Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day."
~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Those Places Thursday: 20 West Home Place, Redlands, California

The address is for my mother's (maternal) grandmother's house.  (Bessie Carter Ranney)  Mom spent a lot of time there as a child.  She had a wonderful relationship with her grandmother... something I missed out on since both of mine died when I was so young.  I grew up hearing about "Home Place."  I finally got to go there and see it in person this year.  (Yes, it is STILL there!)  Mom got to see it again for the first time in 48 years.

This is how the place looks in my mother's memory.  According to the California Voter Registration lists on Ancestry, Bessie moved here between 1944-1946.  (She had been widowed in 1943.) This picture was probably taken in the late 1940's or early 1950's.  We believe the woman on the steps is my mom's aunt, Alice Ranney Thornburg.

This is how the house looks today (October 2010).  Very similar, right?  I tried to get my mother to knock on the door and ask the current residents if we could look inside, but since it was 8am, she didn't think that was a good idea.  :)

I could tell how happy it made my mother to see this house again... a place that means so much to her and holds a special place in her memories.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Genealogy "Life" List

I am a very organized person.  I have my family history documents filed in notebooks with the spine clearly marked as to what family or family members the information in that notebook pertains to.  I have my household inventory in notebooks with photos, warranty information, user manuals, etc.  The scrapbook cabinets in my scrapbook room are clearly labeled.  I have a spreedsheet of the books I own and need to read.  Like I said, I'm organized... bordering on OCD.  Part of being organized is the use of lists.  I do like lists... and I do use them - somewhat.  I make them often, but rarely check anything off until days and days later.  So they don't keep me on track like I wish they would, but they are useful for jump-starting this feeble memory of mine.

I got the idea tonight from Jennifer at Sergeant Major Mom and Climbing my Family Tree of making a life list.  Some people might call it a bucket list.  A list of items you would like to do during your lifetime.

I decided to do a genealogy life list - things that I wish to do that are linked to my family and genealogy.  Some items are mundane; others are possibly pipe dreams.  But this is also a "wish" list, in addition to a being a to do list, right?   (Oh, and these are in no particular order.) 
  1. Go back to Dublin, Georgia to do more research in their library's genealogy area... especially looking up obituaries and newspaper articles from Johnson County that pertain to my families.
  2. Go to Poplar Springs Methodist Church cemetery outside of Adrian, Georgia to visit my Drake family graves.  
  3. Visit Nail's Creek Cemetery in Jefferson County (near Bartow), Georgia.  I have a grand uncle and his immediate family buried there.
  4. Visit Middletown, Connecticut to see where my Ranney family originated, and do research in the library there.
  5. Visit Ohio, where my Ranney family migrated to the Western Reserve.  My Hesser ancestors are also from Ohio.
  6. Go to the Rowland Family Cemetery in Chester, Georgia (south of Macon) to find my Aunt Irene's grave.  Done January 29, 2011
  7. Learn how to do family history research in German records so that I could find the place where my Schwalls family originated and any information on them that is there.
  8. Go to Oakwood Cemetery in Hilliard, Florida to photograph the graves of other Drake ancestors.
  9. Go to Pickens County, South Carolina, and locate the Latham family cemetery there, where some of my husband's ancestors are buried.
  10. Go to Alpharetta, Georgia to visit the graves of various ancestors of my husband's.
  11. Sit down with my mother-in-law and see exactly what she has hidden away in her house as far as photographs and documents relating to my husband's family.
  12. Research (for days!) at the genealogical library in Salt Lake City, Utah.
  13. Label the family jewelry I have so that others will know what belonged to whom, and the significance of each piece.
  14. Put together a package of pictures and a family tree for my cousin and mail it to him.
  15. Attend a genealogical conference in Salt Lake City.
  16. Return to school and get my second degree... in history.
  17. Visit Michigan where my Ranney family migrated from Ohio.
  18. Visit Iowa where my great grandparents Ranney lived when they were first married.
  19. Find out the names of George W. Schwalls' parents, whether he had siblings and their names.
  20. Scan every family photo and historical document in my house.
  21. Scan my negatives and turn them into digital photos.
  22. Get a VuPoint Magic Wand Portable Scanner (see here) to take with me to courthouses or relative's homes.
  23. Interview my cousins and get current information (names, dates, places etc.) on their immediate families.
  24. See Camp Blanding, Florida, where my uncles reported for duty during World War II.
  25. Find out what I can about my Uncle Russ's service during WWII - the name of his unit, ANYTHING.
  26. Call my grand uncle Kenneth Ranney's step-daughter.  Done January 2011
  27. Interview my husband's aunts to get up-to-date information about their immediate families.
  28. Try to order my grand aunt Alice Ranney Thornburg's birth certificate from Michigan.
  29. Attend the NGS conference in Charleston, South Carolina in May 2011.
  30. Order Otho Hesser's obituary from the Lima Public Library in Lima, Ohio.
  31. Scrapbook all my family pictures, along with the stories behind them.
  32. Get DNA testing done for my mother and me.
  33. Transcribe the Schwalls land records I copied from the deed books in Johnson County, Georgia.
  34. Visit Appomattox, Virginia where my great grandfather was when the Civil War ended.
  35. Visit all the civil war battlefields where my great grandfather's unit fought.
  36. Go to the public library in Marietta, Georgia and try to find an obituary for my uncle, Bob Plumlee.
  37. Upon finding out where Uncle Bob is buried from that obituary, visit his grave.
  38. Try to make contact once again with Uncle Bob's son in Arizona.
  39. Go to the library in Swainsboro, Georgia to look for obituaries and newspaper articles related to my families.
  40. Get a copy of Sidney and Mamie Lampp's marriage license and/or certificate at the Johnson County courthouse in Wrightsville, Georgia.
That is all I can think of at the moment, but I am sure I will be adding to this list often!

