Monday, January 26, 2015

Searching for Perry

It has been over a month since my last post about the Perry family.  While I am not going to share all that I found on each family here, I am willing to share with anyone that has an interest. You can contact me using the "Email me"  link on the main page.  I will say that I feel a little disappointed with what I found, or should I say, what I did not find.

While I knew it was a long shot, I had hoped that as I researched down through the generations, I would eventually find Ganus and Perry families living near each other or some evidence of a close relationship.  In my family we have three generations of family members using the name Perry as a first or middle name and the story is that years ago there was family of significance with that name.

Therefore I was excited when I discovered that my second great grandmother's sister had a child who married into a Perry family. However, it does not appear that the descendants of my second great grandmother, Olivia (Rainwater) Ganus and her sister Frances (Rainwater) Bailey, ever lived close to each other even though Olivia and Frances chose to live close to one another during much of their married lives in both Alabama and Georgia.  One of Frances' daughters married a Perry and they eventually migrated to Oklahoma, as did Olivia's children, however the Ganus family was generally in the Oklmulgee County area of Oklahoma and the Perry family ended up in the Comanche County area, a distance of nearly 200 miles.
Map:  Federal Census Bureau Map 

On the maternal side of my family, my Grandma Hostetter provided a glimpse into the relationship between her family and her mother's sister's family in her journal. She documented a trip her family took from their home in Colorado to an aunt's home in Utah. Although the two families never lived in close proximity to each other, her journal entries helped establish the fact the two families remained in contact. Unfortunately, to my knowledge, no journal or any letters exchanged between family members exist for either the Ganus or Perry family and there seems to be nothing to suggest that the descendants of the two families were aware of each other, at least certainly nothing that warranted the naming of children after the other. If anyone has evidence to the contrary, I would love to hear from you.
Charles F. Perry, Hubert Perry, Huey Perry, Sam Crenshaw, Mary Ann Ayers Perry, Gerushia Laura Perry
Mary Ann Ayers Perry, along with her children
Courtesy of descendant, David
A descendant of Mollie's shared the above picture with me. He regretted that the photo is in such poor condition, but it is exactly as he received it.  It is always icing on the cake to have a picture.  I am thrilled that the photo exists and that he generously shared the photo with me and allowed me to in turn share it with you. Thank you David!

Back row, left to right:  Charles F. Perry b. 1886,  twins Hubert and Huey (source unsure of which twin is which), last man is likely Sam Crenshaw (Gerushia's husband).  Bottom row: First two women are likely in-laws, then Mary Ann (Ayers) Perry and Gerushia Laura Perry b. 1884.


Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2015, All rights reserved

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Understanding the Law Brings Perspective

It's Wednesday following the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy 2015  and I finally have a few minutes to share my experience. SLIG was a fun yet intense week of studying many aspects of the law with Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist, and Rick Sayre.  I have long wanted to take a class that would help me understand how the law affected my ancestors' lives and that would teach me how to find those particular laws, so I was excited to take the course The Family History Law Library.

 Rick Sayre and Judy Russell 
As January arrived, I began to worry. Would I understand what was taught? Would I be able to keep up? Would I retain what I learned so that I could use it? Would there be a lot of homework and would I be able to do the homework?

Well leave it to Judy and Rick to ensure that yes, we would understand what was taught and yes, we would keep up
(most of the time anyway). The class was fun and engaging as we learned many of the ways the law impacted our ancestors' lives.  And of course we also learned where to find those laws as well.

With the help of an excellent syllabus and scads of documents in our Google Drive, Judy and Rick made sure we would have the needed resources to help us as we review what we learned and continue in our quest to better understand the law.

And yes, there was homework. It challenged me and made me think, even though my brain rebelled and did its best to convince me that the homework was too hard and that I was much too tired.

Among other things, we covered state courts, Federal courts,  legislative and executive records, state property law, the Serial Set, immigration and naturalization.  We learned about civil law, common law, family law, probate law and military law. We learned about Irish law, German law and  then about French law as we delved into Louisiana.  It was fabulous and exhausting all wrapped up into one wonderful week.

It made me realize how many of the difficult to understand situations in my ancestor's lives are woven in and around the law and I am anxious to dive in and see if applying what I learned can help me to at least understand my ancestors a little better but also hopefully take me a step further in solving some of my never ending genealogical mysteries.

Thank you so much Judy Russell and Rick Sayre for a fantastic week!

