Saturday, March 21, 2020

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - What's on Your Genealogy Bookshelf?

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)  Teresa at the Writing My Past blog wrote a post about her genealogy bookshelf, even showing photographs of the books on several of her shelves. Another reader of Randy's blog, Linda Stufflean, though this was a good SNGF topic, so here we are!

(2)  What books or types of books are on your genealogy bookshelf (ves) in your home?  Do you have a photo of them? Are there specific books that you use more than others?

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

Here's mine:

Well, the first thing I realized is that I have books on different shelves all around my office space and living room.  My desk sits in a corner of my living room with bookshelves that are a part of my desk, an IKEA bookshelf behind me in my office space, and a larger IKEA bookcase in the living part of the room filled with all sorts of books and also scrapbooks.  

I keep my most referenced books on the shelves above my desk.  Here are those:

* Tapley, A family of Georgia and the South by Ray Tapley is my holy grail.  I have used it constantly over the years, and it is never out of my reach.  I contributed to Ray's research when he was writing the book, so my copy is signed by him, and that makes it that much more valuable to me.

* The Drake Family of Washington County, Georgia by Charles Edward Francis Drake stays close by also.  

* Searching for our Ancestors Among the Gravestones, 2000 Second Edition, A Cemetery Record of Johnson County, Georgia, published by The Johnson County Historical Society is another valuable reference book.  I  have used it many, many times over the years and wonder if a newer edition has been done or is planned???

The newest edition to my library was a gift from my cousin, Keith, last time I saw him at Christmas time.  Another valuable resource I can't wait to use:

* Cemeteries of Jefferson County Georgia, 1794-2000, compiled by Leroy Lewis and The Jefferson County Historical Society. 

 Then we move to the bookshelf behind me.  This is where I store notebooks for each family with paperwork I want to save, such as copies of birth and death certificates, censuses, etc.  I have a few genealogy books here, too:

* Celebrating 150 Years of Johnson County (Georgia), 1858-2008, published by The Johnson County Historical Society.  As you can tell, my Tapley roots are deeply planted in that county in Georgia.

* Descendants of Exum Drake, Volume III, Descendents of Francis Bryant Drake and Selina King by Robert Eldon Drake, M.D., 1977.  This book arrived when I was about 10-12 years old and really fueled my genealogy interest.  

* NGS (National Genealogical Society) Research in the States Series:  Georgia by Linda Woodward Geiger and Paul K. Graham.  Hmmmm... I probably should get the North Carolina version, too.

* The Genealogist's Google Toolbox by Lisa Louise Cooke.  I had forgotten I had this book!  I need to put ii on my desk!

* Organizing Your Family History Search: Efficient & Effective Ways to Gather and Protect Your Genealogical Research by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack.  I need to use this one more.

There are more generalized books on the bookshelf in the living room:

I'm not going to describe every book that is there, but you can definitely tell that I have an interest in the Civil War.  I have visited several of the battlefields, and I love to read about the lives the civilians were trying to live during that time.  I also picked up a few North Carolina reference books at a genealogy day last year in Mount Airy, North Carolina.  Then I have workbooks and syllabi from the couple of conferences I have attended.  If you see anything you have a question about, please message me.

I also have books on my computer.  The most important one is:

* Middletown Upper Houses, a history of the north society of Middletown, Connecticut, from 1650-1800, with genealogical and biographical chapters on early families and a full genealogy of Ranney's by Charles Collard Adams.  As I was working on this post, I found this book available for Kindle.  So now I have a genealogy book there, too. 

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Modern Pandemic Making History

We are living through something right now that most of us have never experienced.  A virus spreading all over the world.  A pandemic. For reasons which are unknown, people are rushing out and clearing store shelves of toilet paper, paper towels, and cleaning wipes.  Employees who can are working from home.  Restaurants are closed or only open for drive-in or curbside service.  Retail stores are closing early.  Some stores are opening earlier for senior citizen and other immune-compromised people to shop safely.  The roads are eerily empty.  School is closed for weeks, and the kids are doing schoolwork from home.  Libraries are closed.  All sporting events, music concerts, plays, conferences, weddings, festivals, parades, court trials, or any gathering of 50 or more people have been cancelled.  People are actually panicking about having to stay home - in their own house - for the required 14 day quarantine.  The stock market is plunging.  No one can sneeze or cough without receiving a dirty look from a nearby co-worker or member of the public.  We are being told to practice social distancing - keep at least 6 feet from others.  We are also told to self-isolate if  we have been in contact with someone who is showing symptoms.  No visiting, no unnecessary shopping or socializing.  Wash your hands thoroughly.  Do not touch your face, eyes, nose, or mouth.  The list goes on and on and on.

