Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thankful Thursday: One Lovely Blog Award

I found out last week that Leslie Ann over at Ancestors Live Here awarded me and my blog the "One Lovely Blog Award."  Thank you, Leslie Ann, I really appreciate that someone is reading my blog!  I love sharing my family history.

There are three simple rules for accepting this award:
  1. Acknowledge the award by posting on your blog. 
  2. Nominate 15 other blogs that you think are lovely. 
  3. Contact each person to let them know that they have received the award.
 Now I cannot promise that some of these blogs haven't already been given this award by someone else; I just know I am going to pass the award along to some of my favorites (in NO particular order). 

  1. The Mashburn Collection
  2. The Scrappy Genealogist
  3. Le Maison Duchamp
  4. The We Tree Genealogy Blog
  5. Climbing My Family Tree
  6. Forgotten Old Photos
  7. Genealogy Frame of Mind
  8. Barking Up Our Family Tree
  9. Leaves for Trees
  10. It's All Relative
  11. Threading Needles in a Haystack
  12. Putting the Family Puzzle Together
  13. A Rootdigger
  14. Elyse's Genealogy Blog 
  15. Your Peachy Past

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Comfort Ranney

Comfort Ranney
born February 7, 1838
in Boston, Summit County, Ohio
died September 18, 1920
in DeWitt, Clinton County, Michigan
laid to rest at Gunnisonville Cemetery, 
Gunnisonville, Clinton County, Michigan

Father of Luther Boardman Ranney
who was the Father of Ethel Irene Ranney Tapley
who was the Mother of Linda Irene Tapley
who is my mother

Thus, Comfort Ranney was my 2nd great-grandfather.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Genealogy makes it a small, small world

Two weeks ago, my mom and I met down in Johnson County and did some cemetery "hopping."  We visited four cemeteries in half a day, putting flowers on family graves and looking for ancestors.  I took a lot of pictures of graves for my records and to fulfill a few Find A Grave requests.

Since then, I've been adding memorials steadily over the past couple of weeks to Find A Grave.  The memorials I've added so far have mostly been some of my Schwalls ancestors.  In between adding memorials, I also searched for obituaries and articles in historical newspapers related to this family.  In the process, I made a connection that made my mom and I laugh and possibly my father laugh from the great beyond.

We moved to Swainsboro the summer I turned 8 years old.  That fall, I started the third grade at Swainsboro Primary School.  My teacher was Mrs. Sconyers.  Now I was a hardworking student; bright and friendly enough.  Back then, at 8 years old, I was too young to cause any trouble, right?  But it seemed that Mrs. Sconyers took an immediate dislike to me.  She rode me hard, calling me out in front of the class and embarrassing me in a myriad of ways.  I could not understand it... she was probably the first adult I had ever come across who didn't like me.  It was made even more difficult by the fact that this was my first year in a new community and school, and my mom was still in Jacksonville - unable to transfer her job yet and just driving up every weekend.

Now my mother tells me that my father and Mrs. Sconyers had some sort of run-in at the beginning of that school year.  Ahhhh... that could explain some things.  Of course, I was too young to understand or to even realize this, so I was just at a loss of why my teacher gave me such a hard time.

Anyway, I made it through the year and moved to Swainsboro Elementary School and the 4th grade.  I don't remember that I ever saw Mrs. Sconyers again.  However, ironically enough, over the years, I heard from other students younger than me that Mrs. Sconyers bragged on me in her other classes.  What?!!

Anyway, back to this weekend and my Schwalls research...

My maternal great-grandmother was Mattie Schwalls.  She was the daughter of George W. Schwalls Sr. and Lincelia Claxton Schwalls.  Mattie's oldest sister was Susan Schwalls.  She married a man named James Madison Townsend, and they had children.  Susan's oldest son, Johnnie William Townsend married and had three children.  I did not know a whole lot about this family, but I had Johnnie's daughter listed as "Dortha."

During my searches on, I found Johnnie's oldest son's (also named Johnnie Townsend) obituary.  Among the survivors listed was a sister, "Mrs. Charlie Sconyers" of Swainsboro.  Hmmmm...

I continued searching and found an obituary for MR. Charlie Sconyers of Swainsboro, who used to own Sconyers Motors.  It listed him as being survived by his wife, Dorothy Townsend Sconyers.  Another hmmmm.... that name sounds familiar.  Obviously the "Dortha" I had listed was a misspelling and should be "Dorothy."