Please join me in making a genealogy life list... or just a general life list.  It's always good to have things written down.  :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Elizabeth Rebecca Page Tapley

Elizabeth Rebecca (Becky) Page Tapley
Date of birth September 8, 1844
Date of death May 18, 1924
buried at Oaky Grove Church Cemetery,
Johnson County, Georgia
near her husband, James Madison Tapley

my paternal great grandmother

Becky was married once before my great grandfather, to 
Harrell Solomon Horton
who was killed or died during his service in the Civil War.
I do not know why the last name Tapley was not put
on her headstone.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Motivation Monday: My Genealogy Goals for this Week

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas holiday.  I ate too much really good food at my Mom's!

I've had a busy week, genealogy wise.  Lots of research and scanning.  These were my goals for last week... let's see how I did: 
  • Call my grand uncle's step-daughter.  We had lost touch with him, and my mom and I would love to hear about the last years of his life.  (If I keep moving this to every week, eventually I'll do it!)  Still did not do this. 
  • Unpack the pictures and other memorabilia I brought back from my mom's on Saturday.  Turns out she had been holding out on me with some stuff... the rest are framed pictures that I need to take out and scan.  Good thing Scanfest is this Sunday!  Done!  The frames are ready to go to the Goodwill and the pictures are in a stack on my desk, waiting to be scanned.  I got a few items scanned yesterday during ScanFest.
  • Photograph a couple of items Mom gave me that belonged to my paternal grandmother, Nealie Drake Tapley.  I had no idea they had belonged to her, and I'm very excited to have them.  Done!  And they are now lovingly displayed in my china cabinet.
  • Continue the Ranney transcribing. Done!  I finished transcribing generation 8 and sent that in.  I have started transcribing the 9th (and final) generation at the rate of 3 pages per day. 
I did better than I thought! I don't usually make New Year's Resolutions, but maybe I need to think about making one about procrastinating...

Here are the goals I wish to pursue this week:
  • Continue the Ranney transcribing (I am on a roll!).
  • Call my grand uncle's step-daughter.
  • Continue researching the census records on my Schwalls family.
  • Scan some of the pictures my mom loaned me.
  • Do some genealogy filing.
That will do!  Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

ScanFest Sunday

Today was the monthly ScanFest over at AnceStories.  This is my second time participating, and I love it.  It gives me a set time, once a month for three hours, to scan my family history documents.  Otherwise, without the "appointment," I would just keep putting it on the back burner.  

Today I did 90+ scans:
  • A couple of pictures and memorabilia I got from my mom recently; 
  • My aunt's baby book that my mom found at her house (and which, of course, I will be mailing to my aunt this week); 
  • My mom's birth certificates (one official, one decorative with her footprints); 
  • My mom's baby book; 
  • Several "new baby" greeting cards my grandmother had saved from my mother's birth, along with a couple of her birthday cards from her first year; 
  • My mom's 1st grade report card; 
  • My mom's high school graduation announcement; and 
  • My brother's birth and death certificates.    
That completes the documents I had on file for my mom!  I'm very excited about that!  

One of the "Welcome
New Baby" cards -
this one from her aunt.

Of course, I still have a stack of pictures (more my mom passed along recently) to scan.  I'll do a few a week, probably, to get them done.  I don't want to wait until next month's ScanFest (January 30th, from 11am-2pm PST).  I have already planned what I'm going to do then:  any documents I have for my paternal grandparents.  I'm moving right along.  And it feels GOOD to get this done.  

Now I just need to back these files up somewhere...

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Genealogist's Christmas Wish

Dear Santa:
  Don't bring me new dishes,
  I don't need a new kind of game.
  Genealogists have peculiar wishes
  For Christmas I just want a surname.

  A new washing machine would be great,
  But it's not the desire of my life.
  I've just found an ancestor's birth date;
  What I need now is the name of his wife.

  My heart doesn't yearn for a ring
  That would put a real diamond to shame.
  What I want is a much cheaper thing;
  Please give me Elizabeth's last name.

  To see my heart singing with joy,
  Don't bring me a real leather suitcase,
  Bring me a genealogist's toy;
  a surname with dates and a place.
      -- Unknown (borrowed from a post on the YAHOO! group

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thriller Thursday: William Robert Drake killed

William Robert Drake, the brother of my paternal grandmother, Nealie Drake Tapley, was killed on June 19, 1927 in Emanuel County, Georgia at age 30.  There are several different accounts of what happened that night.  This is what the Swainsboro Forest-Blade printed on Thursday, June 23.

Click to enlarge.
In the family story I've been told, Robert and a crowd of his buddies went there that Sunday night to run Mr. Aikin away from the area.  Robert actually pulled a knife on the man, and that Mr. Aikin killed Robert in self-defense. 

I am told that the Drake "boys" were a rough and tough group and no one really wanted to mess with them.  You will notice how the article points out that "Mr. Drake is prominently connected at Adrian..." and his relatives "...many of whom are prominent Emanuel county citizens."  Therefore, the story goes that is why Mrs. Aikin was also placed into jail that night... the Sheriff feared for the couple's safety... probably from retaliation from Robert's friends who were with him that night and might wish to avenge his death or community outrage or both.

A couple of weeks later, this article appeared in the Forest-Blade on Thursday, July 7, 1927.

I find it interesting that almost as much is said about Mr. Aikin's "rising young attorney" as about Mr. Aikin himself.

