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Fortunately, working alot of holidays and overnights will permit me to do just that, now.

As I huddle down into the bright cold modern protection against the winter storm we're supposed to have here in the New England region, I get time to submerse myself into the history of my sister's family and glean the only gift that I can uniquely give her this year....her genealogy from her father's side.

I need look no further than her grandparents when I come across my first mystery.
1930 Federal Census in Davidson County, TN has Edward Cooley and Margie Elizabeth Whitley married. Place of birth for Edward is Tennessee, place of birth for his parents are both Tennessee. Place of birth for Margie is Oklahoma. Interesting of birth for her father is Tenessee, place of birth for her mother is Iowa. So, how did she end up in Tennessee?

Generally accepted dates of death for Margie's parents are in 1914 and 1915, when the poor girl was about 8 years old. I still need to find some sort of proof for these dates, however....perhaps her mother's family was dead, and the only place to go to was her father's family in Tennessee. Imagine how scared she would be...a 9 year old girl orphaned....still need to check 1910 census records and perhaps find any siblings she had. Maybe that will give me an idea as to where she ended up and with whom.

So I got a bit aggravated with Phebe (Pheby?) Newton and trying to find definitive parents for her.

I went back to a relatively easy sister's on her father's side.

I was looking for a DeWitt Reynolds out of New York born about 1839.

Amazingly enough I find this in the Annual Report of the Adjutant-General of the State of New York for the year 1898:

These were the registers of First, Fifteenth and Fiftieth Engineers and First Battalion of Sharpshooters. The above entry is found on page 692 in the section for the Fifteenth Engineers.

After two years of no vacation, I finally got hit with a big case of, hobbies....all went down the drain while I muddled through the days before my vacation.

I got back from vacation, a road trip to New Orleans, my hometown, with my family. I went cemetery hopping...but technology reared its ugly head, and the batteries fell out of the camera before I saved the pics of my sister's grandparents' grave. But, of course, I didn't realise it till I was on our way back to Boston. Note to time, get a disposable camera!

So, now I've gotten back to the biggest family mystery...Phebe Newton. From Bible records, I know that John Laughlin and Phebe (Pheby?) Newton were married on Dec 4, 1790. From records, I find that in Washington and Southampton Counties in Virginia there were two Newton men...Shadrack Newton, and John Newton. Since the earliest recorded child of John and Phebe was born in Virginia, I'll make a wild guess that they were married in Virginia. Shadrack is also noted to have bought land in Washington County.

Could this be Phebe's father?

A big huge thank you to Alice McCoy of the John Brown Kin Blog, who awarded me this wonderful award!

Delving deeper into the Hale side, I go back to Amanda Stander, 23 years of age in the 1850 census. Her birthplace is listed as Tennesee. I believe that she is the eldest child, although there could be a male born before her that has left the nest surely.

So that would make her birth about 1825-1827. Time to go searching marriage records in Tennessee around that period.

And I found a marriage between a William Hails and a Maria G Shaffer on 10 Mar 1825, in Davidson Co, TN. Well, they weren't too keen on perfect spelling those days. With the timeline...I'm guessing Amanda was the first born.

However, the more I think of it....maybe Maria wasn't too old when she first got married. 18-21 is the usual age...18 would make her birth in 1807, 16 may even make it as young as 1809. Oldest would make her 1804....but that would also mean that she was....45 when she had her youngest?! And youngest, she's be 40....42 if she was 18.

Time to see where Grandma Lizzie says her mom was born. And so we peruse our way into the 1880 census.

As I research my father's side of the family, I saw Adolph Assenheimer was married to Elizabeth A Hale. I have their marriage certificate, so that's set in stone. They were married in New Orleans, however, she was born in Kentucky to a William and Maria Hale.

Question of the day: How does a girl, who is about 30 years old, go from New Orleans, LA?

Back in the 1870s when they were married, it was pretty much a given that if a woman married at about 29-30, this was her second marriage. That was what my instinct was telling me loud and clear. So I looked in the 1850 census in Kentucky for William and Maria Hale, with an Elizabeth Hale. All I found was this:

