Tombstone Tuesday: Corley

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For those who followed my series on Arlington Abbey Mausoleum (see Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3), you may remember that when I read up on the mausoleum and its unfortunate history of vandalism and looting, I learned that the remains of several of my ancestors were missing. Shortly thereafter, my half-brother remembered an old copy of our father’s will in which he stated that he’d bought a a burial spot for relatives bearing his last name at another cemetery.

A phone call to Parklawn Memorial Park in Rockville, Md., confirmed that my paternal grandfather and his parents are indeed buried there, and I found out the exact location of where their remains can be found today. Saturday, I was in the area and paid a visit to the cemetery. When I arrived at the building described to me by the cemetery staff, my eyes lit upon my surname almost immediately.

Bingo. But, I must say, the genealogist in me was a bit disappointed. The name “Corley” is all that’s engraved into the marble face of their vault. I had hoped to see all three of their names listed. I harbored a twinge of jealousy after seeing the other vaults with more detailed information listed.

Because this genealogist is a bit unsatisfied, I do plan to call back the staff at the cemetery and see if I can get a copy of the burial record. After all this searching, I want more tangible proof that all of them really are in there.

Still, I was glad to get the chance to visit the cemetery and I’m also so thankful that this mystery is solved. Others whose ancestors were buried at Arlington Abbey are not so lucky. The remains found scattered there (or that are missing altogether) may never be sorted out.

52 Weeks to a Better Genealogy: Google Maps

Here’s this week’s challenge from Amy at We Tree:

“Play with Google Maps. This is a helpful tool for determining the locations of addresses in your family history. Where your ancestral homestead once stood may now be a warehouse, a parking lot or a field. Perhaps the house is still there. When you input addresses in Google Maps, don’t forget to use the Satellite View and Street View options for perspectives that put you were right there where your ancestors once stood. If you’ve used this tool before, take sometime and play with it again. Push all the buttons, click all the links and devise new ways it can help with your personal genealogy research. If you have a genealogy blog, write about your experiences with Google Maps, or suggest similar easy (and free) tools that have helped in your own research.”

I decided to look up the address my paternal grandfather listed on his WWI draft registration card. The address is in Northwest Washington, D.C. By looking at the various views on Google Maps, I was able to determine that he lived near the National Zoo:

And that the location is now nestled between a bank and a Verizon Wireless store:

Google Maps states that a management company (with some pretty negative reviews) currently is housed at the address, but there’s a For Rent sign in the window on Street View.

My grandfather was a physician and it’s likely that his practice was housed in this building as well, especially since it appears to be a mixed use area. I know that the family used to live on the premises because I have other documents, including a letter written by my father as a teenager, bearing the address.

What I want to know is if some of the photos I have of my dad were taken at this address, including his ever-popular Rick Astley shot, which would have been taken around the time the family lived at this address. Has the neighborhood changed that much or was this photo taken at a different location?

Folks who like this kind of task may get a kick out of the Historical Aerials web site. It’s not comprehensive, but you may luck out and be able to see what your ancestral locations looked like from the air decades ago. I was able to find a view of the above street corner from 1963.

[This post constitutes Task A in the Expand Your Knowledge Event of the GeneaBloggers 2010 Winter Games and earns me a bronze medal!]

Tombstone Tuesday: Arlington Abbey, Part 3

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As I detailed in two previous blog posts (Part 1 and Part 2), the remains of three of my ancestors were once buried at Arlington Abbey Mausoleum in Arlington, Va. However, that site fell into disrepair decades ago and was subjected to vandalism and worse. When the Army Corps of Engineers tried to close the facility in the late 1990s, they couldn’t reach all of the families of those buried there. When I tried to find more information about my relatives, I learned that their remains were missing.

As I said in my last post, it appeared that one of three things had happened: 1) a family member removed my ancestors’ remains to another location during a time when records of such removals were not recorded; 2) the urns holding the remains were stolen or destroyed; 3) the remains were among a bunch of unmarked urns found scattered inside the mausoleum, with no way to trace them back to the crypts to which they belonged.

I’m happy to report that while discussing this mystery with my half-brother over the Thanksgiving holiday, we found the answer. In an old version of our father’s will (dated only a year after I was born), he stated that he had purchased a crypt at another facility for “ashes of deceased members of my family who bore the name Corley.”

I called that facility when I returned home Saturday afternoon. After giving them the names and dates of death of the missing ancestors, the facility called me back in short order to let me know that they indeed have their remains. I now have their exact location and I hope to visit the memorial park soon.

I’ve sent this information to the Army Corps of Engineers archaeologist who assisted me in my search for my missing ancestors. My hope is that now that we have found my relatives, this may help narrow down the possible identities of those remains found on the floor of the mausoleum.

Continue to Part 4 (Tombstone Tuesday: Corley).

