There is a power in having a unique genealogy place where you can learn new techniques, discover new sources, share your excitement when you find something no one else has unearthed; and, THIS IS THAT PLACE!
I have dug in and studied early Tennessee–that seems to be more troublesome for genealogists because census records are missing and incomplete. Vital records take real diligence to find. And courthouse fires have snapped many property records out from under us. So just identifying candidates for father and mother are tricky. And positive links to North Carolina, Maryland, and Virginia are a genealogy challenge.
J.G.M. Ramsey of Mecklenburg, near Knoxville Tennessee, finished his Annals of Tennessee 16 Nov 1852. It was published originally in Charleston SC, 1853. It was a remarkable achievement for that time. He found and published documents with an integrity that renders confidence in them even today–even when they no longer exist.
There are errors in his work–caused by lack of information, imperfect research tools, incomplete data supplied from memory as you might expect to find in an early work of its kind.
Still Ramsey is the beginning place for the history of East Tennessee.
In 1999, Overmountain Press reprinted the original edition for East Tennessee Historical Society. With some key additions: A new “Introduction” by Dr. William H. Masterson, President of the University of Chattanooga. “Annotations Relating Ramseys’ Annals of Tennessee to Present-Day Knowledge” by Stanley J. Folmsbee. A new, “Every-name Index” compiled by Miss Pollyanna Creekmore and Miss Marie Crain.
I invite you to add this reprint edition to your winter reading list and spend some time with these new parts. You will find some interesting insights into this early history.
For example, Mr. Folmsbee identifies the movements of several Indian tribes through Tennessee, not just the Cherokees. How many times have genealogists sought their East Tennessee ancestors among the Cherokees without luck? Creeks and Seminoles also appear here early on. And in one instance a large body of them arrived and stayed for months at a time.
A sense of place has erroneously tied one tribe to the “place called there” (coined by Michael Murdoch, the Southern Evangelist), when the Shawnee also appear early in Tennessee. And the Iroquois, including the Seneca. These tribes and their roving bands were only somewhat territorial. And this knowledge could drastically change your genealogy venues.
Sources not available or known to Ramsey are described in the Annotations that will enable you to find ancestors in resources not previously available for genealogy before. Break your losing streak! Re-visit Ramseys’ Annals of Tennessee. Your favorite Tennessee genealogist, Arlene Eakle
PS Jurisdiction and place are not synonymous. Although they are often treated as the same thing by unwary genealogists. I will have much more to say about these two genealogy research dimensions in future Tennessee blogs.