Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Without Means of Support

Where would she turn next?  Alone and with limited means, Rebecca had to find a way to support herself. Her life had changed drastically in a few short years. 

It was 1852 in Macon, Georgia and Rebecca Gurganus was widowed and sixty nine years old.  If she and her deceased husband, David Gurganus, had children, there is no evidence of such and so, by all appearances, she was truly very alone.  

Rebecca had been married to David for thirty-six years.  She was 33 years old when she married David, a 53 year old widower with three boys at home. His boys James, David and John Wesley were all from his first marriage to Mary Swain and by 1830 were married and had moved away.

A Long Hard Winter, Library of Congress 1893 
In 1847, David had attempted to obtain his Revolutionary War pension, but like many applicants, he was unable to provide sufficient proof.  It had been 67 years since his first tour and while he remembered the names of a few men with whom he served, it had been almost 50 years since he lived in Pitt County, North Carolina where he entered the service. He then moved to Edgefield, South Carolina and later settled in Macon, Georgia.  It’s not difficult to imagine why he no longer had proof of his service and why none of the men with whom he had served were around to testify in his behalf.  


Beginning in 1849, David, aged, impoverished and with few options, turned to Bibb County for help.  From that time until his death, he and Rebecca appeared in the Inferior Court minutes on the Pauper Account, relying on the county for assistance.

Sometime in the early 1840s, David’s widowed daughter, Mary Ellen Pratt, who was in her early 50s, moved in with David and Rebecca and together they all lived about 4 miles from Macon, on the road to Forsyth.  Life was not easy, but they were together and for a time, that was enough.  Coming events would change Rebecca's life dramatically.

To see where Rebecca fits in, click on the Gurganus tab above and then select "David Gurganus Sr." 


Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2015, All rights reserved

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Tractor, Grandpa and Me


A few years ago while visiting our daughter's family in Washington state, I stood out in their back yard one beautiful spring morning and watched the field behind their house being plowed. Seeing the tractor make its way back and forth across the field took me back to my childhood summers spent with my cousins in Colorado. I have fond memories of driving the tractor as my cousins baled hay. As I stood out in the back yard that day, watching and remembering "the good ole days," our daughter's neighbor noticed my interest and invited me to ride along for a bit.


Heber Monroe Ganus, San Luis Valley Colorado


As I climbed up into the enclosed cab, I was amazed at how things have changed. With air conditioning, cushioned seats and a GPS system which ensures perfectly aligned rows, that tractor was a far cry from the open air John Deere I bounced and bumped around on so many years ago.

The funny thing is, the Deere that I drove was a vast improvement over earlier farm equipment, a fact verified by a few pictures I have of my Grandpa Ganus with plows.

I love the photo of Grandpa and his two children taken in the fields of the San Luis Valley of Colorado and I also love the photo below of him with a team and the plow behind.

I am not sure what type of fields they were plowing in either picture, but alfalfa fields are common there. 

Grandpa did not attend college and only had a seventh grade education, so he did what he could to provide for his family. He farmed, worked on a reservoir and in his later years worked as a mechanic.

Born in Oklahoma in 1900, he lived most of his life in Colorado, but due to health problems he returned to the lower elevation of Oklahoma in the final years of his life.  Grandpa passed from this life in 1964.  My how things have changed since Grandpa was alive.

Although riding in the modern tractor made me feel a little more removed from the soil, there were elements of plowing the field that felt the same as when I was a kid on that John Deere. I was out doors, the sun was shining and I felt joy from being out in nature. And while I know that plowing was a lot more work back in Grandpa's day, I can't help but wonder if he too loved the feeling of being outdoors behind the plow.

Heber Monroe Ganus, San Luis Valley Colorado



Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2015, All rights reserved

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