When I was a child, I can remember my Grandmother trying to teach me about my family history. Bless her heart, she tried, but being a typical boy, it went in one ear and out the other. Months passed, then years and finally decades. Before I realized it, those who knew my family's past were gone and I knew very little. In an attempt to pre-empt my children from making the same mistake, I have researched and recorded as much family information as I can gather. I have found there is no end to this process. I keep inquiring, looking, reading, and recording. The following is merely the status of a continuous study. I welcome all the help you may offer. If you find errors or omissions please contact me and set me straight.
I dedicate this study to my Grandmother, Beulah Maggie Richee (Farmer, Smith, Dozier) (1885-1969). When I was a boy, she lived on Moody Street in Martin, Weakley County, Tennessee. The house was behind the University of Tennessee Martin (UTM). She lived a humble life and took in UTM student borders for a little income. It seemed she prepared meals constantly. In the early days I remember her cast iron wood stove. When I was there, it was my job to keep the water reservoirs filled. Later she got a gas stove. I remember the crowder peas, black-eyed peas, okra, mustard greens, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes and gravy, and fried chicken. There was corn bread for supper and biscuits for breakfast. She prepared pies, cakes and biscuits on her porcelain clad oak sideboard. However, the bubble was broken one summer when my brother and I looked forward to Grandmother's biscuits only to find out she had given in to Ballard Biscuits. We were disillusioned.
It's funny how we remember some of the simplest things. For instance, I remember the hanging light bulb in the bathroom. There was no light fixture, just a hanging bulb. It always fascinated me because it was low wattage, probably 25 watts. The bulb was more round than today's bulbs, and it gave off an orange glow. The bathroom had real indoor plumbing including a bathtub with cast iron claw feet. If you wanted a hot bath, you had to prepare and carry hot water to the tub.
Almost all the physical things are gone. After Grandmother died, her house was torn down to make space for a parking lot for the university. When my father and uncle closed out the house, Dad remembered that I was fascinated by that light bulb, so he brought it home for me. All the personal things are gone except for that light bulb. That is the extent of my physical heritage. And, believe it or not, that light bulb has an honorable place for display in my home today. It still works. Occasionally I light it up just to admire it. I estimate it to be over 65 years old.
Well, the physical things are gone, but I still have the memories. I hope to keep those memories alive through my genealogical studies. This is just one segment of this endeavor. I am pleased to share it with you.
Web Site Data Interpretation
You will find a comprehensive index of surnames on the following pages. The primary surnames are FARMER, MARTIN, RICHEE, BOOTHE, HIGHFILL, MCMICHAEL, COX, VIRGIN, HAHN, BROWN, MORGAN, MAY, SMITH, SIFFORD, ELLSWORTH, ELSWORTH, SHELBY, MCCAIN, CROW, LATHAM, DOWDY, PROFFER, BLACK, NICHOLS, JAMISON, SMALLWOOD, WREN, GRINDSTAFF, DOSS, and HINES. In addition, my brother-in-law’s family is included. Those surnames include SHILLINGER, VONSCHILLING, KAUSLER, FRENCH, O’REAR, BRANNOCK, AND CATLETT. There are many other surnames, but the aforementioned are the ones on which I concentrate my research. If you find errors, or if you have additional information, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Regarding dates. 1). Dates annotated as circa (ca) or "around" dates are used only to approximate the era of birth, marriage, or death. This data should be regarded as unreliable, however, the dates are estimated from the few specific dates found in the record. Men usually married later than women since they had to be established enough to afford a family, perhaps at age 25. Women could be 16, but most were 18 or older. Therefore, 25 years added to a known birth date of the husband gives an estimated marriage date. Children usually followed the marriage in predictable two year intervals. 2). Dates annotated as about (abt) are more reliable but subject to error. They are usually based on dated documents which provide an age but no specific vital date. The year of birth can be calculated from the provided age and the date of the document. A sample of this is census data. Ages in censuses vary forcing to annotate the birth year as “about”. Usually the birth years calculated from censuses are close.
Now for the usual disclaimer. I constantly strive to document sources for my information. Please take the time to follow my source notes. You should evaluate the validity of the data by the quality of the source note cited. Where no source note, or only other genealogy files are cited, the data must yet be verified.