Greetings from Sandra Ratledge

This site is devoted to genealogy and family history. Here you will find family group records, photos, wills, military service records, documents, stories, and anecdotes about various related families with Tennessee ties. Some descendants remain here today. A published genealogy on these interconnecting families has been my dream for more than four decades. Old folks referred to contemplating impossible dreams as "building air castles." Maybe I'm building air castles here, too. At any rate, I am building a dream under consideration for many years -- a volume collecting the history of kinfolks who settled this frontierland we now call Tennessee.

A few years ago, I received a wonderful, unexpected phone call telling me, "Visiting your website is like coming home." This was my third cousin Joyce (Hampton) Burkett living in Nebraska far from our home. Maybe she didn't regard hers as the greatest possible compliment anyone could give me. Yet it was! Indeed, her statement has been my goal in a nutshell. I didn't realize my dream has become more than an air castle. For folks whose job requirements carry them far from home and for others seeking a trail back home, perhaps this spot on the internet can serve as a guidepost. After all, home is as much a state of mind as any physical place.

As time permits, I will add information representing thirty-nine years of research by both my husband and me as our shared hobby. The more data and family history we collected the more compelled we were to preserve it for future generations. Innumerable long visits to libraries, courthouses, cemeteries, and countless miles have culminated in this website. We spent enormous amounts of time, sweat, and energy searching in overgrown cemeteries and copying tombstone inscriptions long before such data became accessible on the internet. In fact, we didn't even have an electric typewriter when we began researching in 1973, much less a personal computer with access to the internet! There were no computers for common people and no accessible internet. We have sequestered ourselves many days and long evenings in libraries reading faded out, blurry microfilm of censuses. On the other hand, we have enjoyed many outings and trips to national military parks and museums seeking elusive information. The research took us to places unexpected and to doors of persons unknown who became friends and sometimes turned out to be relatives. We made friends through correspondence with researchers and relatives residing throughout the United States. The most intriguing part of this endeavor was the actual research -- working a puzzle with life breathed into it; the most enjoyable part, the travel; the most rewarding part, meeting and getting to know many people.

Thanks to Rootsweb for free webspace, my dream is becoming a reality. I am so thankful for the skills and opportunity to manifest this vision via the instantaneous and easy information superhighway. Scanners, html, and the internet have so facilitated genealogical research that previous genealogical publication formats are completely outmoded by the navigable links method and even appear tedious by comparison. Best of all, the information is freely accessible to all -- not limited to a privileged few!

Also, very special thanks and appreciation to our son Shane Ratledge for teaching me html, file folder allocation, the skills necessary to maintain a website, and for explaining Corel Photo House, thus enabling me to draw my own graphics. Were it not for his persistence, expertise, and encouragement, I would never have attempted this.

Truly, I hope you enjoy reading these family histories as much as we enjoy researching them. Bookmark and visit often as new families and data will be added frequently!

From good old Rocky Top,
Sandra Ratledge
B.A., Tennessee Wesleyan College
M.Ed., University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

""I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help." Psalms 121 : 1

Public Domain, but please include this site in your sources

Sandra Ratledge

This site is dedicated to the memory of my parents,
Tommy and Beulah (Cline) Nipper.