TSGS Cruiser Blog

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Research Tips

Back in 1978 when I began my serious genealogical research, I had traveled to Hopkinsville, Kentucky (Christian County) concerning an Estate Probate of a recent death of a relative. I decided to make a quick trip into the courthouse. There was a huge brass historical marker right by the entrance stating that the building was burnt to the ground during the Civil War by Morgan's Raiders. I knew that, as did my father; but what we did not know was mentioned on this marker... that since the citizens knew Morgan and his men were on the way, they removed all of the records and that all the records were intact since the county's beginning in 1797! Since we thought the records were missing prior to the end of the Civil War, we never did any research in court records. I was overwhelmed that I might be able to find a little something that would help me learn more about my WEST family. I knew my Great, Great Grandfather was William Ellis West and searched records for him. The first book was a probate record book and I found him right away in the index. I checked the first entry... it was an estate settlement naming William and the brothers & sisters that I knew about. The simply amazing thing was that they shared in the settlement of their deceased father's share of his deceased father's share of his father's estate. In case you could not follow that, the estate the settlement was in reference to was William Ellis West's great grandfather's estate! In one deed there was proof of three previously unkown (to me) generations of my Dad's line. I remember thinking about my very first courthouse experience and the very first look at a court record revealed 3 new generations that it could not be that easy. Dad had died a few years earlier and I could not help thinking how pleased he would have been to know this information.

The tip here is do not assume that if one event happened that all is lost. Dad and I assumed that if the courthouse was burned down, then all of the records were lost, too. - by John G. West


Carolyn said...

Hello John, I just read your blog today and I have a gggrandmother whose maiden name may be West. I found a birth document Christian Co., Ky, May 28, 1858 with the name J.A. West as the name of the mother of my great grandmother Martha E. Pleasant. The birth record is of her sister Rebecca J. Pleasant, the father's name is George F. Pleasant. On all the census records the mother's name is listed as Nancy Pleasant. So, I was puzzled at this name, J.A.West, listed for her on her daughter's birth certificate. I am wondering if there is a chance that you would recognize the name J.A. West in your family names? I will be glad to share this document with you if I knew how to get it to you.

John G. West said...

Carolyn, I will need to check the database that a Christian Co., Kentucky researcher gave me for J.A. West. I do not know off hand who she might be.

Carolyn said...

I just sent you an e-mail with a copy of the document that I have.
I hope the pic of the document is not to large a file. If it is please let me know and I will make it smaller.