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Dabney Genealogy Collection

Identifier: 2020.001

Content Description

Family genealogy sheets, essays, and photographs documenting the Dabney family, as well as several other connected families.


  • Majority of material found within 1991 - 2017


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

Beverly Smith Bragg began compiling materials for the Dabney Genealogy Collection after she was contacted by historian and author Virginius Dabney regarding an out of date book on the Dabney family that Beverly had reproduced for friends and family. According to Virginius, Sketches of the Dabneys of Virginia, originally published in 1888, had since been proven to have many errors and was not an accurate account of the family history for the Dabney family line Beverly was interested in. From there, Beverly began a decades long project of researching and compiling as much information on the Dabney family and associated family branches as possible.

The first twenty volumes of the collection were completed in 1991. It is not clear when this occured, but two copies of the collection were created. One was deposited with an unidentified repository in Richmond, Virginia and the other at the Clarksville-Montgomery County Public Library. Although Beverly was the primary person working on what she dubbed "The Project," she structured it in such as way that other individuals could contribute. In her introduction to the collection she encourages other Dabney descendents to provide more information to create a more full family tree and to help correct any errors. She organized the collection in photograph album binders in order to facilitate easy editing and adding of additional materials. In the introduction she expressed concerns that individuals using the collection might take materials out of the binders and encouraged users to consult staff members at the holding institution for copies rather than removing pages themselves. Her fears appear to be well-founded, as there are several volumes that are missing pages that should be present according to the index. It is unclear if there was an error with the index or if materials were actually removed from the collection.

Beverly made several trips to Clarksville over the years to keep the materials up to date and to refresh copies that yellowed with age. She admittedly was not comfortable working with computers, and enlisted the help of her half aunt Patricia (Dabney) Kosack and later her second husband John Berger Jeans, Jr. to convert many of the essays from type-writer generated to computer generated files for easier updating. The last time any materials were updated was in 2017, at which time the collection had grown to more than 260 volumes.

While a large part of the collection documents the Dabney family of Virginia, there are several ties to Montgomery County, and Tennessee more generally. Some of the family names represented in the collection include Dabney, Pettus, Shelton, and Trice. For a complete listing of the family names included, see the Master Name Index.


12.72 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged by volume number. The volume numbers indicate the family line documented within, and the original volume order put in place by the creator has been retained.

Processing Information

This collection was originally housed in photograph album binders, with each binder identified by a volume number that indicated the family line documented within, with several volumes devoted to each line. The materials were secured in the binder through the use of self-adhesive photograph album pages. In order to ensure the long-term preservation of the materials and to conserve space, the materials have been removed from the binders and placed in acid free folders and archival boxes. The binders and self-adhesive pages have been discarded. Additionally, many of the self-adhesive pages were lined with scrap paper to protect the materials from the adhesive. These scrap pages have been removed from the collection and discarded.

While removing items from the binders the index for each volume was consulted to ensure that materials remained in the original order as indicated. During this process it was discovered that the index is not always accurate, and there are several instances where a name is listed in the index but is not present in the materials. When using the collection it is possible you may come across a name for which documentation may be missing.

Sarah Fry
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Montgomery County Archives Repository

350 Pageant Lane
Suite 101D
Clarksville Tennessee 30741 United States