SNGF: Surname Distribution

Here’s our mission from Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings:

1) Find out the geographical distribution of your surname – in the world, in your state or province, in your county or parish. I suggest that you use the Public Profiler site at http://www.publicprofiler.org/worldnames/, which seems to work quickly and easily. However, you cannot capture the image as a photo file – you have to capture the screen shot, save it and edit it.

2) Tell us about your surname distribution in a blog post of your own (with a screen shot if possible), in comments to this post, or in comments on a social networking site like Facebook and Twitter.

What a great site/blog idea! Everyone’s going to want to see their how their surname is distributed, genealogist or not. Here’s the screen cap for mine (click on it for a larger version).

worldnames-sm

CORLEY Distribution

No surprise that Ireland has such a high distribution (78.86 FPM — frequency per million). You can zoom in on particular areas of the map to see what the distribution looks like in individual countries and states. In the United States, the highest distribution for Corleys is in South Carolina (541.86 FPM). According to my research, I have to delve waaaaayyy back in my line before I see links to those Corleys. In Ireland, Corleys are concentrated in the western counties of Clare, Galway and Mayo. The FPM for Corley in West Ireland is 424.84.

Thanks, Randy! That was fun!

SNGF: Unique Ancestral Names

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Here is the topic for this week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun by Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings:

1) What is the most unique, strangest or funniest combination of given name and last name in your ancestry? Not in your database – in your ancestry.

2) Tell us about this person in a blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a comment on Facebook.

3) Okay, if you don’t have a really good one – how about a sibling of your direct ancestors?

My great-great-great grandparents (Jonathan Cheatham* Corley and his wife, Delilah Basham) apparently had an affinity for U.S. historical figures. My great-great grandfather was Benjamin William Franklin Corley and he had siblings including Henry William Washington Corley (Benjamin’s twin) and Andrew Jackson Corley.

While those are only three of the 12 children that Jonathan and Delilah had together, they stand out to me. Some of the others are named after relatives (their son Caniel would have been named after Jonathan’s father).

Their names may not be unique, but I enjoy reading them as I look over my family tree. Other favorites of mine include Delilah’s, that of her father, Obediah, and the following siblings of direct ancestors:

Salley Finley Corley (has a nice rhythm to it)
Sallathiel Corley
Unity Jane Corley

This post got me thinking of the early nomenclature chapter in Genealogy as Pastime and Profession by Jacobus. He details how the Puritans named their children (Delilah would have been avoided as a name because she fell under the “Scriptural rascals and scoundrels” category (p. 29)). Jacobus goes on to say it was a common practice to close one’s eyes and run one’s finger through the Bible at random to select a name, which could explain some odd names like “Notwithstanding.”

* Jonathan Cheatham Corley’s middle name always makes me smile because it reminds me of this window in Harvard Square (Cambridge, Mass.), the headquarter’s for NPR’s “Car Talk” show, apparently.

Surname Saturday: CORLEY (Virginia, Illinois and Iowa)

I have posted the various surnames I am investigating on Twitter on a few different Surname Saturdays. Today, I decided to be a bit more proactive and seek out others investigating the same lines. Today’s post will be about what I discovered about the CORLEY line in Virginia, where we can be traced back to the 1600s, Illinois and Iowa.

I tried some searches on Twitter specifically and didn’t find anyone else looking for Corley line information, but there sure are a ton of other Corleys of various ilks on Twitter!

I’ve been avoiding searches on Google lately now that I’m subscribing to several genealogy databases/services and because Google can often send you on a wild goose chase. Still, there are juicy tidbits to be found if you’re patient and know what to look for. The following are what I found via basic Google searches combining the family name, place names and sometimes the word ‘genealogy’ to help narrow results.

CORLEY (Virginia)
I rediscovered the Corley winery, to which I am assured I am related by other Corleys. Their site even refers to my immigrant ancestor, Richard Corley the Immigrant. I haven’t been to California to try the wine and have never seen it in stores out this way. There’s another Corley vineyard in Colorado, but I’ve never heard that we’re related to that one…

I found this link for queries about the Corley clan: http://www.cousinconnect.com/p/a/0/s/CORLEY

Learned of a new possible variation: CORLIES

I found new (to me) web sites about Richard the Immigrant: http://home.windstream.net/jimcorley/descend.htm and http://www.deboriah.com/wordofgrace/genealogy/corley/Ancestors%20of%20Oscar%20Thomas%20Corleyby%20RevCrowe.doc

Found partial text of a book mentioning one of my ancestors — Valentine — parish records from Cumberland Co., Va. The full text is available at the Library of Congress.

