Walking tour of Chelsea history set for July 8

By TONY NIVENS / Community Columnist

“There is just something about history and genealogy that makes me feel connected. Makes me feel a part of something,” said Jenny Bartlett, genealogist and historian for the Chelsea AL Historical Society. “I have always felt a little different, a little disconnected. So when I find an ancestor that had something in common with me – hair color, height, personality trait – I’m like, ‘Yeah, that’s me.’ Or when someone contacts me that they found a link in their family history to mine; wow, we are connected.”

Bartlett is proud of her Chelsea roots. Her great-great grandmother Kendrick was pictured in the original Chelsea history by Shelba Nivens. When Bartlett had a child she moved her family to Chelsea so he could grow up with that community connection. She is currently planning several events to draw members and encourage the study of history and genealogy in Chelsea.

“Jenny seems a bit laid back at first,” said Ramona Kendrick Perry, longtime friend, and more recent ‘found relation.’ “She is kind of quiet and easy going. But, when she gets into something her tenacity really kicks in.”

Bartlett’s tenacity and depth of research is shown in her own family Facebook page, fb.com/JennysFamilyHistory. She has even earned her Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Membership, no small feat.

“I was extremely proud when I earned my membership in the David Lindsay Chapter of the DAR,” Bartlett said. “Revolutionary soldier David Lindsay is my fifth-great grandfather. But, three proof sources are required for each generation.”

Bartlett is passionate about helping others find their connection to the past.

“People can join the Society on our Facebook page and we have membership cards at several businesses in town,” she said. “Then message or email us that you are interested. I am excited to help people find their history. Sometimes, with a common ancestor, we can even use my family research to help with their DAR Membership.”

Bartlett’s most recent project for the Historical Society is related to the Chelsea area’s historic cemeteries.

“We are calling it ‘A Walking Tour of Chelsea History.’ Part one will be in Old Quinn Cemetery, one mile south of Liberty Baptist Church, just off County Road 47 on Whisenhunt Road. I have been studying night and day to make sure it is full of interesting history. I want to show how our history relates to us today, show that connection, to make it more relevant.  It will be July 8 at 9 a.m.”

Watch for future parts at Mt Calvary, Pleasant Valley, Union, Mt Signal and Hubbard cemeteries.

“Some people think it is a little strange to visit a cemetery,” Bartlett said, “But it’s not. A lot of people get it. This is our connection to where we came from, who we are. It’s our history but it affects us today.”