Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Am I ready to do a genealogy do-over? You betcha!

So, this was in my mail last week. Caught my attention because I am at an impasse on many of the relationships on my family tree. So and so says I have the wrong Yeakley...I have documentation that may not be correct. I have been working on this for years and I am ready to chuck the whole thing. Am I ready to start over? 

Along comes Thomas MacEntee from GeneaBloggers. He is starting over and is taking us along for the ride. Check out his link and see if it appeals to you too. There are lots of us who want a fresh start for many reasons. 

I can't wait until January 2 to begin again. I think it will be my best trip of the year!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

1934 - Merry Christmas from my grandparents and me

Ernest Marvin Yeakley (1886-1943) and Nancy Ellen Jones (1887-1938) were my grandparents. I never met them (they were gone before I was born) but they were and still are a part of my life because they lived on through my mom. I thought I had found all the really interesting stuff my mom left until I started back through it again. That's when I discovered this Christmas greeting my grandparents sent in 1934. What a treasure and what a treat. 

Merry Christmas from Marvin and Ellen Yeakley!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Clarence Eugene Yeakley - Uncle Gene

Found in my email on October 2, 2014, this was an unexpected blessing. It has been more than 50 years and yet Wayne felt that it was important to reach out and share this memory. I am so glad he did. 

Hello Ann;  I wrote the following note to you last night and then couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to post it. I’m kind of long winded and tried to shorten my story to you and still make sense. I liked your Uncle, and though didn’t know him all that well, found him a man easy to be around. Not all of the NCO’s treated the lower grades all that well he did. Anyway, here it is:

.Hello; My name Is Wayne Lee Derrick, age 73, retired here in Spokane, Washington. I served in the USAF from August 1959 to August 63.
I was stationed at Mather AFB from July 60 until discharge and in the same squadron as your Uncle Clarence.
In early July my wife and son left California early to return home and find us a place after my discharge. For reasons I don’t remember (probably getting the car repaired) I was riding back and forth to work with Clarence for a couple days. Another friend stopped by my office and asked if I wanted to stop at the NCO club for a beer and told me he could drop me at home. I agreed and after telling Clarence we went on our way. It was the day of his accident. On the way home we drove by the scene and saw the two vehicles. By all that is logical I should have been with him and would have been killed also.
If you would like more information about that day and for that matter about the work and position he held please contact me. I will be more than happy to talk to you. I hope you receive this email as that day has never left me.
I had an experience today while driving outside the city which startled me and it brought back the memory.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Didn't make through the 52 ancestors in 52 weeks

On May 1, 2014, my son, Niles, broke his leg warming up for a baseball game. This is where I share a very important note. If more than one child is running to catch a fly ball, make sure they call it. Unfortunately, the two boys were not clear on who was going for the ball and the resulting collision took my son out of baseball for the rest of the season. The good news is the other child was OK and only bruised.
Just home from the hospital. 

After 9 weeks in a cast, it was removed on July 1, 2014, and he is now learning to walk on it again. 
He is still supporting his team and although he can't play, attended all the remaining games. Here he is standing without his crutches.

What does this have to do with 52 ancestors in 52 weeks? He is a Yeakley descendant and so someday, will be an ancestor. The bigger pictures is before the story of the broken leg is lost, why not write it down and share the pictures. 

Taking care of him took much more time that I expected so blogging was one of those things that got left behind. Now that he is mobile, it is so much easier for him and me and I can resume a regular blogging schedule. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

52 Ancestors - Week 24 - Mary B "Polly" Morris 1798-1876

Mary B "Polly" Morris is my questionable link. Her parents are given as Charlotte "Lottie" Warner and William F "Billy" Morris. That seems to be correct as there is documentation. However, there is no documentation she married William B. Fussell. This is where those with private trees come in and accuse me of blindly copying incorrect trees right after they "borrow" a few photos from my very public trees. Nevertheless, I am am sticking with Mary B "Polly" Morris until proved wrong.

The only thing I can find is a census report from 1850. It lists her husband as William Fussell but the list of children does not completely match. Some of the names are the same but there are several that don't appear on my records. That makes it suspect. For example, their daughter, Martha Mary Fussell is my 2nd great grandmother. Although I have yet to find a death date, there is plenty of documentation confirming she is related. The documentation was discovered by my mom a long time ago. Still, on the census, the name and date don't match. 

There is a book called Trinity County Beginnings, published in 1986, that mentions William B Fussell and Mary B "Polly" Morris. It does state they had ten children but it doesn't share their names. Since family written books are suspect and I don't know if there are sources attached, I am going to say that it is true and continue to research the missing pieces. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

52 Ancestors - Week 23 - Wettenhall Warner 1736 - 1819

This is not a proven relative. Wettenhall Warner might be my 5th great grandfather but he is on the other side of the 4th great grandparents that I am having trouble proving. He was the husband of Elizabeth Sarah Cargill, one of the relatives on the way back to the Mayflower.

Wettenhall has a stellar history. He was an Irish immigrant. Although there is no military history, he was the Justice of the Peace in Orangeburgh, South Carolina during the Revolutionary War. And there's a tasty tidbit about him possibly related to Pocahontas. This is how family rumors are started but this can never be proved. My cousin has a much more interesting family that I have and I would love to tell her that I am related to Pocahontas. I need a feather in my cap (pun intended).

His father-in-law left him land in his will and it appears the family was well-to-do. They were also deeply religious and were the founding members of the oldest Baptist Church in South Carolina.

Monday, May 26, 2014

52 Ancestors - Week 22 - Melendez Morgan Yeakley 1868-1946

I hate to say this but we have a family member who is less than perfect and therefore interesting. Melendez Morgan Yeakley was the brother of my grandfather. My grandfather, Ernest Marvin Yeakley, was perfect. Not that he wasn't interesting but he was just a very good man, father, and husband. M. M. Yeakley apparently did not get all the Quaker genes.

 Morgan Melendez Yeakley
I think he was a very good looking young man. It's an interesting picture as I see the same expression on my oldest son. 

