Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Expedition to Kerlin's Well

In the last post, I told about our trip to Kerlin's Well where my Great-grandfather carved his name in the rock back in 1877. In the first picture above you can see the rock and the names. The volcanic rock has a dark weathered coating over the lighter rock making a perfect surface for writing names. There are quite few names on the rocks and surprisingly few modern ones. If you were walking on the plateau above the canyon, you would not be able to see any portion until you were right on top of the cliff. From a quarter of a mile away, you could never tell it was there. I was very surprised to see such a large concrete dam that wasn't marked on any maps.

From a genealogical standpoint, this experience illustrates several important lessons. First and foremost, you need to use all of the resources you have available to solve a genealogical puzzle or brick wall. It helps to publicize your search in detail. I don't think posts such as "looking for Uncle Fred" are helpful at all. Your posts online need to tell a story and ask for help. You also need to realize that the more different places (or sources) you examine, the more likely you are to find a lead to the information you are seeking. Also, don't give up. Just because nothing shows up in Google search or two or more, does not mean that the answer is not staring at you from the computer screen. My ignorance of GeoCaching meant that I had the answer months before I finally figured out how to find the answer.

This picture gives you a very limited idea of what it is like driving across the plateau. The road on the right is the old wagon road and approximately what the rest of the road looks like in some places. The road on the left is a more modern track. None of the roads are really constructed, they are just where trucks and wagons have driven over the years.

The next day we went to the Northern Arizona University Special Collections Department to look at a huge collection of historical documents donated by Henry Tanner's son, George Shepherd Tanner. Stay tuned.


  1. I'm glad you found it, but what an adventure getting to it! If that's what the water looked like 133 years ago, then you would have to be pretty thirsty to drink it. Of course... this is Arizona.

  2. what you said about getting your information out there I agree with. and as a blogger or at forums. State where from, where lived when, etc. Not just looking for Uncle henry jones.
    I this finding lucky you knew about the writing or it may not have been ours to find.