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Friday, January 1, 2016

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Brick Wall Buster Series: Anderson County, TN Genealogy Gems

By Brian Stansberry (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

This is the first in a series of posts on the local genealogy gems that may help you burst through that brick wall you are trying to get through.  We will focus on Anderson County, Tennessee for starters, and we will work through every county before we move to our next state.  If you have a state that you want to see us provide resources for next, leave your suggestion in the comment box below.

Some of the places included below have ery extensive websites, and it may be to your advantage to take the time to crawl through each site. Compare the records you find against the online collections that you have been searching to determine if the offline collection is includes addtional records.  

Anderson County Archives

One of the most valuable discoveries for Anderson County, TN is the fact that they have a County Historian who serves as a Certified Genealogist for Anderson County in the County Archives. 

Mary Sue Harris, County Historian
100 N Main St Room 307 | Clinton, TN 37716-3618
865-457-6242 | E-mail:
Office Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

"The Anderson County Archives provides information on the origins and history of Anderson County, Tennessee. The Archives provide public access to all holdings with the exception of the juvenile records. It provides local government sources material to court officials, genealogists, the legal profession, historians and the general public. The Archives contain documents such as Marriage Bonds, Divorce Records, Indexes and Warranty Deeds, Probate Records, Wills, Estates, Court Records, Chancery Court Records, Circuit Court Records, and Tax Records in addition to many more records and information."  

Clinton Public Library

The Clinton Public Library has a wealth of historical and genealogical print materials.  They also have a great collection of microfilm:
  • probate
  • register of deeds
  • chancery court
  • circuit court
  • county court
  • land grant index
  • tax lists
  • vital records

The following newspapers are on microfilm at the library:

Clinton Gazette
Anderson County News
Clinton Courier News
Clinton Appalachian Observer

See this complete list of newspapers for Anderson County complements of Chonicling America.  The library has a volunteer researcher who can be contacted by e-mail:  Be sure to search the library catalog to get a feel for print resources documenting Anderson County history and genealogy.

More resources

Inventory of Anderson County Records on Microfilm (Tennessee State Library and Archives)
FamilySearch Catalog: Tennessee, Anderson

Our next Brick Wall Buster will hughlight Bedford County Tennessee.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

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What I Am Taking Into 2016

Everyone loves the chance at a fresh new start.  Even with all the confusion in the world, I am looking in great anticipation for the New Year as it fast approaches.  With a childlike outlook on life, we can accept change easily with respect to our own progress and seek the good that exists in others. When children fall, they get right up!

I have a tendency to pause for serious reflection at the year's end. I first contemplate what my ancestors were doing centuries ago.  I do not need to long in hopeful anticipation for freedom to make simple choices as they did during those Watch Night services. I do, however, feel responsible to them to take an account of the things I am grateful for.

2015 was a year that I acquired great knowledge and overcame obstacles geared directly at my progression.  I have great cause to be grateful to my Heavenly Father. I thought I would end this year by listing what I learned and what I am most grateful for.  Some of my thoughts may seem a little obscure to the reader, but to me they are very profound:

1. I lived past 50, even though my father died at the age of fifty. That is a big deal to me.

2.  The trials I faced this year did not destroy me, even though they felt like they would at the time.  They stretched me well pass my abilities, and they have brought my husband and I closer as well as my other family members.

3.  I discovered that I had to stand alone and be the one to "Just Do It!" at crucial times.  I found the grace offered me by my Savior, and I feel He empowered me to add value to the lives of everyone who allowed me to.

4.  I learned to seek to help the people who sincerely want my help because there is not much time to wrestle with those who don't.

5.  I saw more times than I can mention how the principles of the true gospel serve to protect and bring peace and happiness.

6.  I finished projects and assignments even if it meant I would be doing so without human help.

7.  I am more able to accept people for who they are knowing there is a time and a place appointed.

8.  I was able to learn a great deal more about the technologies that I can now incorporate.

9.  I realized that I learn the most on my own in the middle of the night.  Go figure.  My DNA results confirm that fact. I am not sure who I inherited that from.

10.  As wonderful as it is to serve, I must take the time to refresh, read, and implement things that will enable me to grow and be more useful.

11. I know that if I live worthy, I will always be able to rely on the Lord's help.

12.  I have gained more faith and trust. I know if I listen close enough and follow my mind's eye, I will be at the right place at the right time doing the right things in 2016!

Hope is the foundation of happiness in this life. The fact that I can continue to set and reach desired goals brings so much purpose in my life. I hope I am living up to the legacy of service, faith, and family left by my progenitors.  Draw your loved ones close, and discuss the goals you would like to work toward together in 2016. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

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How building your family tree on Famberry could help you claim an inheritance

Press Release: London, England (December 18th, 2015)

Famberry (, the private collaborative family tree builder, is pleased to announce the release of a new innovative Family Tree Buillder with technology to help you claim an unknown inheritance. Building your photo family tree on Famberry has never been easier with new innovative controls, artistic themes that allow you to customize the look of your family tree and a whole host of other features, including; timelines, personal photo albums and messaging. With Famberry, building your family tree and preserving your family history is truly a family activity.
The new family tree builder gives members the chance to claim a real inheritance that could be worth millions. Each day we check your Famberry family tree against the UK unclaimed estates list and notify the relevant family member if we find indications that they may be entitled to an inheritance. Each inheritance could be monetary, possessions or property and could be worth thousands or millions of pounds.
The free new service is provided as part of complete re-write of the popular family tree builder, which also boasts an innovative family photo album, shared family organiser and a private family social network making it an ideal and cost effective place to preserve and share your family history.

