A Genealogy Place for Tennessee…

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.

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One Response to A Genealogy Place for Tennessee…

  1. jutkey says:

    Your blogsite is fantastic. My family has an East TN/West NC conundrum. Our research takes us to a Captain John Key who was supposedly the son of Moses Key, Jr., from the Quaker Moses Key line in PA. Reputed Key Researcher Julia Lane states that he was a captain in the Rev. War from “Washington County, NC” which we understand to be West NC/East TN territory.

    A Key family certainly settled that area, mostly in Greene County around 1790 and after. Although this John Key has both a SAR and DAR record, we’ve been unable to retrieve any military documents for him or locate him and other Keys there until after 1790. The first we find John Key is in Greene County where he obtains 100 acres on Lick Creek in 1794. Julia Lane mentions “family papers” when talking about John’s children, so we think that perhaps this is where she gets his military and other information as well. We also know that Julia Lane put in lots of requests to the government for military documentation on those she was researching.

    Any help or guidance on where to look for the Washington County or “District” records… whether military, tax, land records, petitions, etc.?

    Will appreciate anything you have to offer! Thanks!

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