Monday, March 1, 2010

New paper article on my book project

* Karns resident digs for history * By Joe Rector*

Even though she’s not a native of the area, Barbara Guinn is immersed in the collection of historical information about Karns. The more she does, the more she enjoys the work.

Guinn is originally from Sacramento, Calif. She met her husband, Mike, in Houston, and the couple was married in 1979.

Mike is from Knoxville and grew up in Karns, where his family’s home was located on Oak Ridge Highway near the red light. They moved back to Knoxville from Texas in 2005 and live in Mike’s home place.

In the past year, she has begun researching the history of Beaver Ridge (Karns) from the years 1860 and before. She says that much has been written about the years after that, which she refers to as “recent history.”

Guinn’s intention is to compile the information into a book. The working title is “East Tennessee Footprints” and will list several of the first families in the region, including such names as Cox, part of her husband’s family tree, Fox, Callaway, Cobb and Bird. She also will add families that lived in the Solway community and Bull Run area.

The book will be published in the fall. It will have three sections: genealogy and biographies, court records and stories, and pictures of old houses, buildings, and residents from those early years.

She hopes to tell interesting stories about the people and community during the earliest years. That will give insight into some of the oldest families to their present day relatives. The book will be published through It could be the first in a series as more names, information and pictures come in.

Guinn is no stranger to this kind of work. She’s done genealogy research for 15 years and has completed two surname books. In addition, Guinn has hosted the Owen County, Ky., research Web site.

The work is more like fun to Guinn. She says that discovering things through her research is rewarding, and she always likes having the opportunity to give families more information about their roots. She completed tracking the histories of her parents’ families.

“I got hooked on researching, and then I was addicted to gathering more information. Many family histories are like soap operas,” she said.

Guinn says the best part of her genealogy research work is discovering the histories of small towns and communities and then writing them down so that people can learn more about their families and the lives that they led. She does admit that doing so is a time-consuming project that requires a great deal of detail work.

Guinn encourages people with information and pictures to contact her so that those things can be included in her book. She asks that people e-mail her at This fall, she hopes that relatives and community residents will purchase a copy so that they can learn more about the place they call home.

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