Days Gone By - stories from the pastGenealogy Information

A couple of good tips when researching your genealogy…..

Too Many McKnights

(submitted by Joe McKnight)

My Paternal grandfather, William Charles McKnight, was born in Calhoun County, GA. in 1864 and migrated to Marengo County, Alabama in the 1880s, where he mostly used the name “W. C. McKnight.”

genealogy sleuth

It took several years of frustrating search/research before I learned that the courthouse for Calhoun County, GA burned at least three times during his lifetime (he died in 1928) and at least once since his death. That frustrates research. Then he settled in Marengo County where there already was a native who used the name W. C. McKnight and who had a history of a couple of generations in the county.

It took about a half-day of research in the Marengo County courthouse at Linden before I realized there had been two W. C. McKnights in the county during the late 19th century. And the name that appeared most often in county records was not my grandfather.The key clue came when one W. C. McKnight made reference in a land transaction to a son whose given name was not in my line. (From Joe McKnight)

Have you checked Centennial Farm Award Records?

Centennial Farm Award Records were active in many states and contains a great deal of information about a family because a main criteria for a farm or ranch to receive the award required that the farm or ranch remained in continuous ownership and operation by a family for at least one hundred years. Documentation was required to prove this fact.

The award may be called other names in states but they should be available through some state extension service. Sometimes the records were microfilmed and available in Family History libraries, or local libraries.


As family historian, do you have friends and family ask you how to get started in family research? This is a hard question to answer in a few minutes. Refer them to the book below to help them get started in this fun hobby. Purchase several – Books make great gifts!

WHERE DO I START? Hints and Tips for Beginning Genealogists with On-line resources

Click here for all historic books by Donna R. Causey


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  1. Always enjoy reading the history of Alabama, especially history about the Creek Indians and early settlers.

    1. Timely comment about the Creeks. I recently found a “Ancient Creek roll number” for the Chitty surname. Chitty and Roberts from Alabama and Mississippi are my line

  2. Having spent years sorting between three Andrew Jackson Crosses (Sr,. Jr. And Jr 2nd) In my family I can understand. They were related but not father, son,. They drove me nuts for several years. Senior was my 3 great grand father I knew. Junior turned out to be his nephew and #2 was Seniors grandson. #2 was killed in the Battle of Nashville but had son born after the left for war that was Named Andrew Jackson Earle Cross just to add to the confusion. Of course most records just referred to them all as Andrew Jackson and they had to be sorted out by age and circumstance. It took awhile and I don’t think that I could have done it relying on a computer. It took hands on work which was the most fun anyway

  3. Just small clues such as that will open things up. Sometimes a child’s middle name will be enough to tell you have the right family.

  4. The Choctaw Nation of Indians who chose to remain in Alabama under The Terms of the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek of September 27th 1830 are one of the best examples of an entire tribal community that is firmly documented.

    I’ll be the first to admit it took a minute to sort through the records however hindsight being 20/20 I could have saved a lot of time, money and resources.

    The Choctaw remained in South Alabama, had schools, and ran public programs.

    The history of Alabama suggests otherwise and obscured the truth of the matter.

    Chief Darby Weaver
    The Tribal Leader

  5. Jennifer Stickler Riddle

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