27 August 2010

Happy Trails To You.

compiled by Teresa Martin Klaiber August 2010

I admit that I am a complete and total fan of Leonard Sly aka Roy Rogers. And I must confess I am borrowing and humming the song, Happy Trails To You. But since Roy was from Ohio and lived in Scioto County it has little to do with Eastern Kentucky trails.

In genealogy we have paper trails and migration trails. And in the past few weeks I have been busy following both types of trails. Both trails I have been working on have led into the Bluegrass section of the state and show just how easy it was for entire waves of migration to just pass us by here in Eastern Kentucky.

Carrie Eldridge has written several different publications in Atlas style showing migration routes that lead into Kentucky that are invaluable to researchers. She has been a frequent researcher at the Boyd County library for many years. Her atlas publications are also in the stacks and are showing the wear of much use. One quickly sees that the Pound and the rivers were the main routes into Eastern Kentucky.

Those that traveled through our beautiful Cumberland Gap entered the Cumberland Plateau in Eastern Kentucky through what is now Knox County and veered west along Boone's Trace and the Wilderness Road into the heart of Kentucky to the stations near Lexington and Scott County.

I discovered that George Marshall and his wife Nancy Ann Roszell Marshall, along with her father Dr. Nehemiah Roszell, were involved with land transactions, circa 1795. The land lay just north of the Cumberland River just above the Trace. The land appears to lay in what is Knox County today. George Marshall testified that he later sold his 1000 acre moiety to Cary Clark. The transactions are in the Old Kentucky Entries at the Kentucky Land Office. Patent OK5566 gives the most revealing information on this family. At the time of the transactions [there are a total of 3 patents] the entire area was a portion of Lincoln County. Had this family migrated just a few miles to the east their lives and the terrain would have been entirely different.

The Roszell's and Marshall's followed the trail and settled in Scott County on Miller's Run and Cherry Run. George's daughter Frances married Thomas W. Peek who resided near Stamping Ground on McConnell Run also in Scott County. By 1819 George Marshall, along with son-in-law Thomas W. Peek were on the move again. George went west looking at land along the Green River but ended up with a purchase of land in Caldwell County not far from the newly opened Jackson Purchase.

It is interesting how trails can create and influence lives. Son-in-law Thomas W. Peek, was just a small boy when his mother and family followed the trail to Scott County by a totally different route. Thomas' father, Francis Peake died at Wheeling, Virginia and Mary brought her family into Scott County by the northern route. His mother states that she brought her family to Kentucky in 1793. The National Road aka Cumberland Road would not be built from Wheeling until 1811 and Ebenezer Zane would not start blazing Zane's Trace until 1796. Thus the practical way, as well as the safest way for her to migrate to Kentucky would be along the Ohio River from Wheeling. A woman pioneering before Zane ever cleared those Indian trails.

I think about the widow Mary Peake and her children and how they could easily have stopped along the Ohio River at the mouth of the Big Sandy or chosen any number of other trails. But she also headed for land near settled stations in Scott County.

Families grow and continue to move and with several generations my own line ended up in Eastern Kentucky which their ancestors had skirted and managed to avoid in the early pioneer days.

I am so proud that this is my family that traveled these early pioneering trails across Kentucky in so many regions. I think Nancy Ann Roszell's father may be the most pioneering of the group. Dr. Nehemiah Roszell crossed the Ohio River into the Northwest territory and was just a couple of miles from the mouth of the Miami when he died in 1797. I doubt he ever saw my beautiful Eastern Kentucky, unless he was looking over his shoulder at the mountains and hills.

Happy Trails To You until we meet again.

19 August 2010

Name That Cemetery!

compiled by Teresa Martin Klaiber August 2010

No this isn't a quizz show. I had a call from California and the caller was confused by the names of the cemeteries in Boyd County, Kentucky.

The caller was working on a Stephens family which means she also had to look at Stevens spellings. She had a death certificate for a Stephens showing one of her ancestors in Stevens Graveyard but when she utilized the Boyd County Master Cemetery Database it stated he was in Stevens/Marcum Cemetery. When she looked at the Boyd County, Kentucky Cemeteries Location Guide she found four cemetery listings utilizing both spellings at different locations. Could "the cemetery lady" please help her?

Working with genealogy every day it is easy to assume that everyone knows genealogical abbreviations and lingo. Working with the Boyd County Cemetery Master Database is also easy interpretation for those of us that utilize it every day. There is a nice introduction on the history of the database in the Location Guide. Since one file is .pdf and the other a searchable dbase not every online user gets to the introduction.

Cemeteries have a history of changing names with land ownership, not just here in Eastern Kentucky but across our nation. A good example is the history of our own Klaiber Cemetery which has had at least four different names over the years & geological survey maps incorrectly spelled it Clyber. Coroners and undertakers many times either incorrectly spelled the cemetery name or named the cemetery after the person being buried there compounding the name problem.

