For Mother’s Day, “Only One”

This Mother’s Day, I once again call your attention to this poem, which I found folded between the pages of my copy of  “A Genealogy of Corleys”:

"Only One" by George Cooper

The hand-written copy above was addressed “To Mother.” I’ve always wondered who wrote out the poem and the identity of his or her mother. Since this book was once owned by another Corley, they were probably relatives!

Tombstone Tuesday: Corley

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

For those who followed my series on Arlington Abbey Mausoleum (see Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3), you may remember that when I read up on the mausoleum and its unfortunate history of vandalism and looting, I learned that the remains of several of my ancestors were missing. Shortly thereafter, my half-brother remembered an old copy of our father’s will in which he stated that he’d bought a a burial spot for relatives bearing his last name at another cemetery.

A phone call to Parklawn Memorial Park in Rockville, Md., confirmed that my paternal grandfather and his parents are indeed buried there, and I found out the exact location of where their remains can be found today. Saturday, I was in the area and paid a visit to the cemetery. When I arrived at the building described to me by the cemetery staff, my eyes lit upon my surname almost immediately.

Bingo. But, I must say, the genealogist in me was a bit disappointed. The name “Corley” is all that’s engraved into the marble face of their vault. I had hoped to see all three of their names listed. I harbored a twinge of jealousy after seeing the other vaults with more detailed information listed.

Because this genealogist is a bit unsatisfied, I do plan to call back the staff at the cemetery and see if I can get a copy of the burial record. After all this searching, I want more tangible proof that all of them really are in there.

Still, I was glad to get the chance to visit the cemetery and I’m also so thankful that this mystery is solved. Others whose ancestors were buried at Arlington Abbey are not so lucky. The remains found scattered there (or that are missing altogether) may never be sorted out.

52 Weeks to a Better Genealogy: Google Maps

Here’s this week’s challenge from Amy at We Tree:

“Play with Google Maps. This is a helpful tool for determining the locations of addresses in your family history. Where your ancestral homestead once stood may now be a warehouse, a parking lot or a field. Perhaps the house is still there. When you input addresses in Google Maps, don’t forget to use the Satellite View and Street View options for perspectives that put you were right there where your ancestors once stood. If you’ve used this tool before, take sometime and play with it again. Push all the buttons, click all the links and devise new ways it can help with your personal genealogy research. If you have a genealogy blog, write about your experiences with Google Maps, or suggest similar easy (and free) tools that have helped in your own research.”

I decided to look up the address my paternal grandfather listed on his WWI draft registration card. The address is in Northwest Washington, D.C. By looking at the various views on Google Maps, I was able to determine that he lived near the National Zoo:

And that the location is now nestled between a bank and a Verizon Wireless store:

Google Maps states that a management company (with some pretty negative reviews) currently is housed at the address, but there’s a For Rent sign in the window on Street View.

My grandfather was a physician and it’s likely that his practice was housed in this building as well, especially since it appears to be a mixed use area. I know that the family used to live on the premises because I have other documents, including a letter written by my father as a teenager, bearing the address.

What I want to know is if some of the photos I have of my dad were taken at this address, including his ever-popular Rick Astley shot, which would have been taken around the time the family lived at this address. Has the neighborhood changed that much or was this photo taken at a different location?

Folks who like this kind of task may get a kick out of the Historical Aerials web site. It’s not comprehensive, but you may luck out and be able to see what your ancestral locations looked like from the air decades ago. I was able to find a view of the above street corner from 1963.

[This post constitutes Task A in the Expand Your Knowledge Event of the GeneaBloggers 2010 Winter Games and earns me a bronze medal!]

Holiday Happenings

This is post #15 in the GeneaBloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories and is dedicated to my cousins Shannon and Kevin.

My family is one of holiday birthdays. My cousin, Kevin, was born on Halloween. Another cousin, Shannon, on Christmas. I was born the day before Thanksgiving, and so I get a turkey dinner for my big day every five years or so.

I’ve never minded having a birthday near Thanksgiving. In fact, it’s been advantageous to have those days off to celebrate. I’ve always loved the certainty of having my family gathered around me on or near my birthday.

My birthday is just far enough away from Xmas to avoid the dreaded present combo that my cousin Shannon has certainly faced every year. She also has the advantage of having her birthday fall on a national holiday, but at what cost?