Could it be?  Nah, there are a lot of Sconyers in Swainsboro.

So I spoke with my mom tonight.  I asked her if she knew who Charlie Sconyers was.  And she said yes, the man who owned the car dealership... and his wife was my 3rd grade teacher!

So Mrs. Sconyers, the teacher who gave me such a hard time that first year in Swainsboro, was my 2nd cousin, 1x removed.

Image courtesy of

 I swear I can hear my father laughing...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday's Obituary: Hugh Dorsey Tapley

My dear Uncle Hugh.  The Georgia folks called him "Dorse," but he was always "Uncle Hugh" to me.

Hugh was my father's brother, son of Lusion Keman Tapley and Nealie Drake Tapley.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - How Many Surnames?

As posted by Randy Seaver over at his Genea-Musings blog:

"It's Saturday Night - time for more Genealogy Fun!

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

1)  Go into your Genealogy Management Program (GMP; either software on your computer, or an online family tree) and figure out how to Count how many surnames you have in your family tree database.

2)  Tell us which GMP you're using and how you did this task.

3)  Tell us how many surnames are in your database and, if possible, which Surname has the most entries.  If this excites you, tell us which surnames are in the top 5!  Or 10!

4)  Write about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a status or comment on Facebook.

NOTE:  If you can't figure out how to do this in your GMP, use the Help button and search for "count persons" then follow directions."

I use Family Tree Maker 2011.  I had to go to the Help files to find out how to do this.  (I didn't even know it could be done!)  I had to try a couple of different keywords in the Index search, but finally under "Reports" I found "Surname Report."  Bingo!  Once I read over the directions, it was clear this was just what I needed.

So I went back to FTM, clicked on "Publish" and a list of publication options (reports) available came up.  I went down the list to  "Person Reports" and there I found what I was looking for:  "Surname Report."  I double-clicked that and under "Options" I chose for "All Individuals" to be included, to  "Sort by surname count," and "Show divider between surnames."  (This last choice was a just a personal one - the results would have been the same either way. 

Voila!  There was my report! 

The reports lists:  surname, total number in database, total number of males with that name, total number of females with that name, along with the earliest and most recent years of birth of those with a particular surname.

3)  I have a total of 647 surnames and 3,640 individuals in my database.  The top 10 surnames, along birth year ranges, are as follows:

  • Tapley:  339 persons, from 1691-1994
  • Powell:  158 persons, from 1715-1963
  • Hubbard:  152 persons, from 1601-1893
  • Drake:  127 persons, from 1647-1967
  • Price:  127 persons, from 1680-1956
  • Ranney:  119 persons, from 1661-1951
  • MNU (Maiden Name Unknown):  71 persons, from 1730-1936
  • Wheeler:  70 persons, from 1807-1959
  • Claxton:  64 persons, from 1836-1974
  • Page:  52 persons, from 1758-1919

and an optional #11 if you don't count MNU:
  •  Schwalls, 51 persons, 1837-1950
This was a great exercise!  I actually am quite surprised by the results.  Several of my actual lines, such as Drake, Ranney, Page, and Schwalls, are lower on the list than related-by-marriage-only names such as Powell, Price, and Wheeler.  Very eye-opening.

Thanks, Randy, for a fun (and enlightening) time on a Saturday night!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Grandma's Diary, Part 11

(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
          Dorothy Lee = Hazel's niece (his brother, Earl's, child)
          Otho is Otho Hesser, her father's cousin.
          Viella is Otho's wife.
          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 is Alice's boyfriend.

Sun., March 19:  "Uncle Jont's & H. Hesser & Jane brot Alice home & stayed for dinner.  H. & I went with Joe to Palm Springs.  Mrs. Cooper was over for a few min.  We put a jig saw puzzle together."

Mon., March 20:  "Mama & I washed.  I cut out my dress & almost finished it.  Dad worked over to Petes on some wood."

Tues., March 21:  "Mama & I ironed.  Finished my dress.  Mr. & Mrs. Cooper came over for some holly-hock.  H. came over & we went to Trowbridges then to the show we saw Jack Oakie in Sailor Be Good."

Wed., March 22:  "Dad worked on wood.  Mama & I went calling on Viella, Snellings & Mrs. Balls.  We saw Mrs. Sweeters & invited them over for Sunday.  H. came over for a minute."

