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Centennial History of Hurricane (1994 Edition): Introduction to Family History Section

In 1988, The Centennial History of Hurricane, WV was published to commemorate the town’s 100th anniversary. In 1994, the Centennial Committee published a follow up book which included family histories which were not submitted in time for the 1988 Centennial History. This week’s selection is the introduction to the family histories and first history from The Centennial History of Hurricane WV Continued — 1994.


Introduction To Family History Section

One of the more popular features of the 1988 Centennial History of Hurricane book was the family history section. While researching for their histories, some writers learned things about their families they had not previously known. Conversely, some readers also learned more about their families from reading the histories. One reader remarked, “I didn’t know I was related to so many people in Hurricane.”

Due to time and space limitations, many articles and family histories did not make it into the book. Some simply didn’t get their articles/histories to the book committee in time and others were not aware of the book was being planned. In any event, the committee determined that there was more than enough material for a follow-up book (Volume II). No particular limitation was placed on family histories and most came in a manageable form. Attention is called to the fact that two histories were submitted that were much greater in length. These are the Kirtley and Matthews Families. The Committee determined that they should be printed as a guide to others who are researching their families and want to record what they find.

The format for recording family history is a personal choice. The content is what is important. Genealogy is more than names and dates, and would include places of origin, movement (where lived), occupation, war service, religion, accomplishment, cemeteries, handed down family stores, etc. The Kirtley and Matthews histories embody all of these.

Several members of the Kirtley Family have collaborated for many years in researching their family. They have told their story in generational sequence, in a second person, narrative, almost biographical form, choosing to highlight some six generations of their family, although they have much more material.

The Matthews story is also told in generational sequence, but combines the telling in both first and second person, and moves between narrative and conversational tone. This history is also noteworthy for its use of collateral families – who married who, who were the parents, who were the brothers and sisters, etc.

So, it is obvious that the formal in recording family history is incidental – writers choice, whatever they are comfortable with. What is more important is that the histories be recorded. The Book Committee hopes that, in printing these histories, not only will the early history of Hurricane and its people be preserved, but that those citizens who have not done so, will be encouraged to begin researching their own families. If you are just beginning your “climb up the family tree,” good hunting.

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