The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

The Mail Box - June, 1992

Issue: June, 1996

Dear Editor:
I am desperately seeking vital information from your community. From the elders as well as the younger generation. Related or not.

Learning the story of my origin is very important to me. If anyone has any memories of my parents, John and Annie (Waller) Shinault, and their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents etc. please correspond with me. The Shinault-Waller fore-bearers and their interest are called "clues to my past."

My understanding is the spelling of the Shinault name was changed from the spelling of Chenault. And they originated from North Carolina.

Searching for the details of the lives of real people from whom I am descended seem to make them come alive. I need to be taken backwards to earlier Shinault-Waller places and events. To trace my family history. To question everyone and anyone.

Doing a family tree is very challenging, educational as well as entertaining. Who I am is a very important part of my heritage. I need your HELP as I have just begun my family tree and I need all kinds of information - enormous amounts.

I need names, places and dates. Family records: Bibles, old letters, scrapbooks, diaries, photo albums, newspaper clippings and legal documents. Any mementos will help.

Birth, Marriage, and Death certificates. Personal records, legal papers, school records, religious records, government records and health records. Just to name a few. Are there any family reunions of today? Does a list of family expressions, recipes and other traditions exist?

To complete a journey back into time is very thrilling and exciting for me. But my success in my venture rest entirely on how well I can receive information from the older folks as well as the newer generations from your community.

The only information I have (and it could be incorrect) is that I was born John (Jewett or Garrett) Shinault approximately January 17, 1947, in Ivanhoe, Virginia (in the home of Hubert and Rethie Waller) to John Washington Shinault (born 1909 Cripple Creek) and Annie Cecil (Waller) Shinault (born 1913 Ivanhoe). The doctor was Dr. Harry Pope or Mid-wife Maggie Pettigrew. My parents were married December 21, 1927 in Wythe County. My father worked at National Carbide.

When I was supposedly two weeks old my family moved to Ashtabula, Ohio in 1946-47. My grandparents were a James Albert and Clara Thomas (Whitt) Shinault and Andrew and Nannie (Isom) Waller all of Wythe County.

Therefore, I extend a "special invitation" to each and every person that was either a friend, neighbor, co-worker, relative and etc. of my parents to contact me.

John and Sharon (Carlisle) Shinault
5320 North Woodman Avenue
Ashtabula, Ohio 44004
Phone 216-992-8780

Dear Readers,
This letter contains a lot of the type of information people researching genealogy need and are looking for - newspaper articles, family records, etc. If you are researching genealogy, perhaps it will give you clues to types of information you haven't even thought of hunting for yet.

Here are some helpful suggestions if you are researching genealogy in an area away from the one in which you live:

1. It is a good idea to write for a county map so you can see the relationship to neighboring communities. They are usually available at County Courthouses.

2. Another helpful aid is to write for a phone book of the area you are researching.

3. Subscribe to the local newspaper.

4. Contact the local Chamber of Commerce and historical society for any information they can supply.

5. If the area you are researching is close to the county line, don't overlook doing research in the neighboring county as well. The information you are looking for could be in another county or even state if it is in close proximity.

6. You can write to The National Cartographic Information Center, US Department of the Interior, Geological Survey, 507 National Center, Reston, Virginia 22092, and ask for information about old maps of the area you are researching. They have maps on microfilm that date back into the last century. For a fee, they will make a copy of maps and send them to you. This could aid you because old maps contained names of long gone communities, mountains, streams, etc. that might not be on the maps of today. Also, the old maps showed the roads of that day and even the course of streams could have changed. It is often hard to trace places of yesteryear by today's modern roads.

Dear Mt. Laurel,
Enclosed is my check for The Mountain Laurel. I do not wish to miss a copy. I look forward to getting my copy as I read the whole thing. I was born near Galax VA, and can relate to many happenings in the paper. I watch very closely to see if I know any of the people involved.

The Puckett lady that the little cabin is on the Blue Ridge Parkway was a distant relative of my family. My grandmother was Alice Puckett.

M.R. Haire
Shannon, North Carolina

Dear Madam:
Please renew my subscription to The Mountain Laurel for another year.

I really look forward to receiving the paper. I am originally from Mount Airy [North Carolina] where my mother still lives, but most of my people live in Virginia, so it is still very dear to me. I visit up there regularly.

I hear a lot of stories from my mom about how people lived up there when she was young, and I love to read the stories about other people's lives back there.

Keep up the good work.

Irene Sutphin Payne

Genealogy Research Resource
For those of you who are hunting for records pertaining to Montgomery & Wythe Counties, VA.; Tennessee counties of Carter, Benton, Grainger (and census records of any more); and West Virginia Counties of Raleigh & Summers, do we have an address for you! Write to Mountain Press, PO Box 400, Signal Mountain, TN 37377 or call 1-615-886-6369 for a flier listing their catalog of books available. They accept Master Card and Visa for orders of $25.00 or more.