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Quality Not Quantity & Digital Court Records

August 26, 2010

OK, I know on this social media thingy you are supposed to post frequently, like every 24 hours or so.  At least that’s the impression I had from watching the movie Julie and Julia. I got the message, but I was so hungry from watching Julia Childs cook that I baked a pan of brownies (from a mix) because I didn’t want to take the time to do her chocolate mousse cake from scratch.  As if I had the ingredients anyway, and I was scared to use eggs because of the e-coli scare.  Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Oh, wait, I had to use eggs in the brownies didn’t I?

The problem is I can’t do routine.  My Facebook wall is filled with all these wonderful tidbits from my friends who share so many details of their lives. Twitter is like Internet Haiku, so I doubt I’ll ever tweet.

So I really appreciate the wonderful comments about Emeline Chambers, and I feel sort of guilty about posting only once a blue moon. However, most times my family, work, and family history research come first, with the latter having me go off on quests and tangents.

My last quest almost landed me in hot water with a bunch of relatives. If you really want to find out what they were up to and they lived in Virginia, you can access chancery court records in a digital format from the Library of Virginia.  I knew that one side of my family had their own wing on the Tazewell County Court House, but my discovery of this resource has provided the proof of my tongue-in-cheek quip.  The most exciting discovery was an 1876 case against my great-great-grandmother, Nancy Petts Whitaker, after her husband was killed by marauders during the Civil War.  I had not been able to find her in the 1870 Census either in Tazewell Co., VA, Morgan Co. KY, or McDowell Co. WV.  But the court case is there, I have downloaded it, and just have to take the time to transcribe the 116 pages. The clerk transcribing the records definitely needed a class in remedial penmanship.

So if your ancestors lived in Virginia, you will do well to check out the Chancery Court Records at the Library of Virginia.  You will be amazed, amused, and perhaps appalled at what you find.

I promise I will try to do better at posting short snippets about the things I am finding, like a bit of proof from government sources that Shawnee Chief Cornstalk may be my 7th great-grandfather.  I always wondered why I had such a love for Native American jewelry and art, having collected it since I was a teenager.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Michael l Barnett permalink
    March 8, 2011 2:15 am

    Hi, I enjoyed reading your family info. I think we are related. My great grandpa was Dock Whitaker.His family was from Whitaker ridge.One of them was killed in the war between the states by Yankee bushwhackers as he cut wheat on his farm.It may be the same one you mentioned in your blog.When I was very young my dad and aunt told me that the Whitaker land on the West Va side had been took by the Yankees after the war because many of them had fought for the south.Two of them were James and John Whitaker who had fought under Robert E Lee. Nancy Beavers was a cousin of mine and also the historian that gave us some of this info.I am also related to the Barnett’s in the area ,the Burke’s ,and others.God Bless,Mike Barnett

    • March 8, 2011 3:35 pm

      Howdy, Cousin Mike. Thanks for the kind comments. I look forward to sharing information with you about your side of the family.

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