Kinsearching May 6, 2007




Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     Although census records are available online, many genealogists still like to have a printed copy of an index to the schedules for quick, easy reference--one that does not depend on whether or not a computer or a website is working correctly. At a glance of the book, researchers can see how many families with the same surname lived in a particular state and where they resided. Genealogists tracing their roots in the Volunteer State may, therefore, welcome the reprint of Elizabeth Petty Bentley's compilation INDEX TO THE 1820 CENSUS OF TENNESSEE.

     Despite the fact that it is the fourth federal census, the 1820 population schedule is the earliest for which enumerations of most Tennessee counties survive. (Schedules for several eastern counties are missing.) Bentley arranges the names of approximately 35,000 heads of household in a single alphabetical sequence. For each household, she provides the county of residence and the page number of the census where data about it can be located.

     An additional feature is her cross references to alternative index entries. This feature alerts researchers to possible confusion about a surname due to such factors as illegible handwriting or phonetic spelling. The surname Hunter, for example, may be mistaken for Hurter or Hacomb may be another form of Holcomb. The information may be especially useful to beginning researchers who are not aware of these possibilities. Bentley's INDEX TO THE 1820 CENSUS OF TENNESSEE remains a helpful work in many ways.

     The 287-page paperback includes an informative foreword and tables which list the Tennessee counties and their abbreviations used in the book, the names of counties lacking population schedules, and the roll number of the microfilmed census on which the enumeration for each county can be located. To the book's price of $21.95, buyers should add the cost for postage and handling charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $4 for one book and $1.50 for each additional copy; for UPS, the cost is $6 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional volume. The paperback (order item #468) may be purchased by check, MasterCard, or Visa from Clearfield Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, Maryland 21211 (toll free phone 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website

     Bonnie Bright Johannes, 5594 North 10th, Apt. 103, Fresno, CA 93710-6586 (e-mail: would appreciate information on David LINDSEY who married Mary CASEY. Both died between 1835 and 1847 in Shelby Co., AL. Their daughter Elizabeth LINDSEY married Joseph HALE in 1794 in Tennessee. Three of Joseph HALE's children married into the ELLIOTT family. Johannes found this information on and in a book about Shelby Co., AL, families.

     Would you like to receive a sample copy of Reunions Magazine? You can do so by filling out a survey about reunions and the people who attend them. Your response will add to the body of knowledge about reunions. The survey should not take more than ten minutes. It can be found at where you can click on "free sample copy."

     As genealogists search through cemeteries for tombstones of their forebears, they naturally pay attention to the people buried near their ancestors. Why? Because they may have been kinsmen or neighbors. If they were relatives, for example, they may provide clues for new avenues of research. Since genealogists are focused on finding their ancestors, they often miss the overview of the community or regional history which is shown through the individuals buried in the graveyard. Tombstones containing Masonic or Woodmen of the World emblems, for instance, demonstrate the influence of these organizations in the vicinity. A recent interesting article about the connection between a cemetery and the history of a town is "History Set in Stone" by Ramona Reeves. She explores East Hill Cemetery in Palestine, Anderson Co., TX. The article may be found on pages 24-25 of the magazine Texas Co-op Power, Vol. 63, no. 9 (March 2007). It is published by the Texas Electric Cooperatives (TEC) in Austin. If you do not subscribe to the magazine, you may be able to locate it in a library or an archive like the Southwest Collection at Lubbock's Texas Tech University.

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