Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: James L. (Jim) Tapley

Jim Tapley, along with his wife, Maggie Powell Tapley, buried at Westview Cemetery, Wrightsville, Georgia.

Jim was my father's uncle; my grand uncle. He was the son of James Madison (Jim) Tapley and Rebecca (Becky) Page Tapley.

Uncle Jim was a Johnson County, Georgia Sheriff's Deputy for many years. He also ran for Sheriff in 1920.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Motivation Monday: My Genealogy Goals for this Week

Life keeps getting in the way of my fun stuff!  Even when it doesn't, I tend to get in my own way, getting bogged down reading e-mails or looking at Facebook or whatever else on the computer while time just slips away.

I saw this idea over at Geneabloggers and Finding Josephine and thought it was a great idea!  Set a few realistic goals for genealogy items I would like to get done in a given week.  I am hopeful it will keep me on task.

Goals for this week:

  •   Continue to transcribe three pages of Upper Houses per day.  (22 pages left in the current section)
  •   Research the family tree information I found on Ancestry.com to help verify the facts.  Enter any verified information into my FTM 2011.
  •   Do some genealogy filing.
  •   Scan the photo of my husband's great-grandfather that has been on my desk for weeks.
Those seem doable.  Now, I just need to make such a list for my scrapbooking... and housecleaning...and Christmas... etc., etc., etc.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I am obsessed...

with this blog and genealogy lately.  I tend to go back and forth between scrapbooking and genealogy, and right now it is genealogy all the time.

I have had a couple of neat finds and experiences this week while being so immersed.  On several family tress on Ancestry.com, I may have find a couple of family links that I have been missing.  I need to do some verifying, but even the "maybe" information is much better than what I had.

I also found an obituary for an aunt who passed in 1960.  It was an interesting find in its own way.  I'll share more about it in another post.

Today, I participated in my very first Scanfest at AnceStories.  Genealogy bloggers and other enthusiasts get together once a month to chat while they scan in family pictures and/or documentation.  Scanning is so boring... why not liven it up with chatting with other like-minded souls?  It was great for me because I never would have put aside three hours a month for scanning without this nudge.  I scanned everything I could (Some items are larger than letter size and will not fit on my scanner, so I will have to work on those another time.) of my father's, i.e., birth certificate, death certificate, Masonic items, marriage licenses, divorce decrees, an old driver's license, letters from his grandchildren etc..  It ended up being 42 items that I got scanned in today!  I also learned some things from others on the chat and generally had a good time.  

And to help you learn something today, the owner of AnceStories, Miriam, states that historical items should always be scanned in .tif format and at the very least, at 300 dpi.  I scanned mine in at 600 dpi.   Items can be edited and then saved as (using the Save As function) a .jpg, but always save the original as a .tif.   Items saved as .jpg will become distorted as they are opened and/or edited many times.  I have not always been good about this because I would be in a hurry and would just accept the default of .jpg on some programs.  However, as of today, I will be making a diligent effort to always save as a .tif. 

I also continue to transcribe the 1908 book, Middletown upper houses: a history of the North Society of Middletown, Connecticut, from 1650 to 1800 : with genealogical and biographical chapters on early families and a full genealogy of the Ranney family by Charles Collard Adams for including on the Internet.  There are nine sections in all (about 40-50 pages each) and I am on Section 8.  I have transcribed all but one section.  All that just means that I am ready to be finished with it so I am working on it daily.  This book was invaluable to me in my Ranney research so to pay back the kindness of those who shared it with me (it is out of print), I agreed to transcribe it.  Little did I know that at least three years later, I would still be at it!  However, it is amazing what you can accomplish working just 15 minutes at a time!  (Thanks, FlyLady!)

Finally, please, if you are or know a Tapley or a Schwalls who is living (or descended from someone who lived) in Johnson County, Georgia; a Drake from Adrian, Emanuel County, Georgia; or a Ranney from Clinton County, Michigan, please share my blog with them!  We may be related!

Surname Saturday: Tapley

The surname Tapley is English. "It is locational from a place in the county of Devonshire called Tapeley" (which is how it gets pronounced most of the time!).  It's meaning is "wood where pegs were collected."  "In medieval times widespread use was made of pegs in the construction of buildings."  In various forms, it dates back to 901 and in the current form to 1585. 

