Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Internet Archive

The Internet Archive is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that was founded to build an Internet library. Its purposes include offering permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format. Founded in 1996 and located in San Francisco, the Archive has been receiving data donations from Alexa Internet and others. In late 1999, the organization started to grow to include more well-rounded collections. Now the Internet Archive includes texts, audio, moving images, and software as well as archived web pages in our collections, and provides specialized services for adaptive reading and information access for the blind and other persons with disabilities.

To visit the Internet Archive: Click Here.

The Internet Archives' collection of online texts may be its most useful aspect for genealogical and general historical purposes.

To visit: Click Here.

To go directly to the American libraries sub-collection: Click Here.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Online Searchable Death Indexes & Records

A Genealogy Guide

This website is a directory of links to websites with online death indexes, listed by state and county. Included are death records, death certificate indexes, death notices & registers, obituaries, probate indexes, and cemetery & burial records. You can also find information here about searching the Social Security Death Index online.

To access: Click Here.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 provides a wealth of information about the places and people of each state and county in the United States. Find out about population characteristics, land area statistics, and view state to state and county by county comparisons.

To access: Click Here.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Night Comes to the Cumberlands

By Harry M. Caudill

One of the most eloquent voices of the southern mountains was the Whitesburg lawyer, legislator and author Harry M. Caudill, who was born in Letcher County in 1922 and died in 1990. Late in his life he taught history at the University of Kentucky. His great contribution to Kentucky letters, however, is his articles and books depicting the robbing and raping of the mountain riches by wealthy coal and timber companies and the robber barons who led them. One of the most influential in American reform writing is Night Comes to the Cumberlands: A Biography of a Depressed Area (1963), which focused the nation's attention on the plight of the dispossessed poor in one of the nation's richest regions. After Caudill's death, the Courier-Journal referred to the book in these words: "Once in a while a book appears that so captures the minds of readers that it alters history and shapes how a people are viewed."

(Quoted from: The Kentucky anthology: two hundred years of writing in the Bluegrass State by Wade H. Hall.)

Among other things, this book led to the creation of the Application Regional Commission. It is "must reading" for anyone interested Southern Appalachia in general and Kentucky's Cumberland Plateau in particular.

For more on the Appalachian Regional Commission: Click Here.

For more on Harry Caudill: Click Here and Click Here.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pine Mountain

Pine Mountain represents one of the last great contiguous stretches of unfragmented forest in Kentucky. While other parts of the region have been developed, strip-mined or heavily logged, Pine Mountain remains relatively untouched. Positioned at the western edge of the Appalachian Mountains, the mountain offers commanding views of Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia and Tennessee. If ever there was a hope of preserving an ecological legacy for future generations of Kentuckians, this is it. The mountain has remained a refuge in the face of increasing human intrusion, mainly because it is a rugged, nearly roadless mountain that is guarded by jutting sandstone cliffs, tangled rhododendron thickets and large, pre-historic land slides laden with car-sized boulders. Even when deer and turkey were driven out of most of the region, Pine Mountain remained a refuge for wildlife native to the area. Today the mountain serves as the travel corridor for black bear re-entering the state from Virginia and Tennessee. It provides habitat for the newly restored elk, and is the home of many Kentucky species that are restricted to Pine Mountain (i.e. rose pogonia, frostweed and the largest known population of yellow wild indigo in the Commonwealth). Breached by only six roads in 110 miles, the mountain represents a significant unprotected wilderness area.

