Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Confederate Pension Records

From the National Archives

The agencies listed below are repositories for Confederate pension records. The veteran was eligible to apply for a pension to the State in which he lived, even if he served in a unit from a different State. Generally, an applicant was eligible for a pension only if he was indigent or disabled. In your letter to the repository, state the Confederate veteran's name, his widow's name, the unit(s) in which he served, and the counties in which he and his widow lived after the Civil War. Some repositories also have records of Confederate Homes (for veterans, widows, etc.), muster rolls of State Confederate militia, and other records related to the war.

For information on procedures and fees for requesting copies of records, contact the appropriate repository.

For the list of agencies: Click Here.

Monday, November 29, 2010

GeneaQuilts: A System for Exploring Large Genealogies

By Anastasia Bezerianos, Pierre Dragicevic, Jean-Daniel Fekete, Juhee Bae, and Ben Watson

IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics 
Vol. 16, No. 6 November/December 2010, pp. 1073 - 1081

Abstract—GeneaQuilts is a new visualization technique for representing large genealogies of up to several thousand individuals. The visualization takes the form of a diagonally-filled matrix, where rows are individuals and columns are nuclear families. After identifying the major tasks performed in genealogical research and the limits of current software, we present an interactive genealogy exploration system based on GeneaQuilts. The system includes an overview, a timeline, search and filtering components, and a new interaction technique called Bring & Slide that allows fluid navigation in very large genealogies. We report on preliminary feedback from domain experts and show how our system supports a number of their tasks.

The paper is available online in its entirety at the authors' web site which also includes a descriptive video, which should be viewed before reading the paper, a number of examples of the use of this new technique, and software for implementing on your computer.

To visit the web site: Click Here.

Note: The IEEE is the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, one of its journals surely being a most unlikely place to find a genealogical innovation.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Book Review: Appalachian Winter Hauntings

Weird Holiday Tales from the Mountains

Reviewed by David M. Kinchen
Huntingtonnews.net Book Critic

"A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens can be credited with furthering the art of the ghostly or horrific and scary Christmas story, but the tradition goes back well before the great English writer published his novella in December 1843.

As Michael Knost points out in his introduction to "Appalachian Winter Hauntings: Weird Holiday Tales from the Mountains" (Woodland Press, 134 pages, $14.95), edited by Knost and Mark Justice, the reason Santa Claus left a lump of coal for naughty children was to burn them! The eleven stories in the book delve into ancient legends from various countries that reinforce the scary side of Christmas. Santa's merry elves were originally demons who were said to eat unworthy children.

Dickens -- and American writer Washington Irving with his 1822 novel "Bracebridge Hall" -- helped sanitize the holiday to create an idealized version of Christmas in a society torn asunder by the rapid industrialization of England and the United States -- a common theme in writing by Dickens who experienced it himself.

Of course, perhaps the best attempt to create a jolly Santa was "A Visit from St. Nicholas" published anonymously in 1823 and generally attributed to Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863). It inspired the classic Coca-Cola ads and created the images we think of today with Santa and his reindeer -- and jolly, not bloodthirsty elves.

Appalachian Winter Hauntings features eleven bone-chilling stories -- by many of the preeminent storytellers in the business --that are appropriate to the Appalachian region and relative to the heart of the holiday season.

Contributors include: Ronald Kelly, Brian J. Hatcher, Patricia Hughes, Steve Vernon, S. Clayton Rhodes, Steve Rasnic Tem, Sara J. Larson, Scott Nicholson, J.G. Faherty. EmmaLee Pallai, and Elizabeth Massie. The texture is gritty and the stories are moving.

The collection features cover art by Kerem Beyit (www.theartofkerembeyit.com) and begins with a suitably scary story by Ronald Kelly, "The Peddler's Journey," which turns on the element of a tiny carved horse that comes to life. There's a nice O'Henry surprise ending.

"Yule Cat" by J.G. Faherty takes place during the "longest night of the year....the night when ghosts ride the winds and the Yule Cat roams in search of lazy humans to eat." It's told by a grandfather to his grand kids, who pooh pooh the story as an old grandpa's tale -- until they face the Yule Cat.

