Western North Carolina Families - Riddle Genealogical Enterprises

Riddle Genealogical Enterprises

Riddle Genealogical Enterprises was formed in 1998 after Winston and Merrell Jenkins Riddle had decided to publish compilations of delayed birth records and marriages. They felt that their publications would be of value to researchers who were interested in the Western North Carolina area.

In addition to offerings of books on delayed birth records and marriages, the first book of death records was completed in 2004. Also, in response to requests by researchers some of the records are now available on CD-ROM.

Winston A. Riddle

First Contact with Madison County Relatives at Family Reunions

While I was in elementary and high school in Buncombe County, North Carolina my father's family (Chandler, Gosnell, Landers, Riddle) held annual reunions. These were fun times in which to meet many relatives that were seen only at these gatherings.

Here I learned that my father had many relatives living in Madison County. However, like most young people, I did not write down the stories my father told me about his grandfather and others of these Madison County people.

One story was told about my great-grandfather, Hezekiah Riddle, who served in the Civil War on the Union side. Another story was about his daughter-in-law, my grandmother, who had filed an application for "Indian money" in the early 1900's. Her claim was denied, but her appeal was granted and she was offered land, which she declined. (I also had a great-grandfather from Burke County who died at Gettysburg, serving on the Confederate side.)

After graduation from high school, I left the area for several years and had limited contact with these Madison County relatives.

Daughter's School Project Triggers Interest in Genealogy

In 1972, my wife and I, (public school educators), and our four children, moved back into Western North Carolina, and in 1977 our daughter was assigned a project of writing a family history.

We drove her to visit many of her great aunts and uncles, cousins and others in search of her family. After completion, those records and notes were laid up for several years until my wife and I had a little more free time and began using them as the base of our research.

Merrell Jenkins Riddle

I am a native of Swain County, North Carolina. In 1943, with the near completion of the Fontana Dam, many families were forced to move from the area, which included the town of Judson. We relocated to McDowell County, North Carolina, and our trips back to the Swain area were infrequent. However, my parents occasionally told stories about family members.

The Jenkins family was among the early settlers in the area and some members of the family owned large amounts of land. My grandfather owned 2,000 acres. My great-grandfather, James Jenkins, served in the Civil War on the Confederate side. He died at Strawberry Plains, Tennessee in 1863. My dad said that James' rank was "Captain;" however, I have only found documents that give the rank of "1st Corporal." One explanation given was that promotions were often made before the paperwork was finalized.

When our daughter was doing her family history project, she was able to identify all of her great-great-grandparents except for the parents of James Jenkins. Years later when I began my family research, I attempted to learn the names of the parents of James Jenkins. For many years, I could not. When I finally learned that John and Mary Nations Jenkins were the parents of James Jenkins I was truly "hooked on genealogy."

W. Alan Riddle

I was away at college when my sister was creating the family history. Little did we know that this history was to become the focus of the retirement years for my parents (after the grandchildren).

I studied mathematics and computer science at Western Carolina University. After graduation I moved to the Washington, DC area to pursue my career in computers. In recent years I have also gotten involved in photography and video production.

My role is to transfer the genealogical data into interactive format and to take photographs.