Those who are hooked by genealogical research often compare it to detective work. I’ve actually stumbled across comments explaining that genealogy is like CSI, only “without the icky bodies.”
While I have yet to find the dead bodies—my current pursuit of ancestor Thomas Taliaferro Broyles has failed to yield any details on the location of his burial—I have been able to unearth further details on his family constellation, thanks in part to my Genealogy Angel’s discovery of the issue of Confederate Veteran containing his obituary.
Keep in mind that those names have been there for the taking in many online resources. I know that. Right now, I’m preferring to revel in the pursuit, finding the source documents and corollary details in a treasure hunt of my own making. While I have many distant cousins and other Broyles and Taliaferro aficionados who have generously posted their findings—some amateur, some expertly researched and duly documented (no doubt)—there just comes a time when I want to have the thrill of the chase, to do it myself.
Looking back to the article in the February 1923 issue of the Confederate Veteran which I posted yesterday, I want to extract as much data from the narrative as I can. I want to take this step by step. And yes, I know that while my overarching goal of completing the D.A.R. paperwork may not entail such excruciating detail, for a moment, humor me. I want to do some exploring. After all, I can’t sniff out a bunny trail without getting nosy. And you know how I love finding stories.
The opening paragraph of the Confederate Veteran article gives me plenty of ammo for my first volley of exploratory salvos:
Dr. Thomas Taliaferro Broyles died at his home near Jonesboro, Tenn., on December 8, 1922. He was a son of Dr. O. R. Broyles, of Anderson, S. C, and a brother of A. T. and John P. Broyles and Mrs. W. D. Williams, of Greeneville, Tenn., and Mrs. M. C. VanWyck, of Anderson, S. C, whose husband was Dr. Samuel Maverick VanWyck, C. S. A.
The first step, for me, is to aggregate the records for Thomas’ father. Like Thomas himself, his father was a doctor. In customary southern fashion, the man’s name was given as initials, but I know that his name actually was Ozey Robert Broyles. As we discussed yesterday, Thomas’ mother—though not mentioned in this article—was Sarah Ann Taliaferro Broyles. We’ll trace her Taliaferro roots in future posts as we pursue the American Revolution patriot for D.A.R. purposes.
From this article, we can glean some names of Thomas’ siblings—though I assure you, there were several more than are listed. I presume these were recounted in this article for some significance to the core mission of the publication: veterans representing the Confederates in the War Between the States.
From what I can see so far, here is a deciphering of the alphabet soup of family names. “A. T.” refers to Augustus Taliaferro Broyles, in my records showing as the oldest of the Broyles siblings—though I have far to go before I can confirm that there were none older. “John P.” names Thomas’ younger brother John Pendleton Broyles. I am clueless—no, awaiting a fresh discovery!—as to the identity of “Mrs. W. D. Williams,” though the location of Greeneville, Tennessee, catches my eye as it is far afield of the elder Broyles’ home location in South Carolina. I offer the guess that “Mrs. M. C. Van Wyck” represents the former Margaret Cornelia Broyles—causing me to wonder if the Van Wyck household listed next door to the Broyles home in the 1850 census might be the immediate family of her deceased husband, Samuel Maverick Van Wyck.
Of course, this 1923 article also introduces questions. Mainly, I’m wondering what became of all the other Broyles siblings. Had they all passed away before this point? It looks like I have my work cut out for me, if I choose the path of this detour, for Thomas had many siblings. On the other hand, isn’t it the chase that puts the joy back in genealogy work? At least, for me it is. I thrive on discovering what happened to all the rest of the family. Apparently, there is a lot of thriving left for me if I choose the detective work of this path to pursue.