Robert and Betsy Chumley – through 5 generations

Years ago, seems so very long ago, a couple of researchers helped me with proofing and creating a complete family tree through 5 generations starting with our oldest proven recorded ancestors, Robert and Betsy Chumley. What an endeavor we undertook. It was a lofty goal and it took all our research talents to complete the list. We were just wrapping up our research, when life through me a curve ball and I had to put my participation to the research project on hold. I am sure others in the group were discouraged that we would ever get our project of someday writing our Chumley History completed. If they did, they never shared it with me. Instead, a few came along side and sent me words of wisdom, prayers, loving advise, cards and emails kept coming and I got through it all. We have now achieved a huge hurdle; getting this complete family tree out for the world to see. Let me try and explain the process of completing this tree.

Our research group is always looking for more people to help us in our goal to write the Chumley History, people who will bring more information and share it with us and others. We started with just a handful of people, but what each of us had to contribute was amazing! I have a spreadsheet of each person in the group, what talents and skills they bring to our group, and the really amazing part is that we have a representative from each of the family lines that branch off Robert and Betsy Chumley. I think it was just logical for us to think a book must be printed and our history must be preserved.

My dear friend Gail stuck it out until the very end. Together, we managed to make contacts within our group and find out where they got their family information and try and find proof for all names, dates, and events that we had in our Chumley Tree. The platform we used to help us work together was Several in our group had an ancestry account and this was any efficient way we could compare dates and other information, and if there was a discrepancy, we could discuss it as a group and decide the information we would go with. One of the most frequent questions in our group was “Are we going with the headstone date or the death certificate?” Now that might sound like an odd question, but here is the problem with information. Genealogy information is only as good as the person who gave the information. Here are some examples of what I am talking about.

1 – I learned the very quickly from Glenda about the error of dates. I was astonished when she told me how many headstones had the wrong dates on them in my own family cemetery in Claiborne County, Tennessee. This revelation did not detour us from our research, but it did encourage us to dig deeper.

2 – Census records – forget about it! There are many things to beware when taking information from census records. Did the information come from a family member, a neighbor, a child? Did the census taker really visit each home or did he just sit at the end of the road and talk to passerbys?

3 – Death certificates – it is not uncommon that children do not know their mother’s maiden name, or have the incorrect birth date. This is just a couple of examples we found with death certificates.

4. – Draft cards – young men would sometimes lie about their age so they could serve their country during times of war.

I could go on and on, but you can see the quandary of it all. It was painstaking to identify each families data, let alone each person in the household. However, we did persevere and I am so happy to show the fruits of our labor. I feel I need to write some disclaimer at this point, but please understand this was our groups best attempt to give an account of the descendants of Robert and Betsy Chumley. I welcome all questions and please let me know if you disagree with any information.

See Updated 5 generation report dated 7/31/2020.

May 1, 2020

May 1, 2020

The month of April was Crazy.  I am happy to say we are now putting the final touches on the 125-year History of Underwood Grove Baptist Church.  I am so excited how it has turned out.  The collaboration between Betty Russell and I was amazing.  Betty has done the grunt work, running all over Claiborne County for research to fill in the blanks of what we found in the church minutes.  She made phone calls, sent me photos and information via text messaging, and I think she has caught the geno bug!  Yep, she has actually started researching her own family tree and is so excited to find connections to the history of the church to her own family!  It has been awesome to watch her get excited about her family history.

Organizing my digital files that I have collected on the Chumley history has been a challenge, but I have my files on my computer down to 3 main folders with numerous folders under each of the 3 main folders.  That was a real mindbender putting those in some kind of order and there were so many duplicates!  Geezers!  Next goal is to get my paper files and books in order so that as I am writing I have every resource within reach.  Once the Underwood Book is completed, I will have more time to tackle my Chumley Research Project to-do lists.  I am not ready to set a date for when I will continue the writing of our Chumley history book.  I will certainly be excited to let you know when I do get started.

I am excited about setting up a surname tent at the Cumberland Gap, Tennessee Genealogy Jamboree in October this year.  One of our Chumley Researcher had suggested this a few years back and I have just been waiting for the right time to plan it.  So, I contacted the Claiborne County Historical & Genealogy Society for information and I making a to-do list to get ready for it.  One thing I know, I will need help at the tent.  So, I am looking for volunteers at the event, which will be Friday and Saturday, October 16 and 17, from 9-5.  Also, I am looking for ideas about specific things we can offer at the tent, besides information.  Send me an email as soon as possible and let me know if you can sit with me a few hours at the tent and let me know your ideas at

During April, I did achieve many of my short-term goals.  I renewed my membership at the Claiborne County Historical & Genealogy Society, and I became a member of the Ameila County Historical Society here in Ameila County, Virginia.  I also became a member of the Virginia Genealogical Society here in Richmond, Virginia.  I am glad I was able to join these groups without having to leave the house, and I feel being a member of these organizations will be very helpful in our Chumley Research Project.

Another short-term goal I can cross off my list, I invested in some business cards and mailing labels I can use when I need to contact others for our Chumley Research Project.

business card

This photo shows the front and back of the cards and would love some feedback, good or bad.  If anyone wants some cards, you can leave your mailing address at the above email address and I can send you the number of cards you want.  I think these will be useful at the October Genealogy Jamboree.  A little marketing will help our cause to get a book published on our family.

Hope you are encouraged where we are headed with our Chumley/Chumbley Research Project.  Send me some feedback and let me know your ideas.

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