Thursday, December 3, 2015

Some Southern Surnames

In hopes of fishing with just the right cousin bait, I continue my listing of those surnames I'm seeking, this time focusing on my maternal grandmother's line. As these have been covered beforeafter all, this is the line to which I owe my membership in the Daughters of the American Revolutiontoday's post will be an abbreviated recap.

That D.A.R. line, incidentally, runs through my maternal grandmother's mother's linefrom Sarah Ann Broyles McClellan to her father, Thomas Broyles, and then to his mother, a Taliaferro, and on upwards, following that Taliaferro surname back to colonial Virginia.

Looking strictly at the McClellan linemy grandmother's patrilineal lineit stretches back to George Edmund McClellan, whom I've mentioned previously was one of the signers of the first Florida state constitution. Marrying into that McClellan line were some surnames presenting me with research challenges: Emma Charles, marrying William Henry McClellan, and in the the preceding generation, Sydney Tyson, marrying George McClellan.

Granted, life would be much simpler if I lived within a proximity allowing for frequent research trips to Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas, where most of this family migrated or originally settled. The line of Sydney Tyson, George McClellan's wife, was once in Pitt County, North Carolinawhile I'm not yet sure, her parents were likely Job Tyson and Sydney (or Sidnah) Sheffield, who eventually settled in Glynn County, Georgia. Emma Charles, the wife of George and Sydney's son William, was likely daughter of Andrew Jackson Charles and his wife, Delaney Townsendthere, once again, presenting me with yet another opportunity to research fairly common surnames. That, coupled with the likely scenario that the elder Charleses left their three children as orphans by 1860, make tracing this Charles line somewhat difficult, as well. Researching on site could possibly open up some vistas to help me see some answers.

Even though my grandmother's maternal side yielded me the ticket to gain entrance to D.A.R., don't think it was any easier to research. Thisyou may remember, if you've been following along here for longincluded not only the well-documented Broyles and Taliaferro lines, but a more messy line involving an orphaned daughter, as well. My grandmother's maternal grandmother, the baby of her family, lost both her parents by the time she was eleven years of age. If it hadn't been for finding Mary Rainey in the home of her aunt and uncle in Georgiaa feat which would have been much more complicated, had it not been for the search power of the genealogy programs and services we so take for granted nowI wouldn't have been equipped with the clues to make the plausible guess that Mary's mother was, herself, also a Taliaferro.

Still, that only equips me with a tentative guess as to how to proceed on research for my own matrilineal linethe one that passes through this Mary Rainey on through her mother, Mary Taliaferro. Just as tentativelybut for different reasonsI've not been able to make headway on her father's line, the ancestors of Thomas Firth Rainey. Once again, a well-planned foray into Georgia might yield some answers I'm not able to access remotely through the Internet.

Even though I'm not currently able to push back farther than these generations, I do have a confirmation on that Rainey line, thanks to a DNA match found last year. Bit by bit, more connections will surface.

In the meantime, though, I'll fly those surname flags of Charles, Rainey, Townsend and Tyson, in hopes their connection to my maternal McClellan, Broyles and Taliaferro lines (times two!) will snag the attention of the occasional googling family history researcher and direct him or her my way.  


  1. Tyson is another common name in these parts. I suspect some of them took the wagon path south. I seem to recall a branch of this family settled in Germantown (a Philadelphia neighborhood now) around 1680.

    1. Ah, that wagon path south...when I researched my Tilson line, I found that was precisely the case. As surprised as I was to learn that my "Southern" family actually originated in Massachusetts, I've now come to suspect that many such Southerners had their roots in New England. Surprise! That, perhaps, is mostly owing to land received for service in the American Revolution. It seems quite a few followed that same immigration route. I won't be all that surprised if I discover my Davis line had the same origin.

  2. My Davis Line came through Merion Township, Pennsylvania,Then to Pencader Hundered, New Castle, Delaware and finally to Craven County/Cheraw District, South Carolina. See today's posting on my blog.

    1. Interesting, Charlie. I took a look at it, just in case. Who knows what path my Davises took. It's just too common a surname to think any of us will find a match with another's story.


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