Monday, January 17, 2022

James Polk Acuff(12 Jan 1872-23 Nov 1939)--52 Ancestors

In the early 2000s, my maternal grandmother's 1st cousin, Sarah Josephine Acuff Woodlee and I exchanged letters.  I still have a large envelope of the letters she wrote to me.  In a letter written in Oct of 2001, she also included a small tin type picture of my Gr Grandfather James Polk Acuff(1872-1939) sitting on his Dad's lap.  It is one of my favorite and my most treasured possessions. I thought for sure I'd lost the picture in my move back to Tennessee in January of 2012.  Thankfully, I had not.  In packing up my desk, I'd inadvertently knocked the envelope into my box of backup discs and that was where I found it when I was going thru those discs in 2018.  

Polk looks to be around the age of 2 in the picture which would mean it was likely taken around 1874.  I have a copy of a picture of  Polk's parents, William Leon Acuff and his wife Sarah McElroy Acuff which would have been taken around the same time.  I can tell this because Polk's Dad looks exactly the same in both pictures(groomed and clothing wise.)  Polk grew up in Van Buren Co TN and later moved to Huntsville AL in the Dallas area of Madison County as many folks did in search of work. His oldest daughter(my grandmother) was living there in 1920 with her husband and his family and their two sons.  Many folks who moved to that area went to work in the Dallas cotton mills.  Polk and and his wife moved there some time after 1927. He is listed in the 1929 City Directory of Huntsville along with 4 of his children, his brother and nephew, all employed by Dallas Mills.  Polk and family are in the 1930 census there as well.  Polk's wife, Fannie Hale Acuff died in September of 1939 and Polk died that same year in November.  Any time I hear Rison Avenue mentioned I think of my Acuffs  I believe the section of Rison Avenue they lived on no longer exist after the Interstate 565 exchange was built 

To give you an idea of how small the picture is, I'm including a photo of it in my hand below.

Monday, January 10, 2022

James M. Jakes(b. 02 May 1857-d. 15 Aug 1941) --52 Ancestors

My favorite find happened when the 1940 US Federal Census was released in 2012.  I located my paternal grandparents living exactly where I knew they would be in Old Hickory. To my surprise, my grandmother Pearl Jakes Cooke's dad, James Jakes was living with them.  I didn't even know he was still living and that time.  I'd searched for James' death certificate but did not have access to many records in my early research.   I knew that he had outlived his wife and I'd had her death certificate(from 1920) and information about her stone in the Willow Mount Cemetery.  His gravestone did not have his date of death either(and still doesn't.)  So I assumed he'd passed and went on to easier research for the time being.   I wonder what surprises the 1950 Census will bring me when it is released in a few months.  This also serves to remind me that I need to get his probate file which I have not found yet. He died the following year and I found his death certificate shortly after finding him in the that 1940 census.  I hope to do more research on him and also his children as we have some Jakes cousins showing up in our DNA research that I've not been able to place on the tree just yet. 

Source: "United States Census, 1940," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 11 January 2021), James Jakes in household of Thomas D Cook, Civil District 4, Davidson, Tennessee, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 19-9, sheet 10B, line 56, family 193, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 - 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 3884.

John King(b. 11 Feb 1770 d. 18 Aug 1814)--52 Ancestors

John King(1770-1814) is my 4th Great Grandfather.  I know very little about him other than what has been written in the Rover / Bedford Co TN book for the family.  My DNA and that of others in the King family back up our connection to him and his wife--- John King & Nancy Brandon   According to that article, John King married Nancy Brandon in Buncombe Co NC and had land in Barren Co KY. They had 3 children who were born there in KY before the family began buying land in what is now Wartrace, TN.  The family moved to Bedford Co TN abt 1807 after clearing land and building a small cabin. Four more children were born after their move to Tennessee.  John would also operate the first grist mill in Bedford Co. which was built using a set of mill stone he had gotten out of the Cumberland Mountains and brought (using logs to move)to the area where they lived. It was known as the Garrison Mill after the area in which they lived(Garrison Fork area of Duck River.) 

I really need to work on this family as I do not have any documentation for what is mentioned in the Rover book.  It's also been the family story that he was a brother of Samuel King(one of the founders of Cumberland Presbyterian Church)  I need to find more on that.  John's son John(my 3rd Great Grandfather) was a preacher and did help to organize Jackson Ridge Cumberland Presbyterian Church. I'm hoping that this post will remind me(and other King researchers) of the need for further research on this ancestral line.  There is a question of his death year being either 1811 or 1814 which needs to be resolved.

Source: History of Rover and the 10th district of Bedford County: lest we forget the people and things in our corner of the world. 1986. Paducah, Kentucky: Turner Pub. Co. p.245 "The King Family" by Gladys Wheeler Farris.