I was unable to locate any further articles about the trial or Mr. Aikin.  Again, family story holds that there never was a trial; that Mr. Aikin served some amount of time and was quietly gotten out of town at the end of his term.

In the same edition of the Forest-Blade was this from the family:

As I mentioned in an earlier post, just two months after this incident, their father, William John Drake, was accidentally shot and killed by another son.

As I will share as time goes on, this is not the first tragedy in the Drake family, nor is it the last for my grandmother.  Her father, my great-grandfather, was a preacher, and I am sure this family had to pull on every ounce of faith and strength they had to get through these unimaginably difficult times.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wednesday's Child: Carolyn Loraine Tapley

Carolyn was my first cousin, first child of Hugh Dorsey Tapley, my father's brother, and Thelma Ann Norman Tapley.  Carolyn was not quite five months old when she succumbed to pneumonia on February 14, 1945.  She is buried at Restlawn Memorial Park in Jacksonville, Florida.  She has a very unusual grave marker, I think.  Hers is the first one of this style I've ever seen.  My father said that Carolyn's father was away in the military when she passed, and the family buried her somewhere else.  Once the war was over, and Hugh Dorsey and his brother, Russ, returned home, they moved Carolyn to her final resting place at Restlawn.

Unfortunately, this picture was the only one made of Carolyn.  My father always recalled that she was a pretty baby, and she certainly is beautiful here, at peace. 

"...Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: James Madison Tapley

James Madison Tapley
my great-grandfather
buried at Oaky Grove Church, Johnson County, Georgia
April 29, 1847 - November 5, 1912

Monday, December 20, 2010

Motivation Monday: My Genealogy Goals for this Week

I have been lost in census records this past week!  Genealogy almost non-stop for DAYS.  It's been wonderful!  I got the idea (I don't know why I haven't thought of this before!) of going back and tracking every one of my paternal grandfather's siblings and their children on the census records.  Now my grandfather was one of 11!!  Plus most of them had at least two children; some had 10-12!!  This all took quite a bit of time, but as I found out some interesting things and pieced together other bits and pieces of family lore, I found that it was well worth the time!

However, in between, I did manage to meet some of my goals from last week:  
  • Complete an application for my grand aunt's Michigan birth certificate.  Mom brought me the death certificate; I just need to fill out an application and take it to Mom for her signature this weekend.  Did not do this... I found that we may have sent the wrong fee amount with the last request, and I have some reservations about sending another one until we hear back.  In addition, I probably need to call the state of Michigan to inquire about Mom requesting her aunt's birth certificate... Mom is not her direct heir, but she is her only living relative.  So I'm going to put this on the back burner for now.
  • Find a home for the DOT maps I ordered and received last week. The Florida and Georgia DOT maps I received are all nicely folded and filed.  However, later in the week, I received a South Carolina map of just ONE county and it is huge!!  I have not attempted folding it yet. I believe I am going to need help with that one!
  • Call my grand uncle's step-daughter.  We had lost touch with him, and my mom and I would love to hear about the last years of his life.  Again, I have put this off.
  • Finish proofreading that section of Ranney typing I finished transcribing last week and send it in.  Done!
  • Start the next (last!) section of Ranney transcribing continuing at the rate of 3 pages a day.  Done!
As usual, I procrastinated on some things... I'll keep working on that.  I know this list every Monday is probably boring to my readers, but it is helping me a lot - keeping me on track and mindful of what I need/want to get done.  

Here are the goals I wish to pursue this week: 
  • Call my grand uncle's step-daughter.  We had lost touch with him, and my mom and I would love to hear about the last years of his life.  (If I keep moving this to every week, eventually I'll do it!)
  • Unpack the pictures and other memorabilia I brought back from my mom's on Saturday.  Turns out she had been holding out on me with some stuff... the rest are framed pictures that I need to take out and scan.  Good thing Scanfest is this Sunday!
  • Photograph a couple of items Mom gave me that belonged to my paternal grandmother, Nealie Drake Tapley.  I had no idea they had belonged to her, and I'm very excited to have them.
  • Continue the Ranney transcribing.
That is probably enough for Christmas week.  I'd better get busy!  What are you working on this week?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday

This china head doll belonged to my maternal great-grandmother, Bessie Carter Ranney. When she was a child, she contracted scarlet fever, and all her toys had to be burned. This doll was the first toy she received after recovering from her illness.

When I was growing up, I remember that Mom kept this doll wrapped up in an old baby blanket and safely stored in the top of a closet.  She would take it out occasionally for me to look at and hear the story once again.  While the china head was still in good condition, her arms and legs were torn with the stuffing spilling out, her china hands were broken, and her dress was stained.

At some point in my adulthood, Mom gave me the doll.  In 1995, I had it restored.  The hands, arms, and legs were replaced and the china head and dress were cleaned.  The doll restorer also gave me some information about the origins of the doll:

"Almost all china heads were made in Germany between 1840-1900.  Most have black hair; the blondes became popular by the 1880's.   Hairstyle helps date these dolls."  She went on to say that this doll has a "Low Brow" or "Butterfly" hairdo, popular 1890-1900.  The doll's dress is original to that period.

I was thrilled to know more about the doll and that I was able to have it restored to "like new" condition.  I cherish it, knowing that my great-grandmother loved and cherished it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday...

w/daughter, Patty; abt 1949-50
Gilbert Earl Tapley
June 19, 1928 - December 15, 2008

my father

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Blog Caroling

For the first time, I am joining other Geneabloggers in their tradition of blog caroling. From the comfort of my blog, with my fruit juice in hand, my jammies and slippers on, I am sharing my favorite Christmas Carol with you.   (And believe me, I sing so much better online than in person!)