M M (as he was called) was born in Collin, Texas on March 17, 1868. He was the oldest son of George O. Yeakley and Lydia Grubbs. He was 18-yrs-old when my grandfather (the youngest child) was born. 

In 1887, he married Millie Elvina Robison. He was 19, she only 15. However, it was a marriage made to last as they celebrated their 50th anniversary on December 4, 1937. 

 Morgan Melendez and Mille Robison golden wedding anniversary

In 1904, M M was the postmaster for Mountain View in Cooke County, Texas. In the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, there was a blub about Mr. Yeakley. It reads, "M M Yeakley, postmaster at Mountain View Cooke County, who is under a charge of violating the postal laws, had a hearing before the commissioner at Sherman and has been released on $500 bond." Unfortunately, I don't find any other remarks concerning this case so don't know the whole story or the outcome. However, the Quaker genes must have kicked-in because the rest of his life seems to be ideal. He does look sort of angelic in the photo below.  

Morgan Melendez Yeakley158

M M died in Gainesville, Texas on April 14, 1946 at the age of 78. Millie followed him two years later on July 9, 1948. Her obituary says she was well respected for her exemplary citizenship. She must have had a very good effect on her husband. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

52 Ancestors - Week 21 - George O. Yeakley - 1809 - 1883

At last, an ancestor where there is information. How correct it is has yet to be determined but at least it gives me dates and places and a little bit of color. 

The source of the information is from, A 20th-Century History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas, by Capt. B. B. Paddock, published 1906, volume II, page 50. Right off the bat, the information on the arrival of the family is in question after finding out Benedict Yuchli  is not correct. Still, by the time George O. Yeakley came along, there is verified documentation. I want to make a trip to the Fort Worth Public Library to see this book. 

George O. Yeakley was born on February 23, 1809 in Greene County, Tennessee. He was the 8th of 13 children. His parents were Henry Yeakley and Susannah McNees. Susannah has her own history that is also documented. One thing said about her was mentioned in the Pictorial and genealogical record of Greene County, Missouri, was she was a “most excellent woman and deeply religious, a Quaker”. The family was affiliated with the New Hope Monthly Meetings in Missouri. 

Faith runs deep in this family. George married Lydia Grubbs on February 23, 1832 at the New Hope Monthly Meeting in Rheatown, Tennessee, on his 23rd birthday. She also came from a Quaker family and the four older children are documented in the Quaker records.  

They lived in Tennessee a long time but in 1870, we find him at 61-yrs-old living in Denton, Texas. There is some speculation that he moved about the time President Lincoln was assassinated which would have been in 1865. The records indicate that he was a teacher, farmer, and blacksmith but went on to become a doctor and the only one in Mountain Springs, Texas. 

He and Lydia raised six children, one of them my great grandfather, James Madison Yeakley.    

George died on April 13, 1883 at the age of 74 in Chico, Texas, and is buried in the cemetery there. Lydia passed away on November 18, 1881 at the age of 65. She is buried at the New Hope Cemetery in Gainesville, Texas. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

52 Ancestors - Week 20 - Benedict Yuchli and the Ephrata Cloister

Yeakle, Jackle. Juchli, and Yeakely: These are the names in the history books. Then there are the names used by census takers and other outsiders with more creative natures like Youghli, Yuchli, and Yuckley. What does this have to do with Benedict Yuchli and the Ephrata Cloister?

Benedict Yuchli was born in 1710 in Switzerland and arrived in Pennsylvania in 1736 at the age of 26. My mom's research indicates that he didn't live at the Cloister but had a farm nearby. There is documentation stating he provided lumber for the Cloister to build one of the larger buildings.

There is no mention of his wife's name but it believed her last name was Wenger and they had three children.

Benedict Yuchli died in November of 1741 at the age of 31. He was a very young man when he died and we don't have any indications of the cause of his death. However, he left two boys to carry on his name, regardless of how it's spelled.

Sounds good right?

Not so fast...My mother, the ultimate genealogist, tracked the family back to the Ephrata Cloister. She did it with actual footwork since the Internet was not available when she started. She actually gathered more documentation that can be found online so when I started on the Yeakley side, I had documents to scan and add to Ancestry.com. It is a shame that she never had the opportunity to use Ancestry.com. She would have loved it. At 80 years old, she was more computer savvy than most of the kids today. She has been gone 15 years and I am still wading through the documents, pictures, and notes she left for me.

While I have the documentation my mother gathered, I was having difficulty matching it with the information online. Just recently I ran across a conversation on Genealogy.com. In essence, it said that the book that everyone had used for research called "Counting Kindred" is wrong and George Yeakley married Anna Laucks, not Anna Deppen. Furthermore, the conversation went on to say that not only was the spouse of George Yeakley wrong, Benedict Yuchli was not the correct father and the Yeakley's we come from were not the ones that were at the Ephrata Cloister.

I contacted the Historical Society in Cocalico, Pennsylvania. They did a little research for me and found Benedict Yuchli was not the correct father for our side. They did confirm that our George Yeakley was correct and he did marry Anna Deppen. "Counting Kindred" was never documented and there are no sources to back it up. It has been discounted as a credible source. Written by Elmer Elsworth Deppen in 1867, at least we know the family migrated from Switzerland.

It seems that I am back to square one and completely frustrated at this turn of events. Still, we can count George Yeakley and Anna Deppen so we have a new starting point.

BTW, we have visited the Ephrata Cloister and I recommend a visit for anyone wanting to get a taste of how they lived. It is truly a magnificent place. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

A to Z blogging challenge reflection

This is my second year doing the A to Z blogging challenge. I did California destinations last year but this year it was a way to get a start on the other side of my family history. 

I am not really a blogger. Last year was my first attempt at maintaining some sort of schedule. I am also a lazy blogger but I did sign up to receive posts from the blogs I enjoyed so I can continue to read those. 

I was one of MJ's minions. It made me read blogs I would have otherwise overlooked. I do have a suggestion for next year though. I think all the blogs should have some sort of identification. Mine is clearly family history but there were many I didn't find until later that were topics I was really interested in. 

