Saturday, December 31, 2016



It is the end of the year ... but a new one will be here soon.

So if you are making any resolutions, why not make this one ...

Resolve to join the Harrison County Historical Society today!

It only costs $10-12 per year, and twelve times a year you will see returns in your mailbox or emailbox, in the form of the Harrison County Historical Society's prize-winning newsletter, the Harrison Heritage News.

And to make it easy for you to keep your resolution to sign up today, a handy membership application has been made ready for you to download to your computer right now.

I am sorry to say, we cannot provide any downloadable stamps for you to put on the envelope.

And we seem to be entirely out of downloadable envelopes, too ...

But, hey, we will be sending you stamps on envelopes twelve times in 2017 if you can just take the time to send the society just one stamp, one envelope, one form, and one check (or money order).

Does that seem fair?

I think so.

You may not be able to lose any weight this year, but you just can't lose by ... JOINING TODAY!

So, do join and have a HAPPIER NEW YEAR!


How fitting!.  2017 will be the Year of the Rooster
(Jan. 28, 2017 - Feb. 15, 2018) in the Chinese lunar calendar.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

62 Last Name Meanings (A Mental Floss List Show (Ep. 231))


Sixty-two surnames in just over seven minutes! Wow!

Is your name one of the sixty-two?

Yes or no, it is fun to watch ... pop quiz will follow ... ;-)


Monday, December 26, 2016

Receive Email Updates from "The County Line"


Ya gotta play to win.  That's just the way it goes in life ... and with the lottery ... and a whole lot of sports ... and politics ... and ...

I just wanna say, please consider playing to win by signing up for email updates from this blog, which covers most things historical and genealogical, focusing especially Harrison County, Kentucky, ... and sometimes more.

It is a very simple process.  Just about three steps.  Maybe four, depending on how you count them.  ;-)

Just fill in your email address in the "Follow by Email" box here at, which heads the column to the right of the latest blog post.  You will then be asked to prove that you aren't a bot.  I know you aren't, but the people who run this show want it anyway.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Santa's WWII Draft Registration


Santa Claus did exist!  And he registered for the draft during WWII.

He must have been living in his summer home, in Saline, Mo, of all places.

The following record was featured in a daily email by Michael John Neill and posted to his Genealogy Tip of the Day blog.

It was found at Ancestry's U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 database (Subscription probably required for access).

Actually, his surname may have been Clause, but his parents must have had a sense of humor (possibly weird?) when they named their little elf.

Other records at Ancestry document that this Santa (1888-1957) was a lifelong resident of Saline County, Missouri, the son of William (1856-1917) and Henrietta S. Clause (1861-1915), that he was married to a gal named Minnie Mabel Hill (1894-1944) in 1912 and had a large brood of children beginning with William Owen (1915-1994) just a few years later.

This Santa died in 1957, which begs the question, just who is it that has been appearing on NORAD radars all these years?  ;-)  Another genealogy problem for the ages!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Kentucky Rebel Town, a new book by William A. Penn


If you somehow missed the news, William A. (aka Bill) Penn, editor of the Harrison Heritage News, with a little help from the University of Kentucky Press, has published a fine history of Civil War times in Harrison County.  It is entitled Kentucky Rebel Town - The Civil War Battles of Cynthiana & Harrison County.

Image of the cover of Kentucky Rebel Town, a new book by William A. Penn

One might call it a revision of the author's earlier Civil War history, Rattling Spurs and Broad-Brimmed Hats: The Civil War and Harrison County, Kentucky (Battle Grove Press, 1995).  Yet, it really is a body of work that stands on its own when one considers how much more work has been done in recovering the details of lost history using research techniques and records not readily available in what might be considered the pre-internet era of the 1980s and '90s.

The volume should fill all your desires to know what is knowable about Cynthiana and Harrison County in the 1850s, '60s, and postbellum era..  There are 278 pages of great reading for the history buff with about an additional hundred pages of citations, including the index. Copies are available directly from Bill (who is also proprietor of the Midway Museum Store in Midway, Ky.), from the University of Kentucky Press, and if you are in or can make it to Cynthiana, they have been offered recently at the Cynthiana-Harrison County Museum for $47.70, of which $10 will be donated to the museum.

Bill's book should be of interest to genealogists as well. Did you know the difference between how a regular person reads a book and how a genealogist reads a book?  Your average bookworm will start at page one, while the genealogist will go to the back of the book first ... not to find out how the story ends, but to see if his relations ever got listed in the index before even bothering to read the text!

So, for a genealogist, quite a few books end up being pretty short reads, but Kentucky Rebel Town has just over twenty pages of index, with lots of names for genealogists to search for.

