Dear Mr. Lincoln, I Think We May Be Related…

In preparing a blog post involving Carter County, Tenn., I found this fascinating reprint of a letter by Abraham Lincoln, to a relative who had written him inquiring as to whether they may be related. The article, which originally appeared in The New York Times, can be downloaded as a PDF at no charge.

Stay tuned on Tuesday to see how I found this little treasure!

Elizabeth HART Crow

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!

On May 1, 1902, my third great-grandmother Elizabeth HART Crow passed away. At least according to her FindaGrave memorial. Alas, there is no photo of her gravestone (I’ve requested one), nor have I been able to find an obituary or other record confirming this information. Yet.

Elizabeth and her husband Isaac D. CROW had no less than 12 children together, including my second great-grandfather Daniel B. Crow. The family lived in Carter County, Tennessee, where I still have distant relatives to this day.

I need to spend more time on Elizabeth and her family. All I have on her so far are census records and the FindaGrave link.

Surname Saturday: HAYES (TN, NC) — An Update

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In 2009, I posted about the discovery of notes on the back of a photograph, which identified my second-great grandparents, Joseph and Molly (Taylor) HAYES of Carter County, Tennessee. Census records showed that Joseph was born in North Carolina. Eventually, I tracked down his father, Robert, also born in N.C.

Well, I finally have located the family in North Carolina (Watauga County, to be specific), using the 1860 U.S. census. The surname was spelled Hays. That breakthrough allowed me to trace them back yet another generation. My 4th-great grandfather was Ransom Hayes. In the 1850 U.S. census, the enumerator spelled the surname ‘Hase.’ Tricky, but I found them anyhow! (Also found Ransom listed as Hayse in 1860!)

I noticed that another Ancestry member had a private photo of Ransom’s tombstone. I plan to contact them, but on a hunch I went to FindaGrave and sure enough, there are photos of his tombstone and that of his wife (and now I know her surname too)! And his tombstone has interesting information on it that points to possible land records for which to search. Oh and they’re buried in a HAYES cemetery in Watauga County, N.C. This just keeps getting better!

Military Monday: Billy Hayes

I recently discovered that I have another relative buried at Arlington National Cemetery. My great-uncle Billy G. Hayes was interred there in 2002. He served in the Army. I’m still trying to flesh out the details of his service. A note on his FindaGrave record reads “CSM US ARMY; WORLD WAR II; KOREA; VIETNAM.” CSM apparently stands for Command Sergeant Major. On my next trip to Arlington, I plan to seek out his grave. My father and my maternal grandparents are all buried at Arlington as well.

In 2009, Billy’s brother, my great-uncle Ben Hayes, mentioned to me that he had purchased a brick in Billy’s honor for a war memorial in Elizabethton, Tennessee, where they grew up. Ben drove my sister and I by the memorial at the time, though we didn’t get a chance to see the brick itself.

Sunday’s Obituary: Della (Crow) Hayes

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Della (Crow[e]) Hayes was my great-grandmother. All of the materials below are in the possession of one of my aunts:

Original source unknown

Original source unknown

Funeral Program Cover

Funeral Program, Inside

I have a couple things to follow up on here. There is a minister involved in the funeral of the last name ‘Hayes.’ Possibly a relative? Same with pall bearer Wayne Gourley (note the difference in spellings of Gourley/Gorley throughout the materials). I should also check with the church mentioned in the obituary to see if they have any family records.

Surname Saturday: GOURLEY (TN)

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From my Ahnentafel chart:

15. Della CROW
31. Mary L. GOURLEY
62. Alfred T. Gourley

The parents of my 3rd great-grandfather Alfred T. Gourley are a mystery to me. I know he was born in 1813 in Tennessee according to the census and military records. A military enlistment document* on Ancestry.com states he was 5′ 6 1/2″ and had blue eyes, dark hair and fair skin at the age of 21. He was a farmer from Elizabethton, Carter County, Tennessee, which is where my HAYES and CROW roots go way back as well.

Alfred and his wife Mary Ann BARRY had eight children — four boys and four girls, including my great-great grandmother Mary L. Gourley. The others:

William R. Gourley (b. 1845)
George W. Gourley (b. 1849)
Willard S. Gourley (b. 1851)
Thomas A. Gourley (b. 1855)
Ellen M. Gourley (b. 1858)
Martha J. Gourley (b. 1860)
Elizabeth A. Gourley (b. 1864)

There’s a possible pension file match that I need to investigate the next time I’m at the National Archives. That should help me fill in a lot of information (fingers crossed!).

Gourley is also spelled Gourly and Gorley in records I have come across.

* U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914, p. 75, Alfred T. Gourly, Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com : accessed 28 December 2010); citing Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, Register of Enlistments in the U.S. Army, 1798-1914, National Archives Microfilm Publication M233.

Sunday’s Obituary — William E. HAYES

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New year, new-to-me blog theme! Below is a memorial obituary printed for the funeral of one of my maternal great-grandfathers, William E. Hayes. The memorial belongs to one of my aunts, who allowed me to photograph it last year.

Memorial Obituary for William E. Hayes

HAYES Headstone

Gravestone for William E. Hayes