Ho, Ho, Ho, And A Bottle Of Rum
Artist:  Jimmy Buffett
(Lyrics by:  Jimmy Buffett and Ross Kunkel)

Santa's stressed out as the holiday season draws near
He's been doing the same job now going on two thousand years
He's got pains in his brain and chimney scars cover his buns
He hates to admit it, but Christmas is more work than fun (Awwww....)
He needs a vacation from bad decorations and snow
Mr. Claus has escape plans, a secret that only he knows
Beaches and palm trees appear night and day in his dreams
A break from his wife, his half frozen life
the elves and that damn reindeer team


Ho Ho Ho and a bottle of rum
Santa's run off to the Caribbean
He thinks about boat drinks and fun in the sun
Ho Ho Ho and a bottle of rum

Plastic creations and crass exploitations aren't good
He wants to go back to simple toys made out of wood
Just for the weekend he'd like to be Peter Pan
Get out of his long johns and dance with a sword... dance with a sword in the sand

Ho Ho Ho and a bottle of rum
Santa's run off to the Caribbean
Marimbas, calimbas, he's playing steel drums
Ho Ho Ho and a bottle of rum

Ho Ho Ho and a bottle of rum
Santa's run off to the Caribbean
Marimbas, calimbas, he's playing steel drums
Ho Ho Ho and a bottle of rum

Ho Ho Ho and a bottle of rum
Santa's run off to the Caribbean
A week in the tropics and he'll be all right
Sporting a tan as he rides out of sight

Merry Christmas to all and to all "Good Night"!

(He'll be back in a week
Don't worry, Kiddies!
Just a break... we all need a break.)
courtesy of

Tombstone Tuesday: Thomas Rany (Ranny or Ranney)

Thomas Rany
born 1616 in Montrose, Scotland
died 1713 in Middletown, Connecticut

Married to Mary Hubbard in 1659
daughter of "Middletown George" Hubbard and Elizabeth Watts

"Thomas Ranney was admitted an inhabitant of Middletown and granted a home there, February 9, 1658, next to that of Thomas Hopewell; who lived on the corner of Main and Church Streets.  In 1663 he had located to what is now Cromwell Ct.; he frequently held town offices."
    Source:  The Hamlin Family, A Genealogy of Capt. Giles Hamlin of Middletown, Connecticut, 1654-1900 by Hon. H. Franklin Andrews, 1900.

Thomas is the first Ranney of my direct line to come to the United States.  According to the book, "A Dictionary of Scottish Emigrants to the U.S.A." by Donald Whyte, page 366, Thomas came to the New World in about 1657.

He is my 9th Great Grandfather.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Motivation Monday: My Genealogy Goals for this Week

Things slowed down here, genealogy-wise, this past week, as my mother visited for a couple of days, I had to get the Christmas cards done, and I had a relapse with my sinuses. 

Here were my goals for this past week as posted last Monday, December 6th, and my progress:
  • Complete that application for my grandmother's birth certificate and mail it by the end of the week. Done!
  • Call my grand uncle's step-daughter.  We had lost touch with him, and my mom and I would love to hear about the last years of his life.  Not done!
  • Finish doing research on those individuals I learned about last week and hopefully, add them to my tree.  Done!  Or at least I did the research; I could not find documented evidence that these individuals belong in my tree, so I just made a note of their names and other information in FTM and filed the information away for future reference. 
  • Proofread the Ranney typing I am gong to finish tonight and get it sent in.  Started, but not finished.
  • Start the next (last!) section of Ranney transcribing continuing at the rate of 3 pages a day.  NOT started yet.
So it looks like I ended up about 50/50.  Not the best odds, but the real world does tend to take precedence and slow us down, right?

Here are the goals I wish to pursue this week:

  • Complete an application for my grand aunt's Michigan birth certificate.  Mom brought me the death certificate; I just need to fill out an application and take it to Mom for her signature this weekend.
  • Find a home for the DOT maps I ordered and received last week.  (I'm very excited about these - I did not know they show all the churches and cemeteries in a county!  They are going to be a huge help when it warms up and I can go cemetery visiting again!)
  • Call my grand uncle's step-daughter.  We had lost touch with him, and my mom and I would love to hear about the last years of his life.
  • Finish proofreading that section of Ranney typing I finished transcribing last week and send it in.  
  • Start the next (last!) section of Ranney transcribing continuing at the rate of 3 pages a day.
Most of those look familiar, don't they?  :)  I don't have tons of things going this week so I think these are do-able.  What are you working on this week?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Black Sheep Sunday: Son shoots Father, 1927

My paternal grandmother, Nealie, was a Drake from Adrian (Emanuel County), Georgia.  I know very little about my Drake ancestors, other than names and dates.  Sadly, I know of no one left to ask.  However, in perusing the Georgia Death Certificates online, I ran across her father's death certificate:

If you click on the image and make it larger, you can just about make out the cause of death:  "Gun Shot wound of abdomen; accident."

What?!!  I had never heard anything about this.  My father was still alive then, so I asked him about it.  Very matter-of-factly he told me the story that he had been told all of his life:

In August of 1927, Reverend William John Drake's son, James Weldon Drake, had had trouble recently.  So he was carrying a gun for protection.  On the night of the shooting, Rev. Drake had gotten up to go to the outhouse.  On his way back in, James, not knowing who it was and worrying it might be one of the men he'd had trouble with, called out, inquiring who it was.  Rev. Drake did not answer.  So James shot him.  During the process of pulling the trigger, James realized it was his father and tried to throw the gun down in time.  Unfortunately, it was too late, and the bullet hit Rev. Drake in the abdomen. He lived long enough to tell others that it was an accident. 