To learn more about Pine Mountain and the Pine Mountain Trail Conference which is in the process of building hiking trail along the length of Pine Mountain from the Breaks Interstate Park to Cumberland Gap National Historical Park: Click Here.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Battles of Whitesburg

At the beginning of the War Between the States the small community was comprised of about 350 citizens. Early in the war both Union and Confederate officials recognized the strategic importance of Whitesburg as a base camp for operations. This was due to it being the closest community to several gaps and roads through the steep mountain ranges of the Appalachian Mountains known locally as the Pine Mountain range. Due to the steepness of the terrain, the gaps and roads were the easiest and sometimes the only accessible way of getting troops and supplies between Kentucky and Virginia. The road through Pound Gap (sometimes referred to as Sounding Gap, the Trace as well as Fincastle Trail) was the best traveled of these natural routes in and out of the hills of Kentucky. This gap was approximately 12 miles north east of Whitesburg and at its widest point it was said to be only approximately fourteen feet wide. The largest battle fought in Letcher County took place in this gap. The gap was defended by Confederate troops under the command of General Humphrey Marshall and were defeated by Union troops under the command of future President Colonel James Garfield. Both of these leaders would stay in Whitesburg on several occasions.

To read about the two Battles of Whitesburg: Click Here.

Friday, September 24, 2010

"Of Portuguese Origin"

"Of Portuguese Origin": Litigating Identity and Citizenship
Among the "Little Races" in Nineteenth-Century America

Law and History Review, Vol. 25, No. 3 (Fall 2007)

By Ariela Gross


The history of race in the nineteenth-century United States is often told as a story of black and white in the South, and white and Indian in the West, with little attention to the intersection between black and Indian. This article explores the history of nineteenth-century America's "little races"—racially ambiguous communities of African, Indian, and European origin up and down the eastern seaboard. These communities came under increasing pressure in the years leading up to the Civil War and in its aftermath to fall on one side or the other of a black-white color line. Drawing on trial records of cases litigating the racial identity of the Melungeons of Tennessee, the Croatans/Lumbee of North Carolina, and the Narragansett of Rhode Island, this article looks at the differing paths these three groups took in the face of Jim Crow: the Melungeons claiming whiteness; the Croatans/Lumbee asserting Indian identity and rejecting association with blacks; the Narragansett asserting Indian identity without rejecting their African origins. Members of these communities found that they could achieve full citizenship in the U.S. polity only to the extent that they abandoned their self-governance and distanced themselves from people of African descent.

Highly recommended: This paper focuses on Melungeons, with an extensive discussion of several important court cases involving Melungeon racial and ethnic identity.

To read the paper in its entirety: Click Here.

See also:

Note: The two persistent claims by the Melungeons themselves as to their origins were Indian and Portuguese, with Portuguese usually being asserted when going to court to claim their constitutional rights in the time of de jure racism.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Evidence for Melungeons Having Had Indian Ancestry

As Recently Presented on the Rootsweb Melungeon Discussion List
By the Noted Melungeon Researcher Joanne Pezzullo

In 1913 John B. Brownlow, son of the Parson Brownlow, in an article titled “Remnant Indian Tribes” stated these people were, without a doubt, Portuguese Indians. He had rode horseback through the counties where these people lived and had known them intimately. He also wrote of the information he received from John Netherland, the attorney who defended the Melungeons, and it was the same as reported by Judge Lewis Shepherd.

Hamilton McMillan another eyewitness to history wrote in July of 1890: 'The Croatan tribe lives principaly in Robeson county, North Carolina, though there is quite a number of them settled in counties adjoining in North and South Carolina. In Sumter county, South Carolina, there is a branch of the tribe, and also in east Tennessee. In Macon county, North Carolina, there is another branch, settled there long ago. Those living in East Tennessee are called "Melungeons",

To continue reading: Click Here.

Note: I have never seen a Melungeon origin theory, from the most plausible to the most outlandish, that did not posit some degree of Indian ancestry. Many Melungeon researchers, including Joanne Pezzullo, consider it to be the sine qua non of Melungeon ancestry.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Quadrule Indians of Harlan County, Kentucky

By MHS Vice-President for Research Penny Ferguson

When I was a little girl, my grandmother used to tell us the story about our Indian heritage, Indian was the word she used. She told us that our heritage came from the Quadrule Indians who lived on Wallins Creek in Harlan County Kentucky. She said the Cherokees were in Harlan too, but Quadrules were NOT Cherokee Indians, that they were more advanced, and friendly, and that they made beautiful pottery. Grandma said they were there when the first white man came, and they had always been there. She said the women were very beautiful, and that they married in with the white settlers. I used to love hearing grandma tell this story, and she told it from the time I was little, until she passed away when I was 27 years old.

