Monday, May 30, 2011

Military Monday: Memorial Day Roll Call

On this Memorial Day, 2011, I would like to take a moment to recognize and thank those from my family lines who have served our country in the military forces:

Revolutionary War

Exum Drake, 10th Regiment, North Carolina Continental Line
David Hubbard, Unit Unknown
Solomon Page, Corporal, "Bailey's Company", North Carolina
John Tapley Patterson, Unit Unknown
Mark Patterson, Unit Unknown, North Carolina
Comfort Ranney, Pvt, Unit Unknown
Nathaniel Ranney, Pvt, Unit Unknown
Thomas Erastus Redman, Unit Unknown
Stephen Swain, Ensign, 8th North Carolina Battalion of Foot

War of 1812

Isaac Ozmun, Major

Civil War

Elijah Samuel Beasley, Private, Co. I, 48th Georgia Infantry
Thomas J. Brantley, Private, Co. D, 59th Georgia Infantry "Bullard Guards"
Ezra Carter, Unit Unknown
Zachariah Claxton, Sergeant, Co. E, 48th Georgia Infantry
Francis Milton Drake, Private, Co. G, 32nd Georgia Infantry 
James William Drake, Private, Co. G, 32nd Georgia Infantry
John Saffold Drake, Jr. Second Lieutenant, Co. G, 32nd Georgia Infantry 
Thomas Lamar Drake, Unit Unknown
Norris N. Durden, Unit Unknown
John W. Harrell, Unknown South Carolina Unit
Alphonso Davis Hesser, Company F, 123rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry
Harrell Solomon Horton, Unit Unknown (Made the ultimate sacrifice)
Bennet Kea, Unit Unknown
Dennis Kea, Unit Unknown
James W. Kea, Unit Unknown
Warren Kea, Unit Unknown (Made the ultimate sacrifice at Antietem)
Wesley Kea, Unit Unknown
John Nelson Key, Unit Unknown
John W. Mayo, Pvt, Co. F, 14th Georgia Infantry
James Ashley Pollett, Unit Unknown
Sampson Powell, Pvt, Co. F, 48th Georgia Infantry
Elias Price, Pvt, Co. F, 48th Georgia Infantry
Elisha Pullen, Unit Unknown (Made the ultimate sacrifice)
Comfort Ranney, Private, Co. D, 61st Infantry Regiment, Ohio
Edward George Ranney, Unit Unknown (Made the ultimate sacrifice at Gettysburg)
William Ostrander Ranney, Private, Co. B, 22nd Regiment Wisconsin Vols.
Lawson Y. Riner, Unit Unknown
George W. Schwalls, Private, Co. E, 48th Georgia Infantry; Engineer, CSA Navy 
John Wesley Snell, Unit Unknown
Benson Tapley, Unit Unknown
Francis M. Tapley, 1st Corporal, Company F, 48th Georgia Infantry,  "Johnson County Battleground
     Guards" (Made the ultimate sacrifice at The Crater, Petersburg, Virginia)
James Madison Tapley, Pvt, Company F, 48th Georgia Infantry
John Curtis Tapley, Pvt, Company F, 48th Georgia Infantry
Henry Green Wheeler, Company F, 48th Georgia Infantry 

World War I

Ellie Alonzo Drake, SK3, U.S. Navy
Horace D. Lindsey, Pvt, 230 PW Escort Co ASC
Dennis Newton Meeks, Pvt, U. S. Army
Leaston E. Powell, Pvt, U.S. Army
Charlie George Townsend, Unit Unknown
Johnnie William Townsend, Pvt, U.S. Army

World War II

Ellie Brooks Drake, SSgt, U.S. Air Force
E. R. Gilmer, U.S. Army
William Marion McLendon, Unit Unknown
Roy Page, U.S. Army
George A. Perdue, Sgt, 22nd Infantry, 4th Infantry Division
Bemis Josey Powell, Private, U.S. Army
Jordan Benjamin Powell, Private, U.S. Army
Leslie E. Powell, Sgt, U.S. Army
Roy D. Powell, U.S. Army
Virgil Willard Powell, U.S. Navy
Charlie H. Schwalls, PFC, U.S. Army
Rufus S. Schwalls, U.S. Army
Charles Morgan Tapley, U.S. Navy
Edward Tapley, Unit Unknown
James Cullen "J.C." Tapley, PFC, U.S. Army, 168th Infantry, 34th Division (Made the ultimate
     sacrifice in Italy)
John Russell Tapley, Pvt, U.S. Army
Alton Clifton Thomas, U.S. Army
Johnnie William Townsend, PFC, U.S. Army
Joe C. Tyson, U.S. Army
Robert Alexander Weatherup, U.S. Navy Commander 
Woodrow Wheeler, TSgt, U.S. Army

Korean Conflict

Billy Moye Claxton, SSgt, U.S. Air Force
Franklin Roosevelt Claxton, U.S. Army
Ellie Brooks Drake, SSgt, U.S. Air Force
William Marion Josey, Cpl, U.S. Army
Marvin Schwalls, Cpl, U.S. Army
Carlton James Tapley, PFC, U.S. Army
Robert Alexander Weatherup, U.S. Navy Commander 

Vietnam Conflict

William Marion McLendon, Jr., SP5, U.S. Army

Other Military Service

Watson Alvin Chance, U.S. Army
Eddie Barton Claxton, U.S. Air Force
Jack Ira Drake, U.S. Army
Woodrow Powell, Unit Unknown
Samuel Ranny, 7th Co., Capt Herlihy, 1st Regiment, French-Indian War
Charlie F. Sconyers, U.S. Army; Georgia National Guard
Homer Lee Smith, Pvt, U.S. Marine Corps
Charles Morgan Tapley, U.S. Navy
Hugh Dorsey Tapley, Pvt, U.S. Army
Herschel Miles Tapley, U.S. Army
Vertie L. Tapley, Unit Unknown
William Hubert Tapley, U.S. Army

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - It's Find-a-Grave Time

From Randy Seaver over at Genea-Musings:

Hey genea-searchers, it's SATURDAY NIGHT ... time for more GENEALOGY FUN!!!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1)  Go to the Find-a-Grave website ( and search for ancestors that you don't know the burial location of.   How far back in time did you have to go to find this person?  Hint #1 - use your ancestor list to help you.  Hint #2 - don't forget to use the last surname for females!