"A Soul's Wage" by Brian J. Hatcher brings together two friends from Kentucky and West Virginia in a Baltimore bar. Preston, from Kentucky, buys highly collectible coal mine scrip from his West Virginia pal Derek. Both men came to the big city to seek their fortunes and have succeeded -- they think. The scrip is the McGuffin in this story -- which turns on the uncertain job security of our present time.

Old School Christmas demons figure in "The Christmas Bane" by S. Clayton Rhodes. Myron "Lefty" Bohach has been apprehended by Carbon Hill's police chief, Dalton Strecker, and is languishing in a jail cell at Christmas time. Strecker apparently wants to redeem career criminal Lefty as he tells him how to avoid the clutches of a character called Krampus, the dark side of St. Nicholas.

The stories are well written and should make people who think they are fortunate this holliday season feel better about their lives -- or maybe not! Readers have come to expect good regional writing from Chapmanville, WV based Woodland Press LLC, and this latest collection won't disappoint.

For more information: Click Here.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Surviving an Appalachian Winter

It's pleasant to look through a window at white stuff blanketing the ground, toast one another around the ski lodge, or watch television in a centrally-heated house. How different times were for our predecessors in the Appalachian region, the hardy English and Scottish settlers who made their way to these hills in the late 1700's, and for the Cherokee Indians who used these lands as hunting grounds.

In the earliest days of pioneer settlement, preparations for winter actually began early in the autumn, according to John Peterson, Educational Director for Hickory Ridge Homestead in Boone. "In winter and late fall, you'd usually start hunting to stock up on your meat," Peterson says. "But hunting was something you could do all winter long. Since you didn't have any crops to tend, you could focus on your hunting. You had deer, turkey, elk, and buffalo here in the late 1700's."

To continue reading:  Click Here.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Taking Care of Your Own Archives

By Catherine Shteynberg
The Bigger Picture
The Smithsonian Institution Archives Blog

As many of you may know, last week, as a part of the Smithsonian’s October Archives Month celebrations, Smithsonian Institution Archives experts answered your questions about your own personal archives. The Facebook Q&A session we held over at the main Smithsonian Facebook page was a great success, and so we wanted to highlight some of the interesting questions that came out of the session. A big thank you, again to you all for your wonderful questions, and a big thumbs up to our two experts, Nora Lockshin, SIA’s Paper Conservator, and Lynda Schmitz Fuhrig, SIA’s Electronic Archivist, for taking the time to answer these questions.

For answers to such questions as:

How do you remove photographs from an old album that is falling apart or damaged?
What is the best way to store old photographs, family papers and documents?
If I am going to scan items in order to preserve them, what resolution should I scan them at, and what file format do you recommend?
Should I take digital photographs of analog photographs, documents, etc.as backup?

...and more: Click Here.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day Bonus Entry

For a simple Thanksgiving Day gift: Click Here.

Hint: Once you follow the link, scroll down for the words.

The First Thanksgiving was Held Where?

By Dick Eastman

Where was the first Thanksgiving held in North America? If you guessed Plymouth, Massachusetts, guess again. In fact, that probably was not even the second or third Thanksgiving, although we cannot be certain.

For the story behind the story: Click Here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Family Memories at Thanksgiving

By Pam Henson
The Bigger Picture
The Smithsonian Institution Archive Blog

What better time to capture family memories and stories than when you and your relatives gather to celebrate Thanksgiving? For the past several years, several organizations have encouraged families to listen to one another and record family history over the Thanksgiving weekend. StoryCorps, for example, has launched The National Day of Listening. So put down that pumpkin pie and forget about the mad dash to the mall. When the parade is over, sit down with an older family member and ask them about their lives, their memories, their stories. Many families have started to ask older family members to tell stories at the Thanksgiving dinner table—memories that provoke more memories and stories. It’s a wonderful way to connect older generations with newer ones, and to create a shared family tradition.

To continue reading: Click Here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chronology of Robert Benge

Chronology of Robert Benge, aka Chief Bench
Copyrighted by Don Chesnut, 1997

(Click to Enlarge)
Robert Benge was born circa 1760 probably in the Cherokee village Toquo to John Benge and Wurteh, a Cherokee. Robert grew up to be the most notorious Cherokee in history. He was so feared in the central Appalachian areas of present-day Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee, that the settlers admonished their children by saying, "if you don't watch out, Captain Benge will get you."

