History & Genealogy
By Jeannette Holland Austin
If you are a genealogist, you are also a detective, analytical, curious, a hoarder of old photos and things, and unique thinker. And over the years, you have developed a keen memory of time, places and dates. Unresolved facts bother you, like "where was he in 1850?" You see, the puzzle is yet incomplete. History and political events tie into your queries. After a study of census records dating from 1790 to 1940, your curiosity leads you to court houses where every conceivability exists. Especially, old wills, estates and marriages, which is just a start. Tax digests, deeds, minutes, inventories, sales, divisions, administrations, guardian ships and the like are next, and so on. An easy beginning is to search the wills on Kentucky Pioneers.
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The Scotch-Irish in Kentucky
There was a slew of Scotch-Irish settlers who migrated from Antrim, Ireland to America during the mid 18th century. One such young man was John Adair who came in 1772 when he was eighteen years of age. Although, tracing the voyages of the Irish is difficult, most emigrants departed the port at Antrim and landed in Pennsylvania where they joined other Irishmen in Bucks or Berks County. The many civil conflicts in the British isles virtually destroyed all ancient records. The family of John Adair temporarily settled in Baltimore before removing to Pennsylvania. He must have been with a group moving together, because shortly thereafter the family was in Sullivan County, North Carolina, removing to Knox County in 1791 and Wayne County, Kentucky in 1804. The boundary North Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky boundary lines changed and Sullivan County, North Carolina became Sullivan County, Tennessee. The records shows that several branches of the Adair families were moving into South Carolina and Georgia as well. They were Scotch-Irish in appearance, with reddish hair and beards.
Knox County Tax Digests and Quarter Session Records
Knox County was formed on December 19, 1799 from portions of Lincoln County and was named for General Henry Knox, also appointed Secretary of War during the War Between the States.
Knox County Probate Records available to members of Kentucky Pioneers
1816 Tax List
1826 Delinquent Tax Returns
1800 Quarter Sessions Court