Welcome to this site dedicated to the history and the genealogies of the pioneers who settled the Cumberland highland area of central Appalachia, a region encompassing eastern Kentucky, southwestern Virginia, West Virginia, western North Carolina,and east Tennessee.

Here you will find a collection of information about the hardy folk who forged pathways into the heart of the Southern Appalachians -- and chose to stay there.  These pioneers did not view the "wilderness" as a barrier to be endured and overcome; rather, they embraced the wilderness as a way of life.  Theirs was not the story of Boone's Transylvania Company settlers or of Harrod's colony -- both located in the Bluegrass of central Kentucky.  Instead, many of these settlers either blazed the earlier trails to the outposts of the New or Clinch River and Powell's , or they penetrated the deepest mountain coves of Kentucky a generation after the Bluegrass was settled.

Mountaineers had a habit of migrating in small groups of  intermarried families.  They would settle together and continue to maintain a sense of community defined by blood connections, subsistence farming and hunting, and barter-based exchanges.  In these isolated settlements (a term that, in this context, falsely conjures images of "town" or at least "crossroads"), the rhythms of social interaction -- courtship, marriage, worship, recreation, death and dying -- were constrained among a few neighbors.  Thus the realities of  "community survival" have, over time, unfairly morphed into modern-day stereotypes of "inbreeding", ignorance, or immorality.