Wednesday, February 1, 2023

A New Month, Another Research Goal


With one month now behind us, exploring the extended Broyles family thanks to both old, unpublished manuscripts and the newly-released edition from the Germanna Foundation, The Broyles Family: The First Four Generations, we have made the journey from my fifth great-grandfather, Adam Broyles, to my fourth great-grandfather, Aaron Broyles. It is only one small step to the next generation and Aaron's son, Ozey Robert Broyles, my third great-grandfather, to connect with the line we'll be focusing on for this month's family history research goal.

It was Ozey Robert Broyles who married into another old Virginia family line which has, over the generations, generated a number of distant cousins whom I've met online or in person as I visit with fellow genealogists at institutes or conferences. Just like the Broyles family—a surname which, possibly thanks to that differentiating extra letter "r," makes it easy to spot on name tags—the Taliaferro surname is just that side of unusual to be one I seldom run across. When I spot a name like that, I know its owner just has to be a distant cousin.

It is the Taliaferro line which granted me entrance into the Daughters of the American Revolution, thanks to the grandfather of Ozey's bride, Sarah Ann Taliaferro. That Patriot was Zachariah Taliaferro, a Williamsburg native who, as the war wore on, was nearing his fifties. Knowing that, it was no surprise to see Zachariah listed among the Patriots, not because he served in active duty, but because this Virginian furnished supplies as a member of the Committee of Safety.

The Taliaferro family, from that point forward, claimed a family tree filled with notables. Taliaferro County in Georgia, for instance, is named for Sarah's uncle, Benjamin Taliaferro. Another uncle, Warren Taliaferro, married Mary Meriwether Gilmer, related to the longstanding Meriwether family of early American history, as well as the same Gilmer family which produced one of Georgia's governors.

Thankfully, just as we found when researching my Broyles line, there has been much written about the Taliaferro genealogy. Of course, as we consult those reference works, we'll pair that with a careful examination of digitized records now available to us. The main goal this month is to push backwards from the time of Sarah's father and grandfather to the generations preceding those men—all the better to help find those distant cousins I keep bumping into.

There is, however, also a forward-looking goal to this month's research. We'll keep an eye on DNA matches to confirm connections through the paper trail for my many Taliaferro cousins confirmed through that research method, as well.

Tomorrow, we'll start with what we know: some details on the life of Sarah Taliaferro, my third great-grandmother, and work our way backwards in time from that generation. 

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