Thus when the Kentucky Historical Society Cemetery Grant began in 1968, volunteers needed to be very careful when submitting data, especially since there may be more than one cemetery with the same name in any given county. The volunteers needed to distinguish any two with the same name. KHS required that each cemetery have a name and some cemeteries were unnamed. It was up to the volunteers to provide a name for each cemetery while distinguishing them individually.

KHS required latitude and longitude as the only form of direction. This only added to the problems. First, unlike today, only a few professionals had anything like a GPS with them and secondly the volunteers had to manually figure the coordinates which left room for error [we found one directional placing the cemetery in the Ohio River]. The KHS form did not give route numbers.

The reality of the KHS Grant program was that it failed on several levels and was a huge success at the same time. Yes I know that statement does not seem to make sense. So let me explain. First it failed on the state level simply because early computers could not handle all the data from all the counties. Next because of computer limitations each cemetery was assigned a number instead of utilizing the assigned names causing even more confusion. Thus the failure. But the grant required that a copy of the typed material be left in each county and that was and is a huge success.

The more I worked with my beloved Boyd County cemeteries the more I became aware of the "name game" and all the limitations it caused for researchers. I began keeping a notebook with notations on each cemetery which developed into The Boyd County, Kentucky Cemeteries Location Guide. Far from a publication, it is simply a collection of historical notations and directions to cemeteries within the county. Because of the various name changes or "AKA" [also know as] each entry is cross referenced.

As my notes on cemetery names grew so did my notebooks with information on who was buried in each. I collected the KHS typed forms and then compared them with the available handwritten entries that, coordinator volunteer, Evelyn Jackson kept for Boyd County. A few of the readings never made it KHS. It became apparent that a master index for Boyd County was a must and new computer technology allowed me to develop a template.

When creating the columns I knew instantly that the KHS numbering system did not work and a column would have to allow for the cemetery name. With the "name game" I soon realized the column needed to be large enough to include some description. Thus we have "Stevens on Durbin", "Stevens/Marcum", "Stevens, Otis" and simply Stevens. If you look in the Location guide you will get directions and information on each. Stevens/Marcum has an AKA Marcum and is cross referenced in the guide as Marcum because some death certificates listed it as Marcum Cemetery.

With the template in place our newly created "Boyd County Master Cemetery Database" was on the way. A column for the source was marked KHS as all the typed grant forms were entered. Another column tells the viewer the year the entry was created. When step #1 was completed Jackson's hand written notations were added with any entries that had not made it to KHS. The source column is marked ESJ telling the reader that it was from her files.

Step #3 was the addition of any older readings that I had found scattered throughout publications and in the vertical files. If an entry differed it was added to the database.

Step #4 was the addition of entries from death certificates 1911 - 1916. The source column then says Dcert. By adding these we know of people that are buried in unmarked graves.

The database at this point still had and has limitations. We knew that not all Ashland Cemetery was in the KHS readings nor did we have Rose Hill entries completed from a separate book. The older entries from Rose Hill have now been completed thanks to Jim Kettel and Ashland Cemetery has supplied the library with additional information which is online as well. Still far from complete the Master database continued and continues to grow.

Step #5 developed with the creation of the Boyd County Fiscal Court Cemetery Board. Again new technology made "reading" a cemetery a thing of the past and "digitizing" the cemetery the new lingo. Joyce Whitlock and I set out on a two year journey across Boyd County to photograph tombstones. Once the tombstone was uploaded to the computer, a split screen view of the actual stone allowed less mistakes in entries into the dbase. While a majority of the cemeteries are digitized it is still an ongoing process. The digitized photographs are available at the Boyd County Public Library.

We have been working with the Boyd County PVA office who is also digitally mapping the county and the cemeteries. During one of our first meetings I asked about a particular cemetery and was told since they did not have the name they just called it whatever came "closest to the location." Oh the haunting "name game" again. The PVA office now utilizes the Location Guide and we hopefully have resolved creating yet another "AKA."

The database has proven to be extremely beneficial for researchers as it continues to grow. It has answered some interesting questions over the past few years. In one example we knew from the KHS reading that a stone existed in 1977 but was not standing when digitized for the followup a couple of years ago. By following research leads with help from the database we were able to determine when the grave and stone had been moved and where it now is.

In the case of the caller from California she was able to determine gps and driving directions to Stevens/Marcum Cemetery. She quickly had the site up on Google Maps and now knows where her ancestor is interred.

The database entry shows that it was from the KHS reading and in the comments line was typed "unmarked." Since no additional comments or entries were made when we digitized the cemetery in 2005 no stone was located at that time either. Additionally the caller says she has the death certificate and an obituary stating that her ancestor is buried next to his wife. That information adds another unmarked burial in Stevens/Marcum Cemetery.