I scheduled most of my posts. That made it so much easier and I was free to spend more time reading others. If I do it again next year, I will follow the same schedule. 

I am glad the challenge is over because at the end of the month, our lives got dramatically busy. At least I was able to finish the month although I wan't able to read or comment on the last few days. I will go back and catch up when I have some breathing room.  

Thanks to the people who read my posts and left comments. They were appreciated. A big thanks to the other bloggers who enriched my life with their posts. I laughed and learned. 

52 Ancestors - Week 19 - Isaiah McNees

Isaiah McNees was born in Copte Hill, County of Cavan, Ireland in 1752. I looked it up and Copte Hill is a real place. That made me happy. This is one of those things I am unsure of because I haven't really looked at Ireland to know if places are right or wrong.

He arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1736 at the age of 16. This is where it all goes wrong. I was going to delete the whole post but decided to leave it in all it's misinformation so I know to go back and do the real research needed.

The source document on Ancestry.com is the "Pennsylvania, Quaker arrivals at Philadelphia (Meeting), 1862-1750". I consider this a valid source as the Quakers kept detailed records of who was a part of their meetings but it does muddy the waters. If Isaiah arrived in 1736, based on his birth year, he would have been 16. However, the meeting notes dated 21 Feb 1736 says:

"who hath lived within the compass of our meeting these Twenty years." He is about to "remove from hence with some of his Children (he being a Widower) to Pensylvania."

I have him married to Elizabeth with four children who were born after he arrived in America. So either the meeting note is incorrect or this piece of record belongs to another Isaiah McNees.

Rats, back to the drawing board.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Family history in the making

Some events in our ancestor's lives are missed because they are not documented. My grandson's goal is to play on a major league baseball team, specifically the Dodgers. He has been working towards this goal since he was five. 

He is a great ball player and has been taking lessons for pitching and was just starting catching until last Thursday's game. While warming up, he and his friend went for the same fly ball. In one of those freak moments, they collided and Niles broke his tibia in three places. 
Fortunately for him, baseball season is almost over. He is bummed out but he did play and pitch not only for his recreational league but his travel team as well. He was the catcher when he wasn't pitching. Is this going to get in the way of his goal? "No way", he announces. 

The doctors have said the cast time is six to eight weeks. After that, there is therapy. According to his pitching coach, the therapy will help him actually become stronger. 

I put this out there today so all the folks who watch him play for the Dodger's in the future will have this information. While this is a current event, it will become a piece of our family history. My grandson's children will know that he broke his leg doing what he loved and it did not stop him. It will tell them a little bit about him and his personality. And we are putting the Dodger's on notice, Niles is on his way. 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Z is for Zebra

These are zebras. One day someone will find this picture in a stash left by me. Maybe a grandchild will find it but more likely a great grandchild. It will not be a yellowed copy but one that is found online. I don't know how it will work then but I assume anything that is out on the Internet will be retrievable.

If you are like me, there are tons of pictures you have saved that are not identified. Just like all the old photos I have, some will never be named. The same could happen with the zebra picture.

What does this picture tell you? The zebra's are enclosed in a large paddock. Some are under the tree so we assume it's cooler there. There are trees in the background and it looks like a savanna. It looks like it might have been on a safari somewhere. Without knowing where this is, assumptions can be wrong.

The picture is full color and has been changed to make it look older. The zebra's are in Riverside County, California. They are owned by one of our neighbors who has a horse ranch where he raises thoroughbreds. I don't know why he has the zebras but when we first saw them, we were surprised. We pass them twice a day on the way to baseball practice and games and we can't afford to leave town much less go on a safari.

I am guilty of not identifying my photos. Thinking about it, I don't want to leave a mess behind for someone else. Today's genealogists and family historians are making inroads into the past left for us to find. We can make it easier for future historians so when they find my zebra picture, they will know it was taken in Riverside County, California in 2014.

Family history has many facets. Not only are we on the hunt for facts, we are totally delighted when we find pictures. One of the most amazing moments are when we find unexpected treasure in the way of photographs. 

My grandfather was a photographer and took lots of pictures. My mother was never without a camera. In fact, her Master Degree was in Audio/Visual and it was an exciting time in 1967 when technology was blooming. 

My cousin in Tennessee found a treasure trove of photos he didn't know he had. It was an exciting week as he sent the scanned photos to me and when I went to Tennessee, he handed me a CD with them as well. 

Cousins I find online also share photos and yesterday another one found me. We are now sharing photos of my Aunt Ruth, her grandmother. 

One of the problems with all these photos is the way they are organized. I read a post by James Tanner who had a useful suggestion. Here is the link to his article "Let the computer do its work of organizing your genealogy". Taking his advise, I started organizing my pictures. It is AMAZING. They don't appear to be in order but all of them are searchable. It is going to take a long time to go back and rename my photos and documents but in the end, what a time saver!

His way of handling documents is simple. Create one searchable file with documents named so they can be found by person, place, date or event. The computer does the work, why reinvent the wheel?  

The A to Z challenge ends today. It has been fun and a challenge but now, I'm looking at tomorrow. Tomorrow is the day that I start of the real challenge of cleaning up and identifying my own photos so when my grandson does the A to Z challenge years from now and adds pictures, he won't have to wonder who these people are or where they were taken.

Thanks you for reading and commenting on my posts. It has made the challenge a joy and I have had a very good time reading and learning about others. Big Smile!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Y is for Anneliese Yuenger (Pulvermann)

Big Anneliese is what she was called even after I surpassed her in height and weight. As I mentioned in my first post on the A to Z, my name is Ann Eliese. My mom named me after Anneliese Pulvermann, her best friend. They met in college and the friendship continued until their deaths. Everyone should have a Big Anneliese in their lives. I was blessed to have her and I loved her so much.

Anneliese was born in Hamburg, Germany on July 12, 1915. Her parents were Paul and Anna Pulvermann. I heard stories of the reasons she left Germany and her arrival in America but I don't know how true they are. I do know she applied for Naturalization on June 14, 1948. She entered the United States in 1943, coming from Canada to Vermont and was living in Colorado when she applied for the Naturalization. That is where she met my mother.  

