Sunday, July 16, 2017

A Hunting I Will Go

Thompson's Civil War unit
There is one ancestor that is hiding so far behind a brick wall that the brick wall has a wall. Thompson Hightower is my three times great-grandfather on my dad's side of family tree. I have created a solid, documented trail from myself to him, but his ancestry remains elusive. There are numerous family trees on that indicate his father is George Hightower, Jr. and his mother, Frances Ann Hall. The problem is that none of the trees has one piece of evidence to back up that connection. I can place both Thompson and George in Cambell County Kentucky at the same time, but that is it. George's family is extremely well-documented back to the early 1700s in Virginia. If I can ever prove the relationship between Thompson and George, I will have quite a robust tree. Not to mention the ability to become a member of the DAR as well as numerous other prestigious associations.

The problem is that Thompson had the audacity to be born around 1815, long before Kentucky kept birth records. He compounded the problem by dying in 1866 before death records were recorded in Kentucky. He was of age when he married in 1838, so no parent's names are listed on the marriage license, and he left no will. George also died intestate, and research in Adams County, Ilinois where he died offered no clues regarding his children.

A week at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, despite the assistance of the highly qualified staff there, yielded no new information on Thompson. So my Hail Mary is a trip to Alexandria, Kentucky this week. When Thompson was born the area was all Campbell County, so records before 1840 are in the courthouse in Alexandria. Or they might be in a second county seat in Newport. In 1840 the area where Thompson lived became Kenton County, so records after that date are located in the courthouse in Covington. Or are they in a second county seat in Independence? It is all very confusing, and I have my work cut out for me.

My game plan is to first start at the Campbell County Historical and Genealogical Society, conveniently located in the old courthouse in Alexandria. They have limited hours, so I need to be there when they open at 10:00 on Thursday. In addition to looking at their collection, I feel like they will be able to direct me on what records are held at the various courthouses so I'm not wasting time at the wrong place.

Thursday and Friday I'll do research in the area, and will be staying at an AirBNB in Melbourne, Kentucky. I'll need to take a selfie with the sign since I was just in Melbourne, Australia in May. The cottage where I am staying is located on 20 acres. Apparently mountain lions have been spotted on the property! Maybe I can get a picture of one without being eaten.

Betty, Margie & me
Friday afternoon I will head north to Cincinnati to spend the weekend with my cousins. My mom's sister turns 95 on Friday, and she doesn't know that I am coming over. I'll also see her sister, who turned 90 last month. I can't wait to see them - they're the best! The picture on the left is of the three of us two years ago. I always have a great time in the city where I was born, and hopefully I'll have a genealogy find to celebrate in addition to a milestone birthday.

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