If your Ancestors came to Kentucky before 1810…

The Shane Collection–the genealogy papers of the Revered John D. Shane may be your best chance to prove their origins:

Rev. Shane was a contemporary and collaborator of Dr. Lyman C. Draper, Director of the Wisconsin State Historical Society.  He collected and preserved documents for the history of the Presbyterian Church in Kentucky.   As part of this larger project–he compiled notes of those families who were Scots-Irish Presbyterians:  On their military engagements, the local events they participated in, who they were related to, what they did to enable and help the Presbyterian movement in America.

At his death, Rev Shane’s collection survived in three sections:

  1. The Shane Manuscript Collection held by the Kentucky State Historical Society, Frankfort KY.  This collection has not yet been microfilmed by the Family History Library.  These files must be consulted in Frankfort.
  2. The Shane Manuscript Collection held by the Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia PA.  This section of his papers are on microfilm through the Family History Library, 36 reels of film.  See also The Shane Manuscript Collection: a Genealogical Guide to the Kentucky and Ohio Papers by William K. Hall (Galveston, Texas: Frontier Press Bookstore, 1990).  This guide includes the names of many persons found in these papers–it is not, however, an every-name index.
  3. The Shane Collection for Kentucky and Ohio, acquired by Dr. Lyman C. Draper and integrated with his work.  This section is also available on microfilm through the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, UT:  Draper Manuscripts:  Series CC, v. 13-17 Shane collection, Kentucky and Ohio, 1807-1835.

For the most part, you will be plowing new ground if you access these papers and track your ancestors through them.  Not only does it take great stamina to search several rolls of microfilm, it takes some careful research focus to identify and trace your own lineage in the notes collected by another researcher.  In my humble opinion, the time and effort are well spent.  Shane had a broad view of his Presbyterian history–he wanted to include the full history of each Presbyterian family in Kentucky–listing especially their migration patterns from the time they arrived in Kentucky going back in time.

Shane noted where they came from, and who they traveled with. Much of this information he got from living persons in interviews and recorded in notes he took. You can almost draft a passenger list for the wagon trains he describes. He asked about their military exploits and the units they were assigned to. He asked who else served in those same units. He recorded where they marched and who they fought. Your favorite Kentucky genealogist, Arlene Eakle http://arleneeakle.com

PS If you haven’t discovered the Rev’d Shane’s collection before now, you will be so glad I told you about it. The reason you read my blog is because you’ve tried other sources or you’ve run headlong into a burned county. And you need to know how to by-pass uninformative or lost records.


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