Thurs., March 23:  "Another man & Banks came up & stayed for dinner.  H. came up in the afternoon, he stayed all night at Redlands as his axle broke.  We put a puzzle together."

Fri., March 24:  "I worked on my crazy quilt.  Coopers left their keys here on there way to L.A.  H. came over after work & stayed for supper.  Mama & I went to Yucaipa in the morning."

Sat., March 25:  "We went to San Berdo. with Viella & girls.  Hazel came over in the evening & we went to Trowbridges.  Dad hauled wood."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Movies

Week 12: Movies. Did (or do you still) see many movies? Describe your favorites. Where did you see these films? Is the theater still there, or is there something else in its place?

I did not get to go to the movies very often as a child and teenager.  One that I did go see with my mom and which sticks out in my mind was "E.T. the Extra Terrestrial."  It was a great movie, plus E.T. was my initials! 

The movie theatre in Swainsboro is long gone, as far as I know.  It was a small, one theatre building.  Not at all similar to these giant multi-plexes that we have now!

I do enjoy watching movies.  I do not go to the theatre very often anymore since we joined NetFlix.  Using our NetFlix subscription, I probably watch one movie a week.

Here are some of my all-time favorites (not necessarily seen in a theater):

  • Casablanca (I love old movies and Humphrey Bogart.)
  • Dirty Dancing
  • The Princess Bride
  • The Italian Job
  • Transformers I & II
  • Pirates of the Caribbean (all three, but #2 was my fav)
  • The Whole Nine Yards
  • The Whole Ten Yards
  • Beaches
  • The Notebook
  • Pretty Woman
  • Double Jeopardy
  • Mr. and Mrs. Smith
  • Grosse Point Blank

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wednesday's Child: Infant Daughter of Lizzie Schwalls Powell

Infant Daughter of 
Norris Watson Powell and Lizzie Schwalls Powell
Born and Died October 13, 1925
laid to rest at Powell's Chapel Methodist Church cemetery,
Johnson County, Georgia

Lizzie was my great grand aunt.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: George W. Schwalls Sr.

George W. Schwalls, Sr.
DOB January 1, 1837 **
DOD January 21, 1908

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

George was my great-great-grandfather.

** Yes, I realize the birth year listed on his headstone states 1848; however, I do not believe that to be true.  If he had been born in 1848, he would have only been 14 years old when he enlisted in the CSA... not impossible, but unlikely.  In addition, I have his pension application where he clearly states he was born in 1837.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Amanuensis Monday: J.T. Drake newspaper article

'J. T. Drake, Adrian Resident, Is
County's Oldest Living Resident

  Younger than Johnson County but by three years is Adrian's James T. Drake, proud claimant to the title, "Johnson County's Oldest Citizen."  Next October he will be 97, having been born in October, 1861.
  With a remarkably keen memory of Johnson County in the early days following its founding, Mr. Drake has 73 years of residency in this county as a reservoir.  And, for that matter, even a portion of his first 24 years were spent at his home just over the Johnson Line.  Ironically enough, he is the county's oldest citizen by only a few feet, since the Emanuel-Johnson line runs along the fence of his small lot in Adrian.
  Jim Drake will probably be best remembered for being on the Adrain {sic} police force for 25 years, retiring at the age of 80.
  "I saw the Yankees all right and I remember it even if I was only four or five years old," he recalls vividly.  "They came through our place and stole all the horses and cows."
  The memory of the destructive Union troops best survives among those of "Mr. Jim's" boyhood, a part of which he also spent in Washington County near Tennille.
  He then left Adrian to become the postmaster at Odomville in Emanuel County.  Returning to Adrian in 1910, he left his family there while serving as warden in the Macon County work camp until 1912.
  He then returned to Johnson County and farmed near Adrian for about the next 20 years.  During this period "Mr. Jim" made 26 trips to Darien on a raft of timber.  "We'd start out here, and float to the Big Ohoopee," he recalls.  "Then we'd hit the Altamaha on into Darien."  The raft, naturally, would grow in size as the floaters would gather timber as the rivers widened.  Then, at Darien, the logs would be sold.
  Mr. Drake isn't all excited about being the county's oldest living resident.  But start him off on the day he picked 475 pounds of cotton and excitement fills the room.  Back to age:  "I reckon it's an honor to be the oldest fellow in the county," he says simply.  The Wrightsville Masonic Lodge has presented him with a 50-year membership button in recent years.  He's still a Notary Public, having been awarded his commission in 1925.
  Mr. Drake joined the Methodist Church at Kea's Church in 1879.  He then moved his membership to Corinth Methodist Church near Adrian in 1880.  Then, in 1883, he became a member of the Poplar Springs Methodist Church near Adrian, where he is still a member of the Board of Stewards.  He served in this Church as Sunday School Superintendent for a number of years.
  He asked this postscript be added, one in which he probably places more than in any other portion of his life's history:  "I want to say also that in all my life I have never drunk intoxicating drinks."'