This coronavirus (not to be confused with having anything to do with the beer called Corona), surfaced in China in December 2019 and has spread to at least 147 countries, killing 7,800 and sickening tens of thousands of people in a matter of weeks.  This is the scary part.  How fast it is spreading.  The World Health Organization has declared it a pandemic.

On December 31, 2019, the government in Wuhan, China confirmed that health authorities there were treating hundreds of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause.  Just days later, researchers in China identified a new virus.  On January 11, 2020, China reported their first known death from an illness caused by the virus:  a 61-year-old man who was a regular customer at the market in Wuhan where the virus is believed to have originated.  Cases spread to Japan, South Korea, and Thailand.  On January 20, the United States announced its first confirmed case in Washington state.  A 30-something year old man who had just returned from a trip to Wuhan, China.

By January 31, when the U.S. restricted travel from China, 213 people had died and nearly 9,800 had been infected worldwide.  On February 2, the first coronavirus death was reported outside China - in the Philippines.  By this point, more than 360 people had died.

On February 11, the World Health Organization provided a name for the disease the coronavirus causes:  Covid-19, an acronym that stands for coronavirus disease 2019.  By the next day, there were 393 cases outside China in 24 countries.  On February 24, when the White House asked Congress to allocate emergency funds to help prepare, there were 35 confirmed cases in the U.S. and no deaths. But the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) warned of an almost certain outbreak.

On February 28, a patient near Seattle, Washington became the first coronavirus patient to die in the United States. 

On March 13, the president declared a national emergency.  The governor of North Carolina declared a state of emergency here 3  days earlier - on March 10.  By March 14, the President was advising citizens to avoid groups of more than 10.  Countries all over the world has closed their borders.

Here in North Carolina, the first case was reported in Wake County (Raleigh) on March 3.  As of today, there are 32 cases confirmed in Durham County (where I live) and a total of 119 cases statewide.

Also, just today, the governor announced that the first case of coronavirus from community spread  has occurred.  This is when they don't know how someone contracted Covid-19.  The second confirmed case in Wilson County has no known travel history and no known contact with another positive person.

When I had the idea to write this particular blog post, it was for two reasons.  First, researching and sharing the information made it more understandable and clear in my own mind.  Things are happening so fast right now, it is hard to comprehend and process it all.  Second, this is a moment of history. Just like I research my ancestors' lives, someone may research mine one day.

While I am not panicking or worrying excessively, I am constantly aware of the situation swirling around me.  It is almost all anyone is talking about.  I receive countless emails about it - some of which I'm going to share here.  I have to remember to not touch my face (That's not working so well - I had no idea how often I touch my face throughout the day!), to wash my hands twice as long and much more often, and to keep my distance from other people (This one is not going so well either with coworkers.  We have to interact fairly closely.)  Life is definitely different now.  I'm avoiding going out as much as possible, whether its to the grocery store or a restaurant.  If I did go to the grocery store, there is not much there to get.  My mammogram has been postponed.  I can't just go to the library or a movie.  I've had to think about a plan if I am quarantined.  While I am still working because courthouse personnel are essential, I would not be surprised that someone among us has the virus and just does not know it yet.  When confirmed, we will all have to be quarantined.  Personally, I would love 2 weeks at home.   I have so much that needs doing, and things I want to do.  However, I do not want to be sick.  It sounds miserable.  And dangerous.  The having difficulty breathing part makes me queasy.  I try not to dwell on the particulars.  What I am trying to do is just take it day by day.