Toquo was a Cherokee village on the Little Tennessee River in present-day southeastern Tennessee. Robert grew up as a Cherokee, but with his red hair, European look, and his good command of English, he could also pass as a pure Euro-American. He used this double identity to good effect in his raids against the settlers. He was known as Captain Benge, Chief Benge, Chief Bench, or just The Bench. If he had a Cherokee name, it is not known.

Robert's father was John Benge, an Indian trader who lived among the Cherokee, and his mother was Wurteh who was part of an influential Cherokee family.

To continue reading: Click Here.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hawkins County Historical Markers

A number of Hawkins County’s historic sites are designated by historic markers placed by the Tennessee Historical Commission.  Listed below are the locations, titles and texts of the THC historical markers in Hawkins County.

Gov. McMinn’s Home
Near here was the site of “New Market”, home of Joseph McMinn, Revolutionary veteran, Governor of Tennessee, 1815-1821, and Indian agent for the Cherokee from 1823 to his death near Calhoun, on the Hiwassee River, in 1824. He is buried there.

First Settlers
About 1 1/2 miles west and north of here, in Carter’s Valley, Joseph Kinkead and John Long, first known pioneers to what later became Hawkins County, settled in 1769-70. The valley is named for Col. John Carter, who first settled here and later became a prominent member of the Watauga Settlement. Marker located on U. S. 11W, 3 miles west of Sullivan County line.

Patterson’s Mill
On the site of this mill, Robert Patterson built a fort about 1775, shortly thereafter a mill. It was one of the two stations at which the settlers took refuge during the Cherokee raid under The Raven in 1776. Marker located on U. S. 11W in Church Hill.

Carter’s Store
One mile west is the site of the store established by John Carter and William Parker. This store was pillaged in the Shawnee raid in 1774; at the Sycamore Shoals Treaty in 1775, the proprietors were awarded the whole Carter’s Valley as reparation. Marker located west of Church Hill.

Rice’s Mill
On the site of this mill, Henry Rice built and fortified a mill in 1775. Here, in 1776, the settlers took refuge from warring Cherokee. In April, 1777, Capt. James Robertson and eight other pioneers had a fight with 30 or 40 Cherokee here, in which Frederick Calvatt was scalped. Marker located on U. S. 11W, 2 miles west of Church Hill.

New Providence Church
One-half mile west is this Presbyterian Church, established in Carter’s Valley in 1780 by Rev. Charles Cummings and Rev. Samuel Doak. It was moved to its present location in 1815. A cemetery is at the old site.  Marker located on U. S. 11W, 6.5 miles west of Church Hill.

Great Indian War Path
From here north to the Virginia boundary at Bristol, the highway parallels this ancient and important Indian trail.  South of here the War Path was east of the highway, crossing the Holston at Dodson’s Ford.  Marker located on U. S. 11W, 2 miles west of Surgoinsville.

Mitchell’s Hollow
About two miles southwest, about 1780, young Joab Mitchell, who had successfully made the trip to the North Fork of the Holston bringing salt for the besieged garrison at Big Creek Fort, was ambushed and mortally wounded by Indians. Beating them off, he galloped his horse to the fort, where he died.  Marker located on U. S. 11W, 1 mile northwest of Yellow Store.

Thomas Gibbons
Born in Surry (now Sussex) County, Virginia, in 1734, he settled here in 1778, having been forcibly ejected from a homestead about 12 miles east by one Robert Young. The courts of Spencer County, State of Franklin, met in his house 1785-1787. On June 4, 1787, the first county court of Hawkins County, North Carolina, met here. Gibbons died in 1811.  Marker located on U. S. 11W, at Blevins Road at Big Creek.

Michael Looney
7.9 miles north was the homestead of this pioneer, veteran of Lord Dunmore’s War and of the Revolution, originally from Botetourt County, VA. Among his descendants were Joseph Emerson Brown, governor of Georgia during the Civil War, Joseph Mackay Brown, also a governor. Looney is buried in the family cemetery. Marker located on U. S. 11W at Rural Road 2366.