I have searched the local newspapers of the time and have found no article about the incident.  Just two months prior to this, another of Rev. Drake's sons (and James' brother), William Robert Drake, was shot and killed in an altercation with a man who was passing through town.  (I will talk more about this later.)  So I do not know if the entire family was nervous about revenge from that incident or if James really had been into some trouble himself and was just on edge.  I can always hope that I will find the "true" story one day.

I have often felt sorry for James, as that would be a heavy burden to carry, knowing that you caused the death of your father.  By 1935, James was living in Florida and lived the rest of his life there.  I never knew James, but I hope he found a way to reconcile what happened and had a good life.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ancestor Approved Award

 I was proud to learn earlier this week that I had been awarded the "Ancestor Approved" award by Linda McCauley at Documenting the Details.  (Thank you, Linda!!)

As a recipient of this award, I am to list 10 things I have learned about my ancestors that have surprised, humbled or enlightened me and then pass the award on to 10 other genealogy bloggers who I feel are doing their ancestors proud.

  1. I have been enlightened by the realization that my ancestors' lives and the lives of others in their community were so intertwined.  Over and over, I find that a member of my family was married to a member of that family... in more than one generation.  They were not just neighbors; in most cases, they were also family.  
  2. I have been humbled to find that I have no famous people in my ancestry.  My ancestors were hard-working, simple folks - farmers mostly - and that makes me proud.
  3. I have been both surprised and enlightened to learn how many traits in me and my family were also shared by our ancestors.
  4. I have been surprised to find in my research how many people actually die right around their birthday.  Is it the stress of turning a year older?  A coincidence?  
  5. I have been humbled and enlightened when visiting an ancestors' home.  Even though nothing looks the same, I still get an excitement from walking where they walked, seeing the land they saw, touching an item they touched.  Even just seeing a family member's signature is exciting to me.  And if I find a picture of an ancestor I've never seen before, I'm just over the moon!
  6. I have been surprised, humbled, and enlightened, not to mention blessed, to find a cousin who is very knowledgeable about our family, their history, and the area where they lived.  I have learned so much from him.  
  7. I was surprised, humbled, and enlightened to learn the story of my paternal grandfather's marriage to his first wife (and cousin), Jane Page.  It was a favor to save her from an arranged marriage to a much older man.  My grandfather's sweetheart, Mattie, seems to have understood and married him several years later after Jane passed away.  
  8. I was surprised to learn that my husband's ancestors and my ancestors seem to have lived near each other in North Carolina in the 1700's and followed the same migratory path down to Georgia.  I wonder if any of them knew each other?
  9. I was surprised to learn that my paternal grandmother's father was accidentally shot and killed by his son.  This happened just two months after another of my grandmother's brothers had been shot and killed in an altercation.
  10. I have been surprised, humbled, and enlightened by everything I have learned about all of my families during this process.  Each new tidbit of information is just as exciting to me as the first.  My families, just like all others, are unique and interesting people with their own unique and interesting stories. 
There are so many genealogy blogs out there; choosing 10 was almost impossible.  Here's my list, which is not all-inclusive and no one was left out on purpose:
  1.  Lisa at Genealojournal
  2. Stephanie at Your Peachy Past 
  3. Sara at My Mouse is Broken 
  4. Vickie at BeNotForgot
  5. The Scrappy Genealogist
  6. Shall Not Be Forgot
  7. Missy at Fables & Endless Genealogies
  8. Gravestoned
  9. Forgotten Old Photos 
  10. Jennifer at Rainy Day Genealogy Readings
 This award was originated by Leslie Ann Ballou at Ancestors Live Here.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Those Places Thursday: Powell's Chapel Church

Powell's Chapel Church, located on Highway 221 between Kite and Bartow, Georgia, in Johnson County is as much a part of our Tapley family history as any member of the family.  

This is from an article in "The Wrightsville Headlight, Centennial Edition, May 8, 1958, entitled "First Powell's Chapel Members Worshipped Under Large Oak Tree":  "...Powell's Chapel Church, which is located on the Bartow-Kite paved road... In 1873 Mr. Crayton Powell owned the land that is now known as the Walter Powell land.  Under a large oak tree on this land a few of the people of the community began having preaching services.  Among these first people were... Jim Tapley..."

That would be James Madison Tapley, my paternal great-grandfather.  My grandmother, Nealie Drake Tapley, drove a horse and buggy from Wadley, 9 miles each way, every Sunday morning to play the piano at the church. 
Powell's Chapel Church... THEN

She and my grandfather, Lusion Keman Tapley, are buried there, along with my uncles Russ and Hugh Dorsey Tapley, aunt Annie Tapley Lampp, several cousins and other relatives.  

I can remember going there as a child for "Dinner on the Dirt" - a tasty Southern tradition where folks would gather under the trees after church and share a delicious lunch prepared by loving hands.  I have attended a funeral there that I don't even remember (since I was only a month old) and one that I remember all too well (at age 39).

Nealie Drake Tapley (center) with ALL of her children and a couple of her grandchildren on the steps of Powell's Chapel Church, 1960's.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wednesdays Child: Infant Son Ranney

It was only in the last couple of years that I discovered that my maternal great-grandparents Ranney had a child that only lived a short time.   My mother always knew, but she doesn't think to tell me these things unless I ask her.  And of course, I don't know what to ask.  So after I do some research and find something, I call her and the conversation goes something like this:  "Did you know that your grandparents had a child that died?!"  "YES," my mother says VERY emphatically, "I thought I told you that?!"  Me, exasperated but also oddly amused:  "Nooooooooo, Mother, you never told me that!" 