To continue reading: Click Here.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A History of Harlan County

Written in 1962
By Mrs. Mabel Green Condon, Born in 1898

Excerpts from Chapter 14: Indians

"The early scouts who came through the county did not leave any written account but from legend it is thought that others came about the time Dr. Thomas Walker went through Cumberland Gap. These men followed the paths made by Indians who followed wild game to their watering places. It is said that some of the Indians were friendly and liked to trade with the white man. the Indians often paid off in gold which led the early white men to think there was gold in 'them thar hills.' Later the white men decided that the Indians had traded with other tribes in the Mississippi Basin and obtained the gold in trade. It is said that the Indian would give all his gold for one iron pot.
There were Cherokee Indians, remnants of some other tribe, perhaps the Shawnee, and the Quadrule. The Cherokee made their home in Virginia near Bristol and made excursions into Harlan, sometimes friendly, sometimes unfriendly. The Quadrules were said to have occupied Wallins Ridge and some of the tribes lived there permanently.
It is known that Indians were in Harlan County before the white man came and the last record of an Indian living here was a man named Sam Whitson. Although I do not recall ever having seen him, he did come into the town to buy a little tobacco, sugar and coffee. He lived on Clover Fork and people used to tease children and tell them the Indian would get after them when actually there was no harm in the old fellow. Elmon Middleton wrote a pamphlet on Harlan in 1934 and in it he said, 'There is now an old Cherokee Indian who goes by the name of Sam Whitson, whom people sometimes see coming from his little hut near the top of Black Mountain at Coxton. He still wears his coal black hair in long plaited braids, dangling down his back.' Elmon Middleton describes the Quadrules in his pamphlet: 'The Quadrules inhabited Wallins Creek and the Cherokee were scattered in smaller bands throughout the county, some of them also living at Wallins Creek. The Cherokees usually were unfriendly and lived more secluded from the whites. The Quadrules were very adept at spinning and weaving woolens and flax, making beautiful pottery. S.J.C. Howard, who died in Harlan just a few years ago, and who was formerly County Attorney of Harlan, gave interesting accounts of this Colony of Quadrule Indians at Wallins. When a boy he used to hunt and fish with these Quadrule Indians at Wallins. They lived as a tribe at Wallins Creek until after the Civil War .... It is said that the Quadrule Indian girls were very beautiful....Some married white people and today there can be found in Harlan County a few people who boast that they have Indian blood in them.'"

She then goes on to talk about Indians teaching the use of medicinal herbs.

Excerpt contributed by MHS board member Tamara Hogshead.

Note: Much of this material appears to have been taken from Harland County, Kentucky by Elmon Middleton, published in 1934.

To read a related article on Indian ancestry in Harlan County: Click Here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Lowrie History

The Lowrie History As Acted in Part By
Henry Berry Lowrie, The Great North Carolina Bandit
With Biographical Sketch of His Associates.

Being a Complete History of the Modern Robber Band in the County
of Robeson and State of North Carolina.

By Mary C. Norment

Published in 1909 By
Lumbee Publishing Company
Lumberton, North Carolina

In re-publishing this book which records the events of a period of Robeson county's history in the years of 1864-’74, the publishers have thought it fitting and proper, in justice to the race of people, (some of whose representatives figure in and are the leading characters of the facts recorded), that a supplement should be added, showing the growth and steady improvement of the Indians of Robeson County, and to accomplish this desired end we do not know of anything better than to copy, in part, an article written by Col. A. F. Olds, of Raleigh, N. C., who visited this saction of Robeson County and came in personal touch with the Croatan Indians, and has therefore written from personal observation. We are therefore indebted to Col. Olds for this interesting bit of history, which forms the appendix to this volume.

