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Ask-the-Pros – Question and Answer – Finding a train wreck

Question:

I am trying to find an account of a local train accident that killed a relative in 1883 outside of Buchanan Ky. I have contacted the C&O railroad but records such as these were destroyed. I have contacted the library genealogy dept in Boyd County, but they find no record. Any ideas of where I can go from there?

Answer:

The first place I would research would be the newspapers. But I always start by identifying the locations on a map and getting an idea of the county and the adjacent counties. You refer to “Buchanan” in Kentucky and say that you checked the Boyd County library. I assume from your statements that Buchanan is supposed to be in Boyd County. However, Boyd County, Kentucky does not have a town or unincorporated community called “Buchanan.” See Wikipedia: Boyd County, Kentucky. I searched further and a GeoHack from Wikipedia that lists a huge number of online references to the location of Boyd County.

In looking in the GeoNames database for Boyd County, I did not find any reference to a place called Buchanan. However, I do find, from a Google search, that there is a place in Kentucky called Buchanan in Lawrence County. In searching in the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, I find then only populated place listed with the name Buchanan in Kentucky is in Lawrence County. I checked the Newberry Atlas of Historical County Boundaries and find that Lawrence County was formed in 1822 and is essentially the same today as it was back in 1883.

Without more information I cannot go any further, but it appears that you are looking in the wrong county or have the wrong name for the place. If you do locate the right county, I would suggest searching for newspapers in that county for the time period involved. For a list of newspapers go to the Library of Congress, Chronicling America Project and look at the U. S. Newspaper Directory, 1690- Present.

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