Big Anneliese was a brilliant woman who raised three remarkable children. She did it without the help of her husband (Warren Yuenger) who may have been present physically but had no time for his family and often didn't even acknowledge their presence. My brother and I always thought he was a spy. In Santa Ana, he lived in the lowest level of the split level house and only came up to eat. I don't think that he ever spoke to me and only remember him talking to my dad once. He was a very strange man and a bit scary. 

Our families spent a lot of time together. Big Anneliese was a teacher and even our playtime was also a time for learning. I can say that much of my curiosity about things came from her. 

Her mother, Anna Pulvermann, (always called Mrs. Pulvermann), gave me a little blue plastic covered notebook when I was about six. It was my first diary and I still have it. Mrs. Pulvermann traveled between East Germany and America. It seemed to me that she spent more time in Germany but that may not be correct based on a notarized document she wrote in 1960. She was also an interesting woman and independent as well. 

Big Anneliese passed away on April 22, 1999 at the age of 82. She outlived my mom by 11 months. I think that in life, we are only given a few people who remain a part of our lives forever. Those relationships are precious. 

Anneliese's younger son named his first daughter Anneliese. He named his second daughter Ruby, my mom's name. How very sweet to know that Anneliese and Ruby are still together. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

52 Ancestors - Week 18 - Lydia Grubbs 1816 - 1881

Lydia Grubbs is the mother of James Madison Yeakley. I don't know much about her yet but two people have contacted me. One of them is a 2nd cousin on my Dad's side of the family. She wrote to me to share some letters and then informed me that we are related on my mom's side, specifically Lydia Grubbs. I am trying to figure out the relationship. Another person just contacted me and said we had Lydia Grubbs in common and is in the process of sending some info that she has.

It is probably not a stretch to see how we might be related on both sides. The Yeakley family was from Rheatown, Greene County, Tennessee. They migrated to Oklahoma and then to Texas. My dad's side of the family is Rhea and the story (still questionable) is that John Rhea founded the town. The problem is that almost all of the men were named John. None of my dad's family lived in Rheatown but it wasn't that far from Hancock County. Tennessee not only had a Rheatown in Greene County but a Rhea County. Rhea County was made famous by the Scopes Trial.

Lydia was born in Rheatown, Tennessee on May 31, 1816. She married George O Yeakley in 1832 and had six children. She died on November 18, 1881 in Gainesville, Texas at the age of 65. Find a Grave has a write-up on her life and death. Her grave wasn't found until 2010 and then they discovered her daughter-in-law, Margaret Shearer is buried next to her.

X is for Xerox - Hat's off to the early genealogists!

Xerox might be a strange topic for family history but my mom left me xerox'd copies of records and it does figure into genealogy.

From the "About" website, I have copied the first paragraph.

"In 1937, the process called Xerography was invented by American law student Chester Carlson. Carlson had invented a copying process based on electrostatic energy. Xerography became commercially available in 1950 by the Xerox Corporation. Xerography comes for the Greed for "dry writing"."

My mother loved the Xerox copier and as a true Renaissance Woman, embraced the technology with open arms. It made it easier for her to make copies when she traveled collecting family history. In fact, the first copy of my birth certificate is xeroxed.

Family historians and genealogists who have put the time in tracking our families have worked with all kinds of media. They tramped graveyards, hauled books off shelves and spent hours looking at reels of microfilm.

Hat's off to these people who did all the work so I can sit comfortably at my desk and find all the records they discovered. While I tramp graveyards, pull books off shelves and study microfilm, these people set us all on the right track so we know what graveyards to tramp, which books to pull and the roll numbers on the microfilm to ask for.

Technology changes and we adapt to new things. The early folks took notes, gathered information on giant computer printouts and xeroxed copies. Today, I just hit print and the information is at my fingertips. We are blessed to have the Internet but a big thank you goes to all of those who have come before. They not only did most of the work, they shared what they learned and made it available for us.

Friday, April 25, 2014

W is for Ruth Linda Wadley - my best friend

Not an ancestor but my best friend who died at age 15. I have written about her before so I will not cover it again other than to say she died much too young and I still miss her. If you want to read the story you can find it at Death of a Friend

We met in 1953 when we moved into the new neighborhood in La Puente, California. We were three and my brother was a year old. From the moment we met, we were best friends. We were never apart except for sleeping. Ruth was the adventurous one and if we got in trouble, it was probably something she instigated. We went to grade school together and Junior High. Her family moved to South Gate when we started high school. Our parents used to take us back and forth so we still spent time together. 

The houses were really new in this picture. There are no fences or grass. 

I suppose by this time her parents are gone but she had two sisters, Patty and Dorothy and two younger brothers. I don't know what happened to them after her death but I wanted to share these pictures in case they are out there to find them. 

Ruth Linda Wadley was born on February 3, 1949 in Los Angeles, California and died on April 24, 1965. She was buried at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, CA. 

V is for Viola Ruth Yeakley - Aunt Ruth

When I was 2 years old, Aunt Ruth came to visit. Of all my Texas relatives, she was the only one with a strong Texas accent. By the time she left, I could sing, "Jesus Loves Me" but I always sung "yay-yes, Jesus Loves Me". 

Viola Ruth Yeakley was born on May 28, 1911 in Archer City, Texas. She was the oldest daughter of Marvin and Ellen Yeakley and was seven years old when my mom (Ruby) was born. 

Aunt Ruth, photo taken by her father. Wasn't she adorable? 

Ruth and Ruby, taken by their father in 1921. My mom was three and Aunt Ruth was ten. 

She married Marcus Edward Edmonds on June 2, 1929 at the age of 18. They had four children, three girls and a boy. Marcus passed away on August 7, 1955 leaving Aunt Ruth a widow at the age 44. She never remarried but spent the rest of her life getting an education as a RN and traveling with her children and grandchildren. 
Not the best picture of Uncle Marcus but the only one I seem to have. Marcus is on the left, my dad is next to him and Dubbie (my cousin) is on the right. The adorable child (obviously not happy about something is me at about age 5). It would have been shortly after this that Marcus passed away. I am almost certain this picture was taken at Fern Dell Park at Griffith Park in Los Angeles. 

