This site was posted as a repository for my 1980’s research into my Dickens family. My manuscript is the story of why and how I did my research. It is not intended to be more than a documentary of my efforts and a list of my own family roots. (I do add updates when I locate new information). The Internet provides a convenient place for my immediate family to visit and learn something about their forefathers and to learn of my determination to trace our Dickens migrations from England to Tennessee.

I am neither a historian nor a genealogist. I am certainly not qualified to give information on anything or anyone outside of my own family line and my own limited research.

In the 1980’s, my research was limited to searching my Dickens family in counties of middle Tennessee. At that time, the use of computers as we know it today, did not yet exist. A search for information on a family or event required time, travel, diligence, and patience. If a researcher was (and still is) lucky, the Archives of any state could have a lot of the needed information already filed and indexed. But much of the old information on individuals in State Archives comes from county records. Finding that information and organizing it is a monumental task that takes years. It is a slow evolutionary process that is far from finished.

Out in the counties, very old records and documents are of little use in everyday business and government so they were often placed willy-nilly in boxes and file cabinets and stored in back rooms. Searching those requires hours of reading through hundreds of pages to locate a bit of information about a particular family, person, or event. A researcher is fortunate if a bit of needed information is located.

Tragically, in years gone by, there were courthouse fires that destroyed all the local records.Also, many early Census records were lost and the existing early Census records provide very little family information. Very old, small family cemeteries became overgrown with vegetation and many, many of them are undocumented and are located on private property. Headstones in cemeteries may be missing or broken and those very old ones that survive usually have inscriptions that are illegible. Information from these sources can be very useful or very uncertain.

A bit of information here added to a bit of information there, separated by years or miles, often leads to a skeletal outline that cannot be linked together with absolute certainty. At that point the researcher must simply write a disclaimer like "I think this or that" "I believe this or that" "It seems to me" or some such statement to alert a reader that the researcher is not certain about something but believes that linking the unlinked information seems probable. In time, old documents may emerge to either prove or disprove such a statement. Meanwhile, a mishmash of misinformation can spread like wildfire on the Internet.

There are many published books and many internet postings that pick up erroneous statements and perpetuate them as facts when they are not factual or were never intended to be factual.

So, do not use my manuscript as a factual history lesson. It is a record of my humble attempts to name my forefathers and follow their migrations from England to Tennessee. If you quote my manuscript, also quote my disclaimers. Do not make certainty out of uncertainty. Thank you.
Howard Douglas Dickens

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This site will remain under construction so long as I am able to continue it. Pages may change,
information may be added or updated as new information is located. If you have an interest, 
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                           Dickens of Hurricane Creek
Including: Maggart, Sullivans Bend, Elmwood, Chestnut Mound, Smith County, TN
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