Thursday, December 6, 2012

Reviewing the Results

It is almost time to make New Year's resolutions, but before I can do that I need to review what I have and have not accomplished during the current year. Then I will decide if it is prudent to even make new resolutions. Here goes.

My personal research is divided between work on my own families and work on the never-ending Smithland project.  Work on my families has been sporadic. High on the list for 2012 has been taking photos of tombstones to replace those taken many years ago.   My photography skills have improved a bit during the past 40 years and digital cameras make it easier and less expensive to take many photographs. Many of my old photographs are not sharp and some have faded. Also, tombstones can deteriorate with the passage of time. Some tombstones fall, become covered with dirt and debris and disappear from memory.

Now, for the Smithland project. It started out small several years ago by identifying town lot owners from the beginning of Smithland up to the Civil War. It quickly grew to include the location of former businesses and churches. I have learned a great deal, especially when working on the nomination of the old courthouse to the National Register of Historic Places. That project was the most fulfilling research I have ever done and I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it. However, my Smithland project didn't stop with the acceptance of the nomination. It continues with bits and pieces being learned almost every week. During the past year, I have "met" several descendants of the Barner family, who lived on Charlotte Street. One descendant of a collateral Barner line visited me last winter and we continue to keep in touch with findings. I have been in touch by email with two other direct descendants of the Smithland family and hope to visit in person in the future. Photographs of the family have been shared, as well as letters and documents. This part of my Smithland project is the most exciting thing to happen in my research in recent years.

I have also been working on separating fact from legend regarding stories surrounding many of the older buildings in Smithland. This is a lot of fun, but there have been disappointments too. I wish all of the stories were true, but that doesn't seem to be the case. I will be sharing some of my findings during the coming year.

So, my results have been mixed. Not a lot new on my personal lines so I will keep on digging and photographing. There have been excellent progress on the Smithland project, but there is much yet to do.

Now to think about those resolutions for 2013.  Hmmmm ...

Copyright on text and photographs
by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog

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