14 September 2016

Ghost Towns -- Ancestors DID live in them

Ghost Towns -- Ancestors DID live in them

Before doing genealogy research, when I used to think of Ghost Towns I always thought of movies made out west, which always seemed to be littered with dusty abandoned towns and tumbleweeds rolling by.  I’ve also visited such when traveling.

Many may also know of “The Lost Colony” or “The Roanoke Colony” of NC.  A whole colony that disappeared.

You may also be familiar with gold (and other mining) towns which seemed to pop up and then just as quickly disappear as gold rushes waxed and waned not just out west and in GA, NC, and elsewhere.

Sometimes a dam was installed on a river and/or a lake created – many communities ended up under water as a result of that, such as Judson (NC).  It is one of several ghost towns found in NC.

Though these towns may no longer exist, there is an excellent chance that records survive documenting those who lived (and paid taxes) in those communities.

Just because you cannot locate some place on a current map, it doesn’t mean that you cannot still document who were the inhabitants.  Check the archives of the relevant authorities.

Additionally, the relocation of cemeteries was one element documented when communities were displaced. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), has a Relocated Cemeteries database while the US Army Corps of Engineers also maintains lists of cemetery relocations such as these related to the Kinzua Dam.

Ghost towns left a rich legacy and one that we can help perpetuate by documenting those who lived in them and sharing their stories …

If your family lived in what is now considered a ghost town, tell us where they lived and a bit about their life there.

Editor’s Note: Here is a gateway page to lists of ghost towns in the United States. Here is another list of ghost towns in North Carolina.

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