Saturday, March 8, 2014

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - A Fearless Females Prompt

From Randy over at Genea-Musings:

it's Saturday Night - 
time for more Genealogy Fun!!!

 Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

 1)  Read Lisa Alzo's blog post Back for a Fourth Year: Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women's History Month on her blogThe Accidental Genealogist.  [Yes, I know it was last year, but Lisa's using the same list this year.]

2)  Choose one of her daily blog prompts from the list (this is March 8th, do that one if you don't want to choose another), and write about it.

3)  Tell us about it in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blog post, in a Facebook post or a Google+ post.

Here's mine:

 I chose the March 8th prompt :  "Did one of your female ancestors leave a diary, journal, or collection of letters? Share an entry or excerpt."

My grandmother, Ethel Ranney Tapley (1913-1973) kept a diary in 1933 and 1934.  I have shared them here on this blog.  (To read entries from those diaries, please click on the tab "Posts by Topic" and then go to the topic "California."  All posts are listed there.)

Ethel Ranney Tapley

My great-grandmother, Bessie Carter Ranney (1883-1960), kept a diary in 1929.  I have also shared that diary here on this blog.  (Those entries can also be found under the topic "California.")

Bessie Carter Ranney
I am grateful for the small glimpses into their everyday lives.  I really got a feel for Grandma's dry humor and what a loving mother my great-grandmother was.

On my father's side, I have a letter that my Aunt Irene (Irene Tapley Thomas [1925-2004]) wrote to her mother (my grandmother), Nealie Drake Tapley (1895-1970).  It's a short, new-sy type letter.  I have no idea when it was written, probably between 1967-1970.   

"Wed. P.M.

Dear Mom,
  It sure was good to hear you went thru the surgery O.K. And hope every thing turns out O.K. guess Blanche told you I called her this morning, I sure felt better after I heard from you - I was supposed to go to the Dr. to-day, but I put it off til next week, As I've got to go to my nerve Dr. Friday, And I just wasn't up to going to-day.  I can't do too much going, I'm just not up to it, I can't hold out. Bart has got the kitchen almost finished, all he lacks now is finishing the cabinets, and putting the tile on the floor, I think its going to be right pretty, Its just kinda large.  Mom, Jackie Tapley & her husband has been here for the last 30 days, And I've really enjoyed being with her, you know she sure is nice & sweet, you know I've always loved her, And she has talked a lot about you, they are fixing to leave, I hate to see her go.  Well I'll stop for now, don't worry and get well soon.  We love you.

Love Always,
Irene & Bart"

Nealie Drake Tapley

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Do You Have a John Smith?

From Randy over at Genea-Musings:

it's Saturday Night - 
time for more Genealogy Fun!!!

 Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

 1)  How many persons named John Smith do you have in your genealogy management program or online family tree?  How many persons named John Smith are ancestors?

2)  Pick out one of those persons named John Smith and do some online research for them in Ancestry, FamilySearch, or another set of record collections.  Your goal is to add something to your database.

3)  Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a post on Facebook or Google+.

Here's mine:

1)  Believe it or not, I only have one John Smith in my Family Tree Maker 2012 database!  And he is not even a direct relative!  However, I never turn down a reason to research so here goes.

2)  John G. Smith was born 07 Aug 1824 and died 28 May 1894.  He was married to Mary Tyson, born 27 Feb 1817 and died 07 Feb 1894.  Their daughter, Margaret F. Tyson Smith (17 Nov 1856 - 02 Aug 1935) was married to my first cousin, John Solomon P. Lampp (13 Aug 1854 - 16 Dec 1922).  Other than presuming they were born and lived in Georgia, I know nothing about this family.

Upon checking the public member trees on, I found a listing for John Gordon Smith with (almost) matching birth and date dates who was born in Emanuel County, Georgia.  His wife is listed as Mary Tyson.  Bingo!  His parents are listed as William Daniel Smith (1801-1860) and Nancy Ann Stewart (1802-1884).   

Also on, in the database "Georgia Marriages to 1850," I found a listing for John G. Smith and Mary Tison.  They were married on February 6, 1845 in Emanuel County, Georgia. The same information is listed in "Georgia Marriages, 1699-1944."

I also found a J. G. Smith and Mary Smith in the 1880 United States Federal Census (  They were living in Johnson County, Georgia at that time, along with their 19-year-old son, John, which matches information I found elsewhere.

