FGS Day 3

Just finished putting the ingredients for my grandma’s taco meat into the Crock Pot for a shindig my sister and I are throwing tomorrow night with my genea-friends and her pals from the area. Should be a good time.

But I really am here to post the happenings from today. I attended some excellent and informative sessions.  The first, “Colonial Migrations In and Out of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley,” was the perfect lead-in for the next session I attended, “Migration Routes Into and Out of Tennessee.”

Now, I have to admit I was dubious about the second session as I walked into the room and saw a transparency projected onto the screen. More alarm bells went off when I noticed the speaker adjusting said transparency was in period costume. But I was in for a treat because the speaker was the legendary George Schweitzer and he was a hoot. In addition to being a funny, engaging speaker, he also really knew his stuff.

Before this session, I got to chatting with one of my neighbors and learned she lives not to far from me in Virginia. When I found out she was a scrapbooker and Creative Memories fan, I told her about an upcoming 11-hour crop near her neck of the woods in October (see my write-up from last year’s event). She was excited to hear about it and I hope she’ll join me there!

Next, I attended “‘I’ll Fly Away': Using Southern Church Records in Genealogical Research.” I came away with a lot of resources to check out regarding the Methodist preachers on my father’s side of the family and also for finding records of interest from many other denominations.

Unbeknownst to me, I had registered (or otherwise obtained a ticket) for the luncheon of the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors. I’m glad I happened to have the ticket because I really enjoyed the luncheon and made some good connections. One of my table-mates works in Illinois and gave me some good tips for researching my Corley roots there.

After lunch, I ran into Amy Coffin, who informed me that I’d won a door prize at the APG table. I had just enough time to pick up my prize before my next session. I received a copy of Courthouse Research for Family Historians. I was thrilled because I’ve had this book on my wishlist for a while.

Funnily enough, the next session I was to attend was “The Courthouse Burned: Alternate Approaches and Treasures.” This was a thorough session on what to try if you’re researching ancestors from a county (primarily in the South) whose courthouse burned either during the Civil War or in another conflagration or had other calamities that resulted in record destruction.

The final session I attended was “Irish Emigration to North America: Before, During and After the Famine.” This was a very informative session that helped me to figure out what was going on when my great-grandfather came over from Ireland (not necessarily the famine, as I thought initially). Speaker Paul Milner gave clues as to where Irish immigrants came from in Ireland at various points throughout history. I feel a bit more confident in researching this line now that I’m armed with this information.

But the day wasn’t over yet! Prize drawings were coming up at the exhibit hall and I wanted to take another look around because I felt like there were a few more nooks to explore after my survey of the exhibits yesterday. I perused a few more book stores and bought some supplies at the Fun Stuff for Genealogists booth before I sat down near the snack bar to wait with a tableful of my genea-peeps until the door prizes were announced.

Tina Lyons and I had by this time both won door prizes earlier in the day and sadly no one else at the table won, but we had a great time joking with each other and making fun of the odd way they were announcing the prizes.

By that time, I had scored yet another free day of parking (woohoo!) and needed to head to the grocery store to buy the provisions for the aforesaid taco meat. It has been a full week, but I’m kinda sad that the conference ends tomorrow.

SNGF: A Brickwall 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!

Well, I’ve posted about him before, but here I go again. William Boyd HILL (one of my paternal great-grandfathers) and his parents constitute a brickwall I would love to bust down and so they are the topic of this week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun post.

I’ve featured the Hills before in a Surname Saturday post and even got as far as identifying Hill’s wife’s name (it was SIMPSON), which helped lead me to their family burial plot.

William Hill lived with his wife and children in Philadelphia in the mid- to late-1800s. According to census records, he was an Irish immigrant working as a grocer. I have yet to figure out when he came to the U.S. and via which port (if he even came straight to the U.S.; many Irish landed in Canada first).

I would absolutely love to learn more about William and his parents because they are my closest Irish ancestors. Finding out where in Ireland that line hailed from would be a treat.

