Tennessee RecordsSometimes titles don’t completely clarify the contents of a book. Not so, with Tennessee Records: Tombstone Inscriptions and Manuscripts, where the title says exactly what the book is about. Within these pages you will find thousands of tombstone inscriptions. In fact, 364 pages of inscriptions for thousands of names from early Tennessee cemeteries.

In addition to the tombstone inscriptions, this book offers another 195 pages of historical references for Tennessean families and individuals, extracted from family Bibles, diaries, letters and other manuscripts. The depth of this work can be measured by the surname index containing some 12,500 entries.

Originally published in 1933, this book represents a major research effort by Jeannette Tillotson Acklen, with the assistance of other, to preserve the knowledge of ancestors for their children. Judge John H. DeWitt makes clear the value of these inscriptions and extractions, in the following words take from his foreword:

“We know much of the lives of the leaders in statesmanship and in war. We know something of the lives and social customs of the wealthy. We yet know but little of the life and thought of the great mass of plain but sturdy people who have not acquired wealth or honors. They have been the human basis of our civilization. They lie unsung everywhere in quiet graves, under modest tombstones, and yet they live on in the lives of their children to whom they have left he principles of honor and of usefulness.”

It was interesting to me to read the words of this Judge as he referred to his day, depression era 1933, as an “age of obsession with material things—the problems and diversions of time…” I wonder how he would view our times? Yet, I am sure he would be proud of the efforts of so many in finding and remembering their ancestors through genealogical research. He also would likely have been happy to see that someone had taken the time to reprint this valuable volume. Thousands of ancestors of countless descendents are represented within its pages. The historical content, as well, is of such great value, teaching us of life in another time. Again in the words of DeWitt:

“All who love our southern history and want it to be brought properly before the world should acclaim this work and give it material encouragement. All who are of kin to those who are here commemorated will delight in these pages and be grateful for them. War are all indebted to Mrs. Acklen and those who have assisted her for this fine contribution to our historical literature.”

If your history ties to southern roots, especially with those likely buried in Tennessee, then pick up a copy of Tennessee Records: Tombstone Inscriptions and Manuscripts at Family Roots Publishing.