Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lucky me

I've been lucky enough this past week to do two presentations for our homeschooling group.  Monday night was our monthly meeting and I was able to talk about my passion for genealogy research.  I gave tips on how to get started, how to organize, made huge hints on interviewing your relatives today before they are lost to us, and what to do with the information.  I also provided information on different projects to do in your homeschool regarding genealogy.

The kids really enjoyed hearing about my Tennessee family, which my cousin and I swear is in the witness protection program.  No one goes by their name.  My father's generation and the one before all use their middle names.  It took me years to figure out why they called my dad Wayne instead of Phillip.  His brother isn't so lucky, he's affectionately known as Tinker.

I had decided to try to research my great grandmother Polly, because quite frankly we're rumored to be related to Davy Crockett, and well, just how cool is that?  My dad didn't know her parents names but I didn't think it would be a problem because she'd lived in the same county her whole life.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find her on the census records, and without parents' names to help, I was at a loss.  My father finally remembered that she had two brothers-Uncle Fuzzy and Uncle Tater.  Are you kidding me?  He remembered they had a still up on the mountain and made moonshine.  Why does this not surprise me?

One night, I was lucky to stumble across the Tombstone Project.  Volunteers all over the country scour cemetaries to record the headstones before they are lost to weathering forever.  I searched in the county, just for fun, and found James "Fuzzy" Rhea!!  I couldn't believe my luck!!  I was so excited!!  Even better, a brother that had never married was buried nearby along with his parents!  I hit the Jackpot!

Back to the census records I went to find Polly.  I found the parents and "Fuzzy" but now had another problem.  The only girl I found that was Polly's age was listed as Violet Anora.  Her daughter, my grandmother's name was Violet Jean, could it be?  I called Polly's daughter and found out that Polly's name was really Violet Anora.  Why on earth did we call her Polly then?  She didn't really know.  Apparently, she looked like a Polly when she was born.  okay........

Upon further research, it looks like Polly's maternal side, like the nickname Polly.  I found several listed on census records.  How or why it started, we'll probably never know, but it was neat to find out.

Today, I was able to teach a lapbooking class and cover the Iditarod.  We love the Iditarod.  We follow it every year.  We also love lapbooking and I was able to show many of my fellow homeschoolers how to lapbook.  Many had been fearful in the past of trying it out, but found that it was really easy to do..  I think everyone enjoyed learning about the Iditarod and the kids had alot of great questions.

My dad is visiting now, so we're off for a week.  The kids are enjoying time with their grandfather.  We don't get to see family enough, so we always take off when they're here.

Have a wonderful week!


  1. How cool! If we were staying here another year, I was thinking that it might be fun to teach a genealogy class at the co-op. I would really like to do that in the future.

    Uncle Fuzzy and Uncle Tater? Too funny. Glad you solved your mystery. Isn't it so rewarding to do research and get results? I know that Polly was a common nickname for Mary (which makes no sense to me since it's actually longer than Mary). Maybe they thought Violet was too formal for everyday use? :)

    Enjoy your time off!

  2. Sounds cool. My wife's family is one of those nickname families, and I think my daughter will always be known as "Tater."


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