The Attic Files

What are the Attic Files? Beginning during the late 1980s: files gathered for family genealogy filled one filing cabinet. Over time, the cabinet quickly became two, then three, four, five, six, and more. What are in the files? The Attic files consist of colonial historical maps, diaries, journals, notes, books, family pedigree charts, and photographs. A collection spanning over forty years of research. An enormous number of families and their histories. During 2017, our first year with the website, we published a small listing of surnames on the site. We soon realized that we would never be able to list all the surnames properly. So, in 2023, we created the Attic Files Page.

How can the page help you with your research? We’ve created an outline demonstrating how the files were compiled over the past forty years. The layout will enable you to understand the research process since the 1980 decade to present-day. Furthermore, sharing the outline will assist you with all requests from our files.

Piedmont Trails Attic Files Outline

The outline divides into decades and offers details on the files collected during that period. Additional notes will guide you as we changed our focus from one decade to the next.

1980 Decade

The 1980 decade concentrated on family genealogy. Over 1,000 family histories were gathered and stored. These families lived from the colonial period to the early twentieth century in all fifty states of the United States. What defines a Piedmont Trails family history? It means tracing the lineage to the initial arrival in the British colonies or the United States and moving forward from that point. The file contains various documents including wills/probates, census records, letters, church/parish records, local region records, land grants, mapping/plotting original homesites, cemetery records, and much more. The Civil War years were of interest in this decade and numerous veteran files exist as well as battle information and books.

1990 Decade

The next decade consisted of more family genealogies, specifically in North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. It was during this time that early settlements were focused on, as well as early roads. 1992 brought the early stages of the Great Wagon Road research. 1996 began the colonial indentured servant’s files in Maryland and Virginia. The 1990 decade focuses on our journey occupying several positions with North Carolina historical and genealogical societies. The family files more than doubled the storage space, and we began contributing to as active volunteers. This decade also concentrated on ships from the colonial period. Destination ports, cargo and shipping company history; were part of this research. More Civil War files about the details concerning specific regiments and the effects of the southern economy after the war. The 19th century western migration trails were researched by collecting and researching various diaries, journals and other manuscripts. Identifying the routes, the needed supplies to complete the journey and the Native tribe history along the routes. Early trading posts and forts are researched identifying early explorers into Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Montana, California, and Texas. Details about the early Texas years beginning before the Alamo and the politics involving several families.

2000 decade

The 2000 decade concentrated on the colonial period. After obtaining logbook copies from various shipping companies during the 1990s, we expanded our research into colonial shipping and colonial life in general. Occupations, economics, war years, colonial land investments, taxes, and travel are part of the decade’s work. The colonial roads are now taking up much of our time as new research begins with the Native Americans and the British trading practices. Identifying tribe locations, tribal leaders in accordance to trading records and the items used for trading practices are documented. Pivotal battles between the Native Americans and the British colonies are documented. These allowed investigations into the Cherokee War and the Tuscarora War in North Carolina. The Yamasee War, Drummer’s War, Lord Dunmore’s War, Pontiac’s War, Pequot War, and many others. Pinpointing the original trails and footpaths versus the colonial roads adds to our data. Advanced research includes years 1700 to 1730 documents. Western migration takes place as we follow the footsteps of families leaving Pennsylvania into the Ohio River Valley and identify several early roads lost to history. Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota routes are explored dating to the ending years of the colonial period. We explore waterway routes and begin studying western Georgia and eastern Alabama settlements. Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Vermont, and Rhode Island are documented with vast amounts of data including the differences between each colony, the economy, religion, settlements, roads, growth and much more.

2010 decade

In 2013, we created the Attic, a separate large room dedicated to our research. In 2015, we added the Piedmont Trails Library, two large rooms for our books. By 2016, we have hundreds of maps, personal letters, church records, store ledgers and more dating from the colonial period alone. In 2017, we launched the website for Piedmont Trails, and in 2019, we initiated the Great Wagon Road Project. We have documentation concerning every British settlement in the colonies. We continued our colonial research in this decade in order to document all 18th century war veterans and the aftermath of the American Revolutionary War. Louisiana and Mississippi early settlements are researched as well as the early French forts. We researched further into Spanish explorers to learn more about the routes, and trails in existence during the 16th century. We expanded into Florida and researched the Loyalist refuges escaping to the area. Documentation taken from 18th century Georgia coastline settlements following into present-day Florida. An investigation into the early roads of Indiana and Illinois were researched as well as families migrating to the area after the American Revolutionary War.

2020 decade

In 2020, the focus continues with the projects at hand, namely the Great Wagon Road Project. We add to the files daily from the colonial period. In 2021, we added a separate section in the Attic for road histories and the Great Wagon Road Project. Every note, file, map, photograph, groundwork expedition, and more are organized, labeled and stored. The goal for this decade is to document each and every colonial road prior to 1800, and to prove the original route of the Great Wagon Road. After the GWR Project is complete, we want to document the early roads in Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and complete an investigation of Texas before 1824 beginning with Moses Austin.

Who is the “WE” in Piedmont Trails?

I’ve included we, our, and us pronouns in several of the descriptions above by design. The Attic Files do not exist from my efforts alone. My husband has contributed so much of his time by traveling, researching, documenting and creating the much-needed space for Piedmont Trails. My two sons began their contributions when they were young kids. They often visited cemeteries with me and traveled through the countryside investigating an area. They took handwritten notes filling spiral notebooks of history. Each of these have a secure place in the Attic Files and add to what Piedmont Trails is today. Over the years, countless friends have helped me along the way. Without their guidance, many of the files would be empty today.

How Can This Information Help You with Your Journey to the Past?

As you can see, much of the work concentrates on the 17th & 18th centuries. However, we have tons of material dating from the 19th century to early 20th century as well. The early settlements and the early roads all lead to documentation for the families living in that specific area, no matter what the timeline is. The wars such as King William’s, Queen Anne’s, French & Indian, and the American Revolution all contain vital information for many of the families living in the colonies. Current investigations with Piedmont Trails Projects are ongoing and shared when time permits us to do so. The Civil War research continues today as I’m currently exploring the Home Guard for each state and how they affected the families.

Be specific with your requests as much as possible. We have included a mailing address on the website. Otherwise, you can use our email address or the Contact Message Form for submitting requests. I wish you all the best with your research and Enjoy Your Journey to the Past.