Thursday, November 8, 2018

Liz's Surname Table

So I came across a pin on Pinterest about creating a Surname Table.  The article stated this table would be a big help in finding common surnames among DNA matches.  I can see some use in basic genealogy research also, such as seeing the "holes" in your research and trying to remember all the surnames.  As for myself, I get so focused on certain surnames, I forget about some of others!  This helps me see at a glance what surnames are in my tree so hopefully I won't overlook a mention of one of them on my next research trip.

This was a little tricky for me, especially the 4th great-grandparent area.  Maybe it's because there are so many I don't know or that it was hard to find a format in FTM 2017 that made me see the names easily.  Either way, hopefully, it is correct now. 

My great-grandmother, Bessie Alice Carter Ranney was adopted.  So the cells with the * indicates her adopted line so I don't need to research those surnames. 

My father's paternal line and my mother's paternal line overlap.  So the ### in a cell indicates a repeat surname. 

You will see a couple of names mentioned twice.  This is because they are in different lines, and I am not sure yet if they are the same family. 

And of course, empty (blank) cells indicate I have some more research to do!

The article I got the idea from is located here:  our-surname-tables-for-dna-research.  I was confused by her video (because I don't have that cool fan tree she used!), but it gave me the general idea, and I figured it out from there.  The order of the columns are Paternal Father, Paternal Mother, Maternal Father, and Maternal Mother.

Try it out.  Add a tool to your genealogy toolbox.  Let me know if you have questions, and I'll try my best to help. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

10,000 and growing...

Yesterday, I entered the 10,000th family member into my family tree software.  Wow!  I can't imagine 10,000 people in one place. 

I had neglected my genealogy for a few years.  Back in April/May, I had some time, "met" a couple of new cousins online, and got back to researching.  At that time I had about 7,500 people in my database.  So I have entered about 2,500 people since then.  I've been busy.  The dust in my house would attest to that! 

I have tracked cousins to Kentucky, Missouri, Texas, Indiana, Michigan... and now back to my current home, North Carolina.  And when I say my current home, I mean right down to the town I live in - Durham.  I have found an arm of the Tapley family who settled in the Durham area, Roxboro in Person County, and Granville County, North Carolina (neighboring counties to Durham).  When it warms back up, I have several cemeteries to visit!

Unfortunately, I do not know much about the 10,000th person I entered into FTM 2017 last night.  Just the basics I found on and  (My favorite places to search, by the way.)

Sherman Lewis Hunt was born October 15, 1909 in Granville County, North Carolina to Melvin and Eliza Hunt.  In 1910 and 1920, the family lived in Tally Ho, Granville County.  (I have not heard of this community!). 

Sherman married my 7th cousin, Nina Ozelle Davis, on August 17, 1929 in Halifax, Virginia.  Hmmm... I wonder why they went to Virginia to get married.  Could it have something to do with the fact that Nina was only 16 years old?

[My relationship calculator to Nina:

  Our nearest common relatives are Hosea Tapley and Sarah Moore.  Nina was descended from Hosea and Sarah's oldest son, Hosea Jr., whereas I was descended from their 3rd child and Hosea Jr.'s brother, Joel. 

Want the full breakdown to see if you recognize any of the names?  Sure!  Let's find a connection!

  Nina's line:

    Hosea Tapley Jr and Sarah Green
    Hosea Tapley III and Lucy Pryor
    Sarah Moore Tapley and Daniel Farmer
    Sarah Mary Farmer and Thomas William Blackard
    Sarah Jane Blackard and  William H Wade
    John Pumfrey Wade and Peloponnesia P Lunsford
    Lula Jane Wade and William Ruffin Davis
    Nina Ozelle Davis

My line:

    Joel Tapley and Mary Avent
    Newhampton Tapley and Unknown
    Sarah Tapley and Canneth Swain
    George Washington Tapley and Elizabeth MNU
    James Madison Tapley and Elizabeth Rebecca "Becky" Page
    Lusion Keman Tapley and Nealie Vermell Drake
    Gilbert Earl Tapley and Linda Irene Tapley
    Mary Elizabeth Tapley (that's me!)

  Whew!  That's a long way apart.  A good distance.  Does that still make us cousins?  We all have our own opinion on that.  While I know that we most likely do not share any DNA that far out, I still consider us cousins.  We still come from the same family tree.]

Now back to Sherman.  According to the 1930 census, Sherman and Nina were living in Dutchville in Granville County in their own place.