2)  If you think that Find-a-Grave will not have your persons of interest, then check another burial index that might help you.

3)  Tell us about your search - who did you look for, and who was the first ancestor that you found that you did not have a burial location for previously?  Write your own blog post, or make a comment on this post.

I love Find a Grave and use it all the time... so #1, it was a no-brainer for me to join in on this Saturday night fun, but #2, using it so often made it kind of difficult to figure out who I didn't know their burial location!

Here's what I came up with: 
  1. Carol (Andrews) Way, died 1983 in Florida.  No listing.
  2. Mary E. (Atwood) Hubbard, unknown date or place of death. No listing.
  3. Curtis Manning Barwick, died 1902 in Georgia.  Success!  He has a listing complete with a picture of his tombstone.  He is buried in the Barwick Cemetery, Norristown, Emanuel County, Georgia.
  4. Elijah Samuel Beasley, unknown date or place of death.  No listing.
  5. Harriet (Beaty) Pullen, died 1943, place unknown.  No listing.
  6. Earnest Boulineau, died 1987, place unknown.  Success!  He has a listing complete with a picture of his headstone.  He is buried in the Oaky Grove Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery, Johnson County, Georgia.
  7. Clifford K. Brantley, died 1964, place unknown.  No listing.
  8. James Thurman Drake, unknown date or place of death.  No listing.
  9. William Dewey Harrison, died 1980, place unknown.  No listing.
  10. Eleanor V. (Schwalls) Wilson, unknown date or place of death.  No listing.
That's all I looked up tonight, but I agree with Randy.  There are many more potentials in my database that I can search for on Find A Grave!      

Friday, May 27, 2011

Grandma's Diary, Part 20

(To read prior entries from my maternal grandmother's 1933 diary, please click on the tab "Posts by Topic" and then go to the topic "California."  All posts are listed there.)


The writer is Ethel Ranney Tapley.
Alice is her sister.
Kenneth is her brother.
Her parents.
          H = her boyfriend, Hazel Avery Plumlee
          Delma = Hazel's little sister
          Earl = Hazel's brother
          Verda = Earl's wife
          Dorothy Lee = Hazel's niece (Earl's, child)
          Otho is Otho Hesser, her father's cousin.
          Viella is Otho's wife.
          Ruth & Kathryn are Otho and Viella's daughters.
          Uncle Jont is Jonathan Hesser, Otho's father and her father's uncle.
          Aunt Kate is Sarah Katherine Hall Hesser, Jonathan's wife and Otho's mother
          Herman (Williams) is Alice's boyfriend.

Sun., May 21:  "Looks a lot like rain.  Alice & I went to S.S.  To dinner at Cathcarts. Went to ball game with Lillian & Delma. Got Ben & H. & went to town. Stopped at Dietrichs. They went to a dance & H. & I stayed with Billy Jean."

Mon., May 22:  "Kenneth came about 10 o'clock. I took his car to get the mail. It didn't start & I coasted to Fish H. Oil Truck came & the man tried to fix it but couldn't. He brot me home. H. & I went to Dietrichs & got Delma."

Tues., May 23:  "Kenneth took Mama & I to the Beach & back by L.A. H. & Delma came over in the eve. We visited Earls & I stayed all night."

Wed., May 24:  "I helped Delma wash & we took care of Donald. It is getting plenty warm. Saw Lillian in afternoon. Delma took H. & I to the show in the eve."

Thurs., May 25:  "Kenneth & Mama went to town. I cleaned house. Kenneth left for L.A. about 1 o'clock. Dad worked at Berrys'. H. & Delma came over in the eve. for awhile."

Fri., May 26:  "Dad worked on the rock pile. Mama & I ironed. H., Alice & I went to an Epworth League dinner at the church."

Sat., May 27:  "Dad worked on the rock pile. We sewed. Alice &  I went to Yucaipa in eve. I met H. & went with him. Lillian, Ben, Delma, H. & I went to Berdo. H. & I bot a rug. Then we went to Beaumont."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Commericals and Fame

Week 21:  Commercials. Do you remember any commercial jingles from your childhood? Share them here.

I really don't  remember many commericals... mostly McDonald's commercials.  I do remember perfecting the "2allbeefpattiesspecialsaucelettucecheesepicklesonionsonasesameseedbun" Big Mac jingle!  (And yes, I did that from memory BEFORE I found the commercial!) 

And who doesn't remember this precious little old lady?  "Where's the Beef?!"

I'm a week behind on my 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History postings, so I'm going to do the previous week's, also:

Week 20:  Fame. Tell us about any local brushes with fame. Were you ever in the newspaper? Why? You may also describe any press mentions of your family members.

My only claim to fame is that I was in the local newspaper (Swainsboro [Georgia] Forest-Blade) a lot, especially during my senior year of high school.  I was an honor student, very involved in Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), and voted Most Likely to Succeed.  All of these things led to space filling articles and pictures.   I mean, it was a small town. 