- The Wrightsville Headlight, Wrightsville, GA, Thursday, May 8, 1958, Centennial Edition, page 1.

James Thomas Drake was my great grand uncle.  His brother was my great-grandfather, William John Drake, father of my grandmother, Nealie Drake Tapley.  

He died exactly one year after this article was written, and is buried at Poplar Springs Methodist Church Cemetery.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday's Obituary: Dorothy Smith Walker

"Dorothy Walker

Dorothy M. Walker, 90, of St. Johns, died Nov. 23, 1999. She was born Jan. 19, 1909 in Victor Township, the daughter of Frank and Sadie (Ranney) Smith. She lived in St. Johns since 1992.

She was a member of the Pompeii Methodist Church, an affiliate member of the United Methodist Church of Englewood, Fla., and presently attended the First Congregational Church in St. Johns.

Her marriage to Basil Walker ended with his death in January 1985.

Surviving are one daughter, Judy (Richard) Cramer of St. Johns; one son, Glenard (Pam) Walker of Cadillac; eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by a daughter, Joyce Wendell; two brothers, Max and Glen Smith; one sister, Hazel Chalker.

Funeral services were held Nov. 26 at the Osgood Funeral Home, burial at Fulton Center Cemetery with the Rev. Wendy Sue Earle officiating. Memorials may be made to the First Congregational Church."

                The St. Johns Independent, serving the St. Johns area, Michigan
Dorothy's mother, Sarah Marie "Sadie" Ranney Smith, was the sister of Luther Boardman Ranney, my great-grandfather. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Illness & Injury

Week 11: Illness and Injury. Describe your childhood illnesses or injuries. Who took care of you? Did you recuperate in your own bed, on the couch in front of the television, or somewhere else?

First of all, let me say that I have always had an aversion to taking pills. To this day, there are some that I still gag when trying to swallow them. I can remember one time vividly; I must have been about 10 or 11 maybe, and I had a fever. Daddy would give me an aspirin to take and I would assume the usual position of standing over the sink while taking it due to the aforementioned gagging. But this particular time, I was (cleverly, I thought) throwing the aspirin down the drain and just pretending to take them. Daddy finally figured it out when my fever wouldn't come down. I no longer felt clever.

I was fortunate that I have never had any broken bones. The biggest injuries I can remember was falling off my bike and skinning a knee or elbow. I was never very adventurous.

The biggest illness of my childhood would be the chicken pox. I was 10 years old and in the 5th grade. My father did not believe that I had them when Mom suggested that diagnosis... he changed his mind when I broke out in red bumps all over. I was one of those kids who broke out from head to toe and everywhere in between. I still have a couple of chicken pox scars. I missed school for a week.

I'm not sure if it classifies as an "illness," but it was discovered I was near-sighted and I got my first pair of glasses when I was 11. Again, Daddy didn't believe there was anything wrong with my eyes... until we were sitting in traffic in Augusta one day, and I asked him what the street sign said. He actually turned around in the seat, looked at me incredulously and asked, "You can't see that?!" The next week I was at the eye doctor's office.
Age 12, 7th grade

When I was in high school, I somehow got a piece of metal in my eye. We have no idea how. Daddy had to come get me from school and take me to Dublin to an ophthalmologist. Luckily, they were able to wash it out... I was terrified when the doctor told me they would have to operate if the wash didn't work! I dodged the bullet on that one.

When I was sick, I think both of my parents took care of me. Mom worked, so Dad was there during the day, and he was the one who would pick me up from school if I got sick.

I always recuperated on the couch in front of the TV. And actually, Daddy said that he could always tell when I was sick, because I would just lay listlessly on the couch and be very quiet. That was VERY unlike me! Even now, I lie on the couch or in my recliner in front of the TV when I'm sick. I have to be very close to death to stay in my bed.

It appears I take after my mother with my healthiness. 

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.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Grandma's Diary, Part 10

(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.)