To read the book in its entirety: Click Here.

Note: The most interesting part of the book from the perspective of Melungeon studies is the appendix, starting on page 159.

For a series of related newspaper articles: Click Here.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Cherokee Preservation Foundation

 The Cherokee Preservation Foundation plays an important role in western North Carolina.

* The Cherokee Preservation Foundation's purpose is to improve the quality of life of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) and strengthen the western North Carolina region.

* The Cherokee Preservation Foundation was established on November 14, 2000, as part of the Second Amendment to the Tribal-State Compact between the EBCI and the State of North Carolina.

* The Foundation’s focus is on project, planning and capacity initiatives that will enhance the Cherokee culture, facilitate economic development and job opportunities, and improve the environment. We are helping the EBCI and its neighbors address challenges that include the loss of jobs from manufacturing plant closures, potential environmental degradation due to increased traffic and localized growth in specific areas, the deteriorating growth of small and medium businesses in the region, and a decline in visits from tourists to Cherokee cultural events and institutions.

* For over a thousand years, the Cherokee have been making beautiful, highly functional baskets from the natural materials that grow in the forests of what is today the southeastern United States. One of the many complex designs created by Cherokee basket weavers is the Unbroken Friendship pattern. We have incorporated this pattern in the Cherokee Preservation Foundation logo to symbolize the Foundation’s role as a convener that brings the people of the EBCI together with their neighbors in the region and other sources of assistance to address mutual opportunities and concerns.

* The Cherokee Preservation Foundation is funded by gaming revenues generated by the EBCI. It is an independent foundation that is not part of or associated with any for-profit gaming entity.

To visit the Foundation: Click Here.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Cave Run Storytelling Festival

12th annual Cave Run Storytelling Festival, Sept 24 - 25, 2010.

Enjoy America's best loved storytellers in a beautiful mountain lakeside setting. Let these talented artists take you away to other times and places through the intrigue of storytelling. Stories will be told in large tents on the shore of Cave Run Lake at the Twin Knobs Recreation Area in the Daniel Boone National Forest located eight miles west of Morehead, Kentucky.

Ghost stories by the beach fire on Saturday evening Family storytelling on Friday and Saturday evening.

Group rates for school students

* Family camping within walking distance of the festival
* Festival area is handicapped accessible
* Food vendors on festival grounds
* Signing available by request

For more information: Click Here.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Newspaper Abstracts

Newspaper Abstracts your resource for family history research using newspapers. Our site continues to grow with over 1,100 new pages added each month and currently contains 73553 pages of abstracts and extracts from historical newspapers. These articles range in size from a single entry to an entire newspaper issue, all provided by site visitors like you and made available to everyone free of charge. See "Submit an Article or Link" to learn how to contribute your news items.

Newspapers began regular publication in the United States in 1704 and to transcribe all of the newspapers published since that time would be an impossible task. Therefore, we have provided you with many other resources on our site in the form of links to aid you in your research. These links are to sites relevant to newspapers and may include transcribed news items, scanned newspapers, listings of newspapers, microfilmed newspapers, publications, etc. Since the linked websites are not under our control, their content and fees, if any, may vary. The database of news items on our site ( submitted by site users is and always will be free of charge.

To visit: Click Here.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

In a decade online, this two-webmaster site has blossomed from a simple set of 50 state pages into more than 250,000 pages and millions of records. American Indian records remain its strong suit—including more than two dozen databases of tribal rolls—and it’s worth a look for such varied additions as victims of the Johnstown Flood of 1889, pre-1799 Virginia wills, WWI honorees from Oregon, and 379,533 Southern California naturalizations from 1887 to 1940.

To visit: Click Here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Joyner Library Digital Collections

The Eastern North Carolina Digital Library featured in yesterday's MHS Blog entry is but a part of East Carolina University's Joyner Library Digital Collections containing thousands of images, texts and recordings.

The Digital Collections unit supports the research and teaching mission of East Carolina University and preserves the cultural heritage of the eastern North Carolina community through digital initiatives, especially the creation of digital library materials and tools.