Kevin, of course, gets to have tons of candy and cake on his birthday. And I’m sure he’s had a few raucous costume parties along the way. ;o)

Love to all my Wild family cousins: Cindy, Lee, Kevin, Kelly, Shannon and Daniel! And if there are any CORLEY cousins out there that wish to identify themselves, drop me a note!

Tombstone Tuesday: Arlington Abbey, Part 3

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

As I detailed in two previous blog posts (Part 1 and Part 2), the remains of three of my ancestors were once buried at Arlington Abbey Mausoleum in Arlington, Va. However, that site fell into disrepair decades ago and was subjected to vandalism and worse. When the Army Corps of Engineers tried to close the facility in the late 1990s, they couldn’t reach all of the families of those buried there. When I tried to find more information about my relatives, I learned that their remains were missing.

As I said in my last post, it appeared that one of three things had happened: 1) a family member removed my ancestors’ remains to another location during a time when records of such removals were not recorded; 2) the urns holding the remains were stolen or destroyed; 3) the remains were among a bunch of unmarked urns found scattered inside the mausoleum, with no way to trace them back to the crypts to which they belonged.

I’m happy to report that while discussing this mystery with my half-brother over the Thanksgiving holiday, we found the answer. In an old version of our father’s will (dated only a year after I was born), he stated that he had purchased a crypt at another facility for “ashes of deceased members of my family who bore the name Corley.”

I called that facility when I returned home Saturday afternoon. After giving them the names and dates of death of the missing ancestors, the facility called me back in short order to let me know that they indeed have their remains. I now have their exact location and I hope to visit the memorial park soon.

I’ve sent this information to the Army Corps of Engineers archaeologist who assisted me in my search for my missing ancestors. My hope is that now that we have found my relatives, this may help narrow down the possible identities of those remains found on the floor of the mausoleum.

Continue to Part 4 (Tombstone Tuesday: Corley).

Wordy Wednesday: Remembrance Day/Veterans Day Memories of My Dad

Scan10006

My Dad

My father passed away when I was young. He served in both WWII and the Korean War as a doctor in the Army Reserves. I didn’t get to hear many stories from him personally, and I continue to be amazed by what I find through my research.

Earlier this year, while searching for my surname online, I discovered the book The World of Surgery 1945-1985 — Memoirs of One Participant by James D. Hardy had several mentions of my dad’s name in it. I was even more surprised to learn that the book was in the stacks of the University of Maryland, College Park, main library (I work on this campus).

dadwxraysA portion of the book covers the author’s time with the Army during World War II and that’s where my dad’s name appears — my dad was the author’s unit commander at Camp Lee Regional Hospital (p. 85). I was delighted to find passages mentioning my dad, such as:

“7 Apr 45. Miraculously, we were ready today to recieve flocks of patients. Headquarters  (Lt. Hurand), registrar (Lt. Elliott), and Maj. Corley have done a bang-up job…” (p. 98).

And this amazing excerpt:

“11 Jul 45. Lt. Col. Banks, CO, was wounded seriously… by a bullet accidentally discharged by a Luger being cleaned some distance away. Struck and dazed while sitting on his bunk, he staggered out of his tent calling for Major Corley. The bullet itself had passed through the tent wall and lodged in Corley’s bedroll.” (p. 110).

My father was on the medical team that helped to treat surviving concentration camp prisoners from Dachau and surrounding locations after the Germans surrendered in the spring of 1945. I have a copy of “The History of the 81st Field Hospital,” which spares no detail in describing some of the horrors witnessed there.

Dad also served in a M*A*S*H unit in Korea. I have fond memories of watching the TV show of the same name while sitting on his lap when I was about five years old. He absolutely loved that show.

rotc

Dad in his high school R.O.T.C. days.

After Dad retired from the Army (rank: Lieutenant Colonel), he went on to become chief of radiology at Kimbrough Army Hospital at Fort Meade, Md.

———————–

James D. Hardy, The World of Surgery 1945-1985 — Memoirs of One Participant, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986.

SNGF: Surname Distribution

Here’s our mission from Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings:

1) Find out the geographical distribution of your surname – in the world, in your state or province, in your county or parish. I suggest that you use the Public Profiler site at http://www.publicprofiler.org/worldnames/, which seems to work quickly and easily. However, you cannot capture the image as a photo file – you have to capture the screen shot, save it and edit it.

