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About us


                                 Why Our Story Matters

In the evening of a fall day in 1972, while a student at Western Kentucky

University, I received an unexpected phone call from Art and Jan Arterburn

who were doing research for their book, The Arterburn Cousins.  I cannot  

now recall how they found me, but it was probably because I had published

a few years prior in a local newspaper an article of historical interest about

an old growth tulip poplar tree from the community of Flippin that had been

exhibited at the Columbian Exposition and World's Fair in Chicago, in 1893. 

At the time my interest in family history was an ember yet to billow, so I

had little to tell them.  But I warmly recall my first meeting by phone with

this amazing couple, and I also consider that my introduction to the unfinished

quest of the ARTERBURN story, so auspiciously begun by them.  Jan and Art

unfailingly encouraged all of us who continued to pursue this quest.  They

generously shared their latest findings until age and health issues precluded

continuing their research trips to Salt Lake City.  However, they had both

retired before many of the new discoveries about the ARTERBURN story 

occurred, made possible by the Internet and the wealth of genealogical

resources since available online, and also by new advances in DNA testing

for genetic genealogy.

Descendants past and present have variously expressed their beliefs about

the Old World origin of our ARTERBURN ancestors, whether Scotch-Irish,

German, Austrian, Scottish, English, Indian, or some other.   Now, for the

first time we have cogent historical evidence, supported by genetic genealogy,

that our male ancestral line of descent through Peter and William originated

in South Asia, and most likely on the Indian subcontinent.  We also have

genetic evidence across all descendant lines tested of Native American

ancestry with family and local traditions that support the DNA evidence.


Nonetheless, every ARTERBURN descendant today can legitimately claim

ancestry in one or more of these other groups of European origin, because

most of us are a mix of most of them.  We need only look at the surnames 

in  The Arterburn Cousins  to see that intermarriage with spouses whose

ancestors are either known to have been or appear to have been Scots-Irish,

German, Scottish, or English has occurred in every generation since Peter

and William.  We are a composite genetically of all of our ancestors, not

just those of our male line of descent representing the ARTERBURN



Thus, as ARTERBURNS most of us have Scots-Irish, Scottish, German,

and English, as well as South Asian and Native American ancestors. 

Whether we choose to identify more with one or to embrace all, we are

ultimately American, as is our surname.   We have a unique and richly

variegated family history, very much representative of the "melting pot"

that underlies the promise of this American experiment in democracy

At its best, our country has succeeded in merging many different cultures

into one American culture, unique in aspiration and achievement.  Let us

celebrate this and recommit ourselves to the work of American progress,  

even as we seek to understand the Old World cultures of their time that

our ancestors left behind in their embrace of this New World of America.

We welcome your questions or commentsplease click on the name of

any administrator listed above for an email contact address.


                                  “And you shall know the truth, and the truth

                                                 shall make you free.”