Name: Elizabeth Hale
Age: 6
Estimated birth year: abt 1844
Birth Place: Kentucky
Gender: Female
Home in 1850(City,County,State): Louisville Ward 8, Jefferson, Kentucky
Family Number: 908
Household Members: Name Age
William Hale 50
Theodore Stander 27
Amanda Stander 23
John Young 30
Maria Young 22
William R Hale 21
Thomas Hale 17
Charles Hale 10
Elizabeth Hale 6
Alice Hale 4
Mary Hale 1
William Young 1
From here, I assumed several things...
  • Maria had died in childbirth, probaly after giving birth to Mary Hale.
  • Maria and William's children were Amanda, Maria, Thomas, Charles, William R., Elizabeth, Alice and Mary.
  • Theodore was Amanda's husband, John was Maria the 2nd's husband, William Young was their child.
  • Maria and William had married about 1825ish.
Looking further into the census, the birthplaces were listed as:

William: Maryland
Amanda: Kentucky
Maria the 2nd: Tennessee
William the 2nd and Thomas: both in Tennessee
Charles, Elizabeth, Alice, and Mary were all born in Kentucky.

I'm really thinking that the difference in birth areas was most likely due to the changing state lines during this time, rather than alot of moving back and forth.

My sister's grandfather's name was Edward Carmack Cooley (20 Feb 1904-26 Dec 1971). His wife's name was Margie Elizabeth Whitley, at least I'm pretty sure her maiden name was Whitley. Could be completely wrong. From what my mother told me, Her name was definitely Margie Elizabeth, and I've found her and Edward together in the 1930 census in Tennessee. They had a candy store named Cooley's Sweet Shop in New Orleans, so it makes sense they would be buried in New Orleans. God I need her death certificate to prove her maiden name. Whoever it was that has that ancestry tree seems pretty sure about her maiden name. I can't seem to find her on the SSDI, and I know she's gotta be on there. Perhaps they divorced, maybe she remarried, but they are buried in the same cemetery. My gut says they were still married when she died.
Fortunately, I'm on my way to NOLA soon, so maybe I'll have some time to go info hunting. I want to go in the same cemetery anyways to visit my dad.

My friend and the registrar of our local DAR chapter constantly reminds me that the Internet is an unreliable source to use for air tight genealogy. On the other hand, I remind her that its a great place to network. We both see the validity of the other's point of view and have become great friends.

On the point of using the Net for your research, I've come across

Ah, another person who understands that the present genealogy includes Internet resources that could be very valuable. On the Internet, I've downloaded copies of the books of Birth, Marriage and Death records of Gloucester, Massachussetts from 1849 and before. I'll tell you, this has helped immensely.

When I am researching an ancestor, I do a few things:

  1. I go to and create a skeleton family tree. This was how I helped someone find a revolutionary patriot she didn't know existed on her tree.
  2. I go onto the message boards of Ancestry and see if anyone has any information that may be of any help: records, Bible pages, etc.
  3. I google the person I'm looking for information on and check Google Books as well.
  4. I google the areas they lived in, see if any vital records may be available online, like the Gloucester, MA records I found.
  5. I check HeritageQuest and
Usually by then I can get an idea of things that I may need to get on foot, and where to find them.

On my 30th birthday my husband and I and our litle family went back to New Orleans to visit my uncle. It wasn't that great of a trip. The first day, our daughter got sick and ended up in the ER with a stomach virus. She got better and my husband came down with it. Few hours later, I found myself with a newfound intimate acquaintance with the toilet in my old bedroom.
We went to visit my father and grandmother's graves, but I was so sick, I couldn't spend the amount of time that I wanted to there. We drove through the 9th Ward, but again, I just lay there with my head against the window, hoping I wouldn't vomit on the rental car's interior...that would be a bitch to clean up.
But, as we were about to start the long drive back to Boston, my uncle gave me two gifts. One was my dad and mom's wedding rings. My mother's doesn't mean that much to me, but my dad's wedding ring was special to me. But it was the next gift that my uncle gave me that bought tears to my eyes. It was my grandmother's engagement ring.
It's silver, possibly white gold, tiny band, increasing to a filigree that holds two small diamonds on either side, with a large diamond in the center. Their wedding occurred in November 1926. There's some sort of writing on the inside but its so incredibly tiny that I can't possibly read it. You can tell it was well worn. I'm sure that during the 10-15 years they were married, she wore that ring every day. During the difficult times when her heart was breaking, she wore that as a reminder to her of the vows she made.

I cherish that ring. Its priceless. It truly is a treasure.

I found my sister's grandfather in the 1930 census, living in Davidson, TN. He's with his wife, Margie Elizabeth Whitley, however, I haven't been able to find any marriage records of them so far. They were both in Tennessee before and after the marriage, so its logical to think they married in Tennessee. I'd like to ty to focus soley on him for the moment and find out BMDs for him and his wife Margie.

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