Sunday, December 22, 2013

Using 23andMe: How to Cut Red Tape to Demolish Brick Walls

23andMe’s DNA Relatives (formerly known as Relative Finder) has a major advantage over competing products: database size. With approximately half a million users, the DNA Relatives feature gives genetic genealogists an impressive number of opportunities to retrieve the answers they seek. Theoretically.

Click here to learn how to "start over" at 23andme.

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Merry Christmas!!!

Hope you have an old fashioned Merry Christmas!!!

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Genealogy Research Ettiquette

Very helpful information:

 Asking For Help

There are plenty of people who are willing to help you get to the next step. It's good research karma ;-) There are message boards on,,, and, just to name a few. These are searchable for years and may have boards dedicated to surnames or places. There are also pages and groups on Facebook:, Genealogy Tip of the Day, Ancestorville, and others that cater to specific ancestry like Swedish Heart Genealogy and AfriGeneas. These are only searchable with the "Find" function on your computer and your post may be pushed down the page in a matter of hours. Both have their uses and it may be helpful to put your post in a couple of different places.

Cont. here:

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Forts in Southwest Virginia

Native Americans had a network of trails throughout the mountains, gaps, and waterways. The early settlers realized the importance of these networks so a clash occurred when both wanted to be in control. As the settlers moved into western Virginia, and what is now Tennessee, they traveled, settled and crossed many of these main Indian trails.

The French were located to the north and west, with Shawnee and others siding with them. They had settlements at French Lick (now Nashville) and east of Knoxville, at the French Broad River. The Spanish were to the south; Cherokee were also south of these settlements. Mingos were in now West Virginia. The Spanish and French befriended the Indians and tried to stop the settlers. East Tennessee was still part of North Carolina with the Virginia boundary coming as far down as possibly RogersvilleTennesseeNorth Carolina could not take care of her far-flung western territory, so the Virginia militia did. 

Lord Dunmore’s War, in 1774, caused a lot of confusion with the Shawnee and Mingo attacking and killing so many. The settlers decided at that time to build the first forts in Clinch Valley. In late 1775 militia forts were built in Lee CountyVirginia. Attacks on settlers were coming from the north and south, so beginning with the Cherokee War in 1776, the settlements were largely abandoned in Lee County and western Scott County and in the main Valley of the Houston from Kingsport to Abingdon. Eventually thirty-six forts were built in southwestern Virginia; all were a day apart or closer if a warning militia was hurrying to alert another fort. These thirty-six forts were strung from Wynne’s Fort in TazewellVirginia, to Martin’s Lower Station near Cumberland Gap.

The fort that interests Melungeon researchers a little more than others is Fort Blackmore. Lewis Jarvis said the Melungeons were “friendly Indians” who came with the white settlers. “They came from the Cumberland County and New RiverVirginia, stopping at various points west of the Blue Ridge. Some of them stopped on Stony Creek, Scott County, and Virginia, where Stony Creek runs into Clinch River. The white emigrants with the friendly Indians erected a fort on the bank of the river and called it Fort Blackmore and here yet many of these friendly ‘Indians’ live in the mountains of Stony creek, but they have married among the whites….” Jarvis then adds, “They all came here simultaneously with the whites from the State of Virginia, between the years 1795 and 1812 and about this there is no mistake, except in the dates these Indians came here from Stony Creek.”

There is a lot we don’t know about all these old forts, yet we do know several things about them. A recent book I found has many historical documents in it, “The Forts of the Holston Militia,” authors Lawrence J. Fleenor, Jr. and Dale Carter. An online site has Emory Hamilton’s work: FRONTIER FORTS By Emory L. Hamilton

Penny Ferguson

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Which First Thanksgiving?

No. 1. In 1586, the first thanksgiving held by Englishmen on the North American continent took place on Roanoke Island, North Carolina. This celebration was by the company of 100 men from Cornwall, England that Sir Walter Raleigh had brought to America to found a colony. After a year when the relief ship arrived, they held a thanksgiving dinner, and fed-up with the hardships and perils, they all went home.

No. 2. In 1609, at Jamestown, Virginia, the starving remnants of the first settlers held a thanksgiving dinner while awaiting the arrival of their relief ship.

No. 3. In 1612, also at Jamestown, Virginia, a dinner was held after the arrival of Governor Dale with a ship-load of girls intended to become the wives of the settlers.

No. 4. In 1619, a dinner of thanks was held at Berkley Plantation on the James River in Virginia.

No. 5. In 1621, at Plymouth Plantation, a great dinner of thanks was held. Pilgrim Edward Winslow in a letter of December 11, 1621, to a friend in England, described their First Thanksgiving (as printed in Mourt's Relation) as follows.

"Our harvest being gotten in our Governor sent four men on fowling, so we might after a more special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They, four, in one day killed as much fowl as with a little beside, served the company almost a week. At which time amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest King Massasoit with some 90 men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted. And they went out and killed five deer which they brought to the Plantation, and bestowed on our Governor, and upon the Captain and others."
This latter Thanksgiving dinner is the one that has survived and became the National Holiday.

