Thursday, October 29, 2015

Five Avenues to Explore When You Are Stuck

Stuck at a brick wall in your research? Maybe it's time to take a break from looking for information on people and try some old-fashioned background work. Originally, I wrote this post to show that old fashioned methods are still pertinent and do work, I was afraid newer genealogists couldn't relate to research not involving computers so ... take your pick or use both methods.

1.  In the back of magazines, look for travel listings on the area where your ancestor lived. This information is directed at vacationers, but can be helpful in pointing out attractions in a specific area. Perhaps one of these attractions existed during your ancestor's lifetime. If you must use your computer, Google the town and/or county where your ancestor lived and find out what historical events may have impacted your ancestor's life.

2.  Obtain a county map where your ancestor lived, preferably a map showing rivers and streams. Use the map to determine how close your ancestor lived to the county seat and also to other relatives. County maps can usually be ordered from the local Chamber of Commerce and are often free. You can also use Google maps, but I find it more convenient to spread out a map on my desk and I like to use a highlighter to mark places of importance.

3.  Read a history of the state and/or county where your ancestor lived. Note the economic and social events during his lifetime. These events may have influenced his actions, especially if he moved during that particular time. Your local library can help locate the books you need. Also, try Google Books for histories that may be in the public domain and can be read online.

4.  If your ancestor moved from one area to another, draw a line from the old area to the new area on a map. Be aware of rivers and streams he had to cross. Were there roads or did he have to forge a way in order to travel? Determine the ages of family members and what hardships they may have endured during the migration. Don't be afraid to use your imagination.

5.  Visit your library to see if they receive newspapers from the state and/or county where your ancestor lived. If not, subscribe to the online version of the local newspaper, even if only for 30 days. Many county and town newspapers have regular columns featuring news from the past. You may not see your ancestor's name listed, but you will get an idea of what life was like in the past.

While none of these suggestions is guaranteed to provide new information on your ancestors, they may give you some new ideas on why they lived in a particular area, how they got there and what important events occurred during their lifetime. Knowledge is a good thing.

Published 29 October  2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday - F.M. and Charlotte Nieten

F.M. Nieten
1853 - 1920
His Wife
1845 - 1925

Buried Fernwood Cemetery, Henderson, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 25 October 2014.

According to the Fernwood Cemetery database, F.M. and Charlotte Nieten are buried in Lot 950.

The death certificate of Charlotte Nieten shows she was born 24 June 1854 [sic] Germany and died 12 December 1925. A death notice in the 14 December 1925 issue of the Evansville Press the funeral service for Charlotte Nieten would be held at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Michael Wendling in Henderson. 

The 1920 Henderson County, Kentucky census shows that the couple immigrated to America in 1882.

Published 27 October 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Monday, October 26, 2015

Caldwell County Book Sale

Caldwell County, Kentucky Book Sale ending soon! 

Published 26 October 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Zinc Tombstone of S.J. Crowell

One tombstone stands out from the others in a Crittenden County, Kentucky cemetery. It is of a light blue color and the engraving is easy to read, even though it is over 110 years old.  It is made of zinc and was white when first cast, but, turned blue as it aged. 

Zinc tombstones were made from about 1870 until after 1910. If you tap on the tombstone, there is a hollow sound ... because it is hollow. Zinc tombstones are constructed in panels  and screwed together at seams. These monuments were inexpensive and can last a long time, but after a time, they may become brittle and, if hit with any force, will crack or come apart at the seams. These tombstones were inexpensive, but were never as popular as marble or granite tombstones.

An example of the zinc tombstone can be found in Tosh Cemetery.  It is that of Susan J. Crider, who married James E. Crowell 20 November 1865 Crittenden County.[2] 

In Memory
S.J. Crider
Wife of
J.E. Crowell
Born Oct. 23, 1848
Feb. 13, 1904


Dear Mother, N Earth's thorny Path
How long thy feet have trod
To find at last the peaceful rest
Safe in the arms of God.

Zinc tombstones aren't rare, but are not as common as those made of other materials and certainly never became as popular as monuments made of granite and marble.

[1] Untitled filler, Evansville Journal, 23 April 1885, p. 6.
[2] Brenda Joyce Jerome. Crittenden County, Kentucky Marriage Records Vol. 1 1842-1865 and Abstracts of Wills Book 1  1842-1924, (Evansville: Evansville Bindery, 1990), 113.

Published 22 October 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

R.I.P. Dianne O'Brien

Smithland, Kentucky lost a friend recently. Dianne Boswell O'Brien passed away at her home in Paducah Sunday, 18 October 2015. She was 72 years old. Dianne was born in Smithland and even though she had lived in Paducah for many years, she loved Smithland and was involved in many activities there.

I first met Dianne when the new county office building was being planned to replace the old courthouse (built 1845). Dianne was afraid the old courthouse would be destroyed once the new building was occupied. I don't know if the idea originated with Dianne or not, but she was an early proponent of having the courthouse placed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Smithland had a reputation of destroying historic buildings rather than preserving them, but Dianne had a different vision. She saw  the courthouse as a museum and event center for many years to come.

