Showing posts sorted by relevance for query claude. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query claude. Sort by date Show all posts

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Are You Missing Out?

What would he be like?  Would he look like his pictures?  How comfortable would it be to visit with him?  Would we have anything to say after the initial polite introductions?  I had butterflies in my stomach and many questions running through my  mind as I drove down to the Family History Library recently to do research and meet a distant cousin.

Back in 2000, Claude and I began emailing while searching for more information about Martin Ayers. I had shared some information about Martin on  Rootsweb  and Claude saw the information and contacted me to see what the connection was. We then began the typical exchange of sharing information and working together to try and fill in the blanks on our family trees. As is so often the case, he had things I did not have and visa versa, so we were able to help each other.  We have continued to stay in touch for 13 years now.
Claude and I with our spouses at
This is the Place Heritage Park

Martin Ayers was born in 1796 in Greenville, South Carolina and his wife, Sarah Simmons, was born 13 July 1800 in Greenville, South Carolina.  They married 31 August 1817 in Greenville, but eventually moved to Georgia, where they were living when they died.  They are both buried at the Bethlehem Baptist Church Cemetery in Haralson County, Georgia.  A picture of the cemetery and their headstone can be found here.

Claude was researching Martin and Sarah’s daughter, Mary Anne Ayers, who married William W. Johnson and I was interested in Martin Ayers for several reasons.  Martin and Sarah’s daughter Nancy E. Ayers was the first wife of James W. Ganus, who was brother to my 2nd great grandfather, John Monroe Ganus. In addition, Martin and Sarah’s son, Reuben Ayers,  married Frances L. Rainwater, who was sister to my 2nd great grandmother, Olivia Rainwater Ganus.  Claude generously shared pictures of descendants and pictures from his trip to Georgia and I shared information that I had been able to find at the Family History Library.

A few weeks ago Claude and his wife flew in with his local genealogy society for a week of research at the Family History Library and so, after all of these years, Claude and I were able to meet.  The initial nervousness left as soon as I met Claude and his wife.  Their kindness was immediately evident and their deep Texas drawl warmed this displaced southerner to her very core. 

View of Antelope Island
From the marina at the Great Salt Lake

We spent time researching at the library together while sharing more information and enjoyed going to lunch and getting to know each other better.  In addition, my husband and I were able to spend some time showing Claude and his wife some of the local sites. I had a great time and was so grateful to finally meet this distant cousin and his wife.

From family reunions to research field trips, there are many opportunities to step outside of court houses and libraries into the present and make connections with cousins---opportunities that I don't want to miss.

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2013

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

From Murder Scene to Picnic Spot

Was this really the spot?  Families picnicked, children squealed in delight as they chased each other around the playground and a baseball field begged for boys to come play.  Initially one would never suspect this to be the site of the double cabin where George W. McCleskey was murdered.

Park where the Double Cabin stands

Intrigued by the story told earlier on this blog about the  shoot out at the double cabin,  a cousin decided on the way to a family reunion recently to take a little detour to Holland Lake in Weatherford, Texas to see the cabins for himself.  Claude Chambers took pictures and generously shared them with me.  The historical marker confirmed that he had the right place.

The marker reads:
At Holland's Lake * A monument to the pioneers of Parker County * The east room with bullet scarred walls shows where George McCleskey was killed by Indians in 1873 * The west room was Dan Waggoner's Headquarters Ranch House built in 1855 * Adopted meeting place for old settlers reunions
Orange arrows indicate where most of the
bullet holes can be seen
The cabins are well preserved and easily accessible.  Claude and his wife were pleasantly surprised to find that they could view the John Bumgarner's cabin up close.  The bullet holes still remain in the cabin.  As can be seen above, the cabin includes a "dogtrot." Dogtrots, which are primarily seen in the South, provide a breezeway which allowed ventilation.   Naturally it was generally the coolest spot in the house and I am sure was a real bonus in the blistering Texas heat.

Close up of the cabin's east wall
Although the cabin was moved several years ago, it was carefully reassembled to preserve the history of the cabin.  Originally built in an isolated area near Holland Lake in the late 1860's, today the cabin's surroundings stand in sharp contrast to their original location. Although the marker indicates that George McCleskey was killed in a shootout outside the cabin in July of 1873, as people stop and read the marker, peer into the windows and maybe even stick their fingers into the bullet holes,  I imagine very few know the full story or comprehend the impact that event had on the wife and children who were left behind.  