Also in the public member trees on, I found a picture of John Smith's headstone.  This lead me to  There I found the memorial for John Gordon Smith who is buried in Smith Cemetery in Scott, Johnson County, Georgia.  The inscription reads:

 "But Man Dieth
& Wayesth A
Way Ya Man
Giveth Up
The Ghost &
Whare Is He"

So I found quite a bit of "new" information in a very short period of time.  A successful evening, I would say!

3)  Done!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Workday Wednesday: My mother's career with the telephone company

In 1963, my mother was a 20-year-old "newlywed" living in Jacksonville, Florida.  Her cousin, Mary Ann, worked as an operator for Southern Bell and gave my mother an introductory card, which was a form of recruitment the company used in those days.  She went downtown and took all of the tests required for the job - spelling, writing, simple arithmetic - and did well.  Once she got a copy of her birth certificate from California and the company spoke with her husband - she would be working nights and they had to make sure that was alright with him - she began work in January 1963.

Her first job was as a long distance operator.  She worked split shifts:  10:30 am - 2 pm and then 7 pm - 1:30 am.  She took the bus, my father drove her to work, or she took the company taxi.  She did this for over two years. 

Then she became a Service Order Typist in the Assignment Office.  Her job was to run the tapes through and if there were any changes on the service order, she had to stop the tape and make the changes.  At the end of the tape, she had to put in information as to who did the installation, time of completion, and subscriber information.  She was in this job for only six months because she and my father then moved to Augusta, Georgia.

Mom transferred to Augusta as a Service Order Typist.  She started there the first week of October 1965.  She was in this position for about two years.  She had been promoted to Dispatch Clerk when she found out she was pregnant with me.  She took five months of maternity leave and when she returned to work, the company put her in a lower grade position.  Mom filed a grievance and won back her Dispatch Clerk position. 

She continued in that position for about two more years.  Since she was working six days a week with a lot of overtime, my father wanted her to put in for a position in the Business Office.  She got that position about 1969-70.

Then my father lost his job.  He wanted to move back to Jacksonville.  Mom got a transfer in October 1971.   She worked in the residential business office for two years.  That department put more and more emphasis on selling, which Mom didn't like, so she put in a request for business orders.  She worked there for approximately two years.

Then my father wanted to leave Jacksonville.  They considered moving to Swainsboro, Georgia next to my grandparents, and Mom even applied for a transfer to the closest business office in Dublin.  However, that plan was scrapped, and she had to rescind her transfer request.

In November of 1973, my grandparents passed away.  It soon became apparent that my grandmother's sister, who had been living with my grandparents, was unable to live on her own.  So my father and I moved to Swainsboro in August of 1975.  Mom came up every weekend from Jacksonville - a four hour drive each way.  She applied for a transfer to Dublin and it finally came through in April 1976.

The opening in Dublin was in the Engineering Department as an Engineering Clerk.  It was a 70 mile round trip.  She worked as an Engineering Clerk and then a Drafting Clerk (which was a higher grade) for four years.  Then she put in for the higher grade position of Engineering Assistant and because of her seniority within the company, she got the job.

The phone company broke apart in 1983, and Mom chose to go with BellSouth.  She was able to continue to work in Dublin as an Engineering Assistant until 1990 when the company closed the Dublin office.

Thus began the era of reshuttling/closing offices.  It happened every few years like clockwork.  The company would spend no telling how much refurbishing an office to turn around and close it in just a couple of years.

My parents had purchased a lot and built a house on Lake Sinclair in Milledgeville, Georgia.  So after the Dublin office closed, they moved there, and Mom transferred to Macon (another 70 mile or so round trip).  She worked there as an Engineering Assistant for almost five years when the company announced there would be changes in the Macon District.  All those who had worked in Dublin could either return there or transfer to Augusta.  If Mom had chosen to return to Dublin, she would have had to go back to being a Drafting Clerk (a lower grade job).  If she chose to transfer to Augusta, she would transfer as an Engineering Assistant and would work under someone she liked very much, Kathy Reese.  She chose Augusta, with my father's agreement, and they moved in 1995.

Mom (on the right) with Kathy at Mom's 40th anniversary recognition
In Augusta, Mom worked as a Subscriber Advocate in the SAC until she transferred to EWO when it moved from Atlanta to Augusta.  Then BellSouth did some redistricting AGAIN and moved the Augusta office across town, and Mom had to transfer back to SAC.  She worked there until 2007 when BellSouth closed that office.  Rather than transfer to Atlanta, Mom chose to retire.  She remained in the job bank for a year and officially retired in April of 2008.  She retired with 44 years of service to the telephone company.

