AncestorNews: Historic Trees

By Nancy Hendrickson Premium

I got some feedback full of helpful suggestions on locating published family genealogies from last week’s column. Reader Wendy Whipple wrote: “Don’t forget county library/genealogical societies. Many genealogists who publish their pedigrees donate copies to local libraries. If you know where your family was at any given time, it’s worth a shot to call that county’s library and genealogical society if the county has one.” Wendy also suggested that anyone who writes a family genealogy donate it to the local library or society.

You can also speed your search along with the help of electronic tools. For example, Family Tree Magazine contributing editor Rick Crume’s Genealogical Library Master Catalog indexes more than 300,000 family histories, local histories and genealogical sources at libraries and archives nationwide. You can buy the CD-ROM set at If you’re an subscriber, access it at

During my October trip to Missouri and Kansas, I spent a day doing research in Putnam and Sullivan Counties, Mo. The area’s beautiful rolling countryside was home to my Knox and Dearing families. I stopped in Unionville, Mo., at the courthouse, which is surrounded by 10 trees grown from “historic roots.”

One of the trees grew from a Ridge Oak associated with the capture of Gen. Charles Lee during the Revolutionary War. Another sprung from the seeds of an apple tree planted by Johnny Appleseed, aka John Chapman. But my favorite was a Moon Sycamore that grew from seeds taken to the moon on Apollo 14. I picked up fallen leaves from each and will find a way to include them in my family history notes.

Seeing the historic trees made me want to grow varieties of trees found in Missouri—similar to a tree version of the memory garden I wrote about a few months ago.

Have you grown a historic or family-related tree? Have you collected fallen leaves from a tree species that grew where your ancestors lived? If so, write and tell me about it.

Want to learn more about the location of historic trees or where to get cuttings? Try these sites:

Historic Trees Project

Historic Tree Nursery

Tennessee Historic Tree Register

Historic Trees of Texas