SNGF: Ancestor Name Roulette

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It’s been a while since I posted, period. And now, two in one day? But I finally have a chance to play along with Saturday Night Genealogy Fun and so here we go for this week. The mission from Randy Seaver:

1) What year was one of your great-grandfathers born?  Divide this number by 50 and round the number off to a whole number. This is your “roulette number.”

2) Use your pedigree charts or your family tree genealogy software program to find the person with that number in your ancestral name list (some people call it an “ahnentafel”). Who is that person, and what are his/her vital information?

3) Tell us three facts about that person in your ancestral name list with the “roulette number.”

4) Write about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a Facebook status or a Google Stream post, or as a comment on this blog post.

5) If you do not have a person’s name for your “roulette number” then spin the wheel again – pick a great-grandmother, a grandparent, a parent, a favorite aunt or cousin, yourself, or even your children!

It took me a while to find an ancestor whose birth year, divided by 50, matched a number on my Ahnentafel chart that I had filled in.

So, I started with Richard Corley, my 7th great-grandfather. He was born in 1670, which led to a roulette number of 33 (most of the rest of the 30s on my Ahnentafel chart are not filled in, sadly).

33 is Delilah Basham, my 3rd great-grandmother. Here are three facts about her:

1) Her name is one of my favorites among my ancestors. Delilah was the downfall of Samson in the Bible. These days, she’s the subject of a hit song by the Plain White Ts. I’m fascinated that her parents chose that name for her. Her father’s name was Obediah, one of my other favorite names among my ancestors.

2) She was born in 1785 in Bedford, Va., according to the preponderance of secondary sources I’ve been able to find. This area of Virginia has very few surviving original records due to fires at county courthouses and other repositories (and not all were due to the Civil War either).

3) She married Jonathan Cheatham Corley and together they had 13 children, including my 2nd great-grandfather, Benjamin William Franklin Corley, and his twin brother, Henry William Washington Corley. Delilah and Jonathan are buried together in a Corley family cemetery in Shelby, Ill.

Those Places Thursday: Great-Grandpa Hill’s Grocery Store

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For years, I’ve known that my paternal great-grandfather William Boyd Hill was a grocer in Philly. That and the fact that he was an Irish immigrant, but little else.

Earlier searches for him hadn’t turned up any city directory listings, which I thought was odd for a city like Philadelphia. I decided to do a more targeted search and finally found him.

The 1873 city directory listed his grocery store at 800 North Second Street. In subsequent years, the number changed slightly, but the street remained the same. Whether the shop actually moved or the addresses changed (I’ve seen this happen in other localities), I’m not sure yet.

I pulled up a Google Street View image of 800 North Second Street as it appears today. The shop on the corner sure looks like it may have once been a grocery store. It looks like it’s now a Rita’s Italian Ice. (Sure enough, I looked up their Philadelphia locations and there is one at that address). I think I might need to get myself an icy treat the next time I’m in Philly!

800 North Second Street in Philly.

Valentine Corley

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My fifth great-grandfather, Valentine Corley, passed away this day in 1803 at the age of 82. Before writing this post, I didn’t have any direct sources of information about him. His death date came from the Family Data Collection on Ancestry, which also lists his wife as Sarah Walker. Valentine lived and died in Virginia.

In preparation for this post however, I did another search for records for Valentine and found another Ancestry member posted scans and a transcription of Valentine’s will. The will verifies that his wife’s name was Sarah and also reveals that they owned several slaves by the names of Betty, Ruth, David, Sarah, Lucy, Fanny, Pleasant, Wiat, Daniel and Rob. The names of Valentine’s children also appear: Aggathy, Ann, Mary,  Milly, Asa, Caniel (my 4th great-grandfather) and William.

When Even Vital Records Can’t Be Trusted

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I was just notified by Ancestry.com that they found the death certificate for my 2nd great-grandfather Daniel B. Crow. I love finding vital records for any of my ancestors, but this one immediately raised some questions.

First of all, the  certificate lists his mother’s maiden name as Mary Crow. I am 95 percent sure that his mother’s actual name was Elizabeth Hart (based on census and marriage records). So where did Mary Crow come from? Well, Daniel was married to a Mary (nee Gourley). He also had a sister named Mary Crow. If his father Isaac Crow indeed married a woman named Mary, I certainly hope it wasn’t a relation of too close proximity.

Since the deceased couldn’t possibly provide the information above, it was provided by a relative–in this case, someone by the name H. T. Crow. I believe this to be Daniel’s son, Hugh Taylor Crow. Is it possible he didn’t know or remember his grandmother’s name? I suppose. Is it possibly an entry error by whoever filled out the form? I find this more believable, especially given the other discrepancy I detail below.

The next fact that gives me pause is the burial date of 8 April 1921, which predates the death date of 27 April 1921 (which appears to be corrected on the certificate).

Death date as listed on Daniel B. Crow’s death certificate (Ancestry.com).

Burial information on Daniel B. Crow’s death certificate (Ancestry.com)

Another problem has arisen in trying to locate the cemetery listed here. There are two cemeteries, in Cannon County, Tenn., with the word Milligan in their names. Neither is in Johnson City, which isn’t in Cannon County. The closest match I found on FindaGrave in Carter County is a cemetery called Millington County Cemetery, but it only has one interment listed and I think that its information is in error too.

