Review the Facts and the Genealogy Sources From Which They Come

Some years ago, Leland L. Smith announced publication of a genealogy of his ancestors in 3 volumes:  Gone to Texas.  Texas and Tennessee Smiths and related Families (see list below).  He sent a copy of his announcement and selected sample pages for me to review:

Leland L. Smith.  Gone to Texas.  Texas and Tennessee Smiths.  1999.  Historical Publications,  15705 Hilcroft, Austin TX 78717.  ISBN 1-881825-21-3.

  1. Volume I:  Early to Tennessee, Later to Texas. The Smith Family (of Hawkins TN); Early to Texas by Southern Passage, The Lewis Family (of Nash County NC/Pickens County AL And family chapters–Powell, Jones, Strickland, Chamblee, and Burris families.
  2. Volume II:  Early to Texas by Northern Passage. Hill Family, Green family, King family, Graves family, Fincher family, and Taylor family.
  3. Volume III:  Early to Tennessee.  From NC:  Spears family, Haynes family, Turner family, Hobgood family.  From Virginia:  Grigsby family, Breeding family, and Ridley family.

Migrations of these groups of families are mapped and charted with their overlapping interrelationships, from 1625-ca.1800.  Every name is indexed by given and surnames so you can tract the relationships and the genealogy easily.  Buyers and readers alike voted these volumes 5-stars.

Roy Edwin Thomas, Southern Appalachia, 1885-1915:  Oral Histories from the Residents of the State Corner Area of North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.  Jefferson NC:  McFarland & Company, Inc. 1991.  Using 43 interviews with residents from all three states, Thomas describes migrations into and through this tri-corner area.  From names on the 1784 Tennessee petition to North Carolina for statehood, the New Dictionary of American Family Names by Elsdon C. Smith, and the 1787 Census of NC, he concluded that from 60 to 70 percent of the early settlers were English, just under 10% were Welsh, about 20% were Scots, Irish, and Scots-Irish, with trickles from other national groups. These percentages applied only to Southern Appalachia.

What these books have in common (except for being still available through Amazon .com) is their use of source material to demonstrate and prove their conclusions.  With sources cited, you can trace the evidence and decide for yourself if the migrations, the relationships, and origins are true.

Great Record Loss in Tennessee

Record loss in Tennessee, of all the Southern States, is greatest.  And you are left with the need to use all sources, from every jurisdiction–government, church, private, personal.  And if I were to draft a checklist of the records and sources used in these two works, you would have a model list to follow.  Your favorite Tennessee genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS  There is a tendency for genealogy critics to question older written works because they don’t have the advantage of all the new indexes and internet databases currently available.  And that the biases of the past skew the evidence.  Be very careful taking such critiques as research guides.  A review of older genealogies with the sources upon which they were based, is very healthy for the truth–you learn where the facts came from originally.  And how they were manipulated to fit into family proof.  Very healthy to review the facts and their sources.

PPS  Consider, work from the 1990’s, now out-of-print, is “older” work worthy of review.



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