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Monday, November 11, 2013

9th Annual International Conference on Genetic Genealogy – Day 2

November 11, 2013 at 3:37 AM (General

*Note: It’s very late but I had a flight tonight and I wanted to get the information out.  With little sleep, I am sure there are countless errors.  I’ll fix it up tomorrow.  I figured everyone would rather have the information quickly rather than perfectly!
The first thing on the agenda for the morning was the International Society of Genetic Genealogy 2013 Meeting.  ISOGG was born at the 2004 FTDNA conference.  Katherine Borges spoke about the development and launch of ISOGG in 2004 and 2005 and the fact that it is free.  It is a self-supporting and volunteer organization.  There is always a need for help.  If you have a niche where you can help, that would be great.
The ISOGG Y-Browse is now up.
One ISOGG wiki page that is getting a lot of hits is the new page for Free DNA Tests.  Many administrators sponsor tests and some projects raise money to sponsor tests.
The Journal of Genetic of Genetic Genealogy was founded the same year as ISOGG at the FTDNA conference.  Katherine said that she has been lobbied to take JOGG under ISOGG’s umbrella but she has resisted because it wasn’t broken.  At this point JOGG is not working well but we are not at that point yet.  Katherine is determined not to let it die.  The current editor of JOGG is Dr. Turi King of the University of Leicester who worked on the King Richard III project.  Turi has been very busy with this and now there is a rumor that Dr. King will have to work on the King Arthur project.
Katherine reminded us to be very careful when we talk to reporters, as they can take out sound bites that might be good or bad.  After a two hour conversation, they could pick out one line that may or may not be relevant.  What you say applies to all of us, including the people in your projects.
The ISOGG Wiki is a great resource.  Be sure to use it but be sure to source it.  You are welcome to set up free project pages on the wiki.
ISOGG has had a presence at several conferences. “Who Do You Think You Are? Live” Conference in London takes place in February.  This is the biggest conference in the world.  It averages 11,000 – 15,000 people in three days.  FTDNA has had a stall there and is very busy for the entire time.  Brian Swann has arranged for an ISOGG Stand each year.  The Free DNA Testing list gets posted in this stand.  This year there will be a specification for how many tests the project would like to sponsor.  The SCGS Jamboree & ISOGG’s DNA Day takes place in June in California.  ISOGG has had a booth since 2005.  Maurice Gleeson will talk about the Dublin event later in the day.
Alice Fairhurst shared that 358 people attended DNA Day at SCGS Jamboree.  The SCGS Jamboree usually has attendance of around 1,500-1,700.  This is a new movement for public DNA conferences instead of relying on project administrators.  Alice reminded us that there will be a DNA Conference on August 16-17, 2014 in Washington, D.C.  CeCe Moore said that a site will be forthcoming.  Alice stressed that she is happy to see something happening on the east coast as well as the west coast.
In 2006 the YSNP tree was started in 2006.  At that time,  we were primarily getting SNPs from academic papers. Alice gave us some numbers that really show the growth!
  • Year                     # of SNPs
  • 2006                     436
  • 2008                     790
  • 2010                     935
  • 2012                   2067
  • Sept 2013          3610
  • Announced by David Mittelman yesterday  25,000
The Y Team had a meeting last night.  In the past they’ve been able to associate each SNP to an academic paper but they will likely not be able to keep that up.  Individual SNPs would be a work level that no one can keep up with.  Everyone is a volunteer.
On July 20-25, 2014, CeCe Moore, Debbie Parker Wayne, and Blaine Bettinger will teach a course entitled Practical Genetic Genealogy at the Genealogical Research Institute in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Full Article Here:
© 2013, Jennifer Zinck. All rights reserved.

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Highlights From the 9th Family Tree DNA Conference in Houston Day One

Since I’ve already seen Tim Janzen’s Autosomal Mapping presentation and mostly because Roberta Estes is so awesome, I chose to attend her presentation How toFind Your Indian Prince(ss) Without Having to Kiss Too Many Frogs.  Roberta says that where there is smoke, there may be fire.  It may not be what you think or where you think because stories lose “facts” with each generational retelling.
Historically, “Indians” and “Blacks” were viewed as one because they were people of color.  Once held in slavery, freedom had to be approved by the state governing body.  Manumitted slaves, Indian, black, or mixed people were second class citizens.  They could not own land, vote, testify against whites and were taxed at a higher rate.  Tribal Indians were often invisible because they were not taxed.  Treaties led to Indian reservations and group land ownership.  Until 1835, some Indians and mixed race people could vote, go to school and testify in court.
European expansion led to Indians being pushed off of land.  Treaties were broken.  Indians were assimilated and removed.  The saying “the only good Indian is a dead Indian” was a real thing.  In 1830 Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act forcing removal west of the Mississippi.  Indians enslaved were admixed and the same status as other slaves.  Disease and assimilation had decimated the eastern tribes.  Mixed race people were often, but not always, considered to be “of color”.  Tribes lived on reservations and did not pay taxes.
During removal, only Indians on reservations had to go.  Mixed race people not on reservations did not have to leave.  Indians living on private land did not have to leave.  Rolls were taken, but not everyone participated.  Cherokees believed the Treaty of Echota was illegal because it was not ratified by the tribe.  Being “Indian” was not a good thing in the 1830s and fear was rampant.  In 1838 after the Trail of Tears, some of the survivors NEVER spoke again.
Assimilation began as early as Jamestown in 1614 with Pocahontas.  Her name was Matoaka and she was baptized and renamed Rebecca Rolfe.  Bride ships didn’t arrive until 1620.  Assimilation started with slavery.  Traders had “Country Wives” in every village that made trading easier.  It was a status symbol for females because they got English goods.  The Native custom was that when a traveler came, they provided them with a bed mate for the night.  This was usually one of the young women who are referred to as “Trader girls”.  There was also assimilation with the trader’s slaves.  People were kidnapped all the time.  This kidnapping went on between tribes, slaves, and whites.  Captives were often adopted.  There were also traditional marriages and generally the female was Native and the male was European.  Roberta does not know of any that were the other way around.
In 1819, one third of white Cherokee tribal members reported to be white females captured as children.  In 1835 removal rolls, 211 whites were recorded as “married in” and another 100 were living with the Cherokee.  In the 1835 removal rolls, 23% of the tribe was listed as “admixed”.
Indian Princess Grandmas might be admixed through slavery.  They might be admixed through assimilation prior to the 1830s or through tribal assimilation.  They might have been tribal members in the 1830s.  There are rolls from 1830s forward.
Full article here:

