Why Join…

Most people who join lineage societies do so for the prestige of being able to prove their pedigree. A lot of research goes into lineage society applications, so you know when you are accepted into one, you really are descended from a prestigious, prominent, or famous person. It gives you bragging rights on your family tree, and that’s a very enticing thing.

It’s not just prestige that gets people to become interested in joining lineage societies, however. Some societies have genealogical libraries that are only open to members (or only open for free to members). The opportunity to network with other people who have similar ancestry to you is also nice. There is also a very strong possibility of you meeting a genetic relative in a lineage society (someone who is descended from the same person as you), which gives you the opportunity to exchange family information, and maybe even discover new family artifacts, documents, records, and photos that you never knew still existed.

Other reasons for joining a lineage society include bringing awareness to the particular group or time in history that the society celebrates, participating in the society’s charitable endeavors (some engage in charity and public service, while some do not), getting that coveted membership certificate for your wall, being able to contribute your own genealogy research to the society, the thrill of accomplishment when you are accepted as a member, and the opportunity to get out and socialize with people of similar interests to yours at meetings.


Can’t Go to the Reunion in San Antonio, TX? Check out this Event!

The 8th Annual Genealogy Jamboree and Pioneer Days in the Historic Town of Cumberland Gap, Tennessee is June 7, 8 and 9, 2018. The hours are Thursday 7th from 10am to 5pm; Friday the 8th from 10am to 5pm; Saturday 9th 9am to 6pm; Exhibitors and Speakers are FREE to the public. Free parking around the town of Cumberland Gap.

This Event is A FREE FAMILY EVENT where all can learn their Genealogical History and Heritage. See the lifestyles of our Pioneer Ancestors. Demonstrations are by Craftsmen/women, Native Americans and Military Re-enactors. Our exhibitors are genealogical and historical societies and speakers, surname tents, authors and crafters.  See the flyer below for more details.   For more information, contact David Nelson, Jr, President.   David@CGTGHG.org

8th Annual Genealogy Jamboree

The Peculiar Cap: Tale of the Coonskin

That Peculiar Cap: Tale of the Coonskin

by Gary Foreman – (Volume 36, Issue 3, Go Ahead)

1837 Davy Crockett Almanack Cover

It now stands alone as the quintessential icon of the American frontier, yet very few can say for certain where or how the ubiquitous coonskin cap actually originated so that it would become such a prominent symbol of our pioneer heritage. At closer examination, it appears more likely that the press and imaginative writers gave the coonskin cap certain notoriety with the public that was not experienced by the men who really lived in the wilderness.   Even the famous Daniel Boone, who has often been illustrated wearing such a cap, actually despised the contraption and refused to wear such an arrangement on his head.

The same may be held for David Crockett.  Except for the half-dozen references by eyewitnesses who saw the Colonel wearing a “coonskin cap” or “peculiar cap,” there is but one other description (from Sketches) of him prior to November of 1835 wearing anything other than the typical gentleman’s hat of the period.  Nor are we certain what Crockett’s coonskin cap may have looked like.  But fur caps did exist and were often appreciated–especially in cold weather.  We do know that certain versions of this headgear–made of coonskin, as well as fox, and wolf—were worn since the early-eighteenth century.  Often referred to as a “Canadian Cap,” it was a combination of trade wool

Actor Frank Mayo as Crockett
late 19th Century

for the skullcap with a fur band sewn around the entire circumference at the base.  An animal tail or tuff could be attached at either the center top or at the very back.  There is even a portrait of Benjamin Franklin wearing a fur cap.  Illustrators in the early nineteenth century often supported the literary works of James Fenimore Cooper and Timothy Flint with frontiersmen adorned in coonskin caps.  By the time James Hackett took the stage in 1831 as Colonel Nimrod Wildfire in The Lion of the West, the public had accepted the fur cap as the official signature of a man who could “whip his weight in wildcats.”

However, a glimpse of Colonel Crockett’s possible appearance with such a headpiece may have been presented by F.O.C. Darly’s 1850 illustration for James Fenimore Cooper’s The Pioneer. 

O. C. Farley’s (ca 1850) Image from James Fennimore Cooper Leatherstocking Tales

Actually showing contemporary hunters of the post-Crockett era, the rifleman on the far left of this line and stippled drawing sports a fur cap complete with ear flaps, visor, and tail.  By this time, hunter’s caps were often outfitted with turn-down flaps and leather visors and there are numerous descriptions and varieties to contemplate.  But the most famous version of this cap will always belong to actor Fess Parker who sported the unique headpiece in his film and television portrayals of both Boone and Crockett over a fifteen-year period.  And it is this appearance that has forever secured a special image in our minds of this American icon.