After high school, the only time my name or picture was in the paper was when I got married!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Ethel and Alice Ranney

My grandmother, Ethel Ranney Tapley
and her sister, Alice Ranney Thornburg
circa 1918-1920

Note:  I had this photograph framed for my mother many 
years ago and did not make a copy of it before it was 
framed!   I scanned it with my Flip-Pal,
stitched it, and now have a digital copy!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Lola Mae Tapley Powell Dawson

Lola Mae Tapley (Powell) Dawson
born 1891*
died May 9, 1964
laid to rest at Hillcrest Memorial Park, Augusta, Georgia

Daughter of Franklin Morgan Tapley and Laney Minton Tapley
Widow of Virgil Powell
Mother of Virgil Williard Powell
Wife of Jack Dawson

 * For an unknown reason, Frank and Laney Tapley are listed on the 1900 census as having been married 10 years and that Laney is the mother of 4 children, but none of their children are listed with them!  I have been unable to locate any of the children on the 1900 census.  On the 1910 census, Lola is listed as being 19 years old.  She married Virgil Powell in 1912, so if she had been born in 1905 as her headstone indicates, she would have only been 7 years old at the time of this marriage and 11 years old when her child was born.  In the 1920 census, she is listed as being 28 years old.  Therefore, I believe my records are correct and she was born closer to 1891 than 1905. 

I wrote a Sunday's Obituary post about Lola here.  You can read there about the troubles she endured during her lifetime.  I have a soft spot for Lola, probably because of all she went through in her life.  That is why it bothers me that troubles appear to have followed her into death, such as an incorrect birth date on her tombstone.  And the fact that she is buried by herself at Hillcrest.  Her first husband and son are buried in Johnson County.  Her second husband is not buried alongside her.  Also, my mother and I first visited her grave about three months ago, and her headstone was covered in dirt and grass.  I did not have any tools with me at the time to clean it.  As it had rained recently, I surmised that was the reason for the condition and the perpetual care cemetery where she is buried would take care of it.  When my mother and I went back last Saturday, the grave was still in the same condition as three months ago.  The difference is this time, I had tools with me, and Mom and I cleaned Lola's headstone well enough to take photographs.

At least she is in a nice location within view of the fountain:

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday's Obituary: Homer Frank Tapley

From the Augusta Chronicle, Augusta, Georgia, March 17, 1952:

"Homer F. Tapley
  Homer Frank Tapley, 56, of 1047 Bertram road, died yesterday at University hospital.
  Funeral services will be held today at 5 p. m. at St. Luke Methodist church with the Rev. W. L. Brackman officiating.  Interment will be in West View cemetery.
  Active pallbearers will be Dempsey Tapley, Jerome Hobbs, Albert Hurt, Delmar Reese, Emory Odum and James Tuten.  Remains will be at the residence until the hour of the service.
  A native of Johnson county, Ga., Mr. Tapley had resided in Augusta for the past 20 years.
  Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Katie Reese Tapley; five daughters, Ms. C. G. Marsh of Greenville, S. C., Mrs. G. W. Heubel, Mrs. W. C. Cochrane, Mrs. Slydell Kitchens and Mrs. Johnny Hobbs, all of Augusta; seven grandchildren, two brothers, Leroy Tapley and Walter Tapley, both of Augusta; four sisters, Mrs. Jack Dawson and Mrs. Sallie Geter, both of Augusta, Mrs. C. J. Claxton of Bartow, Ga., and Mrs. H. L. Howard of Augusta, several neices [sic] and nephews."

Homer was the son of Franklin Morgan (Frank) Tapley and Laney Minton Tapley.  Uncle Frank and my grandfather, Lusion Tapley, were brothers.  Therefore, Homer and I are 1st cousins, 1x removed.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Wordle

From Randy Seaver over at Genea-Musings:

Hey genea-kids, it's Saturday Night - time for lots of Genealogy Fun! 

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1)  Go to the Wordle site - and create your own unique Wordle  - it's a word cloud.  You can use either a clump of text, enter your own words (say, surnames, or given names), use a blog page address, or something else.  Your choice!  Be creative with the fonts, colors, backgrounds, and layout. 

2)  Save it as an image (I used Print Screen, pasted it to a Word document, used the Windows snipping tool to edit it, and saved it to a file).  Tell us how you did it.

3)  Show us your handiwork!  Add the image to a blog post of your own or on a web page of your own.  Tell me in a comment here where it is.  

Note: If you want to email it to me
(, I'll put it up here on Genea-Musings for you as an update to this post.

Here's mine:

I entered my blog address:

  1. I looked at nearly every font and chose BPreplay Bold.  I chose the Half and Half layout cause I like to shake things up a bit.  And I chose the Blue Meets Orange color scheme; I just liked a black background the best.
  2. I had to experiment to figure out how to save the image, but it didn't take too long.  I also did Print Screen (Prt Scr) and pasted the page into Paint.  Then I cropped away the web page header and footer and saved the image to my computer as a .jpg file.
  3. I left a comment over at Genea-Musings to let Randy know I am getting in on the fun tonight!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Grandma's Diary, Part 19

(To read prior entries from my maternal grandmother's 1933 diary, please click on the tab "Posts by Topic" and then go to the topic "California."  All posts are listed there.)


The writer is Ethel Ranney Tapley.
Alice is her sister.
Kenneth is her brother.
Her parents.
          H = her boyfriend, Hazel Avery Plumlee
          Delma = Hazel's little sister
          Earl = Hazel's brother
          Verda = Earl's wife
          Dorothy Lee = Hazel's niece (Earl's, child)
          Otho is Otho Hesser, her father's cousin.
          Viella is Otho's wife.
          Ruth & Kathryn are Otho and Viella's daughters.
          Uncle Jont is Jonathan Hesser, Otho's father and her father's uncle.
          Aunt Kate is Sarah Katherine Hall Hesser, Jonathan's wife and Otho's mother
          Herman (Williams) is Alice's boyfriend.

