New book is a great resource for tracing records

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Almost everyone knows the lyrics to American songwriter Stephen Foster’s immortal Oh! Susannah &uot;Š I come from Alabama with my banjo on my knee. I’m bound for Louisiana, my true love for to see.&uot;

And almost everyone knows that if you are COMING from Alabama GOING to Louisiana, you are most certainly IN Mississippi.

This happened to many of the ancestors we so diligently hunt for as they made their slow progression westward and this makes Alabama fertile ground for research for a great number of Mississippians.

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Those Mississippians have reason to celebrate the 2003 publication of a new book, &uot;TRACING YOUR ALABAMA PAST&uot; by Robert Scott Davis. Designed to aid genealogists &045; and actually anyone else doing research in that state, this is a detailed guide to informational resources in Alabama records.

The book sets out to identify the means and the methods for finding information on people, places, subjects and events in the long and colorful history of the state known as the crossroads of Dixie, and it does so in a clear and concise manner that makes using the volume a delight.

The comprehensive nature of this reference work destines it to become one of the most valuable research tools for Alabama research yet to be published.

There are literally hundreds of direct sources &045; governmental, archival, agency and online &045; to help you find information vital to your investigation.

The complex sources of Alabama’s biographical/genealogical materials, federal land records, Civil War-era resources and Native American sources are discussed in detail and path to public records, census figures, military statistics, geography, studies of African-American and Native American communities, local and biographical history, Internet sites, archives is clearly laid out.

Much of the book focuses on national sources that are covered only in passing &045; if at all &045; elsewhere which provides invaluable help in determining the who, what, when, where and why we all search for.

Included are a series of maps detailing the location and development of Alabama counties and cities from 1812 to the present followed by individual descriptions of each county and the records found in each and every one.

The author is a professor of history at Wallace State College in Hanceville, Ala., and has served as director of the Family and Regional History Program at Wallace State College. With some 20 other books to his credit, his work on this project will no doubt become the definitive research resource for Alabama. Hats off to Mr. Davis for an outstanding job!

If you are among those with Alabama roots or actually just want to expand your own knowledge of the wealth of information available for research, this work is a must! The 265-page, beautifully indexed paperback is an absolute bargain at $18 from University Press of Mississippi, 3825 Ridgewood Road, Unit 9, Jackson, MS 39211-9941. Don’t miss this landmark publication!


Š A. L. Harvey (108 Joginell Circle N, Satsuma, AL 16572; e-mail

) is looking for information on his HARVEY line. The families lived in Jefferson Davis, Covington, Marion, Lawrence, Copiah and Hinds counties in Mississippi.

He is interested in information on THOMAS P HARVEY who married Frances COLEMAN in 1810; a THOMAS HARVEY who married Priscilla STOVALL in 1816; NEHEMIAH HARVEY who married Sara ARD in 1816; a THOMAS C HARVEY who married Rebecca STOVALL in 1818; SALLY HARVEY who married Henry YOUNGBLOOD in 1817; and LEE ROY HARVEY who married Marietta TYRONE in 1839. Can any reader help with information on these folk?

Please send your announcements and queries to FAMILY TREES at 900 Main Street, Natchez, MS 39120 or email to

. All queries printed free of charge. We look forward to hearing from you!