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Great's Charts

I mentioned in the post about the Barb book that I was also lucky enough to have inherited research from my father's side of the family as well as my mother's. This research was done by my dad's father, Walter Goolsby (also known as my Granddaddy Walt, and, once my son, his great grandchild, was born, he earned the new nickname, "Great," which was used by all of us.) From him, I received detailed research on both sides of his family as well as my Grandmother Ollie's Rich side as well. (In case you didn't already know this, most Southern girls have grandparents called Granddaddy and Grandmother, just like they usually have parents who are called Mother and Daddy!)


Great's first real job was as a self-taught surveyor of what would become Dale Hollow Lake (having found someone who could teach him how to do it AFTER he got the job interview!). After WWII, he got a job as a civil engineer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where his high school education allowed him to get hired and learn the civil engineering profession on-the-job. He went on to establish himself as an expert on a concept called "critical paths," basically the idea that you plan any project by starting with the date it must be completed and working backwards to where you started. This way, you would never miss the final deadline for project completion. (I try to implement this method for planning all of my projects, especially my genealogy work for clients.)

As a former surveyor and civil engineer, Great knew his way with a drafting table, ruler, and pencil, as well as having extremely neat penmanship. He could also create really lovely free-form letting for signs and other things. And although he worked at Oak Ridge on computers that required punch cards for them to work, he never embraced the (I-can-only-imagine-much-simpler) personal computer. So when he began seriously indulging in his passion for genealogy after he retired from Oak Ridge, he did it all by hand. Everything -- the research, the records, the files. All of it!

While his work might have been accomplished faster on a PC once he got the hang of using it, the end result wouldn't have showcased his drafting and penmanship skills or been nearly as personal. What he did instead was to painstakingly make massive, butcher-paper family history charts, that we now refer to as "Great's charts." I cherish these so much and, while the sources he used are not often cited, the charts are a great reference for my work on the Goolsby and Cook family lines. They help me to make sense of things that don't make sense on their own with the records, such as the fact that my 2x great grandfather, William Franklin Goolsby, and his wife, my 2x great grandmother, Virginia Elizabeth Goolsby, were also first cousins! Luckily Great had noted that by putting the letter 'A' next to Virginia next to the two places she appears on the chart.

I have been using these so much as a reference that the folding and unfolding and refolding is taking a toll on the print. I am working to figure out how best to preserve these so that my son and his children can have them to see just how much work and love he put into documenting our family history. I only wish I had some photos of him creating them!

The damage from folding

#generationjonesgenealogy #generationjones #familyhistory #ancestors #genealogy

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