Digital Collections works closely with other units in Joyner Library and collaborates with community partners on special projects like The Eastern North Carolina Digital Library.

To visit Digital Collections: Click Here.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Eastern North Carolina Digital Library

Formerly known as the North Carolina History & Fiction Digital Library, the new Eastern North Carolina Digital Library contains 399 fiction and non-fiction volumes, 150+ museum artifacts, maps and educational material pertaining to the history of the 41 counties in Eastern North Carolina.

To visit: Click Here.

My thanks to the noted Melungeon research Joanne Pezzullo for bringing this site to my attention!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sevier County History and Genealogy

Prior to the encroachment of white settlers in present day Sevier County [Tennessee] in the mid-18th century, the area had been inhabited for as many as 20,000 years by nomadic and semi-nomadic Native Americans. In the mid-16th century, Spanish expeditions led by Hernando de Soto (1540) and Juan Pardo (1567) passed through what is now Sevier County, reporting that the region was part of the domain of Muskogean chiefdom centered around a village located on a now-submerged island just upsteam from modern Douglas Dam. By the late 17th-century, however, the Cherokee -- whose ancestors were living in the mountains at the time of the Spaniards' visit —- had become the dominant tribe in the region. Although they used the region primarily as hunting grounds, the Cherokee vehemently fought white settlement in their territory, frequently leading raids on households in the area, even through the signing of various peace treaties, alternating short periods of peace with violent hostility, until forcibly marched from their territory by the U.S. government on the infamous "Trail of Tears."

Sevier County as it is known today was formed on September 18, 1794 from part of neighboring Jefferson County, and has retained its original boundaries ever since. The county takes its name from the failed state of Franklin and first governor of Tennessee, who played a prominent role during the tumultuous early years of settlement in the region[ online/section5/counties.pdf]. Since its establishment in 1795, the county seat has been situated at Sevierville (also named for Sevier), the eighth-oldest city in Tennessee.

Prior to the late 1930s, Sevier County's population, economy, and society —- which relied primarily on subsistence agriculture -- held little significance vis-à-vis any other county in the rural South. However, with the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the early 1930s, the destiny of Sevier County, within the bounds of which lies thirty percent of the total area of the national park, changed drastically. Today, rampant tourism supports the county's burgeoning economy which does not appear to be slowing any time in the near future.

For more on Sevier County History and Genealogy: Click Here.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Appalachian Heritage Alliance

Celebrating the arts, culture, heritage and people of Appalachia

The Appalachian Heritage Alliance of Crampton, Kentucky grew out of the Wolfe County Arts Association that was formed in 1989. Located in one of the most economically depressed regions of the United States, AHA optimizes limited resources to provide over 17 art programs and projects to the community and has long partnered with it to provide arts education, Appalachian heritage events and clean up efforts throughout the region.

For more information: Click Here.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Appalshop is a non-profit multi-disciplinary arts and education center in the heart of Appalachia producing original films, video, theater, music and spoken-word recordings, radio, photography, multimedia, and books.

Our education and training programs support communities' efforts to solve their own problems in a just and equitable way. Each year, Appalshop productions and services reach several million people nationally and internationally.

Appalshop is dedicated to the proposition that the world is immeasurably enriched when local cultures garner the resources, including new technologies, to tell their own stories and to listen to the unique stories of others. The creative acts of listening and telling are Appalshop's core competency.
Our goals are to enlist the power of education, media, theater, music, and other arts:

* to document, disseminate, and revitalize the lasting traditions and contemporary creativity of Appalachia;
* to tell stories the commercial cultural industries don't tell, challenging stereotypes with Appalachian voices and visions;
* to support communities’ efforts to achieve justice and equity and solve their own problems in their own ways;
* to celebrate cultural diversity as a positive social value; and
* to participate in regional, national, and global dialogue toward these ends.