He and Nina had 5 children that I know of:

  Ozell, born about 1931.  (I only found one reference to this child - on the 1940 census.)
  Pella Jane, born October 20, 1931 there in Granville County.  She married Johnnie Wesley Clayton and passed away January 23, 2013 in Durham.
  Lois, born about 1934
  Bobby Lewis, born September 26, 1936 in Granville County.  He married Iva Mae King and passed away June 28, 2006 in Chapel Hill.
 Josephine, born around the 1st of April 1940.  She passed away on the 14th of April from a congenital heart defect.  Bless her heart - she lived just long enough to be counted on the 1940 census. 

Speaking of the 1940 census... I found that Sherman and his entire family (him, his wife, and their 5 children) were living with Sherman's parents.  I wonder why?

Sherman lived his entire life in Granville County.  He passed away in Oxford on December 1, 1984.  He, along with Nina, are buried at Meadowview Memorial Park in Oxford. 

So there's the sum total of my knowledge about my 10,000th family member, Sherman Lewis Hunt.  To be honest, I was a little disappointed that this milestone person turned out not be a "blood" relative but rather a relative by marriage.  That's OK.  Welcome to the family. Thank you for joining us.  I'm glad you did. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Ancestors Geneameme

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)  Jill Ball created a 40 question "Ancestors Geneameme" in 2011, and Linda Stufflebean recently expanded it to 70 questions on her Empty Branches on the Family Tree blog.  

2)  Let's do Linda's expanded list this week for SNGF.

3)  Copy and paste the list of questions below and replace my answers with your own.

4)  Share your answers as a comment on this blog post, in your own blog post, or on Facebook or Google+.   Please leave a comment and link to your answer in a comment on this blog post.

Here's mine:

  1. Can name my 16 great-great grandparents.   YES and NO - I know all given names - I do not know one maiden name.
  2. Can name my 32 great great great grandparents   NO
  3. Can name over 50 direct ancestors  YES
  4. Have photos or portraits of my 8 great grandparents  NO
  5. Have an ancestor who was married more than three times YES
  6. Have an ancestor who was a bigamist   NO (not that I know of)
  7. Met all four of my grandparents  NO (not my paternal grandfather)
  8. Met one or more of my great grandparents  NO
  9. Bear an ancestor’s given name/s  YES
  10. Named a child after an ancestor  NO
  11. Have an ancestor from Great Britain or Ireland  YES
  12. Have an ancestor from Asia  NO
  13. Have an ancestor from continental Europe   YES
  14. Have an ancestor from Africa  NO
  15. Have an ancestor who was an agricultural laborer  YES
  16. Have an ancestor who had large land holdings   YES
  17. Have an ancestor who was a holy man – minister, priest, rabbi   YES
  18. Have an ancestor who was a midwife  NO (not that I know of)
  19. Have an ancestor who was an author    NO
  20. Have an ancestor with the surname Wong, Kim, Suzuki or Ng    NO
  21. Have an ancestor with the surname Smith, Murphy or Jones   NO
  22. Have an ancestor with a surname beginning with X  NO
  23. Have an ancestor with a forename beginning with Z  NO
  24. Have an ancestor born on 25th December  NO
  25. Have an ancestor born on New Year’s Day   YES
  26. Have an ancestor who shares your day and month of birth  NO
  27. Have blue blood in your family lines  NO
  28. Have a parent who was born in a country different from my country of birth    NO
  29. Have a grandparent who was born in a country different from my country of birth  NO
  30. Can trace a direct family line back to the 18th century  YES
  31. Can trace a direct family line back to the 17th century  YES
  32. Can trace a direct family line back to the 16th century  NO
  33. Have seen signatures of some of my great grandparents  YES
  34. Have ancestors who signed with an X (or other mark)  YES
  35. Have a grandparent or earlier ancestor who went to university   NO 
  36. Have an ancestor convicted of a criminal offense    NO
  37. Have an ancestor who was a victim of crime  YES
  38. Have shared an ancestor’s story online or in a magazine/periodical  YES
  39. Have published a family history online or in print  NO
  40. Have visited an ancestor’s home from the 19th or earlier centuries  YES
  41. Have a family Bible from the 19th century  NO
  42. Have a family Bible from the 18th century or earlier  NO
  43. Have an ancestor who was part of a multiple birth (twins, etc.)  YES
  44. Have a family member who closely resembles an ancestor  YES
  45. Have an ancestor who owned their own business  YES
  46. Have an ancestor who belonged to a trade guild  NO
  47. Have an ancestor who moved more than 100 miles away from his/her birth home, EXCLUDING emigration to another country  YES
  48. Have an ancestor who gave birth to twelve or more children  YES
  49. Have an ancestor with a rare/unusual/uncommon forename  YES
  50. Have an ancestral family who changed their surname  YES
  51. Have a passenger list or travel manifest for an ancestor  NO
  52. Have an ancestor who was adopted  YES
  53. Have an ancestor who adopted a child   NO
  54. Have a naturalization record for an ancestor  NO
  55. Have an ancestor who received a military pension  YES
  56. Have a school record or school census for an ancestor  YES
  57. Have an ancestor with a gravestone still in existence from the 18th century  YES
  58. Have an ancestor with a gravestone still in existence from the 17th century or earlier  YES
  59. Have an ancestor who had only one child who survived to adulthood  YES
  60. Are descended twice from one couple  NO
  61. Are descended three times or more from one couple  NO
  62. Are descended from an American president or other political figure  YES (if you count local offices)
  63. Are descended from a person famous in history, other than in politics  NO
  64. Have an ancestor with a rare/unusual/unique surname  YES 
  65. Have an ancestor who you have found mentioned in a pre-1870 newspaper  YES
  66. Can name the ship on which at least one ancestor emigrated  NO
  67. Have a female ancestor who worked outside the home pre-World War II  NO
  68. Know of at least one ancestor who returned to the ancestral home after emigration  NO
  69. Know of at least one ancestor who permanently returned to the ancestral home after emigration   NO
  70. Have an ancestor who was survived by 50 or more grandchildren  NO
So I have 31 (and 1/2) YES out of 70.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - 100 word Genealogy Challenge