Big Creek Skirmish November 6, 1863
4 miles southwest, to the north of Big Creek, the Confederate cavalry brigades of Gen. Sam Jones, coming from Rogersville, and of Col. Henry Giltner, coming from Surgoinsville, caught between them the 2nd Tennessee Mounted Infantry (Federal) and a detachment of the 7th Ohio Cavalry, and captured the whole force. Marker located on U. S. 11W 2.2 miles east of Rogersville.

Amis House
About 1 1/2 miles south is the stone house built by Thomas Amis between 1781 and 1783. He was Captain and Commissary of North Carolina troops in the Revolution; and original member of the Society of the Cincinnati, and legislator. He established here a distillery, forge, store and tavern, at which many notables stopped.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Once in a Blue Moon

Blue Moon of Kentucky
By Bill Monroe, 1947

Blue moon of Kentucky, keep on shining,
Shine on the one that's gone and proved untrue;
Blue moon of Kentucky, keep on shining,
Shine on the one that's gone and left me blue.

It was on a moonlight night, the stars were shining bright;
And they whispered from on high, your love had said goodbye.
Blue moon of Kentucky, keep on shining,
Shine on the one that's gone and said goodbye.

There is a blue moon today. And there is much confusion as to what actually constitutes a blue moon.

For the facts: Click Here.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hawkins County Guidebook

The 2009 Hawkins County Guidebook is designed to introduce
newcomers to the county and to serve as a resource and information guide for its long-time residents

It was more than two hundred and a few odd years ago when a man named Carter settled in a beautiful valley. The state of North Carolina
granted him a huge amount of land. There, he established a store and a home. From these humble beginnings, Hawkins County has grown into a progressive community with bustling towns, diverse industries and peaceful farms.

One of the oldest Tennessee counties,Hawkins County was first established as a separate North Carolina county on January 6, 1787, when the state legislature divided Sullivan County, North Carolina. The original county was quite large, extending from the North Fork of the Holston River southwestwardly almost reaching present-day Chattanooga. Other counties, or parts of counties, later created from Hawkins include Hancock, Grainger, Jefferson, Knox, Roane, Meigs and Hamilton. Prior to its creation by North Carolina, the county was Spencer County, State of Franklin.

To see the guidebook: Click Here.

Note: The Hawkins County Guidebook is in PDF format and is about 30 MB in size.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Melungeon History — Research and Resources

Belk Library Special Collections
Appalachian State University


This pathfinder contains materials pertaining to the ethnically unknown group, the Melungeons. Here you will find general history, cultural studies, linguistic studies, genetic studies and nonfictional works about the Melungeons and their communities, from their first discovery by early explorers, to the most recent research. The works in the pathfinder also contain information pertaining to the theories of the Melungeons origin.

A good Introduction to the history of the Melungeons and Melungeon research can be found in:

Everett, C. S. "Melungeon History and Myth." Appalachian Journal . ASU APP COLL STACKS: F216.2 .A66. See v. 26, #4 (1999), pp. 358-409.

To continue: Click Here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Journal of Appalachian Studies

The Journal is a refereed journal published twice per year by the Appalachian Studies Association (ASA) with support from the Marshall University. It is the official journal of the ASA, a multi-disciplinary organization for scholars, teachers, activists, and others whose work focuses on the Appalachian region. The Journal of Appalachian Studies supersedes earlier publications of the ASA, including Proceedings and the Journal of the Appalachian Studies Association.

Individual subscription rate is $50 per year (student rate $30, proof required), and includes membership in the Appalachian Studies Association Tables of content for all issues are available online and back issues of interest may be ordered.

For more information: Click Here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Uncovering the Trail of Ethnic Denial: Ethnicity in Appalachia

An Excerpt From
Diversity in the U.S. South
Carol D. Hill and Patricia E. Beaver, Editors
Southern Anthropological Society

There is a pervasive idea that Appalachia is inhabited by white people of northern European ancestry. While social scientists, journalist and novelist all acknowledge the presence of the occasional "other," white ethnic homogeneity is an assumption underlying most references to the region. The story may include a few black people in the towns, still fewer Indians localized on the Cherokee reservation, and a sprinkling of new ethnicities like Asians and Hispanics, but they don't really figure into regional history. Cultural analysis has consistently begun with Anglo-Saxon/Scotch Irish cultural domination.

