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!

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.