Key:   The writer is Ethel Ranney Tapley.
          Alice is her sister.
          Kenneth is her brother.
          H = her boyfriend, Hazel Avery Plumlee
          Delma = Hazel's little sister
          Dorothy Lee = Hazel's niece (his brother, Earl's, child)
          Otho is Otho Hesser, her father's cousin.
          Viella is Otho's wife.
          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 is Alice's boyfriend.

Sun., March 12:  "Wests & Joyces came & we celebrated dads & Mr. Joyces birthdays.  H. came over & we went to Redlands & saw Delma.  Then we went to Trowbridges for supper & spent the evening.  Coopers & others listened to our radio."

Mon., March 13:  "Mama & I quilted, Aunt Kate helped us.  We ate dinner at H. Hessers.  H. came over in the evening & put a jig saw puzzle together."

Tues., March 14:  "Mama & I quilted.  We ate dinner at Norahs.  We finished the quilt 4:30.  H. came after me, we went to Delmas then to Dietrichs."

Wed., March 15:  "Mama & I washed.  Dad worked on the conservation work.  Mrs. Cooper came over in the afternoon.  Alice & I went after dad."

Thurs., March 16:  "Mama & I ironed & washed.  Dad worked.  I have started a crazy quilt.  Alice & I went after dad.  Lucile was up for a few min & brot some sweet peas."

Fri., March 17:  "H. came over about noon.  We went to Yucaipa.  Viella came over for a little while.  We put a jig saw puzzle together."

Sat., March 18:  "Mama, Alice, Hazel & I went to San Berdo.  Alice stayed all night at Hazel Hesser's so as to see the senior play.  H. & I went to Berdo to the show we saw Sea Killers & Fighting Champ."

 And another bonus this week.  An entry by child Liz dated March 13, 1974:  "My uncul went to the Hospital and He is Vary sad."  I do no know which uncle I was referring to, though I did lose two uncles in the next few months that year.  Obviously, I was aware and concerned.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Do you know this person? I wish I did!

Another forgotten photo found in my grandmother's (Nealie Drake Tapley) belongings.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Franklin Morgan Tapley

Franklin Morgan Tapley
and his wife,
Laney A. Minton Tapley

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

Uncle Frank was Lusion Keman Tapley's oldest brother,
the son of James Madison (Jim) Tapley
and Rebecca Page Tapley

He was my grand uncle.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Amanuensis Monday: Lusion K. Tapley Land Purchase


THIS INDENTURE, made the 5th day of April, in the year of our Lord One Thousand Nine Hundred and

six between J. M. Tapley of the County of Johnson, of the one part, and L. K. Tapley, of the County of

Johnson, of the other part, WITNESSETH:  That the said J. M. Tapley for and in consideration of the sum of

Five Hundred Dollars in hand paid at or before the sealing and delivery of those presents, the receipt

whereof is hereby acknowledged, has granted, bargained, sold, allowed, conveyed, and confirmed,

and by these presents does grant, bargain, sell, alien, convey, and confirm, unto the said L. K. Tapley,

his heirs and assigns, all

    that tract or parcel of land lying and being in the County of Johnson
    and State aforesaid in the 1326 Dist. - G.M. containing fifty eight and one half
    acres more or less. Bounded on the West by C. G. ___________, on the East, 

    North & South by J. M. Tapley which will appear on the Plat of the same.

    TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the said bargained premises, with all and singular the rights, members,

and appurtenances thereto appertaining, to the only proper use, benefit and behoof of the said L. K. Tapley,

his heirs, executors, administrators, and assigns, in fee simple; and the said J. M. Tapley the said bargained

premises unto the said L. K. Tapley, his heirs, executors, administrators, and assigns, against the said

J. M. Tapley, his heirs, executors, and administrators, and against all and every other person or persons,

shall and will warrant and forever defend by virtue of these presents.

    IN WITNESS WEREOF, The said J. M. Tapley has hereunto set his hand, affixed his seal, and

delivered these presents, the day and year first above written.
                                                                                                J. M. Tapley      (Seal.)

Signed, sealed and delivered in presence of us:                        

  B. J. Wiggins 

  J. C. Wiggins, J. P.                                                                J. H. Rowland  , Clerk.

  Recorded   April 11th, 1906

Deed record of land purchased by my grandfather, Lusion K. Tapley, from his father, James Madison (Jim) Tapley.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday's Obituary: Champ Tapley

Champ Lusion Tapley was my uncle.  He and his two brothers all passed away within a nine month period, 1973-74:

Charles died on November 12, 1973;
Champ died June 17, 1974; and
James died July 25, 1974.