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Friday, November 8, 2013

“The Melungeons: Sons and Daughters of the Legend”

“The Melungeons: Sons and Daughters of the Legend” will be the topic of a free public lecture by Wayne Winkler at East Tennessee State University’s Reece Museum on Wednesday, Nov. 13, at noon.

His talk will conclude the Reece Museum’s Grand Reopening celebration (Nov. 8-13), which will also include “Treasures of the Reece 2013: Artifacts from the New World,” a behind-the-scenes exhibit preview and fundraiser, on Friday, Nov. 8, from 6-9 p.m.; a Community Day with art demonstrations, storytelling and music on Saturday, Nov. 9, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; and a reception and unveiling of the museum’s annual Poinsettia Tree in the Burgin Dossett Hall administration building on Nov. 12.

Winkler’s presentation will include a brief history of the Melungeons and answer some questions about the Melungeons, a population of undetermined origin first documented in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia in the early 19th century.

The backdrop of Winkler’s talk will be the Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition, “IndiVisible: African Native-American Lives in the Americas,” which opens during the “Treasures of the Reece” event on Nov. 8 and continues through Jan. 4, 2014.

Winkler, director of WETS-FM/HD, ETSU’s public radio station, is the author of “Walking Toward the Sunset: The Melungeons of Appalachia.” He frequently lectures about the Melungeons to academic and civic groups around the country. He has also appeared in film and both national and international television projects about the Melungeons, including the History Channel.

Winkler produced a radio documentary about the Melungeons in 1999 that was heard across the nation and won a Silver Reel Award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters in 2000.

For more information, contact Theresa Hammons, Reece Museum director, at (423) 439-4392 or emailing For disability accommodations, call the ETSU Office of Disability Services at (423) 439-8346 by Thursday, Nov. 7; accommodation requests after this date cannot be guaranteed.

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Ancestor of Native Americans in Asia was 30% “Western Eurasian”

The complete genome has recently been sequenced from 4 year old Russian boy who died 24,000 years ago near Lake Baikal in a location called Mal’ta, the area in Asia believed to be the origin of the Native Americans based on Y DNA and mitochondrial chromosome similarities.  The map below, from Science News, shows the location.
malta boy map
This represents the oldest complete genome ever sequenced, except for the Neanderthal (38,000 years old) and Denisovan (41,000 years old).
This child’s genome shows that he is related closely to Native Americans, and, surprisingly, to western Asians/eastern Europeans, but not to eastern Asians, to whom Native Americans are closely related.  This implies that this child was a member of part of a “tribe” that had not yet merged or intermarried with the Eastern Asians (Japan, China, etc.) that then became the original Native Americans who migrated across the Beringian land bridge between about 15,000 and 20,000 years ago.
One of the most surprising results is that about 30% of this child’s genome is Eurasian, meaning from Europe and western Asia, including his Y haplogroup which was R and his mitochondrial haplogroup which was U, both today considered European.
This does not imply that R and U are Native American haplogroups or that they are found among Native American tribes before European admixture in the past several hundred years.  There is still absolutely no evidence in the Americas, in burials, for any haplogroups other than subgroups of Q and C for males and A, B, C, D, X and M (1 instance) for females.  However, that doesn’t mean that additional evidence won’t be found in the future.
While this is certainly new information, it’s not unprecedented.  Last year, in the journal Genetics, an article titled “Ancient Admixture in Human History” reported something similar, albeit gene flow in a different direction.  This paper indicated gene flow from the Lake Baikal area to Europe.  It certainly could have been bidirectional, and this new paper certainly suggests that it was.

Cont. Here:
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Friday, October 25, 2013

Technology, Word of Mouth Help Genealogy Hit the Mainstream

Jack Goins poses with a photo dated to have been taken in 1898 of his great-great grandparents found through genealogical research, May 23, 2012.

Mike Richman

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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Genealogy Sites on Pinterest

If you haven't checked out Pinterest lately for Genealogy sites, you really should do so now.

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Family Tree DNA Rolls Out a New Look and Interface

With a hat tip to Rebekah Canada: 

FTDNA Family Finder Matches Get a New Look (Part 1)

FTDNA Family Finder Matches look a bit different today. It is a good thing. Here is how a typical Matches page looks when you open it. The first thing I noticed was that the Suggested Relationshipcolumn was gone. This makes me oh so happy. It has been the source of much confusion for a long time.
You will need to head to Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) and Login.