To continue reading: Click Here.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Appalachian Studies Bibliography

Cumulation 1994 - 2008
Courtesy of West Virginia University


Agriculture and Land Use
Appalachian Studies
Archaeology and Physical Anthropology
Architecture, Historic Buildings, Historic Sites
Arts and Crafts
Civil War, Military
Coal, Industry, Labor, Railroads, Transportation
Description and Travel, Recreation and Sports
Economic Conditions, Economic Development, Economic Policy, Poverty
Environment, Geology, Natural History, Rivers, Parks
Ethnicity and Race, African Americans, Immigrants, Native Americans
Frontier and Pioneer Life, Pre-Industrial Appalachia
Health and Medicine
Literature, Language, Dialect
Mass Media, Stereotypes
Migration, Population, Urban Appalachians
Politics and Government
Social Conditions, Social Life and Customs

To consult this 652 page bibliography: Click Here.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Rogersville Heritage Association

The Rogersville [Tennessee] Heritage Association is dedicated to the preservation and restoration of historic buildings and historic areas in Rogersville, to the ongoing heritage education of Rogersville’s citizens, and to the improvement of the economic structure of Rogersville through cooperative efforts with the City of Rogersville and the Rogersville-Hawkins County Chamber of Commerce.

The Heritage Association has been instrumental in helping beautify the downtown historic area. It owns and maintains the following historic Rogersville properties:

* Hale Springs Inn
* Crockett Spring Park
* Joseph Rogers Tavern
* The Old Tavern House
* Tennessee Newspaper & Printing Museum

For more information; Click Here.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Elrod Falls

Amazingly one of the most beautiful and accessible water wonders in East Tennessee remains a somewhat secluded area still waiting for people to discover it. Once you go, you will not only know why this is a must see; you will also know why not many people have found it.

Elrod Falls is in Hancock County about 10 miles from Sneedville. Elrod actually consists of a series of three waterfalls cascading off a steep ridge. From the parking lot at the base of the first falls, a quick stroll will get you into quick view of what most people refer to as Elrod Falls.

There are two pools of water at the base of the first fall with the closest being a popular spot for swimming. There are plenty of rocks to sit on and gaze at the water cascading down the flat rock wall. The pool of water at the base reaches a depth of about seven or eight feet, but is very narrow and several rocks in the bottom of the pool make it easy "walk" across. There is even a point on the left side of the falls where nature has carved out a seat where you can sit and let the water fall all over you.

As you look across the creek you will notice the start of a trail that will lead you up to Elrod Falls 2.0 and 3.0

For more information,including directions: Click Here.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Civil War in Knoxville

Knoxville, a small city of about 3,700 people according to the 1860 census, was strategically very important to the Confederates during the Civil War. The shortest rail route from Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy, to Chattanooga and hence the rest of the South was through Knoxville. Without Knoxville in Confederate control, supplies, soldiers and information had to travel longer routes on either side of East Tennessee.

Equally important to the Confederates were the food stuffs and natural resources, such as saltpeter and copper, that could be supplied by East Tennesseans. And, of course, if Knoxville was important to the Confederates, it would be important to the Federal forces for the same reasons.

Knoxville and East Tennessee held a unique position in the Confederacy. Although Tennessee voted to join the Confederacy, East Tennessee remained throughout the war staunchly Unionist. To complicate matters, Knoxville was a blend of Union and Confederate supporters. This combination would ensure that Knoxville and East Tennessee saw their share of political and military fighting during the Civil War.

Knoxville was the home of one of the most intense Union supporters, William Brownlow, editor of the Knoxville Whig newspaper. Even after Tennessee voted to join the Confederacy, Brownlow kept up his attack on the Confederacy and its leaders. Finally the Confederates imprisoned Brownlow, later forcing him into exile outside of Tennessee where he lectured and wrote to further the cause of the Union. After the war he was elected governor of Tennessee.

To continue reading: Click Here.

Note: Governor Brownlow holds a very special place in Melungeon studies.

For more on that: Click Here and Click Here.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Jamestown Records of the Virginia Company of London

The Jamestown Records of the Virginia Company of London, part of the Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress, uniquely illuminate a critical era of early American history. Jefferson incorporated them into his own papers because he recognized their great historic value. This essay by Sylvia R. Albro and Holly H. Krueger, Senior Paper Conservators at the Library of Congress, tells the remarkable story of how these records were rescued from disintegration and suggests some of the many ways in which the physical conservation of historic documents is vital to the acquisition and preservation of historical knowledge. In this online presentation, the original Jamestown Records may be seen in Volumes 16 and 17 of The Thomas Jefferson Papers Series 8.