Rebel General John Hunt Morgan thought that Cynthiana was worth coming back to for a second "visit," and, luckily for us, Bill came back, too, to put his pen to work in giving old history a new look.


They Did Not Pass - The Battle Of Verdun Ends I THE GREAT WAR Week 126


The centennial of America's involvement in the war won't begin until next year. At least if one accepts that our involvement didn't officially begin until war was declared by Congress on April 6, 1917.

In Europe the centennial commemorations began in 2014 and this series is of interest to anyone interested in World War I, or the Great War, as it was once known.

It is especially interesting in that the video series is updated weekly, allowing one to learn more in smaller increments ... something in the manner that the people of Harrison County would have learned about it by reading the Log Cabin or the Democrat.


The "war to end all wars" begins again as a 3-part series on PBS, part of the American Experience series.  To find more about it visit WGBH American Experience: The Great War

I, for one, am going to watch.

Watch for books and DVDs to start hitting the shelves in bookstores, both virtual and brick & mortar.


Beginning in the March or April issues of the Harrison Heritage News next year, I will begin a series of my own, to be published in the, in the special supplement to the HHN "The Genealogy Box."

My articles may appear as feature items in the newsletter, or perhaps under a different title under the umbrella of "The Genealogy Box."

Be sure to look for it!


Merry Cemetery | 100 Wonders | Atlas Obscura

What's New at Ancestry: December 2016 Edition

I am learning a little about Blogger and blogging.

Today I learned how to embed a YouTube video in a blog posting.

I thought I would give my new knowledge a test run, and so here is a YouTube video brought to you via "The County Line."

It is entitled "What's New at Ancestry: December 2016 Edition."

Watch, listen, learn, and enjoy!


Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Harrison Heritage News for December (Vol. 17, No. 12) is on its way!


I just received my copy of the next and last issue of the Harrison Heritage News for 2016.  Yours should be arriving in your real and virtual mailboxes pretty soon.

This month's issue features a vintage Christmas postcard on the cover, with news of the society, a note from society president Don Wagoner, a list of upcoming events and presentations at future meetings thru June, 2017, details of a new addition to the Harrison County Historical Society's archive of past newsletters, and a genealogy query about McCarthys and Prices.

A fun presentation written by Mary Grable about a Star Trek exhibit at the Cynthiana-Harrison County Museum, as well as photos of exhibits brought in for evaluations at the Harrison County Historical Society's Antiques Road Show last month fill a couple more pages.

This month's newsletter also includes the by-laws of the historical society and it is requested that you vote your approval or disapproval of them.  Read carefully ... and VOTE!  We all know how important it is to VOTE ... because sometimes dreams come true when you VOTE!  Sometimes they don't!  So VOTE!

Your December newsletter will look something like the following image ... only a lot bigger ... and, if delivered via USPS, in an envelope!  ;-)

Image of the cover of the December 2016 issue of the Harrison Heritage News (Vol. 17, No. 12)


So ends another interesting year at the Harrison County Historical Society.  Next year who knows what will happen?

Well, it will be easy for you to find out. Lastly, but not leastly, this month's issue of the Harrison Heritage News includes the annual membership application form.  Dues are very reasonable and it is recommended that you send them in NOW so that you don't miss a single issue.  The average Harrison Heritage News consists of eight-to-ten pages of REALLY GOOD STUFF about the history of Cynthiana and all that ever occurred ... well, maybe not EVERYTHING, but A WHOLE LOT about which people ever talked or wrote about ... and which is still FIT TO PRINT.

If you become a member of the Harrison County Historical Society for only a nominal fee ($10 annually for a PDF in your emailbox, $12 annually for one delivered by the United States Postal Service) you will find out about what has already happened in the county ... and about what happening at historical society meetings and events.

And with each issue running and average of eight-to-ten pages of original texts (which is all that can be stuffed into an envelope and mailed for the price of a Forever stamp), by the end of the next year you will have the almost the equivalent of a book to place on your shelves.  What other local historical society offers a virtual book's worth of value for the price of a membership alone? (A rhetorical question, to be sure, but if you know of one, let us know at the society; it will be sure to make us jealous ... and we work even harder to make our little newsletter better.  ;-)

If you don't believe me, just check out the archive of past newsletters which has been available at www.HarrisonCountyKy.US for some time now.

When you are ready, hopefully sooner than later, get a copy of the membership application, print it out, fill it in and send it along with a check or money order to ...

Harrison County Historical Society
P.O. Box 411
Cynthiana, KY 41031

... and the future will be all history!

That's all for this year!  Take care of yourselves.  Have a Merry Christmas and may good fortune and blessings follow you into the New Year!

Philip Naff