Current Appalshop projects:

* Roadside Theater: Roadside, a traveling ensemble company, draws upon the rich history and culture of Appalachia to develop original plays that tour nationally and internationally.
* WMMT-FM: WMMT is noncommercial community radio station that airs programming created largely by community members. Broadcast to five states and via the internet, the station brings the voices Appalachian and rural communities to the public.
* Appalshop Archive: Since its beginning in 1969, Appalshop has amassed thousands of hours of film, videotape, sound recording and photography that portray a multifaceted view of life and history in Appalachia. Appalshop’s Archive project works to preserve this material and make it available.
* Appalachian Media Institute (AMI): AMI is a youth media training program devoted to developing the critical and creative skills of local young people through the production and distribution of community-based audio and video productions.
* Community Media Institute (CMI): CMI provides training and technical assistance in digital storytelling, and works with grassroots groups and public interest organizations to develop and implement communication strategies in support of social and economic justice organizing.
* Traditional Music: The Traditional Music Project brings traditional Appalachian music into the daily lives of people by helping communities build and sustain ongoing events such as jam sessions, square dances and storytelling events.
* Holler to the Hood: Holler to the Hood is an on-going multi-media project that explores the economic and social issues in low-income rural and urban communities through the lens of the criminal justice system. Using a variety of mediums (live performance, radio, video, and digital), H2H provides the means for all those affected by the prison system to tell their story in their own voice.
* Thousand Kites: Thousand Kites is a community-based performance, web, and radio project centered on the United States prison system and created with inmates, employees, and their families.
* Appalshop's Web Store: Appalshop's source for films, videos, cds, and more. Come visit our shop in Whitesburg, KY or view our web store.

For more information: Click Here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

John Smith's 1624 Map of Virginia

Virginia - Discovered and discribed by Captayn John Smith, 1606
Graven by William Hole

The original map is at the Library of Congress. Note, west is at the top!

Red Bird and the Cherokee History of Clay County, Kentucky

By Kenneth Barnett Tankersley, Ph.D.
Director, Native American Studies
Northern Kentucky University

Published September 2006 in the Appalachian Quarterly

I have withdrawn this blog entry as I have been reliably informed that it is substantially inaccurate. My apologies; the author certainly appears to be a trustworthy source.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Daughters of the American Revolution

The DAR, founded in 1890 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., is a non-profit, non-political volunteer women's service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and securing America's future through better education for children.

Encompassing an entire downtown city block, DAR National Headquarters houses one of the nation's premier genealogical libraries, one of the foremost collections of pre-industrial American decorative arts, Washington's largest concert hall, and an extensive collection of early American manuscripts and imprints.

To visit the DAR's genealogical library online: Click Here.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy also has significant genealogical resources.

To visit its research page: Click Here.

I wanted to give equal time to the Daughters of Union Veterans but it appears to have no online information as to its genealogical resources. Its web site does, however, give contact information.

To visit the DUV: Click Here.

Also of interest is the National Archives' Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System, previously featured here.

To consult it: Click Here.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

TheShipsList website, online since August 1999, will help you find your ancestors on ships' passenger lists.We also have immigration reports, newspaper records, shipwreck information, ship pictures, ship descriptions, shipping-line fleet lists and more; as well as hundreds of passenger lists to Canada, USA, Australia and even some for South Africa.

We have over 3,000 totally free access web-pages with new databases added regularly.

To access: Click Here.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Early Images of Virginia Indians

In 1493 Columbus wrote a letter about his discoveries that was translated and published across Europe. That report opened a period in which the New World became a subject of great interest to Europeans. Especially fascinating were the native peoples. The name "Indians" derived from Columbus's belief that the islands he found were in the Indian Ocean and was used in England as early as 1553.

Europeans learned about the Virginia Indians through both words and pictures. Yet as important as the writings of explorers and colonists were, the most powerful impressions came from prints. The coastal areas around the Chesapeake Bay were visited by a number of European explorers in the 1500s. No images of the natives were produced, however, until the English became interested in colonization in the 1580s.