Source:  www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Tapley

It was only the 6,782nd most popular surname in the 1990 U.S. Census.

Source:  www.genealogy

Info| Copyright 2000-2010 by Labo
  Source: www.gens-us.net

Today in the United States, Tapley is most common in two states:  Georgia and Maine. (Numbers of Tapleys in other states is shown above.)

I am a Georgia Tapley, through and through.  We can trace our family back to Hosea Tapley (1691-1778) who migrated to America and settled in Caswell County, North Carolina.  Eventually the family migrated south to Georgia with a brief stop in South Carolina.  This is the main family line that I research.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Funeral Card Friday: Coming Home

Funeral card for my Uncle Hugh.  He was my father's brother, and we were very close.  I would go so far as to say we were each other's favorites. 

He lived in Jacksonville, Florida for most of his adult life, but wanted to be buried back "home" - in Johnson County, Georgia - near his parents and brother, Russ.  I remember that Scotty Hudson used that theme in his message - in the end, we all want to go home. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Treasure Chest Thanksgiving (Thursday)

Happy Thanksgiving!  I gobbled till I wobbled, napped until I recovered, and cleaned up the kitchen.  Now it's time to take a moment for me... and post here.

This is my maternal grandmother's, Ethel Ranney Tapley's, china.  It is called "English Garden."

While not sure of the details of its history, we feel sure that she purchased the china new; it was not handed down from generation to generation.

I have had this china my entire adult life, and I honestly don't remember how I got it.  All this time, I thought it belonged to my paternal grandmother, but my mother just corrected me.  Funny how things get twisted!

The china has always been predominantly displayed in my china cabinet (as long as I have had one), but it was unused.  Since we usually spent the holidays elsewhere, we never used it, or we would use paper plates for ease of clean up.  However, this year we found ourselves hosting Thanksgiving, and I decided it was a good time to use the "fine" china.  So this is how our table looked today before the food bounty was prepared. 

It makes me happy to have this link to my past to share with my present loved ones.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday's Child: Michael Edward Tapley

This is my big brother's tombstone.  He was born two months early in Jacksonville, Florida and is buried at Restlawn Memorial Park there.

In the early 1960's, the medical field wasn't as advanced in saving premature babies as they are now.  For example, Michael weighed 1 pound, 8 ounces at birth, while a family friend's granddaughter, who weighted only 1 pound, 7 ounces at birth is now four years old and thriving. 

It was a horrible experience for my Mom.  Her doctor made the statement that she may not carry the baby full term, but didn't offer any suggestions for her to follow.  This was her first baby; she didn't know, and back at that time, you didn't question medical personnel.   Either that very night or the next night, her water broke and she was bleeding so my father had to call an ambulance.  Mom gave birth very quickly, and Michael only lived for eight hours.  The hospital was not a hospitable place, and they did not even allow my parents to see the baby.  Daddy had to make all the arrangements to bury him, and they could not afford a headstone at the time.  I spearheaded an effort in 2008 and got Michael a grave stone, and Daddy was able to see pictures of it before he passed away.

In 2009, I went to the Vital Statistics office in Jacksonville and obtained a copy of Michael's birth certificate.  While my entire life, my mother said he was born on November 8, the date of birth is listed as the 9th on the birth certificate.  It could have been because he was born in the middle of the night and the date was confused in Mom's mind.  Either way, the headstone says the 8th, and we'll just keep thinking of it as that day.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Mattie Schwalls Tapley

Mattie Schwalls Tapley
buried at Gumlog Church Cemetery, outside Kite, Johnson County, Georgia

Second wife of Lusion Keman Tapley

Mother of James Tillman (Fella) Tapley, Charles Morgan Tapley, and Champ Lusion Tapley.  Died in childbirth while having her fourth son, Woodrow, who also passed away shortly after his birth.

My great-grandmother.

Her grave stone was damaged in a storm a few years ago, and even though my father never knew Mattie, he did a good thing and had the grave stone repaired.