Thank you cousin Claude for taking time to visit the double cabin and for sharing with me your visit to this piece of family history!  

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2014

Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Look Back before Moving Forward 2016

This year has been a difficult year for our family, consequently, it has been challenging for me to keep up with blogging. But as I looked back over my blog posts, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much progress has been made.

Among the highlights are new cousin connections which led to new clues, new photos and personal stories about common ancestors. One special lady, Sue Conklin, shared a beautiful picture of an ancestor, Lucille Rainwater, as well as details about Lucille's life. Although I had found a great deal about Lucille through research, there were gaps of understanding that only a living direct descendant could provide and I was so thankful for Sue's help. I shared Lucille's story HERE. Betty Wedgeworth, a distant Gurganus cousin, found my blog and generously wrote and shared several stories about our Gurganus family, including a beautiful photo and story about her grandmother Lillie and her unbelievably long hair, which I shared HERE.  

The photo restoration company 399Retouch contacted me and offered to restore several of my old photos, so I sent them a couple of my most challenging photos. I was very pleased with the results and I shared those on my blog HERE and HERE. (Several of my friends, including one whose photos were damaged in a flood, have since used them and been extremely happy with the results.) 

Thanks to obituaries obtained through the Chattanooga Public Library, I was able to make considerable progress on my Faucett and Fricks line. One of the obituaries led me to a distant cousin who provided a photo of Burton Bartow Ganus, the son of David Ganus who was a brother to my second great grandfather, John Monroe Ganus. I was so excited the day I opened the mailbox and saw the manilla envelope with the words, "Photos, do not bend."  I tell that story HERE


It's always interesting to see which blog posts were visited the most. The following posts were my most popular, do you remember any of these? 

Getting Recharged - In this blog post I shared my experience when I attended the BCG* Lectures held in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. 

Making Sorghum Molasses the Old Way - Cousin Floyd Ganus, a descendant of Robert Lee Ganus and Stella Montgomery, shared his memory of learning to make sorghum molasses with his grandfather. 

Photos! Do Not Bend! - In this post, I shared the excitement of finding a new cousin and of the letter and photos that she sent. 

Guest Blogger-Lisa Lisson - Blogger Lisa Lisson, author of the blog, Are You My Cousin? shared some tips and tricks for identifying old photos. 

Just a Beat up Ole Fork - Sometimes the simplest possessions can become treasures to the recipient. What began as a preference of a particular eating utensil at my grandma's dinner table, became a connection to a grandfather I never knew. 

Where is My Peach Pie?  Distant cousin, Betty Wedgeworth shared a humorous story about my third cousin twice removed, Benjamin Powell Gurganus "Dock" and his wife Trannie J. Cain. The story made me laugh and left me wishing I had known them personally. 

A Poor Substitute for a Sandwich In this blog post, I share an entry from my grandma's personal history where she shares her introduction to a sandwich she had never heard of before. 


It's really interesting to see which of my blog posts over the years continue to draw visitors. The most popular posts all include a little mystery and most needed several posts to tell the full story. The following continue to be the top posts: 

The Stories Their Faces Tell -In this post, I share the sad realization of why my great-grandfather's brother, Newton L. Ganus's was the only one smiling in the family photo. 

From Murder Scene to Picnic Spot - Shirttail cousin, Claude Chambers visits the scene of a murder in our family history and is surprised to see what the spot has become over the years. 

Piecing Together Their Lives- This is a three-part series in which I share the exciting email I received from cousin Karen and the discovery that resulted. 

Moonshining in Alabama - There really is no competition when it comes to this three part series about a murder trial of a moonshining ancestral cousin. Written in 2013, this continues to be the most popular post on my blog.   

This past year I continued to pursue opportunities to learn by attending Rootstech 2016 in February, the BCG Lectures in SLC in October, and in December I finally completed the last of the required courses for a certificate in American research from the National Institute for Genealogical Studies

I've also continued to interview bloggers as part of the "May I Introduce to You" team at GeneaBloggers which has provided many wonderful opportunities to get to know other bloggers and to learn from them. Everyone has a story to tell and experience to share. 

All in all, there have been many good things this past year. Hopefully, the coming year will bring more new cousin connections, more family tree discoveries, and more opportunities to learn and share.

*BCG is an acronym for the Board for the Certification of Genealogist

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2015, All rights reserved