CORLEY (Illinois)

Found the following compendia of links, which may warrant further investigation later:
http://www.linkpendium.com/genealogy/USA/sur/surc-C/surc-Cor/sur-Corley/

http://distantcousin.com/SurnameResources/Surname.asp?Surname=CORLEY

This site mentions Corley’s Ridge (would like to learn more about this) and Corley Cemetery (which I’ve investigated in the past): http://genealogytrails.com/ill/shelby/placenames.html

Here is another site about Shelby County, Ill., where the Corley’s resided for quite some time and where an annual reunion is still held ever year (I haven’t made it to one yet). http://www.histopolis.com/Place/US/IL/Shelby_County/

CORLEY (Iowa)

The Iowa Genealogical Society: http://www.iowagenealogy.org/index.htm

These results reminded me that there is a Corley, Iowa (Shelby Co. there as well). I haven’t established a firm connection between my Corley clan and this locale.

———————-
Additionally, I searched “richard corley ‘the immigrant’”

Yay for sources! http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mysouthernfamily/myff/d0059/g0000053.html#I3137

Found full text of a book mentioning Richard Corley Jr. in St. Paul’s Parish (Va.).

Another site listing Corley descendants (but its source is no longer online) — http://mattocks2.wordpress.com/category/generation-12/003072-richard-corley/

Wordless Wednesday: A Classic

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This is one of my favorite photos from my Dad’s side of the fam (click for a larger, uncropped version):

Classic Corley Shot

Classic Corley Shot

I love the sepia tone, the clothes, the hair. I hate the fingerprint on the photo though — bleh.

That’s my grandfather in the middle, up top. I believe that’s his brother Roy on the lower left. I *think* my grandmother is seated to my grandfather’s right. The woman front-and-center may appear in other family photos. I have no idea who’s holding her hand. Their body language sure is interesting.

The outfit of the woman on the right totally reminds me of that of Harriet Oleson on “Little House on the Prairie.”

Wordless Wednesday — The Bros. Corley (Prologue)

Young Bros. Corley (Jesse, Karl, Roy, Ames & Foss)

Young Bros. Corley (Jesse, Karl, Roy, Ames & Foss)

Above is the oldest photo I have; I would guess it’s from around 1883.

Joseph Corley & Fam

Joseph Corley & Fam

Here are the brothers with my great-grandparents, Joseph and Ida.

Foss, Roy, Karl, Jess and Ames

Foss, Roy, Karl, Jesse and Ames

Here are the brothers all grown up.

Karl, Roy, Ames, Jesse and Foss

Karl, Roy, Ames, Jesse and Foss

Foss was a farmer/land owner (Conn.), Jesse was a Methodist preacher (Calif.), Ames went on to be a professor at Williams College and Yale University, Roy became lieutenant governor of Delaware and Karl (my grandfather) was a pediatrician in Washington, D.C.

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!

Wordless Wednesday: Three Corley Generations

Joseph and Ida Corley surrounded by their children and grand-children, probably around 1918-19.

Joseph and Ida Corley surrounded by their children and grand-children, probably around 1918-19.

Bonus shot of the cousins

Bonus shot of the cousins

The Lineup

The Lineup

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Treasure Chest Thursday: A Genealogy of Corleys

A Genealogy of Corleys by Dewitt C. Corley (1927)

A Genealogy of Corleys by Dewitt C. Corley (1927)

One item that I was incredibly lucky to procure over the past few years is “A genealogy of Corleys beginning with Caniel Corley of Bedford County, Virginia,: Tracing all lineal descendants of his son, Jonathan Cheathem [sic] Corley” by Dewitt C. Corley (1927). This book is packed with anecdotal information that Dewitt gathered from interviews with kin, in addition to thorough historical research. It has proved invaluable in my search for more information about my ancestors.

I found out about this book after posting a question about one of my ancestors on genealogy.com and just happened to find an original copy after searching for it on Amazon. The book contains extra copies of photos published within its pages.

Not only was this book written by a Corley, my copy was previously owned by a Corley (Elmer “Pat” Corley). One of my favorite passages details the author’s interactions with my great-grandfather and great-grandmother, Joseph E. Corley and Ida Champ Ferris Corley:

“The compiler has repeatedly had the pleasure of entertaining him and his wife in his home, and always found them most gracious and entertaining guests. He [Joseph] married Miss Ida C. Ferris, an accomplished and educated woman, who survived him.”

The book provides information on when each passed away and where they were buried. It also details the lives of their sons, including my grandfather, Karl Coates Corley, Sr. There is a photo of Ida and Joseph and another of their five grown sons (and I have an original copy of that photo!).

One mysterious find within the pages of my copy was this hand-written poem:

"Only One" by George Cooper

“Only One” by George Cooper

The poem was folded and on the front says “To Mother.” Googling the first line of the poem turns up lots of results, one of which can be found here: http://bartleby.com/248/1205.html

I’m fascinated by who may have copied this poem down — it is possible it was written for Elmer’s wife. It’s also possible that this book belonged to a different owner since Elmer and it was written by or for that owner or one of their relatives. The poem apparently pre-dates the book.

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!