(Photo was taken December 15, 2009, thus the jaunty wreath Mom and I added to it.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Military Monday: John Russell (Russ) Tapley

My uncle Russ (my father's brother; son of Lusion and Nealie Tapley) served in the Army during World War II.

The only things I know for sure about his militiary service is that he
enlisted or was drafted 14 Nov 1942 at Camp Blanding, Florida (south of Jacksonville); he was honorably discharged on 31 Oct 1944; and he was a Private First Class at the time of his discharge.

That's it.  That is all I know for sure.

I have heard these things at one time or another from various family members:
- Uncle Russ did his basic training in California.
- He was in the infantry.
- He served in the 3rd Division under General Patton in Europe (which I found out recently includes 385,000 men!).
- He received a purple heart.
- That Uncle Russ suffered with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) at discharge and was treated at a VA hospital in Miami, Florida.

I have no proof of these statements, of course.  Uncle Russ passed when I was less than a month old, so I was unable to ask him.  His widow passed with Alzheimer's two years ago, and I was unable to get any information from her.  He had no children.  Army records were destroyed in the 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri (See http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/get-service-records.html to order records of family members who served in other branches of the military.).

If I could find a copy of his separation papers, I would at least know what unit he served in.  I am trying to locate his separation papers by checking with the funeral home that handled his funeral.  (They would have needed the papers to file for VA funeral benefits.)  My cousin who lives in the area of the funeral home is going to go there in person to check for me.  If the funeral home does not have the form on file, I will check with Duval County, Florida, as that is where he lived when he was discharged, and I have been advised that at the time, veterans were supposed to file their separation papers with their county of residence.

Looks like this was both a Military and a Mystery Monday.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday's Obituary: Nealie Drake Tapley

This is my paternal grandmother's obituary.  Of course, whoever cut it out of the paper did not indicate what newspaper or the date... I can just guess it is from the Augusta Chronicle since she died in Augusta, Georgia on July 4, 1970.  I am not sold on the complete accuracy of this obituary... she lived in Jefferson County, but I wouldn't call her a native. Three of the sons listed, James, Charles, and Champ, were actually step-sons, but I am sure the family chose not to make that distinction... she raised the boys from a young age. 

I was only three years old when my grandmother passed away.  I only have one memory of her... that is going to her apartment in Augusta and her serving me cookies.  I remember being intimidated by her... and I have been told this is an accurate description of her.  She was the quintessential Southern lady... strong-willed, hard-working, church-going, and loved her children with the fierceness of any mama bear. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Surname Saturday: Ranney

Since it appears that I am starting my Tapley blog with references to Ranney, I figured I would continue the trend on this, my first "Surname Saturday" post.

The surname Ranney is from Scotland.  It is a variant of Rannie, Rainy, Rany, Ranye, Raynie, Reny, and Ryne.  The family's origin was as a sept during the 15th century of the clan MACDONELL of Keppoch in Scotland.

"Clan" was the name applied to a group of Kinsman united under a chief and claiming a common ancestry.  They lived as one great family on the lands they possessed.  The clansmen or septs supported their chief with remarkable loyalty.

Clan Septs comprise those who were descended from the Chief through the female line and consequently bore a different surname; and those who sought and obtained the protection of the Clan and became dependents. Anyone who has an ancestor bearing a Sept name, or the Clan name itself, has the privilege of wearing or displaying the Crest Badge and the tartan of the clan.
   Sources: The Surnames of Scotland, The New York Public Library, p. 684; Scots Kith & Kin, Albyn Press Ltd., Publisher, p, 41, 49, 65-66; and Septs of the Scottish Clans web site at http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/Heritage/FSCNS/Scots_NS/About_Clans/Sept_Clan.html.

The first Ranney ancestor in my family's line to come to America was Thomas Rany, born 1616 in Montrose, Scotland.  He "was admitted an inhabitant of Middletown (Connecticut) and granted a home there, February 9, 1658, next to that of Thomas Hopewell; who lived on the corner of Main and Church Streets.  In 1663 he had located to what is now Cromwell Ct.; he frequently held town offices."
     Source:  The Hamlin Family, A Genealogy of Capt. Giles Hamlin of Middletown, Connecticut, 1654-1900 by Hon. H. Franklin Andrews, 1900.

