Courthouses and Historical Societies

After our trip to Washington DC we spent a busy two days visiting the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society as well as their courthouse and a return to Louisa county and the courthouse there. Both courthouses had the records very available, which was nice, but I missed that wonderful woman from Logan County Genealogical Society who helped soooo much at that courthouse! Landon performed yeoman service in copying lots of very difficult to copy record pages as well as photographing lots of other items and documents. It was more difficult in Louisa as photographs weren’t allowed for some reason. No copies of indexes, either, which made it difficult to pull all of the items we wanted in the limited time we had. His family <that’s who we’re researching, after all> would be proud of his effort! Now we’re feeling like we have lots of information but no concrete ideas or trails to follow. We’ve decided to focus on the William Kimbroughs and see where that gets us.  Taking time to sort and timeline some of the new information and review what we already have will be helpful, I trust.

During our time in Charlottesville at the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society we found a great deal on the Garth family, that is prominent there. The librarian, Margaret O’Bryant, was incredibly helpful and really knows the area! We keep running into various documents by Rosalie Edith Davis who wrote The Garth Family, a very comprehensive book. We will order one when we get home.

We moved off the Kimbrough theme a bit as we looked for more information about Richard Gaines and Thomas Garth in Albemarle County. Richard Gaines married Ann Garth, daughter of Thomas and they were the parents of Susan Gaines, wife of “our” Thomas Winston Kimbrough. Susan’s sister married Meredith Kimbrough, Thomas’ brother. Richard Gaines was a carpenter and did a lot of work for Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Garth served as Jefferson’s business manager and may have fulfilled some other offices for him while Jefferson was away from Monticello. We made a point to visit Monticello for that reason and have found several references to Garth and Gaines in the Jefferson papers and other historical documents. Helps history come alive!

Continuing to travel and gather information makes it difficult to post, but as we travel back to the west I hope to update both my information and this blog. We will stop in Salt Lake City, with an eye to clarifying some findings and perhaps gaining even more information, as we ran out of time at the Albemarle Courthouse.

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Virginia is for genealogists!

28 May 2012

While sitting in the library in Hanover Courthouse, VA, week before last paging through books, a man came in to talk to the librarians and I overheard him say:  “You ladies have been so helpful to me but I STILL can’t find my 6th great-grandfather William Kimbrough in the cemetery!” <WHAT?!!> Needless to say, I struck up a conversation with this fellow and we exchanged information. Not sure if there is a connection, but what a coincidence…anybody read the book Psychic Roots? Hanover County has a large number of Kimbroughs, as does its neighbor, Louisa. Both were the same county in early history so keeping track of dates and locations is important.

We spent time with Elaine Taylor, Museum Director of the Sargent Museum and Jim Artz, Mayor of Louisa, in the Louisa County Historical Society http://www.louisacountyhistoricalsociety.org/ – a great place with very helpful people and lots of resources – and found some interesting will information.

Thanks to Elaine we found evidence that William Kimbrough (ca 1765 – ca 1851) of Louisa freed all of his slaves upon his death and decreed in his will that they were transported to non-slave states. An unusual act in these times, I imagine. I believe that this is the same William who is shown in the 1850 Louisa County census as living with Celia Cosby, a mulatto woman and her child. He is 85 at the time of the census. There are numerous Kimbroughs and Winstons in Louisa County and we plan a trip to the courthouse and the public library as soon as we can manage. This likely means a return to VA after we visit Washington, DC.

Other than ruling out a number of folks and getting a bit more information, the trip to the Library of Virginia was inconclusive. I did find out about some databases they have online that I can access with my LVA library card.

So far, I’m feeling frustrated. Wish me luck!