Tuesday, December 2, 2014

On The Lookout For Perrys - Part 1

Was this my Perry connection?    The name Perry has been used as a first name in my own immediate family and I was told that it was because of the importance of a family named Perry, but no one knew exactly who that family was.  

But as a result, I have long kept my eye out for a Perry connection somewhere.  As I worked on my Rainwater family, I was intrigued as I came upon a Perry family and couldn't help but wonder if this was the family.  
Photo generously shared by David, a descendant


Mary Ann Ayers,  or Mollie as many called her, was the only daughter of Reuben Ayers and Frances Rainwater.  Frances was a sister to my second great grandmother Olivia Rainwater.  

In 1877, when Mary Ann was 20 years old, she married James Crain Perry in Haralson County, Georgia.  So the question in my mind is, were the two families ever close enough that my Grandfather would have known and named his only son after this Perry family? The question led me on an adventure to get to know Mary Ann.


Mary Ann was born in October of 1857 in Carroll County, Georgia, but by the 1860 census, she moved with her parents Reuben and Frances Ayers to the hills of Calhoun County, Alabama. John and wife Olivia (nee Rainwater) Ganus and their children had also moved from Georgia to Calhoun County and were living just a few households away.  By 1870 Reuben, Frances and Mary Ann were back in Georgia and once again were living in close proximity to the John and Olivia Ganus family.  John and Olivia had three children by the time Mary Ann was born.  Mary Ann and William Franklin Ganus, my great grandfather were about three years apart. There is no doubt that the two families enjoyed each other’s company, as shared in this post. But both families would move multiple times to multiple states in the years that followed and I wondered, did the children several generations later have opportunity to know each other?  It will take some digging to see if they did and if indeed this family was responsible for the Perry name in my own family. 

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2014,  All rights reserved

4 comments:

  1. I don't think I've ever met any of my great-grandmothers' nieces and nephews, so to name a child for a person who married those cousins seems unlikely to me. But that's me. I wonder if the name just caught on and someone in your family who happened to know about the Perry family simply offered that as a possible explanation. If it turns out this distant cousin by marriage is the source of the name in your family, it suggests he must have been a well-loved man in a family with extremely close ties.

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    1. My grandparents lived in a small farming community their entire life and everyone knows everyone. If the Ganus family and Perry families had done that, I could buy it, but to my knowledge, that is not the case here, so I agree, it doesn't really make sense. I know the community where my grandfather grew up very well (it's that small farming community), but I know of NO Perry family. We will see what I can find if I dig.

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  2. It does seem like a far stretch, Michelle. But if this is the connection, there must be much more to that story.

    I wonder if researching local biographies might reveal anything on a significant Perry family--maybe someone in a position to be a benefactor to the family, as well as a distant relative. I've heard stories of families naming a child after someone for whom they wish to express great appreciation, even though their familial relationship was not close. Perhaps an additional connection like that might provide some explanation.

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    1. I sure agree Jacqi. I am going to chase the two families a bit. I know where they both end up, but haven't accounted for every member of the Perry family. That being said, the small community where my grandpa grew up just doesn't offer any help of a Perry family. I will see if I can find any local biographies to see if maybe a family lived there, but just didn't remain very long.

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