It was a number of years ago that I first met Ray Henderson of Wichita Kansas . In fact it was a long time before I met him in person. We wrote back and forth thru e-mail messages about the Henderson families. All together I collected 27 file tubs of data on the Henderson families, mainly in Tennessee but in many other parts of this country. Ray was an expert with computers and he knew a lot about putting data into web sites. This web site tnhendersons was developed by Ray. I had the information and he put it on line so others could benefit by reading my stuff as we called it.
One of the saddest things a person can experience is to learn of some elderly family member who spent many years collecting family history information and then learn that an uninterested family member inherited all these works and took it to the city dump where this history was burned up.
This happens very often. It happened in my family, when Lige Henderson took up photography back before 1900, many in Sevier County TN. He was from Tennessee and traveled back from Kansas to Tennessee often. He took many pictures of relatives and land and houses and towns and cemeteries. After he died a relative inherited this material and it was all destroyed.
What a treasure that would have been.
So a couple of years ago, I decided that I wanted to give my genealogical papers that I'd accumulated to some place where they would keep these. There are lots of libraries that would like to have donations of family history material. Clan Henderson encourages family histories to be placed in the Henderson collection in the Odum Library in Moultrie , GA. I visited there once and they sure have a lot of Henderson family histories, more than 500 as I recall.
I've always regretted that Clan Henderson has not gone thru this material at that library and organized it and placed it on line. I suspect someday they will do that. However, I decided that I'd see if the McClung Historical Collection at Knoxville TN would accept my records. Dr. Steve Cotham did so in about 2004 in June of that year.
Cherel Henderson is editor of the East Tennessee Historical Society Journal. The McClung Historical Collection is associated with this organization. She was very helpful in the early years I was starting to learn about Sevier County, TN. At that time she was with the Sevier County Genealogical Society.
What I tried to do was keep track of Henderson families by counties in Tennessee . Much of my collection could be found in the McClung Historical Collection before my donation; however, knowing where to locate this data would take lots of searching.
I'd like to encourage all Henderson family researchers to consider giving their stuff to the McClung Historical Collection and asking that it be kept in tack or in some sort of place where others could locate this material for future study.
Maybe you'd be willing to contribute some money from your estate to the McClung Historical Collection to preserve our stuff for future generations. Everything costs so much money these days and some sort of fund might be established where studies could be sponsored to learn more about the very early pioneer Henderson families that help settle Tennessee. There was a bunch of Henderson families there very early.
If you are interesting in donating your family histories and/or money to a Henderson Family Project Fund, please write to Dr. Steve Cotham, Mgr. Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection, Knox County Public Library System, East Tennessee History Center , 601 South Gay Street , Knoxville , TN 37902 .
His phone number and email address follows:
© F. Robert Henderson
2007, all rights reserved.