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2015, All rights reserved

Friday, January 9, 2015

GONE FISHING

GONE FISHING

I have had a lot of personal demands these past couple of weeks and will be attending the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy this coming week.  Rest assured, I have more stories to tell and will be back at it as soon as I can!  



Saturday, January 3, 2015

Looking Back on 2014


Me under the Christmas Tree 
Christmas is over and I've put away the last of the decorations. As I welcome in the new year, I find myself reflecting back on this past year. There have been both challenges and good things in 2014. 

Last year I took advantage of many opportunities to expand my knowledge in genealogy. In January I kicked off the year by attending  the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy’s course “Southern Research,” with J. Mark Lowe. In February I attended Rootstech  and thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of what is touted as the largest genealogy conference. 

Definitely one of the highlights of my year was the trip my husband and I took in May to Richmond, Virginia to attend the National Genealogy Society's Convention where I took many wonderful classes and met new friends. 

In the fall I was invited to be part of the May I Introduce to You team at Geneabloggers and I've really enjoyed the opportunity to work with Thomas MacEntee,  Gini Webb, Wendy Mathias, Jana Last, and Tessa Kough. I have learned so much from each of them.  I have also really enjoyed interviewing and getting to know other genealogy bloggers.

This year more than in the past I stepped out of my comfort zone and did things I may not have done in the past and it has been wonderful! It's been a good lesson to me that risk brings with it growth, new experiences and new friends.

I've also learned a lot about my own family history in the process of writing the posts for this blog. Below are the top visited posts for 2014.

TOP 10 POSTS FOR 2014 

1.  From Murder Scene to Picnic Spot . As I looked at a horrific incident in an ancestor’s life, I was surprised to learn what this site looks like today and how it is used.

2.  Walking theSunken Road.   My trip to Virginia allowed me to visit many Civil War sites. Here I share my experience as I walked on the site where an ancestor had fought.  

3.  For the Love of Tula.  Thanks to several photos in my grandma’s little suitcase, I decided to step into Tula’s world where I learned about my great grandmother’s little sister.

4.  Tula’s First Child’s Casket.  These simple words on the back of the photo compelled me to take time to find the story and learn which of Tula's children lay within. 

5. More Than A Number.  As I visited an unmarked grave in Richmond’s Hollywood Cemetery,  I was taken by the fact that this ancestor's entire life was represented by a simple number, when his life was so much more.

6.  Ernest’s Final Return to Oklahoma. This post tells the story of Ernest Ganus who, after leaving Oklahoma several times to seek work and life in other states, made his final return home. 

7.  A Little Bit of Heaven.  This post was inspired by a picture of my grandpa and his brother on a small raft in the middle of a pond.

8.  Three Brothers, Three Roads.  I looked at the different paths taken by three brothers who were orphaned at a young age.

9.  He Never Came Home.  This tells the story of Reuben Ayers and what came of his family following the Civil War. 

10.  Will Our Children Need Paleography? This post was inspired by the realization that many of today's school children do not learn to read or write cursive. Will they be able to read anything I leave behind? 


Here's looking towards 2015 with hopes for many more good things to come! 



Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2015, All rights reserved



Thursday, December 18, 2014

Do You Remember . . . "He Knows If You've Been Bad or Good"

I remember so clearly the fun and anticipation of Christmas morning.   I laid awake for what seemed like most of the night, waiting for my parents to come and tell us that Santa had come.  Although we almost always got up between 5 and 6 a.m. (yes, you read that right), it never came soon enough for me.  I can remember getting up and flushing the toilet more than a few times, just in case my parents were sleeping too deeply to remember to get up.

Me (left)  and my neighbor, Robin Bean,visiting Santa Claus
Bakersfield, California 
I don't remember ever feeling afraid of Santa. I just remember being excited to see him in parades, the department stores and at parties.

I do remember being startled one evening when we heard a knock on our living room window while my family was watching TV together. We lived way out in the country and didn't have neighbors, so we seldom had anyone knock on our door, much less on our window.  I remember someone cautiously pulling back the curtains and seeing SANTA standing right there just outside our big living room window!

Through the window Santa reminded us to be good and promised to bring us toys on Christmas morning if we were, then he waved and was gone.  After that, I found myself listening for him all of the time. Santa actually visited us that way 2 or 3 times during my childhood. Years later as adults, as my brothers and I were talking, we realized that, sadly, my dad had somehow managed to miss every one of Santa's surprise visits!