This was one of those conversations.  Anyway, I found the baby's death certificate online.  It wasn't until last week when my mother asked that I even thought about where he was buried and if he had a gravestone.  Thanks to one of my favorite genealogy sites - FindaGrave - the answer was found incredibly quickly.  A very dedicated and prolific volunteer in that area of Michigan had already posted the memorial on the site.  After a call to the cemetery, I found out that it was indeed the correct baby and it did indeed have a headstone.  I then put a photo request on FindaGrave and before sundown, that same dedicated volunteer not only had posted a picture, but he also transferred the management of the memorial to me!  There certainly are some wonderfully kind people in the genealogy world.

The infant son of Luther Boardman and Bessie Carter Ranney (their first child) lived for five days in December 1907.  He is buried at Riverside Cemetery in Elsie, Michigan.  According to his death certificate, he died of "Icterus Neonatorum" or newborn jaundice.  We can only speculate why they did not name the baby.  Mom remembers her grandmother saying that they knew from the beginning something was wrong with the baby and it would not live long.  Perhaps not naming the baby was a way of not becoming too attached.

I am very impressed that he has a headstone.  As I mentioned, this was their first child, and couples typically do not have much money during the first years of their marriage.  I think it shows how much they loved and wanted to honor their baby.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Benjamin A. Lampp and Tabitha Tapley Lampp

Benjamin A. Lampp
born March 12, 1866
died February 23, 1938
son of John Vining Lampp and Mary Ann Page Lampp

Tabitha Tapley Lampp
born March 10, 1875
died July 3, 1956
daughter of James Madison (Jim) Tapley and Rebecca (Becky) Page Tapley

buried at Powell's Chapel Church
Johnson County, Georgia

Lived their entire lives in Johnson County, right down the road from the church.

Tabitha was my father's aunt, the sister of his father, Lusion Keman Tapley.  They called her "Aunt Bish' or 'Bosh' - I have no idea how it would be spelled.  I'm not sure that Tabitha was even pronounced back then as it is today.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Motivation Monday: My Genealogy Goals for this Week

It has actually been another busy week for my genealogy research, even if I did skip three days of posting to this blog!  **GASP**  I was actually feeling poorly due to a sinus flare up, so while I wasn't feeling very "talkative" or creative, I did have plenty of time to research and read about researching.

Here were my goals for this past week as posted last Monday, November 29th, and my progress:
  •   Continue to transcribe three pages of Upper Houses per day.  (22 pages left in the current section)  Done!  I continued this, faithfully, every day, and I only have 3 pages left to transcribe tonight for this section! 
  •   Research the family tree information I found on to help verify the facts.  Enter any verified information into my FTM 2011.  Mostly done!  I did the necessary research on the Lampp family material I found and entered all of that information into my FTM program.  However, there were 2-3 straggler individuals that I did not get to.
  •   Do some genealogy filing. Done!
  •   Scan the photo of my husband's great-grandfather that has been on my desk for weeks.  Done!
 Plus I:
  • Found the location of a family grave and now have a picture of it thanks to a wonderful volunteer.
  • Located two news articles on Ancestry about my grand uncle's "quickie" Reno, Nevada divorce in 1934.
  • Talked to the cemetery where the same grand uncle is buried and got the name and contact information for his step-daughter.
  • Printed and partially completed an Application for a Michigan Birth Record for my maternal grandmother.
  • Urged my mother to find her aunt's death certificate, which she did.  Now we can order her birth certificate.
  • Cleaned out one month's worth of backlogged genealogy newsletters in my e-mail.  I read every one and followed numerous links.
 As the holiday approaches, time will become more of a premium.  I probably will not have as much time to devote to this obsession this week.  However, there are a couple of goals I want to pursue:
  • Complete that application for my grandmother's birth certificate and mail it by the end of the week.  (My mother is coming for a visit this week, and since the application is actually by her, she needs to sign it and add a copy of her driver's license.  I've done everything else.)
  • Call my grand uncle's step-daughter.  We had lost touch with him, and my mom and I would love to hear about the last years of his life.
  • Finish doing research on those individuals I learned about last week and hopefully, add them to my tree.
  • Proofread the Ranney typing I am gong to finish tonight and get it sent in.  
  • Start the next (last!) section of Ranney transcribing continuing at the rate of 3 pages a day.
I also have to do my Christmas cards, visit with my mother for two days, make two trips to Atlanta,  and do my usual chores... so I think the above is plenty for now!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday's Obituary: Annie Jane Tapley Lampp

This is the obituary of my father's oldest sister, Annie Jane Tapley Lampp.  She was born in Johnson County, Georgia on March 15, 1899 and passed away on November 20, 1960.  She was eldest daughter of Lusion Keman Tapley and his first wife, Jane Page.  Lusion and Jane were cousins.

Jane passed away when Annie was only a couple of months old, and custom at the time did not call for a father to raise his child on his own. So Annie was raised by her father's parents, Jim and Rebecca (Becky) (Page) Tapley.

Annie married her first cousin, Benjamin J. Lampp, who was the son of her aunt, Tabitha (Lusion's sister) and her husband, Benjamin A. Lampp.  Tabitha and her husband were also first cousins, as their mothers were sisters.  It just shows that in rural areas at the time, there was not much time for nor transportation to meet people outside their small community, so marrying within the family was not out of the ordinary. 

