SNGF: Happy Clerihew Day

This week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge is to write a clerihew. A clerihew is a poem with an AABB rhyme scheme. Here’s my quickie contribution:

Deep run the roots of my family tree
The ancestors who came before me
Discovering who they were is my schtick
Breaking down walls made of brick

Can’t wait to see what my fellow genea-bloggers came up with for this!

SNGF: A Prolific Dad

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 tonight’s challenge from Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings:

“1) Determine who is one of the most prolific fathers in your genealogy database or in your ancestry. By prolific, I mean the one who fathered the most children.

2) Tell us about him in your own blog post, in comments to this blog post, or in comments on Facebook.”

The most prolific dad that I’ve found so far in my direct line is Jonathan Cheatham CORLEY, my GGGgrandfather. He had 13 children and they are notable for two reasons (in my mind):

1) all survived into adulthood (this is unusual, from what I’ve seen, for kids born in the early 1800s; they were born between the years 1805-1831)

2) all had the same mother (Delilah BASHAM, who lived until 1848, when she died at the age of 63)

I’m lucky to know quite a bit about Jonathan thanks to my copy of A Genealogy of Corleys. Jonathan was a blacksmith born in Bedford County, Va., in or around 1783. He moved with his growing brood to Kentucky before settling in Shelby County, Ill.

In A Genealogy of Corleys, the author relates that Jonathan went by the nickname Grandser (probably a contraction of Grand Sire, according to the author — how appropriate!). He served as a justice of the peace and apparently performed quite a few marriages in Shelby County (I need to make a note to look for records of this!).

The author of the book notes that it’s unusual that he couldn’t find more of a record of Jonathan — he states:

“Mr. Corley lived in the time when there was little opportunity for education, and while he was as stated, a Justice of the Peace, which shows that he was able to read and write and keep records, doubtless this was done in somewhat primitive style. Yet, this renders it all the more strange that he left no fuller account of himself and his father [Caniel Corley]. It was reputed that he kept a family record, but after his second marriage [to Elizabeth DAVIS, which produced no more children], if such a record ever existed, it passed out of the hands of his children and has not been recovered.” (pages 8-9).

Jonathan died 30 October 1861 and is buried with Delilah in a Corley family cemetery in Shelby County, Ill.

A Genealogy of Corleys was written in the 1920s and I’m hoping that with today’s increased availability of resources, I may someday have more luck finding information about Jonathan.

SNGFoS: Feelin’ Lucky

Here is my Saturday Night Genealogy Fun (on Sunday) post regarding last night’s challenge from Randy Seaver. The challenge:

“1) Go to http://www.google.com/ and enter a search term and click on the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button.

2) Try your name, your local society, favorite genealogy terms, whatever you want. Do at least three, and as many as you want if you have time. Be creative! Have fun!

3) What did you learn from this exercise?

4) Tell us about it in a blog post of your own, as a comment to this post, or as a Note or comment on Facebook.”

I started out by typing “missy corley” (w/o the quotes) and the result was my Twitter feed. Same result when I added quotes around the name. When I tried “melissa corley,” the result was a Melissa Corley on Facebook (but not me).

Typing in “bayside research services” brought me to my company homepage — yay!

Next, I typed in “corley genealogy,” which brought me to this page of a very distant relative (I’d found the page before when I first started researching my family.)

I then tried a similar search for “wild genealogy.” I really wondered if the term would be interpreted as an adjective and not a surname. To my surprise, it brought up a Cousin Connect page for the name. Good job, Google!

One interesting thing started happening as I continued different search terms. After the first few “Feeling Lucky” searches, I started hitting “Return” on my keypad rather than selecting “Feeling Lucky” on screen after I typed in each search term (force of habit). But Google must have figured out what I really meant to do, since it continued to bring up “Feeling Lucky” results rather than the traditional search results. Helpful, but kind of creepy at the same time.

I’m going to keep searching on some of the surnames in my family. As a librarian, we’re taught to shun Google for more trusted applications and search engines, but I don’t think it can or should be ignored completely, especially since it can help you connect with other real people searching on the same surnames. You just need to use a trained eye when reading the information they put on the web — is it sourced and credible? That’s the challenge with all things Google.

SNGF: Matrilineal Line

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!

Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings asks us to list our matrilineal line in this week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun task.

Here is mine:

Me
My Mom*
Grandma Wild*
Della (Crow) Hayes (1898-1985)
Mary (Gourley) Crow (1858-?)
Mary Ann (Barry) Gourley (?-?)
????????????????

Randy asks if we’ve had our mitochondrial DNA tested — I haven’t ventured down that path yet.

* I’ve read that in this age of rampant identity theft we’re discouraged from naming our parents/grandparents online, so I’m choosing not to identify my mom or grandmother here either fully by name or by vital dates. Am I being paranoid? I’d be curious to hear what other folks think about this.

SNGF: The Best 2009 Genealogy Moment

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve had a chance to participate in Saturday Night Genealogy Fun. This week’s mission from Randy Seaver:

1) “What was your best Genealogy Moment during 2009?” This could be a research find, a fabulous trip, a found family treasure, etc. Your choice!

