Life columnist

Linda Braden Albert worked as a feature writer and editor at The Daily Times. She is now the editor of Horizon Magazine and a columnist.

Back in 2019, I wrote a feature story announcing that the Blount County Genealogical and Historical Society had compiled all known copies of the late Lorene Smith’s column, Digging for Ancestors, into book form and had produced only a few volumes: one donated to the library’s reference section, one to Blount County Archives and one to Lorene’s husband, Jeff Smith, presented on his 92nd birthday. BCGHS President Tim Walker said at the time that if there was enough interest, more copies would be printed for individuals to purchase.

The good news is, “Digging for Ancestors” is now available to those who wish to have a copy of their own. BCGHS has printed an additional 100 copies at a cost of $35 per book, plus $5 for postage and handling, if required. Tennessee residents will also pay $3.41 sales tax. The book contains 354 printed pages on 8 ½ by 11, 70-pound paper with a glossy, thick paperback cover. All proceeds from the sale will go toward publication costs and to support BCGHS programs.

“Digging for Ancestors” contains digitized copies of Lorene’s columns on genealogy that were published in The Daily Times between 1982 and 2006. The column primarily covered local history, genealogical inquires and the activities of the area’s historical societies and libraries. Tim compiled the information for the book, which is published as a memorial tribute to Lorene, a founding member and past president of BCGHS.

“After she died, we found some of her Digging for Ancestors columns, and we thought it would be nice to do a compilation of all her columns if we could find them,” Tim said when I interviewed him for the earlier story. “We had different people bring in some, and her husband Jeff went through their files and brought in some.”

Tim searched microfilm for the remainder, about 50 additional columns. Each column is reproduced as it appeared in the newspaper, although the orientation of the digital images may be a bit different to make them more easily read.

“The columns are listed in the book chronologically, and if you look at the top of each page, it will list the issue of The Daily Times it was published in and the date,” Tim said. “We added a dedication page, a table of contests and an index with surnames to make it a little more user-friendly. I think I caught all the surnames.”

Lorene was employed at the Blount County Public Library for 20 years, beginning her work in 1973 at the A.K. Harper Memorial Library. She had many duties, only one of which was working in the genealogy department. When she started, there were two shelves of genealogy books and a few loose papers. Through her efforts, the numbers of local history and genealogy books and other materials grew substantially. In addition, Lorene was named Blount County historian in 2008, a position she held until her death in May 2018.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of the book, visit to order via PayPal.

Order can also be made by mailing a check to BCGHS, P.O. Box 4986, Maryville, TN 37802. Contact BCGHS at for 865-273-1409 for more information.

Contact Linda Braden Albert with story ideas at

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