Aunt Ruth loved to travel and we made two trips with her to Washington State to visit my Aunt Lola but most of the time, she came and stayed with us. Sometimes she would bring her grandchildren and I just reconnected with one of them. We are sharing pictures and stories. 

Aunt Ruth could be really silly and so she makes it as a favorite all-time aunt. She would also sometimes side with me instead of my mother which was even better. None of my other aunts would buck my mother. 
Ernie (my dad), Ruby (my mom), Uncle Don, Aunt Vivian, Aunt Marie, Uncle Jay Dee, and Aunt Lola in the back row.
Aunt Ruth and Uncle Johnnie seated in front. 
This photo was taken in May 1991. Aunt Ruth wasn't feeling so well and was sometimes depressed. It is the last picture taken of the five remaining siblings. Aunt Ruth passed away on October 39, 1991, at the age of 80. She was a major presence in my life and her passing left an empty spot that only she could fill. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

U is for Unknown, Abigail

Unknown is a problem. Unknown is a challenge. Genealogists deal with unknown. What's interesting is that they are not really unknown. They do have family attached so generally it's the name that's missing.

Unknown, Abigail      1600 - Warwickshire, England     1627  - Jamestown, James City, Virginia, USA

She was born in 1600 in Warwickshire, England and died in 1627 in Jamestown. She is my 10th great grandmother and was married to Daniel Lucye. It says they both died in 1627. That's a clue.

Unlike those who came before me, I do have access to the Internet so it's the first place I went. Daniel Lucey, Lucy, Lucye comes up in a search. He immigrated to Jamestown, Virginia on the "Susan" in 1624. It is assumed that Abigail was with him since he married Abigail, "the tanner's daughter about 1617. He was the youngest son of Timothy Lucy. He died owing Richard Kingsmill 500 pounds of tobacco. The website I found has other details of the family in England. Today, I am not going to worry about the accuracy of the data, only that Abigail Unknown was a wife and mother and lived a tragically short life.

There are other unknown's in my tree. Unknown's are a challenge that can't be left alone. We may never know their last names but that doesn't stop any of us from trying to find the answers.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T is for Territory

Territory is an interesting concept. It can mean many things but in this post it means where my family settled.

The Yeakley's came from Pennsylvania and settled in Tennessee. Eventually, some of them migrated to Texas where they put down roots.

The Rhea's settled in Tennessee and put down roots.

The Yeakley's lived in Rheatown, Greene County, Tennessee and in Rhea County.

The Rhea's never lived in Rheatown or Greene County or Rhea County but settled in Hancock County.

So how is it my portion of the Rhea family never lived in area apparently settled by John Rhea, who might or might not have been the first Rhea in Tennessee and credited with the founding of Rhea County and Rheatown? We still can't prove our connection to John Rhea either but I know my family just didn't spring out of the soil in Hancock County. 

So now we look at Missouri. My grandmother on the Rhea side, Mellie (Farris) Rhea, was born in Eldon, MO, in Miller County. She married my grandfather in Carthage, MO, in Jasper County and they lived there until they moved to Montana.

Map of Missouri Counties

A portion of the Yeakley's landed in Greene County, Missouri, in the Springfield area.

The Rhea's and Yeakley's lived in Tennessee and Missouri. In 1900, there were 45 states. So how is it that the two very separate and distinct families all ended up in the same territory? There were 43 other states to choose from. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S is for Sweeny, Texas

What do I remember about Sweeny, Texas? The bugs on the front door screen were bigger than I was. I remember a spanking and a pillow fight with my 2nd cousins. David and Donna Ruth were the children of my cousin, Christine, one of Aunt Ruth's four children.

The pillow fight lead directly to the spanking.

I bet you can't imagine how anyone could be angry with these three adorable children but it happened. David and I are the same age and Donna Ruth is a year younger. I must have been almost four when we visited Aunt Ruth in Sweeny. This was taken at her house. Christine and Martin are standing behind us. 

Aunt Ruth had chickens. I remember them. They weren't much bigger than the bugs on the screen. She was very self-sufficient and collected feathers to make pillows. I don't know why the pillows were stored in the shed, maybe for use when family like us came to visit. Nevertheless, we found the pillows in the shed and did what all children do with pillows. We hit each other. It was even more fun when the feathers started flying and I bet we were giggling loudly when we were discovered by our parents and Aunt Ruth. Since it doesn't appear that we have feathers on us when this picture was taken, it must have been before the pillow incident. 

My aunt lived on a farm as a young parent and eventually moved to town as she got older but I loved going to the farm and my memories of Sweeny, Texas are colored by the fun we had there as kids. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

52 Ancestors - Week 17 - Facts are not enough - George raises Marvin

I really wish I was further along in this research. It is completely frustrating to start over with a new family line and not know anything!

Margaret Ann Shearer was 46 years old when she died in 1893. That is a documented fact. So far so good, but what does it mean?

I've already used this quote I found on family search in a prior post but it takes on different meaning when combined with the facts.

"Marvin lived with Dr. George Washington Yeakley and was educated by him. Marvin became a teacher, superintendent of schools in Iowa Park, Texas. He was owner of a newspaper in Brinkley, Oklahoma and a newspaper printer. "

Why did my grandfather live with his uncle? The first thing to do is the math.

Margaret Shearer died in 1893. Ernest Marvin Yeakley was born in 1886. 1893 minus 1886 is 7. My grandfather was a little boy when his mother died. Wow, that's sort of sad. Still, he wasn't so young that he couldn't have lived at home with the four other kids.

Melendoz Morgan Yeakley was born in 1868. He was 25 when his mother died and had been married 6 years. He was 18 when my grandfather was born, already a man in those days, and planning a marriage for the next year. He wasn't living at home.