Sun., Mother's Day, May 14:  "It is warm for a change.  Alice & I went to S.S.  H. here to dinner.  H, Ben, Lillian & I went to ball game, then to Dietrichs & stayed for supper & played cards."

Mon., May 15:  "Went to Yucaipa to buy lumber for Mrs. West.  In afternoon went to San Berdo.  Got Alice excused.  We bot a rug for down home.  Mrs. West went home.  H. & I went over to Trowbridges in the eve."

Tues, May 16:  "Mama & I washed.  Dad worked for Pete.  Viella came over in eve. & stayed for supper.  H. came over & we went to Yucaipa."

Wed., May 17:  "Mama & I washed & ironed.  H. came about noon & I went with him to Verdas & spent the afternoon.  In the eve. Herman came. H & I & Ben & Lillian went to Marie's & had ice cream."

Thurs., May 18:  "Herman went home.  Mama & I went to Norah's.  I bot a suede jacket.  Norah had the Mothers' Club at her house.  Mama helped Aunt Kate awhile."

Fri., May 19:  "Mama cleaned the kitchen.  I washed.  H. came over in the eve. & I went to Yucaipa with him."

Sat., May 20:  "We went to Yucaipa for groceries.  In the afternoon mama & Alice worked on Alice's dress.  H., Ben, Lillian & I went to Berdo.  The Mentone Grain Mill burned down."

Note:  I did a quick search on Google for information on Mentone Grain Mill and it burning down in 1933, but came up with nothing.  If anyone else has better luck, I would love to hear what you find!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Bedroom

Week 19. Bedroom. Describe your childhood bedroom. What furniture did it contain? Were there curtains, wallpaper or paint? Was it messy or clean? Did you share a room with your siblings?

I actually had four different bedrooms throughout the course of my childhood; one in Augusta, one in Jacksonville, and two in Swainsboro.  After my grand aunt, Alice, moved out of our home in Swainsboro, I moved into her room, and that was my bedroom throughout my teenage years until I left home at age 18.

For at least three of those four bedrooms, I had the same bedroom suite:

Chest of Drawers, Dresser, Nightstand plus a double Bed.

(All of these pictures were taken in later years, after I was grown and my parents gave me my childhood bedroom suite.)

Now it has been passed on to the next generation:

Grand niece, Brittany, February 2009

My bedroom also had a desk and one of those old, floor model stereos.  I wish I had a picture of THAT.  I spent many hours in front of that stereo, singing along with the radio and recording my favorite songs onto my cassette recorder.

The room had paneling on the walls and dark red shag carpet.  The closet was up a step with double doors.  I remember always keeping my room clean.    

This was the house in Swainsboro:

My bedroom window is on the front of the house, the second from the right.  You can barely see it in this photo.  I spent many hours staring out that window, dreaming of freedom.  Back then people didn't use mini blinds like they do now; there were just curtains on the window.  Since there was no air conditioning, the curtains billowed in the breeze from the open window.  I can remember always being sure to close them at night so that no one passing by on the busy highway could see in.

As most teenagers, I spent many hours in my bedroom, period.  It was my haven.  I wasn't always able to hide there, but I certainly tried.  That house could be a scary place, but I did love my room and it was, by far, my favorite room in the house.  

A lot of the memories of my bedroom include my niece and nephew, Missi and Harry Jr.  We played, laughed, listened to music, scared each other in that room... you name it.  It makes me smile to remember.  I was raised as an only child (my siblings were grown and gone by the time I came along) so I didn't have to share my room... except for six weeks during the summer when the kids were visiting and Missi stayed in my room with me.  Probably my favorite memory in that room with Missi was one summer night... we were leaving on vacation the next morning.  So us kids were excited... and wired.  Everyone was in bed.  It was dark.  When suddenly Missi jumped on top of me - full body - and was saying "He's in here!  Harry's in here!  I hear the carpet moving!!"  LOL Sure enough, about the time she finished frantically whispering, a flashlight came on in my eyes, and Harry was standing over me, trying to show me his new watch!  He did that a couple of times that night.  I was always tickled at how Missi could "hear" the carpet moving!

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2011) that invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. If you do not have a genealogy blog, write down your memories on your computer, or simply record them on paper and keep them with your files.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Mary Williams Schwalls

Mary J. Williams Schwalls
born March 15, 1851
died March 14, 1922 (by my records) or May 14, 1922 (by the tombstone)

"A tender mother and a faithful friend"

second wife of George W. Schwalls, Sr.

laid to rest at Minton's Chapel Advent Christian Church Cemetery
Kite (Tom), Johnson County, Georgia

Mary was my great-grandmother's (Mattie Schwalls Tapley) step-mother.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Photos from NGS and Charleston

As promised, here are the few photos I got from NGS plus a couple from our visit to Ft. Sumter on Sunday.

Patty Roy, DearMRYTLE, and me
Drew Smith and me
DearMYRTLE, Tami Glatz, and me

Kim von Aspern, DearMYRTLE, and me (how did I always end up on the right?!)

Jennifer and Ellie Woods being interviewed by PBS

Linda McCauley, Cherie Cayemberg, Ginger Smith, and me 
Here I am at Ft Sumter with Charleston in the background and the sun in my eyes.

Leaving Ft. Sumter

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Grandma's Diary, Part 18

(To read prior entries from my maternal grandmother's 1933 diary, please click on the tab "Posts by Topic" and then go to the topic "California."  All posts are listed there.)


