JOPLIN, Mo. —
Genealogy research trips are fun and rewarding because of the unique people you meet, sites that you see and details that you learn. My recent experiences in Union County, Tenn. Illustrate several examples.
Before the trip, I did an Internet search of museums, historical societies and genealogical societies in the area. I recorded the addresses, hours of operation, phone numbers and e-mail addresses. The next step was to review my data on ancestors who lived in the Clinch River area.
I also searched the Internet for a current map of the area. After printing a copy, I marked the location of pertinent cemeteries, creeks, churches, roads, old home sites, museums, historical societies and genealogical societies. My final preparation was to develop a set of road directions that would guide me during my trip.
After arriving at the Union County Historical Society in Maynardville, Tenn., I was met by thoughtful volunteer Martha Carter, who asked about my family lines. She then gathered resources about my lines and showed me the location of their files and books.
Within a few minutes, another volunteer, Mary Ann Cabbage, arrived. As we visited, I learned that our families are related because the Cabbages married into the Capps.
I also learned that Mary Ann and her husband, John, have made five trips to McDonald County to research the Gray, Nicely, Parrish, Long and Cloud lines. On one of their visits, they attended the Long reunion that was held at the Indian Creek farm owned by Lela (Long) Young (Mrs. Young was my first-grade teacher).
I also learned that the couple had visited with Gus and Agnes Buzzard at their home in Joplin. Several years ago, I, too, interviewed that interesting couple.
The two offered to drive me around the Clinch River area. We visited the sites on my list, as well as several other places that I would never have found otherwise. During those hours, I took numerous photos and learned many unique details about the early families, the area and its history.
While driving up a pasture lane to visit a cemetery at Lone Mountain, their car began to skid because of the wet grass. We then walked to the summit Ñ where we were met by a cloudburst.
In spite of the downpour, I took several photos of the graves of my Yaden ancestors. At another cemetery, I found the graves of my Cook ancestors. Their graves had been moved when the Clinch River was dammed in 1935.
On the second day, I returned to the museum and was met by another extraordinary volunteer Wanda Byerley. Knowing that I planned to spend the day at the museum, she called a local resident who is also a Capps descendant. Benny stopped by, visited with me for several hours and gave me copies of his records.
Wanda also called a lady who is a descendant of the Cook line, and I was able to visit with her on the phone. Wanda even brought me a scrumptious lunch.
Although Internet searches are helpful, they can never, ever match the experiences of a genealogy trip.
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