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Edythe Whitley spent a lifetime studying the genealogical records of Middle Tennessee–an area originally in the domain of North Carolina. This volume is one of several produced by Mrs. Whitley which contain abstracts of the marriage records of the counties of Middle Tennessee, this one dealing with pivotal Sumner County. When it was erected in 1786 Sumner County was still a part of North Carolina. It was an important crossroads in the flow of migration, and its records are therefore indispensable in the quest for ancestors who migrated south and west from Virginia, Kentucky, and North Carolina. This present volume contains abstracts of approximately 5,000 marriage records. For some unknown reason the Clerk of Sumner County did not record the early marriages in a book or ledger, as was the custom. The marriages abstracted here derive instead from original bonds and unrecorded licenses found amongst loose papers in the courthouse in Gallatin. For this reason, and for reasons that are manifest in the nature of the records themselves, this work assumes an importance of awesome dimensions.
As is customary in such publications, the marriages are arranged in alphabetical order by the surname of the groom. The bride-to-be, the date of the bond or license, and the names of ministers, witnesses, and bondsmen make up the balance of each entry. Virtually every entry gives the name of at least one bondsman (usually a relative), and all persons mentioned in the entry except the groom, minister, or J.P. are indexed, the combined total of names amounting to some 15,000.