As I mentioned, I am receiving many emails from companies I do business with about this virus.  Everything from closings, to shortening hours, to we won't turn your electricity or gas off for non-payment, to simply we are cleaning more.  Here are just a few samples:

Ollie's Bargain Outlet
Store Locator
Temporary Changes to
the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Store Hours
During these uncertain times we are continuing to keep our stores open to serve our communities. We are keeping stores stocked with food, cleaning supplies and personal hygiene products, all at Ollie’s great bargain prices.
  • We are temporarily adjusting our store hours to close at 8pm (Monday – Saturday), beginning Friday, March 20.
  • In addition, we have designated 9am - 10am Monday – Saturday and 10am - 11am on Sunday to be shopping hours for Senior Citizens and those with compromised immune systems.
We ask all other customers to honor this and shop from 10am - 8pm Monday through Saturday and 11am - 7pm on Sunday.
We’re grateful to our thousands of associates and suppliers who are working diligently to provide our customers and communities with essential products and the best bargains possible. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to continue to serve you.

From my dental office:

Hi Elizabeth,

I am Dr. Don Lane of Lane & Associates Family Dentistry and I want to provide you with a brief update on how we are addressing the Coronavirus pandemic.

As the largest and one of the oldest dental practices in North Carolina, our primary concern has always been the health and safety of our patients and staff. In light of this and during these difficult times, we have prayerfully made the decision to follow the recommendation of the American Dental Association and the North Carolina Dental Board and will stop all treatment except for emergency or urgent dental needs.

My Homeowner's Association Management Company:

Dear Residents,

In response to the COVID-19 virus, Towne Properties is taking the following actions to help keep our communities and families safe and healthy. 

Towne Main Office
Our office will be closed to the public Monday, March 16th through Friday, April 17th.  This is subject to change; in which case, all residents will be notified.    

Board Meetings
Effective immediately, all meetings both offsite and in the office, will be canceled through Friday, April 17th.  For those who are unable to postpone/reschedule your meetings, we are encouraging our management teams and board members to use conference calls, voting by email, and virtual meeting applications such as “GoToMeeting” as alternatives. 

Emails/Phone Calls
Voicemails may take longer to return. However, emails are continuing to be monitored and you may receive a faster response. You may email your management team for assistance.  If you are unable to email, please leave a detailed message, including your name, number and reason for your call. All calls will be returned as soon as possible.

Assessment Payments
Receipt of payments may be delayed during this time.  Late fees will be suspended for the months of March and April, if needed.  For residents mailing in payments, please be sure to send your coupon and payment to the lockbox, not the Raleigh office P.O. Box, as this will further delay processing your payment.
We sincerely thank you for your understanding and patience.  We realize this is a unique and challenging time for all and are confident we will get through this together.  Please take care and do not hesitate to contact us should we be able to assist you. 

Important COVID-19 updates

Our highest responsibility to you is the delivery of reliable electric service. That’s always important, but never more so than now as we navigate this unprecedented time together.

Beyond that, we are committed to finding additional ways to help protect and serve the whole community, and especially those who are most vulnerable. Here’s some of what we’re doing.

Financial relief

We understand that many customers may be facing unexpected financial hardships. To help, we have suspended disconnections for nonpayment for home and business accounts during this time. Effective March 21, we will waive all fees for late payments and returned checks, and for credit or debit card payments for residential accounts. In addition, we are relaxing our usual timelines for payment arrangements. Customers who were recently disconnected can contact us to make arrangements for service restoration.
We still encourage you to stay as current as you can with your payments. This helps you avoid building up a large balance for later and it helps support those in your community who need financial assistance the most.

My Vet:  

The team at Village Vet is taking the government and the American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines very seriously.  We aim to provide the best possible service and care to our clients and patients while limiting possible spread of the COVID-19 virus.  In order to accomplish this, we are restricting entry into the clinic to team members and pets only. 

When you arrive at the clinic, please call from your car.  If you are picking up supplies you will be asked about payment over the phone and your items will be brought out to you. 

If you have an appointment, your pet's Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) or Assistant will speak with you over the phone to discuss your pet's history, symptoms, and needs just as she would if you were in a room.  She will then come to your car and get your pet to bring in to the clinic.  We ask that you stay in your car during the entire appointment.

Once inside, your pet's veterinarian will perform her physical exam and call you.  At this time she will discuss your pet's exam, any findings, and recommendations.  This will be the same as if you were in the room with her.
After everything is completed, you will receive another call.  If tests were run while you were waiting, the results and recommendations will be provided at this time.  You will then be transferred to a receptionist.  We recommend paying by credit card if at all possible as we can take the information over the phone.  Your pet will then be brought back to your vehicle by a team member.

We regret the need for these steps.  We pride ourselves on our service.  The health and safety of our team, clients, and patients is our highest priority.