The writer is Ethel Ranney Tapley.
Alice is her sister.
Kenneth is her brother.
Her parents.
          H = her boyfriend, Hazel Avery Plumlee
          Delma = Hazel's little sister
          Earl = Hazel's brother
          Verda = Earl's wife
          Dorothy Lee = Hazel's niece (Earl's, child)
          Otho is Otho Hesser, her father's cousin.
          Viella is Otho's wife.
          Ruth & Kathryn are Otho and Viella's daughters.
          Uncle Jont is Jonathan Hesser, Otho's father and her father's uncle.
          Aunt Kate is Sarah Katherine Hall Hesser, Jonathan's wife and Otho's mother
          Herman (Williams) is Alice's boyfriend.

Sun., May 7:  "Kenneth's birthday.  Alice & I went to S.S.  In the afternoon H. & I went to the ball game.  In eve. H. & I went to Lucile's church.  Alice & mama visited Hessers' & Barnetts."

Mon., May 8:  "Mama & I went to town.  We visited Mrs. Grigsby & Uncle Jonts.  Wilsons weren't home.  H. came over & I went to Yucaipa with him."

Tues., May 9:  "Alice didn't go to school.  We quilted on baby quilt.  Dad worked for Mrs. Kirby.  H., Carline & Joe came over & we rode to San Berdo."

Wed., May 10:  "It snowed quite a bit.  H. came over about noon & we went to San Berdo.  Saw show.  Saw Joes & he rode home with us.  Got mama a motto for Mothers Day."

Thurs., May 11:  "Mama & I sewed.  We finished Alice & my print dresses.  Mine cost 40 cents.  H. came over & I went to Yucaipa with him."

Fri., May 12:  "Otho stopped by with some dates.  Dad worked on the rock pile.  We took Mrs. Kirby & went to town & met Alice.  H. & Joe stayed all night in mountains."

Sat., May 13:  "Alice worked on her gray dress.  H. came about 10 o'clock.  We went to town to meet Mrs. West.  Happened to miss her.  H., Ben & Lillian & I went on a weenie roast."

Saturday, May 14, 2011

NGS 2011 Conference: 4th and Final Day

Today was the last day of the 2011 NGS Conference.  We are educated to the hilt, shopped out, homesick, and just plain tired.

Here are the classes I took today:
  1. Social Security Records:  A Boon to 20th Century Family History:  Good class.  Learned some things, such as that during the initial Social Security sign-up period, 1937-about 1947, the SS-5 Application included employer information.  That could be interesting.  I do not know if that will be enough to justify the $27 cost for a copy of the SS-5, but it gives me another tool in my toolbox.
  2. The Timeline:  Linking Historical Events to our Family History by Patricia Smarr:  I have been meaning to do timelines for my ancestors for quite awhile.  This class had lots of good website references for looking up historical events to add to a timeline and templates and sites for making the actual timelines themselves.  This would be a good item to prepare and add to my surname notebooks for each ancestor.  
  3. Come to Morrow - Georgia's Research Mecca by Linda Woodward Geiger:  My favorite part of this class was learning what is available at the National Archives at Atlanta, which is right next door to the Georgia Archives.  I have only been in the NARA facility once, and I was totally overwhelmed.  This class helped me know what to expect on my next visit.  However, I was saddened to learn that there is a possibility that our Georgia Archives could close.  With recent budget cuts, they have already had to cut their hours to three days per week.  Hearing this news strengthened my resolve to get back over there and support them.
  4. Debunking the Myths Surrounding the Military Personnel Records Center by Patricia Smarr:  I believe that most anyone who has requested military records from the Military Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri, has faced some confusion and frustration.  Ms. Smarr lives in St. Louis and has found that the Records Center employees are very helpful.  I can understand that because I have had instances when after visiting a business location or library several times, the employees recognize me and are more friendly than they probably would be if they just got a letter in the mail from a complete stranger.  I did learn something big that I did not know - that 62 years after a veteran is discharged or dies, their file becomes an archival copy that is open to the public.  This puts recent roadblocks I have come up against with the Records Center in a new light.  
At the end of the day, we said good-bye to our friends, Cheryl Cayemberg, Jennifer Woods and her daughter, Ellie, Ginger Smith, and Dear Myrtle.  My friend and I headed to a Mexican restaurant to eat way too much, did a little Wal-Mart and A.C. Moore shopping, and then crashed in our motel room for one more night.  In the morning, we head to Liberty Square to take the cruise out to Ft. Sumter.  Linda McCauley is supposed to join us.  Then my genealogy friend and I will head back home.  I will be glad to sleep in my own bed!

This is has been a wonderful experience that I wouldn't trade for anything.  I will be spending the MONTHS ahead trying to work through the bibliographies and ideas that we were given.  My house may never be clean again!

Friday, May 13, 2011

NGS 2011 Conference: Day 1

Lessons of the Day:

  1. Do not skip the opening session of the NGS Conference... EVER.  My friend and I thought that since this morning would be the only morning we did not have to be at the conference by 8am, we would take our time and skip the opening session.  So we arrived about 9:30, ready to enter the vendor area and get our free FamilySearch t-shirts!  We were walking around the vendor floor, getting acclimated to the layout when I saw two people who were also from Georgia.  Since I will talk to anyone, I stopped and showed them my name tag to indicate that we were also from Georgia.  The female looks at where we are from, which is printed right there on your name tag for anyone to see, and exclaims "Oxford, Georgia?!  One of your names was called this morning for winning a prize... but you weren't there.  They had to call about four names to find someone who was present to claim the prize!"  She went on to say that she thought it was my friend's name that was called.  That did it.  My friend was upset.  She blamed me (just kidding, I think).  Someone else finally told my friend that the prize she missed out on was a free registration to next year's NGS Conference in Las Vegas!  That just added salt to the wound.  The "funny" thing here is that this followed us the rest of the day.  I went to my class after lunch, ended up sitting next to a woman from Athens, Georgia, and when I told her I was also from Georgia, she looked at my name tag and said, "You missed out on a prize drawing this morning!"  !!!!!  WHY did everyone remember OXFORD, Georgia so well?  Why, when we only skipped this one session will we never live it down??  WHY OH WHY?!!!
  2. Do not believe that you can remember what classroom your next class is in.  Always double- and triple-check it.  That way you will not end up wandering around, asking and getting bad directions that take you out to the loading dock, become determined that you cannot find your classroom, ask everyone you can find where that classroom is located when it actually doesn't exist, and you will not choose a different class to only get five minutes into it and realize that you had your classes mixed up and the class you should be in is next door, but it's too late to join it now.  Where did my memory go?
  3. Once you are given a free gift, let's say... like a t-shirt, put it away in your bag IMMEDIATELY.  Do not carry it around, draped over your arm, and when you sit down to fill out an application for the Georgia Genealogical Society, lay it over the back of a chair.  Then when you finish your application, you simply walk away... and leave the t-shirt there.  (Yes, this really happened.)
  4. Do not trust your GPS in a strange city to pick out a seafood restaurant.  The first two were dives in scary-looking neighborhoods... They may not have even been restaurants, they may have been strip clubs disguised as seafood restaurants.  So we ended up driving 12 miles to historic, downtown Charleston to A.W. Shucks, where we saw a ruptured water main and paid $8 to park nearby.  Fortunately, they were not busy, the food was wonderful, and we got there in time to eat and drink clean water before they had to close down because of the aforementioned ruptured water main.
There were some good times.
  1. The classes were informative.  The three classes I took were Statistically Speaking:  The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Vital Record Research; Everything you Need to Know about Footnote (my sub class); and Libraries, Archives, and Public Records Offices:  Understanding Resource Repositories.
  2. I joined Footnote at a special conference rate.
  3. We are now members of the Georgia Genealogical Society.
  4. I got to meet Dear Myrtle, Dinah from Second Life, and Drew Smith in person.
  5. I got to talk with a Family Tree Maker expert who showed me how to customize a cemetery report.
 Here's to tomorrow holding fewer lessons and more good stuff!

NGS 2011 Conference: Days 2 and 3

As many of you know, Blogger was down last night so I couldn't put out a post, and now I can't even remember what we did yesterday!  It was our long day - 12 hours - and it's pretty much a blur now.

I took the following classes:

  1. Cemetery Records:  More than Tombstones taught by Lynda Childers Suffridge.  Like many genealogists, I love to visit cemeteries.  So this was an interesting class for me.  I learned about Mortality Schedules (Yes, I should have already utilized them, but I haven't!) and platting a cemetery.  
  2. Organizing Your Research:  The Overlooked Step by Ann Carter Fleming.  Now I'm a pretty organized person.  But since organizing is an on-going and evolving process, there are always things to learn or tweak.   I have notebooks set up for my surnames with documents in each, such as death certificates, census records, marriage licenses, etc.  Now I have the plan to print out thumbnails or a list of the photos I have pertaining to that surname and file them in the appropriate notebook.  I also plan to sync my notebook "files" to my digital files so the order, topics, etc. are consistent.
  3. Deliveries in the Rear!  Getting Family History Information through the Back Door by Jean Wilcox Hibben.  Jean is a dynamic speaker who I really enjoyed listening to.  She used examples from her own research "though the back door" to give us ideas for finding information about our own families.
  4. Investigating Your Ancestors by Pamela Boyer Sayre.  This class was taught from the viewpoint of running a police investigation:  Scene of the Crime, Write Good Reports, Follow-up, Interview Witnesses, Identify the Likely Suspect.  As those of you who regularly read my blog know, I recently located my uncle's World War II military discharge papers at his county courthouse, and I learned in this class that sometimes Civil War soldiers would file their discharge papers with their local courthouses.  Something else to add to my Johnson County Courthouse to do list!
  5. In the Wilderness and on the Battlefields:  The Reality of Your Ancestors' Military Service by Sharon Tate Moody.  If there is a theme for this year's NGS Conference, it would be the Civil War.  This class focused on the lives of Civil War soldiers and learning about their regimental histories - exactly where did your ancestor fight during the war?  I learned about the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion on Cornell University's website ( which gives a lot of information about regimental history.  
  6. Making Technology Work for Genealogists: Tools and Gadgets that Maximize Your Time by Anne Roach.  Anne chaired the RootsTech conference, and I can see how, because she is full of energy!  She told us about some awesome gadgets that made me oooh and ahhh and want them, such as a solar powered charger and a pen scanner.  I do love technology!
Yes, we took 6 classes yesterday.  8am-8pm.  It was a long day. 

Today was a light day with only 5 classes.  My classes were:

  1. Child-Naming Patterns:  A Great Tool to Assist With Family Reconstitution by Richard Woodruff Price.  I had actually never given this much thought.  I knew that children were often named after their parents, grandparents or even deceased siblings, but I did not realize that different areas/countries/religions of the world had actual naming patterns they go/went by.  It was interesting.
  2. What's New at by Anne Gillespie Mitchell and Jen Hodnett.  For Family Tree Maker users, the greatest news to come out of the NGS Conference has been the announcement by that with FTM 2012, it will be possible to sync our family trees between the software and Ancestry's online trees!  Yea!!  There have also been some great improvements to the search functions on their site. I can't wait to try them out!
  3. Photography, the Civil War and Your Family Pictures by Maureen Taylor.  My favorite class so far.  Being a genealogist AND a scrapbooker, I absolutely adore family pictures.  Maureen shared so many great examples with us and gave us pointers to discern if a photograph was taken during the Civil War Era.  She has a new website, Ask MaureenTaylor and I believe I will send her a few of mine and see if she'll answer me!  I have found that stalking can be quite helpful.  
  4. Speaking from the Grave:  Exploring Your Ancestors' Probate Files by Sharon Tate Moody.  This is a complicated topic with lots of law terminology.  Thank goodness Ms. Moody included a list of definitions for us in our syllabus.
  5. Blank or Prize?  What You Need to Know About Georgia's Land Lotteries by Linda Woodward Geiger.  This class reminded me that I need to study metes and bounds and the headright system!  I also need to visit the Georgia Archives website to check out the District Field Notes and Plat Maps, whatever those may be!
We also stopped by the booth to pick up a passcode for a 6-month free trial membership.  There they told us about The Grant.  You can get $1,000 to fund your family history or preservation project!

The mission of the Grant is to help fund important individual and communal initiatives that contribute to the promotion and advancement of family history research and historical preservation.  These might be projects to preserve historical documents, restore culturally significant artifacts, transcribe records, promote awareness of historical events, etc. The grand is awarded monthly through, and a special grant recipient will be chosen here at NGS.

Whether you are in the planning stages or are currently working on a project that needs an extra boost to get off the ground, you are encouraged to submit an application. 

Grant recipients will receive a $1,000 award to fund their project and a feature on the website, including pictures and a description of their project.

If you are a NGS participant you're eligible to apply for this special grant award.  Go by the booth, get an application, fill it out and turn it in by 11 am Saturday, May 14th.  The winner will be announced Saturday afternoon.  You do not have to be present on Saturday to be eligible. will contact you via e-mail or phone if you've won.

By submitting this application, you agree to the Grant Rules which are available for reference at the booth and online at their website.  If you have any questions, please go chat with them!

Remember if you cannot get an application turned in by 11 am tomorrow morning, visit for information on applying for one of their monthly grants.

Time to rest up for the last day tomorrow!

Oh, and I have been taking pictures, but I forgot the cord to connect my camera to my laptop.  So I will have to share them after I get home.  NGS will just go on and on and on.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

NGS 2011 Conference: Travel Day

My genealogy buddy and I left about 10 am headed for Charleston!  After a lunch stop, a stretch-our-legs stop, and a pit stop, we made it here about 3:15.  We checked into our motel and then headed over to the convention center to check in and get our conference materials.  We had a little time, so we went to the Tanger Outlet for some shopping.  Then we went to Jim 'N Nicks to attend a blogger dinner hosted by FamilySearch.  It was a great time.  I got to meet some bloggers who I have followed a long time, including Dick Eastman and Kimberly Powell.  I got to see my blogger friends, Jennifer of Climbing my Family Tree (and met her lovely friend and fellow blogger, Cherie!) and Linda McCauley of Documenting the Details.  I also met Audrey Collins, Ginger Smith and Greta of Greta's Genealogy Blog; I am sure I am forgetting someone - I'm sorry!!  FamilySearch employees shared our table with us and it was very interesting dinner conversation.  The most important thing we learned from Jim Ericson of FamilySearch is that there really ARE Indian princesses!  LOL

Paul Nauta with FamilySearch Public Affairs told us some details about all of the records they have added online recently, including the following (not a complete list):
  • Civil War Pension Index
  • South Carolina Probate 1671-1977 (select counties)
  • U.S. 1890 Census of Union Veterans and Widows
  • U.S. Civil War Soldiers Index 1855-1865
  • Louisiana Confederate Pensions 1898-1950
FamilySearch also provided the following:  "And in a separate announcement..., FamilySearch announced that the Civil War Era records project was just launched.  Volunteers will be indexing millions of historic records from the Civil War period to help family history sleuths gather the pieces of their family stories that extend to that period.  There is also a FamilySearch Civil War wiki page where specialists are contributing online content dedicated to regiments and states."

"In the last year, FamilySearch, with its growing base of volunteers, has published almost 500 million historic records online - free for the public to search or view."


Collections are continually being added, and we (FamilySearch) need the support of the community to help index these records to make them searchable.  You can also make history come alive by contributing to the Civil War wiki pages.  While participating you can:

  • Find your civil war ancestors.
  • Learn about the histories of the local regiments that fought in the war.
  • Travel back in time to learn about the historical events that helped shape a nation and the family trees of millions of Americans.
  • Help make more of these records freely available to the entire community."
To learn more or volunteer, visit:

The learning starts tomorrow!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday Musings

There has been lots going on recently, genealogy speaking, in my little corner of the world.

       1.  During their sale on April 11, I signed up with 23andme, a genetics testing service, and ordered two DNA tests - one for me and one for my mom.  We have been wanting to do this for quite awhile, and the sale was too good to pass up.  I mailed my test back a week or so ago, and Mom mailed hers today.  In 6-8 weeks from the time they receive our samples, we should get our results.  For me, there were three compelling reasons for having our DNA tested:  First, to maybe find some "new" unknown cousins; Second, to find the area of the world our ancestors came from (I'm pretty sure I know, but there may be a surprise or two!), such as Western Europe, etc.; and Third, to see if there are any genetically linked health issues that might show up.  There is something that runs through the Ranney side, and we are anxious to see if anything is indicated in our DNA. 

           Of course, our next goal would be to find a male relative to do a DNA test.  Unfortunately, there are only cousins left, and we do not believe any of them would consent to do the testing.  Hopefully, when we get interesting news from our tests, we can share that and get someone on board.  Hope springs eternal.

