“…walking the family dog on your treadmill…”

A few days ago, recuperating from a throat infection that has plagued me for much of 2015, I watched an intriguing and rather hilarious commercial–where a young teenager was lying on the couch watching television holding the leash and walking the family dog on the treadmill.

For several days I have laughed every time I thought about it–ingenious really: walking the family dog on the treadmill. The purpose of the ad was not to demonstrate right thinking. It was to admonish parents and grandparents (there was a grandmother who was expected to supply the vegging teen with soda pop) to get their overweight teens to move and exercise and eat correctly.

Remember! Back in the day, dogs walked on treadmills attached to horse walkers. Or attached to small windmills powering the family well. Or attached to blacksmith bellows. Dogs walking on treadmills were sources of power! And represented an advance in technology which allowed for better and more efficient production.

What does the dog and the treadmill have to do with your genealogy?

Across this country, indeed, around the world, there are genealogists and publishing houses who are using technology to create for you genealogy power–giving you access to more and deeper, more precise evidence to prove who your ancestors were, who they were related to, and where they came from. For example–

William H. Rice of Elkins West Virginia and McClain Printing company of Parsons West Virginia. Their collaboration project had generated 4 volumes through 2014 with a 5th volume promised for 2015. (And hopefully, a 6th volume for 2016 and so on…)

Colonial Records of the Upper Potomac (5 vols. 2010-2015) from before 1744 through 1757 and continuing. These are documentary volumes based heavily on land and property evidence with land claims and surveys platted along rivers and watercourses–almost 1000 pages of documents. Covering northern West Virginia, northwestern Virginia, and southwestern Pennsylvania–a very tough place to research during these early years. Now, thanks to Rice and his publishers, you can determine if your ancestors appeared out there almost before there was an out there.

The documents run in a chronology, revealing relationships between and among early settlers, explorers, long hunters, military agents, and others. Like the Creasaps of Maryland, the Tuckers of Pennsylvania, and the Pearis men of South Carolina and later, Tennessee. Rice, perhaps unaware of these origins, describes their doings on these western  frontiers and enables you to add their wide-ranging activities to what you already know about them elsewhere.

Early America was highly mobile–the frontier with its wide, bridgeless rivers and unscaleable mountain ranges was not a barrier to westward movement–although numerous writers on the subject have led you to believe otherwise. It was a frontier to be explored, conquered, and brought into submission for the benefit of those courageous enough to take the challenge. Risks came from Indian tribes fighting for their own right to exploit the riches of the west for themselves. Risks came from wild animals fighting for their own right to live free. And moderate risks came from other world powers who sought to exploit the riches of the western lands for their own nations.

Please add these new volumes of document summaries to your winter reading list. Books can be ordered from William H. Rice, PO Box 303, Elkins, West Virginia 26241. Or from McClain Printing Company, Parsons, West Virginia. Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle. http://arleneeakle.com

PS I spent several hours reading the first 4 volumes and ear-marking pages for my research interests–you will enjoy these new findings too if you have men who were on the move.

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