Fearless Females: How Did They Meet?

This is my first post for the Fearless Females blogging prompts during the month of March. Thanks to Lisa Alzo for putting together this list!

Today’s prompt asks: “How did they meet? You’ve documented marriages, now, go back a bit. Do you know the story of how your parents met? Your grandparents?”

Well, I didn’t get a chance to document their marriage, but the story I’ve heard about how my maternal grandparents goes like this:

My grandmother was working as an office manager at the Pentagon when she and the other office girls received a file about the new set of officers who were going to be transferred to their office. They were browsing through the photos that accompanied each officer’s file when my grandma stopped flipping through the photos and pointed at one in particular.

“That one,” she said. And the rest is history. She married that officer, who also was an accountant.

I forget who told me this story — it must have been one of my aunts. I love this story though. My grandma could come across as mild-mannered, but she was a firecracker too. I think this story demonstrates that well.

Wordless Wednesday: Joseph & Mollie Hayes

My great-great grandparents, Joseph and Mollie (Taylor) Hayes (née Mary Evelyn Taylor)

The back of the photo, with notes in my grandma’s handwriting (Wm. E. Hayes was my great-grandfather).

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 Wild Grandmas Everywhere

One of the presents my sister gave me at Christmas was this box of British biscuits:

Grandma Wild's Dark Chocolate Gingers

Everyone exclaimed when I opened it, of course, because our grandma was Grandma Wild. Just not the Grandma Wild pictured on the box above.

Alas, my Wilds weren’t British at all. They were German, so it would be pronounced “Vild” and their photos would be on boxes of lebkuchen instead.

Actually, the cookies above were very similar to lebkuchen, so maybe all these Wilds are related after all!

On another note, I really hope the title of this post doesn’t bring out the Twitter spammers. In a similar vein, I predict a whole new contingent of web traffic may be visiting shortly.

Those Places Thursday: Grandma’s

Growing up, we often went to visit my grandma at her condo in Alexandria, Va. She hosted big family gatherings at Christmas and Easter. It was fun for the cousins to get together and we would tear around the place (much to Grandma’s dismay) as in the picture below. That’s me in the middle, still wearing a bib after whatever meal we’d just eaten.

Mystery Monday: Ida, I Don’t Know

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!

I am in possession of a number of old photos from my father’s side of the family. I put many of these into a scrapbook when I first got into genealogy several years ago. At the time, I didn’t know much about older types of photos and fashion through the years. Now that I do, I’m starting to second-guess some assumptions that I made way back when.

Case in point: my father’s mother Ida Corley. I always assumed that the wedding photo below was hers.

Ida was married to my grandfather in 1905. I do know that the undated photo below is her:

Compare:

The mouths are the same. The eyes and hair seem very similar. Even the noses, though the one on the left may be a bit narrower and longer…

There are two other photos to consider:

The top photo, I believe, is the same woman in the wedding dress. She is definitely not the stylish woman in the bottom photo, whom I know to be Ida in the 1920s.

I doubt that stylish Ida reverted to granny wear as she got older (with apologies to whomever is pictured on the left; I’m assuming it’s actually Ida’s mother, Martha Alcorn SIMPSON). The thing that clinches the fact that these are two different women for me is that one is wearing glasses and the other is not.

You can barely tell that the bride on the left is wearing glasses — you can see the pince-nez on the bridge of her nose though.

I think that if the person pictured in all four photos were the same woman, she would either not be wearing glasses in all of the photos or she would have them on in all four photos. If you’re self-conscious enough about wearing glasses to take them off for seated portraits, you’d especially take them off for your wedding picture. That’s assuming Ida ever wore glasses, and all evidence seems to point to the fact that she did not.

Given that there is such a strong resemblance between the women pictured though, I’m going to assume that the woman in the wedding dress is Ida’s mother. Now, I just need to find more information about her wedding and possibly other photos of her to prove it.

My next question is, might the earlier photo of Ida be her wedding portrait?

Labors of my Ancestors

In honor of Labor Day, Geneabloggers everywhere are posting what their ancestors did for a living. Here’s mine:

On my father’s side, I have two physicians (my dad and grandfather), a minister, and then many farmers. I also have a grocer (my dad’s maternal grandfather).

On my mom’s side, I have office managers (my mom* and grandma), and a long series of housewives who supported their farmer-husbands. My maternal grandfather was an accountant who descended from merchants.

*My mom also was an artist and entrepreneur, later in life.

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.

Wordy Wednesday: Genealogy Road Trip

As mentioned in this past weekend’s SNGF and yesterday’s Tombstone Tuesday post, my sister and I visited Elizabethton, Tenn., in the state’s northeast corner, during the holidays. Elizabethton is where my great-grandparents William E. HAYES and Della M. CROW raised my maternal grandmother and her siblings. The last time we were in Elizabethton, I was six years old. I have many memories of that trip and I was excited to revisit my great-grandmother’s home (since sold to a distant relation).

After meeting up with our great-uncle, Ben Hayes, he drove us to the old house on Poplar Branch Road. It was nothing like I remembered. First of all, everything seemed a lot smaller — of course, I was small myself the last time I was there. A creek passes through the front yard. Where once there was a wooden bridge (see below), there is now an asphalt walkway. We had always visited in the summer months, when everything was hot, green and thriving. When we visited last week, it was cold, gloomy and barren.

Sadly, the change in season is not the only reason the property seemed so different. It has fallen into disrepair. It desperately needs a new coat of paint and there was an accumulation of junk and vehicles in the back yard. The front porch, on which I remember playing in the shade during my visits to Grandma Hayes’ house, is blocked with a long piece of corrugated metal. The stone steps leading up to the porch appear to be crumbling. The attic window above the porch is busted.

Here is a photo of what the house looked like last week:

And here is photo taken of the house back in the 1980s:

I’m really sad to see the changes time and neglect have wrought on the property because I do have several fond memories from our visits there. I can still smell the aromas of bacon grease, green beans and biscuits that seemed to be ever-present in Grandma Hayes’ kitchen.

Grandma Grace, Me & (Great) Grandma Hayes (1981)

Back when my mom was working in miniatures, she created two tiny room boxes that were replicas of how Grandma Hayes’ kitchen looked, once upon a time. One is pictured below.

Despite the dilapidated state of the house, I was still glad to revisit Elizabethton and especially to catch up with our Uncle Ben. He drove us all over Carter County in search of good BBQ for lunch and filled us in on the history of the area. He drove us into the older section of downtown and showed us a preserved covered bridge and two of the town’s war memorials, including one where he’d purchased bricks to commemorate the service of some of our family members.

I still have more genealogical work to do in that area — I’d like to find the farm originally owned by William Hayes’ parents and also their grave sites. I’m also still trying to confirm the identities of William’s grandparents.

Luckily the FGS 2010 conference is in August in Knoxville, so I intend to turn that into a genealogy trip too.