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Junk DNA: Not So Junky Anymore

Is Junk DNA Really Junky?


The delicious, religious debate over what most of our genome is good for.

The silk dancers' interpretation of DNA loops.
Dancers' interpretation of DNA loops
Courtesy of Tom Whipps/Nature
In the 12 years since the human genome was sequenced, so many critters have had their DNA deciphered—oysters, bees, eels, camels, clawed frogs, elephant sharks—that it’s hard to suppress a yawn sometimes. But every so often, a genome cuts through the indifference and makes geneticists’ eyes goggle out. Take the humped bladderwort, a humble aquatic plant whoseDNA was sequenced this past May.
The humped bladderwort has yellow, snapdragon-like flowers, and it’s actually carnivorous, capable of trapping and eating not just insects but even tadpoles and tiny fish. But this combination of beauty and death isn’t what makes the bladderwort special. Most organisms have loads of junk DNA—less pejoratively, noncoding DNA—cluttering their cells. The bladderwort doesn’t: 97 percent of its DNA is classic, hardworking, protein-building DNA. And that lean, mean bladderwort DNA challenges some trendy notions about how all DNA works, including (if not especially) in human beings.
First, a primer on junk DNA, one of the most reviled terms in science. Anyone who took Bio 101 remembers (if only vaguely) that DNA gets turned into RNA, which in turn gets turned into proteins. The protein-producing stretches of DNA are called genes, and genes reside on much longer molecules called chromosomes.
A century ago, as biologists came to grips with the vast number of different proteins needed to build and maintain the body, they decided that genes must be packed very tightly together on chromosomes, since tight packing would be more efficient. They couldn’t have been more wrong. In humans, a typical species in this regard, less than 2 percent of our 3 billion letters of DNA actually builds proteins. Chromosomes were more like vast Saharan wastelands, broken up only sporadically by oases of genes.
So what does that extra 98 percent do? Here’s where things get contentious. Some of the excess—the pseudogenes, the transposons, the tedious stretches where Mother Nature held her fingers down on the keyboard (ACACACACACA ... )—does look like garbage. Heck, 8 percent of our genome is nothing but old, broken-down virus DNA, the genetic equivalent of a Pontiac Firebird on cinderblocks. The name junk DNAemerged in the early 1970s as a catchall term for this cruft.
Even at the time, though, some scientists objected to the term as too dismissive. Molecular biologists had already discovered bits of junk that, far from being irrelevant, actually managed genes: They turned genes on or off and regulated when and where genes were active. As more and more examples of this type of control emerged in the 1980s, the term junk DNA seemed less and less appropriate.

Cont. here:

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Get a $10. coupon at Family Tree DNA.

The coupon can be used toward any test costing $40. or more.

A Family Tree DNA Coupon Promotes GEDCOM Upload

A new Family Tree DNA coupon offer is promoting pedigree file (GEDCOM) uploads. This is a good way to improve your match comparisons. 
Here is what you do:
- See more at:

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Monday, September 16, 2013

N. Brent Kennedy passed away at age 84 on Sunday, September 15, 2013.

N. Brent Kennedy was a resident of Wise, Virginia at the time of his passing.
He was preceded in death by his wife Nancy.
Funeral services for N. Brent Kennedy will be conducted at 8:00 P.M Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at the Sturgill Funeral Home Chapel in Wise, VA with Dr. Ray Jones Jr. officiating. The family will receive friends from 6:00 P.M. till time of services at 8:00 P.M. Wednesday at the Sturgill Funeral Home in Wise. Graveside committal services and Internment will be held at 11:00 A.M. Thursday, September19, 2013 in the Nash Cemetery on Coeburn Mountain Road in Wise. Family and friends will meet at 10:30 A.M. Thursday at the funeral home to go to the cemetery in procession.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Brent Kennedy Scholarship For Wellmont Osteopathic Family Medicine Program 1905 American Way Kingsport, TN 37660.

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Congratulations, Cyndi!!!

15 Years of Cyndi's List

September 13, 2013
by Alan Smith
Spokane Genealogy Examiner

Has it really been that long? I can recall in 1999 my attention being drawn to a website known as Cyndi’s List from a newspaper article. By that time Cyndi’s List had been on line for four years. Over the years, several other articles in the paper toted this wondrous site. It was the absolute best place to start your research because it was such a jump off site for countless other places on the web concerning genealogy.

What I did not know then, and just discovered was Cyndi’s List was home grown. On September 12, 1995, a single paged website with 1,025 links was presented to the Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society meeting. That fall it was expanded to six pages and Cyndi’s list was born.

Cont. Here:

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Monday, September 2, 2013

Don't Believe Everything You Read!!!

Recently this 'letter' was brought to my attention, with all due respect to Mr. Thomas , who appears to be a well respected academic, with a little research I found the following:

"Also the following from a very prominent field ethnographer Robert K. Thomas:"

1. "All the Collins of Northeastern Tennessee, Southeastern Virginia, and Eastern Kentucky are descendants of one household of Collins who resided in Orange County, N.C. in 1760"

I think DNA Testing and genealogical research has proven this statement to be incorrect.

