“Let us read about everything and about all people; it is the story line, the passing scene of history, we want to capture.” Alex Haley (conversation, 1986). So begins the Preface of a very interesting volume: 200 Years Through 200 Stories: A Tennessee Bicentennial Collection,written by Anne Klebenow.
The first printing in 1996 by the University of Tennessee Press at Knoxville was gobbled up quickly leading to a second printing in 1997.* And it finally made it to the new bookshelf at the Family History Library this week.
The book is dedicated to Alex Haley, Pulitzer-Prize winning author of Roots. Klebenow was a friend of Haley’s, serving as an editorial assistant on a project close to Alex Haley’s heart. His untimely death in 1992, led to Klebenow being asked to carry on the project. She had talked with him at length about the subjects in her book–which is essentially a series of 200 biographical sketches of the famous, and not-so-famous, and even infamous people who contributed to some 200 years of Tennessee history. These bios are story-driven, making them easy to read giving interesting details not usually shared in biographies. You will enjoy this personal approach to the history (and ancestry) you are now learning about Tennessee.
Notes about each person are referenced in what the author calls a selected bibliography. It is rather extensive and includes multiple titles by most of the authors cited. So if you like what you read here, you can find similar stuff by the same writers, or about the same person.
The every-name index includes additional notes to identify specific persons. This is unusual in any book and very helpful in this one.
You can match your family traditions, and stuff you heard from the top of the stairs growing up, about your family to the meaty, and often dramatic “nuggets” in these stories. If you broaden your reach a bit, distant kinfolks often repeat the same things you already know–indicating a relationship to your family members. So don’t just look for ancestors. Look for kinfolks. And enjoy new details about old ancestors.
Your favorite Tennessee genealogist, Arlene Eakle http://arleneeakle.com
* It seems that genealogists cannot get enough information about Tennessee–Afton Reintjes’ Tennessee Research, published 1 June 2010, is now in its second printing too. With a stack of orders to be filled as soon as copies come from the press. If you haven’t received your copy yet, it will be coming soon.