Central Mississippi one of the great areas for family research

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 17, 2004

Central Mississippi was one of the major migration routes for families moving west from the Carolinas, Georgia and Alabama.

Some families stayed forever, some moved farther westward after a few years or just a few generations, and still other families made the move from Central Mississippi into Louisiana and Texas in the great exodus after the Civil War.

For this reason Central Mississippi is fertile ground for genealogical research not only for Mississippians but for a vast number of people across the country.

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For the past few years, the Smith County Genealogical Society has sponsored a Genealogy Swap Meet to assist those with research interests in the central part of our state. The swap meet is a unique idea that has been a huge success, growing bigger and better with each year.

The fifth annual Central Mississippi Genealogy Swap Meet has been scheduled for Saturday, June 5, 2004, at the Smith County Agricultural Complex in Raleigh.

The Smith County Genealogical Society, in partnership with the other societies from surrounding counties, will again sponsor the event.

Individuals researching family lines and histories from this area are invited to search through the hundreds of family files on site as well as compare and share records and information on the many family names that came into and through Central Mississippi.

For those of you not familiar with the swap meet concept, each year participants are encouraged to submit either an ancestral or descendant file on each of their own family members (and, in fact, files are encouraged on ALL family members whether they passed through the area or not).

These records are added to the repository maintained by the Society and each year at the Swap the repository is opened to researchers in attendance. With each year the number of records on file grows and the wealth of information available expands tremendously.

Family files will also be gladly accepted from those who cannot attend, but would simply like to contribute to the repository of family lines. This is a great way to assure that your family history is secured for posterity.

The files should be limited to 25-30 pages per family and submitters are asked to put their name and address on the front or back of each page so that anyone looking at the file can make direct contact with the submitter if they need to do so.

During the swap meet, while the repository is open for research, there is ample time allowed for searching, reviewing and copying the family files of interest. Copy machines will be available for use for a small additional charge.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their own files with them in order to share and compare with the other researchers. It is the perfect opportunity to fill in the blanks in your own research records and to meet researchers working on the same lines.

The event starts at 8:30 a.m. with registration and will continue until 5 p.m. or until the last person leaves (whichever comes first). Preregistration for the event is now open.

Registration fees are $15 per person above the age of 12 and $7.50 for children 8 to 12.

This charge covers entrance into the event, access to all the family files in the repository and lunch which is provided on site. The only additional expense will be the copy machine fees if copying is required.

Preregistration, family files, and requests for more information should be sent to the Smith County Genealogical Society, PO Box 356, Raleigh, MS 39153.

For registration, please include your name, address, phone number, e-mail address (if applicable), surnames you are researching and the registration fee. The deadline for preregistration is May 28, 2004.

Mark the Swap Meet date on your calendar and make plans to attend now. Even if you cannot attend, take advantage of this opportunity to place your family information in the repository. It will be a great service to your own family and may be the very information for which some other researcher has been seeking.

Every new file contributed increases the value of the repository and makes each year’s Swap Meet a more valuable research event.

Happy hunting at the Swap Meet!


… Johnie Wilson (


) is looking for the reason and death date of ELLISON ARCOSTUS BLACKWELL. He was born 15 December 1877 possibly in Lawrence County, Mississippi. It is rumored that he killed a man in either Lawrence County or Jefferson Davis County, MS. He was on the 1920 Census in Jefferson Davis County. He married LONIE EVANS who remarried a man named DANIELS. Ellison and Lonie had these children: Vernon, Velma, Shelton, Ida, Scott and John William. Can any reader help with information on the Blackwells?

Johnie is also seeking information on MARY ANN RAWLINSON who was born in 1820 and died in 1862. She married SAMUEL CHARLES CARLOS STERLING who was born in 1815 and died in 1885. They lived in Amite County, MS. They had the following children: Jim Black (born ?); Nancy (born 1837); Vinson Price (born 1842); James Nathen (born 1844); Samuel Jr. (born 1848); Elijah (born 1851); Martha (born 1857); Elias (born 1860). Mary Ann was also married to JOHN ROLLINS. Does any reader have information on this family?

Johnie’s third query concerns the death date of CATHERINE ANN ROBERTS who was born in 1849 in Mississippi and married JAMES POLK FORMAN/FOREMAN who was born in 1846 in Amite County, MS. Their children included: James Lawrence (born 1871); Albert (born 1874); Lee Herbert (born 1878); Mary (born 1880); Minnie (born ?); and Sylvia (born 1889).

Catherine’s parents were DAVID WESLEY ROBERTS (born 1831 in Amite County) and EUPHERMIA TAYLOR (born about 1828). James Polk and his wife Catherine Ann were first cousins.

Does anyone know Catherine’s death date?

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


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