To guarantee the courthouse had a chance at a new life, Dianne felt it necessary to have it listed on the National Register. It was not an easy process and, at times, it appeared it would not be successful, but, in 2011, the Livingston County Courthouse was placed on the National Register.   I am not sure it would have happened without the encouragement and leadership of Dianne O'Brien.

Rest in Peace, Dianne, and thank you.

Published 21 October 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday - Malinda M. Leech

In Memory of
Dear Mother
Malinda M.
Wife of
James C. Leech
Born July 14, 1806
Died Oct. 20, 1873
67 Yrs. 3 mo's
& 6 D's

Buried Smithland Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 30 July 2015.

James C. Leech obtained a bond to marry Malinda Glenn in Caldwell County, Kentucky 20 September 1823. Consent for the bride was given by her father, Samuel Glenn. James C. Leech was of lawful age (21 years or older).

The Leech family appeared on the 1850 Livingston County census with Malinda as head of the household. James C. Leech died 23 January 1840 and is buried in Leeper Cemetery. Before his death, James C. Leech was a Justice of the Peace and Livingston County Sheriff.

Published 20 October 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Caldwell County, Kentucky Administrator Bonds 1864

Administrators of estate were usually appointed in county court shortly after a person's death. The appointment will be recorded in the county court minutes and sometimes in a separate administrator's bond book. The administrator was required to post bond with at least one person as surety for the faithful performance of his duties as administrator. If a person left a valid will, he usually named an executor, whose duties were similar to those of an administrator.

A curator was appointed as temporary guardian or conservator by the court to care for the property of an incompetent, spendthrift or a minor. A curator might also be appointed as conservator of an estate if a will had been contested or to conserve the estate until an administrator was appointed. If a will was contested, be sure to check circuit court records for the case file.

The following entries have been abstracted from Caldwell County, Kentucky Administrators Bond Book 1863-1870, located in the Caldwell County Clerk's Office, Princeton, Kentucky.

John R. Nichols was appointed administrator of the estate of Eli Nichols Jr. 6 Jan 1864.

Thomas S.C. Asher was appointed of the estate of Jesse A. Stephens 26 Jan. 1864.

S.C. Howton and Stallard Darnall were appointed administrators of Joseph Howton's estate 27 Jan 1864.

Shadrack McGregor was appointed administrator of William Goodaker's estate 27 Jan 1864.

Wm. Carter and Stallard Darnall were appointed curators of Thomas Copeland's estate 27 Jan 1864.

Geo. D.E. Traylor was appointed administrator of John C. Traylor's estate 29 Jan 1864.

William G. Glenn was appointed administrator of David B. Glenn's estate 4 Feb 1864.

J.W. Towrey was appointed administrator of Edward Towrey's estate 6 Feb 1864.

G.A. Orr was appointed administrator of T.P. Brown's estate 6 Feb 1864.

W.W. Blackburn was appointed administrator of Lois Blackburn's estate 8 Feb 1864.

Jesse Stevens Jr. was appointed administrator of the estate of Jesse Stevens Sr. 15 Feb 1864.

Elizabeth Sigler and F.U. Sigler were appointed administrators of Amos Sigler's estate 15 Feb 1864.

J.H. Roberts Jr. was appointed administrator of James Drennon's estate 15 Feb 1864.

Geo. D.E. Traylor was appointed administrator of Joseph Moore's estate 15 Feb 1864.

Geo. R. McDowell was appointed administrator of William T. Drennon's estate 20 Feb 1864.

John Linch was appointed administrator of Daniel Farrow's estate 5 Mar 1864.

S.F. Orange was appointed administrator of Charles Galloway's estate 8 Mar 1864.

Margaret A. Hooper was appointed administrator of Laban S. Hooper's estate 12 Mar 1864.

James M. Early was appointed administrator of Hezakiah G. Early's estate 21 Mar 1864.

Jesse Stevens and Susan A. Guier were appointed administrators of Philip Guier's estate 21 Mar 1864.

S.B. Brelsford was appointed administrator of Decatur Wilds' estate 9 Apr 1864.

John K. Morse and Jefferson C. Asher were appointed administrators of Jefferson G. Morse's estate 18 Apr 1864.

Nancy J. Wilds was appointed administrator of the estate of Alfred T. Wilds 11 May 1864.

Joel Becker was appointed administrator of C.N. Creasy's estate 27 May 1864.

Mary J. Barnett was appointed administrator of Wm. H. Barnett's estate 8 Jun 1864.

James H. Leech was appointed curator of Thomas Kevil's estate 8 Jun 1864.

Allen Morse was appointed administrator of Nancy Morse's estate 20 Jun 1864.

John Satterfield was appointed administrator of Edward Satterfield's estate 18 Jul 1864.

Franklin Gipson was appointed administrator of Comandane Stevens' estate 30 Jul 1864.

Wm. Jones was appointed administrator of Wm. J. Harper's estate 15 Jul 1864.

