How I Started in Genealogy,
Joined the TNGenWeb Project,
In 1978, I asked an uncle, Stanley Norman Smoot, about our family history. He sent to
me everything he had accumulated during his lifetime. He was a US Postal Inspector
and had visited many branches of our family and collected stories, but he never
set foot in a genealogy library. Interestingly, he had nothing more on the actual Warren
County Smoot line than that his grandfather, Isaac Anderson Smoot and Mary Baker were
married in McMinnville, Isaac had abandoned his wife and children in Kansas and
disappeared, and lastly, that Isaac had remarried and later reappeared in
Then Stan suggest to me that I do that line. That was the challenge. I became a regular
at the Oakland California LDS Family History Library.
I found the location of the family farm in Warren County Tennessee, and in time, I made
contact with some kin, but it was not until 1992 that I was able to visit there. I went to
the old farm, but the house which had been built in 1840 had just been razed two week
prior to my arrival.
So the next quest was to find the location of other family land holdings. Namely, all of
the Isaac Anderson holdings. (My other Warren County line.)
As I searched the Warren land records, I found mention of the three Surveyors
had a newly found cousin ask the County Historian where were the lines located. What
I got back was this answer. I don't know and I don't care. My cousin was unhappy
with the answer, I took it as another challenge.
I found the existence of Record Group 50 at the Tennessee State Library & Archives that
covers the Districts and I dug into them. By 1996, I was knowledgeable about
Tennessee's Surveyors Districts, especially because I had met Norman McGee of
Williamson County. Norman is a real expert on Tennessee land and my land
He and his wife G. Kay McGee are my very special friends now. (Kay now does our
First People query pages.)
1996 was of course the year of the NGS convention in Nashville. There Norman
introduced me to Billie McNamara. Billie was getting the TNGenWeb organized
and was looking for volunteers. She wanted me to do some county page, but I had an
easy out. I was not online. And besides, the county of my choice was Warren
and it was taken. But I did promise to write a piece on the Chickasaw
I really did not want to be online because I had the hunch that if I got
would waste way too much time. (I was right!) Billie insisted and finally a few months
later, I got online - Billie practically dragged me into this. In July of 1997, Fred Clark,
founding Warren CC, gave up the county page because of his demanding duties as
editor of two genealogy publications. I had used the excuse far too long that I could not
accept any pages because Warren was taken and that I had no interest in other counties.
Now, with Fred Clark leaving, my goose was cooked. I learned how to hand code and I
sent my files to my newly assigned Regional Coordinator, Nancy Cole, for
Then Billie and I decided to better organize the tiny query pages for all the various of
the areas of the Cherokee and Chickasaw Nations. We put both new pages under
The First People of Tennessee, Cherokee & Chickasaw Nations. Then I
created Letters From Forgotten
Since then, I have been instrumental in development of special projects including
People of Color in Old Tennessee.
Bridgett Smith, our current State Coordinator, appointed me Special Projects
Coordinator in mid 1998.
Billie McNamara organized the TNGenWeb, Bridgett Smith, Nancy Cole, and the
County Coordinators brought it to new heights, and it is the best XXGenWeb in the
country! I am so proud of my fellow Tennessee volunteers.
P. S. My other Tennessee lines are the Norman and Stockird (Stockard) families
of Rutherford County.
P. P. S. The link to my Dog Trot X Press
Home Page is below.
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and has been our Internet service provider
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We thank them.