I did some research on the Lampp family last week and found this obituary on Ancestry.  It was a great addition to my genealogy files.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wedding Wednesday: Ethel Ranney and Charles Tapley

Evidently, my families were not that "into" weddings... because this is the ONLY wedding photo I have from any wedding in any of my families!  I think everyone else, being hardworking farmers who barely had time to meet anyone never mind plan a wedding that costs lots of money, just went to the courthouse. 

Ethel Ranney and Charles Morgan Tapley were married in Redlands, California on December 3, 1939.

From left:  Sarah Catherine Hall Hesser (Aunt Kate) and Jonathan Elisha Hesser (Uncle Jon); the newlyweds:  Charles and Ethel with Ethel's son, Robert (Bobby) Plumlee down front; Ethel's parents:  Bessie Carter Ranney and Luther Boardman Ranney; Mona and Kenneth Carter Ranney (Ethel's brother); Alice Lucille Ranney (Ethel's sister); Kathryn and Ruth Hesser with her husband, Bob Cooper in the background (grand-children of Aunt Kate and Uncle Jon). 

Not pictured:  Otho Elwood Hesser and his wife, Mary Viella Crites Hesser, parents of Kathryn and Ruth.  It's curious that they are not in the picture since Viella and Ethel were very close.  Maybe one of them is the photographer. 

Charles and Ethel were my maternal grandparents.  Up until the last few years, I had Grandma's blue velvet wedding dress in my possession.  Since it was disintegrating and I had no way to showcase it, I cut the lace off the collar and a piece of the velvet and have saved them for scrapbooking purposes.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: James L. (Jim) Tapley

Jim Tapley, along with his wife, Maggie Powell Tapley, buried at Westview Cemetery, Wrightsville, Georgia.

Jim was my father's uncle; my grand uncle. He was the son of James Madison (Jim) Tapley and Rebecca (Becky) Page Tapley.

Uncle Jim was a Johnson County, Georgia Sheriff's Deputy for many years. He also ran for Sheriff in 1920.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Motivation Monday: My Genealogy Goals for this Week

Life keeps getting in the way of my fun stuff!  Even when it doesn't, I tend to get in my own way, getting bogged down reading e-mails or looking at Facebook or whatever else on the computer while time just slips away.

I saw this idea over at Geneabloggers and Finding Josephine and thought it was a great idea!  Set a few realistic goals for genealogy items I would like to get done in a given week.  I am hopeful it will keep me on task.

Goals for this week:

  •   Continue to transcribe three pages of Upper Houses per day.  (22 pages left in the current section)
  •   Research the family tree information I found on to help verify the facts.  Enter any verified information into my FTM 2011.
  •   Do some genealogy filing.
  •   Scan the photo of my husband's great-grandfather that has been on my desk for weeks.
Those seem doable.  Now, I just need to make such a list for my scrapbooking... and housecleaning...and Christmas... etc., etc., etc.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I am obsessed...

with this blog and genealogy lately.  I tend to go back and forth between scrapbooking and genealogy, and right now it is genealogy all the time.

I have had a couple of neat finds and experiences this week while being so immersed.  On several family tress on, I may have find a couple of family links that I have been missing.  I need to do some verifying, but even the "maybe" information is much better than what I had.

I also found an obituary for an aunt who passed in 1960.  It was an interesting find in its own way.  I'll share more about it in another post.

Today, I participated in my very first Scanfest at AnceStories.  Genealogy bloggers and other enthusiasts get together once a month to chat while they scan in family pictures and/or documentation.  Scanning is so boring... why not liven it up with chatting with other like-minded souls?  It was great for me because I never would have put aside three hours a month for scanning without this nudge.  I scanned everything I could (Some items are larger than letter size and will not fit on my scanner, so I will have to work on those another time.) of my father's, i.e., birth certificate, death certificate, Masonic items, marriage licenses, divorce decrees, an old driver's license, letters from his grandchildren etc..  It ended up being 42 items that I got scanned in today!  I also learned some things from others on the chat and generally had a good time.  

And to help you learn something today, the owner of AnceStories, Miriam, states that historical items should always be scanned in .tif format and at the very least, at 300 dpi.  I scanned mine in at 600 dpi.   Items can be edited and then saved as (using the Save As function) a .jpg, but always save the original as a .tif.   Items saved as .jpg will become distorted as they are opened and/or edited many times.  I have not always been good about this because I would be in a hurry and would just accept the default of .jpg on some programs.  However, as of today, I will be making a diligent effort to always save as a .tif. 

I also continue to transcribe the 1908 book, Middletown upper houses: a history of the North Society of Middletown, Connecticut, from 1650 to 1800 : with genealogical and biographical chapters on early families and a full genealogy of the Ranney family by Charles Collard Adams for including on the Internet.  There are nine sections in all (about 40-50 pages each) and I am on Section 8.  I have transcribed all but one section.  All that just means that I am ready to be finished with it so I am working on it daily.  This book was invaluable to me in my Ranney research so to pay back the kindness of those who shared it with me (it is out of print), I agreed to transcribe it.  Little did I know that at least three years later, I would still be at it!  However, it is amazing what you can accomplish working just 15 minutes at a time!  (Thanks, FlyLady!)

Finally, please, if you are or know a Tapley or a Schwalls who is living (or descended from someone who lived) in Johnson County, Georgia; a Drake from Adrian, Emanuel County, Georgia; or a Ranney from Clinton County, Michigan, please share my blog with them!  We may be related!

Surname Saturday: Tapley

The surname Tapley is English. "It is locational from a place in the county of Devonshire called Tapeley" (which is how it gets pronounced most of the time!).  It's meaning is "wood where pegs were collected."  "In medieval times widespread use was made of pegs in the construction of buildings."  In various forms, it dates back to 901 and in the current form to 1585. 


