Sunday, October 20, 2019

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -- What Family Heirlooms Did You Inherit or Obtain?

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)  The NEHGS Weekly Genealogy newsletter asked an interesting question this week - let's use it for our SNGF this week.

2)  What "family heirlooms" did you inherit or obtain?  What are your most cherished possessions that were owned or created by an ancestor or relative?  They could be photographs, letters or documents, a diary, an audio or video recording, books, jewelry, clothing, quilts, needlework, drawing or painting, toy or doll, collectibles, musical instrument, furniture, something else?

3)  Share your cherished heirloom(s) in your own blog post, on Facebook, and leave a link to it in the comments.

Here's mine:

Oh my goodness! I am blessed to have so many of my family heirlooms.  Since I am the unofficial family historian and my parent's only child, a lot of things have come my way.

From my father's side of the family:

Jewelry, watch, jewelry box, and Bible from my Grandmother Nealie Drake Tapley.  I believe I have told the story on this blog of how these came into my possession.  

My father's Masonic ring.  His handmade quilt.

One of my most cherished possessions is an 8x10" picture of my Uncle Russ and Aunt Elizabeth that always sat on my parent's dresser.  After my father passed, it came to live with me.  

A set of etched glasses Aunt Elizabeth gave my parents.  

My bedroom suite was left to me by my Uncle Dempsey Tapley.  It's not hundred of years old or anything, but it's at least 30 years old.  

From my mother's side of the family:

My grandfather's cameras.  I have an entire case just for them.  Three Polaroid cameras and a Falcon.

My grandfather's teacup collection.  Yes, my grandfather loved teacups!  They are displayed in my china cabinet with their matching saucers.

Several of my grandfather's books, such as Pilgrim's Progress.

My grandfather's genealogy research notes.  Yes, he is who inspired me to do all this research into the wee hours.    

My great-grandmother's, Bessie Carter Ranney, china head doll.  I had it cleaned and repaired many years ago, and it is definitely a prized possession.  The story goes that she had scarlet fever when she was a child, so all of her toys had to be destroyed.  The china head doll is the first toy she received after she recovered.

I have both my great-grandmother's and grandmother's diaries. 

Some jewelry that belonged to my great aunt, Alice Ranney Thornburg.  Plus her name tag from her time employed at Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino,  California.  I also have her children's size rocking chair.  

I have a U.S. Navy locket that my grandfather gave my grandmother during World War II.  I also have the military flag from my grandfather's funeral.  It is framed and displayed in my home. 

My great-grandmother's dining room table, which I had refinished and use as my scrapbooking table.   

I have paperwork, too. Reports cards, high school and college yearbooks, funeral books, marriage licenses, death certificates, even some divorce decrees.  

And course, lots of beloved pictures from both sides of the family.  I just wished they had all come labeled!  

Is there anything I wish I had?  Only more pictures, I think.  With notes of who and where they were.  I can dream, can't I?  

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Your Most Frustrating Brick Wall Problem

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)  What is your most frustrating brick wall problem?  Tell us what you want to know and what you have found to date.

2)  Share your genealogy brick wall problem in your own blog post, on Facebook, and leave a link to it in the comments.

Here's mine:

Well, my brick wall has always been and continues to be my great-great grandfather, George W. Schwalls.  I wrote a lengthy blog post about the mystery that surrounds him in 2011 (please visit to read the full story), so I'm going to be much more concise here.

George W. Schwalls was born January 1, 1837 in Germany or Bavaria.  I only have this information thanks to his Civil War Pension application.  Nowhere did he ever list the town or village he was from in Germany or Bavaria.  It appears he came to the United States sometime during the 1850's.  He enlisted in the CSA in Johnson County, Georgia as a Private in Co. E, 48th Infantry on March 4, 1862.  