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)  This SNGF is based on the 100 Word Challenge ( that school children are participating in around the world.  They are given a word or phrase to write a story about in one hundred words.

1)  Write a short 100 word story using the phrase ",,,the most interesting ancestor I have..." in 100 words.  [Hint:  If you write it in a word processor, you can use Tools > Word Count (or similar) to count words]

2)  Share the story with all of us by writing your own blog post, writing a comment on this blog post, or put it in a Google Plus Stream or Facebook Status or Note.  Please leave a comment on this post so others can find it.

Here's mine:

My uncle, John Russell Tapley, is my most interesting ancestor.  He was born 05 Jul 1917 in rural Johnson County, Georgia.  He was 18 when his father died, and while he loved his mother and was the “glue” that held the family together, he was also known to be quite mischievous.  He served in Europe in World War II and came home with PTSD.  He was a joker, had a fiery temper, and loved his family fiercely.  He never had children, but many nieces and nephews loved him like a father.  He died of a heart attack at age 50.

History in my Hand

Today, I visited the North Carolina Archives in Raleigh.

Wait... let me back up a bit.

I have been away from genealogy and this blog for a long time.  Years, in fact.  Then in the spring, I was in Georgia once a month to help my mom following her cataract surgeries.  So I had some down time.  I "met" a couple of new cousins online who sent me their family trees.  Mom and I drove to Dublin, Georgia, and met a couple of other cousins.  All of this lit the fire once again.  So for months now, I've been doing genealogy research.  Almost every night into the wee hours.  I've added over 1,000 ancestors/relatives to my Family Tree Maker database.  But yet I still haven't written a blog post.

Recently, I came to the realization that I have lived in North Carolina for 6 years and haven't done much research on my family from here.  So I started making plans.  To visit some places.  To find some documents relating to my Tapley ancestors.  Of course, I had been to the archives in 2012 and found some of these documents, but I needed to refresh my genealogy memory.

Now... back to the beginning of this post.

Today, I visited the North Carolina Archives in Raleigh.   I had an experience there that I want to share with everyone.  So here I am, back in the blogging world.

I found the Last Will and Testament of my 6th great grandfather, Hosea Tapley, from Caswell County, North Carolina.  It was supposedly written in October of 1780 and probated in June 1781.  Now I had a microfilm copy of this will.  I had even abstracted it here on my blog:  See Amanuensis Monday: Last Will and Testament of Hosea Tapley.  However, today what I found and saw and touched and photographed and copied was the ORIGINAL.  Yes, folded over in a folder, pulled from the back, where I assume there is a climate controlled room in which this 237 year old document resides.  I was overwhelmed.  In awe.  Almost teary.  To be able to see and touch a document that old, pertaining to my ancestor.  It was an amazing experience.

I don't know how anyone could not be affected deeply by that.

If we don't know where we come from, then how will we know where we're going?

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!