For instance, if a man had 4,000 acres, and sold or swapped a portion of land, and it was usually paid for with horses, but if it was never paid for, it would end up in circuit court after the original owner died, Bryant said.
Names of heirs, including the widow, children and sometimes grandchildren, and even slaves are listed in the court records. That can help when researching families.
Bryant said records of court cases from 1801 filed in Danville District Court, before Boyle became a county, are in Mercer County. Boyle County court records begin in 1842 when the county was formed.
Early newspapers which are on microfilm at the Boyle County Public Library and Centre College library, also have numerous articles and obituaries about families.
Avoid strangers in a box
Guy Ingram, an amateur photographer, talked about the importance of identifying old photographs. Pictures without identification are “orphans as far as we know,” he said.
“Everybody has shoe boxes of pictures at home and I urge you to identify them,” he said. “Fifty years from now, if the photos are not identified, others won’t know them. “
He suggested using a lead pencil to write on the back of the picture rather than ink which can smear or fade.
Take pictures out of an album covered with clear plastic and place them in archival non-acid materials for preservation, he said. He also suggested making copies of the original photo, especially if they are in color, because color fades.
Many people store photos on computers, but Ingram suggested making a copy of the photos for preservation rather than putting them on a CD, which may become outdated. “You need to get all your photos on paper to preserve them,” he said.
He said the tin-type photos on metal plates with silver coating that were made in the mid to late 1800s can be copied and lightened on a computer.
“You can take the scratches out of the photo, but they still won’t mean much to you without a name and date,” he said.
Sometimes old photos can be dated by the method of photography. In 1854, glass negatives were used, then tin type came along in 1856, and from about 1850 to 1900, paper photos were mounted on cards. Rely on clothing and styles, and background scenery to help identify the dates the photos were taken.
“Strangers in a box is all you have if photos are not identified,” he said.
Family histories are good sources
I (Brenda Edwards) have been researching and writing newspaper articles and compiling books on family history since the 1970s, talked about other sources of research.
I suggest people start with talking to family members, then check out public records in courthouses, libraries, churches, Bibles, cemeteries, historical societies and family history books.
Census records are good to find out how many people are in families, ages and the location where they lived and who their neighbors were.
I bought census record books and family history books from counties I was researching which gave a me a good start on my families.
Census records can help trace the migration of families who were on the move. I lost one of my husband’s great-aunts for about 10 years. I later found her in Western Kentucky. After she married, she and her husband moved to McLean County, along with other families from Western Boyle County.
However, all the information in family histories needs to be verified with public records to make sure it is accurate.
You never know who you will find in your family tree. I have found some well-known relatives and a few scoundrels, but have never been disappointed when I track down another lost relative.
Families are amazing. Some are on the move all the time, while others stay put. It’s much easier to research when they stay in the same place, but more fun and work when they travel across the United States looking for adventure.