2) Tell us about it in a blog post of your own, a comment to this blog post, or a comment to the Twitter or Facebook status line for this post.

I have several moments just from this holiday season that I want to list here and all involve connecting with living family members to discover tidbits about the past. I’ll start with the most recent and work my way backward:

This past week, my sister and I drove from her home in Knoxville, Tenn., to the town of Elizabethton. There, we met up with our great-uncle Ben, whom I hadn’t seen since I was about 12 years old. He’s approaching 80 years old, but drove us all around town, stopping at the house where he grew up — my great-grandmother’s house — I plan to post pics in a separate blog post. I was six years old the last time I was there. We then drove to the cemetery where my great-grandparents are buried. Finally, we all went out for BBQ. It was great to reconnect with Uncle Ben.

Spending time with my sister this past week was fun too — it’s something we haven’t been able to do in several years due to our respective work and school schedules. She took me on the tour of downtown Knoxville, we shopped, we cooked, we ate, we drank, we watched movies, looked at photo albums and just plain ol’ reminisced. Genealogy is about family and therefore quality time with my sister definitely makes it on the list.

Before heading down to Knoxville, I spent Christmas and a couple of days after with one of my aunts. She indulged me and together we went through more than 2,000 family photos, sorting and organizing them into storage boxes. I got to see childhood pics of my mom and her sisters that I’d never seen before. We came across hilarious photos of me and my cousins. Best of all, we found the one scene that had eluded me the past couple of years as I put together scrapbooks about my mom and dad — a photo of just the two of them together. Among the hundreds of photos taken of our extended family trips to the beach, we finally came across a couple shots of them.

Thanksgiving weekend was significant in many ways for my family — my sister and I spent the holiday in Richmond, Va., with our half-brother and his wife. It was the longest amount of time we’d ever spent with them and we had a blast. Besides the wonderful experience of being able to connect with them and their daughter, we made a major genealogical discovery, which I blogged about previously — we discovered the burial locations for several relatives whose remains we feared had been lost. In addition, my sister and I got to see photos of still another half-brother who passed away many years before we were born. My half sister-in-law showed me a bedspread that my grandmother crocheted together with my half-brother’s mother. Several of us went on a slave-trail walk through much of downtown Richmond the day after Thanksgiving. And my half-brother took my sister and I to the Richmond Holocaust Museum, where we got to meet an individual whose family story is featured in an exhibit in the museum. It was a tremendous trip.

Thanks, Randy, for this SNGF prompt!

SNGF: Celebrity Look-Alikes

Tonight’s mission from Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings was to see which celebrities we resemble by using the Celebrity Collage feature at MyHeritage.com.

My results are below:

Apparently, I most resemble Emma Thompson, Joss Stone and Eddie Vedder (by 73%, according to the site). I can live with that. Sean Hayes came in close behind at 72% (at least he has one of my ancestral surnames!).  Christie Brinkley (67%), Hugh Jackman (66%) came next, followed by Cybill Shepherd and Holly Hunter, both at 64%.

All in all, I’m not totally horrified with these results. I was somewhat surprised by the omission of the one celebrity I’ve always been compared to (though not so much recently). I’ll let that one remain a mystery and see if anyone who reads this can guess. Bueller? Bueller? — no, that’s not a hint.

SNGF: Most Recent Unknown Ancestor

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 week’s mission from Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings: 1) Who is your MRUA – your Most Recent Unknown Ancestor? This is the person with the lowest number in your Pedigree Chart or Ahnentafel List that you have not identified a last name for, or a first name if you know a surname but not a first name.

2) Have you looked at your research files for this unknown person recently? Why don’t you scan it again just to see if there’s something you have missed?

3) What online or offline resources might you search that might help identify your MRUA?

4) Tell us about him or her, and your answers to 2) and 3) above, in a blog post, in a comment to this post, or a comment on Facebook or some other social networking site.

One of my paternal great-grandmothers is my MRUA. As I posted in a Surname Saturday post a few weeks ago, my father’s mother was #5 Ida Bole Hill (1880-1943), the daughter of Irish-American grocer #10 William B. Hill (~1841-?) and his wife, #11 Martha (aka Mattie; ~1847-?). I have not discovered Martha’s last name. Census records seem to show that Martha was born in Pennsylvania, but both her parents were born in Ireland.

William and Martha had seven children total, five of whom were still living by 1910, when Martha was listed in the U.S. census of that year as 62 and widowed (still in Philly).

One item that will probably assist me with finding out about Martha and the Hill line in general is William’s death certificate. I have not spent much time on this particular part of my family, however, because of the daunting hill of Hills I must sift through when pursuing records about them.

Interestingly, in going back through my records about the Hill family, I found them listed twice in the 1870 U.S. census:

1870 U.S. Census, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Philadelphia Ward 26 Precinct 9, p. 323 (stamped), dwelling 1903, William B., Martha and Mary Hill; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 7 November 2009); citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 1442. (Listed as second enumeration.)

AND

1870 U.S. Census, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Philadelphia Ward 26 District 88, p. 524 (stamped), dwelling 131, family 151, William B., Martha and Mary Hill; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 26 August 2009); citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll  1414. (First enumeration, done in June of that year–much more information on this page.)