginia's 1924 Racial Integrity Act which negatively affected people of Melungeon descent in Virginia (among a great many others) and prompted Dr. Walter Plecker, Registrar of the Virginia Bureau of Vital Statistics, to write to the State of Tennessee inquiring as to what it could tell him about Melungeon origins.

For more: Click Here and read not only that MHS Blog entry but those for the following two days as well.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The USGenWeb Census Project

Started in February, 1997, The USGenWeb Census Project is an all-volunteer project to transcribe census records in a standard format in order to make them available to genealogical researchers on the Internet.

A copy of every transcription is submitted to the USGenWeb Archives. The USGenWeb Archives provides a searchable genealogical and historical database to the general public free of charge. It is intended that this material not be used in a commercial manner. All submissions become part of the permanent collection.

To visit the project's web site: Click Here.

Note: The project is still far from complete, but you may get lucky.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Tennessee Historical Society

The Tennessee Historical Society is a non-profit, membership organization headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. Established in 1849, the Society's purpose is to "promote interest in and preservation of all matters relating to the history of Tennessee."

Activities undertaken to support this purpose include publication of the Tennessee Historical Quarterly, public programs and lecture series, special projects such as publication of The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, and active collection of artifacts and documents important to the history of Tennessee.

To visit the Society's web site: Click Here.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture

The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture is the most definitive and comprehensive reference work on the Volunteer State. Originally published by the Tennessee Historical Society in 1998, The Tennessee Encyclopedia is also available on-line. Cosponsored by the Society and the University of Tennessee Press, the on-line version features more than 1,500 entries, plus slide shows, images, interactive maps, audio and video, and links to more than 200 external sources.

To visit the online version: Click Here.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Annual Native American Pow-Wow

August 28 - 29

Saturday 9 A.M. - 5 P.M. Grand Entry at 10 A.M. Sunday 11 A.M. - 4 P.M. Grand Entry at Noon Everyone is welcome. Come and enjoy. If you want to learn more about the Native American culture come and enjoy this exciting event. Singing, dancing, food, crafts and demonstrations. Phone for more information. Sponsored by East Tennessee Overhill Cherokee descendants.

Smoky Mountain Visitors Center On Cosby
Corner of Highways 32 and 321
Cosby, TN 37722

Email: tourism@cockecounty.com
Phone: (865) 774-5626

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mid-East Tennessee Regional Fair

August 24 - 29

County Fair - carnival, exhibits, agriculture shows, motor sport events during Labor Day Week.

Athens Regional Park
State RT 30/Decatur Pike
Athens, TN 37303

Phone: (423) 744-7488

Friday, August 20, 2010

Southern Appalachia Considered from a Postcolonial Perspective

By Rodger Cunningham
Department of English, Alice Lloyd College

It is true that the Southern Appalachian region of the United States is basically a European settler colony like the rest of the country, albeit with significant Native survivals, an unusual degree of European-Native mixture, a significant (and often neglected) African population, and a number of old communities of obscurely mixed ethnic origins. However, from a postcolonial perspective, its main difference from the other regions of the United States lies in how it was both economically colonized and semiotically "othered" in interlocking movements both during and, mainly, after it was settled.

The process of othering and abjection began at the moment of first European settlement, if not indeed centuries before.

To continue reading this short but thought-provoking article: Click Here.

Note: There will be further blog entries on Harry Caudill, to whom I may well be related, and his seminal book, Night Comes to the Cumberlands, which are both mention in the article.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Old Tennessee Newspapers to Go Online

Old newspaper pages from across Tenn. to go online in digital project

RANDALL DICKERSON, Associated Press Writer

10:27 AM CDT, August 8, 2010

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A couple of years from now, scholars of Tennessee history and the mildly curious will be able to go online and read newspaper accounts written at the time events occurred.

Tennessee will join 15 other states — Kentucky and Virginia among them — in putting archival pages from dozens of newspaper online.

State librarian and archivist Chuck Sherrill says the really interesting details are in the local columns and ads Sherrill says the project should benefit researchers from elementary school onward as well as families doing genealogical research.

About 100,000 pages from papers published between 1836 and 1922 will be available online in about two years.

Many ceased publication more than a century ago, including The Wartrace Advocate and the Dandridge Watchman.

For more on this project: Click Here.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Public Domain Tracker

Would you like to reprint an old genealogy book? How about reprinting just part of it? Does it still fall under copyright protection? The laws are complex, having evolved over time. You need to look a the year in which the work was published and, sometimes, also see if there was a copyright claim in the original work. It might take hours to figure out if the book is still under copyright protection or not. Luckily, Peter B. Hirtle at Cornell University has created a handy-dandy reference guide that simplifies the process.

"Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States" is a reference that covers books, movies, sound recordings, and even architectural works. It is a reference for U.S. copyright laws, and covers works published in the United States as well as overseas. It is easy to read and can save you a lot of problems.

"Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States" may be found at http://copyright.cornell.edu/resources/publicdomain.cfm

Note: To see the original article in Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter and some possibly pertinent comments on it: Click Here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

FamilySearch.org's Tennessee Page

FamilySearch.org, the LDS genealogical web site, has recently upadated and expanded its Tennessee page. The page features an interactive map with links to pages for all Tennessee counties, each county page containing links to a wealth of genealogical and historical information.

To visit the Tennessee page: Click Here.

To visit the FamilySearch.org front page: Click Here.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Kentucky Explorer

Founded in 1986, Kentucky Explorer is a magazine all about Kentucky, its history, genealogy, and travel. Its web site allows you to read one article from each issue online and to order back issues, as well as to subscribe online. To keep the cost low, the magazine is not glossy, but each issue contains many articles and many black and white photographs.

