Newspapers Served Our Tennessee Ancestors, and US

Appearing in the Knoxville Gazette, 27 Mar 1794:

A number of Patents for Land in the Counties of Jefferson and Knox, formerly part of Greene, belonging to the undernamed persons have been registered in the Register’s Office of Greene County, and are now in my possession.  The owners of them are desired to pay the fees thereon and take them away.

David Campbell, Henry Nave, James Wood Lackey (2), Archibald Lackey, Jonathan Langdon, John Patterson, Anthony Patton, Thomas Galliher, John Wright, Andrew Lewis, John Hannah, John Walker, Abraham Swagerty, Robert Carson, Alex. Kelly and Archibald Lackey (2), Alex. Kelley, John Cowan, Archibald Lackey, and James W. Lackey, Wm Whitfield, Needham Whitfield (3), William Clark, Robert M’Tear, Geo. Brown, William Hughes, David Lindsey, William Tate, William Hutton, Samuel Montgomrey, Samuel Thompson, James  Galiher,  Abner Chapman, Joseph Long, Josiah Leath, William Willcock, Mathew Williba, Samuel Wear (2), Isaac Taylor (7),  Hugh Beard.  

John Stone, Knoxville.  Apr 4, 1794.

David Rencher developed a series of checklists to use against name lists that I want to share with you:

Interpreting Name Lists:  What does or doesn’t the record tell you? 

__Age of person



__Deceased or Living

__Economic Status


__Eligibility to Vote

__Free or Slave



__Marital Status


__Military Status

__Municipal or other Government Duties

__Spelling of Name




__Political Allegiance





Where does the search trail lead?

__Are there other records created before or after that are directly related?

__Has the entire set of records been searched?

__If using a transcript or abstract, has the original been searched?

Evaluating the Name Lists:  This is the point at which your analytical and research skills are tested.  Multiple name lists are preferred to evaluate the changes in the records. Thus, changes in land ownership, death or marriage, migration or emigration can be compared.

__Can you define the cohort?

__Why was the record created?

__What are the limitations of the record?

__What are the strengths?

__Can discrepancies be adequately explained?

__Has the transcript of the record been kept in its original context?

__Does the context of the record reveal the total value of real estate?  Or only the value of the taxes paid?

c 1998, David Rencher Seminar Handout [with permission]

When you run these checklists against the list above, there are some obvious conclusions you can draw:

  1. These are [Scots-Irish] men, formerly of Greene County TN and now in that part of the county that became Jefferson and Knox.  The majority of the surnames are Scottish. Long and Willcox can also be English.  Kelly and Lackey can be Irish.
  2.  Name lists, especially for early settlement times when jurisdictions are changing rapidly, can be quite valuable. They identify persons who have an interest in the area–and the source describes that interest.
  3. Since property ownership was among the prerequisites for voting, these men will be voters in local, state and, national elections. 
  4. Citizenship may be questionable:  usually a man had to have citizenship to own land.  To encourage population growth in early settlements areas, however, provision could be made to declare intent to become a citizen, or to identify place of birth/origin and age, or to apply for lands set aside for new arrivals to inhabit–without formal granting of citizenship.  Legally, these are included in what is called denizenship.
  5. Note that the announcement is made in the newspaper–which has to be read.  So the majority of these men probably could read. 
  6. Alex. Kelley,  John Cowan, Archibald Lackey, and James W. Lackey are grouped together in the list–partners?  Merchants?  Traders?  the list does not include that information.  Additional records are needed.
  7. The patents have been issued–giving you an idea when the men first come into the area, or send their agents to choose the land, enter the land, order the survey of the land, meet the settlement/claim requirements,  etc.  Did they live on the land or elsewhere during all this process?  Additional records and needed.

And so on.  Even with just one list, it is possible to make progress toward proving genealogy relationships.  Your favorite Tennessee genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS  Stay tuned–I have a cool chart that shows where the newspapers were published and circulated in Tennessee.  I have to scan it into the computer to put it into this blog–don’t know how to do that yet.

PPS  A word of explanation on my growing computer skills–I am now attending a beginning class (finally found one!) and it meets every Monday morning at 11:00 am.  So I will be a little while learning all I need to know to run these blogs.   Call this my post-graduate education for the digital world.  This next week, I learn how to use a flash drive.  And I am so excited about it. 

Remember–I believe in continuing education–in whatever you don’t yet know, that you need to be a good genealogist. And I practice what I preach!

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