The overall goals of my research and this Web project
relate to the branch of the Walkers fathered by Edward
B. Walker, an early settler of East Tennessee and ancestor
of most of the Walkers to have ever lived in the area
of Claiborne, Hancock, and Union Counties, Tennessee,
not far from the famed Cumberland Gap. In particular,
the goals are to:
Encourage the search for Edward's ancestors and descendants.
Trace every line at least through the last public Census.
Share information widely and update as often as research progresses.
Scan and make available all source material.
Document heavily the sources of evidence for future researchers.
Provide a place where all serious researchers can provide information.
Encourage the Search for Ancestors and Descendants
Although a great amount of work has been done, much
more remains, with many questions remaining and a major
brick wall in the search for Edward's parents. Hopefully,
after learning more about the family, more people will
be encouraged to get involved, not only in the ancestor
search but to identify and collect more information
about their own branches.
Trace Every Line Through the Last Public Census
Like many researchers, I never intended to track every
single descendant of Edward B. Walker, nor is that the
goal now, although I am always happy to receive information
on any line of the family and to incorporate it into
the database. But, early in my research, I discovered
the need to uncover the extended family relationships
in order to differentiate among all the people named
John, Jacob, Isaac, and other common names
That expansion of the research had many benefits, not the least of which
was the discovery along distant family lines of old photos and letters
applying to my own direct line. And, with the wider knowledge, even more
relationships could be discovered. For instance, after identifying nearly
every Walker marriage in Claiborne County before 1891, I could focus on
the few that I had not identified and discovered new lines and document
some, such as extinct lines, that are often missing from most genealogies.
At this moment, the 1930 Census is the last one to made public, with
the 1940 Census to be made public in 2012. The 1930 Census provides a
good ending point; birth and death certificates became common usually
starting in the early 1900s, and most family members born after that time
should have an easy time connecting their lines to families in the 1930
Census. The era before birth certificates is much more complicated, with
research usually depending upon the particular county and the kinds of
documents that survive in each county.
A number of lines have been traced to the present day, although privacy
concerns prevent me from posting detailed information about known living
people to the Internet. Much of it came from immediate family members,
although a growing amount has come from the increasing release by some
states of indexes of birth, death, and marriage certificates to the Internet
not usually the actual certificates but indexes to them.
Share Information Widely and Update Often
At one time, I intended to publish a book on the family, a keepsake that
many people would like to have. Fat chance. With just the information
researched to date, any book would be thousands of pages long and take
years to produce. And because I still actively research this family, it
would be out of date even before it is printed.
This Web site is provided as an alternative, where I, and anyone else
who is researching this family, can publish on various branches and topics
as the material is written and update it easily when new sources
are found. The information is then available as widely as possible without
having to charge for expenses.
I choose RootsWeb as a host because the site should exist indefinitely,
even if I fail in my plan to live forever. However, the information is
also being maintained in a way that it can be permanently archived and
at some time in the future be distributed to researchers, libraries, and
other major repositories just as a book could be.
Scan and Make Available Everything Possible
In the course of my research, I have often found family members with old
photographs, letters, family Bibles, and other information with wide interest
who have no idea how many people might be searching for such things. With
the advent of cheap computer scanning, we finally have a method to copy
and widely distribute such material in a high-quality format.
In a family as large as the descendants of Edward B. Walker, a huge number
of things thought to be lost are not lost at all but
have simply been passed down through other family lines.
Someone may have several photographs of your 2nd great
grandfather, for instance, while your own family line
may have never even seen a picture of your great grandfather.
Tim Walker and I have focused on scanning everything important we can
find, although I still have a large number of documents that have not
been scanned. As much as I would like to post all such scans on this site,
the realities of current technology require that I be judicious in the
use of graphics on the site. No free Web site provider has the capacity
to allow the free posting of the many large files involved, and Web hosts
that would allow that much data would charge a fortune.
I do expect the situation to change in a very few years
as disk space gets even cheaper, but, in the meantime,
I have tried to document either on this site or in my
the scans that I do have, and I can often email them
or at least send them on CD. In any case, the collection
is growing and will be made available to libraries and
such in the future so that future researchers can discover
them all over again without doing even more legwork
and so that they will not once again be "lost".
Document Heavily the Sources of Information
Far too many genealogies have been published that
are useless to researchers. While non-researchers probably
prefer the more concise information about their ancestors,
later researchers usually have little idea of the research
that a writer has done or the accuracy of their work.
As a result, every new researcher has to spend a great
deal of time repeating the research.
In my Family
I have tried to document every data element separately
with every source of information about it. As a longtime
researcher, much of my source material predates the
program that I use to document the family, and much
more sourcing needs to be done. But by documenting to
the obscene level of detail that I have, I hope that
future researchers will be able to focus on aspects
that have not been thoroughly researched and not just
repeat the research that I and others have done.
Provide a Place for All Serious Researchers to
Much of what is found on this site is my own research
as are large portions of my Family
when the research is primarily that of others, I do
my best to document those facts fully.
However, I certainly would welcome submissions by others, or, if you
have your own Web site, I would be happy to link to it.