It was only the 6,782nd most popular surname in the 1990 U.S. Census.

Source:  www.genealogy
Info| Copyright 2000-2010 by Labo

Today in the United States, Tapley is most common in two states:  Georgia and Maine. (Numbers of Tapleys in other states is shown above.)

I am a Georgia Tapley, through and through.  We can trace our family back to Hosea Tapley (1691-1778) who migrated to America and settled in Caswell County, North Carolina.  Eventually the family migrated south to Georgia with a brief stop in South Carolina.  This is the main family line that I research.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Funeral Card Friday: Coming Home

Funeral card for my Uncle Hugh.  He was my father's brother, and we were very close.  I would go so far as to say we were each other's favorites. 

He lived in Jacksonville, Florida for most of his adult life, but wanted to be buried back "home" - in Johnson County, Georgia - near his parents and brother, Russ.  I remember that Scotty Hudson used that theme in his message - in the end, we all want to go home. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Treasure Chest Thanksgiving (Thursday)

Happy Thanksgiving!  I gobbled till I wobbled, napped until I recovered, and cleaned up the kitchen.  Now it's time to take a moment for me... and post here.

This is my maternal grandmother's, Ethel Ranney Tapley's, china.  It is called "English Garden."

While not sure of the details of its history, we feel sure that she purchased the china new; it was not handed down from generation to generation.

I have had this china my entire adult life, and I honestly don't remember how I got it.  All this time, I thought it belonged to my paternal grandmother, but my mother just corrected me.  Funny how things get twisted!

The china has always been predominantly displayed in my china cabinet (as long as I have had one), but it was unused.  Since we usually spent the holidays elsewhere, we never used it, or we would use paper plates for ease of clean up.  However, this year we found ourselves hosting Thanksgiving, and I decided it was a good time to use the "fine" china.  So this is how our table looked today before the food bounty was prepared. 

It makes me happy to have this link to my past to share with my present loved ones.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday's Child: Michael Edward Tapley

This is my big brother's tombstone.  He was born two months early in Jacksonville, Florida and is buried at Restlawn Memorial Park there.

In the early 1960's, the medical field wasn't as advanced in saving premature babies as they are now.  For example, Michael weighed 1 pound, 8 ounces at birth, while a family friend's granddaughter, who weighted only 1 pound, 7 ounces at birth is now four years old and thriving. 

It was a horrible experience for my Mom.  Her doctor made the statement that she may not carry the baby full term, but didn't offer any suggestions for her to follow.  This was her first baby; she didn't know, and back at that time, you didn't question medical personnel.   Either that very night or the next night, her water broke and she was bleeding so my father had to call an ambulance.  Mom gave birth very quickly, and Michael only lived for eight hours.  The hospital was not a hospitable place, and they did not even allow my parents to see the baby.  Daddy had to make all the arrangements to bury him, and they could not afford a headstone at the time.  I spearheaded an effort in 2008 and got Michael a grave stone, and Daddy was able to see pictures of it before he passed away.

In 2009, I went to the Vital Statistics office in Jacksonville and obtained a copy of Michael's birth certificate.  While my entire life, my mother said he was born on November 8, the date of birth is listed as the 9th on the birth certificate.  It could have been because he was born in the middle of the night and the date was confused in Mom's mind.  Either way, the headstone says the 8th, and we'll just keep thinking of it as that day.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Mattie Schwalls Tapley

Mattie Schwalls Tapley
buried at Gumlog Church Cemetery, outside Kite, Johnson County, Georgia

Second wife of Lusion Keman Tapley

Mother of James Tillman (Fella) Tapley, Charles Morgan Tapley, and Champ Lusion Tapley.  Died in childbirth while having her fourth son, Woodrow, who also passed away shortly after his birth.

My great-grandmother.

Her grave stone was damaged in a storm a few years ago, and even though my father never knew Mattie, he did a good thing and had the grave stone repaired.

(Photo was taken December 15, 2009, thus the jaunty wreath Mom and I added to it.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Military Monday: John Russell (Russ) Tapley

My uncle Russ (my father's brother; son of Lusion and Nealie Tapley) served in the Army during World War II.

The only things I know for sure about his militiary service is that he
enlisted or was drafted 14 Nov 1942 at Camp Blanding, Florida (south of Jacksonville); he was honorably discharged on 31 Oct 1944; and he was a Private First Class at the time of his discharge.

That's it.  That is all I know for sure.

I have heard these things at one time or another from various family members:
- Uncle Russ did his basic training in California.
- He was in the infantry.
- He served in the 3rd Division under General Patton in Europe (which I found out recently includes 385,000 men!).
- He received a purple heart.
- That Uncle Russ suffered with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) at discharge and was treated at a VA hospital in Miami, Florida.

I have no proof of these statements, of course.  Uncle Russ passed when I was less than a month old, so I was unable to ask him.  His widow passed with Alzheimer's two years ago, and I was unable to get any information from her.  He had no children.  Army records were destroyed in the 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri (See to order records of family members who served in other branches of the military.).

If I could find a copy of his separation papers, I would at least know what unit he served in.  I am trying to locate his separation papers by checking with the funeral home that handled his funeral.  (They would have needed the papers to file for VA funeral benefits.)  My cousin who lives in the area of the funeral home is going to go there in person to check for me.  If the funeral home does not have the form on file, I will check with Duval County, Florida, as that is where he lived when he was discharged, and I have been advised that at the time, veterans were supposed to file their separation papers with their county of residence.

Looks like this was both a Military and a Mystery Monday.