BlogHer’s Find Your Roots prompt for today asks whether I am interested in genealogy and whether I’ve made a family tree. You know from my last post that I can’t make much of a family tree since most of it is overseas and unknown. I do like genealogy and would make a family tree if I could, but I’m most interested in the stories, not just names of strangers. I would create a book with the lineage, what stories I could get, photos, copies of documentation, and additional information to place the people into their historical and cultural setting.
I have an impressive and unusual historical and genealogical book that captures not one family but a whole rural community in Tennessee. The 8.5”x11” book was printed at a copyshop and I don’t know how the two staples can hold the 160 pages together—the thing is bulging. The community was tightknit and interconnected as children married into local families and settled nearby, so this book was popular and a valuable resource. I know a lot of the names, at least, since the book includes half my husband’s side of the family and their friends. Country singer and actor Eddie Arnold was born and raised in this community. Below is a list of types of information included.
Intro to the community
History, descriptions of churches
History and stories of the community center and fire department
History and stories of the schools
Names of the teachers and rosters of students (these were very small schools)
Short news clippings (retyped) of community happenings
History of the cemetery and list of everyone buried there up to publish date
History and genealogy of each family (back to 1800s if known)
An index of families and the pages they appear on
Photos, including class photos, group baptisms in the pond, family photos
These insular communities don’t exist anymore what with everyone moving around so much these days, but a lot of the general information included in the book would be interesting in any one family’s history book.