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Are You My Cousin?: January 2011

Are You My Cousin?

Discovering My Ancestors -- One Cousin at a Time

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Location: Raleigh, North Carolina

I tell the stories of my ancestors’ lives. Whether they lived 20 years ago or 200 years ago, they each have a story to tell. Some ancestors tell their stories willingly. Others must have their stories carefully teased from the records. Sometimes the stories are sad. Sometimes the stories are happy. Sometimes the stories are just funny. Regardless, my ancestors’ stories shaped their lives and the lives of those that followed. Come and share in the tales!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Postcard of Kentuck, VA


Here is another postcard from the collection of my great grandmother Esther Lee Richardson.  Kentuck, VA is located in Pittsylvania County, VA northeast of Danville.  Kentuck is also just north of Ringgold, VA. Kentuck is a small community even today.  I find it interesting that it had its own postcard back in 1913.



Alas, this is another unsigned postcard. Esther seemed to get a lot of those. Looking at the front of the card on the bottom right, it says "Gee I wish I had a girl".  That makes me wonder if the card is from an admirer.  If so, which one?  Her future husand, Bossy Talbott?  I can't say for sure.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday John and Carrie Owen


John J and Carrie L (Haley) Owen
Carrie was the daughter of Willim and Clara Haley
Buried at New Hope UMC in Charlotte County, VA

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Haley Timeline


Previously I posted about use of timeline to gain a better perspective on an ancestor's life.  Using a timeline of an ancestor usually provides new ideas to further my research.  Above is the timeline I recently made for my great-great grandfather William H Haley. It is a bit hard to read, but you get the gist of it.  It is very simple.  I used a piece of white paper, a ruler and a pencil.  I plotted his birth, marriage and death dates first.  I then plotted his location during the census years of his lifetime. Under the census years, I note his age at the time of the census.  Immediately by doing this, I realized William did not move to Charlotte County, VA until the 1920's.  He was in his 60's at this point. While I always thought of him as living most of his life in Charlotte County, VA, he actually lived most of his life in Clarkton, Halifax County, VA.

Two new ideas for research have emerged at this point:
  1. Locate the deed for the land bought in Charlotte County, VA (1920's)
  2. Follow up on his years in Clarkton, Halifax, VA (Oral history tells me he was the overseer for Clarkton Plantation.)
I then began to plot the births of his children.  It became obvious that all of the children were born in Halifax County.  What also appeared more graphically, was the spacing between the children.  Most of the children were born fairly close together, but there are larger gaps.  Could this account for the 12 children oral history tells me there were?

Another area of research:
  1. Follow up on the discrepancy in the number of children born to Will and Clara Haley. Are there church records or a family Bible with information on the family?
At the bottom of the page is a "pull out" from the Will's timeline that I wanted to look at more closely.  I wanted to look at the years 1910 - 1920 specifically.  I was looking for the locations of Will's married children in relation to his location.  I'm still researching this, however the married children I have looked at so far are in close proximity to Will and Clara.

In this case, the timeline was not used to break through a brick wall, but to fill in my ancestors lives.  Put together with other known facts from my previous research and with oral interviews of family, I have a much better understanding of who Will and Clara were.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Using a Timeline

Creating a timeline for your ancestors is one of the tools I have been hearing about more recently.  I confess when I first heard of timelines, I felt is was just one more thing on the long list of things to do with my research.  I was slow to embrace them until ...

I started to hit brick walls in my research.  When I encounter brick walls - big or small - I have learned to look back at what I know. (This works well in other areas of life as well!)  "Back to what I know" has become a much used technique for me.  Even doing this, I still had difficulty gaining new insights and directions for my research.  I decided to give the timeline technique a try.  I gained a whole new perspective on my ancestor(s).  Many of the genealogy software programs have an option to create a timeline for an ancestor.  I played around with that feature, but still could not quite get the perspective I was seeking.  I then got out my paper, pencil and ruler to create my own.  Something about putting an ancestor's life in order myself  made his life "click".  I could see where age discrepancies existed.  I discovered where I thought an ancestor spent most of his life was only a small part of his life.  I saw where the gaps in my research existed. While the timeline itself did not break down a brick wall, it created new ideas for avenues of research. Isn't that what scaling our genealogy brick walls is all about?

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - My Great-Great Grandparents


William H Haley and Clara (Holt) Haley
Buried at New Hope United Methodist Church located on Scuffletown Road in Charlotte County, VA

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Monday, January 17, 2011

A Lovely Day in Rural Virginia

I had the opportunity to meet and interview "new" Haley cousins this past weekend.  The matriarch of the family is a lovely and gracious woman who generously shared her stories of my great-great grandparents William and Clara Haley.  Her children also shared their stories and memories of the couple as well as others in the family.  As anyone researching family history quickly learns, one story can open up new avenues of research.  The stories of this weekend proved no different.

Here are some fun facts I learned about my William (Will) and Clara Haley:

  • Clara loved chewing gum.  She used to chew it and then give it to the children in the family.  (That's a rather scary thought!)
  • Clara loved cats.  She really had no use for dogs. (So that's where I get it from!)
  • Clara was very strict with her children.  She was the disciplinarian more often that her husband Will.
  • When Will and his son Clyde bought land in Charlotte County, VA,  Will was already in his 60's.  I never realized the family moved there until their later years. [I plan to research their earlier years in Clarkton, VA more thoroughly.]
  • Clara had 12 children. One child is known to have died in infancy. I only have accounted for the 9 children who grew into adulthood.  I have a 10th child listed without a sufficient source.  Does anyone know about a child named Walter Haley?
  • It is likely that Will Haley had a form of dementia.  His unfortuante death occured in 1948 when he went looking for a lost cow.  He failed to return home and an extensive search was launched.  He was found dead in a ditch having died of drowning or exposure. [According to family the incident was written up in the Charlotte Gazette.  That's one more avenue of research to explore.]
  • Family lore tells that Will Haley was a very religious man. Interestingly, he did not attend church very often once he and Clara moved to Charlotte County.
  • Lastly, the Haley family was and still is a very close knit family.  I'm proud to be counted among them.

I hope you enjoy reading these little tidbits that I learned about Clara and Will Haley.  I am still processing other stories and facts of the Haley family and will share more in the future.

*Note: You may have noticed the lack of names in my post.  I do my best not to post names of living relatives for privacy reasons. 

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