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Are You My Cousin?: July 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!

Friday, July 29, 2011

My Ancestors Had a Sense of Humor!

I received this story about my great grandmother Winnie Haley Carr in my e-mail recently.  It is from an aunt who tells the story as it was told to her.  The story takes place in Charlotte County, VA on or close to the William Haley farm.  Apparently the "children" (Will's grandchildren) did not always do as they were instructed. (Imagine that!)

The children were told to stay out of a creek and they kept slipping off and going anyway.  Mother [one of Will's granddaughters] said they were in the creek and looked up to see these two men dressed in suits coming down the road.  They told the children it was against the law to swim in the creek and they [the children] were scared .  Come to find out it was Winnie and a sister dressed up as men! 

Cousins - Any idea which sister was Winnie's counterpart?

I think the Haley's must have laughed a lot!


Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Social History Resource

Nancy over at My Ancestors and Me wrote this wonderful post on HEARTH - Home Economics Archive: Research, Tradition, and History website published by the Mann Library at Cornell University. HEARTH  is a great resource into the home lives of our ancestors.  Here you will find information on how they dressed, the food they ate, and how they cared for their homes.  There are even issues regarding sanitation issues!  As I tell my ancestors' stories, I think HEARTH will provide interesting social history details and a better understanding of my ancestors' daily lives.

Head over to My Ancestor and Me and read all the details.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Another Bathing Beauty

Ooops! It would appear I got my days mixed up!  It's Tuesday not Wednesday.  We'll just pretend it's Wednesday.

Elma Talbott Solomon
It is just too hot outside not to share another photo of an ancestor in a bathing suit.  Meet my great aunt Elma.  I think she looks very stylish.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Personal Property Tax Records to the Rescue (Again!)

I have posted in the past on using tax records to help track my ancestors through the years when census records were not available or when for mysterious reasons I am unable to find an ancestor on the census record.  It seems I have one or two ancestors who "hid" when the census taker came around.  When I "lose" an ancestor in the census records, I now turn quickly turn to land and personal property tax records.  I find the personal property tax records to be more helpful in my research if I am unsure if my ancestor owned land or not.  I confess that researching tax records can be tedious and too many hours at the microfilm reader can cause a little motion sickness, but the results are often well worth the effort.

Jesse Haley is a great illustration on how I use personal property tax records.  Jesse is one of my GGGG grandfathers.  His lived in Halifax County, VA  and is easily followed in the records from 1845 until his death in 1869.  Before 1845, information on him is spotty at best.  He is estimated to have been born about 1803 in "Virginia".  He married Temperance Owen in 1826 in Halifax County, VA.  My search for information on Jesse for the years 1827-1845 proved fruitless.  Especially difficult was the fact that Jesse did not show up anywhere in the 1830 or 1840 census records as expected.  From this I concluded he was not a head of household, but I could not be sure where he was.  Had he stayed in VA or had he left the area?

Here is where I turned to the personal property tax records for Halifax County, VA from 1822-1844.  I started with the year 1826 (the year of his marriage) and worked my way forward.  No sign of Jesse was found for 9 years.  Then I almost missed it.  1835.  There he was: Jesse Haley paying tax on one horse in Halifax County, VA.  I followed Jesse through the 1844 tax records where he continued to pay tax on one horse.  Year by year, there he was. In two rolls of microfilm, I accounted for 10 years of Jesse's life and confirmed he was in Halifax County.  If you were in the library that morning, you would have seen a little happy dance!

So, where was he from 1826-1834?  I'm hoping the personal property tax records of neighboring Charlotte County, VA will shed light on these years.

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

If You Thought Genealogy Was Boring...

...then you've:

  • Never discovered your grandparents wedding license lists the wrong groom!  Read about that here.
  • Never stood on the ground where your Great x 5 grandfather gathered with his unit before marching off to fight in the Revolutionary War.  It does give one goosebumps! More about that here.
  • Never opened a book and come face to face with your Great x 3 grandparents. Meet them here.
  • Never read postcards dated almost 100 years ago and lost count of your Great grandmother's beaus. Read about the Courtship of Esther.
  • Never run through a rural cemetery in your Sunday dress to get just one more photo. Read about that fun Sunday afternoon involving three cemeteries and a Piggly Wiggly.
How could anyone (i.e. my children) ever think genealogy is boring? 