2. "By 1840, the situation became intolerable for some Indians in Southwest Virginia, and they began to head for Kentucky, a less repressive social and legal atmosphere. In the 1840’s, three Collins families moved into Kentuckey, into Letcher County.

Facts:  The first of the mixed blood Collins' to move into SE Kentucky was Meredith Collins, who appears on the 1810 Floyd Co Kentucky US Census.

In 1820 the following Collins' show on the US census of Floyd Co. :
William COLLINS, Edward COLLINS, Reuben COLINS, Bradley COLLINS, George COLLINS, James COLLINS, Jeremiah COLLINS, Meridith COLLINS and Valentine COLLINS. 

Letcher County was formed in 1842 from portions of Harlan and Perry Counties.

3." In the 1850’s, two Collins families moved to Johnson County, just south of Paintsville (Grandpap William Collins and brother). {Frankie’s note here: This is where my 2nd great grandparents Griffin and Rachael Collins went also, and were listed as Mulatto on Johnson County census records}

Fact:  On the 1850 Johnson Co. Kentucky US census (The first for this county) there are 48 Collins' listed. This "Grandpap William Collins" is NOT one of them.

Here are the 3 William COLLINS listed:

383 William COLLINS age 20, son of Joshua COLLINS and Elizabeth COLLINS nee DALE
330 William H. COLLINS  new born, son of Issac COLLINS and Nancy COLLINS nee BLACK
502 William W. COLLINS age 17 son of Christopher COLLINS and Cynthia COLLINS nee SPEARS

On the 1860 Johnson Co. Kentucky US census, the same 3 William COLLINS' are still on the Census, with the addition of a 4th:

435 William H COLLINS age 5 son of Elijah COLLINS and Nancy J COLLINS nee RATLIFF

1870 Johnson Co. Kentucky US census:

45 William P COLLINS age 7 son of Wiley M COLLINS and Eilza Jane COLLINS nee MUSIC
110 William COLLINS age 42 ( son of Joshua COLLINS and Elizabeth COLLINS nee DALE )
35 William H   COLLINS age  15  ( son of Elijah COLLINS  and Nancy J COLLINS nee RATLIFF)

Griiffin COLLINS doesn't appear on the Census of Johnson Co KY until 1880 and is this Griffin COLLINS:

"Griffin COLLINS was born 1835 in Grainger Co Tennessee. He married (1) Rachel Ann COLLINS March 17, 1858. He married (2) Margaret MILAM 1878."

But he is not with Rachel Ann COLLINS, but with his second wife Margaret MILAM

376 Griffin  COLLINS  age 44,  Margaret (MILUM) age 28 ( m 11 Feb 1880)

They are not marked as Mulatto, but as white. The only Collins' marked as Mulatto are decsendents of Valentine COLLINS in 1880 Johnson Co. KY US census.

Back to 'Grandpa William Collins', could he be this William Collins, Son of Griffin and  Rachel COLLINS ? :

William Sherman COLLINS was born January 30, 1868 in Wise Co Va, and died April 11, 1951 in Floyd County, Kentucky. He married Louisa Bowlin December 15, 1888 in Floyd County, Kentucky, daughter of Daniel BOWLIN and Fanny HALBERT.

If so, he never is shown to have lived in Johnson County , Kentucky, for sure not in 1850 as he wasn't born until 1868.

Moral of the story ? As my Father used to tell me "Don't believe everything you read" And just because a person is labeled 'prominent' whether a field ethnographer or Anthropologist, or what ever, doesn't mean they don't  have faulty research. I guess it's up to the individual researcher to check out all 'facts' for themselves. 

Submitted by Don Collins

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Friday, August 30, 2013

Yellow Store Historical & Genealogical Record

“Out in the country, about 12 miles from this city, there is a store which for 126 years has held its trade, despite the disadvantage of its location, by a type of advertising it has followed since long before advertising developed into a science. Its color and the capitalization of that color in its name have made the "Old Yellow Store" a historic landmark throughout Eastern Tennessee. For 126 years, every time this store has been repainted, it has been repainted yellow.

Captain De Wolfe Miller, an old merchant of the place, tells how his grandfather built a raft of logs and floated them down the river with his family to the present site of the Yellow Store. Impressed with the country, he decided to locate, ad entered twenty acres of government land. Soon he made larger entries until he owned a large body of land and the Yellow Store was built.

But in those days, he says, "there were but few things kept in a store. The people tanned the leather, and made their own shoes, and then got the raw cotton, spinning and weaving their own clothes. I was a grown man before I ever wore a suit of "store clothes". In those days the people led the simple life and their wants were nothing compared with what people these days feel they just must have. My grandfather ran a tanyard and a shoemaker was a part of the store force.

My father succeeded his father, and later I came on and took charge of the farm and business. I can remember when we used to haul our merchandise from Baltimore. A wagon train was made up, consisting of half a dozen or a dozen teams, carrying country produce to that city and exchanging it for such commodities as couldn't be had in our country. We paid $6 in silver for every hundred pounds of freight brought back. These wagons were loaded with feathers, beeswax, tallow, hides, beans, dried fruits, ginseng, etc. The wagons would be started, and in a day or two a trusted man would follow on horseback to take care of the caravan and exchange the country products when the market was reached. This man in charge was for many years Wiley Woods, an uncle of Roy Woods, a member of the firm of Woods& Taylor, of Knoxville.