So, boys and girls, what have we learned here? Even with vital records, each bit of information must be considered carefully and discrepancies investigated. In this case, I need to find further evidence to support the information provided, especially regarding Daniel’s death and burial dates. Finding his grave might clear it up. An obituary may help as well. The undertaker’s name is given. I might be able to track down which funeral home he worked for and investigate any available records of theirs as well.

Christmas Babies in My Family Tree

Meet one of my fourth great-grandfathers, William Hatley (or Hateley), whose photo I found on another Ancestry.com member’s tree (and yes, I did introduce myself before adding this photo to my own tree).

The full photo is much bigger, showing William from the waist up, holding a book and looking rather scholarly. The caption of the photo, which obviously was taken from a book, reads:

“William Hatley, father of Riley B. Hatley, born December 25, 1809, in North Carolina, died January 9, 1893. Married about 1835 to Anna Ford, born 1813 in North Carolina, died July 1880, daughter of Jacob and Mary Ford. Both are buried in Whitehead Cemetery near Butler, Tennessee.”

After contacting the distant relative who found this photo, he revealed that members of the Hatley family eventually travelled to Oregon and Washington State. This is very interesting to me, because members of my Hayes line — direct descendants of William Hatley — also tried to move to Oregon (but ended up back in Tennessee within a decade). I need to investigate if they went together with the Hatleys.

I also need to try and learn more about William, who appeared to be learned and well-to-do. This wasn’t necessarily the case for his descendants a couple of generations later.

William isn’t the only ancestor/relative of mine with a Christmas birthday. One of my fourth great-grandmothers, Maria Jesusa Curbelo, was born on Christmas Day in 1815, apparently.

My cousin Shannon also was a Christmas baby! I remember going to see her in the hospital that day. She and all the other Christmas babies were dressed in Christmas stockings. Happy birthday, Shannon!

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Grandfather of a Different Kind

Today saw the return of a family heirloom (well, part of it, anyhow) to this Corley household. After 17 years, I’ve been reunited with my family’s grandfather clock, which friends have stored for me in the interim. The face and movement are with a clock repair shop that will clean, fix and test them, hopefully reassembling everything early next week. In the meantime, the rest of the clock is now in my dining room!

My dad bought this clock in 1978 and it merrily chimed away for my fam until my mom and sister moved out of state in 1994. Me and the clock? We stayed in Maryland. I was soon off to college and moved in temporarily with neighbors. The clock moved with me.

When I went off to college, the clock had to stay at my friends’ house though — dorm rooms don’t have much space to accommodate such a piece (and its Big Ben chiming probably would have infuriated my roommate).

And so the clock stayed at my friends’ house while I was at school. And there it remained as I bounced from apartment to apartment to apartment in the ensuing years after graduation.

Moving a grandfather clock is not a trivial matter. The movement must be (carefully) removed and packed, the head separated from the body. It costs hundreds of dollars each time.

And so I waited to be reunited with my clock until I was a) in a place with tall enough ceilings; and b) relatively certain that I’d be there a while. It took 17 years.

Oh, I visited the clock (and the friends storing it) often. I know they’re going to miss it. The kids in the household grew up with the clock, much like I did. It eventually stopped ticking though and probably hasn’t chimed in more than 15 years.

I’m really looking forward to seeing the clock restored and the pendulum swinging again. I’m not sure I’ll have the chime turned on — my house is pretty small and I’m afraid it would keep me up at night. I’m sure I’ll ask the clock repairman to play the chime at least once though, for old time’s sake (no pun intended; well, not really).

Stay tuned for a future post when the clock is restored and in working order!

Tombstone Tuesday: William Wallace Campbell

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Another FindaGrave volunteer has come through and taken a photo of the grave of my 3rd great-grandfather, William Wallace Campbell (Gee, you think he might have been Scottish? Just a bit?). The stone is a little hard to read in places, but I’m fascinated by the imagery depicted:

The carving depicts a broken tree with what appears to be a wall leaning against it.

I’ve never seen this type of imagery before. The broken tree, to me, seems to signify a life ended too short (he was only 34 when he died). I don’t know for sure if that’s a wall leaning in from the right. What do you all think? Ever seen anything like this? I want to do some more digging and see if I can find out how he died.

Here is the image from the second stone that is at the base of the larger headstone. It is much clearer:

Note the masonic symbol, which is repeated in the larger headstone.

Obviously, this smaller stone was added later by one of his children. I wonder if it was because the larger stone was already starting to wear?

The larger stone is hard to read, but after cropping and enlarging it, I think I can make out what it says:

W. W. CAMPBELL
born in Va. June ? 1828
died in San Antonio
January ? 1862

The FindaGrave memorial has the exact dates listed. I assume it’s easier to read the stone in person than in the photo provided.

One interesting finding: William’s wife, Susan Elizabeth (Smith) Campbell died two years later, also at a very young age. After viewing her FindaGrave memorial again, it’s even more apparent why new stones were made for these graves.

I recall coming across the information that they had died young before because it made finding their children in ensuing censuses challenging.  I would love to know what happened to this couple…