Friday, October 24, 2008

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park to host heritage celebration this weekend

On the path of the pioneers

Descendants can retrace steps through the gap

By Morgan Simmons (Contact)Monday, October 20, 2008

Daniel Boone is famous for blazing the Wilderness Trail through Cumberland Gap, but what about the estimated 300,000 men, women and children who followed in his footsteps?

For the last 12 years, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park has been tracking down the descendents of these 18th-century pioneers and entering their family histories in the park's database. Working from sources such as journals and family genealogy, the park has compiled a collection of stories that make this early American saga come alive.

This weekend, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park will host a heritage celebration as part of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial. A "Genealogy Gateway" area will assist visitors with connecting to their own roots, and at sunset Saturday, visitors are invited to join with pioneer descendents from across the U.S. as they walk in the footsteps of their ancestors through historic Cumberland Gap.

Park officials say there are approximately 48,000,000 people across the U.S. who can trace their family tree to a Cumberland Gap pioneer.

The Kentucky Historical Society, the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution, and The Boone Society will be on hand to assist visitors with their genealogy searches. The National Park Service also will make its database of stories available to the public during the event.

As the sun sets Saturday, visitors are invited to join the pioneer descendants from across the nation on a walk through the saddle of the gap. Many of the participants will be carrying 18th-century-replica lanterns inscribed with the names of their pioneer ancestors.

Morgan Simmons may be reached at 865-342-6321.

As an unrelated project there is a Cumberland Gap DNA Project ongoing which is one of the larger DNA Projects at Family Tree DNA.

You can learn more about it here:

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