My plan for tracking down more on William is to start by looking for information about his death. I need to see if a death certificate exists for him, or barring that, an obit or other evidence of his death (this hopefully will be easier now that I know the year of his death thanks to his tombstone). Thanks, Randy Seaver, for the prompt to re-investigate this line!

Tombstone Tuesday: Della and William HAYES

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Over the holidays, my sister and I drove from Knoxville to the town of Elizabethton, Tenn. Elizabethton, and its surroundings in Carter County, is where generations of Hayeses grew up and where our great uncle, Ben Hayes, still resides. Ben took us to Elizabethton’s Happy Valley Memorial Park, where his parents, my great grandparents, are buried.

My great grandparents were William E. Hayes and his wife, Della M. CROW.

William E. Hayes (1892-1968) was listed as a mechanic at a silk mill on the 1930 U.S. census (found on Ancestry.com). In the 1920 census, he was listed as a laborer at a stone quarry in Tennessee. In between 1900 and 1910, William moved with his parents and siblings briefly to Oregon, where his father, Joseph, worked in a rock quarry. Prior to that time, Joseph was listed as a farmer in Tennessee.

Della (Crow) Hayes was my maternal grandmother’s mother. I remember going to visit her at her home in Elizabethton. She passed away when I was 9.

This is my great-grandmother, Della (Crow) Hayes, probably taken around 1981-82. I hope to post soon about visiting her house last week as well.

Surname Saturday: HAYES (Tennessee, North Carolina)

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!

Yesterday, I came to the realization that a framed photo I thought pictured my great-grandparents was really too old to be depicting them. Luckily, when I slipped the photo from the frame, the real names of the couple were written on the back — Joseph Smith Hayes and his wife, “Mollie” Taylor Hayes. The helpful relative who labeled the photo also wrote that the couple were the parents of my great-grandfather William Hayes — I had never known his parents names before.

Armed with this new information, I went to Ancestry.com and found the couple listed in the 1930 U.S. census living in Carter County, Tennessee. This is the same county where I remember visiting my Great-Grandmother Hayes (Della, William’s wife) in the town of Elizabethton. The 1930 census listed Joseph and Mollie on Powder Branch Pike, but I don’t think a road by that name exists there any more.

Here is what information could be divined from the 1930 census listing:

  • They owned a home worth $4,000 (not a farm).
  • Joseph was two years younger than Mollie; they were 63 and 65 respectively in 1930.
  • They were married when he was 19 and she was 21. That would have been ~1886.
  • Her parents were both from Tennessee.
  • His father was from North Carolina and his mother from Tennessee.
  • He worked as a laborer doing odd jobs. She stayed at home.
  • He was not a veteran.

But that is the only clear mention of Joseph and Mollie that I can find in census records — at least after an initial search. Part of my challenge is that Joseph Hayes is a very common name, so I haven’t followed up on all possibilities. However, there doesn’t seem to be any indication that the Hayeses left Carter County and there are no other sure mentions of them living there in earlier or subsequent censuses.

I did find two possibilities (searching the census on HeritageQuest Online), but the age information doesn’t match up. I found a 29yo Joseph S. Hayes in the 1900 census with his wife Mary (36yo) and several children (including a William E. — that is my great-grandfather’s name). Both of Joseph’s parents are listed as from North Carolina.

I also found a 9yo Joseph S. Hayes in 1880 — his age would match that of the one found in 1900 — so perhaps those two are the same Joseph, but I’m not convinced he’s *my* Joseph. Still, the inconsistencies are subtle enough to leave room for the possibility that one or perhaps all of these census records had errors in them.

I’m assuming that Mollie wasn’t my great-great-grandmother’s real name, otherwise it wouldn’t be in quotes like that on the back of the photo. I understand that Mollie can be a nickname for Mary. I am tempted to assume that Taylor may have been her maiden name, but there is no guarantee.