Thanks to the collective efforts of the Boyd County Fiscal Court Cemetery Board, the cemeteries of Boyd County now have road signs giving an added aide for drivers to locate those tucked in the foliage on the hill and hopefully solidifying the question of the name of each cemetery in our county.

It has been an honor to share the database template with our neighboring Greenup County. The template is designed so that other counties with data can be added or merged with Boyd County. The dream of the original KHS project so many years ago has become a local reality. Greenup County and Carter County all have cemetery road signs as well. Seeing the road signs makes me hope that the "name game" is no longer like a quizz show.

09 August 2010

Remembering Robert Morris Rennick

compiled by Teresa Martin Klaiber August 2010

The Lexington Herald and the Daily Independent ran a very small obituary announcing the death of Robert M. Rennick in Prestonsburg, Kentucky on August 6th. Mr. Rennick was a rather quiet person with a very active life.

While working in the genealogy department of the Boyd County Library he would come in, always dressed in his suit and with a small smile and a nod get right to work. On several occasions Mrs. Rennick would accompany him patiently waiting for him to complete his work.

Mr. Rennick always enjoyed talking with me about place names in Boyd County. Our conversation usually ended up with a discussion about why there is a Big and Little Garner in Boyd County. Rennick was quick to point out to me that his interest was geography. It only took a few moments to realize the gentleman was not only versed in geography but had acquired mountains of historical information for every county in Kentucky.

As I sit here I have my copy of Kentucky Place Names beside me. Rennick authored many books including From Red Hot to Monkey's Eyebrow: Unusual Kentucky Place Names which was released about the time I first was acquainted with Mr. Rennick. He was chairman of the Kentucky Committee on Geographic Names and was coordinator of the Kentucky Place Names Survey. Rennick knew all the now gone post offices around the state. He was a frequent contributor to the Kentucky Humanities Council magazine and a member of The American Names Society.

In 2005 he wrote an interesting article for the Humanities Council on nicknames that overshadow real names of places in our state. While the article is short it is long in lessons for researchers that can not locate a given place that might be handed down in family stories.

John Kleber listed Robert Rennick as a Floyd County notable in the Kentucky Encyclopedia. I found him down to earth during our pleasant conversations. He knew his away around every repository in the state of Kentucky and was a walking encyclopedia with or without map in hand. Every time we shared an afternoon in the library together I felt I learned something new, yet he was the one who would always stop at the door to take the time to thank me for assistance. I assured him each time that the honor was all mine.

We never resolved the question about Big Garner and Little Garner in Boyd County. I was able to share with him that the first notation of Garner I could locate in Carter County records in 1845. Both of us were aware that no Garner family resided in the area in those early years. He was quick to point out that there is a Garner in southeastern Kentucky, now Knott County. Many migrated through the Pound into Letcher and Perry before moving northward in Eastern Kentucky. Knott was formed much later from portions of Letcher, Floyd and Perry Counties. If I ever find the key that unlocks the question I certainly will have Robert Morris Rennick in my thoughts.

04 August 2010

Memories of Elizabeth Crutcher Weakly McNamara

compiled by Teresa Martin Klaiber August 5, 2010

I am getting old. When I started genealogy I was a youngster. I have had many mentors along the way, corresponded with many good researchers who have now gone on to the great beyond. Each person taught me something new to put in my tool kit and carry forward in my own genealogical journey. Elizabeth Crutcher Weakly McNamara is still teaching me lessons even after her death.

Correspondence from Libby, [she requested we call her Libby] has been tucked in my files for 32 years. I recently renewed my research interest in the Peake/Peek family and opened those old files for review. Knowing that she was now deceased I began to wonder where all her wonderful materials ended up.

A quick Google search gleaned little and I was deflated when I read a genealogy query thread that asked who Elizabeth McNamara was and no one could give a definite reply.

I was able to ascertain that her last publication done in 1985 Descendants of Thomas Cruther is back in print. I was deeply impressed with a quick response from Kent Crutcher who explained that he had purchased the copyright from the lawyer following her death but did not know where her other materials might be housed.

That said I had a flashback and did remember that several boxes of her genealogy books had come to the Boyd County Library after her death which added to our collection. But again there is no original notes or research housed in the Boyd County library archives.

Libby also corresponded with Dr. Reba Neighbors Collins in Edmond, Oklahoma. Reba did thankfully add a section to her book History of the Janes-Peek Family on Elizabeth Weakly McNamara's Peak line in 1975. Unfortunately the publication does not give citations for Elizabeth's work and Collins is also now deceased. I cherish my autographed copy of the book.

