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Genealogy Gazette

Volume 7, Number 17
Mountain Press, P.O. Box 400, Signal Mountain, Tennessee 37377, 1-423-886-6369
September 15, 2015
Publisher's Notes
In this article we discuss going "fishin" for genealogy tidbits. I love to just browse various books for new bits of information when I am in a local library. You never know what piece of information you may find, but always remember to verify the information.
I had lots of great comments from the last newsletter on "Why Do Genealogy". I heard from Pat Berges about how she got into genealogy and I thought I would share.
"When I was in my late 20s and had a fulltime job, a husband and two small children, my mother called me one day and said that she had a box of old photos of my grandmother's going back to the Civil War, and asked that I come over and sit down with her and Granny (while Granny could still remember) and we'd write the names on all this pictures. I loved the idea, but kept putting it off because I was so busy. Well, Granny died. Mother then said she thought she might be able to identify about half of them if I'd get together with her. I put that off for several years and guess what -- Mother died. And I was left with the box of pictures and a mountain of guilt. I lived in Florida at the time, but all Mother's ancestors were from Coffee, Grundy and Warren Co. TN. I decided I owed it to Mother to find out who the people in the photos were. I called a cousin in Summitville and said, "I'm coming up there. I want you to take me around to visit all our eldest relatives." In the process of identifying the photos (succeeded with about half of them), I heard the most awesome stories about these ancestors. That's when I decided I really needed to document this family's history, and I've been working on it ever since."
Her story definitely emphasizes how important it is to get our ancestors to tell those great stories and identify those pictures while they are still around. Thank you Pat for sharing your story.  
Thank you,
James L. Douthat
Mountain Press
One of my favorite tasks is to go “fishin’” at different times when I am at any library. This is what I call my process of just looking from book to book for any tidbit of information that I can find. There are many pros and as many cons in doing this type of research, but I have found some really great tidbits that I needed for various projects.
It is simple; just pick a shelf in the area of your interest and go from one end of the shelf to the other. It is best to only look through one shelf at a time. When I am in a local library, I have found this method to be very rewarding. I usually have a dozen projects going at the same time, and so I can always find something of interest.
This past weekend, I decided to go fishing in my own library. With thousands of printed volumes and many roles of microfilms, I have plenty of options. I selected the collection of ten volumes I have on the American State Papers. I have used these volumes many times to research various projects. The tenth volume is called “Grassroots of America” and is basically the index to the other nine volumes. Here is where you can find a gold mine of names.
Seldom do I look up any information on my own family since I have been researching them for about sixty years and have file cabinets full of data, but this time I found a name “Samuel Douthat” in the Grassroots. I have him in my collection, but little more than just a name with no connection to my Douthats or the Douthits of North Carolina. What surprised me was this entry was not about him, but his wife Polly Ann Motlow, daughter of Malachia Motlow who was killed by the Indians just after the American Revolutionary War. The article goes into great links to study Malachia. Rarely do you find this kind of information about the wife of a man at this time, so I was greatly surprised and pleased to find this data to put into the file of Samuel.
A second find in my fishing trip was a tidbit on my wife’s family. I have been working on her family for about forty years and I have many loose ends with her clan. I discovered a man with her last name of “Kell” listed in a group of Cherokee who were sent west from Georgia. I have some information on this Alexander Kell who was in Oklahoma after the removal as a leader of the western band. He was born in North Carolina around Winston-Salem but is also found in Georgia, where I assumed he married a Cherokee woman. This bears more research since I have a John Kell of Georgia as one of the soldiers who guarded the bands on their trip to the west. One of my wife’s ancestors, John, was in that group of soldiers but was from Tennessee. John received a pension from the Federal Government for $8.00 per month that passed onto his wife at his death. His service was in the Cherokee removal or as the National Archives list this as “The Cherokee Wars”.
Just two surprises in about an hour of reading and research on a fishing trip. The major plus for this approach is that you find information from sources that will surprise and delight you while at the same time will frustrate you. Sometimes the tidbits will bring on more problems than solutions, but it is worth taking a chance. If you don’t ever go fishing, then you may never find the solutions you seek.
The major drawback to this type of research is that we might assume all “John Smiths” are one and the same. When any tidbit is found, this should cause us to dig in and do more research on the subject. We still have to prove the fact as part of our quest. The tidbits are just a clue to what more is out there and hopefully more information on where this might be found. In the case of Samuel Douthat, the case was withdrawn due to the fact that Malachia was not provable as a service veteran. There was no indication of location for any of the parties involved and this will entail more research into them.
Go “fishin’” and just see what you can find. You might be really surprised at the results.



New Books



Cherokee War:

These two volumes detail the men called by General Winfield Scott to guard the Cherokee westward on the various trails that were taken in the “Trail of Tears”. These were militia units that consisted of primarily a Captain and the volunteers under his area appointed by the county in question. These volumes contain two different listings. One is the alphabetical listing of all of the men with notes on some of the names that might have been spelled in two or more forms. The second listing is of the Companies listed under their Captain. The officers are in one list and the privates in a second list under each Company.

Alabama Soldiers in the Cherokee Wars

North Carolina Soldiers in the Cherokee Wars

Marshall County, TN:

Marshall County, TN Will Book Volume A 1835-1855

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.