When Family History Falls Into Your Lap

Sometimes family history just falls into your lap.

Literally!

Elma Talbott - ~1923

Elma Talbott – ~1923

I have been working little by little to scan all my great grandmother Esther Richardson Talbott’s letters and correspondence.  I’m making good progress with this project.

As I was preparing to scan a June 1923  letter from Bossy Talbott to his mother-in-law Hattie Richardson this photograph fell into my lap.

Who was this little girl?  She looked so much like my grandfather Crafton Talbott, but was much too young to have been him in 1923.

A phone call with my Dad a few days later and the mystery was on its way to being solved.

We are fairly confident the little girl is Elma Lee Talbott (1920-1999). She would have been between 2 and 3 years of age when this photograph was taken.  Elma was the third child and youngest daughter of  Boss Henry Talbott and Esther Lee Richardson of Halifax County, VA.  This is by far the youngest photograph I have seen of her.

I wanted to get a better look at the two men in the photograph.  I cropped them out and enlarged the photograph.

Joe Merritt Talbott

Unidentified Man and Joe Merritt Talbott

The man leaning against the tree is my GG grandfather Joe Merritt Talbott (1861-1950).

The third man sitting on the wagon?  I have no clue.

Talbott Cousins – Does anyone recognize this man?

This photograph was taken on the front porch of what the family referred to as the log cabin and was the home of Boss Talbott and his wife Esther.  Joe Merritt Talbott owned a house and land next door on present day Old Cluster Springs Rd in Halifax County, VA.  That house was always referred to as “the big house”.

Funny how we still refer to those houses as the” log cabin” and the “big house” even though neither have been in the family for years.

 

Where Third Cousins Meet

I thought about titling this post:

This Is Why I Blog

I met Laura and Ruth recently in August.

Third Cousins Laura and Lisa

Third Cousins Laura and Lisa

Earlier in August Laura contacted me because she had found her great grandfather Britton Howard mentioned here on my blog.  Britton Howard was the brother of Connie Howard, my great grandfather. That makes us third cousins. (Thank goodness for those family relationship charts online!) Her grandmother Ruth is Britton Howard’s daughter.

The three of us had a lovely time sipping coffee at Starbucks and sharing family history stories.  As brothers, Connie and Britton were quite different.  Connie worked in construction and Britton went into ministry as a minister. Cousins, did you know Britton’s nickname was Teague?  Our side of the family referred to him as Uncle Brit. Did you know that he was struck by lightening as a young man?

What did Ruth remember about my grandfather Lester HowardHe was special.  (I think so, too!)

Ruth and Lisa 2

Lisa and Ruth (Britton Howard’s Daughter)

Here is a photograph of the two brothers.

Connie and Britton Howard

Connie and Britton Howard

 Family, stories and new friendships. 

Isn’t this what family history is about?

 

 

Percy Haley Identified

Back in April 2012, I posted a photograph taken on the Clarkton Bridge near Clarkton, VA. At the time I did not know who the young man on the right of the photograph was.

Clarkton Bridge  1910

Clarkton Bridge 1910

I showed this photograph to a few cousins at the Haley family reunion I attended in Keysville, VA this past August.

One of my “new” cousins quickly said, “That’s my Daddy.”

Percy Haley 1910

Percy Haley 1910

And just like that, the young man on the right of the photograph  was identified as Percy Haley, son of William and Clara Haley. Another cousin dated the photograph as being taken in 1910.  The wagons are from the Clarkton plantation where Will Haley was the overseer. (Thanks, Emmit and Stanley!)

I was thrilled to have the young man identified, but perhaps more excited to see Percy son’s eyes light up when he saw a long forgotten photograph of his father. I spend much of my time researching family history and genealogy , but it is these moments and connections with family members that mean the most.

Connections to family.

Connections to a shared history.

Connections to the present.

The Labor of My Ancestors

I originally posted this on Labor Day 2010.  I thought it would be fun to re-visit my ancestors’ occupations today.

With Labor Day upon us, I began thinking about the type of work my ancestors did. I thought it might be fun to make a list of the occupations they did. So I started with my paternal side of the family:

*Farmer

Okay, this might be a very short list! My grandfather Crafton Talbott was the first of the family to leave the family farm. He was very gifted mechanically and worked in manufacturing eventually retiring from JP Stevens.

I moved onto my maternal side of the family.

*Farmer (I’m seeing a trend here.)
*Maker of turpentine
*Sawmill owner – I think they made lumber from the pine trees they cut down to make turpentine.
*Shoemaker
*Construction worker
*Minister
*Postmaster

Okay, what occupations did your ancestors do?

I’m Still Here!

It is safe to say that over the summer my blogging has been sporadic. I really had no intention of taking a summer blogging break, but well, summer happened…

…And a LOT of genealogy happened!

It came from many different sources and from several family lines.  Some of the information I actively sought, other bits just found me.  I’m still sorting everything out.  :)

So, while we get back into a school routine around here, I am going to continue my blogging break and return to blogging on Sept 1st.  I have so much to tell you and share with you.  I can’t wait!

Utiley Jane Harward

Utiley J Harward

Utiley J Harward

The above is an from the Harward Family Bible.  Until this week, I never knew the real identity of this individual.  I was not able to decipher the first name. I was not even sure if this person was a male or a female. The general consensus of my Harward (Howard) family line thought this might be a daughter named Utilda.

Now I know her real name.

Utiley J Haward.

Daughter of George and Elizabeth (Sugg) Harward of Moore County, NC.

Sister to my GGG grandfather Caswell Suggs Harward.

Learning Utiley’s identity opened up  a whole new branch on this family tree.

