Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Chasing Probate Records

Sometimes we find part of a probate record in one county and then find supporting data in another county. This usually happens when a new county is created during the probate process. For example, William Wood wrote his will 20 September 1806 while living in Livingston County, Kentucky (Will Book A, page 25). His will was produced in Livingston County court and proven in April 1807. His will names his wife Anne Wood, son Spencer Wood and his "four youngest children." The inventory and appraisal of Wood's estate were recorded 6 February 1809.  You might think that was the end of the settlement of his estate, but was it?  In addition, we don't know the names of any of the "four youngest children" of William Woods. If there is nothing more in Livingston County, maybe it would be wise to check Caldwell County, which was created from Livingston in May 1809.

Ah, ha! The Wood family did, indeed, live in the part of Livingston that fell into Caldwell County in 1809. Caldwell County Deed Book A, page 304 shows that on 31 August 1811, there was a conveyance of land on Flynns Fork of Tradewater from Benjamin Vaughn to Ann Woods and Spencer Woods, heirs of William Woods dec'd.

Caldwell County marriage records show that Nancy Wood married John Barnes in 1816.  Then, in 1818, Rachel Wood married Mathew Ledbetter. Consent was given for both marriages by their mother, Ann Wood, and Spencer Wood was the surety on the marriage bond. Then, in 1821, Spencer Wood married Rhoda Smith. Sure sounds like the children of William Wood. In 1823, Rhoda Wood married Seth Baker ... curious! The document that tied this all together was found in a box marked "Depositions" in the Caldwell County Clerk's Office. It reads thus:

"Memo for Auditor of Accounts
I have found a tract of land Situate in this County Containing 98 acres - Conveyed by Ben Vaughn to Ann Wood during her life and then to Spencer Wood her Son & his heirs - (Widow & heirs of Wm. Wood dec'd) now the Widow is dead, and the said Spencer also, who died before the Widow & before he got possession, Spencer had one child supposed to be dead, her mother married again and went to Mississippi taking her with her & has never been heard of Since except that the child was dead. She moved to Mississippi about 15 years ago. Deed in Book A page 304."

(Click on document for an enlarged view)

Published 30 July 2014, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Copyright and You

Copyright  on Internet is a hot topic right now and everyone has an opinion on what constitutes violation of copyright. Some of those opinions are based on wrong information and stems from "word of mouth."  One person gives his version of copyrighted material, another person repeats it and perhaps adds his two cents worth, a third person repeats that and adds ... etc, etc, etc. It ends up being far from the truth.

Just recently I have been told the following:
1. Everything on Internet is free and I can copy anything.  False!
What is true: Very little on Internet is free to copy. It doesn't matter if it is text or a photograph. You can not copy it just because you want it. Show common courtesy and ethics by contacting the author and requesting permission. If permission is granted, thank the author and be sure to credit the source of the information. If it is not granted, that is the end of it. Move on.

2. I didn't see your copyright notice so I did nothing wrong by copying your material. False!
What is true:  It does not matter if there is a copyright notice or not. Copyrighting material, whether for a website or blog as text or photograph, is automatic from the time it goes into fixed form. A copyright notice is not required.

3.  The article came from a newspaper, newspapers are facts and you can't copyright facts.  Partially False!
What is true: You can't copyright facts, but newspapers aren't facts. Current newspapers are most likely protected by copyright so be sure to have permission before using current articles. Articles published prior to 1923 are in the public domain and articles 1923-1977 can be used under certain circumstances. Be sure you know those circumstances.

Judy Russell, a certified genealogist and lawyer, writes a wonderful blog, The Legal Genealogist and has dealt with copyright issues several times. Two posts from her blog have been very helpful to me. They can be found here: Copyright and the Website and Copyright & the Newspaper Article 

Another site that has been helpful is here: The Mystery Behind the (C) by Christopher B. Skvarka.

The bottom line, folks, is this:
If you didn't create the text or photograph, it isn't yours to use without permission. Avoid hard feelings and show the manners your mama taught you. Ask permission and give credit.

Published 27 July 2014, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Jailor's Bond 1842

One of the duties of the county court was to make the appointment of county jailer. The first jailer of Crittenden County, Kentucky was John H . Bruff, who was appointed 12 December 1842. Crittenden County was still new, having been created from Livingston County in early 1842. Because several sessions of the Crittenden County Court are missing from 1842, the document below is the only extant record of Bruff's appointment as jailer. In order to qualify as a county official, he was required to sign a performance bond to guarantee he would "well, truly & faithfully perform and discharge" the duties of jailer. This document was located in a bundle marked "Officers Bonds" in the Crittenden County Clerk's Office.