He lived in Johnson County, Georgia and married Lincelia E. Claxton in 1866 in Edgefield County, South Carolina.  I have no idea how they met.  I am descended from their daughter, Mattie Schwalls, born May 25, 1877.  They had 7 children together.  Lincelia (Celia) passed away January 18, 1882, and George remarried in 1883 to Mary J. Williams, born March 15, 1851.  They had 6 children.  

The family lived in the Minton's Chapel area of the county, and George was very involved in the church, Minton's Chapel Advent Christian Church.  He was a delegate from the church sent to the Second Advent Christian Conference of Southern Georgia in October 1895.  

According to George's Civil War Pension Application, dated August 27, 1902, he suffered from liver and heart disease, Asthma, a gunshot wound to the leg, and a gunshot wound to his head which left him partially deaf.  These wounds and conditions were all a result of his service in the war.  

George passed away on January 21, 1908 at the age of 71.  

So as you can see, I know quite a bit after he arrived in Georgia.  It's his life before him landing in Johnson County that I know nothing about.  Please read my original blog post (link above) to hear the speculation about his "former" life.  

Here is another post about the dead end I reached at the National Archives:

It was interesting to read over these old blog posts on this subject.  I saw several items I meant to research, and I never have gotten around to it.  

However, I am still frustrated standing at my brick wall, George W. Schwalls, Sr.

Does anyone have more suggestions for researching this elusive ancestor???

Friday, September 27, 2019

Ding! Ding! Ding! I've hit lucky #13,000

Today, I entered the 13,000th relative into my family tree.  That's right.  You read that right.  Not 1,300.  It's 13,000.  Thirteen thousand.  I am related by blood or by marriage to all 13,000.  It's so wild.  Those that are not "into" genealogy won't get it. They'll think I'm crazy or boring, or don't have enough to do.  But the genealogists out there know that I am doing exactly what I want to do. Research like crazy into the wee hours of every night/morning!

The lucky 13,000th person was a 4th cousin, Ernie Keith Peebles.  He was born November 26, 1960 in Emanuel County, Georgia (where I grew up).  I never met him.  Sadly, he passed quite young at 45 years old on July 27, 2006.  I do not know if he ever married or had children.  His obituary mentions neither.  Just  his mother, Ann Hammock Peebles, my 3rd cousin, 1x, and his sister, Yonna Peebles Bailey.

We are both descended from Francis Bryant Drake and Selina King Drake.

His line:

Francis Byant's 7th child, a son, John Saffold Drake,
His daughter, Elizabeth Drake, who married Nathan Tucker Foskey,
Her daughter, Alice Foskey, who married Bennie Lee Hammock,
Her daughter, Ann Hammock, who married Ernie W. Peebles, and were the parents of
Ernie Keith Peebles.

My line:

Francis Byrant's eldest and son, James William Drake,
His son, William John Drake,
His daughter, Nealie Vermell Drake who married Lusion K Tapley,
Her son, Gilbert Earl Tapley who was the father of

So if anyone reads this and knows the Peebles, I would love to get to know them. 

Also, if you recognize any of the names and think we may be related, please, please reach out. 

Now it's on to 14,000! 

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Your Best Genealogy Humor

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) We're supposed to have fun doing this - show us your best genealogy humor - joke, cartoon, story, etc.  The more the merrier!

4)  Share your genealogy funny in your own blog post, on Facebook, and leave a link to it in the comments.

Here's mine:

(1)  Lio by Mark Tatulli for 09/01/2019.  My Mom and I found this one when I was visiting her last month.  Very appropriate for me.  

(2)  This is just totally me.

(3)  And these next two just made me laugh out loud.


(5)  And lastly, as my best friend, Stacey, has told me many times about my own family tree:

"Your tree don't branch!"

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Make a Timeline Report for an Ancestor

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) Have you created a Timeline for one of your ancestors using a genealogy software program (e.g., Family Tree Maker, RootsMagic, Legacy, Reunion, etc.) or an online family tree (e.g., Ancestry Member Tree, FamilySearch Family Tree, Geni, MyHeritage, etc.), or in a spreadsheet (e.g., Excel)?