There is an old saying that deaths come in threes.  When you see something like this, it makes you wonder if that isn't true.

Uncle Champ lived his entire life in Kite, Georgia.

There are several typographical errors in this obituary.  This is unfortunate for those doing genealogical research.  It could send a researcher down the wrong path.  It is a good practice to not accept anything you find in a newspaper article or obituary or an online tree as the gospel truth.  Always just use this information as a "hint" in your research until you find confirmation the information is accurate.

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.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Grandma's Diary, Part 9

(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.)

Key:   The writer is Ethel Ranney Tapley.
          Alice is her sister.
          Kenneth is her brother.
          H = her boyfriend, Hazel Avery Plumlee
          Delma = Hazel's little sister
          Dorothy Lee = Hazel's niece (his brother, Earl's, child)
          Otho is Otho Hesser, her father's cousin.
          Viella is Otho's wife.
          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 is Alice's boyfriend.

Sun., March 5:  "H. came over about 9 am & we went up to Trowbridges, then to Mr. Plumlees for a chicken dinner.  Went for a ride to Beaumont. Barnett's here to dinner.  Garrisons called.  H. & I went to the show."

Mon., March 6:  "Visited Marie a little while this morning. Mama & I went to Trowbridges, Kemps & Millers & called. I saw H. a minute at Trowbridges."

Tues., March 7:  "Mama & I went down to Garretson's & quilted.  In the morning I went to Lucile's & washed my hair then got it waved at Harris's.  H. came over & we went to Dietrichs."

Wed., March 8:  "Mama & I washed. H. came over in the afternoon & we went to Trowbridges.  Viella stopped by for a little while.  H. & I put Clara's jig saw puzzle together."

Thurs., March 9:  "Mama & I went down & quilted.  In the morning Lucile & I went to San Berdo.  In the afternoon we both quilted. H. came over for a little while & brot me some candy."

Fri., March 10:  "Mama quilted.  I went with Lucile & folks to Palm Springs. We climbed the sadle. There was a bad earthquake. Lucile came home with us & H. took us over to Clints. We rode bicycles & played cards."

Sat., March 11:  "Dad's birthday. H. came over & we went up to Napiers & saw Eva & her baby. We went down to Millers & listened for reports about the earthquake. H., Clint, Lucile & I went to Berdo to the show."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday - Photos

As many of you know, I scrapbook.  Of course, genealogy has really taken over my life the last six months, so I have done no scrapbooking in that time.  (Which probably kills my husband since he worked so hard on that scrapbooking room!)  Two weeks ago, a scrapbooking friend came over and I actually finished a layout I had started weeks earlier.  She came back over yesterday, and though it took me more than 12 hours, I finished two 2 page layouts.

In looking at the first layout I did yesterday, it got me to thinking about how photographs are the greatest treasure I own.  Whether they are photos of ancestors from 100 years ago or pictures of my niece and nephew I took last month, all of them are treasured.  I have always said if the house caught on fire, that right after I gathered the cats and dog, I would grab my pictures.  Of course, since I have scrapbooked for more than 10 years, it would take something much larger than a wheelbarrow to get all of the scrapbooks out of my house, but I would probably die from smoke inhalation trying. 

So I believe I will be sharing some of my scrapbook layouts here...  

Here are the ones I completed yesterday:

These photographs were taken March 1, 2009.  It was the first time I had seen my cousin, Buddy, in probably 30 years.  William Lamar Tapley, Jr. (Buddy) was the son of my father's brother, William Lamar Tapley and his wife, Anna Lois Gladdin Tapley.  Buddy passed away in October of that same year.  So this was the last time I got to see him.   These are treasured photographs. 

(Left) Linda Tapley (my mom), Buddy and me
(Right) Buddy with his wife and beloved dog

(Left) Buddy, Mom, and my cousin, Ronnie Tapley, son of another of my father's brothers, Hugh Dorsey Tapley.

(Right) Buddy, me, and Ronnie

(Right, bottom) Buddy, his wife, doggie, and Mom

This next layout just represents my love of history and my home state of Georgia.  I have a Georgia scrapbook in which I display photos, brochures, and information about places around the state.  In June 2008, while on my way back along I-20 from a visit with my parents in Augusta, I stopped by to see the home of Alexander Hamilton Stephens, vice president of the Confederacy.  I got a personal tour and heard many interesting things about the man, his home, and the times he lived in.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Do you know this person? I wish I did!

