In the year 2000 I abstracted the essential information from the obituaries that appeared in the CHRISTIAN ADVOCATE, Nashville, Tennessee, 1883-1884 and published those that covered the period of persons born up to and including the year 1822. With the recent loan from Laurel Baty of microfilm rolls of this Methodist periodical covering these years I have finished abstracting the remaining obituaries.
The editorial staff of the ADVOCATE constantly reminded people submitting obituaries to them to keep their accounts as brief as possible as all too many individuals tended to write long, effusive obits. This admonition did have some effect, encouraging some people to submit the barest of vital stats for decedents but unfortunately, this also led to the deletion of data about grandparents and collateral kindred.
Even so, these obituaries provide a gold mine of genealogical data. The ADVOCATE was a highly regarded periodical and not only Methodists but numerous Cumberland Presbyterians and some Baptists did so as well.
There was a column provided for marriage announcements in each issue of the ADVOCATE. As most marriage records have been preserved in county courthouses, I have not seen fit to copy them for inclusion in my series of ADVOCATE abstracts. However, in this publication I have included the marriages of all persons living in Henderson County, Tennessee as that county's marriage records were destroyed when the Lexington courthouse burned in 1895.
I have striven for accuracy in abstracting but I would suggest to every serious genealogical researcher to get photocopies of all obituaries of interest to them. (In my task as abstractor I have used every means known to me in reading difficult print in order to provide reliable reporting. I have also used the perpetual calendar in providing exact vital stats - no "guess work" there.)
Copies of obituaries may be ordered from Mrs. Jackie Wood, acquisitions librarian and archivist of the Memphis United Methodist Conference, Lambuth University Library, Jackson, Tennessee 38301 or from the Tennessee State Library and Archives, 403 7th Ave., North, Nashville, Tennessee 37243 or from the Methodist Library, Drew University, Madison Avenue, Madison, New Jersey 07940.
Here I would like to express my gratitude to David L. Donahue, Parsons, Tennessee, who with an assist from Laurel Baty, Columbia, Maryland, has carefully placed these ADVOCATE abstract series on the internet, making the data available to a multitude of interested researchers. We genealogists need more such Davids and Laurels!
Jonathan K. T. Smith