Utiley Jane Harward (b. 10 Nov 1825) married James Bridges in 1852 in Chatham County, NC where they made their home. Utiley and James had six children: Malinda, James Paschal, Robert Davis, John Yates, Sandy Wilson, and Amos Caswell.  Utiley died 7 Aug 1888.  She is buried in the Gum Springs Baptist Church cemetery in Chatham County, NC.

I discovered Utiley’s identity quite by accident. The same researcher who provided the delightful oral history on George Harward is a descendant of Utiley and James Bridges. He is graciously sharing his knowledge of this side of the family.

 

 

 

 

Serendipitous Genealogy – Finding Oral History Where You Least Expect It

Don’t you just love it when you stumble across a bit of family history when you are not even looking for it?

Signing onto Ancestry.com to do a quick look up, I noticed another researcher had downloaded a photograph of Caswell and Mary Adline Harward – my GGG grandparents from Moore County, NC now Lee County, NC.

Caswell and Mary A. Harward (Howard)

Caswell and Mary A. Harward (Howard)

Curious how this researcher and I might be related I clicked over to their family tree. Looking at the various Harwards on the tree I found interesting  oral history regarding my GGGG grandfather George Harward. I contacted the owner of the tree who graciously pointed me in the direction of the gentleman who originally posted the information.  Turns out this gentleman descends from George’s daughter  and Caswell’s sister Utiley Harward. With his permission, I have posted this newly found information on George Harward.

He was married twice.  All of his children were by his first wife, Elizabeth Sugg, who died in 1854 and was buried at Juniper Springs Baptist Church Cemetery in what is now the Broadway township of Lee County.   George was also a member of Juniper Springs Church having served in 1857 as a delegate to an Association meeting that led to the church becoming part of the Sandy Creek Association of Baptist churches.  George’s son, Caswell Suggs Harward, was superintendant of Sunday school at the church and, later, served as its pastor.

 During the illness of his first wife, Margaret Oliver was hired to work in the home and help care for Mrs. Harward.  After his wife died, George vowed that he would marry a young wife the second time and he did so when he married Margaret Oliver who was 30 years his junior.  Both wives were known as good housekeepers.

 George Harward died about 1871 and it was his wish to be buried on his farm under his favorite apple tree next to his second wife who evidently died shortly before he did.  The exact location of these graves is not known.  The farm eventually came to be owned by a Thomas family.

How fun is that!

(I have long since forgotten what my “quick look-up” was about.)

DAR – It’s Official!

Back in January I started the application process to join the DAR.  I gathered the necessary paperwork on my Revolutionary War ancestor James Harward from Wake County, NC.

Look what came in the mail recently.….

My DAR New Member Information

My DAR New Member Information

James is in the DAR database under the spelling Harwood.  As with many names during the 1700′s and 1800′s, names were often spelled (?misspelled) a variety of ways.  Harwood is the predominant spelling in the Revolutionary War pension  records, yet Harward is the predominant spelling in other traditional genealogy records – censuses, tax lists, deeds, etc.

(When all else fails, spell phonetically.)

 

 

This Has Nothing To Do With Genealogy…

….But it sure was fun!

We headed to Canada for vacation this summer. We enjoyed a  nice visit with friends and seeing the sights of Niagara Falls – from both the Canadian and the American sides. Of course a trip up close and personal to the Canadian Falls on the Maid of the Mist was a must.  I think my shoes have finally dried out!

Which Way Do We Go?

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls – Simply Amazing!

There was not an ancestor in sight and that was just fine.

I have been making “family history memories” with my own family and that’s just as it should be.

Next we were off to Toronto. (Go Blue Jays!)

 

Mom Takes Another Roadtrip……

…to Halifax, Virginia! (Cue the music…On the road again…)

Halifax County, VA Courthouse

Halifax County, VA Courthouse

The Halifax County, VA courthouse is perhaps my favorite place to research!

I checked in at the front desk where a very nice worker inquired if I had done research at the courthouse before.  When I informed her that I had, she said, “Help yourself.” I proceeded into the record room where floor to ceiling records awaited me.  And yes, I did help myself.  I also had extra help this trip- thanks, Mom and Dad!

This trip to the Halifax County courthouse was focused on Elliott family research.  While my ancestor King Elliott (~1792-1838) lived in Mecklenburg County, VA, his presumed brother Augustine Elliott was found in Halifax County for a brief time.  There were also many Elliotts living in Halifax County in the early 1800′s.  They lived in the Aaron’s Creek area where the creek serves as the county line between Halifax and Mecklenburg Counties.  When my previous trip to the Mecklenburg County courthouse turned up very little on my Elliotts, Halifax County was the logical next step in the research plan.

Negative evidence was in abundance for my research plan as well as a few clues:

  • Many Elliotts were found, but King and Augustine Elliott did not appear to associate with the Halifax County Elliotts – at least not in the legal system.
  • In the 1830′s Augustine Elliott was found in debt to Robert Y Overby of Mecklenburg County.
  • The Elliott, King and Overby families lived close together and associated with each other.
  • Mr Martin – the genealogy researcher (expert!) at the courthouse on Thursdays and Fridays – told me many Halifax County surnames are found in Person and Caswell Counties, NC. Don’t forget those North Carolina border counties!

This week I am sifting through the information I gathered at the courthouse and generating new research plans for the King Elliott line.

Note: If you plan on researching at the Halifax County courthouse, be sure and go on a Thursday or Friday when their genealogy rearcher Mr Martin is there.  Also, the chancery records for Halifax County, VA are currently in Richmond being digitized.  I look forward to being able to search these records online!

 

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