Live! from Knoxville TN!

I arrived in Knoxville from a week of research in Kentucky archives and libraries–the Kentucky Historical Society, the Filson Club,  the Kentucky State Archives, and various public libraries.

When I took  genealogy classes to learn how to t race a family tree  instructors said that two states only kept and filed original wills:   New Jersey and Kentucky.  Those for New Jersey are filed in the state archives in alphabetical order.  They have been indexed and microfilmed for easy access.

Those for Kentucky, apparently, do not exist in the state archives as an alphabetical file.  The archivist I talked with said there may be files for specific counties, who retained the original wills–although he did not know of any.   So, since I have taught that KY has original wills on file, I am going to investigate the counties to see if some did keep the originals.

Original wills include signatures !  Wills copied by the county clerk into the will books and registers often  include omissions or misinterpreted words and phrases.  If the will is written in German or French, it was not recorded in the register at all–it ended up in “loose papers.”

Stay tuned for my report on if or if not Kentucky counties kept  original wills.

I also got to drive around northern Kentucky drinking in the beautiful bluegrass countryside.  Seeing the local landscape where your ancestor  lived out his days–placing his story “on the ground” surrounded by trees and rivers and mists provides a sense of place.  And a context for that ancestor’s life.  Proximity of geographical features to home and outbuildings, and to neighbors, churches, graveyards, railroad lines, county officials, and government buildings provides insight and relationships that  are hard to capture any other way.

Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS  Sharings from Tennessee to come next post.

PPS  If you know anything about original wills in KY, please share with all our readers.  Send me an email.

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3 Responses to Live! from Knoxville TN!

  1. arlene says:

    I wrote this on my new Toshiba laptop. And I am experiencing some problems with it. The mouse jumps around and the cursor is uncontrollable. When I make corrections, they may or may not appear. So the headline is missing. I will try to correct it–and see what happens.

  2. arlene says:

    The headline is gone! But the text is present. I feel like such A DUNCE.

  3. Lynn Calvin says:

    Kentucky does have some original wills – I know I found a will for James Calvin in Christian County Kentucky in the Hopkinsville Public Library. They had both transcriptions of the wills and microfilmed images. The will was circa 1800. I remember finding it was a somewhat convoluted process.

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