I’m taking a bit of a turn this week. I feel really good about the “regular” genealogy forms that I’ve created for my Genealogy Planner but this week, I’ve created something specifically to help my current research. I don’t know if other researchers will find this as helpful, but I’m posting it anyway.
I’ve been working with a recently discovered cousin to find out all of the information we can on the various Stephens families in Russell County, Kentucky. There is alot of information on the web about the Russell County Stephens, but very little of it contains sources, so we are collecting sources for everything that we can and using any other information as “hints” to help in our research. Bottom line – no source means not confirmed. We’ve collected tons of census records and we’re working on the vital records, but this family line goes back before census records included information forindividual family members. So I’ve started looking at and analyzing tax records. I’ve been working backward with the goal of determining when our Stephens family came to the Russell County area. We know they were in the area before Russell County was formed, so I’m also looking at Adair County – the parent for most of Russell County.
What I’ve discovered is that there are several Stephens families and they all seem to LOVE the name William! In order to keep them separeated, I need to track them based on the information on the land that they were being taxed on. Because I’m such a visual person, I’ve created slips that let me keep track of the year, the watercourse, number of acres and the names that the land was entered, surveyed and patented in. I also have a box to help me group the names into families. This should help me to be sure that I’m looking at the correct names as I work my way backward. The Kentucky Secretary of State has an excellent web page on reading these early Kentucky tax records. I learned a lot about these numbers that I’ve been giving myself a headache reading!
These pages will be kept in my planner, but not hole punched as I don’t plan to keep them in the planner for long. Whenever I have a few free minutes, I’ll open the files that I keep on my flashdrive and fill out slips for the Stephens listings that I see. Each page has 8 slips. My plan is to cut apart the slips so that I can organize them into family groups through the years on my kitchen table and to make sure that each William stays with the correct family group.
The slips are meant to be filled out by hand as I look through the tax pages that I have scanned at my library, although the information could be typed in if I thought that would be helpful. As I complete a sheet, I’ll cut the slips apart so that they can be arranged. After I feel confident that I know which Stephens men belong in my line, I’ll start looking for the deeds that go with each parcel of land.
Nothing fancy this week! No border or anything, just a page to print out and copy, if you’d like.
Good luck in your research!