2) Tell us about your surname distribution in a blog post of your own (with a screen shot if possible), in comments to this post, or in comments on a social networking site like Facebook and Twitter.

What a great site/blog idea! Everyone’s going to want to see their how their surname is distributed, genealogist or not. Here’s the screen cap for mine (click on it for a larger version).

worldnames-sm

CORLEY Distribution

No surprise that Ireland has such a high distribution (78.86 FPM — frequency per million). You can zoom in on particular areas of the map to see what the distribution looks like in individual countries and states. In the United States, the highest distribution for Corleys is in South Carolina (541.86 FPM). According to my research, I have to delve waaaaayyy back in my line before I see links to those Corleys. In Ireland, Corleys are concentrated in the western counties of Clare, Galway and Mayo. The FPM for Corley in West Ireland is 424.84.

Thanks, Randy! That was fun!

SNGF: Unique Ancestral Names

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

Here is the topic for this week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun by Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings:

1) What is the most unique, strangest or funniest combination of given name and last name in your ancestry? Not in your database – in your ancestry.

2) Tell us about this person in a blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a comment on Facebook.

3) Okay, if you don’t have a really good one – how about a sibling of your direct ancestors?

My great-great-great grandparents (Jonathan Cheatham* Corley and his wife, Delilah Basham) apparently had an affinity for U.S. historical figures. My great-great grandfather was Benjamin William Franklin Corley and he had siblings including Henry William Washington Corley (Benjamin’s twin) and Andrew Jackson Corley.

While those are only three of the 12 children that Jonathan and Delilah had together, they stand out to me. Some of the others are named after relatives (their son Caniel would have been named after Jonathan’s father).

Their names may not be unique, but I enjoy reading them as I look over my family tree. Other favorites of mine include Delilah’s, that of her father, Obediah, and the following siblings of direct ancestors:

Salley Finley Corley (has a nice rhythm to it)
Sallathiel Corley
Unity Jane Corley

This post got me thinking of the early nomenclature chapter in Genealogy as Pastime and Profession by Jacobus. He details how the Puritans named their children (Delilah would have been avoided as a name because she fell under the “Scriptural rascals and scoundrels” category (p. 29)). Jacobus goes on to say it was a common practice to close one’s eyes and run one’s finger through the Bible at random to select a name, which could explain some odd names like “Notwithstanding.”

* Jonathan Cheatham Corley’s middle name always makes me smile because it reminds me of this window in Harvard Square (Cambridge, Mass.), the headquarter’s for NPR’s “Car Talk” show, apparently.

Wordless Wednesday: A Classic

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

This is one of my favorite photos from my Dad’s side of the fam (click for a larger, uncropped version):

Classic Corley Shot

Classic Corley Shot

I love the sepia tone, the clothes, the hair. I hate the fingerprint on the photo though — bleh.

That’s my grandfather in the middle, up top. I believe that’s his brother Roy on the lower left. I *think* my grandmother is seated to my grandfather’s right. The woman front-and-center may appear in other family photos. I have no idea who’s holding her hand. Their body language sure is interesting.

The outfit of the woman on the right totally reminds me of that of Harriet Oleson on “Little House on the Prairie.”

Wordless Wednesday — The Bros. Corley (Prologue)

Young Bros. Corley (Jesse, Karl, Roy, Ames & Foss)

Young Bros. Corley (Jesse, Karl, Roy, Ames & Foss)

Above is the oldest photo I have; I would guess it’s from around 1883.

Joseph Corley & Fam

Joseph Corley & Fam

Here are the brothers with my great-grandparents, Joseph and Ida.

Foss, Roy, Karl, Jess and Ames

Foss, Roy, Karl, Jesse and Ames

Here are the brothers all grown up.

Karl, Roy, Ames, Jesse and Foss

Karl, Roy, Ames, Jesse and Foss

Foss was a farmer/land owner (Conn.), Jesse was a Methodist preacher (Calif.), Ames went on to be a professor at Williams College and Yale University, Roy became lieutenant governor of Delaware and Karl (my grandfather) was a pediatrician in Washington, D.C.

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!