Genealogy on the Blue Ridge Parkway

As I was driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway last month (stopping every half mile so I didn’t miss any overlooks or exhibits), I was pleased to notice that the National Park Service had incorporated genealogy into its interpretive materials! Entering the parkway in Virginia at Rockfish Gap, I discovered that the exhibits at the Humpback Rocks Visitor Center and Farm included materials about the families who settled and lived in the area now occupied by the parkway–even a census record. What a great way to expose park visitors to original historical sources!
Continuing south on the parkway, I enjoyed visiting the cabins preserved by the Park Service and the Mabry Mill. One of the preserved cabins is still used by the family who built it for gatherings.
Although I don’t have southern Appalachian ancestry, it was easy to see how topography influenced settlement and migration in the area. I came away from the drive restored by the beauty of the mountains and inspired with great respect for the people who lived there.