Upper Cumberland Genealogical Association, Inc
From Our President
In his book Wilbur’s Tales, author Wilber C. Smith describes Genealogist’s Disease as being very contagious. He states that the symptoms include the continual complaint as to need for names, dates, and places. Patient has a blank expression, sometimes deaf to spouse and children and has no taste for work of any kind, except feverishly looking through records at libraries and courthouses. Patient has a compulsion to write letters and swears at the mailman when he doesn’t leave mail. Patient frequents strange places such as cemeteries, ruins and remote, desolate country areas and makes secret night calls, hides phone bills from spouse and mumbles to self. Patient usually has a strange, faraway look in his eyes. He also describes the disease as being VERY contagious with no known cure. Alas, I must say that Wilbur hit the nail on the head and that I have contracted the disease.
My name is George Michael Gilpatrick as stated on my birth certificate. I most often go by Mike, sometimes by Mr. G. if referred to by one of my former students and by Michael if my mother is talking to me….or if my wife wants my attention! My father, the late George L Gilpatrick, started my interest in genealogy; and my cousin Sharon has been responsible for keeping the fever going. Wilbur C. states that medication is useless; that the disease is not fatal, but gets progressively worse. I feel that this is the stage that I am in. He states that the patient should attend genealogy workshops, subscribe to genealogical magazines and be given a quiet corner in the house where he or she can be alone. I have come to the conclusion that one must indeed become a member of a support group of others who suffer from the same ailment.
On a more serious note, the world of genealogy has opened up a whole new world to me. It is fascinating to search for information and piece together pieces of history, not only about one’s own family but about others as well. An entire world of information is out there that needs to be preserved: a world that made us who we are, a world that gives us a foundation for the future. I can only hope that my children and grandchildren will have the appreciation for these things that I have come to possess. I am married to the former Patricia Ann Crawford of Cookeville. She is the daughter of James Edward and Ola Jane (Chaffin) Crawford. She is the granddaughter of Alvin Hawkins and Sally Etta (Crawford) Crawford and Bedford B. and Hardy Ann (Davidson) Chaffin all of Putnam County. The Crawford family farm is still located on Hawkins Crawford Road. We have five children and soon to be seven grandchildren. I am a retired educator, having served as a teacher, coach, principal, educational supervisor and finished my 35 year career as Superintendent of Overton County Schools. I continue to do some part time work with Tennessee Tech and the Tennessee State Department of Education. My parents are George L. (deceased) and Velma Pauline (Coffman) Gilpatrick. I have two great-great-great grandfathers, James Ezekiel Gilpatrick and Benjamin Lakin C. Ledbetter, who served in the Civil War. Another great-grandfather, Joseph Gore, and his brother Ambrose, sold the land to Livingston on which the town is built. All things I wouldn’t have known had it not been for the genealogical work passed on to me.
So now I must admit that I have always been developing symptoms of Genealogist’s Disease, and now it has become full blown. That is why I remember what my former colleague, Wilbur C. Smith, said about the unusual nature of the disease – “the sicker the patient gets, the more he or she enjoys it!” I look forward to the enjoyment of working with the Upper Cumberland Genealogical Association. May our numbers multiply and our history be shared.