Talk about having a good incentive to behave! We knew for a fact then that Santa had been to our house and we never knew after that when he might be listening or what he might see. The simple fact that he had actually showed up at our house just underscored the words of the song:
"He knows when you are sleeping.  
He knows when you're awake
He knows if you've been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake!"
  
I would like to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and I hope that as we celebrate this Christmas season, we will remember that the Savior, Jesus Christ is the gift and the real reason we celebrate Christmas.  

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2014,  All rights reserved

Monday, December 15, 2014

Gone to Texas--The Perrys - Part 2

The Perrys were among many southern families who packed up their belongings and moved to Texas. By the year 1900,  James Perry and Mollie (Ayers)  and their nine children were living in Wood County, Texas, which is in the northeast portion of the state.  Initially predominantly an agricultural community, James continued to do what he knew best, which was farming.

Wanting to know what that part of Texas looked like, I did a quick google search for images. Having lived in Texas for a number of years, I am well aware that the snake population is alive and well in Texas, so it shouldn't have surprised me when numerous images of snakes popped up. Apparently Wood County, Texas has its share of snakes.

According to a "Soil Survey of Wood County, Texas" found here, Wood county is the home for a wide variety of venomous snakes such as rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths and coral snakes, along with a wide variety of non poisonous yet plenty cantankerous reptiles such as bull snakes, known for their bad attitude. Alligators are also found along the Sabine River of that county.

Although I know that southern folk are no strangers to such critters, I do cringe as I think of the Perry family trying to establish a home and farm where such critters resided in large numbers. In 1900 their oldest three, John Patterson Perry, 20 yrs old, James A., 19 years old and Laura, 15 years old were all of an age to be a significant help on the farm and around the house.  Although some of the younger boys likely helped around the farm as well, they were also of the age to be out running around exploring the countryside to see what they could find. Charles was 13, Robert 11, William 10 and Thomas was 5. The twins, Hugh and Hubert were only 3 years old at the time.

I know that as new ground is broken and disturbed when farmers plow in snake country, the dens or nests of snakes are often stirred up increasing the risk of snake bites. I also know all too well from my own upbringing how easily children can naively stumble onto unsuspecting reptiles. Poor Mollie had her work cut out for her.

In 1900, James and Mollie were living among many other southerners as well as other family members. One door down was Mollie's half brother John W. Perry and his wife, Mary Frances  (Hill) and their five children. Next to John's family was yet another brother, Robert Linfield Perry and his wife Jennie Lee (Howell).

I initially wondered if Mollie had a good relationship with her half siblings. Not only was Mollie the only child from her mother's first marriage to Reuben Ayers, but she was considerably older than her five half siblings.  She was eleven years old by the time her widowed mother Frances (Rainwater) Ayers married her step-father, Robert A. Bailey. In 1877,  the year that Mollie married James C. Perry, her mother delivered her last child, Frances Laura Bailey.  Two years later in 1879, Mollie delivered her first child, John Patterson, and therefore Mollie's youngest sibling and the oldest of her own children were only two years apart.

Although I am not sure if James and Mollie traveled to Texas with her brothers or if one followed the other, knowing that Mollie and her husband lived close to two of her half siblings when approximately 650 miles from "home" seems to suggest they had a good relationship.

Because my original question from my last post was "Is this Perry family responsible for the Perry name in my own family?, I need to know where both families were and if they had opportunity to interact.

In 1887 John Monroe Ganus and Olivia  (Rainwater), along with their five sons and their families moved to Colorado.  Then about 1897, the entire extended Ganus family moved from Colorado to Indian Territory, Oklahoma and were there in 1900.  With a distance of approximately 220 miles between the Perry family in Texas and the Ganus family in Oklahoma, clearly these families were not living anywhere close at this point.  However, the Perry name also would not be used in the Ganus family for thirty more years.  Would descendants of these families end up living close to each other? While I have no evidence of this at this point, I don't think it can be entirely dismissed...yet.

I do have some evidence that members of this extended Rainwater family from Georgia apparently managed to stay in touch with some of the other members over time and despite distance.

In 1900, Sanford Rainwater, born 1866 in Georgia is found living next door to John and Olivia (Rainwater) Ganus, his aunt and uncle.  I shared that story here. The Ganuses had moved from Georgia to Colorado where they remained for ten years before moving to Oklahoma. Georgia born Sanford Rainwater had been living with his parents, John Rainwater and Bargilla (Moore) in Upshur County, Texas, for roughly 30 years prior to his move to Oklahoma.  It had been over 30 years since the two families had lived in Haralson County, Georgia, and yet they became neighbors. Remember this is before the age of Google and cell phones.