Dear Patient:

We understand you and your loved ones may be concerned about the spread of a novel coronavirus, now known as COVID-19. At Duke Health, your safety and well-being are our top priority, and we are taking every precaution to help keep you safe.
Before Coming to a Duke Hospital or Clinic
Call ahead before seeking care

The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other respiratory illnesses like the flu, including:
  • fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath
If you have these symptoms:
  • Mild symptoms can be treated at home.
  • If your symptoms worsen, call your doctor before going to any medical facility. Your doctor will let you know what to do next and if you need to be seen.
  • Schedule a virtual visit 24/7, through Duke Health Anywhere.
Visitor restrictions in place
at all hospitals and clinics

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, we are:
  • limiting visitors to one person over the age of 12 for hospital visits and doctor’s appointments at clinic locations.
  • screening patients and visitors for symptoms of illness upon arrival
  • asking patients and their loved ones with symptoms related to COVID-19 to return home
  • providing information about what to do if you have symptoms to prevent the spread of illness
  • posting changes on these restrictions to

Stay safe out there.  Wash your hands.  I cannot say that enough.  And please do not hoard toilet paper and/or cleaning products. Everyone needs them.


A Timeline of the Coronavirus by Derrick Bryson Taylor, published online for the New York Times, March 19, 2020.  

Coronavirus:  First case of community spread COVID-19 confirmed in North Carolina by WBTV Web Staff, WBTV online, March 19, 2020.  

Watch:  Map shows how coronavirus is spreading in N.C.:  Coronavirus Timeline in North Carolina, published online for the Winston-Salem Journal, March 19, 2020.  

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks (Week 10): Strong Woman

Amy Johnson Crow from Generations Cafe is hosting a blog writing prompt this year called 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.  Since I need a swift kick in the you-know-what to get me blogging more regularly again, I thought I'd jump in.  I like that she gives us "permission" to interpret the prompt however we wish and share it however we wish.  It doesn't have to be a blog post; it could be a family video, a letter to a child or grandchild, an e-mail, etc.  I'm probably going to be always behind on this exercise so don't go by the date and week I'm writing about and take it as accurate.  

My paternal Grandmother, Nealie Vermell Drake Tapley, 1895-1970, passed away when I was 3 years old.  I have only one memory of her.  I did not receive the blessing it would have been to get to know her.  However, from all accounts that I have been told, and the research I have done, it is obvious she was a very strong woman.

Nealie was born and grew up in Adrian, Emanuel County, Georgia.  She was the 4th child (of 9) of Rev. William John (or John William) Drake, 1857-1927 and Emma Vermell Harrell Drake, 1867-1935. There were many preachers in the Drake family through the generations.  Nealie's grandfather, James William Drake, 1829-1908, was the first minister at Poplar Springs Methodist Church in Adrian, where many Drakes worshipped and are now buried. 

Tragedy, hard times, and tough situations struck Nealie from an early age and continued throughout her life:

- Her oldest sister, Hattie Lay Drake Wise died in the influenza epidemic in July of 1912.

- Her older brother, William Lovick Drake died in December 1912, also from influenza.

- Her younger brother, William Robert Drake, was murdered in June 1927.

- Her father was shot and killed in August 1927.  It was an accidental shooting by her brother, James Weldon Drake.

- A younger sister, Nancy Mary Ann Drake Donaldson died at age 25 in 1931.  I do not know her cause of death. 

- After marrying Papa (Lusion Keman Tapley) in 1914, she became estranged from her parents and did not see them much, if at all, before they passed. While I don't know the reason for the estrangement, I imagine it had something to do with her marrying a man 25 years older than her who had 4 children. 

- Upon marrying Papa, Nealie instantly had 3 boys to raise, ages 9, 6, and 4, who had lost their mother just two years earlier. 

- Nealie and Lusion lost their home/farm in 1932 as explained in my last blog post

- Papa died in 1935.

- Her mother died, also in 1935, just 3 months after Papa passed. My father told me he did not remember Nealie going to the funeral. 

- For the next several years after Papa's death, as the head of the family, Nealie had to work many different jobs to feed her family. 

- In her older years, she shuttled from one child's home to another and ended up living in public housing. 

- At some  point, she lost an eye, probably to disease, but we do not know the exact diagnosis.