To visit the Kentucky Explorer web site: Click Here.

Friday, August 13, 2010

"Who Do You Think You Are?" Redux

Selected episodes of the popular NBC genealogy series "Who Do You Think You Are?" are being rebroadcast in coming weeks, starting tonight at eight o'clock Eastern time.

I Have Returned

I have been gone the past two months (nearly) fighting MRSA in my blood and kidney failure caused by the antibiotic which finally cured the MRSA. It may take me a while to get back up to speed but I am well now and have returned. I want to thank Janet Crain and Penny Ferguson -- otherwise known as the "History Chasers -- for the keeping the blog going in my absence.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Review of Family Tree DNA’s Family Finder – Part I

July 19th, 2010

Since late 2007, several “direct-to-consumer” or “DTC” genetic testing products have entered the marketplace, many of which offered some degree of autosomal ancestry analysis (including 23andMe, deCODEme, and Pathway Genomics, among others).

In early 2010, genetic ancestry testing company Family Tree DNA announced that it would begin offering a new genetic genealogy product (see “Announcing Family Finder – An Autosomal Test From Family Tree DNA”). The new product, called “Family Finder,” is one of only a very few autosomal genetic genealogy tests available to consumers.

Continued here:


Monday, August 2, 2010

Follow Newsweek Reporter as She Tries Out the Autosomal DNA Tests

You can even keep up with Mary Carmichael on Twitter if you want to.

DNA Dilemma: The FAQs

Some guidelines and details for my week-long project.

I’m trying to choose whether or not I want to take a direct-to-consumer genetic scan of hundreds of thousands of variants in my genome. Before we get started with the big questions, here are some basic queries that many consumers may have, as well as some information about myself and this project.

So how will this work, anyway?

I'm currently in possession of a direct-to-consumer genetic test—I just haven't decided if I'll use it. For three days this week, I'll pose a question a day to a variety of sources about the value of these tests. I'll post their answers on this site, along with my reaction. I'll also be soliciting opinions from commenters and people following me on Twitter. On Friday, Aug. 6, I'll evaluate everything I've learned and reveal whether I've decided to take the test.

Which DTC genetic testing kit did you buy?
Currently, there are two large, reputable companies offering scans of hundreds of thousands of genetic markers directly to consumers, the same ones that introduced the tests to the public, launching within a day of each other in 2007: 23andMe and deCODE. I don’t plan to reveal here which company’s kit I bought, because I don’t want to become a de facto ad for either company if I take the test. However, it’s worth noting that there are some differences between the firms. 23andMe charges a lot less, for instance—$499 for a health and ancestry scan, compared to the $2,000 price of the deCODEme complete scan—and tests for about half as many genetic variants, 550,000 compared to deCODE’s 1 million. Aside from the occasional embarrassing slip-up, 23andMe does a fine job of quality control in identifying genes. So does deCODE, which isn’t a testing company so much as a lab that happens to sell tests while producing a near-unrivalled body of genetics research. Both companies have also put a lot of effort into conveying their findings in innovative (if not always fully transparent) ways. They try to interpret their data with a lengthy report and continuous updates on the Web; deCODE’s service even links to the original research that underlies the test.

Continued here:


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Wilderness Road Regional Museum

In Historic Newbern, Virginia

The Wilderness Road Regional Museum is located in historic Newbern, Virginia. Newbern, located in Pulaski County, had its official beginning March 3, 1810, when Adam Hance laid off 28 lots fronting on the Wilderness Road. Because of its early significance, Newbern was placed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

A number of historic buildings dating from the early 19th century are located on-site. Long range plans call for the restoration of all buildings. Donations and in-kind contributions are welcome. The Museum Committee is now searching for artifacts dating from 1810 to 1865. Letters, documents, paintings, photographs, business records, furniture and objects pertaining to southwest Virginia are especially wanted. Each chapter of the New River Historical Society (Floyd, Giles, Montgomery, Pulaski counties and the City of Radford) furnishes a room in the Museum. Pulaski County Board of Supervisors donates a substantial annual contribution to the Museum's budget.

The Museum contains a library and archive of historical books and records, as well as a large assortment of family records. The earliest collection of Pulaski County papers is stored here. Some documents are available online.

To visit the Museum: Click Here.

For more on the Wilderness Trail: Click Here. (A PDF Reader is required.)

The Guion Miller Roll

The 1906 to 1909 "Roll of the Eastern Cherokees" is better known as The Guion Miller Roll. It was created as a result of a successful lawsuit filed by three groups of Cherokees who had not been paid all of the money due them as a result of the 1835 Treaty of New Echota which resulted in the forcible removal of the Cherokees and the infamous Trail of Tears.

The Guion Miller Roll is the most important source of Cherokee genealogical research of any of the rolls, because the application required extensive information to be supplied by the applicant. Between August 27, 1906 and May 18, 1909 there were 45,940 applications filed from the United States, Canada, Mexico and even Syria. It listed an estimated 90,000 individual applicants. Each qualifying applicant received a warrant worth $133.33 for their share of the one-time payment due to them. In order for an application to be accepted on this roll, the applicant had to prove descent from a person who was shown on the 1835 roll of Eastern Cherokees (also known as The Henderson Roll), which listed the citizenship of the tribe at that time.

Most applicants were rejected (and acceptance in and of itself does not prove Cherokee ancestry), but accepted or not, these applications provide a wealth of genealogical data.

For a searchable, and easy to use, version of the Index: Click Here.

Take note of the page and application numbers. With these numbers, copies of the applications themselves can be ordered from the National Archives.

To begin the ordering process: Click Here.

Note: Navigating the National Archives site is not easy and the ordering process is not easy and registration will be required.