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!

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!

Photo Puzzler

This blog has been quiet because I was on vacation the past week with my fam on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Below is a photo of four cousins (including moi, on the right). One of them is my sister and the other two are sisters. Can you guess who is who? If you know already or played along on Facebook, please refrain from posting a comment. I will update this post with the answer in about a day (Answer now posted below!).

Four cousins, two sets of sisters. Can you figure out who is who?

UPDATE: That’s my sister, Carolyn, in the bright blue tank top. The other two, Shannon on the left and Kelly, are sisters as well. Kelly and I strongly favor our dads in appearance, though our fathers were not related except by marriage (we also have almost the exact same food allergies). Shannon and Carolyn both have their moms’ darker hair.

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

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!

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!

Wordless Wednesday: Jockey’s Ridge Sand Castle

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Jockey’s Ridge is a huge sand dune on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The Outer Banks are barrier islands that are constantly moving. Jockey’s Ridge moves with them, swallowing the properties on its perimeter. In this photo from 1999, I’m standing of what remained of a putt-putt course miniature castle, now barely visible. The scene has even changed since then — see other photos of the same area on Flickr.

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.