A Lot Can Happen in 10 Years


The current thing on social media is the "#10YearChallenge."  To participate you post two pictures of yourself--one from the current year and one from 10 years prior to your social media of choice.  After seeing others post, I finally got around to adding mine.  Looking at my two pictures it doesn't look like much has changed for me.. It has though--good things and bad things.  There is a lesson to be learned from this.  Here in the US, the federal census is taken every 10 years.  Let's say I look at the census records of my maternal grandparents and compare 1920 and 1930.  I can see that they moved. However, there are things I can't tell from just viewing those 2 records.  For them, the loss of two infant daughters who were born in those in between years would be at the top of the list.  The real challenge in understanding our friends and for the genealogist, our ancestors is in knowing what happened in those in between years. Unfortunately for those with US ancestors the loss of the 1890 census created the "#20YearChallenge"  Not entirely impossible to find things but it does make it harder.  There are so many records out just waiting to be found.  If you too have US ancestors you are likely excited about the upcoming release of the 1950 US Federal Census.  Have you been able to find your families "paper trail" for the years leading up to it?  If you haven't, you are not alone.  I'm still working on mine too.  Sometimes I'm so focused on further back in my research that I do a poor job with the more recent items.  I need to try and do better with that.

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

New Improvements at MyHeritage

MyHeritage has made some great improvements to the tools available to help with our research.  In the past few days they have released a new view option for your photos.  In addition to grid view you now have a list view with quick edit & sort/filter options.  You can read more about it at their blog

Several months back they released a DNA Label tool which is very helpful in sorting your DNA matches into groups.  MyHeritage is so good about listening to customer suggestions for improvements.  Within a month after the initial release of the DNA Label tool they implemented a number of those suggestions to provide further value to the DNA Label tool.  You can read more about those improvements at their blog.

My DNA Labels at MyHeritage

Also check out their blog to see their 2021: Year in Review.

Sunday, January 02, 2022

White Co TN, 1889-1890 Teacher & Public School Directors

Educational Department

J. N. Huff, Editor and manager Doyle, Tenn.

A list of the names and the post-office address of the Teachers and Public School Directors of White County,, Tennessee, for 1889-90. The names marked thus * are Directors.


J. S. McMillin
Wm Thurman
J. P.  Jarvis
O. L. Johnson
Clarence Sperry
Mrs. M. M. Hill
Miss Julia Brannon
Ben Simpson, col.
* Dr. W. S. Findley
*J. R. Tabb
* W. J. McBride
*E. C. Irwin
Wm McIlheran
J. E. Nowlin
S. V. Geer
D. S.  Pope
W. F.  Farris
Miss Sally Smith
Miss Nora Matheny
Laura Cantrell, col.
*A. O. Jett
*E. Jarvis
*Wm Lowery

Doyle Station

J. W. Bryan
J. W. Scott
Mrs Jennie Williams
Miss Effie Hill
K. S. Allen, col.
*Wm Stewart
J. N. Huff
O. C. Crain
Miss Minnie Moyers
Alice Sparkman, col.
*H. H. Keathley
*Wm Hollinsworth


W. N. Billingsley
Miss Eva Lowery
J. M. Lewis

Onward Station

W. B. O'Conner
J. E. Kuhn


T. B. Sparkman
*M. V. Slatten
Miss E Templeton
*J. S. Cooper


S. S. Cashdollar
J. W. Scott
R. H. Brown
*John Mitchell
*Sam Scott
*G. D. Hampton
W. I. O'Neal
R. L. Proffitt
Miss M. Mooneyham
*N. H. Hitchcock
*C. B. Crook

Baker's X Roads

W. L. Acuff
W. M. Davis
Thos Elliot, col.
G. C. Oliver
*J. H. Pistole


T. N. Henry
*J. W. Scott
J. T. Fisher

Darkey Springs

J. D. Jenkins


F. M. Grissom
T. J. Clark
T. C. Winstead
J. W. McPeak
*H. B. Grissom
*Henry Ogden


R. L. Jones
J. G. Anderson
D. R. Baker
*G. E. Baker
Mary Jones
John Heifnor
*B. C. Collins

Fancher's Mill

Thos Head
James Springs, col.
Miss L. A. Mooneyham
*T. C. White


W. H. Moody
*C. T. Dodson
*James Wilson

Cherry Creek

D. L. Lansden
C. J. Williams
S. M. Hickman, col.
*W. J. Bumblough
*Z. B. Holman
J. A. Cooper
*James S. Lee
T. L. Springs, col.
*E.C. Clouse


J. M. Welch
Miss Belle Johnson
Benton Young
Miss Lou Frey
*W. F. Scarbrough
John Little


Miss Vina Cooper
*W. J. Weaver
J. P. Brady
*N. Clouse

Simpson's Mill

W. W. Young

River Hill

Frank Stipe
*S. M. Wallace
Lula Richardson col.
*Thos Lewis


W. J. Breeding
*I. D. Stewart
A. Miller


*T. C. Shagart
J. M. Randles, col.

Green Tree

Miss Lizzie Wilson
*Joel Broom


J. D. M. Cummings
*E. S. Haston

Bon Air Coal Mines

J. L. Cary

--W. N. Billingsley, Co., Supt., Cave, Tenn.

Source: “Educational Department,” The Sparta Expositor, 04 Oct 1889, p. 8, col. 1; digital images, ( : accessed 2 Jan 2022).