Mom in her cubicle on Walton Way Ext in Augusta, right before she retired.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: B J Powell

Benjamin J Powell

b 05 (or 15) Nov 1849
d 04 Sep 1926

laid to rest at
Powell's Chapel Methodist Church Cemetery
Johnson County, Georgia

husband of
Sarah Lampp Powell

son of
Elias Powell
Teresa Black Powell

B J Powell was the uncle of my Grand Uncle Jim Tapley's wife, Maggie V Powell Tapley.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sunday's Obituary: Estelle McConnell Tyson

Mrs. Estelle Tyson 

Mrs. Estelle Tyson, 83, of the Union Grove Community, died Monday afternoon at Anderson Nursing Home after several months of illness.

A native of Anderson County, she was the daughter of the late D. C. and Ella Drake McConnell and a member of the Union Grove Methodist Church. 

She was a retired school teacher and the widow of Aaron Tyson.

Surviving are a sister, Mrs. Emma Evans of Anderson; nieces and nephews.

Funeral plans will be announced by Sullivan-King Mortuary.

The body is at the mortuary where the family will receive friends from 7-9pm.  The family is at the home of a sister, Mrs. Evans, Union Grove Community.

Additional Comments:

Estelle was born 10 Dec 1891. Estelle is buried in Union Grove Cemetery with her husband, Aaron Tyson. 

Johnson County GaArchives Obituaries.....Tyson, Estelle McConnell September 8, 1975

The Anderson Independent, 9-9-1975, Page 2B

File at:

Estelle was married to the brother-in-law of my 1st cousin, 3x removed.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - What's Your Ancestor Score?

From Randy over at Genea-Musings:

Hey ahnentafelists (new genea-word!) - 
it's Saturday Night - 
time for more Genealogy Fun!!!

 Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1)  Determine how complete your genealogy research is.  For background, read Crista Cowan's post Family History All Done? What’s Your Number? and Kris Stewart's What Is Your Genealogy "Score?"  For comparison purposes, keep the list to 10 or 11 generations with you as the first person.  

2)  Create a table similar to Crista's second table, and fill it in however you can (you could create an Ahnentafel (Ancestor Name) list and count the number in each generation, or use some other method).  Tell us how you calculated the numbers.

3)  Show us your table, and calculate your "Ancestral Score" - what is your percentage of known names to possible names (1,023 for 10 generations).

4)  For extra credit (or more SNGF), do more generations and add them to your chart.

5)  Post your table, and your "Ancestor Score," on your own blog, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook Status post or Google+ Stream post.

Here's mine:

1)  I did this by creating a Kinship Report in Family Tree Maker 2012 (Sources > Collection > Relationship Reports > Kinship Report) for my entire tree, sorted by kinship, opened it, and counted the persons on the list for each relationship needed.  The numbers include duplicate persons (due to marrying relatives or others with the same last name) and persons I had either just a first or last name for.

2)  My chart:

Liz Tapley’s Ancestral Name Score – January 2014

Possible People
Identified People
2x Great-grandparents
3x Great-grandparents
4x Great-grandparents
5x Great-grandparents
6x Great-grandparents
7x Great grandparents


3)  My "Ancestor Score" for 10 generations is:

*  Number of known ancestors = 103
*  Number of possible ancestors = 1,023
*  10 generation Ancestor Number = 103/1,023 = 10%  (I obviously rounded my percentages.)

WOW!  Hours upon hours of genealogy research over my lifetime and I have only identified 10% of my direct ancestors!  No, I will never be finished.

4)  No extra credit this time.  It's past midnights as I try to finish this!

5)  Done!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Military Monday: Jacob Isaac Osman

On this Veterans Day 2013, is it fate, coincidence or just plain ironic that I learned about a patriot ancestor that I knew nothing of before?  Another veteran in my family tree for which to be thankful.

I have a "new" cousin to thank for this information.  Ted actually sent me the info two or more years ago, but I just now sat down and took a good look at it today.  I know, shame on me.  So again, I ask you, was it fate or coincidence?  I tend to not believe in coincidence.

Jacob Isaac Osman was my 5th great-grandfather.  He was born in 1732 in Southold, Suffolk County, Long Island, New York.   (I did not know I had roots in New York either!)  Isaac was a Private in the Revolutionary War.  