Besides her contribution to Collin's book and her Crutcher publication in 1985 I am aware of three other publications compiled by her. In 1980 Gateway Press published Weakley, Scearce, Arnold Families of Kentucky: their descendants and ancestral families. In 1978 she did a 28 page typescript titled The Novinger family of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania and Adair County, Missouri which is housed at the NSDAR library. The same year she published Old Letters and Documents from the Estate of James Crutcher 1755-1823. The Kentucky Historical Society and Library of Virginia have copies of this last publication.

Searching the catalogs of Kentucky libraries, Library of Virginia and NSDAR I found no indication that her original research notes made their way to a repository. I am especially saddened since I can now say she was a distant cousin through our Peak/Peek family and would love to see her citations for the information she wrote about in correspondence to my grandmother and myself.

Thankfully I have preserved the correspondence from 1978. In one letter she wrote "...Yes, I know that you are close to Ashland as that is where I was born [1911]. Dad and mother went there right after they were married in 1906 - Dad went into the law office of an uncle-in-law of mothers. We left there in 1915 and went to Covington, Ky., and in 1921 to Ft. Thomas, Ky., which is just across the Licking River from Covington and in Campbell Co. Might add that we still have many friends in Ashland."

Libby's childhood memories are good. I find the family living in Ward 6 of Covington in 1920 and in Fort Thomas for the 1930 Federal Census.

Libby shared her and her siblings full birth dates with another Peak researcher in the 1980's, J. B Hitt. But like others, Hitt would also love to know what happened to her original research. The full birth dates and place of birth for the Weakley children:

Sarah Ross Weakley 13 February 1907, Ashland, Boyd County, Kentucky
Leonard Adriel Weakley 21 October 1908, Ashland, Boyd County, Kentucky
Elizabeth Crutcher Weakley 12 March 1911, Ashland, Boyd County, Kentucky
Margaret Ann Weakley 3 Dec 1917, Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky

Margaret's birth is the only one that qualified to be recorded in the Kentucky Vital Records that began in 1912. Leonard applied for a delayed certificate for Boyd County.

Libby's mother Carrie/Caroline Frances Peak was born 27 October 1884. Collins states Carrie's birth place was Bedford County, Kentucky in her Janes-Peek publication. But Bedford is a town in Trimble County, Kentucky. Carrie was the daughter of Robert Francis Peak who was also an attorney. Her grandfather William Francis Peak was the president of several banks including the bank at Bedford. He died in Bedford, Trimble County 29 January 1911 [KY cert#2484].

By the time Carrie was 15 they were residing in Shelbyville, Shelby County, Kentucky. It was there that she married Calvin Simpson Weakley 20 January 1906 and then moved to Ashland, Boyd County, Kentucky, where they resided for nine years.

The Ashland City Directory for 1908-1909 shows Calvin working in the office of Zerfoss & Weakley in the Thomas Building on 16th Street. The Weakley family resided at 209 Carter Avenue. In fact the house was quite crowded. The following Weakley family members were boarding at this residence: Effie a milliner, Jennie a clerk, Sallie a milliner, and Samuel S. a grocer.

The Zerfoss in Zerfoss & Weakley, attorneys was L. Frank and wife Lizzie who resided at 201 E. Central Avenue.

Libby was very small when they left Ashland. Her memories are in areas of Campbell County and surrounding Bluegrass region counties that would later help her with the genealogy research that she was interested in. She began her love of genealogy in the 1930's while still in Shelby County.

She went on to join the Women's Army Corp - WAC - during WWII. She attained the rank of Captain and served 2 1/2 years in England. Elizabeth married Harold Webster McNamara 30 June 1956 in Arlington, Virginia where she would live out the rest of her life. Both she and her husband are buried in Culpeper National Cemetery in Plot E-0155. Elizabeth Crutcher Weakly McNamara died 30 July 1998 and was buried 5 August 1998.

There are many Peake researchers that hope Libby's research has survived and is tucked away in a repository for our review.

The lesson is an age old one with genealogists. Be clear and concise about what is to become of your genealogical research materials. We can protect our work with a simple codicil to our will and pre-arrangement with a library of choice.

I think of others whose research was shattered, divided or lost after years of work and that it may include Libby's unfinished Peak materials. I am truly thankful that I am able to preserve several of her letters in my own collection. I would love to be able to add an addendum to this article that her Peak materials have been located.

Elizabeth Cruther Weakley McNamara [Carrie Peak Weakley- Robert Francis Peak - William Francis Peak - Thomas Peake - William Peake - Francis Peake - John Peake]

Teresa Martin Klaiber [John Geer Martin - Henry Kautz Martin - John Shouse Martin - Henry Foster Martin - Mary Ann Peek Martin - Thomas W. Peek - Francis Peake- John Peake]