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Another Case of... can't believe everything you read.

Marriage License for Howard/Maddox
This is the marriage license for my great grandparents Connie M Howard and Mattie Maddox dated 8 Mar 1914.  Notice Mattie's listed age: 26.  Mattie was actually 32 (almost 33) when she was married.  For a researcher not as familiar with this family, that mistake could lead to looking for a birth date in wrong time period.

 At least this marriage license had the correct bride and groom listed!  (Unlike here.)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

William H. Haley died “near his home, March 4”.

“Near his home” leaves so much of Will Haley’s story left unsaid. Grandpa Haley had gone out one evening searching for a lost cow. He didn’t return home. Family and friends searched for the lost farmer. As time went by, the cars of searchers lined what is today known as Scuffletown Rd in rural Charlotte County, VA. Grandma Haley waited in the living room of her home for word of her husband. Word finally arrived that Will had been found. Oral history tells that Will Haley was found dead alongside a creek (or as some say in the creek). No one knows the exact cause of his death though exposure is listed on his death certificate. Will was known to have a degree of dementia as well. Did he simply get lost? Did he fall and was not able to get up?

I grew up hearing this story about Will Haley, my GG grandfather. Given the events surrounding his death, I expected to find a large write up in the local newspaper about his death and the search for him. Certainly in today’s reporting of the news, there would have been some type of article written.

The above obituary is from The Charlotte Gazette published in Drakes Branch, VA on 11 Mar 1948. (The Charlotte Gazette was a weekly paper in 1948.) Will’s getting lost, the search for him, and his funeral all took place before the weekly publishing on March 11. Only his obituary was published. What I did find in the newspaper were stories about the upcoming church revivals, who was visiting whom, and lots of farming news. While the newspaper had a large focus on the social aspects of the community, very little of the negative or sad news was reported.

So, “near his home” does tell Will’s story. He will be remembered more for his life than the events surrounding his death. (As it should be.)


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Courthouse Research

I did something this past week that I have not done in my genealogical research yet.  I did on site courthouse research at the Halifax County, VA courthouse.  Oh, my!  This was one of the most valuable experiences in my research and personal genealogical education as of date.  I entered this historic structure (dating back to 1832) complete with "wavy" glass and walked into a room filled record books just waiting to be opened.

On Thursdays and Fridays, there is a gentleman there to assist those in their genealogy research.  He was a wealth of information and his assistance in finding the documents I needed was invaluable.  Like many researchers, I have done a lot of my research online.  I have also utilized the FHL microfilm as well as microfilm from the Library of Virginia.  Being able to search and the original documents and follow up on leads while the thought process was still fresh in my mind was not only fruitful, but thrilling as well.

This research trip primarily focused on my Haley family line.  I found lots of clues, but still no answer to who the father of Jesse Haley was.  Sometimes, what you do not find in the records is just as important as what you do find.  My research in Halifax County is leading me to Charlotte County, VA (not a surprising result, actually).  The helpful gentleman at the Halifax courthouse also assists researchers at the Charlotte courthouse.   I'm pulling out the calendar......    

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Monday, July 4, 2011

Cousins Connect

One of the really nice things about this blog is the opportunity connect with cousins on the family lines that I research and blog.  Recently, another set of Haley cousins and I did just that.  We connected.  They are the descendants of Ivy Haley Singleton, sister of my great-grandmother Winnie Haley Carr.  Ivy Haley was the fourth child of Will and Clara Haley.  She married James Monroe Singleton in 1913.  Unfortunately, Ivy died 10 years later leaving behind her husband and 5 young children.  

Ivy's descendants shared these photos with me, and I am happy to share them here on my blog. (Hint, hint, other cousins!)

Ivy Haley (1894-1923)

Ivy Haley and Emma Holt (a cousin)
Below are two photographs of Will and Clara Haley that I had not seen. Receiving photographs of my GG grandparents in my inbox always makes me smile!
Will Haley  1942
Clara Holt Haley