When the old East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad came through that, of course, did away with hauling our goods by wagons from Baltimore and we bought many goods in Knoxville as soon as this began to be a jobbing market.
I volunteered in the Confederate Army and fought hard until the close of the Civil War, when in 1868, I began business in the Yellow Store, which had never been vacant since it was built until two years ago, during the war, when the federal forces closed it. It was about the time I began business that the "drummers' as we called them then, started to visit the trade. They rode horseback and carried saddlebags. At first they had nothing but memorandum books, and while urging us to visit their firms would take down a few items. Gradually they got to carrying samples, which continued until now a merchant can stay at home and buy everything he wants, seeing the goods nearly as well as if in the jobber's house." (Rogersville Review 26, November 1936. Sesqui-centennial Edition, short History of Old Yellow Store)
After state Hwy 11 W was completed, circa 1921, the Yellow Store was turned around to face the new highway. We lived on the Old Stage road just west of the Yellow Store on Neil Miller’s farm from 1941 until 1946. My parents, McKinley and Ona Goins, saved a few items from that time period which included my first grade card and my ration stamp book # 876491. Food was rationed and families were supplied with ration stamps during World War 11.

Our family used them and traded at the Yellow Store. My first grade teacher at Magnolia (1944) was Edna Simmons Davidson, the principal was Miss Ethel Hodge, and the Superintendent of Schools was E. A. Cope. 

Jim Thurman operated the Yellow Store during this time and I can remember all the stories he told about the history of the old store. He showed us kids several holes in the walls that was caused by gunfire during the Civil War. Most of these were patched with corncobs. I can still see Mr. Thurman smoking his pipe and rocking in his ole rocking chair. He seemed to really like us kids and we trusted him. We took a few eggs from one of mom’s hens and traded them for a pack of Old North State smoking tobacco. Joining me in this event was my brother William, cousin Hugh Arrington, and a neighbor Echol Klepper, son of Orbin who also lived on Neil Millers farm. There was an old spring house down near Sinking Creek in front of the Smith home just below 11 W. This was where we smoked most of that pouch of tobacco. I am sure Jim Thurman was sitting on the porch of the store watching smoke coming from the spring house and probably laughing his head off, because he told our parents and mom grounded us.
At 11:00 AM on April 11,1944 a windstorm swept through this area. Neil Miller remembered the date and time probably because it almost took his life. Neil saw the storm approaching and drove his truck to a field where Jay W. Klepper was working and brought him back to the tool shed. Neil started toward the house but the wind would pick him off the ground, after being tossed in the air twice by this storm he crawled to the back porch when his sister told others in the house there was a man at the back door. Neil was so dirty from the storm they did not recognize him until they drug him inside of the house and he washed his face. My grandpa Harrison and Jay W. Kleeper stayed in the shed and saw all the trouble Neil had getting to the house, grandpa told that a piece of tin from the barn came near Neil’s head. My father McKinley Goins, Orbin Klepper and Jesse Goode crawled in a potato hole near the sheds. This was a large hole Neil dug to keep sweet Potatoes at harvest time which kept them from rotting and freezing during the winter months. I can remember our outhouse passing by the window before I was put in a closet and told to stay there. This storm blew a large cedar tree into the Magnolia School House, but no one was seriously injured.
The Yellow Store survived this 1943 storm and probably several others, but on Saturday night March 5, 1955 a tornado scattered the old store over the hillsides. I thought that was the end of the store except for memories, but I was wrong. Thanks to the Miller family they kept many of the old charge account ledgers, etc. These records have been microfilmed and are available for viewing at H.B. Stamps Memorial Library. They can be viewed in: Yellow Store Journals Volume 1, 1848-1849; Volume II 1850-1857; Volume III 1859-1860; and Yellow Store Ledgers Volume l, 1851-1857; Volume II 1855-1858.

While viewing this microfilm I was surprised at how many of my kinfolks traded at the Yellow Store, plus several foreparents traded with Jacob and his son C. C. (Cornelius Carmack) Miller. Most of my blood related families lived along the Clinch River in 1800's and came by wagons through Looneys Gap to the Yellow Store.

C.C. Miller owner of the Yellow Store joined the confederate Army in 1861 and in July 1865 he was charged with treason:

“State Of Tennessee Hawkins County to the Sheriff of Hawkins County, You are hereby commanded to take the body of C.C. Miller and have him here before the Judge of our Circuit Court, to be held for the County of Hawkins in the Court House at Rogersville, on first Monday after the fourth Monday of September next, to answer a charge of the State exibited against him by presentment for Treason and have you then and there this writ. Witness Wm M. Pifren Clerk of our said court July Special term 1865.”