In January 1585 Queen Elizabeth consented to Sir Walter Ralegh's request that the land along the North American coast be named in her honor as "Virginia." The William W. Cole Collection contains many of the engravings of Virginia, produced from 1590 to the 1800s, that influenced European opinions of, and thus policies toward, the natives.

For more, including the images: Click Here.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

C.B. Caudill Store and History Center

Established by Tessie Mae Hogg Caudill, daughter of Blackey merchants, and her husband, C.B. Caudill, in 1933, the store has been the community center, the unofficial bank, the place to use the telephone, and the social conscience of a community for more than 60 years. When C.B. died in 1966, the business passed to his daughter, Gaynell, and her husband, Joe Begley, who took up the torch of bettering their community and extended their influence beyond Blackey's borders.Their leadership led to stricter regulation of strip mining, formation of a local library, improved health care, and a new Blackey water system.

In 1997, the store closed its doors as a retail business and began a new life as a regional history museum and cultural center. This exciting endeavor includes partnerships with local schools, collection of oral history interviews and old photographs, a permanent exhibit on Blackey history (in progress), and arts programming including exhibits, music and lectures. The most interesting aspect of the project is still Joe and Gaynell, who live at one end of the store and enjoy chatting with visitors about their experiences.

To visit the store: Click Here.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Kentucky Coal Museum

The Kentucky Coal Museum brings back to life one of the most unique and interesting aspects of early coal mining – the company store.

Housed in the old commissary built by International Harvester in the 1920s, the museum features four stories of exhibits on the history of mining and the life of the coal miner.

Visitors can enjoy a step back in time to the coal miner’s workplace, his home and his community.

Artifacts, antiques, photographs, and machinery make up the more than 30 exhibits.

For more, including a video tour: Click Here.

A coal company commissary was known as the company store. For pictures of a number of company stores and the coal mining communities that were built around them: Click Here.

Friday, September 3, 2010

English Glossary of Archaic Medical Terms

Diseases and Causes of Death

This is by far the most extensive such list I have ever seen online.

To consult it: Click Here.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Letcher Heritage News

The Letcher Heritage News is a semiannual publication of the Letcher County [Kentucky] Historical and Genealogical Society (LCHGS). The following is an index of the articles contained in each issue to date. You can use the FIND function of your Web Browser to search for Key Words (ie. Cemetery, Pedigree, etc.). Back issues of the Letcher Heritage News can be ordered, if still available, for $2 per issue, plus $1.50 postage. Contact the LCHGS for availability and ordering information.

To see the index: Click Here.

Note: A hyperlink for contacting the LCHS is provided and a few articles can be read online.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Colonial Tithables

Published by the Library of Virginia

In seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Virginia, the term “tithable” referred to a person who paid (or for whom someone else paid) one of the taxes imposed by the General Assembly for the support of civil government in the colony. In colonial Virginia, a poll tax or capitation tax was assessed on free white males, African American slaves, and Native American servants (both male and female), all age sixteen or older. Owners and masters paid the taxes levied on their slaves and servants. Few tithable lists are extant. The Library of Virginia holds full or partial lists for about three dozen counties. A detailed guide to manuscript, microfilmed, and printed tithables is available in the Archives Research Room. See also the VA-NOTES entries on Colonial Taxes and on Tithables for a list of documents in the archival records in the Library of Virginia containing the names of people who paid the tax on tithables.

Tithable lists do not enumerate anyone under the age of sixteen or any adult white woman (unless she was the head of household). Laws published in Hening’s Statutes at Large may assist the researcher in understanding who was considered tithable and how tithable lists were taken. In an attempt to stop fraud concerning the “yearly importation of people into the collonie,” an act was passed in the House of Burgesses in 1649 requiring that all male servants imported into Virginia (“of what age soever”) be placed on the tithable lists. Natives of the colony and those imported free who were under the age of sixteen were exempt. (William W. Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large: Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619…[1809–1823], 1:361–362.)

To continue reading: Click Here.