Mary Jane "Jennie" Yeakley (aside here, my mom talked a lot about "Aunt Jennie" so she must have been a big part of my grandfather's life) was born in 1871, making her 15 when my grandfather came along. She married John Riley in 1887 when her baby brother was a year old and was not at home either.

Nola May Yeakley was 11 when Ernest Marvin was born. Too old to be a playmate. She was 18 when her mother died.

Edgar Worth Yeakley was born in 1877, 9 years before his youngest brother came along. When Margaret Ann passed away, he was 16. There is not a definitive answer in the facts which leaves them open to conjecture.

Dr. George Washington Yeakley was a prominent man. He was well regarded in his community. He married Margaret Edwards in 1880 and had one daughter, Belva Myrtle in 1885, a year before Ernest Marvin was born.

He must have divorced Margaret because she died in 1953 at the age of 90. According to the census reports, Belva went with her when she remarried. There is another child named Charles who is listed as a Yeakley as a stepchild to Charles Wood and appears to have been born four years before she remarried. Yet, there is no mention of him on the family documents.

George Washington Yeakley remarried also. He married Sally Moore when she was 25 and they had a daughter, Varina Davis Yeakley. Varina was born in 1902 which would have made Ernest Marvin 16 years old.

Those are all the facts and the dates and the math. What is the real story? Ask me in two years when I have spent time researching every avenue like I did on the other side of the family.

R is for Ruby Ellen Yeakley, my mom

Ruby Ellen Yeakley is my mom. It is at this point I say I miss her as much today as I did when she passed away 15 years ago. I can't believe it's been that long and I have so much to tell her. I know and truly believe that I will have that chance someday. She probably already knows. She always did. 
My grandfather took this picture of my mother. 

I had the best parents anyone could ask for. I was truly blessed and my brother likes to say that we were disadvantaged children because our parents weren't divorced, didn't drink or smoke, and were Christian people who lived their faith. 

My mom was born in Wichita Falls, Texas on January 12, 1918. That's easy for me to remember because I used to tell her she was born in 1819, at which point she would always tell me that she wasn't quite that old. 

My mother loved to sing and was always humming some tune, mostly hymns. She also played the piano but not as well as I did so it was another point where I got to tell her that I was better. However, not once did I ever beat her at jacks. Even at 80, she still beat me. She was good!

In my opinion, my mother was an overachiever but then, I'm a slacker so it might not be a good comparison. She went to college and got a degree in Library Science. While in college, her mother died and she took her grade school sister to college with her and took care of her so her dad could continue working. He was a minister and a printer and caring for his 12 year old daughter would have been hard for him. I have a lot of the letters he wrote to them and she wrote to him. They were home for the summer and holidays and when my mom graduated, Lola Mae was old enough to stay at home with her older brother who was 16 while my grandfather worked. 

My mom was an independent woman and did what she wanted. I don't know that I would have had the nerve to travel to New York City alone and spend a couple of weeks there exploring on my own. 

She met my dad during World War II at the USO at their church in Wichita Falls. She then took a job in Denver, Colorado at the public library and my dad traveled there to see her. They were married in 1947 in Los Angeles. My dad didn't meet her parents as both of them were gone when they met. 
Christmas Day, 1947, Denver, Colorado

My mom was the Children's Librarian at the Covina Public Library when I was small. She moved to the Monrovia Public Library when I was in grade school. When I started Junior High, she was the librarian at La Puente High School and when I started high school, she setup the new library at Rowland High School. While I was in high school, she went back to college and got a Master's Degree. She never stopped learning.

What I miss the most is the sharing. My mother was smart, full of wisdom and my best friend. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q is for Quest for biological family

For those of you who already know this story, skip on ahead to the next blog. I am always on the lookout for ways to share this story in new places in hopes of finding the other children. 

Gary David Hinds is my husband. He grew up in a middle class neighborhood in Covina, California. His father worked, his mother stayed at home and raised the three boys. On the surface it looked normal but the story behind it is anything but normal. 

In another state, Lydia Mary Gaulthair continued on her path of destruction. She had at least 13 children and abandoned them all. Gerald was 1-yr-old and Karolene 5-days-old when she left them with their grandparents and walked away. That was in 1942. We don't know where she went but in 1947, she had Patricia. When Patty was 15 months old, she left her with her sister-in-law and never looked back. 

Frances was born in 1952 and Lydia carted her to New Mexico where she met Ramon Montoya and had Ricky in 1954. We don't know the father of Frances. In 1955, Lydia was pregnant again and writes to her cousin Pat to see if she wants the baby. I have the letters. Pat agrees because she and Bill have tried for 10 years to have a baby with no success. 

Gary is that baby and on Christmas Day, 1955, she handed the baby to Pat and didn't look back. She still had Frances and Rick in tow but dumped them into foster care. Ramon hired a private detective to find his children but never found Gary. Lydia made sure Ramon couldn't find him. Ramon adopted Frances because he couldn't split the kids up. 

In 1957, she was back in California and had David (don't know his father either). She put him in an orphanage and headed to Texas where she met Tom. Darla was born in 1960. Tom had Lydia go back and get David and Tom raised him as well. Tom has alzheimer's and doesn't remember Lydia.  

I wrote a book about this for the kids (meaning grown adults who were so confused about their past) so they would understand their history and the relationships. Someone said it gave them a headache. It's a convoluted tale with all kinds of twists and lies. 

God has been good and allowed theses children to find each other. The whole tale was built on lies and deceit and that angers me. There are still family members who will not share. There is no one left to protect but they cling to the lies.  

I have a website where all of this is detailed, Missing Pieces: The Gaulthair Children. I put this out there every chance I get since we are still looking for the others. The mother's name is Lydia Mary Gaulthair born on September 30, 1925 in La Farge, Wisconsin. She changed it from Lida Mae. She lived in Wisconsin, California, New Mexico, and died in Texas in 2002. We think that she had children with someone named Garcia. The would be in their late 40's. 

