I coined the phrase “Appalachian Triangle” to designate Southwest Virginia including West Virginia and Southeast Kentucky, Northwest North Carolina, and Eastern Tennessee. This is, in my opinion, the most difficult area to trace a family tree in America.
Why is this area so hard?
- Extensive record loss–especially marriages and census records. Many courthouse fires, general record neglect, records carried off or burned by invading armies.
- Unfamiliar jurisdictions and the records they produce: plantations, central mining areas, military reservations.
- Rapid and often confusing boundary changes. There are some state boundary changes that are not final until the Civil War. County boundaries established by law with one date, and enforced or functional on quite another date. Parent jurisdictions not always clear under the law and described incorrectly in genealogy reference books. Even maps can be confusing.
Stay tuned to this blog in 2017–as I provide sources, records, bibliography segments, maps and charts, example documents with unique contents that will enable you to track a triangle ancestor. You need to be able to track the family into and through and out the other side connecting your ancestor to those that came before and those that followed after. Your favorite Tennessee genealogist, Arlene Eakle http://arleneeakle.com
PS We all owe a debt of gratitude to local genealogists who are at work providing better access to the surviving records of this difficult area.