Another forgotten photo found in my grandmother's (Nealie Drake Tapley) belongings.
The back of this photo is dated:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Bessie Carter Ranney

Bessie Alice Carter Ranney
February 9, 1883 - April 14, 1960
Laid to rest at
Mountain View Memorial Park, San Bernardino, California

My mother's beloved grandmother.
My great-grandmother.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Amanuensis Monday: George Schwalls' Petition

"Georgia                |    To the Hon. Ordinary of
Johnson County   |      Said County

The petition of George Scholls shares that he is the father of Lincella, George, Lewis Mary Charles and Martha Schwalls who are all minors and children of your petitioner by Linacolia Schwalls his former wife your petitioner being the natural guardian of his said children further shows that there will be coming to each of his said children from their mothers estate a small sum of money or land to the value of Thirty Dollars each.  Therefore your petitioner prays your honor a grant unto him letters of Guardianship of the property of his said minor children and your petitioner will ever pray and ___.
                                                    George Schwalls

Ordinarys Court, September Five 1887...
Upon hearing the above petition of George Schwalls as natural guardian of Lincealia, George Lewis Mary Charles and Martha Schwalls minor children of your petitioner it is hereby ordered by the Court that letters of Guardianship do issue and be granted to the said George Schwalls for his Six minor children before mentioned in terms of the law by his entering into bond of six hundred dollars as required by law.

This Sept 5th 1887..                                                                    J M Hightower

I spent quite awhile trying to transcribe this document.  The handwriting is horrible.  However, by studying it carefully, I ended up figuring out all words except one. 

George Schwalls was one of my maternal great-grandfathers.  His first wife, Lincelia Claxton Schwalls, passed away in 1882.  I have no idea why he waited five years after her death to file this petition.  George migrated to this country from Germany or Bavaria in the 1850's, and it is interesting to me how he hard he tried to follow the laws and customs of his new country.  I have found his name in the Johnson County court records many more times than the Tapleys, who at this time had been in the country 200 years or more. 

I also think this is a good example of how the correct spelling of names was not so important back then.

"An Amanuensis is a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another. Amanuensis Monday is a daily blogging theme which encourages the family historian to transcribe family letters, journals, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some we never met - others we see a time in their life before we knew them."

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sunday's Obituary: James Tillman Tapley

James Tillman Tapley, known as "Fella," was the son of Lusion Keman Tapley and Mattie Schwalls Tapley.  He was my father's oldest brother and my uncle.

He died July 25, 1974.  It is noteworthy that he never had any children.  However, there are two "daughters" and a "son" listed in his obituary.  I actually had to call my mother about this.  I found out that this family was very convoluted... exchanging spouses and children, it seems.  Maybe I'll go into more of that one day.  Suffice to say these were not Uncle James's children - though he and his wife did raise Tammy.  The other "daughter" listed is/was Tammy's mother and the "son" is/was Tammy's uncle.  They were raised by Uncle James's sister-in-law.  I told you it was convoluted!  How did they come to be listed this way in the obituary?  I do not know.  Families can also be made up of those who are not flesh and blood. 

Everyone who knew Uncle James said he had a heart of gold and would give you the shirt off his back.  He was a good man.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Updating the ole blog

If you spend any time here at My Tapley Tree... and its Branches, you might have noticed some changes.  Small ones, maybe, but good ones.

I have taken a couple of webinars (that would be a seminar on the computer/Internet) this week, and have learned so much about blogging and social networking that I was inspired to do some tweaking here and on my Facebook and Twitter accounts.

On Wednesday, I took DearMYRTLE's webinar, More Blogging for Beginners, over at Legacy Family Tree.  I learned several things that I incorporated here on this blog:

- Added a "Search this Blog" widget.  See it there on the right?  Right below the "tree" and above my comment about receiving comments?  Now you can type in "Nealie Drake," and every post I have made about my paternal grandmother will come up for your viewing pleasure.

- Added a "Print Friendly" button at the end of every post.  This will allow someone to print one of my blog postings without all the extra "stuff" that makes my blog pretty.  One of my cousins who reads this blog commented that he prints out postings that apply to his branch of our family.  Now he can save paper and ink.

- Changed the font for the blog title.  Doesn't that look more... home-y?