      2.  I downloaded FamViewer, an app for my iPhone.  You can upload a copy of your GEDCOM to this app and have your family tree at your fingertips - wherever you may be!  It is a pricy app at $9.99, but well worth every penny.  I got mine at the iTunes store. 

      3.  For Mother's Day, I took my mom to the Atlanta History Center to tour their beautiful gardens.  While there, I could not resist popping into the Kenan Research Center to do a little research.  I had located three books on WorldCat that were at the Kenan Research Center, so I specifically went to look at those.  I have been researching my Drake ancestors recently (who were from near  Adrian, Emanuel  County, Georgia), and all three books were about Emanuel County, two being newspaper abstracts from around that area and the third being a cemetery listing.  I found a few tidbits of information; nothing earth shattering - at least not until I got home.  Which brings me to...
         4.  As I mentioned, I have been researching my Drake ancestors lately.  This led me to research the families of my great-grandmother, Emma Harrell Drake and her mother, Catherine Odom Harrell.  During the course of my research, information was found that the Harrells are buried in the Harrell Cemetery and Catherine Odom is buried in the Odom Cemetery, both of which are in Emanuel County.  I had never heard of either cemetery.  The book of Emanuel County cemetery listings I found in the Kenan Research Center had directions to and a listing of who is buried in each of those cemeteries.  I made copies of those pages and while looking over the Harrell Cemetery listing, I decided to do some searching for the listed names on  Bingo!  By searching carefully through census records spanning several decades, I was able to find the names of my 3rd great-grandparents, James K Harrell and Nancy Beasley Harrell.  Now I have another limb on my tree!  I also discovered that James and Nancy were from Darlington, South Carolina.  I never knew I had South Carolina roots.            Let me break down the family connection so it won't (maybe not) be so confusing:

              Me > Gilbert Tapley, my father >> Nealie Drake Tapley, his mother >>> Emma Harrell Drake >>>>
              (her father) William Robert Harrell >>>>>James K. Harrell and Nancy Beasley Harrell and
              (her mother) Catherine Odom Harrell >>>>> Elijah Samuel Odom and Rutha Goff Odom

         5.  Researching these lines led me to do new searches on, and I found many more     obituaries and other newspaper articles about people in my tree.  I must get some of those scanned in during the next ScanFest!

         6.  For my anniversary, I got a Flip-Pal personal, mobile scanner!  I had not read a single bad review of this product, and now that I own one, I understand why.  It performs perfectly, and I am so ready to go visit cousins and scan some family photos!

         7.  Tomorrow morning, I leave for the NGS conference in Charleston, South Carolina.  This is my first time at NGS, and I am very excited.  I know it will be exhausting, and my head may burst from all of the information I receive there, but I am excited anyhow.  I hope to stay awake long enough each evening to write a post here about my day.  My first order of business upon arriving in Charleston, besides checking in at our motel and registering for the conference, is attend a blogger dinner.  I believe it will be great fun to meet and chat with other genealogy bloggers. 

    So a lot has been going on around here... though it seems that with how busy I have been, there should be more than 7 items listed! 

      Sunday, May 8, 2011

      Sunday's Obituary: Sadie Hesser Mowery

      Sadie Hesser Mowery was my 1st cousin, 3 times removed.  Oh and add a "half" to that since her grandfather and my 3rd great-grandfather, James Warren Hesser, was married twice.  Sadie was the descendant of his second wife, Mariah Ann Hahn, and I was descended from his first wife, Sophia Humphrey. 

      Lima would be Lima, Ohio.

      If you've been reading along with the excerpts from my grandmother's 1933 diary, then you will have read the name "Hesser" and more specifically "Uncle Jont."  Uncle Jont, or Jonathan Hesser, was Sadie's uncle, the brother of her father. 

      How's that for convoluted?

      Friday, May 6, 2011

      Grandma's Diary, Part 17

      (To read prior entries from my maternal grandmother's 1933 diary, please click on the tab "Posts by Topic" and then go to the topic "California."  All posts are listed there.)


      The writer is Ethel Ranney Tapley.
      Alice is her sister.
      Kenneth is her brother.
      Her parents.
                H = her boyfriend, Hazel Avery Plumlee
                Delma = Hazel's little sister
                Earl = Hazel's brother
                Verda = Earl's wife
                Dorothy Lee = Hazel's niece (Earl's, child)
                Otho is Otho Hesser, her father's cousin.
                Viella is Otho's wife.
                Ruth & Kathryn are Otho and Viella's daughters.
                Uncle Jont is Jonathan Hesser, Otho's father and her father's uncle.
                Aunt Kate is Sarah Katherine Hall Hesser, Jonathan's wife and Otho's mother
                Herman (Williams) is Alice's boyfriend.

      Sun., April 30:  "Kathryn stayed all night last night.  Kenneth came about 5 am.  Otho & Kathryn here to dinner had last roaster.  Went to S.S.  H. & I had a fight."

      Mon., May 1:  "H. came over this morning.  K. went home about 4 am.  In the eve. H. & I visited Wallons & Arnolds.  Dad worked today."

      Tues., May 2:  "It rained a little.  Dad worked.  Mrs. Kirby called in the afternoon.  H. came over in eve."

      Wed., May 3:  "Dad worked for Mrs. Kirby.  H. came over in the morning.  I went with him & made boxes.  We ate supper here."

      Thurs., May 4:  "Viella & Ruth were here a little while.  Mama & I went to quilt at Whites.  Clara waved my hair.  We all ate supper at the church.  I stayed all night at Verda's."

      Fri., May 5:  "H. & I made boxes - 400.  I ate supper at Verda's."

      Sat., May 6:  "We all went to town.  Alice got her graduation dress & jacket.  Ate lunch at Norahs.  H. & I & Ben & Lillian went to Berdo. in eve."