Monday, February 3, 2020

Back to Those Twelve Most Wanted

I'd like to say I have a book burning a hole in my pocket, but I can't. Besides being a statement which horribly mixes metaphors, I doubt a brick the size of nearly seven hundred pages would be able to fit inside my pocket, much less wear a hole through it. Still, it's high time I put Howard Leckey's Tenmile Country through its paces.

There's one particular reason I'm glad to now be home again and ready to tackle some research: Leckey's book includes quite a bit of detail on at least two of my mother-in-law's family lines. And those two, intertwined over the generations, include some of those Twelve Most Wanted ancestors I outlined in my new year's plans for 2020.

The main line involves the Gordon family, one with roots reaching just to the later edges of colonial American history. The other line involves the Rinehart family, which, as you can imagine, takes in all the possible spelling permutations that could occur when German immigrants met English settlers in the frontier reaches of a new country. That frontier region, handily, was what Leckey termed the Tenmile country.

I've already detailed the complicating factors in this search, primary among them being two Rineharts having the same given name: Simon. Somehow, they are connected with the Gordons. That means, of course, that I'll have to reach farther back in time to untangle just which Gordons married which Rineharts. The Leckey book, hopefully, will provide some guidance there, which we'll tackle this week.

Over the years, I've developed a love-hate relationship with printed genealogies. These hundred-year-old books contain the memories of people now long gone—but those memories can be just as faulty as those contained in online trees of our "modern" times. But just as I do with the online trees of my peers today, I view these resources as gifts of trailblazers. Sometimes, they point in the right direction, but they still need someone with a critical eye to check out these clues for ourselves.

This week, we'll see what we can find to corroborate the genealogies contained in the Leckey book and other local history books from a century ago. Apparently, there are more resources than just this book to compare with what little I already know about those two families.

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