"Know all men by these presents that we John H. Bruff, John S. Gilliam, Wm. Hoggard & H.W. Bigham are held and firmly bound unto the Commonwealth of Kentucky in the penal sum of one thousand dollars to the payment of which well and truly to be made we do hereby bind ourselves our heirs jointly & severally &c firmly[?] by these presents sealed and dated this twelfth day of December 1842 --

"The condition of the above obligation is such that whereas the above bound Bruff has this day been appointed jailor in & for Crittenden County & Commonwealth of Kentucky by the County Court of said County, Now if the said Bruff shall well, truly & faithfully perform and discharge the duties pertaining to said office so long as he shall continue to hold said appointment, then this obligation to be void, otherwise to be and remain in full force and virtue  Given under our hands and seals the day and date above written.
Teste: H.W. Bigham, Clk  [signed] John H. Bruff, John S. Gilliam, Wm. Hogard, H.W. Bigham."

Published 24 July 2014, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday - Hoge

William H. Hoge
1840 - 1918
Christine S. His Wife
1840 - 1936

Buried Fernwood cemetery, Henderson, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 31 December 2011.

The 1900 Henderson County census shows that William H. Hoge was born October 1840 in Germany and came to the United States in 1867.  According to death certificate #4542, Christine Hoge was born 8 October 1840 and died 1 February 1936. Her parents were not listed.

Published 22 July 2014, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Manumission of Wife and Child 1836

It is not unusual to find that a Free Person of Color owned and manumitted members of his own family. This was done through the county court or by the last will of the slave owner. The following entry in Caldwell County, Kentucky Court Order Book E, page 423 illustrates this process.

"This day John Montgomery (a free man of Color) produced in open Court a Deed of emancipation setting free his woman called Abbey (his wife) and his infant Son named Jackson which Deed is here ordered to be recorded to wit: Know all men by these presents that I John Montgomery (a free man of Color) of the County of Caldwell and State of Kentucky from motives of benevolence and humanity have manumitted & do hereby manumit & set free from Slavery my negro woman Abbey, aged about thirty three years  of black complexion and my infant Son Jackson aged 6 months, And I hereby give grant, & release to her the said Abbey & my Son of all my right, title, & claim of, in & to these person, labour & services and in and to the estate & property which they have hereafter acquire or obtain. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal this 15th Feby 1836."

John and Abbey Montgomery can be found on the 1840 and 1850 Caldwell County census records. They do not appear on the 1860 census, but their oldest son, Jackson, is shown living in nearby Dycusburg, Crittenden County, Kentucky.

Published 19 July 2014, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Research Tips - Free Stuff and Changes

Great news for all of us with Tennessee ancestors! The Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA) has made available a number of family Bible records on their website. I found three Joyce family Bibles listed. They aren't in my direct line, but still part of my family. To access the Bible records, go Here  Thanks to Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter for spreading the word on this valuable resource.

GenForum is planning major changes. Effective 5 September 2014, GenForum message boards, Family Tree Maker homepages and the most popular articles will be available in a read-only format. For example, you will still be able to read the message boards, but will not be able to post to them. For more information, go to the GenForum website.

Fold3 is providing free access to their Revolutionary War Collection through 31 July 2014. This is an excellent opportunity to explore this site at no cost.

Published 17 July 2014, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday - Vinesa and Jesse M. Rhea

Vinesa Rhea
Dec. 1, 1852
July 30, 1907 
A tender mother and a good faithful friend 

Jesse M. Rhea
Sept. 2, 1852
Oct. 26, 1910
He was loved by God and man

Buried Leeper Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 9 April 2014.

Jesse M. Ray [sic] married Miss Vinesa Mitchell 18 March 1875 Livingston County. Vinesa Mitchell is found in the household of Miles and Lucinda Mitchell on the 1860 Livingston County census. Jesse Rhea is listed on the 1860 Monroe County, Tennessee census in the home of Wiley and Jane Rhea.

Published 15 July 2014, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, July 10, 2014

City Cemetery, Nashville, Tennessee

No vacation is complete without at least one visit to a cemetery. So, on a recent trip through Tennessee on our way to South Carolina, we stopped at Nashville City Cemetery to look around.