Apparently these Rainwater families and their descendants did maintain some awareness of each other over time, despite moves to various states and great distance, but the question remains, did Frances' and Olivia's descendants establish and maintain enough of a relationship for this to be my Perry connection? There is yet more research to be done.

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2014,  All rights reserved


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

FGS 2015-Don't Forget the Family History Library!

Just in case fabulous classes, an enormous exhibit hall and great keynote speakers are not enough to entice you to attend the FGS 2015 Conference in Salt Lake City this February, let me remind you this conference will occur just down the street from the world famous Family History Library.

If you have never been to the library, it is hard to comprehend how enormous the library is.  With five floors of books, maps and microfilm for US, Canada, British Isles and International research,  it has something for everyone.

Elder Hanson
2nd Floor Greeter Desk
Recently they have made a few changes at the library. One very noticeable change is the reference area on several of the floors, which has made it a little more welcoming and comfortable.

The library has also changed the way we get help.  Trained volunteers are available to help with questions, but if you need additional help, a scheduler can set up a consultation with a specialist. The scheduler will then provide you with a restaurant style pager which allows you to continue researching until the specialist is available. I love this change! No more just standing in line waiting for help!
Pagers for Consultant help


At the Family History Library I love the freedom to pull and access both microfilm and books as I am ready. No waiting on reference people to pull the films for me or limiting the number of films I can view.


Tim Bingaman, AG, FHL, consultant stations
Tim Bingaman
AG at one of the new 2nd floor consultant stations
Although I do love the third floor which has an impressive collection of books for US research, I spend most of my time on the second floor which houses the US microfilm.

Court records, deeds, tax records, cemetery records, you name it, the library has it. Of course the available records vary depending on location and time period, but I love being able to research so many locations all under one roof.


While too numerous to mention in this post, the library has acquired collections not found everywhere, so don't stop with some of the more common sources. Take time to go through the FamilySearch Catalog and the Family Search Wiki ahead of time to learn about some of the less common resources available at the library.  One such example is the Leonardo Andrea manuscript collection. Leonardo Andrea was a professional genealogist who did research in the south.  This collection includes transcripts of Bible records, correspondence, genealogical sketches and many other types of materials on 125 rolls of film. Although he focused on South Carolina research, he did include other states such as North Carolina, Virginia and other southern states. Last time I viewed this microfilm, I was required to leave my driver's license with them until I was finished, so you may want to make sure you take your license along. To read about this collection, see here:


One of the many rows of microfilm
 at the FHL
You will want to make copies of the genealogy treasures that you find and there are some great options at the library. I know it is old fashioned, but I still like hard copies for much of what I find and copies at the library are a bargain at 5 cents a page. To make copies, it's necessary to purchase a copy card that can be used in the copy machines. The cards start at $2 each and can be purchased in a vending machine that takes cash or credit card. Another money saving option is to take a flash drive on which to save your documents.

The library houses a large
collection of books
You have likely read the section about preparing to research at the library on the FamilySearch site found here, but I want to add just a couple of things from my own experience. If you are bringing a laptop, be sure and bring a laptop lock. Although the library does feel very safe, it's always a good idea to protect your valuables.  If I don't have pockets in the clothing I am wearing,  I take a small purse that slips around my neck where I can stick things I want to keep with me like cash, credit/debit cards and my copy card.

Although I tend to get so involved I loose track of time, eventually my stomach will remind me to take a break to eat. I like to throw in a snack and a bottle of water in my bag to take to the main floor snack room when I need a break. There is also a wide variety of vending machines in the snack room. I enjoy the genealogy chatter and have met some fun people there. If I want to take time for a sit down meal, JB's is right next door. If I am in the mood for fresh air and a little exercise,  there are many eateries close by.

To top it all off, I am no longer surprised if while researching I look up and discover a fellow blogger or one of my favorite genealogist sitting across the table from me. Many if not most people attending the conference will try to sneak in at least a little time at the library and although we all want to take advantage of every minute we have for research, it's fun to see and meet others on a more personal level.  And that my friend, is just one more plus to the never ending list of reasons to attend FGS 2015.  I will be watching for you!

A special thanks to friend Linda Carver for taking and sharing the photos.  All photos used with permission.

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2014,  All rights reserved