- And in what was probably the final straw...her beloved son, Russ (John Russell Tapley), suddenly passed away from a heart attack in 1967.  He had turned 50 just five days before he died.  Uncle Russ was the glue that held this family together.  He was Grandma's protector and provider.  I cannot even imagine the huge blow it was to her to lose him. 

There is a saying that God doesn't give you more than you can handle.  It seems that there are some people, like my Grandmother, that He believed could handle a lot.  Throughout her life, Nealie had a strong faith.  She had to have leaned on her faith to have survived all she did.  I have talked to many people, both family and non-family, and no one has ever had a bad word to say about her.  (At Christmas time, Mom and I visited a cousin who has dementia and had no idea who we were.  But as soon as we mentioned Nealie, her face lit up and she joyfully said, "Aunt Nealie!  Yes!")  Grandma Nealie was dignified; a true Southern lady.  She was kind, fun, a wonderful mother, grandmother, aunt, friend, and church member.  She was tough. She had a backbone.  She took no gruff.  But she loved her family.  She was a strong woman. 

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Do You Have a Mary 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 Mary Smith do you have in your genealogy management program or online family tree?  How many persons named Mary smith are ancestors?

(2)  Pick out one of those persons named Mary Smith and do some online research for them on 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 his blog post, or in a post on Facebook.

Here's mine:

 I have seven (7) Mary Smiths in my Family Tree Maker 2019 database.  I was surprised I had that many!  Of the seven, four are really no relation - only by marriage.  Of the remaining three, Mary Elvira Smith (1908-1936) is my 3rd cousin, 2x removed; Mary Coleman Smith is my 4th cousin, 1x removed and is alive and kicking; and Mary Smith (abt 1738-??) is my 5th great-grandmother.  

So I naturally chose my 5th great-grandmother to research this evening.  I have no information about her parents.  She married Jacob Osman (1732-bef 1790) on May 11, 1763 in Orange County, New York.  They had seven children.  I am descended from their oldest child, Abrham Ozman (1764-1848).  (Yes, different spelling of the last name is correct.  I have Osman, Osmun, Ozman, and Ozmun in my database and they are all from the same family.)

I searched Ancestry hints, and there were only two.  One hint is from England, Select Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991, but since I do not have an international membership to Ancestry, I cannot explore that one.  The only other hint was for Ancestry Member Trees.  These hints are notoriously unreliable.  I only use them when I want to confirm what I think I already know.  I did take a peek in this instance, but no one else knows who her parents were either.  

There was one hint on FamilySearch:

Name: Mary Smith
Birth:  1737 in Dudley, Worcester, England
Marriage:  11 May 1763 in New York, British Colonial America (matches what I have)
Spouse:  Jacob Essmond (First name matches; last name... a new spelling perhaps?)
Children:  lists seven children, but only two of the names match what I have.

I'm inclined to think the Mary Smith at FamilySearch is my Mary Smith, but more research into their children is needed.  

I searched FindAGrave also, but found no Mary Smith that matched mine.

So I was unable to add anything new to my database about Mary Smith, my 5th great-grandmother.  

Sunday, March 1, 2020

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks (Week 9): Disaster

Amy Johnson Crow from Generations Cafe is hosting a blog writing prompt this year called 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.  Since I need a swift kick in the you-know-what to get me blogging more regularly again, I thought I'd jump in.  I like that she gives us "permission" to interpret the prompt however we wish and share it however we wish.  It doesn't have to be a blog post; it could be a family video, a letter to a child or grandchild, an e-mail, etc.  I'm probably going to be always behind on this exercise so don't go by the date and week I'm writing about and take it as accurate.  (Yes, I skipped Week 8... for now.)

When I heard the prompt for this week, a topic came to mind immediately.  In 1932, my Papa and Grandma Tapley (Lusion Keman Tapley, 1870-1935 and Nealie Drake Tapley, 1895-1970) lost their property in the Great Depression.  It was a disaster in their world... and they never recovered from it.

On November 26, 1894, Papa purchased 147 acres of land in the 55th G.M. of Johnson County from R.L. Tapley.  I believe that was his uncle, Robert L. Tapley.  This land was located kind of "behind" his parents' land, in the Fortner Pond area.

