Saturday, July 20, 2013

SNGF: The Rivers of our Ancestors

This week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge from Randy Seaver of Geneamusings is a particularly fun one for me, as a geographer.

This week, your Saturday Night Genealogy Fun mission is to make a map using the National Atlas map (at the downstream course of a river that one of your ancestors may have traveled on.  What does it tell you?  What did you learn?  Did they live at other places on that river, or downstream of that river?  

Tell us about it in a blog post of your own (please show us the map you created - use an image snipping tool or take a screen shot), or make a comment here on this post, or write a Facebook status or a Google+ stream post.  

As I commented on Randy's blog post about the Streamer maps yesterday, I have some tangential ancestors in my SWICEGOOD line who went out to the California goldfields to get rich in 1850. According to one source,

“William Crutsinger and a company of sixteen left Knoxville April 3, 1850, on the riverboat Ellen White to make the cross-country journey from Independence to California. The group was made up primarily of men from the upper counties of East Tennessee.They reached the gold fields by the middle of August 1850 where their presence was reported August 23 by J. S. Wall of Kingsport who had arrived by sea about a month before. No account of their crossing has been discovered.” [1]

I’ve tried in the past to figure out what route that riverboat might have taken, but have not been successful. Streamer shows me that the Tennessee River, which flows through Knoxville, flows into the Ohio River at Paducah, KY, which then joins the Mississippi River at Cairo, IL. A riverboat could then chug upstream on the Mississippi to St. Louis, connecting to the Missouri River to near Independence.
Quite a trip!

[1] Durham, Walter T. Volunteer Forthy-Niners, Tennesseans and the California Gold Rush. Vanderbilt University Press, Nashville and London, 1997, page 105.

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