1800-2011 Why would anyone want to know these folksongs? 
Why should we pass these songs along?

1870's - 1910's Boomer's Great Grand Parents are now 100+ (AS OF 2008)

114 Year Old Edna Parker a retired teacher, born on April 20, 1893 is the oldest living person in the world! She probably heard all these songs in her life.

107 Years Old - Frank Woodruff Buckles lives in Charles Town, West Virginia and is 107 years old. He was born February 1901 and fought in World War One. His advice is to "Make your own Decisions".

1890-1933 - Some are on the List of the 84

1910's - 1920's Boomer's Parents now 78 to 98 years old.

1946 - 1964 Baby Boomers now 44 to 62 years old.

1965 - 1979 Generation X now 29 to 43 years old.
AKA MTV Generation (1975-1985)

1980 - 1995 Generation Y now 13 to 28 years old.
If the years 1978–2000 are used, as is common in market research, then the size of Generation Y in the United States is approximately 76 million.

 1997 - now Generation Z born after aka Net Generation
"the first generation to be born into a digital world".

Time Line of Shared Songs that Americans are Losing: 1890 -1930's

African American Sheet Music, 1820-1920
During the 19th and early 20th centuries, sheet music was produced in enormous quantities in the United States. To historians and other interested parties, much of this material serves as a way to look at social and cultural mores of the times.

Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry 1891-1922 Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry, 1891-1922 includes historic recordings of one of the earliest minstrel records in existence; from 1894, it's Spencer, Williams & Quinn's Imperial Minstrels doing their Minstrel First Part and featuring George W. Johnson's great "Laughing Song."

The Traditional Ballad Index lists a 1933 recording by James "Iron Head" Baker, as the first record of the song. The version with the lines about the "n-i--xx--e-r from Shiloh" was sung by Moses Clear Rock Platt, African-American singer, story teller and sometime prisoner on prison farms in Texas. His material was first recorded by Lomax (printed in Lomax and Lomax, 1934, "American Ballads and Folk Songs," pp. 231-233).

Pete Seeger picked it up, and along with the printed version in Silber, "Folksinger's Wordbook," p. 123 (with chords), it became a standard among folk singers. I believe it was Seeger who introduced the "Jump down turn around" lines, borrowed from the old dance and strut songs (Jump Jim Crow, mentioned in a previous post) of the minstrels. Another African-American who recorded it, first on a Texas prison farm, was James 'Ironhead' Baker (Rounder Records).  According to the Traditional Ballad Index, Seeger also recorded it with Sonny Terry.

History USA Music up to World War II

Folk Music - "Plea for the Old Ballads" [1914 Sep 18 "far superior to the Present Day Lyrics"]. "Put a volume of fine old ballads on the piano and begin you child's education not only in song but romance."

The Florida Folklife Collection has the following is a compilation of all of the known Zora Neale Hurston sound recordings* created while she worked for the WPA in the 1930s. Today, the original recordings are housed at the Library of Congress. Hurston worked for the WPA in 1935 and again in 1939. Today, Hurston is better known as a major literary figure, but she was also a trained anthropologist.