Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Genealogy Guy


I live in Indianapolis, Indiana.  The better part is that I live closer to Kentucky than I have ever lived before (Kentucky is where my family tree has its roots,).  The worse part is that Indiana isn't Kentucky!  ;-).

Genealogy and local history research have been two interests of mine for the past three decades now.  When I began to look into my own family's past in Northern Kentucky in 1992, on my mother's side in particular, I didn't know a whole lot about genealogy, how to research or document one, or where to look for the records that would answer my questions.

It was a book about a line of my father's family, the Gollehons, that initially sparked my interest in researching my ancestry.  The book was a simple genealogy, with names and dates and pictures of no one I had ever heard of before.  What I found rather amazing was that so much could be discovered about so many people who weren't particularly famous or well-known, but who mattered to a whole bunch to each other and to their descendants today.


was to the Indiana State Library's Genealogy Division here in Indianapolis.  I went looking for one of my maternal 2nd-great-grandfathers, a guy named Beresford Fitzgerald Aylmer.  It turned out that he was my only 19th century immigrant ancestor; all the others had arrived long before he did.

However, his being a "late-comer" didn't make him any easier to find.  In fact, he turned out to be one of the most elusive ancestors I had (These elusive ones make you wonder if they actually did exist, but you know they must have!).  And not knowing much about how bad old record keeping could be, I actually did find him in some record books during that first visit to the library . . . but I didn't know it (His name was recorded in a volume of passenger list transcriptions, but I dismissed the entry altogether as the spelling was off, he was recorded as a she, and "she" was of the wrong age anyway).


as I discovered more and more at the local genealogy library (when hardly anybody "did genealogy" on the internet). The next step was to visit libraries and courthouses of the counties where my maternal grandparents were born and grew up. They aren't too far away, maybe a couple of hours drive, depending on how fast you drive.  ;-)  Virginia, where my father grew up, is a bit more of a trip.  To make the most of my research field trips, I found it necessary to spend a lot of time at the photocopier so that I could have as much information as possible and have it within easy reach at home for future reference. 

About ten years ago, a friend, who was also a genealogist and who shared my genealogy mania, invited me to compile an index of county marriage records for a small website I had created.  At first the site was just a little place online that I could use as a personal research resource while away from home, something like Dropbox, only before they came along.  The end result was a website with an archive of information for anybody researching Harrison County and it could be found at www.HarrisonCountyKy.US.

Later, I wanted to come up with a domain name that was rather more generic, one that expressed my broader interest.  I went looking for ideas.  It seems I was looking at some  cooking sites and I found where some chef or wannabe who specialized in one particular vegetable had named himself something like "the asparagus guy" or "the cucumber guy." 

And so in this spirit, I latched onto the domain of

I hope that you can find something of what you are looking for in trying to fill in those blanks in your family tree.

Happy Hunting!

Philip Naff
Indianapolis, Ind.

Website creator and editor of Harrison CountyKy.US
Assitant Editor and Senior Staff Writer for the Harrison Heritage News, monthly newsletter of the Harrison County (Ky.) Historical Society
Recipient of the 2007 Kentucky Genealogical Society's Outstanding Service to Genealogy Award
Member, Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels (Since 2007)
Avid blogger (See list)