Saturday, March 12, 2011

Fearless Females Blogging Prompts

In honor of National Women’s History Month, Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist blog presents Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month. 

I have yet to participate in this series.  There just doesn't seem to be enough days in the week for all the daily blogging prompts out there!  So since I had a quiet Saturday night, I thought I would catch some of these that I missed.  Warning:  This could be a loooong post.  

March 1 — Do you have a favorite female ancestor? One you are drawn to or want to learn more about? Write down some key facts you have already learned or what you would like to learn and outline your goals and potential sources you plan to check.

I believe that one of my favorite female ancestors would be one of my paternal great-grandmothers, Rebecca Page Tapley. What I want to learn about Becky are not her vital statistics... I have most of those, if not all. I know that she was the daughter of Solomon Page, a wealthy landowner. I know that she was married to a cousin who was killed during the Civil War before she married my great-grandfather, James Madison (Jim) Tapley. What I wish I could do is confirm some of the stories that I have heard about her... like she was a fiery redhead who ruled the roost with an iron fist; that she actually did tell her grandson to dress as a woman to "hide in plain sight" from the military when he went AWOL during World War I; or that she hit a man with a hammer when she saw him abusing his wife. She sounded like such a character... if even half of the stories are true!

March 2 — Post a photo of one of your female ancestors. Who is in the photo? When was it taken? Why did you select this photo?

This is my maternal grandmother, Ethel Ranney Tapley.

We can only guess, but Mom and I believe this was taken before she married... so about 1932-33... maybe about the time she was writing her diary. She would have been in her early 20's. I selected this photo because she looks happy, carefree, and fun, and she didn't have a chance to be that way much in her life.

 March 3 — Do you share a first name with one of your female ancestors? Perhaps you were named for your great-grandmother, or your name follows a particular naming pattern. If not, then list the most unique or unusual female first name you’ve come across in your family tree.

Not a first name, but my middle name, Elizabeth was given to me in honor of my aunt, Elizabeth Taylor Tapley, the wife of my father's brother, John Russell Tapley. She was such a sweet lady; I'm afraid I could never live up to her name.

(I've always been grateful that I wasn't named after either of my grandmothers!)

 March 4 — Do you have marriage records for your grandparents or great-grandparents? Write a post about where they were married and when. Any family stories about the wedding day? Post a photo too if you have one.

My paternal grandparents, Lusion Keman Tapley and Nealie Drake were married April 5, 1914 at the courthouse in Louisville, Jefferson County, Georgia. I have not pictures. It was his third marriage (both wives died) and her first. He had four children and was 25 years older. Based on comments my grandmother made, her family was not thrilled with the union, because of the facts stated. All indications, though, are that they loved each other very much. Papa died in 1935. My grandmother never remarried and lived until 1970.
My maternal grandparents, Charles Morgan Tapley and Ethel Ranney were married December 3, 1939 in San Bernardino County, California. I do not know exactly where. However I do have a picture:

It was the second marriage for both, and they each had one child. They were together until they died on the same day in 1973, almost 34 years later. (See this post for the story.)

March 5 — How did they meet? You’ve documented marriages, now, go back a bit. Do you know the story of how your grandparents met?

Lusion and Nealie met at a cane grinding. Those were big social events at the time, and it explains how two people who lived far apart by the standards of the day met each other.

Charles and Ethel met when he was the ice man. He delivered ice to her home one day, saw her son, Bobby, in the kitchen and commented what a pretty little girl she was. My grandmother indignantly replied that he was a boy. I guess the rest, as they say, is history.

March 6 — Describe an heirloom you may have inherited from a female ancestor (wedding ring or other jewelry, china, clothing, etc.) If you don’t have any, then write about a specific object you remember from your mother or grandmother, or aunt (a scarf, a hat, cooking utensil, furniture, etc.)

This was my maternal great-grandmother's (Bessie Carter Ranney) china head doll. The story of this doll is here.

March 7 — Share a favorite recipe from your mother or grandmother’s kitchen. Why is this dish your favorite? If you don’t have one that’s been passed down, describe a favorite holiday or other meal you shared with your family.

There were no recipes passed down in my family; just cookbooks.  My mother makes wonderful cornbread, as I've mentioned before, but there is no recipe.  It's just a couple of scoops of cornmeal, a little self-rising flour, and water.  You have to learn the feel of it.  

I do remember that every Christmas Eve, Mom and Dad would make oyster stew for dinner, and I would eat waffles.  

March 8 — Did one of your female ancestors leave a diary, journal, or collection of letters? Share an entry or excerpt.

Grandma Ethel kept a diary for 1933 and part of 1934 which I have been sharing here on this blog on Fridays for the past 9 weeks.  Her mother, Bessie, also kept a diary that my mother and I are in disagreement at the moment as to which one of us has it in our possession.  Never fear:  It WILL be located and shared here... someday.

March 9 — Take a family document (baptismal certificate, passenger list, naturalization petition, etc.) and write a brief narrative using the information.

I'm afraid I have to pass on this one... not all documents are scanned yet.

March 10 — What role did religion play in your family? How did your female ancestors practice their faith? If they did not, why didn’t they? Did you have any female ancestors who served their churches in some capacity?

My grandma Nealie was very active in her church, Powell's Chapel Methodist Church in Johnson County, Georgia.  She played the piano there and drove her horse and buggy for 10-15 miles from Wadley to attend church on Sundays.  

I am not sure about Grandma Ethel.  Her husband was very religious and even became a preacher in the Four Square Church, but I do not know how she acted out her faith.

My mother is very religious.  She tried to raise me in the church, but due to circumstances beyond her control, she couldn't get me to church every Sunday.  Now that my father has passed away, she is very active in her church.  

March 11 — Did you have any female ancestors who died young or from tragic or unexpected circumstances? Describe and how did this affect the family.

I honestly cannot think of any unless you count my grandma Ethel dying the same day as her husband, Charles (see reference above).  Those were definitely unexpected circumstances.

March 12 — Working girl: Did your mother or grandmother work outside the home? What did she do? Describe her occupation. 

My mother worked every day for Southern Bell, BellSouth, and then AT&T.  She retired after almost 40 years of service.  

Grandma Nealie mostly farmed; the only outside job I know she had was as a telephone exchange operator in Kite, Georgia. (Yes, she plugged those cords into a board just like you've seen on TV!)

Grandma Ethel had a few odd jobs before she married my grandfather, but once she got married and became ill, she did not ever hold another job outside the home.   

Whew!  I'm caught up now.  If you have hung in here this far, thank you.

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