A.B. Curtis was appointed administrator of George W. Casner's estate 26 Sep 1864.

John W. McGough was appointed administrator of Thos. M. McGough's estate 15 Oct 1864.

Nancy Creekmur was appointed administrator of Jason Hammock's estate 17 Oct 1864.

J.E. Kevil and N.N. Rice were appointed administrator of Wm. Y. Harris' estate 17 Oct 1864.

David S. Stevenson was appointed administrator of Stephen H. Leech's estate 21 Oct 1864.

Published 17 October 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Autumn in Crittenden County

Mt. Zion Cemetery
24 October 2012

Old Marion Cemetery
24 October 2012

Published 15 October 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday - Anna S. Floyd

Anna S.
Wife of
J.H. Floyd
Feb. 17, 1859
Jan. 31, 1919

Buried Sisco Chapel Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 20 May 2015.

According to Kentucky Death Certificate #31871, Ana Susan Floyd was born in Saline County, Kentucky [Illinois?] and was the daughter of Polly Hall and -- Hall, both born in Illinois.

J.H. Floyd was the son of Volentine and Eliza Floyd, who left Tennessee after 1870 and settled in Crittenden County.

Published 13 October 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Another Anniversary!

I'm a little late, but do not want to forget entirely. Tuesday, October 6, marked the 8th anniversary of the birth of this blog. I love the research and writing for the blog, but can not always determine if it is of interest so please let me know if you do or do not like the content of the blog and if you have suggestions for further posts.

The frequency of posts may change in 2016 as I slow down a bit. I am working on January posts now so we will see how it goes, but don't be surprised if there is only one post per week.

Thanks for going along on this journey with me.

Published 10 October 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, October 8, 2015

In the News ... Steamboat Style

The news items about western Kentucky steamboat folk seem to be popular, judging by the comments received from readers of this blog. The following items pertain to steamboat families in Livingston and Crittenden Counties. I hope you enjoy them.

"We learned yesterday of the death of Capt. R.H. Brown, formerly of the steamer J.P. Webb, which melancholy event took place at his residence in Dycusburg, Kentucky, where he has been merchandising since he retired from the river. Capt. 'Hodge' Brown, as he was familiarly known, was a popular steamboat man and a merchant of high repute. We could learn no particulars of his death. He was about 60 years of age."[1]

"Capt. Robert Ferguson, a veteran steamboat man, died at his home in Smithland Friday night. He was attacked with pneumonia a few days ago and his advanced age made the disease hard to treat, and he succumbed. The deceased used to run on the river with Capt. Joe Fowler of Paducah. He was 75 years of age."[2]

"Mrs. Judge Fowler, step-mother of Capts. Gus and Joe Fowler, died at her late residence near Smithland a few days ago."[3]

"The estimable wife of Hon. W.P. Fowler, who died a few days ago at Smithland, Kentucky, was not the mother of the Paducah steamboat captains J.W., W.P., D.G., J.H. and L.A. Their mother was the sister of H.F. and D.A. Given, and the first wife of Judge Fowler."[4]

[1] "River Intelligence," Evansville Journal,  9 Jan 1877, page 9.
[2] "River News," Evansville Journal-News, 26 Mar 1902, page 3.
[3] "River Intelligence," Evansville Journal, 21 Apr 1877,  page 7.
[4] "River and Steamboat News," Evansville Daily Courier, 21 Apr 1877, page 3.

Published 8 October 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday - J.M. Worten

J.M. Worten
Apr. 7, 1858
June 1, 1921

Buried Smithland Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 2 August 2013.

James M. Worten is found in the family of James and Francis M. Worten in Smithland on the 1870 Livingston County census. By 1920, James M. Worten was living in the city of Pawhuska in Osage County, Oklahoma.

Published 6 October 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Business Partnership - 1816

I haven't found very many original business agreements while researching in western Kentucky so the one below is a treasure. The parties to this agreement were prominent citizens of Caldwell County. This document can be found in loose papers marked Agreements in the county clerk's office.

"Articles of Partnership made and entered into this the 10 Feby 1819 Between Edward C. Bearden and Moses Clayton both of the County of Caldwell and state of Kentucky  Witnesseth that the said Bearden and Clayton have this day entered into partnership in the mercantile business under the firm of Bearden & Clayton, to continue two years (unless sooner disolved by Mutual Consent) the said Bearden & Clayton are equally interested in the goods Purchased of Peter R. Garrett as well as any purchases which may hereafter be made  Also equally bound for all debts which the Concern may Owe to be equally Interested in the profits  Also in all losses which may Occur, the advances made by both Parties are to be Equal the expences to be equally divided and Neither Party shall draw from the firm more than three hundred Dollars for their Own use for the true Performance of which the parties bind themselves in the penal sum of Five Thousand Dollars.  Witness Our hands and seals the day and date above written.   [signed] E.C. Bearden, Moris (X his mark) Clayton. Witness: William C. Haydon, Geo. P. Bowser."

 Published 1 October 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,