2)  If not, try to create a timeline using the program/website of your choice.  If so, create another one for the ancestor of your choice!

3)  Show us your Timeline creation, and tell us how you did it.  Which program/website, the process you used, and how you captured the images to display your timeline.

4)  Share your Timeline creation on your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or on Facebook.

Here's mine:

My genealogy software of choice is Family Tree Maker 2017.  This program has a Timeline Report, which I used for this challenge.  I went to the "Publish" tab,  then "Person Reports" under "Publication Types" and "Charts & Reports," then chose the "Timeline Report."  You can include or exclude items, as desired, such as "Include Family Events" or "Include Historical Events."  For this example, I used the default settings which were "Include event icons" and "Include family events:"  "Include spouses' birth" and "Include sibling facts."

Here is the report I generated for my 3rd great-grandfather, Francis Bryant Drake (1806-1875).  (I've been knee-deep in Drake research the last few weeks!)  

 I didn't see a way to include Sources in my report.  Reports are one aspect of Family Tree Maker that I believe need a lot of improvement and added flexibility.  There should be more ways to drill down and get the information you want.  One I really, really need is a report by cemetery so that when I visit an area, I can view who is buried in a particular cemetery.  But I have not found a way to do this.

For this report, I tried adding in historical events, but it listed events that happened before my ancestor was born.  I couldn't find a way to omit those.  

Overall, I definitely see the value in a timeline report, but FTM has a long way to go to improve the flexibility of their reports.  

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Ancestor with Most Unusual Occupation

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)   Which of your ancestors had an unusual occupation?

2)  Tell us in a blog post of your own, in a comment on this blog, or in a Facebook post.

Here's mine:

I think my ancestor with the most unusual occupation is my 9th great-grandfather, George Hubbard, Sr. (1601-1684/85).  

According to the book "1000 Years of Hubbard History, 866-1895," Edward Warren Day, Harlan Page Hubbard, New York, 1895:

"About 1650, or when he left Hartford, he carried with him a commission from the Colonial Government as 'Indian Agent and Trader for the Mattabesett District.'"  

(He had sold his land in Hartford, Connecticut and moved with about 15 other families to Mattabesett, which later became Middletown.)

"One record of him says that he was "highly respected, and of marked integrity and fairness."... "He must have been a man of "marked integrity and fairness" to have been selected by the colony as its Indian Trader.  Much judgment had to be used by this representative of the colony in these dealings.  Promiscuous trading by any one was forbidden, as fire-arms and fire-water were frequently bartered by indiscreet persons, which produced direful results.  This resulted in the selection of one man to do the trading for all.  On his judgment and prudence much depended.  He must have erred, however, at one time for the Colonial Court fined him... for exchanging a gun with an Indian."

I should note that this indiscretion and fine occurred in 1649, either right before or right about the time he was chosen as Indian Trader.

I personally like to think that because he was a man of marked integrity and fairness, he got along well with the Native Americans and treated them fairly.  

This is definitely a job I had never heard of before!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Bennett Wesley Tapley, Jr. 1950-2019