Sign at entrance to City Cemetery

Although I am directionally challenged and got us lost, we soon found our way again to this lovely, little graveyard where many of the early residents of Nashville are buried. There was a reason for this visit: First, there was quite a bit of movement between Nashville and Smithland, Kentucky during the first half of the 19th century. This was largely due to easy access via steamboat on the Cumberland River. It was not uncommon for people to settle in Smithland after having lived in Nashville. This was especially true of men connected to river traffic. I felt drawn to this cemetery where some of these folks might be buried.

Specifically, I wanted to see the burial places of Joseph Woods (1779-1859) and Mary E. Barner (1842 - 1862).  It is probable that Joseph Woods was the same man of that name who settled in Smithland by 1803, was one of the first town trustees of Smithland and owned a number of town lots there. Sometime between 1810 and 1815 he moved to Nashville, but continued selling his Smithland property for a number of years. He married Jane West in Smithland in 1806.

Joseph Woods 
1779 - 1859

Mary E. Barner, daughter of Sterling M. Barner and Sarah Jane West, died of typhoid in Nashville when she was just 20 years old. Her body was first interred in the Robert P. Currin vault, but at some point, her remains were removed to the Barner family plot in Smithland Cemetery. The grate over the steps down into the vault is locked, but I am told the remains of numerous people formerly buried there have been removed.

Robert P. Currin Vault
First burial place of Mary E. Barner
1842 - 1862

Perhaps it is a coincidence - but perhaps not - Joseph Woods married Jane West and Mary E. Barner's mother was Sarah Jane West.  Were they related?  I'll let you know when I learn more.

Published 10 July 2014, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday - Emily Letcher

Wife of
Dr. R.P. Letcher
Nov. 11, 1824
Aug. 31, 1852

Buried Fernwood Cemetery, Henderson, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 19 April 2014. Her given name can be read by pulling back the grass at the top of the photograph.

Emily Ingram married Robert P. Letcher 6 April 1848 in Henderson and they are enumerated in the household of her parents, Wyatt H. and Jane Ingram on the 1850 Henderson County census. One child, Wyatt, was born 20 May 1852 to Emily and R.P. Letcher. Following his wife's death, Dr. Letcher remarried. He died in 1867. 

Published 8 July 2014, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, July 3, 2014

4th of July Celebration 1905

Although America has long celebrated  the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th 1776, it did not become a national holiday until 1870. The first celebration was observed with toasts and speeches at a special dinner for the Continental Congress in 1778.   Bristol, Rhode Island celebrated that same year with a 13-gun salute in the morning and again in the evening.

In 1905, Crittenden Springs in Crittenden County, Kentucky was the scene of much activity in celebration of the holiday. The following account is given in the 6 July 1905 issue of the Crittenden Press.

"Tuesday, July 4th, 1905 was a red letter day in the history of Crittenden Springs. The barbecue, grand ball and fireworks display had all been thoroughly advertised as was evidenced by the throngs which wound their way to the famous resort on this glorious day. From early dawn until late in the afternoon every conveyance that was available in the city was pressed into service and a jolly party it was."

Another account of the day's celebration was given in the same issue of the newspaper. 

"No 4th of July in the memory of the oldest inhabitants was ever celebrated in Marion as universally as was done last Tuesday. Every business house in Marion was closed by common consent, and many of the business men and their families went to the Crittenden Springs for the day, and remained over to see the fireworks and to witness the ball. The streets were deserted throughout the day and an air of quiet and rest was abroad in the city."

Current celebrations include some of these same activities. How do you plan to celebrate?

Crittenden Springs Hotel 1909

Published 3 July 2014, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday - Alice L. and George W. Southern

Alice Lula
1870 - 1941

George W.
1865 - 1944

Cherished Memories

Buried Smithland Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 6 March 2014.

According to death certificate #2528 (1941), Alice Lula Southern was born 13 November 1870 Livingston County and died 19 January 1941 Smithland, Kentucky. Her parents were Ruben Marshall and Etta Hartt, both born in Kentucky.

The death certificate (#16731) of George W. Southern shows he was born 19 April 1865 Livingston County and died 30 July 1944 in a hospital in Paducah, Kentucky. His parents are listed as Thomas Southern and Mary Fulks, both born in Kentucky.

Published 1 July 2014, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,