Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Finding Family & Tracing Roots

We've been watching that show, "Who do you think you are?"on NBC, that traces back the ancestry of celebrities.  Cliff went ahead and signed up for a free 14 day trial on Ancestry.com.  We decided we were going to track family as far back as possible before we had to pay.  In 2 days, I have found super interesting stuff.

I live in a town in Georgia.  Not the big city, not the country.  Take it this way; we have 1.5 Starbucks and 2 Walmarts.  ( I've always gauged town sizes by the number of Walmarts, big indicator in the South believe it or not. )  On my dad's side of the family, we have literally been planted in this exact same town since about 1830. This is before the town even had an actual name.  My town wasn't really built til around 1950.  The home I lived in growing up is a 5 minute walk from the family land border.  I know there is a street in town with our last name, but didn't really realize we had that much to do with the history of the town until now.  Before living in my town, the preceding ancestors came straight from England to Dublin, Georgia; which is only an hour south of my town and considered the same region of Georgia.  I seriously am a local native.

My mother's side of the family is a bit more interesting.  My mom never knew her real dad.  He divorced my grandma when my mom was 4 years old.  Grandma won't talk about it, so Momma has been clueless.  Well...  I found out a ton of information!

Her father was in the Army during World War II.  He was stationed in Hawaii for a very short time before being sent to Marseilles, France on a "hospital" ship during the war.  In the war, he is listed as a night watchman.  At the age of 18, he was 5'10 and 150 lbs.  The most random, bizarre fact of all the documents was that he was a part of undertaker services/embalmer as his job in the military. 

 Hardy "Dit" Clarence & Bertie A.
Hardy and Bertie are my mom's grandparents!  Here they are as a young couple.  I think Hardy looks a lot like my brother in ways.  Hardy was a collection agent for a loan business.

Bertie A.
My mom resembles Bertie a lot too.  Eye shape, nose, cheek lines, same snaggle-tooth before Momma fixed hers' with braces.   I see my chin in this photo.  I only can find evidence of them having one child.

"M.H." (Martin Harkin) & Wiley F. 
Wiley F. (right) is my mom's great grandfather.  M.H. (left) is my mom's great, great grandfather.  Wow, right?!  Both men were farmers with many children.

Herbin Leroy "Lee", Dink Calloway, & Moman Talmadge "Tal"
Now here's a picture I was unsure about at first.  How could these 3 men be brothers of Wiley F. from the photo above when there's a car in the background?  These men lived a very long time, all into the 90's age range into the 1970's era.  So Lee, Dink, & Tal would be my mom's great uncles.

 I have a lot more photos saved than just these and can't wait to get them printed out.  I'd like to take all the official documents and photos made into a scrapbook for my Momma.  If you ever doubted trying out Ancestry.com, I say go for it.  (And no, they ain't paying me or anything.)  I have both sides of my family traced back to 1675.  I have paperwork with my family's actual handwriting on it.  I've discovered one of my far-back grandfathers was the Colonel of the 4th Regiment of the Revolutionary War, detailed with reports of what he did in the war. I can look at silly wills promising each child a bed, a cow, and $200. I can gawk at the great, great, great, great, great, great grandpa that had 4 wives and over 30 children.  (Yes, this is all true of my family. LOL!)  It's all extremely interesting, even more so when it's your own family.


  1. Wow, That is soo cool!

    I had started to trace back when Justice was a baby.. I lost my journal that my Grandma was helping me with ;( My cousin is the explorer of the family now.. but eventually Id love to take the time to actually find out more cool stuff.. and about Todds family too.. and the other boys Dads families!

    Keep sharing if you dont mind.. I love this stuff! :)

  2. WOW KIMMY !! Thats so interesting....I read it all wondering about my husbands family. Haffner is not a common name. My parents were the FIRST to ever leave PR. We even have a family Cemetery but Jim's family is a big MIX...I may try this. Just b/c his parents have since passed and I would love for my children to know there roots. Thanks for thsi post and send updates if you get anymore info <3 Bren

  3. Not sure if you realize this but Col Thomas Polk of the NC Militia during the Revolutionary War was the man responsible for guarding the Liberty Bell when it was housed in the Zion Reformed Church in Allentown, PA. Very cool many-greats-back grandfather indeed!

  4. No! I had no idea of that! Can't wait to tell my Mom!


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