Successful First Families of Fentress County Certificate Meeting

There was a productive meeting relating to doing research and documenting the information needed to obtain a First Families of Fentress County Certificate. It was held on Saturday, November 4, 2017 at the Fentress County Library.

Blank pedigree charts and family group sheets were given to each participant. Some of the handouts utilized were a county map showing the county boundaries in 1823, also a list of families that possible lived in this area in 1823. A sample time lime was also presented, in case someone would need to do one.

Three or four previously submitted applications were reviewed so the participants could visualized and learn some of the documents to copy and the way to utilize them in the application. Proof needed is showing he or she is the son or daughter of so and so.

Pedigree charts were printed using York’s Fentress County Families, a huge computer program utilizing more than 350,00 names. These charts show all the generations back to an ancestor who lived in Fentress County, before or at the time of organization. Primary sources  must be used to prove each generation.  Birth certificates, death certificates or obituaries can be used to document the first two or three generations.  Census records from the 1920 census back to the 1850 census can be useful.  Prior to 1850, the census records noted the number of males or females, broken down into age groups.  The 1880 census is the first one to note relationship to the head of household.

Ancestors being researched for a certificate included Thomas Stephens, Christopher Choate, Joseph Upchurch, and William Travis, but some were undecided as to which family they would use.  Copies of the family appearing in the 1820 Overton County Census and then in the 1830 Fentress County Census is proof enough that they lived in what became Fentress County.  Land records can also be used to show where the person lived.  The most difficult step can be the proving of the children or grandchildren of this ancestor.  Please allow time for this research.  Review Revolutionary War records, if they are available.

Since the documentation of the early ancestors are usually the more difficult ones to document, it will be necessary to  utilize something other than census records.  This is where estate settlements or wills can be an important resource.  Understandable, these records are in short supply, but some are out there.

The group was excited about getting on with their project.l  It was suggested that if they had problems beyond their capabilities, they they contact either Kathy Williams or Wanda Hatfield.