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 before—after all, this is the line to which I owe my membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution—today's post will be an abbreviated recap.
That D.A.R. line, incidentally, runs through my maternal grandmother's mother's line—from 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 line—my grandmother's patrilineal line—it 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 Carolina—while 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 Townsend—there, 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. This—you may remember, if you've been following along here for long—included 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 Georgia—a 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 now—I 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 line—the one that passes through this Mary Rainey on through her mother, Mary Taliaferro. Just as tentatively—but for different reasons—I'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.