Thomas Rany was my 9th Great-Grandfather.  

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Those who have gone before...

 Also while in California, my mother and I made a stop in San Bernardino to visit her grandparents' graves.  They are buried at the beautiful Mountain View Cemetery.

My maternal great-grandparents were Luther Boardman Ranney, born March 11, 1870 in Chapin, Saginaw County, Michigan, and Bessie Alice Carter Ranney, born February 9, 1883 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Luther came from a long line of Ranneys that stretch back to 17th century Scotland in my research thus far.  The first Ranney (Thomas Rany) of our family in America settled in Middletown Connecticut about 1657-58. 

Four generations and about 150 years later, the Ranney family made their way to the Ohio Western Reserve.  They were in the sawmill business in Ohio, until Luther's grandfather, also named Luther Boardman, moved the family to Clinton County, Michigan (north of Lansing).

My great-grandfather, Luther, and Bessie had three children:  Kenneth, Alice, and Ethel (my grandmother).  Alice was sick as a child and had TB.  So about 1921, the family moved to California to take advantage of the dry climate for Alice's health.  They chose California and the San Bernardino County area because Luther had a maternal uncle, Jonathan Hesser, and his family who lived in that area.  That way they would have family nearby and wouldn't feel so alone in a new place.

My mother was just a baby when Luther passed away so she has no memories of him.  However, her grandmother, Bessie, was a very important person in her life.  She was literally her foundation.  Mom was very close to her.  When Bessie passed away in 1960, my grandmother, Ethel, and her husband, Charles Tapley, who was originally from Georgia, moved back east.  Mom followed when she graduated from junior college in 1962.  Mom would not return to California until our visit in 2010.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A place in our family history

While on a recent visit to California, my mom and I took the time to make some genealogy stops along the way.  My mother, Linda Irene Tapley, grew up in Yucaipa, California, which is about 70 miles east of Los Angeles. She went to and graduated from Redlands High School in 1960.  Her 50th high school reunion was the main reason for our visit.

In 1942, her parents, Charles Morgan Tapley and Ethel Irene Ranney Tapley, were living in Los Angeles.  They appear on the California Voter Registrations for 1900-1968 on Ancestry.com in 1942 at 15749 Vintage Street in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County.  My mother was born on Saturday, September 5, 1942, and this is the house her proud parents brought her home to that Labor Day weekend.  (Interesting side notes:  The hospital was filled beyond capacity due to it being wartime, and my grandmother talked about her bed being parked in the hallway, along with many others, after she gave birth.  Also, due to it being the holiday weekend, the hospital didn't want to accept my grandfather's check; he had to threaten to leave his wife and new baby there before the hospital gave in and took the check!)

15749 Vintage St., Los Angeles, CA; picture taken September 2010
Amazingly, the house on Vintage Street is still there in 2010!  I try to imagine how happy my grandparents must have been to bring their new baby daughter home to this house, even if it was uncertain times.

Shortly after this joyous day, Pop Pop had to go off to serve his country in the war, and Grandma moved home with her mother for the duration.  By 1946, the war was over and the Tapley family had moved to Avenue E in Yucaipa.  The family moved several times during the next 3-4 years because Pop Pop was following work.  By 1950, the family settled on 11th Avenue back in Yucaipa, and Mom lived there until she graduated from high school.  Unfortunately, that house is gone and we only found an empty field.

It is said that we can never go home, but it is neat to go back and visit.  It meant so much to me to see where my mother grew up.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Welcome to my new genealogy blog!

My friend and I attended the first Family History Expo in Atlanta this weekend, and I took a class on starting a genealogy blog.  So here I am!  I'm not sure if I'm going to keep the name - what do you think? - or what exactly I'm going to write about, but I have to start somewhere.

I hope to connect with far-flung and currently unknown Tapley, Drake, Ranney, and Schwalls relatives.  Most are from Georgia, but I will share their individual stories as I go along.

This is a work-in-progress, but I hope you will join me on this journey.  If we are related, maybe you will learn something interesting about our family.  If we are not related, I hope you just enjoy and maybe get some ideas about researching your family.