Surviving Records and Duplicates in the South

Let’s consider some of the duplicates and surviving records to help us in The South where the Irish and the Scots-Irish settled. In 1890, The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution was founded. To help their members qualify an ancestor, they copied millions of pages of records at all levels of government. They hunted down samplers and family Bibles, recording the genealogy facts for the generations to come. They walked local cemeteries transcribing the tombstone inscriptions–saving this extraordinary information for us, from the ravages of Nature. We truly owe them a debt of gratitude–especially for what they saved from loss in the South where there are many stories of record loss.

For example, in Tennessee, Penelope Johnson Allen, State Genealogical Chairman of the TN DAR, and her local members partnered with the Works Progress Administration–one of the government offices created to put people back to work during the Depression (1930′s). Together, they prepared more than 1,500 volumes of record extracts, with every-name indexes for sources which were never originally indexed. They wrote genealogy columns for local newspapers, publishing their findings and preparing actual family trees on individual families in many local communities. And adding their wondrous output of information to the DAR records.

Across the U.S., the DAR prepared more than 17,000 volumes of records from 1913 on. And their work still continues today. Only one state DAR collection is fully indexed–that of South Carolina. Volunteers prepared an every-name, every-frame index to 31 reels of microfilm. That index is available on 102 microfiche #6052835 through the Family History Library and its branches.

Have you searched the DAR collections for your ancestors? These volumes are called “secondary sources” by many genealogists–and they are copies, sometimes badly typed. Yet, they preserve for us the very information we need to track the Irish and the Scots-Irish (and the Germans and the Italians and the Native Americans merged into the population at large). And these volumes may represent all there is.

Add to your reading list for September: Donna Potter Phillips, “Revolutionary War Lineage Societies,” Everton’s Genealogical Helper, November/December 2006, pp. 81-86. The author describes the DAR, SAR, and other lineage societies and their records; and Charlotte Hughes Brown, “Tips on Filling Out Patriotic Lineage Papers,” Virginia Tidewater Genealogy, 21 (June 1990): 65-72.

Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS  The cracked ribs are healing–sitting too long and getting overly tired results in aching ribs.  But at least I am back at my work.  Stay tuned–I’ve had time to do some extensive reading.

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