Saturday, January 3, 2015

Research is not always free

As someone who has been tracing my family lines for quite a while, I have learned that sometimes you have to pay to get information. In the family history world, people may rely on free online-only sources, or if they do pay, may limit their costs to just an Ancestry subscription. Over this Christmas break, I traveled to the Spotsylvania and Culpeper County Courts in Virginia, and corresponded with the Montgomery County Court in Indiana and the Sullivan County Court in Tennessee. County Courts hold a wealth of vital records, many that are often not available online.

These courts usually charge a fee per page. Spotsylvania and Culpeper charged 50 cents per page, and no photos or cameras are allowed in the Court. Sullivan County charges $1 per page. Montgomery County also charges $1 per page. Yes, that cost can add up. But it is a small price to pay for the value of the knowledge hidden in these records. If I had not gone to Culpeper, I would not have learned about the indenture of my 5th-great-grandfather Joseph Thornhill, showing how we trained as a tailor (see my post on Culpeper County records from 25 September 2014).

Yesterday, a helpful woman from the Sullivan County Register of Deeds responded to my research query for land deeds involving my 6th-great-grandfathers Samuel Hampton and Jacob Booher. She said the copies ended up being 107 pages. That is a lot more than I expected. For Samuel, I know from the Tennessee Early Tax list records 1783-1895 that he owned land in Sullivan County in 1796. If the land records confirm a date prior to 31 Dec 1796, then he qualifies for First Families of Tennessee membership.

This branch of my tree also currently comes to an end with Samuel. I am hoping somewhere in those 107 pages is the key to following the Hampton family further back in time.

On the Booher side, it is already known that Jacob Booher was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania on 3 March 1777, and that he died in Montgomery County, Indiana on 29 July 1845. Jacob appears in the 1830 US Census in Sullivan County, but I do not yet know when he and his brothers arrived there from Pennsylvania. The land records may tell about their arrival in the county and how they financed the journey of the family to Indiana.

The hope is that within the 107 pages from Sullivan County will be the story of how the families of my 4th-great-grandmother Selina Hampton Vail came together. I am hoping these land records show how the Boohers and Hamptons were connected. Perhaps they traveled together from Pennsylvania. I will learn more once the package arrives after I get back from California.

1 comment:

  1. Well, that sure turned out to be one pricey package! But I can understand looking forward to receiving it. First Families of Tennessee? That would be great!


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