Monday, January 27, 2014

52 Ancestors - Week 5 - Martha Mary Fussell

I keep hoping that as I travel back in time, someone else will be related to me. This time frame is murky and I am not really sure how accurate my facts are.

Martha Mary Fussell was born in 1825 in Washington Par, Louisiana. The year is based on 1850 census and she was living in Mississippi. That fact seems to be correct as the family went from Mississippi to Texas. I haven't found any birth records so am taking the date from the 1850 census although the 1880 census shows it as 1830. That's a five year difference. I do have a marriage record with John Finley (again without the "D" in Findley) to Martha Fussell in 1845 in Mississippi. On the 1880 census, it shows another child that I had not seen before. On the census, it says the child was adopted and has a different last name. Something else to research.

I don't have a death record for Martha either but I know she died in Texas. After spending two years researching the other side of my family, I find this frustrating. What I write today will change as I get more clues but I want the information now. Even the in-depth research on the Rhea side still changes frequently as little tidbits pop up out of nowhere and change what I know.

Still, as of today, this is what I know about my 2nd great grandmother and I think that it's correct with the information I currently have so I am going back another generation to Mary B "Polly" Morris.

Monday, January 20, 2014

52 Ancestors -Week 4 - Nancy Elizabeth Findley

Nancy Elizabeth Findley was born in January 1849 in Rankin, Mississippi and died on December 27, 1907 when my grandmother was 20. I don’t know anything about this family. My mom talked a lot about her parents but not her grandparents. They were gone before she was born and we don’t know when my great grandfather died. I know the information is out there somewhere but I haven’t been researching this side of the family long enough to have scratched the surface.

My goal now is to track the family back to the Mayflower. There are some gaps in the research which may mean that I have incorrect information and the trail to 1620 will go cold. Still, it is worth the effort. 

The major problem that I see in the near future is to decide what the correct last name is for Nancy Elizabeth Findley. While I’m at it, I also need to track down the correct birth and death dates. Nothing here seems to match.

Is it Findley, Finley, or Finlay? My mom’s research indicates that Findley is correct because she was very careful with her records and some of it comes from documents she collected. However, the census for two separate decades shows it as Finley. For one census, I might buy the difference but the two of them concern me.  I am waiting for someone to find the graveyard and see if there is a headstone. It’s on the request list for Find-A-Grave but it’s been awhile. It may have to wait until next summer when we make our annual trip to visit family in Texas to find the graveyard myself.

Still, I went into and changed all the names from Finley to Findley and guess what? Little hints started to pop up on all the family members. All the death certificates for the children used the name Findley. Now I believe that the census takers were way off base and guessed at the spelling but didn't ask. All members of the family could read and write so there shouldn't have been an issue. 

Making a judgment call, I am going to call Nancy Elizabeth Findley as correct and move back one generation to Martha Mary Fussell. She was my 2nd great grandmother and her name is spelled wrong too. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

52 Ancestors - Week 3 - Nancy Ellen (Jones) Yeakley

Nancy Ellen Jones, or Ellen as she was called, was my grandmother. She died in 1938 at the age of 50. That was 11 years before I was born and I feel cheated. She was a loving person who raised eight children who, even as adults, couldn't wait to spend time together. Family gatherings were always fun and there was never any drama.

My mother passed away on May 8, 1998, two days before Mother's Day. It was difficult without her on that Mother's Day as it has been for the past 15 years. However, we celebrate that day because for 60 years my mother missed her mother and I am quite certain that there was a joyous celebration when they were reunited.

Nancy Ellen Jones was born on December 26, 1887. She was a twin and Allen Augustus Jones outlived his sister by 19 years. One of eight children, they lived in Archer City, Texas where many of her sibling remained. On December 29, 1905, she married Ernest Marvin Yeakley, leaving Archer City for Wichita Falls, Texas.

Ellen loved being outside working in her garden. For a family of eight and a husband as a minister, she was frugal. My mom said she never realized they were poor. Later when my grandfather also worked as a printer and photographer, they had a little more money but Ellen always found enough. She didn't make a big mark on the world except to raise the children to be good citizens. All of the children went to school, six of them to college. They were a musical family and all of them played an instrument or the piano. Even as adults, when they were together, singing was a favorite pastime.One of my uncles had a heart attack, at age 80, on his way to sing at the "old folks home". Clearly, he didn't count himself as one.