"Mr. Bennett Wesley Tapley, Jr., 69, of Kite passed away Monday, August 5, 2019 at Fairview Hospital in Dublin following an extended illness.
 Mr. Tapley was born May 8, 1950 in Sandersville to the late Bennett Wesley Tapley, Sr. and Mary Kathryn Johnson Tapley.  He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Diane Browning Tapley.  Mr. Tapley loved to go hunting and fishing.  He was a self-taught diesel mechanic and a welder which he passed on to his nephew.   Mr. Tapley was a very intelligent person with an excellent memory. Even though he sacrificed his education, he excelled in his trade.  Mr. Tapley was a member of Powell’s Chapel Methodist Church.
Survivors include his brothers, Randall Tapley, Wayne (Pam) Tapley, Oliver Tapley, all of Kite; sisters, Teresa (Duncan) McEachern, Pam (Bill) Mathis, both of Dublin; several nieces, nephews and many friends.
Graveside Services will be Wednesday, August 7, 2019 11 a.m. at Powell’s Chapel United Methodist Church Cemetery with Reverend Allen Meeks officiating.
The family will receive friends from 10 a.m. till time of service at Powell's chapel United Methodist Church Cemetery.
Condolences may be expressed at
Chapman Funeral Home of Swainsboro is in charge of the arrangements for Mr. Bennett Wesley Tapley, Jr., 69, of Kite."  Obituary courtesy of
My cousin passed away last week.  We were close.  We shared a love of family history.  We shared family.  As his obituary so aptly read, "Mr. Tapley was a very intelligent person with an excellent memory."  That was so true.  Even after his stroke a few years ago, he still remembered anyone or any place I mentioned to him.  He wasn't able to get the words out, but I could see in his eyes that he knew exactly who or what I was talking about.  
Our grandfathers, Bennett Olin Tapley and Lucian Keman Tapley were brothers.  Our fathers, Bennett Wesley Tapley, Sr. and Gilbert Tapley were first cousins.  We visited their house often when I was a child.  Wesley Jr. would be working on a truck (diesel engine, I imagine) in the back yard under the trees and there was a semi-circle of chairs there, and our fathers would sit there and shoot the breeze while Wesley Jr. worked and I played with Pam, his youngest sister.  I like to think that Wesley Jr. just soaked up all the stories his father told out there.  And he never forgot a one of them.  
Wesley Jr was almost grown by the time I came along, so those times I would be there playing, he was in his 20's.  But I remember he was always nice to me.  Spoke to me.  Didn't just ignore me cause I was a kid.  I thought he was cool, like a lot of my older cousins.  
Of course, I grew up, moved away, was busy living my life same as he was living his.  We didn't keep in contact.  For about 25-30 years.  Then my uncle passed away in 2007, and I attended the funeral at Powell's Chapel.  Wesley Jr was there but I didn't recognize him.  Had no idea who he was.  I had to ask my mother.  When she told me it was Wesley Jr., I went right over to him, and it was like no time had passed.  At this point, I was very much into genealogy research, and he was a wealth of information.  Like his father, he told great stories, which just happened to be true stories about our family.  So every time I visited the area, I would visit him.  Even after I moved to North Carolina, I still tried to see him at least once a year when I was down visiting my mother.  He was always welcoming.  Ready with stories, pictures, or artifacts from our family's history. 
When I needed to contact him, I would call him at his "office" - the Penny Saver in Kite.  He was there every morning, drinking coffee, and shooting the breeze.  They would call him to the phone, and I could let him know when I would be in town or who had passed away in the family or whatever information I needed to relay.  
These pictures were taken at his "office" in 2012:

In 2014, his wife passed away, and soon after, he suffered a debilitating stroke.  He could no longer live alone and had to go into a nursing home.  I visited him in Dublin.  Then he got moved to Metter.  Mom and I went to seem him there, for what turned out to be the last time, about a year ago.  He recently was moved to Wrightsville and closer to home.  I was excited and planning to visit him next month.  But I didn't get the chance.  Due to distance and other variables, I was unable to attend his funeral.  My heart has another crack.  

Wesley, I am sorry I wasn't there enough the last 5 years.  I am sorry I wasn't there at all the last year.  I'm terribly sorry I wasn't there to tell you goodbye.  I hope you know my heart and know that I loved you, respected you, enjoyed my time with you, and I look forward to seeing you again and hearing just one more family story.  

You are reunited with your beloved Diane, your parents, Wesley and Kathryn, and your grandparents, who I am sure doted on you.  You can speak, walk, or even jog if you wish.  You are no longer sitting bored and lonely in a nursing home.  You feel warmth and light all the time.  I so want to believe you are happy.  I can see your smile in my mind's eye, and I hope you're wearing a big and magical one.

Wesley Jr and Bennett Olin Tapley, circa 1954