A Genealogy of Tarvin Genealogy

This page Copyright © 1995-2024 by the Tarvin Family Association. Permission to reproduce is granted, provided proper attribution is made.

Note: This essay is taken from a preface of the book, "The Descendants of Joseph C. Tarvin," the Line 3 book. It was prepared by Gary Hoffman in 2001.

Click on the image to go to our trees page.

The first known attempt to document the spreading descendants of Reverend George Tarvin occurred in 1897 when Richard J. Tarvin produced his Tarvin Family Tree, a depiction of the Tarvin family in the shape of a tree. After 100 years in the northern Kentucky area, the Tarvin family had grown to number over a hundred. Each living family member at the time was depicted in the drawing as a leaf on the tree with their ancestry shown as twigs and branches off the trunk, denoted George Tarvin whose roots were depicted "in England."

Richard J. Tarvin apparently sold copies of this drawing, printed in a form about 25 inches high by 15 inches wide and it became the standard from which all subsequent Tarvin genealogies started. Through e-mail correspondence, a copy of this drawing was discovered to be residing the the Mason County Historical Society’s archives.

Research Librarian Lynn David describes it as follows:

The canvas has creamed with age and shows some signs of foxing. The drawing is in pencil as are the names written on the branches of the trees. We have no knowledge of the creator or when it entered the collection or donor. We found it in a box of materials when the research facilities were moved to another building next to the musuem. The curator has protected the chart with an acid free sleeve and it is stored flat in a map case in our archival storage unit. It has been properly cared for since 1998. [To allay your fears of flooding, let me say that] the town of Maysville has not flooded since 1936. A flood wall now protects the town from the Ohio River.

The Tarvin Family Association is undertaking to make copies of this drawing for distribution to family members. Ronald Brennan says he gave the original drawing to Sarah T. Tarvin at the national Tarvin reunion in 1984. We are still tracing that document today.

The Tarvin genealogy bug also bit many family members in the 20th Century, among whom we must mention the following, but do not deprecate the contribution of many not named.

Earl Diesel Tarvin, cited in this book as EDT, was a tireless researcher of Kentucky branches of the Tarvin family. A bachelor, he collected family stories and genealogies primarily from the Campbell County, Kentucky, area. He also was one of the first to promote the preservation of the Tarvin-Moore Cemetery on Old Timber Road in Campbell County. His correspondence with Shirley Brown and others was very helpful in the compilation of this book.

Other early researchers included Ruby Pulliam, Helen Myers, and Imogene Millican.

Alice Ellenor Herndon Torrey, herself a “triple Tarvin,” compiled a publication in the mid- 1970’s called "Tarvin Family Connections, including Cowgill and Craycraft Families of Mason County and Campbell County, Kentucky," which was edited by Ronald Brennan. Following her death, Ron donated Alice’s research materials to Sarah Tarvin for use by the Tarvin Family Association.

William R. (Rus) Stevens began keeping records of families in his personal computer using WordStar. He called this the Northern Kentucky Family Archive. Many of the family group records used to compile this book are part of this archive and bear Rus Stevens’ imprint.

Within the Tarvin Family Association, Robert Tarvin and his wife Geraldine (Jeri) compiled a computer record of all known Tarvin family members. Following Bob’s death in 1998, Jeri carried on the task. These records formed the backbone of this and the other books the Tarvin Family Association has compiled.

In the 1980’s, Shirley Brown entered many Tarvin ancestors into her computer program and used it to assist in compiling and drafting the Line 10 Book. She sent printouts of various families to Earl Diesel Tarvin and other family researchers who returned them with comments which she then integrated into her records. Her computer records included most of the Tarvin lines.

Dorothy Tarvin Gibson, the tireless membership chair and organizer of the Tarvin Family Association, maintained correspondence with current and new members, always coaxing from them whatever they knew about their ancestors. She made sure new data was entered into Bob and Jeri Tarvin’s computer. She also proofread each chapter of this book as it progressed and made helpful comments and gentle corrections.

Lillian Ione Tarvin Williams compiled information on branches of the Texas Tarvins and did much research into the colonial Tarvin history which will be included in a subsequent book in this line.

Verne Hoffman, Jr., corresponding from his ranch in California, extensively researched the Tarvin family and especially Reverend George and his movements and landholdings.

Alma Stout Tarvin compiled information on the Texas Tarvins over the course of 50 years and provided her materials for this book.

Elizabeth Thatcher Clough worked many years in the Clerk's office in the Bourbon County Courthouse at Paris, Kentucky. She was very interested in family genealogy, and was a Tarvin researcher for over 50 years. Her research contributed significantly to the compilation of this and other Tarvin volumes.

Dennis R. Tarvin undertook many early Tarvin genealogy projects, including the compilation of information on this branch of the Tarvin family, and strongly supported the renovation of the Tarvin-Moore Cemetery and other Tarvin cemeteries in Kentucky.

Carl "Dutch" Strasinger, who inherited the land containing the Tarvin-Moore Cemetery, has been very instrumental not only with renovating and maintaining the cemetery, but also with research into the burials that took place there and other local cemeteries. He serves as a sexton for the Mt. Gilead Cemetery and undertook a hand survey for this book of all the gravestones in that tract.

As this work [i.e. the Line 3 Book] took shape, many family members sent email, pictures, stories, and family data to be included in the book. In most cases, credit is given to the source of information. Where no credit is expressly given, the information came either from the Shirley Brown records as verified by Earl D. Tarvin, or the Rus Stevens records.

We had hoped to make this a comprehensive history of the descendants of Joseph C. Tarvin, a kind of summary of all the research that has gone on before. However, despite the fact that we have thousands of names documented in this book, many lines still elude us. The number of asterisks throughout this book are testimony to our lack of information on so many individuals and family lines. Perhaps future compilers can track down those branches of the family, with the aid of new communications media or just plain luck, and include those branches in the next revision of this volume.

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Last Updated: 05 Jun 2023 03:08 UTC

Gary Hoffman (ghoffman@tarvinfamily.org)