- Added the logo/link for the new blog, GeneaWebinars.  This is a one-stop place to find all of the upcoming genealogy-related webinars.  Our dear friend in genealogy, DearMYRTLE, set this one up for us.  What a GREAT idea.

- Added a Disclosure Statement.  It seems that even us amateur family history bloggers are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the FTC says that we must disclose "certain types of relationships with other companies and individuals relating to endorsements of products and services." (courtesy of GeneaBloggers)  In others words, if we accept payment or free product for posting about or reviewing said products or services on our blogs or if we use affiliate links (advertising) on our blogs, we are subject to the FTC guidelines.  It was fairly easy to write the disclosure statement, so I went ahead and did one to be on the safe side.

- Added an affiliate link for  Oh there it is.  That advertising.  I recently signed up on GenealogyBank and have great luck in find newspaper articles (especially obituaries) pertaining to my families.  So I have no qualms in adding a link to their site on my blog.  I believe joining their site is money well spent.

Today I attended a webinar presented as part of the Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS) Jamboree Extension Series by Thomas MacEntee of High-Definition Genealogy entitled "Social Networking - New Horizons  for Genealogists."  (I took a blogging class from Thomas at the Atlanta Family History Expo last November and that one class is the reason I started this blog.)  This class today was very good, and I learned several things:

- What hashtags are in Twitter (i.e., #genealogy)
- How to set up a hashtag
- What RT means in Twitter
- Social bookmarking
- Tweaking my privacy settings in Facebook

and more!

Oh!  I also changed a setting here on my blog, and it is now "mobile friendly."  (Thanks to this post on Find My Ancestor Blog for instructions on how to do this.)  This means that it will load in the web browser on your iPhone, Android, Blackberry or any other Internet-capable smartphone in a mobile version that cuts out all the extras that makes the blog pretty.  Just the content, people, none of the fluff.

It's been a busy week of learning, and my brain is about to explode!  Come on in and "sit a spell"... check out the changes to the ole blog... I think they are for the better.  Let me know what you think!  Make a comment.  As Thomas said today (and I am paraphrasing here), collaborating, or just plain interacting, is one of the best things about blogging!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Grandma's Diary, Part 8

(You can read prior entries from my grandmother's 1933 diary here:  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5, and Part 6, and Part 7.)

Key:   The writer is Ethel Ranney Tapley.
          Alice is her sister.
          Kenneth is her brother.
          H = her boyfriend, Hazel Avery Plumlee
          Delma = Hazel's little sister
          Dorothy Lee = Hazel's niece (his brother, Earl's, child)
          Otho is Otho Hesser, her father's cousin.
          Viella is Otho's wife.
          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 is Alice's boyfriend.

Sun., February 26:  "Alice, Mrs. Cooper & I went to S.S. & church.  Mrs. Cooper stayed for dinner.  H. came over & we went for a ride.  We spent the evening endeavoring to put a jig saw puzzle together."

Mon., February 27:  "Mama & I washed.  I don't feel very well.  H. came over about noon.  We worked on a puzzle all afternoon.  Herman came up & stayed all night.  A. & I took the occasional chair to have it repaired."

Tues., February 28:  "Mama & I ironed.  We worked on my suit for awhile.  H. & I went to Yucaipa in the evening."

Wed., March 1:  "Mama worked on clothes.  H. came over & I went with him to Redlands & we made 3 trips moving Mrs. Brown's furniture."

Thurs., March 2:  "Banks are closed.  I took dad over on 6th. st. to work.  Had to wait for Skyeeres (??) for a long time.  H. came over & we got some stones & put them around his flower bed.  Went to Trowbridges."

Fri., March 3:  "Mrs. Cooper, mama & I called on Mrs. Ball.  H. came over & we went to Yucaipa, saw Lucile at Millers.  We went to Dietrichs & stayed for supper.  Brenice & Jones came while we were there."

Sat., March 4:  "Mrs. Ball & Mrs. Cooper came over to hear the inaugral address.  They stayed for dinner.  Mrs. Cooper & dad sprayed.  Duke of the University died yesterday morning.  H. came over & we worked on a puzzle for quite awhile then we went to Yucaipa."

And... as an added bonus... Elizabeth (Liz) as a child made a few entries herself into her grandmother's diary...

Sat., March 1, 1975:  "I got my new Easter dress."  
March 2, 1975:  "Rhonda {my cousin} spet {spent} the night with me."