My interest in genealogy and family history started when I was a young boy listening to the wonderful stories my parents, aunts, and uncles told about our ancestors. They painted vivid pictures of every event and inspired me to want to know more.

When I started my genealogy research, I interviewed my father first. But it wasn’t until I interviewed his oldest sibling, my Uncle Elmer Bowles, that I really made progress He not only had a better recollection of the stories than my father, but he also had a collection of old family pictures from the turn of the century and original family documents dating back to 1859. His greatest treasure was a family Bible that had belonged to his Grandmother Elnora Van Cleve, in which she had recorded births, marriages, and deaths beginning as early as 1845. Uncle Elmer gave me the Bible and family documents, which have been used to trace our earliest Mitchell ancestors back to Ireland in 1637. Had Uncle Elmer not preserved these precious family documents, the stories of my ancestors may have been lost forever.

I also owe a great deal to both the Sons and the Daughters of the American Revolution who maintain and preserve the records and history of the patriots of the Revolution. I would never have known where to find the records I needed for my own research without the help of genealogist Thomas Bresnehan of the local SAR. Tom is now deceased, but I will always appreciate the help he and the Sons of the American Revolution gave me.

Well-known genealogist and historian Dennis Kulvicki helped me to find needed documentation that provided much of the material for the Westward Sagas.

The Guilford County Genealogical Society was very helpful in my research in North Carolina, and the Jonesborough and Washington County Genealogical Societies are valuable resources for my research in Tennessee.

My brother Roger Bowles encouraged me to write the family stories and even helped with costs of research and restoring family documents. Other members of my family – some I’ve known all my life and some I’ve only met through my research or my book – have filled in blanks and occasionally corrected errors.

Many other people – family, friends, and members of the genealogical and other organizations I belong to – have helped me immensely. The books in the Westward Sagas carry my name as author, but they would not have received the accolades for accuracy from genealogists and historians without a lot of help from a lot of people.

[tags]genealogy, Mitchell, Bowles, Sons of the American Revolution, Guilford County Geanealogy Society, Jonesborough Genealogical Society, Washington County Genealogy Society, Dennis Kulvicki[/tags]

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