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Genealogy Gazette

Volume 7, Number 11
Mountain Press, P.O. Box 400, Signal Mountain, Tennessee 37377, 1-423-886-6369
June 17, 2015
Publisher's Notes
In this article we discuss why we started our genealogy hobby and the satisfaction we can receive from our research. I started researching my family many years ago and the search will never end. I am always finding a new piece of information that leads me in a different direction. I love finding out more about my ancestors and the sense of belonging that it gives me.  
Thank you,
James L. Douthat
Mountain Press
Why Genealogy???
In the grand vision of life, why have we started our personal genealogy? In my case, I started so long ago I have almost forgotten why until I was asked the question at a recent workshop. I really got started with my Grandfather Painter who was the city treasurer of the major town in our county, and his brother was the treasurer of the county at the same time. I heard stories of a half-brother who was treasurer of a neighboring county. Somewhere in the conversations, I heard that there were twelve children in their family. I had heard of these three, so who were the others and were they treasurers of anything also. Thus began a lifelong search for the family. When I amassed enough information by the time I was seventeen years old, I had enough to get the material in print. A cousin helped to get it into the print on an old spirit printing machine all in blue ink. Can you believe I had a request for this booklet just last fall from the son of the cousin that helped me? She had not kept copies for each of her children. Luckily, I was able to copy them for him.
Every one of us have different reasons for starting our genealogy. Getting started is the easy part of the task. It is drawing our research to some kind of conclusion that is difficult. We all realize later that there is no end to the work. Each time you find another ancestor, this opens up a whole new adventure down a path never before traveled. It is no wonder that genealogy is the fastest growing hobby in the United States and beyond.
Tracing one’s ancestors gives us a sense of belonging. As our world is ever expanding, we still find new adventures at every turn. We grow up in one place, we go to schools in another, and in most cases, we live and make our living in a totally different place. Today it is not uncommon for someone to be raised in a small town in southwestern Virginia and now are living in Oregon. We are many times far from our roots, family, and friends that were our support system in our developmental days. We have to find a new support system, but we want to keep in touch with the former. We have all experienced the social systems of the internet, but there is nothing that takes the place of knowing who we are, where we came from, and our identity. Most of us are not looking to be related to someone famous. This is only the icing on the cake if we find them. The vast majority of us come from common stock, from hard working folks in our background.
When we find out more and more about our background, we have a new sense of purpose and direction for our own life. At one time I took a pair of shoes for granted. Everyone had shoes, or at least in the area in which I grew up. I have heard stories of those that could not put on their shoes until the ground froze in the fall even to go to school, but I did not know about them as I grew up in a small town during World War II.
When I discovered that my great grandfather and all of his brothers were shoemakers, harness makers and one even made scabbards for swords during the Civil War, then I took a second look at a simple shoe differently. Then my grandmother gave me her grandfather’s shoe making tools with the lass, awls, hammers and anvil. I was so grateful for this connection to my family background. I was able later to acquire one high top lace-up woman’s shoe. I knew it had to be a part of the “shoemaker’s kit” even though I knew the shoe was not made by my great grandfather. They were artist with their hands creating something that was vital to others.
Three generations of shoemakers in my background has given me a new understanding of who I am and the simple place I belong in life. Of yes, I had one cousin early on that said we were related to Amelia Earhart. We did have Earharts in our line, but I could not find any connection. Our Earharts were from southwestern Virginia and her family was from Kansas. It did not take me long to drop this search. In the mid-1950s it was popular to be related to someone famous. Now with having read hundreds of biographies, most famous persons have the same problems I have and I would not want to swap places with them ever.
Take several minutes and just make a few notes for yourself as to why you have taken up the hobby of genealogy. Doing so will help you to set a direction and when you find the answers, it can give you a sense of satisfaction.
Most of us do this to satisfy our own longings and at the same time we have a real legacy to leave those who follow after us. They might take your material and go in an entirely different direction and discover a whole new world, but that is for them to discover. Just remember this is an adventure that never ends, but can go in a thousand different directions. But no matter the direction, the end result will satisfy a deeper longing in our soul.
Happy Hunting!
New Books

Madison County, Tennessee Guardian Renewal Bonds 1868-1879

1919 State Board of Education of Virginia Contains over 7,000 teachers names

Sullivan County, TN Early Tax List 1796, 1797 and 1811/1812

Hickman County, TN - Bible, Family and Tombstone Records

Haywood County, TN County Court Minutes 1826-1830

Marshall County, TN Marriage Bonds Volume 2 1849-1865





If you have any questions or suggestions for future editions, please email us at jimd@mountainpress.com.