How many time do the libraries we use dictate our genealogy research results?

Pioneers of Old Frederick County, Virginia written by Cecil O’Dell and published in 1995 by Walsworth Publishing Company, Marceline Missouri, is not a new book. It has been on the shelves of the Everton Library for more than 10 years. And it is the most amazing book!

Author O’Dell says in the introduction that he wishes he had access to such a study when he first began his research in Virginia and North Carolina. I spent well over two hours reading it, carefully studying the 16 land ownership maps, and comparing the index with the text. Then I went page-by-page through the volume examining the separate sections on surnames.

WOW! 32 surnames that I am currently researching! The very people! Babb, Beeson, Bowman, Breeding, Burrus, Carter, Chrissman, Cowan, Crumley (Crumless), Curtis, Funk, Harden (Harding), Harness, Harrill (Harrold), Heastand (Heston), Hiatt, Hite (Hitt), Holeman, Johnston (Johnson), Littler, Long, Looney, Martin, Newman, Niswanger, Parrot, Pearis, Perkins, Rittenhouse (Writtenhouse), Stover, Taylor. Old Frederick County is the seedbed for these families.

How did I miss this remarkable book? I could say that the adventures of the Everton Library this past decade, books boxed up or sitting on closet shelves over half of that time, prevented me from seeing it. That would be stating that my library resources dictate the results of my research.

How many times do the libraries we use dictate our genealogy research results? It is easy to overlook a new book–there are so many of them. It is easy to miss a book notice or review–the specific issues where the review appeared may arrive at an inopportune time. It is easy to miss a self-published book–it may not be widely announced. I visited Frederick County Virginia more than 5 times since 1995. How did I miss this book?

Well, I don’t want you to miss the evidence in Cecil O’Dell’s book–

Each chapter is built around a newly-sketched land ownership map, with land grants placed on the ground and water courses and mountains sketched in. A separate map list includes each grantee, acreage, tract number, and date. The text supplies family details and descriptions of land transactions which are fully documented in county and state records by volume and page.

Wherever possible, O’Dell gives information on place of origin for the early settler and his family. Some accounts tell you where these people end up–in North Carolina, in western Virginia, in Tennessee, in West Virginia, and in Kentucky.

Approximately 85% of the early settlers of Old Frederick County Virginia (1725-44) came from William Penn’s area of Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and northern Maryland; about 5% from southern Maryland; about 5% from New York; and about 5% from east of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. p. 12

…the Virginia colony issued a proclamation of inducements to secure colonization of their internal lands. This caused such a migration from the northern colonies and Pennsylvania across the lands of Maryland, that the Maryland government decided to induce these people to settle here. Since the major route of travel was the old Monocacy Road, it was the land of Frederick County Maryland that those headed for Virginia crossed.

In 1732, Maryland offered two hundred acres of land free from quit rents and fees to family men who settled within three years; one hundred acres to single persons, male or female, and tax-free ownership for some years thereafter. See p. 13.

In 1995, the book was available from the author: Cecil O’Dell, 464 Morse, Liberty MO 64068. $49.50 plus $4.50 postage and handling. I did a Google search on O’Dell and his book–many libraries public and private have the book. There are listings for look-ups as well. lists three hard-cover copies, new ($109.00).  And, 15 new and used paperback copies (beginning at $59.00). These costs are a bit pricey; however, if you have your genealogy stuck in TN, KY, NC, WV, VA, or MD  the cost is much less than hiring me to search the book for you. Or, finding a library within driving distance from your home that is open so you can search a library copy yourself. This is an awesome collection of information based on migration throughout the South. In my opinion, you need it to trace your southern ancestors with success. Your favorite Virginia genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS Some books are “Go-To Books” in genealogy because they include so much useful, precise information for so many ancestors, that you want to begin your searching with that book and its data. ODell’s book is a “Go-To Book” for Southern genealogy research.

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