We have been blessed with the new family and just recently, Gerald's daughter contacted us wanting to know about her new aunts and uncles. The "new" family has enriched our lives in ways I couldn't even imagine and each day is a new adventure. BTW, Gary was shocked when he saw a picture of his grandmother. For the first time in his life, he looked like someone.  

Meeting for the 1st time 
Gary, Frances, and Rick

 Niles (my grandson), Gary, Frances, Darla, Bill (Darla's husband), and Tom, who raised David and Darla

David and Frances
This is Gary's family history but also mine since families tend to blend into one after so many years. We continue to hope that God will direct us to the other missing children but as we know, we have to put it out there because they can't find us if they don't know we're looking for them. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Commenting on blogs

This is a giant "I'm sorry" if I haven't left you a comment in several days. I have a large list of favorites that I like to visit and I am trying to get though a lot of the new blogs I haven't seen yet. I was doing a fairly good job until Wednesday. That's when there was a shooting next door and someone died.

We know bad things can happen anywhere so we accept that next door is as good as across the country but when it's next door, the daily routine changes. We were in the crime scene tape area and my husband had to be escorted out to go to work. My 13-year-old saw most of it and had to talk to the detectives. He was bummed out all day yesterday and I spent very little time with the A to Z challenge. They finally took the tape down late yesterday afternoon but it was like living in a war zone with police, forensic teams, detectives, the coroner, and other personnel. Murder is a very ugly thing and although it was not our family, we are so sad for the family next door. There are small children there and it will change them forever.

Today I am working to get back on track. I sent the boy to Sea World with some friends so he can have time away from here. I am working though the blogs because it is one of the things I really enjoy. The A to Z challenge is an amazing way to learn about all kinds of new things, get research help, and in general, travel from place to place. Right now, the A to Z is exactly where I need to be.

P is for Posterity

Posterity - all future generations of people. (Don't worry, the definition is for me to make sure I am using posterity in the right context.)

I was delighted when I found five letters my great grandmother had written to my grandparents. It was a time capsule of 1918 and 1919. It had clues about the family but it also shared daily bits. She wrote how they had managed their timber so they would get better prices. She talked about the people who ran the mine. She talked about the "flue" and how many people were sick. You can read about mines and the flu in history books but the emotions and day to day details are absent. 

Writers and bloggers are leaving information for posterity. Never in our history has there been so much available. Genealogist may complain that the data is not verified but that's not as important for family historians. I know I am after the flavor of the times as well as the details. 

Based on the letters, I know that my great grandmother was educated in an area where girls did not learn to read and write. I know that she bought property and had an income greater than what the farm provided. I know she treasured her children above all else and had a hard time letting them go, even as adults. I know she was strong and able to survive tragedy. 

My family tree is full of wonderfully unique people who left clues for their descendants. They didn't leave large estates or millions but something greater. They left a family history full of life events telling us who they were, what their dreams were, and how they achieved their goals. 

Just like the letters written by my great grandmother, today's writers and bloggers are leaving little bits and pieces to posterity. How great is that!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

O is for Obituary

In this very technical world, some of the best resources are being lost. One is the art of the obituary. Newspapers have all but disappeared and with them, the daily notice of who died and when. I can't remember how long ago it was that I subscribed to a newspaper.

When my mom died, there was no notice in the paper. When my dad died, there wasn't one either, the family was notified by telephone. At least, they were not texted which I think would have been disrespectful.

Obituaries used to mean something. It told the world that someone important to someone had passed away. Even if it was in a small newspaper, people read them. If they knew the person, they somehow made contact with the rest of the family to offer their condolences. Today, on facebook, a "sorry" is offered. Please forgive me, I am guilty of doing that once and should have sent a card or made a call.

For those researching family history, it is more disturbing. The obituary told us a little about the person; who they were, what they did. It sometimes told us how they died. It gave us family members. It told us time and place. Those facts are hard to come by. Oh, we get date and place and sometime cause of death and occupation but it is all very impersonal.

My mom died on May 8, 1998. She died in Perris, California. She was retired. She died of a heart attack. That doesn't begin to tell us who she was and she was so much more. On the other hand, here's what the obituary for my grandfather read:

Death Claims E. M. Yeakley/Veteran Printer, Preacher here since 1911

Reverend Ernest M. Yeakley, 56, veteran Wichita Falls printer and Baptist minister, died Monday night about 10:30 o'clock at a Wichita Falls hospital. Yeakley, who came to Wichita Falls in 1911 went to the hospital a few days ago suffering from a paralytic condition. A heart attack was the cause of his sudden death Monday night. Yeakley had worked on newspapers in many Texas towns. He was one of the first printer employed by the Times Publishing Company after its institution in Wichita Falls. In recent years he was employed in newspapers in Gainesville and Sherman. He held pastorates in Baptist churches in dundee, Black Flat, and Kamay within the last few years, being the minister at the Kamay Baptist Church in 1937 and 1938. Yeakley , who made his home at 1317 Eighteenth, survived his wife by approximately five years. He had been employed at the Buchanan Stationery Company as a printer for almost a year. Survivors include five sons, Lee M. Yeakley, Wichita Falls, Noel Yeakley, Dickens, Texas, Don Yeakley, Houston, J. D. Yeakley, San Diego, Calif, Pvt. Eugene Yeakley, Denver, Colo; three daughters, Mrs M.E. Edmonds, Houston and Misses Ruby and Lola Mae Yeakley, both of Wichita Falls; one brother, Lynn Yeakley, Gainesville; two sisters, Mrs. Nola King, Gainesville, and Mrs. Jennie Riley, Gainesville, and 12 grandchildren. Funeral arrangements in charge of Owens and Brumley Funeral Home are incomplete awaiting word for the sons at Denver and San Diego.

There was also a picture that put a face to the name.

Today, the closest thing we have is Find A Grave. I was remiss as I sponsor my mother's site and hadn't added a bio. After writing this, I went to the site and updated the information. I have others yet to do. I want everyone to know they were important. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

N is for (James) Noel Yeakley - Uncle Noel

I love this picture of my Uncle Noel. It was no doubt taken by his father who photographed his children every chance he got. There is a picture of my mother who threw herself on the ground so he wouldn't take her picture. Uncle Noel doesn't look any happier. 

