Monday, December 8, 2014

You’ll Need a Scorecard For This One

If you have been among those readers of A Family Tapestry who have been clamoring for a scorecard to keep all these ancestors straight, I want to let you know up front: I’ve been working on that.

I also want to cut to the chase and tell you: my idea didn’t work.

It had dawned on me that the simplest way to resolve that dilemma over presenting these various family tree details visually would be to cut and paste the information from my files at So, for today’s post, I pulled up the chart labeled “Family” and took a look at how I could copy the graphic.

Well, if you are familiar with the way puts together their family charts, for families with a large number of children, the lines are sometimes displaced to make room for all those little boxes. To cut and paste the pertinent parts of my maternal grandmother’s family tree would mean a very long graphic shrunk down to fit everything in—in other words, to an unreadable level.

So, I switched to Pedigree view. Of course, that cuts out all the details on siblings for each generation. At least it will give you a sense of how the generations fit. I’ll have to fill in the rest of the detail with my own narrative. But hopefully, it will help.

Let’s go back to yesterday’s post, where my grandmother’s aunt had sent her the note about buying the book written by her relative, Montague Laffitte Boyd, M.D. Her aunt had tried to explain the relationship between the author and my grandmother:
Dr. is your Great uncle Edward Broyles grandson. He was raised in Savanna Ga.
Because the letter from her aunt mentioned the connection to the state of Georgia—the place where, incidentally, my grandmother’s own maternal grandmother was supposedly born—I thought it would be helpful to review that part of the Broyles genealogy. The idea is to search for any clues as to why my second great grandfather, Thomas Taliaferro Broyles, would have left his home in northeast Tennessee to travel to the far side of Georgia to claim his bride. After all, since the rest of his family was back home in South Carolina, why not return there? There has to be some sort of connection with the state of Georgia in this family.

So, who is this Edward Broyles who raised his family—or at least his grandson—in the state of Georgia?

Let’s start from what we know. Here’s the visual on my grandmother—whom I’ve entered here by her birth name, Rubie Broyles McClellan—and her parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.

We’ve already talked about Rubie’s parents, Rupert Charles and Sarah Ann Broyles McClellan. It’s Sarah’s father, Thomas Taliaferro Broyles, who will lead us to the connection with Edward Broyles. (As a side note, you will see that I filled in a working name for Thomas’ wife, the woman from Georgia whose name is not verified. Keep in mind that that’s just there as a place holder for now; it may well change as we locate documentation.)

Thomas’ parents, in turn, were Ozey Robert Broyles and his wife, the former Sarah Ann Taliaferro. This Sarah is the one who will lead me to D.A.R. membership, eventually.

Now that we’ve got the line straight, let’s fill in the blanks on Ozey’s children. From the 1850 census, there are seven listed: Augustus, William, Margaret, O. Robert, Sarah Ann, Thomas, and John.

No Edward. Natch. That would be too simple.

Keep in mind, though, that this 1850 census—the first of the census records to name all the members of a household—represents the family of a man born at the turn of the century. In other words, by this point, O. R. Broyles was a man of at least fifty years of age. His oldest child—assuming he or she was still alive—could have been as old as thirty years of age. Taking a closer look at the 1850 census entry, it also appears there was a sizeable age gap between the first son listed (Augustus) and the second (William). Perhaps Edward was older than Augustus? Or sandwiched in between him and his younger brother?

That idea, unfortunately, did not pan out. There were at least two other children which were indeed born between those two sons: a son Richard Taliaferro Broyles, and a son Zacharias Taliaferro Broyles. These I found, thanks to entries on Find A Grave. Both the entry for Richard and for Zacharias indicate that they were children of O. R. Broyles.

Neither, of course, was named Edward.

If Job One was to locate an Edward among Thomas Taliaferro Broyles’ siblings, so far we have struck out. Save your scorecard, though, for tomorrow we’ll discuss one annoying aspect of those shaky leaf hints over which so many people seem to have a love-hate relationship. I may be becoming a convert to the “hate” side of the controversy, for I did find an Edward—it’s just that the hints which led me to him will not give up all their secret details on the second review. And face it: when it comes to documenting one's ancestral lines, saying “I know I saw it” just doesn’t count.


  1. I don't mind the shaky leaf that leads to a private tree UNLESS the owner hasn't logged in to Ancestry in a year. Then I'm worried. I need my cousins to stay active!

    I had a thought about that T and F. What if Taliaferro was reduced to a nickname, like "Ferro"? I imagine there have been plenty of Elizabeths and Virginias who took on the initials B (Betsy) and G (Ginny).

    1. If only that were a possibility, Wendy. However, being from Virginia roots yourself, you may be aware that the way the Virginians pronounced "Taliaferro" was not quite the same as the way the Italians might have pronounced it. Don't ask me why, but I've been told the proper Virginian way to pronounce the surname Taliaferro is "Toliver." With that in mind, it's unlikely anyone decided to shorten that to "Ferro"--or any other derivative.

      But it's okay. We all can think of documents on which we've spotted errors. A clerk can make a mistake, can't he?

    2. Oh true -- I hadn't given any thought to the different pronunciations. OK, let's put it on the clerk then.

    3. I may have to stand corrected on this one, Wendy. Remember your suggestion that maybe the "F" could stand for a nickname? Like Ferro? Well, I haven't seen any evidence to confirm that for the instance of my second great grandfather, Thomas T. Broyles, but here's someone's conjecture about one of his nephews: though it isn't substantiated with any source documentation, someone entered that very thing in their family tree. If you subscribe to Ancestry, you can see that page here.

    4. Well! When I see something like that, I think that person knows something.

  2. Hi Jacqui, I was looking over the book, Dr Boyd's mother was Laura Johnson Broyles, b. 1852 in Spring Place Georgia, Her father was Charles Edward Broyles b. 1826, son of Ozey Robert Broyles & Sarah Ann Taliaferro, I am thinking maybe he used his middle name of Edward, and he is the grandfather of Dr Boyd. And he is the brother of Thomas T Broyles, so that would make him a great your grandmother

    1. That book is quite useful, isn't it, Kat?! And so great that it's as accessible as it is at the Hathi Trust in its digitized version.

      As we'll see as we trace the family forward in time through the census records, that is exactly what happened.

  3. Did anyone one of the boys have Edward for a middle name:)

  4. The "mini-tree" snippets work for me... Actually, when I was asking for a scorecard of sorts - it was when you were looking into folks that might be related - but you didn't know where or how. I couldn't keep track of the "leafs" that had no branches (yet). :)

    1. Seems I find myself looking into a lot of that sort, Iggy. I can see how that could get confusing!


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