Hawkins County, Tennessee Circuit Court, July Special Term 1865:
"The Grand Jurors for the County and State aforesaid, having been duly summoned, elected, panneled, sworn and charged, to inquire the body of C.C Miller being an inhabit of, and residing within the limits of the State aforesaid and under the protection of it’s laws, and owing allegiance and fidelity to the State aforesaid, not regarding the duty of his said allegiance, nor having the fear of God in his heart, and being moved and seduced by the instigation of the devil, wickedly and traitorously devising and intending the peace and tranquility of the said state to disturb, and to stir, move excite Insurrection, Rebellion and War against the said State Of Tennessee on the 20th day of July in the year of our Lord, Eighteen Hundred and sixty one with force and arms the county and State aforesaid, falsely, maliciously and traitorously did imagine and intend to raise and levy war insurection and rebellion against the said State Of Tennessee, and in order to fulfill and bring to affect the said traitorous imaginations and intentions of him the said C. C. Miller he the said C.C. Miller afterwards to-wit: On the day and year aforesaid with force and arms in the County and State aforesaid, with a great multitude of persons, whose names to the Jurors aforesaid are unknown, to-wit: Thirty person and upwards, armed and arrayed in a warlike manner, that is to say with guns, pistols, swords and other warlike weapons as well as offensive and defensive, did falsely and traitorously join and assemble themselves together against the State of Tennessee.” 

1853 Yellow Store Ledger records Lewis Minor. Also, page 120, 1860 is Lewis’ brother Zachariah Minor who paid William Goen’s bill. ( Zachariah and Aggy Sizemore Minor’s daughter Susan married William Goins this authors G,G, Grandparents. William Goins was hung in Jan., 1865 during the Civil War, near his home on Big Ridge, now Fishers Valley, Hancock County, TN.) Zachariah Minor account through Jan 6, 1860, total bill was $46.99 and marked paid. It stated, “Gilford Minor, Zack’s son. Lewis Minor, Scott Co., VA., Jan. 1855.” John Minor, Lewis Minor and Zack Minor were brothers, and all had charge accounts at the Yellow Store.

On Yellow Store ledger page 105, starting Jan 15, 1851, “Andrew England Scott Co.” was written by Mr. Miller. Andrew England owned a Grist Mill in Indicut Valley, Scott County, Virginia. He married Catherine Fisher, daughter of Henry and Happy Riddle Fisher, their daughter Mary married Samuel J. Arrington, this author’s fifth generation grandparents. Andrew was the son of John and Mary Parsons
 England. John England was present during the siege and surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown.

Yellow Store Ledger page 388, “William C. Bateman, April 22, 1854 paid $10.00 for painting a Stable and Crib.” On June 20, 1855 he was paid “50c for painting a Buggy.” Yellow Store ledger page 115, Oct 28, 1848 “William C. Bateman was paid $6.00 for painting the store and Bateman's dwelling.” According to this record William Bateman lived in one of Millers houses, which also agrees with his location on the 1860 Hawkins County, Tennessee federal census enumerations for the William and Ellen Bateman family, profession listed on the census was “ painter.” William C. Bateman may have put the first coat of yellow Paint on the store. William and Ellen Bateman’s daughter Janis Virginia born 1855 married Haze Mayo in Rogersville 15 Sept., 1877. Five children were born to Haze and Virginia Bateman Mayo, they were: James H. Mayo b. April 4, 1878, Leroy "Roy" Mayo b. 25 Sept 1880, d. Feb 13, 1947. Bart S. Mayo, born 13 April 1885 died Dec 1, 1955, Effie Mayo b. July 11, 1890 d. 1980's, Charlie Mayo, b. Dec. 31, 1882 d. Feb 13, 1947.

1850's-Yellow Store Ledger, page 181, “Cornelius Grose,” his account balance due $18.97 for several items purchased beginning March 1, 1853, through Feb 25, 1858. Cornelius Grose lived below the present day old Shanks Store in Stanley Valley, Hawkins County, Tennessee. Isabelle Gross wife of Thomas Anderson was the daughter of Henry Gross b 1823 and Mary b 1824. Henry Gross was the son of Cornelius and Isabelle Simmons Gross. Margaret Anderson daughter of Isabelle Gross and Thomas Anderson married William Franklin “Billy” McCullough 5 Jan. 1902. Married by Justice of Peace J. E. Lane, bondsman was R.G. Johnson. Another member of this McCullough family is recorded on Yellow Store Ledger page 168, “Samuel McCullouch shoe leather,” recorded Jan 26, 1849.

1854-Mr. Miller also tells us on another Ledger that John Minor Sr. was dead by 1854. On three separate Ledgers Mr. Miller identifies his wife as a “Widow.” Example: “John Minor (Widows son) also Wilson Minor (Widow’s son) and Joseph Miner (Widow’s son.)” John Minor Sr. was the son of Hezekiah and Elizabeth Going Minor, his wife described by Mr. Miller as “Widow Minor” was Susanna Going Minor, daughter of Zephaniah and Elizabeth Thompson Going. John and Susan
 Minor’s grandson Joseph Miner established the Joseph Minor and Son Monument Company in Rogersville.

Mr. Miller also gives the address of James Madison Sisemore (now spelled Sizemore) as Big Poor Valley, he refers to a son James as “ Matt’s son” on ledger sheet page 502. Miller sold Sisemore leather and he also bought shoes from Sisemore. Matt’s son William O. Sizemore (Wild Bill) is listed as a shoe maker in Civil War Records, this trade was probably handed down from James Madison’s father Owen Sizemore Jr., who was also listed as a shoe maker on the mortuary notice of his death May 1860, murdered at a still house, Hancock County, Tennessee.

