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Wrapping Up

Each year at the end of October, I wind up my annual research project and begin writing up my findings. That time has arrived for the work on Thomas Reed (1783-1852) and Ann Kirkham (1782-1869).

These ancestors settled in Illinois when their children were already well-grown. The local Reed descendants were proud of their heritage and preserved much of the genealogy from the time the family arrived there in 1829 until the present. Cousins had combed the records for every scrap of information, leaving little else for me to find.

Once they had gathered it up, one wrote a book about Thomas and his descendants. Michael Hayden published The Reeds of Ashmore in 1988.

His book did not address the Reed history before their arrival in Illinois. For earlier information on Thomas, I needed to look at records from Nelson, Shelby, and Spencer Counties, Kentucky.

There again, the cousins had located a lot. One passed all that research on to me.

A source I do not think they consulted was the county Court Order books. I spent hours this year reading them on the Family Search website. Thomas Reed did not appear there often, but I found that his father Caleb (1756-abt. 1835) certainly did.

Instead of spending my year gathering material on Thomas as I had expected to do, I kept adding to the pile of information about Caleb. This gave me insight into Kentucky life during the early years of its statehood when Thomas grew up there. Those events shaped him, even if he did not appear in the records much.

Armed with this information, next week I will begin my character sketch of Thomas Reed and his wife Ann. The information I found this year allows me to include his life in Kentucky in addition to his years in Illinois.

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