“We have worked hard to innovate in the area of family tree building by talking to users to find out what really matters to them. We believe that our family tree builder is the simplest to grasp on the market.” said Steve Bardouille, co-founder of Famberry.

Photo Album

Famberry’s photo album functionality looks set to bring the family album into the 21st century. Not only can you store up to 2Gb (that’s thousands of photos) for free; your whole family can collaborate to collate and share their photo albums. Full browser screen display of your photo albums, photo swiping, photo tagging and drag and drop re-ordering of your photos means that you not only store your photos but more importantly you can share them with the people you care about automatically.
Social Network
Not stopping there, Famberry’s flagship family social network has also been re-imaged to allow families to stay in contact with each other, without worrying about prying eyes. Family members can share messages, photos, videos and documents on their own completely private family social network.
Service Options

Famberry’s free service has no restrictions on functionality and gives a generous 2Gb of photo space to start you storing your family history with your family. For those who want even more for their families, Famberry has introduced new upgrade options. Members can upgrade to a premium account to share up to 50Gb of space with their family and a whole host of additional features for only $7.99 a month or $77 for a yearly subscription. Professional family historians have the option to store up to 1Tb of photos and build unlimited client and personal family trees on Famberry for only $30.99 per month.
“If you have ever been given a family heirloom, you know how precious it is; full of history and significance. Famberry is your family’s digital heirloom, useful today, but even more precious in the future. Start capturing your family story together with your family today.”
About Famberry
Famberry, based in London, England was started in 2013 by families who were frustrated with the lack of privacy and controls on social networks and wanted a place that their family life could be documented, without being sold or shared with unknown third parties. With award winning customer service, Famberry lets you access your family tree, photos and keep in contact with your family anywhere that you have access to the Internet.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

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Morristown's history in images -- at your fingertips

Morristown's history in images -- at your fingertips

By Linda Ross and Carolyn Dorsey, Morristown & Township Library Among the treasures of the North Jersey History and Genealogy Center are its extensive collections of photographs and art that visually track Morristown's history and development. In addition to pictures, our image collection includes historic maps and atlases and other historic documents, such as the Civil…

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

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Genealogy in Books: Pioneers and Makers of Arkansas

How to use this book to learn more about genealogy in Arkansas:

1.  Read the contents to get a feel for the time frame and topics covered.

2.  Read through the chapters that may help you learn more about people, surnames or the history of the area in Arkansas where your ancestors lived.

3.  Make a list of events described that happened during the lifetime of your ancestor.  Research these events.

4. Map out the waterways, roads or buildings mentioned.

5.  Get a feel for the customs of the area.

6. Learn the formation of the territory or boundary changes that effected your ancestor.

7. Study the families that lived in the area at the same time as your ancestor.

8.  Research record types that would have been generated as boundaries changed or events occurred.

9.  What were some of the challenges local residents faced?  How did they overcome those challenges?

10. Search the index for familiar surnames.

Pioneers and Makers of Arkansas by Josiah H. Shinn

Sunday, September 13, 2015

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Nothing Wrong With Researching Out On The Limb

I am waiting for the pecans to be ready for harvest. There are other creatures there taking early samples.  One thing I notice is they know better than to race from the bottom of the tree to the top looking for samples. They go up the tree a little, then they branch out quickly gathering pecans at the end of the limb. Good researchers are just as smart or smarter than raccoons or squirrels. Often in genealogy research, you have to go out on the limb of your tree so you do not miss the treasure waiting for you there.

Like the raccoons and squirrels that I am in competition with this season, I am racing across the branches of my tree.  The great wealth of records coming online now has brought to my fingertips a host of records helping me to go back and link resources that I had not accessed before. I am so glad that over the course of my personal research I took the time to identify and record the descendants of my ancestors along with their spouses, siblings, and children.

Easier finds

Updates in website functionality on and have made it easier for me to find records that have been added. I can go out on the limb and grab them and attach them. I am finding that these new records are helping me to understand my family more and are encouraging me to go back up my tree with greater understanding about my progentiors and new insights to document them.

My husband found his first document this month among the probate records on He has been coming to classes I teach every Wednesday evening with a renewed desire to experience research for himself. Whomever has the desire to know who they are can find success.  The time has not been better than it is right now to start.

Finding more

I am sure many of my genealogy friends who have been at this for a while are having great eperiences too because of all the painstaking effort put forth on their journeys. To illustrate, I logged onto, and received a record hint (I am trying out the test version) on the home page for Henry Vance (b. 1893), a great uncle. As it turns out I only had one source for him, and I had not entered his wife's name.

"Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Marriage Indexes, 1885-1951," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 13 September 2015), 1917-1938 > V > image 7 of 50; citing Clerk of the Orphan's Court. City Hall.

I decided to search for more records on Henry because of the hint.  I ended up not only finding his marriage record, but on the same page I found other records for other members of the Vance family who migrated from South Carolina to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  I would not have even recognized them had I not researched all of the Vance descendants. Since only the spouse's maiden name is entered on the index, I searched for Henry's wife in this database and was able to find her first name.

I love the fact that these databases are not ultimatley leaving it up to us to know records have been added, but they are spoon feeding us with hints.  Every suggestion is just that... a sugestion, but if you are diligent enough to add the sources you find, you will be amazed by what you will discover.  Adding sources teaches the database who your family is. After I add sources, I go back and find more suggested records. I rarely find a suggestion that is not in actually the right person.

The Phildelphia marriage index find has opened up other possibilities for me now to link marriage records to each family member who moved and married in Philly during this time period. I can even order the original marriage records to learn more now that I know the year of marriage. I can go out on the limb and link more and learn more.