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Genealogical History of Our Ancestors
In preparation for our original printing in 1969 we traveled extensively seeking original records such as marriage records, baptismal records, Bible records, censuses, wills and cemetery records, as well as personal knowledge through interviews. We adopted a unique Family Survey Sheet to collect personal information by correspondence. We followed this plan, ever expanding, for the 1979 edition. In preparation for the 1986 edition we engaged in an intensive study of census records at the Federal Record Center in Kansas City, Missouri, which houses all the available censuses. By acquiring this vast supply of listing of names in the enumerations we were able to establish many family relationships, ascertain approximate ages of individuals and trace migratory movements of families. This study plus the transcribing of information from scores of Family Survey Sheets, letters and telephone conversations comprises the 1986 edition to a large extent.
In the 1986 edition we have followed our traditional organizational pattern of presenting all descendants bearing the name of Rutherfoord, Rutherford, or Rutherfurd in Volume I. The descendants of Rutherford women with their multiplicity of surnames are relegated to Volume I. Each descendant has an assigned number which expedites locating an individual and aids in the organization of descendants by generations. Attention should be called to the Rutherfoord, Rutherford, Rutherfurd Female Index, pages 1597-1609. Personal response has been phenomenal and credit has been given contributors through the Acknowledgments, sketches and footnotes.
The 1986 edition deals with the Scottish families that link directly with their American descendants. As previously stated in a flyer dated 16 May 1984, the history and genealogy of the early Scottish Rutherfords has been researched and will be published by Kenneth Rutherford Davis under the title The Rutherfords in Britain.
Although we know that only direct descendants of those who bore arms are eligible to claim arms, the beauty of the display of arms can be enjoyed by all and have therefore been included. The Rutherford family has a claim to arms as John Rutherfurd of Edgerston, no.1, pages 3 and 4, as principal bearing the name of Edgerston, caused his arms to be recorded in the Lyon Register in 1668, viz., argent, and orle gules, and in chief, three martlets sable; with the motto "Nec sorte nec. " Any descendant of John Rutherfurd of Edgerston is therefore eligible to claim the Rutherfurd arms. The descendants of Maj. John Rutherfurd, no.38, page 9, and the descendants of Maj. Walter Rutherfurd, no.45, page 13, are lineal descendants of John Rutherfurd of Edgerston. To the best of the knowledge of the compilers, Maj. John Rutherfurd, who was killed at Ticonderoga, and Maj. Walter Rutherfurd were the only lineal descendants of John Rutherfurd of Edgerston, no.1, to come to America and leave descendants. Genealogy from the standpoint of the compilers is not a study of the dead, per se, but rather a study of the living -the descendants of the dead. There is constantly a search for new marriages and new births. Thus a genealogy is never complete but always a pursuit into the future.
Genealogy is dependent on the frailities of mankind, procrastination being the arch enemy -"putting off" recording vital statistics. Ambiguities are also the result of reporting nicknames for identification, skipping a generation in a string of repetitious names, divorce, legal adoptions, inaccuracies in reporting dates, misconceptions in the degree of relationships of cousins, population shifts, and wishful thinking. Mistakes also creep in when dates and names are transcribed and when writing is not legible. It bears repeating that the back- bone of genealogy is found in Bible records, military records, pension records, census records, marriage records, birth and death records, tax records, land records, wills, and letters to name a few.
Genealogy is also a study of history for the persons recorded in a genealogy have held public office, have voted, have maintained moral stability through their churches, have fought in wars, have participated in the educational process, have established these United States, and conquered the frontier.
So we present this genealogy to you as a viable history of a family called Rutherford, not perfect, but viable. We hope it affords you some pleasure and a sense of worth.
William Kenneth Rutherford
Anna Clay (Zimmerman) Rutherford