Here is a plat for the land when Papa had it surveyed in 1915:

On April 5, 1906, Papa paid $500 to J.M. Tapley for 58 acres of land in the 1326th G.M. of Johnson County.  J.M. was Lusion's father, James (Jim) Madison Tapley.  From what I was always told,  Jim did that for all of his children - sold (gave) them a piece of property off their homestead.

Papa was a farmer.  He had a total of 10 children. That was a lot of mouths to feed and a lot of feet to keep shoes on.  Farming is hard work and is has many bad years to withstand.  While, I don't know the exact reasons why Papa and Grandma borrowed money on their land, I am sure it was to keep the family afloat.

So on May 17, 1924, they took out a mortgage on both plots of land for $1,000.  The semi-annual payments were to be $32.50 made payable on April 1 and October 1 of each year for sixty-five annual payments.  (Now there is a lot of fine print in the note that I don't quite understand, but I hope I've shared the gist of it.)

Five years later, in 1929, the stock market crashed.  Shortly after that, the country fell into the Great Depression.  It was not over officially until 1933, but I'm sure the effects lingered until World War II.  It had clearly been a tough time for my grandparents because they got behind on their mortgage payments, and on March 1, 1932, the bank foreclosed, and their property, their livelihood, their home was sold on the courthouse steps to satisfy their debt.

I cannot even imagine how humiliating and sad that was for this family.  At the time they had probably six children still at home - ages from 17 down to 3.  Not only did they have to find somewhere to live, they had to find new jobs... because they no longer had their farm.

According to his death certificate, Papa never worked again after that.  The family moved to Wadley, and Papa died there on July 3, 1935.  He was sick near the end of his life, but it has never been clear what the ailment was.  His death certificate is quite readable except for the cause of death.  I can only make out "Heart" something.  I remember my father telling a story about how one of his cousins would come take Papa for a ride in the car every now and again to cheer him up.  Did he die of a broken heart?  Very possible, I believe.

As far as my Grandma Nealie, she had a tough life.  When Papa died, she was 39 years old with about 4 children left to raise.  There may have been more that were over 18 still living at home.  She had to go to work.  She did a little bit of everything.  She took in laundry or sewing, she sharecropped, she worked at the phone company in Kite.  She never owned her own home again; she rented and then when she got older, she lived with her son, Russ, and, after his death, in a public housing apartment in Augusta.

It's not that she didn't have family support and love.  She did.  But they didn't have money to share.  However, Grandma Nealie had a strong faith in God.  I am sure that her faith and devotion is what got her through the hard times.  I was told that when the family was living in Wadley, she would drive a horse and buggy almost 10 miles to get to Powell's Chapel Church to play the organ every Sunday.  She wanted to give back, no matter how little she had.

This disaster in their lives had far-reaching effects throughout the next generations.  The children did not stay in Johnson County and moved away.  The grandchildren did not know Johnson County or the life their parents and grandparents led there.  The losing of their home forever changed the trajectory and tapestry of the Tapley family.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks (Week 7): Favorite Discovery

Amy Johnson Crow from Generations Cafe is hosting a blog writing prompt this year called 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.  Since I need a swift kick in the you-know-what to get me blogging more regularly again, I thought I'd jump in.  I like that she gives us "permission" to interpret the prompt however we wish and share it however we wish.  It doesn't have to be a blog post; it could be a family video, a letter to a child or grandchild, an e-mail, etc.  I'm probably going to be always behind on this exercise so don't go by the date and week I'm writing about and take it as accurate.   

When I first started thinking about writing this post, my mind went to things - mementos, heirlooms, etc. - first.  That's what I've written about before... my grandmother's jewelry box or great-grandmother's china head doll or photos.  However, this very evening when I started preparing to write, I had another thought.

Among those who know me pretty well, it is a known fact that I don't care for/like many people.  I tend to stay to myself and avoid the world as much as I possibly can.  That's probably why I like (mostly) solitary hobbies... genealogy and scrapbooking.  The ironic thing is that this solitary hobby of genealogy research and blogging brought me my favorite discoveries.  Cousins.

It all began in probably 2010 or 2011. I did not work outside the home at the time, so I had a lot more time to research and write my blog.  I was writing a blog post almost every day.  Then suddenly, a man contacted me and told me we were cousins.  My blog was reaching people I did not know, and they were making connections based on the information I shared. 