To continue reading: Click Here.

To see the Jamestown Records: Click Here.

For a timeline of the Jamestown Records: Click Here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Old West Point Applicant Letters Being Put Online

Years before leading his vastly outnumbered troops to their doom at Little Bighorn, a young George Armstrong Custer was described as accurate in math.

Nearly 30 years before his March to the Sea laid waste to a large swath of Georgia, William Tecumseh Sherman was deemed a "fine energetic boy."

And two decades before he would earn the nickname "Stonewall," Thomas J. Jackson's dreams of a military career got a boost from a man who would help start the Civil War.

Those are some of the tidbits gleaned from more than 115,000 U.S. Military Academy application documents being posted online for the first time by Ancestry.com. The Provo, Utah-based genealogy website said Tuesday that the information can be viewed for free starting Thursday — Veterans Day — through Sunday.

For more information: Click Here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

DNA Testing for Genealogy

What Can It Do For You??

Paper by MHS Board Member Roberta Estes

DNA testing for genealogy didn’t even exist a few years ago. In 1999, the first tests were performed for genetic genealogy and this wonderful tool which would change genealogy forever was born for the consumer marketplace from the halls of academia.

Initially we had more questions than answers. If it’s true that we have some amount of DNA from all of our ancestors, how can we tell which pieces are from which ancestor? How much can we learn from our DNA? Where did we come from both individually and as population subgroups? How can it help me knock down those genealogy brick walls?

In just a few short years, we have answers for some of these questions. However, in this still infant science we continue to learn every day. But before we discuss the answers, let’s talk for just a minute about how DNA works.

To continue reading: Click Here.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

One-Step Web Pages

A One-Step Portal for On-Line Genealogy

By Stephen P. Morse

In the “old days” genealogical research was done by traveling great distances and then going through dusty archives or using microfilm readers. But the advent of the World Wide Web has changed that. Today much of the data useful to genealogists has been put on websites and can be accessed from the comfort of home.

Unfortunately, many of these websites are not easy to use. And those that are don’t always offer all the versatility that is possible. For that reason I have created alternate ways of accessing some of these websites. In addition I have developed some of my own databases and programs to facilitate doing genealogical research. These are all collected together under what I call the One-Step website.

The name “One Step” was chosen when I developed my first search tool, which allowed for searches through the Ellis Island records. A search done from the ellisisland.org website involved many steps, whereas my search tool was able to do it all in one step. Hence I called that tool “Searching the Ellis Island Database in One Step.” Little did I realize that, by choosing such a name, my website would become branded and I would be forced to use One-Step on all subsequent tools. I almost called that early tool “Searching the Ellis Island Database with Fewer Tears,” in which case this paper would be about the Fewer Tears website.

In this paper I’ll present an overview of what the One-Step website has to offer and, in doing so, will introduce other resources that are available on the web.

To continue reading: Click Here.

To go directly to the One-Step Portal: Click Here.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Burned Counties

The phrase "burned counties" was first used for research in Virginia where many county records were destroyed in courthouse fires, or during the Civil War. The strategies for researching places where a local courthouse or repository was wiped out by flood, fire, war, or cleaning-streak clerks are useful in similar situations all around the United States, Canada, and throughout the world.

For a good deal more on this subject: Click Here.

Note: Even when the usual records have not been destroyed, it's always good develop alternate sources to confirm and expand on them.

For more on Virginia burned counties in particular: Click Here.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Barthell Coal Mining Camp

Dating back to 1902, Barthell was the first of 18 mining camps belonging to the Stearns Coal and Lumber Co.

With love and hard work, we have reconstructed the Barthell Coal Mining Camp from old photographs along with oral and written history.

Located just 7 miles west of Stearns, KY off Highway 742, Barthell Coal Camp offers personal guided tours, good country cooking, and cozy Company Houses with modern amenities and old-fashioned charm for overnight stays. The camp also includes facilities for family reunions, meetings, and other special occasions.