This was my grandfather's favorite photo of Ellen. It was a picture he took showing that even at rest, she was always busy doing handwork.

Photo was taken by my grandfather. He said that Ellen looked so peaceful and he wanted to keep the image. As a child, I thought the picture was creepy but given the spirit in which it was taken, I understand his need to keep his wife with him.

Ellen passed away on June 28, 1938. She died in my mother's arms in the garden she loved. For 60 years, my mom missed her mother but I believe that Ellen's quiet faith sustained her for those years knowing that they would be together again.

Monday, January 6, 2014

52 ancestors - Week 2 - Ernest Marvin Yeakley and faith

We are having an ongoing discussion with our 12-yr-old grandson about his belief in God. All believers, at one time or another, question their beliefs. This discussion is totally acceptable because we are all given free will. Fortunately for me, my mother questioned her belief too and I have the letter her father sent to her in response.

Ernest Marvin Yeakley was a printer, photographer, and preacher. His advice to my mother is timeless and I transcribed his letter here. This has also added to the discussion we are having about beliefs. Whatever my grandson decides is up to him but what my grandfather had to say a long time ago resonates today.

Going through my mother's papers, I found a note about the letter. It had to have been written before she passed away in 1998. She'd shared the letter with me when I was a teenager and questioning my faith but it was nice to find the story in writing.

Here's what my mom had to say:
"When I was in college, I began to doubt my salvation especially as I attended philosophy classes where we studied all the great theories of the world. I wrote to my father and expressed this doubt and whether or not God might be calling me to some special service. On his way to work on April 24, 1940, he stopped at a hotel downtown, wrote me the following letter and sent it Special Delivery - Air Mail."

"Dear Ruby,

You are not the first person, even in our own family, to have the feeling you express.

I have wondered, as I have observed this condition through the rears, if the key to the situation does not add up to about this:

People who confess Christ at an early age and join the church do not have the weight of actual sins to be repented for and relieved of, hence do no t have the deep highly emotional experience of grace that those who find peach in Christ after years if willful sin.

Later, having served more as a matter of habit, perhaps, that of duty impelled by the love of Christ, which Paul said "constrainteth us" to go in his service, we begin to wonder whether or not our foundation experience is secure. Get this straight and depend and rely on God's Word, rather than on your feelings and personal analysis of the situation:


1. Our Salvation rests upon God's love for a lost world. John 3:16
2. There is no work to do beyond believing in Christ. John 6:28,29  John 1:11-13
3. This belief (trust) must be expressed openly. John 12:, 42,43
4. The complete promise. Rom 10:10

DO NOT jump to the conclusion that you CANNOT satisfy the Lord's demands upon you without undertaking some kind of SPECIAL WORK in the Kingdom. What the Lord NEEDS right now WORST OF ALL is a great host of consecrated folks to LIVE for him every day in an unassuming , quiet fashion (as your Mother did).

WHAT YOU NEED NOW is likely NOT salvation, but to definitely commit yourself to the WILL of the Lord for your life, giving Him the FIRST PLACE in your life plans- CONSECRATION for the unfailing of the Spirit. INVITE Him in for leadership.Luke 11:11-13

Must hurry to work

Your Dad"

Two things strike me:.
My grandfather wrote with capitals and underlining, making his points clear to my mother.
The remark about the quiet faith of my grandmother who had passed away two years earlier. He is reminding my mom of her mother and the example she set for her.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Blogging Challenge

Genealogy blogger Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small issued a challenge this morning to blog about one ancestor every week for a year. She's calling it 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks. I got the Google + email right after I setup this new blog to start on the Yeakley/Jones family. I would call it coincidence but I don't believe in coincidence. I think it's one of those moments when you know it was meant to be and besides, I have never have been one to resist a challenge. This is going to be fun.

52 Ancestors, Week #1 - Ernest Marvin Yeakley and Nancy Ellen Jones, my grandparents

I have spent years researching my dad's side of the family and while I still have more to learn, it is time to take a different direction and dive into the Yeakley-Jones history. My mom, Ruby Ellen Yeakley, did a lot of the research and it came to me when she passed away. The history goes back to the Mayflower on the Jones side but my grandparents (who were gone long before I was born) have interesting stories to tell.

While I know the Rhea side of my family and the names and faces are familiar, I actually know more about the Yeakley/ Jones family because I grew up knowing my aunts and uncles. However, my grandparents remain in the background waiting to share with me. This is a new adventure.