Forts Montgomery and Clinton were located just south of West Point, New York on the Hudson River and were built for the defense of the Hudson Highlands.   Isaac Osman and his family lived in Smith's Clove, New York, which was in the Town of New Cornwall on the other side of Long Hill west of Fort Montgomery.  

On the afternoon of October 6, 1777, approximately 3,000 Loyalists, Hessians, and British regulars attacked both forts simultaneously.  The forts were largely garrisoned by the local militia.  This militia of the district, about 600 in number, had been hastily called in the day before.  One of the regiments there that day was Col. Jesse Woodhull's regiment from Cornwall, of which both Isaac and his brother, Israel, also a private, were members.  In addition, Isaac and Israel's younger brother, John, a sergeant, was a member of Lamb's Artillery, and was also at the fort that day. 

After a few hours of intense fighting, Lieutenant Colonel Mungo Campbell and several British regulars approach Fort Montgomery waving a "white flag of truce."  The American forces, lead by Brigadier General George Clinton, sent out Lieutenant Colonel William Livingston to meet the enemy.  The British officers demand the rebels surrender and promise that "no harm will come to them."  Livingston refuses their offer of surrender and likewise invites Campbell to surender and promises him and his men "good treatment."  Outraged by Livingston's remarks, the British resume the battle.

The British closed in on all sides of the twin forts.  Lt. Colonel Campbell is killed in a violent attack on the north side of Fort Montgomery.  It is here that the British and Loyalist Troops overwhelm Clinton and the Orange County Militia, who are defending Fort Montgomery.  After a fierce resistance lasting until nightfall, the British overrun the Americans and gain control of Fort Montgomery and Fort Clinton, and lead the courageous Militiamen from the fort at the point of their bayonets.  The American Patriots who were not killed in battle or did not escape were shipped off to the Sugar House Prison in New York City.  Among those were Isaac and Israel Osman. 

Now I am not very schooled in the Revolutionary War.  I had never heard of these Sugar House Prisons.  So of course I checked Wikipedia and found that during the 18th century, a large part of commerce in New York City was trade with the British West Indies.  Destined for refineries, sugar and molasses were imported and stored in warehouses built by merchant families.  Three of these large structures - Livingston's, Rhinelander's, and Van Cortlandt's sugar houses in Manhattan - were known for being used by the British Army to house prisoners of war during their occupation of New York City.  They also housed prisoners in British ships anchored in New York Harbor.

The Livingston sugar house (on the left) on Liberty Street in Manhattan, circa 1830.

 The treatment of these prisoners were horrific.  The fledgling American government or the prisoners' families were expected to furnish food and supplies.  However, it was discovered that the Provost Marshal of the Prison, William Cunningham, had been selling the food and supplies that were sent for the prisoners.  In addition, conditions were not sanitary due to overcrowding, etc.  During the occupation of New York City by the British, it is estimated that 17,500 prisoners perished on the ships and in the prisons from starvation, smallpox, dysentery, typhus, and yellow fever, more than double that of casualties from battle. 

Both Isaac and his brother, Israel, died in the Sugar House Prison.  They were buried in unmarked graves somewhere in New York City, possibly in the Trinity Churchyard. 

In Lower Manhatten at the corner of Broadway and Wall Streets in the Trinity Churchyard, there is a memorial where Patriots of the American Revolution are remembered.  This monument was erected by church leaders in 1852.  It honors not only my ancestors, Isaac and Israel Osman, but all of the unknown American soldiers and sailors of the Revolutionary War who were imprisoned, died, and buried in unmarked graves.  

            Monument to Revolutionary War prisoners at Trinity Church, Manhattan. Photograph by Joshua Ruff.
 And what became of their younger brother, John, you may ask?  When I started writing this post, I did not know.  During the course of my research, I found his name on a list of 8,000 men who were prisoners on board "The Old Jersey," or the "Hell," as she was called, a prison ship anchored in the East River.  Often more than a thousand prisoners at a time were confined in her, and they endured terrible suffering.  Her nickname came from its inhumane conditions and the obscenely high death rate of its prisoners.  

John was one of the fortunate few who survived that experience.  I do not know how, but he did.  He lived to be 71.  

So three brothers went to war and fought for the new country they believed in.  Only one came back.  I am sure he was not the same man who left.  

To say that I am proud of the sacrifices my ancestors made for this country would be an understatement.  I am humbled by their courage and perseverance.