1850 Yellow Store Ledger page 331 was “Nancy Sizemore and Thomas Sizemore Jr.” and on page 63 is “Andrew Stapleton.”

The children of Elijah Hurd who lived on the Clinch River are identified and separated from other “over the mountain Hurds” as Jacob Miller described them. After their names he wrote in small letters whose son this was on his charge Ledger, not only for the Hurds but many other families. Most of these Hurds complicated things by giving
their children the same names of their brothers, etc. Several Hurds with the same names are on the old Yellow Store Ledger as they came across Looney’s Gap and traded with Jacob and C.C. Miller.

No other record, to my knowledge, exists that identifies the following Hurds: “John D. Hurd, Elijah son, August 1, 1854.” His charge account for this date was $9.29. “Joseph E. Hurd, Elijah son 1 lb Sugar Aug 1, 1848.” “Elijah Hurd, son of Elijah 1853”. On page 258 “Jesse Hurd, Elijah son.” “George G. Hurd, Elijah son,” on August 31, 1835 he charged a pair of boots. “ Elijah Hurd Sr. your note on Jan 15, 1855 paid June 10 by son Elijah.” “Carter Hurd, Elijah son.” Also the following over the mountain Hurds as described by Mr. Miller are: “Elem Hurd John’s son, Elem Hurd, George’s son, John A. Hurd, Jesse son, Hiram Hurd, John’s son.” “ Dec 16, 1853 John Herd, Jame’s son.” “1859 James Hurd, John’s son, Jacob Hurd, Jame’s son. William W. Hurd, Jesse son.” “1855 George Hurd, Jesse son, Thomas E. Hurd, Jesse son.”

Elijah Hurd/Herd on the Yellow Store Ledger with several sons was born 1779, died
1866, he married Mary Walling circa 1804, she was the daughter of William Walling.

James Hurd/ Herd b. 1782, died 1840, married 1st Elizabeth Swain, married 2nd Nancy Fisher, his sons listed on the ledger were John and Jacob. James and Nancy Fisher Hurd are this authors 6th generation grandparents.

Other over the mountain traders were “Jesse R. Wallen, son of John, date 1850 $3.75, Clinton Bledsoe and Isaac Bledsoe, son of Clinton.”

“1854 Henry Fisher Jr. $2.00,” also “Jackson Fisher for Henry Fisher”. They were sons of Henry and Happy Riddle Fisher who are this authors 6th generation grandparents.

Page 395, “1854 Joel Winstead.” Page 428, “James England, Andrew’s son.” Joel Winstead was son of Ezekial Winstead, he married Mahalia England born 1831, daughter of Andrew and Catherine Fisher England. 

Page 396 “William Fisher over mountain.” He was also a son of Henry and Happy Fisher.
Page 337 August 1854, “George Sizemore $14.22.” He married Lydia Sizemore d/o of Owen Sizemore Sr., George and Lydia are this authors 6th generation grandparents.

Page 358 “August 4, 1854 $1.58 for leather, Gilford Minor, Zack’s son.”

Aug 28, 1856 “Henry Payne Sr., Enoch Roller Elias son.” “Andy Roller Elias son, James England Andrews son “.

Other names taken in order as entered on the old Yellow Store Journal dated 1848

Robert Johnson
William H Green, Andrew Campbell
H.M. Shields
A.J. Jenkins
John Charles
C.C. Carmack
Daniel Chambers
John Richards
William L Chambers
William H. Grey
William C. Carmack
Charles C. Watterson
John Carmack Sr.
James C. Miller

Thomas Wilhems
Henry B. Evans
John Simmons
Lucen Brice
James R. Coldwell
George A. Simmons
Lewis Davis
John Jenkins
John Charles
Wesley Biggs
O.C. Miller
Absolem Burem
John Shanks
John Price
William Phipps
Stephen Wilson

Samuel Wilson
George Parker
William Armstrong
Crockett Chambers
Thomas Stanley
James Looney
William P. Owens
James R. Fogery
Jackson Jenkins
Daniel Shanks,
John Young
David Chambers
James Gross
Jacob Miller
A. J. Camp
John L. Gose
Preston Williams
C.E. Carmack
George Felkner
Stephen Hagood
Thomas Richards
John Shields
Ansel Campbell
George R. Powell
Benjamin W. Vaughn
Edward Watterson
Alexander Shelton
Earnest Mitchell
Nancy Derrick
Terrell Gillenwater
William D. Thurman
Thomas R. Coldwell
Alexander Shelton
David Laughmiller
Alexander McBrown
George Waganer
Jesse Brown
Jossiah Delp
Jacob Simmons
Elijah Edens
David Shanks
William Evans
William Francisco
Andrew Campbell
William Cock
William Powell
John Richards
Labourn Williams
Isom Edens
David D. Anderson
William McBroom
John Brice
F. E. Watterson
William W. Johnson
James Johnson
James Crawford
George Bradley
Nancy Kensinger
Benjamin N. Thurman
Nancy Hagood
John Phepps
John Herd per son Jesse
Elias Roler (across mnt.) 

Williams Kinkade
Mary Ann Kinkade
Enoch Horton Sr.
Thomas Barrette Jr.
James B. McBride
John Smith
John Tate Jr.
William Church,& Ollie Church (mother)
Margaret Young
George A. Gibson
Polly Bray
Elijah Hurd per Joseph C.Hurd.

Thanks to the Miller family for the great old Yellow Store and for doing a good job recording, identifying, separating and preserving family history and thanks for the memories.

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