For more information: Click Here.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Bell County, Kentucky Coal Camp

These pictures were all taken towards the end of 1945 in Bell County Kentucky. They show a brief view of life in a Coal Camp. There were literally hundreds of camps just like these spread out through out the Kentucky Highlands. Life was hard, short and difficult for the families that retrieved millions of dollars worth of coal from the mountains. Unfortunately, for the families of the miners and for the region as a whole, the profits went to interests outside the region. Large mining concerns stole the coal from the hills and gave almost nothing in return.

To view the pictures: Click Here.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Blue Fugates of Troublesome Creek, Kentucky

Six generations after a French orphan named Martin Fugate settled on the banks of eastern Kentucky's Troublesome Creek with his redheaded American bride, his great-great-great great grandson was born in a modern hospital not far from where the creek still runs.

The boy inherited his father's lankiness and his mother's slightly nasal way of speaking.

What he got from Martin Fugate was dark blue skin. "It was almost purple," his father recalls.

Doctors were so astonished by the color of Benjamin "Benjy" Stacy's skin that they raced him by ambulance from the maternity ward in the hospital near Hazard to a medical clinic in Lexington.

Two days of tests produced no explanation for skin the color of a bruised plum.

A transfusion was being prepared when Benjamin's grandmother spoke up. "Have you ever heard of the blue Fugates of Troublesome Creek?" she asked the doctors.

To continue reading: Click Here.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Passports of Southeastern Pioneers, 1770-1823

Indian, Spanish and Other Land Passports for Tennessee, Kentucky
Georgia, Mississippi, Virginia, North and South Carolin

By Dorothy W. Potter

The southern states east of the Mississippi were in a territory that was for a long time under Spanish or Indian jurisdiction. By law, only persons issued passports were allowed to enter the southeastern territories, and so the passport records have the largest body of data relating to the pioneers to the Southeastern United States. Dorothy W. Potter spent eight years doing research in the records of the War Department, the State Department, the archives of the individual states, as well as records of the Spanish and the British in West Florida. So she has assembled a complete collection of the passports and travel documents issued to individuals and families going to the Mississippi Valley area from Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Mississippi, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

A limited but fully searchable preview of this work is available from Googgle Books.

To access: Click Here.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Gaia Family Tree

Gaia Family Tree was conceived with the intention of creating innovative, easy-to-use and fun genealogy software that is accessible to consumers who are looking to build their family tree. The goal is to simplify the process of managing a family tree by offering a complete tool; one that best utilizes established industry standards and formats. From starting your family tree to enriching it, the process has never been as fun and as easy as Gaia Family Tree makes it. And best of all, the product is free of charge.

To have a look: Click Here.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

At Great Expense, Railroad Bypassed First Black-founded Town in the US

Ignoring topography, efficiency, expense and even their own surveyors' recommendations, regional railroad officials in the mid-19th century diverted a new rail line around New Philadelphia, Ill., "the first town in the United States planned, platted and legally registered by an African American," a University of Illinois researcher reports. The bypass pushed what would have been a fairly straight, even run of railroad tracks from Griggsville, Ill. to Hannibal, Mo., in a wide, hilly arc around New Philadelphia.

The findings, reported in Historical Archaeology, are the result of an exhaustive review of railroad company records, maps, government orders, land deeds, surveys, engineering reports and newspaper accounts from the period.

Founded in 1836, New Philadelphia began as an audacious experiment that tested the limits of racial tolerance in a country divided by slavery. Decades before the Civil War, black and white families lived and worked together in New Philadelphia. Frank McWorter, a Kentucky slave who had managed to buy his wife's freedom and then his own in the early 1800s, bartered for land in Illinois and later expanded his holdings to build the town. Over the years, McWorter rescued several other slaves, bringing them north to Illinois.

To continue reading this summary: Click Here.

To read the entire paper, in PDF format: Click Here.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Virginia Records, 1606-1737

Now Online at the Library of Congress

The Virginia Records volumes were part of Jefferson's personal library. These volumes were very fragile when Jefferson first collected them, can only be handled with the greatest care today, and are generally not made available for researchers except in microfilm format. Their presentation here, online, makes this unacknowledged treasure widely available to the public for the first time in an easily accessible format.

To consult the collection: Click Here.

Even if you're not up to delving into these primary records, the accompanying early Virginia timeline is of interest.

To see it: Click Here.