Uncle Noel, James Noel Yeakley, was one of the kindest men I have ever met. He and Aunt Alta were wonderful people but I didn't get to know them well. You see, they were old people and us younger cousins didn't spend a lot of time with them.

James Noel Yeakley was born on November 17, 1908 in Altus, Oklahoma. The family didn't stay there very long. Lee Marvin Yeakley was born in Texas two years earlier and the next child in line after Uncle Noel was Aunt Ruth who came along three years later and was born in Archer, Texas. Eventually the family moved to Wichita Falls where they put down roots. Noel married Alta Lovenia Rogers and had six children.

Three of the children are in the picture below. Aunt Alta is the one holding the baby on the left. My mom put the notes on the picture. You can barely see her in front of the flag. The picture was taken in 1937 at the Central Baptist Church in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Noel and Alta made several trips to California to visit us and Uncle Jay Dee. They also went to Washington State to visit Aunt Lola. We also made the pilgrimage to Texas every summer to visit family. Having the family visit was a regular occurrence and one that we enjoyed as children. Although my cousins were mostly older, at least they weren't old people.

Uncle Noel passed away on November 6, 1988, at the age of 80. Aunt Alta lived to age 78 and passed away on October 26, 1990, two years later.

Uncle Noel loved music. He was on his way to sing for the people at the "Old Folks Home" when he had a heart attack (at the age of 80) and died before he got there. It's says a lot about him and is a testament to how young he was at heart and how he was always willing to be a blessing to others.

Noel and Alta Yeakley, probably mid-60's.

Uncle Noel also wrote a hymn. My mom had a copy so I will share it here. I don't know if it was published but I am sure it was sung at his church.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M is for Lola Mae Yeakley - Aunt Lola

"L" was taken for Uncle Lee. We always used her middle name with the first name so technically, I can use the "M" for her.

Lola Mae Yeakley, the youngest child of Ernest Marvin Yeakley and Nancy Ellen Jones.
Wichita Falls High School

Her timeline on Ancestry.com reads like this:

1926  Wichita Falls, Wichita, Texas United States
11 Apr

1930  Residence
Age 4  Wichita Falls, Wichita, Texas

1940  Residence
1 Apr   Wichita Falls, Wichita, Texas

1942  Residence
Age 16  Wichita Falls, Texas

1993  Residence
Age 67  Renton, WA

2009  Death
16 Dec  Renton, King, Washington
Age 83

This is what we run into when we start tracking our ancestors. Facts are OK but there was a whole life lived between the sources. Aunt Lola was more than just a list of sources for me. She was a very real person who fell in love, married, had children, and lived life on her own terms. 

Lola Mae was 20 years younger than her oldest brother. There were 6 other children between them and Ellen, my grandmother, was 39 when she was born. She was the baby of the family and was treated as such. She was four when my grandparents had their first grandchildren. Because of the age differences, by the time I was born, most of my cousins had children my age. It was no different for Aunt Lola. Her playmates were her cousins and not her brothers and sisters. 

Ellen died in 1938 when Lola Mae was 12. It was difficult for the family but at that point, the only children at home were Lola May, Gene and my mom, Ruby. My mom was 20 at the time and a college student. 

This was a photo taken at the time of Ellen's death. It is all the kids and my grandfather. Back row: Noel, Don, Marvin (my grandfather), Jay Dee, and Lee. In the front, Eugene, Ruby (my mom), Ruth, and Lola Mae. 

It was decided that Lola Mae would accompany my mother to Denton, Texas and live with her. My mom went to college and Lola Mae attended school the local elementary school. I have several letters my mom wrote to her siblings about how hard it was at times but how much fun the two of them had. Any activities my mother attended, so did Lola Mae. Gene stayed home. He was 15 and attended high school, old enough to fend for himself until his dad got home from work. 

I have to stop here and explain why Aunt Lola's name changes from sentence to sentence. Her siblings never called her anything but Lola Mae. The nieces and nephews called her Aunt Lola so in this narrative, I find it hard to write and call her Lola Mae. To me she will always be Aunt Lola. 

Lola Mae and Ruby moved back home when my mom graduated. Lola Mae finished high school in Wichita Falls. When Lola Mae was 17, she met John Gerald Curtindale. She must have met him at the USO, the same church where my mom met my dad. My mother was not fond of John Gerald Curtindale and didn't want Lola Mae to marry him but Aunt Lola always did what she wanted. For the 50 some years Uncle Johnny and Aunt Lola were married, my mother was always there for them. While I think she never got over the fact that Aunt Lola married him, he was accepted as part of the family. 

Uncle Johnny could be charming but he was not always the nicest of persons. However, Aunt Lola was no fool and they had an interesting life together. 

Johnny was an entrepreneur. I remember when he had a gas station in West Seattle. He always had some invention or business that he was working on. I remember the worm farm on the side of the house. I thought it was gross but he did explain how beneficial the worms were. 

They lived in West Seattle for many years. From the balcony off the back door, you could see the Space Needle and downtown Seattle across the Puget Sound. The home also had a basement where we would stay when we visited. It wasn't exactly finished but did have bedrooms and a bathroom. There was a very large (and I do mean large) holly bush in the front yard. We learned early it was prickly and you didn't want to hide in it. Aunt Lola worked a Boeing for more than 30 years and was often the sole support of the family. She liked her job and it kept her busy. She was also a Weight Watcher Lifetime Member and remained trim for most of her life. She attended church on a regular basis.   

Uncle Johnny and Aunt Lola had two children. We spent a lot of time as children together. They would come to California or we would go to Washington. I still am in touch with my cousin Paul and we are grateful for the relationship. His younger brother Jerry passed away recently. 
My mom holding me, Paul standing in front and Lola Mae holding Jerry. 

John Gerald Curtindale passed away on October 4, 1996 at the age of 79. Aunt Lola outlived him 13 years passing away on December 16, 2009. I can still hear her voice and laugh and I miss her.