That man was Keith Tapley, and he was right.  We are 2nd cousins, 1x removed.  My paternal grandfather, Lusion Tapley, and Keith's paternal great-grandfather, Franklin Morgan Tapley were brothers.  At that point, Keith did not know the Tapleys.  I helped him a little bit with that, but Keith took off like gangbusters.  He will call, meet, crash a family reunion, or even a funeral, to meet a Tapley relative!  He bombards me with information, and I'm glad to receive all of it.  Even if it does take me months or years to piece it all together! 

Knowing me, I would have faded to the background again and just interacted with the dead people I found, but Keith wouldn't let me do that, and thanks to him, I have met several other cousins.  He's even given me the courage?? patience?? to do some of that interacting myself.  Though honestly, if I do find a new cousin on my own, 9 times out of 10, Keith has met them long before! 

Keith is a favorite discovery.  I visit with him every time I go to Augusta.  We visit cemeteries, cousins, plots of land... anything that has meaning to us and the Tapley family.

Then I met Jimmy Wheeler.  Of course, he and Keith had met first.  And Jimmy will tell you that he tried to contact me several times, and I ignored him.  LOL.  All I'm going to say about that is yes,  once I moved to North Carolina and got a full time job, it takes me a lot longer to answer emails, messages on my blog, messages on Ancestry, messages on FindAGrave, etc.

Anyway, Jimmy is my 2nd cousin, 1x removed.  His great-grandfather is also Franklin Morgan Tapley, brother of my grandfather.  However, while Keith is descended from Uncle Frank's third child, Homer Frank Tapley, Jimmy is descended from Homer Frank's sister, Sallie Tapley Wheeler Geter. 

I also try to visit with Jimmy anytime I'm in Augusta.  It's usually Keith, Jimmy, my mom, and me going out to eat Mexican every trip.  Though Jimmy is the busiest retired person I've ever met (besides my mother!), he does his best to catch up with us and go on adventures.  He is very generous with his information, and that is refreshing. Jimmy is another favorite discovery.

December 26, 2019
Augusta, Georgia
Touring cemeteries and historical places
Jimmy Wheeler, Liz, Linda Tapley, Keith Tapley

There are several more favorite cousin discoveries (not in any particular order):

Drina Hanson Berkey - my 1st cousin who grew up in California while I grew up in Georgia and thus we have never met.  (Our mothers are sisters.) However, we found each other a couple of years ago and do our best to keep in touch via Facebook and text.  She is the very sweetest person, and I am so thankful and glad we connected. 

Loraine Minton - a fiery, red-head Drake cousin that lives in my hometown of Swainsboro.  We just met last year, and we hit it off like gangbusters!  So much so that Keith is jealous!  LOL.  Loraine loves to visit a cemetery just like I do, and on my last visit, she toured me around to about 3 big ones!  Loved every minute of our day!

Paula Young Smith-Bryan is a hoot!  We try to get together when I'm in Georgia as much as possible.  Along with her sweet mother, Ellen, who loves nothing more than to talk to my mother. 

All cousins
September 2, 2019, Swainsboro, Georgia
L to R:  Paula Young Smith-Bryan, her mother, Ellen Tapley Young, Liz,
Jimmy Wheeler, Loraine Frederick Minton, my mom, Linda Tapley, and Keith Tapley

Donna Reese Kirkland - We haven't even met face-to-face yet, but I love her!  She is my 3rd cousin, 1x removed through my paternal Harrell and Odom lines.

George Hollingsworth and Sharon Davis Marsden - Since they live out in Arizona, we haven't been able to meet in person yet either.  But they are the best and keep in touch consistently.  George shared a ton of Mathis/Page information with me.  I'm so grateful!

Sheri Begera - Sheri's mom, Mary Ann, and I are Tapley first cousins!  Our fathers were brothers.  Sheri and I have begun a Facebook friendship that is priceless to me.  One day I will make it to Florida!

Jim Tapley lives in Kansas and we just found each other a few months ago.  I knew his father, but had never chatted with Jim.  I find just through his Facebook posts and our chats that he and I seem to be on the same wavelength on a lot of things.  Maybe it's a family connection??? His great-grandfather, Bascom Tapley, was my grandfather, Lusion's baby brother. 

There are certainly more that I have not named here.  Most are just Facebook friends at this point.  Life gets busy, and it's hard to keep in touch with everyone.  But hopefully, I'll continue to add favorite discoveries as I continue doing what I love.